Altincham 3-2 Gateshead

Gateshead held the Indian sign over Altrincham for three years between 1991-94 when they incredibly beat the Robins nine times in a row.

The run of the early 90s is unlikely to be repeated, but Gateshead should have at least taken the first step at Moss Lane with a second away win of the season.

The Tynesiders however are finding different ways to lose games this season and, despite winning in injury time, somehow conjured up defeat from victory.

Altrincham levelled from a set piece on 93 minutes and then, in the sixth and final minute of time added on, pinched victory with a penalty which baffled most in the 769 crowd.

A subsequent look at the match DVD however showed that referee Steve Martin had been correct in awarding the spot kick, and the  Robins duly celebrated the unlikeliest of victories.

Gateshead, who for the most part had defended well with Chris Swailes and James Curtis prominent, had once again shot themselves in the foot.

"To lose in such circumstances is very hard to take because we should have been able to see the game out to claim three important points," said assistant manager Jeff Wrightson.

"The last minute penalty was a massive setback, but the real killer blow was the equaliser from the set play after one of their players had been receiving treatment for a couple of minutes.

"We had plenty of time to get ourselves organised but instead switched off, allowed Denham to steal a yard and suddenly the ball is in the roof of the net.

"At 2-1 everything was rosy but we then lost both Darren Williams and Steven Richardson which affected our shape, and we effectively played the last 16 minutes with ten men.

"We had kept our discipline and Altrincham weren't hurting us but, not for the first time, we have thrown the game away.

"The equaliser gave Altrincham the incentive to go on and nick it. We have let them back into a game they should have lost, and we've now got to lift the players for the trip to Grays."

Apart from a storming opening five minutes and last five minutes, where four goals were scored, the other 80 minutes provided little entertainment.

The Robins were ahead after just 79 seconds when Nicky Clee rose above Craig Baxter for Robbie Williams to tee up Anthony Danylyk whose 22 yard drive flew into the bottom corner.

Gateshead responded with a goal in their first attack after five minutes. Phil Turnbull's 20 yard angled drive was fumbled by the diving Stuart Coburn and Graeme Armstrong was on hand to knock home the rebound.

The rest of the first half was instantly forgettable with Gateshead changing their shape after the Robins had opened brightly.

The second half brought a marginal improvement, though Altrincham struggled to break down the Tynesiders who offered little offensively.

A Matt Doughty centre flew across goal untouched and a Swailes foul on Denham saw Sam Sheridan's deflected free kick land on the roof of the net.

Gateshead however took a 67th minute lead with only their third shot of the game, all from Turnbull, after substitute Mark Robinson had fortuitously found Alex Francis in space in midfield.

Francis picked out Craig Baxter on the right, and when his cross was half cleared, Turnbull drilled a low shot from the edge of the box
under Coburn.

Armand One shot wide from 25 yards and then Richardson was injured attempting to increase the lead and soon limped off with an ankle injury.

With all three subs used, Gateshead were down to ten men, but Altrincham suffered a similar feat in injury time - and then scored twice in three minutes.

Denham got in front of Robinson to glance a powerful header from the near post corner of the six yard box into the roof of the net from Doughty's corner.

Wayne Phillips was then wrongly adjudged to be offside from One's through ball, and from the free kick deep inside the home half the Robins delivered the fatal blow.

Robinson could only glance the ball backwards into the danger zone, but Farman was always favourite to gather several yards away from his left hand post.

Chris Senior ran diagonally across the area to apply pressure - only to be needlessly bodychecked by Curtis as Farman duly smothered the ball.

Curtis's challenge sent Senior tumbling and gave referee Martin the opportunity to award a spot kick which was clinically dispatched by Doughty who ran half the length of the field, pursued by team-mates, in celebration.

Curtis then became the fourth Gateshead player to be booked when he saw yellow for continuing to protest his innocence with the referee after the final whistle.

Gateshead: Farman, Baxter, Cave (Robinson 61m), Gate, Curtis, Swailes, Francis, Turnbull, Armstrong (One 64), Richardson, Williams (Phillips 70m)
Subs; (not used) Provett (gk), Mackay
Referee: Steve Martin (Stafford)

Att: 769

By Jeff Bowron