Grays Athletic 0-0 Gateshead

Gateshead ended a run of five consecutive defeats away from home in the Blue Square Premier with a goalless stalemate against Grays Athletic in Essex.

It was only the Tynesiders second clean sheet of the campaign -but they had the chances to take all three in the second half at a windswept New Rec.

Substitutes Armand One and Alex Francis failed to make the most of gilt edged chances late on in a game that saw Gateshead's attempts at goal reach double figures.

Conversely Paul Farman had little to do as Gateshead defended solidly without the late mishaps that had pulled the rug at Altrincham four days earlier.

Former Sunderland defender Darren Williams switched to a more accustomed right back role with Craig Baxter given an an unaccustomed right midfield role.

Steven Richardson missed out with an ankle injury so on loan Hartlepool United forward Michael Mackay partnered Graeme Armstrong up front with One on the bench.

Farman made an early save from Glen Poole while Tynesiders captain Kris Gate fired wide from outside the box at the other end.

In a drab opening half, Gateshead's only other attempt at goal on the half hour was unlucky not to produce a goal.

Gate found the hard working Armstrong who swivelled to hit a left foot shot that went over Grays keeper Preston Edwards only to hit the bar.

Edwards denied Armstrong in injury time and Gate had an effort saved by Edwards straight after the break, with Armstrong also shooting wide from distance.

Richard Graham and Danny Charge were off target at the other end but it was Gateshead who pushed for the winner in the final 20 minutes.

One should have done better after a ball over the top caused a melee, but the big Frenchman could only toe poke a close range shot straight at Edwards.

Armstrong put a header straight at the Grays keeper when well placed, and then left back Phil Cave whipped in a cross only for sub. Alex Francis to miscue his volley.

"It was a good point in difficult conditions," said assistant manager Jeff Wrightson "we defended well and had the chances to take all three and Grays weren't much threat.

"We got a grip on the game in the final 15-20 minutes and on another day could have scored three or four as we had clear cut chances.

"Last season they would have flown in but we're suffering from a lack of confidence which will turn when we get more wins under our belt.

"The next two Saturday's are at home to Eastbourne Borough and Chester City and we have to make the most of these games and get wins on the board."

Gateshead: Farman, Williams, Cave, Gate, Curtis, Swailes, Baxter, Turnbull, Armstrong (Francis 83m), Mackay (One 64m), Phillips (Robinson 82m)
Subs: (not used) Provett (gk), McDermott

Referee:  C.Berry
Att: 592

By Jeff Bowron