Gateshead 1-1 Harrogate Town
Gateshead were held to a 1-1 draw by underdogs Harrogate Town in the first round of the FA Trophy after a disappointing performance in front of the lowest crowd of the season at the International Stadium.
It was a flat display that mystified and angered management pair Ian Bogie and Jeff Wrightson who have demanded a significant improvement in Tuesday's replay.
Harrogate, bottom of the Conference North and without an away league win all season, were certainly not overawed and were comfortable for long periods of the game.
Town deserved a second bite of the cherry and, having taken the lead ten minutes from time, were only denied a shock win through Steven Richardson's saver four minutes later.
A draw was a fair result over the 90 minutes but Bogie was furious that his misfiring side had failed to make their higher status count.
"Credit to Harrogate, they sat deep and restricted our chances, but our performance was nowhere near good enough," said Bogie.
"Not one player had a good game. We lacked the basic qualities to win games of football and the only plus is that we are still in the competition.
"We didn't pass the ball, defended poorly, lacked creativity and a cutting edge up top. It was bitterly disappointing but at least we have a second chance.
"We will have to be a lot better at Harrogate if we are progress to the last 32 but it will be hard for us to be any worse than we were in the first tie."
The main prize for both clubs is survival in their respective league's but Harrogate manager Simon Weaver was delighted with the efforts of his struggling side.
"It was an excellent performance," said Weaver "the chairman, as well as myself, is well pleased, and on Tuesday we'll be looking to get the win we need to take us into the second round.
"We defended well after the opening 15 minutes, attacked in numbers, caused Gateshead real problems, and were a threat from set pieces."
After the drabbest of opening half hours Graeme Armstrong twice shot over following good work from Daryl Clare, the second from a perfectly weighted free kick.
Starved of service Clare was having to come deep to get the ball and was more of a provider than a finisher as Gateshead huffed and puffed.
In between, only a crucial Craig Baxter block denied Jimmy Ghaichem the opener from eight yards for Town following a Dave McTiernan cross.
Gateshead captain Kris Gate and Clare both had goalbound shots blocked just before the break as the game briefly threatened to resemble a cup tie.
The Tynesiders however failed to raise their game after the break and almost conceded in the opening minute when Craig James headed a McTiernan corner against the bar.
Simon Harrison had a free kick deflected wide while Craig Baxter cut inside at the other end to curl a shot past the angle.
The introduction of strike pair Michael Mackay and Richardson after 51 minutes finally livened up a lack lustre Gateshead with both players prepared to run at the Town defence.
After James had almost deflected the ball into his own net Richardson had a downward header from Mackay's cross saved at the foot of the post.
Gate then set up Mackay on the right side of the box but the on loan Hartlepool United striker shot tamely at Arron Ratchford from nine yards.
A Baxter bodycheck on Ghaichem then saw the deadlock broken ten minutes from time when Brian Dutton headed home McTiernan's precision free kick.
Belatedly stung into action, Gateshead were level four minutes later when Turnbull's low corner spun into the air.
Curtis's header was deflected on to the bar but Richardson was the first to react to register only his third goal for his hometown club.
Gateshead finally had the wind in their sails and, after Turnbull had shot over from 20 yards, could have won the tie in injury time.
A surging crossfield run by Richardson saw the ball break to the unmarked Mackay 16 yards out, but while the strike was clean the ball flew just past the angle.
Both sides now have the incentive of a second round home tie against lower league opponents, either Arlesey Town or Chippenham Town, on 9th January.
Gateshead: Farman, Baxter, Robinson, Gate, Curtis, Swailes, Harwood (Mackay 51m), Turnbull, Armstrong (Richardson 51m), Clare, Phillips
Subs: (not used) Provett (gk), Cave, Williams
Booked: Turnbull (28), Robinson (47)
Goal: Richardson (84)
Harrogate Town: Ratchford, Wood, Chapman, Bloomer,
James, Woodhouse,(Nowalski 88m) McTiernan (Dunning (86m), Dutton, Harrison, Yeo (Ivanov 76m), Ghaichem
Subs; (not used) Hernandez, Dunning
Bookings: Ivanov (82)
Goal: Dutton (80)
Referee: Jez Simpson (Lancashire)
Steven Richardson celebrates his 84th minute equaliser against Harrogate Town at the International Stadium. Photo: Martin Avery
James Curtis rises above the Harrogate defence in a packed penalty area. Photo: Martin Avery