Gateshead 0-0 Kettering Town
Gateshead failed to score at home on the opening day for the second consecutive season - but on this occasion the more streetwise Tynesiders came away with a deserved point following a goalless stalemate.
Ian Bogie's side, fresh from two consecutive promotions, lost 0-3 at home to Histon this time last year when they were punished for their naivety.
This time a more pragmatic 4-5-1 line up, unheard of during the cavalier days of Bogie's first two years at the helm, and rarely seen last season, made sure there was no repeat of the Stutes setback.
With summer signing Gary Mulligan ploughing a lone furrow through the middle up front Bogie shored up the middle of the park to good effect.
Gate, Turnbull and Ferrell were employed as a central midfield trio with Brittain and Marwood providing the width.
Kettering were similarly circumspect setting up with two banks of four and inviting Gateshead to break them down.
Bogie's men played a lot of their football in front of the Poppies massed ranks only occasionally getting in behind while Mulligan cut an isolated figure up front.
Gateshead had far more of the possession and attempts at goal yet the best chances fell to Kettering in a game where neither keeper was seriously tested.
Gateshead were solid at the back with new captain Ben Clark a commanding presence, the midfield functioned well and the wide men were a threat but there was nevertheless a lack of a goal threat.
Most of Gateshead's goal attempts were from outside the box with Brittain, Ferrell and Turnbull all trying their luck in the first half.
Marwood put a bullet header over the bar from a Brittain cross and the pair combined again only for Kettering to scramble the ball clear.
Mulligan's only attempt on goal was an off target glancing header in the opening 45 minutes though the Irishman came more into the game when given a partner for the last 20 minutes, Nathan Fisher.
Kettering only occasionally threatened but new signing Lyseden Christie fashioned two openings inside the box, losing control on the first and then denied by Carl Jones' timely intervention for the second.
James Dance had the Poppies best chance in either half. The midfielder had time and space on the right side of the box after Craig Baxter had been skinned by the byline.
Dance's volley, however, was beaten out by Deasy who had an impressive debut between the posts.
The pattern of play continued after the break with Gateshead asking the questions without finding any answers.
Brittain curled a free kick over the defensive wall and into the side netting while another long distance Turnbull effort was just off target.
Craig Nelthorpe kept up the good work done by Marwood on the left when he replaced the youngster for the final half hour, with one pinpoint cross particularly causing the Poppies problems.
It was Dance, however, who had the best chance of the game when he sprinted on to Paul Furlong's flick but, as Deasy advanced, he dragged his shot well wide of the far post.
Clark then had to produce a goal saving tackle inside the penalty area on Furlong as Kettering ended with ten men following defender John Dempster's 83rd minute dismissal.
In truth neither side had done enough to claim all three points. Both put in a solid display and will now look to accrue more points in midweek, Gateshead travelling to FA Trophy holders Barrow on Tuesday.
GATESHEAD (4-5-1): Deasy, Baxter, Heckingbottom, Clark, Jones, Brittain, Gate, Turnbull, Ferrell (Fisher 73), Marwood (Nelthorpe 66), Mulligan. Subs (not used): Allan, Brown, Cook (gk).
SHOTS ON TARGET: 4, SHOTS OFF TARGET: 8, CORNERS: 2, FOULS CONCEDED: 10, YELLOW CARDS: 2, RED CARDS: 0.
KETTERING TOWN (4-2-2): Harper, Graham, Davis, Westwood, Dempster, Boucad (Noubissie 67), Furlong, Taylor (Marna 57), Dance, O'Leary, Christie (Roper 82). Subs (not used): Wrack, Cooper (gk).
SHOTS ON TARGET: 1, SHOTS OFF TARGET: 2, CORNERS: 2, FOULS CONCEDED: 17, YELLOW CARDS: 5, RED CARDS: 1.
Referee: Paul Hodkinson (Preston)
Gateshead striker Gary Mulligan battles for the ball.
Gateshead winger James Marwood takes on the Kettering defence. Photos: Martin Avery.