Hartlepool United Reserves 1-2 Gateshead Reserves
Gateshead reserves got their totesport.com League fixtures off to a winning start with an impresive 2-1 win against Hartlepool United's second string at Victoria Park.
The margin of victory did not reflect the 90 minutes, Pools consolation goal coming two minutes from time from a James Brown super strike.
Gateshead reserves captain Rob Briggs thundered a 20 yard shot against the underside of the bar in a goalless first half after Josh Gillies had missed a great chance in the 4th minute.
Gillies atoned after the break with a fine 22 yard drive into the bottom corner early in the second half and then Ewan Moyes' 81st minute bullet header found the roof of the net.
The Heed got into some great positions and at times peppered the Pools goal but in the end found themselves protecting a narrow one goal advantage.
"A combination of good goalkeeping, poor finishing and bad luck meant that we had to settle for two goals when we should have had more," said Gateshead reserves manager Paul Bryson.
"We looked lively and created chances. Second half I didn't think we played as well yet we scored twice and should have had more."
Gateshead could have fallen behind after just 22 seconds when Brigg's backpass fell for James Poole but the former Manchester City man blazed over the bar.
A great reverse pass from Fisher then put Gillies in at the other end but the midfielder went for power, his badly miscued shot hitting Pools defender Jack Baldwin to roll inches wide of the post.
Brown's diving header was comfortably held by Tim Deasy and with United quick to go long Jordan Richards volleyed over from distance.
Alex Cooper drilled a 24 yard angled shot narrowly wide as the home side enjoyed their only spell of the game, but it was Gateshead who finished the firdt half strongly.
Rents found Gary Mulligan whose lay-off saw Fisher advance on goal to hit a powerful shot that was deflected just over the bar.
Martin Brittain's curling corner was headed just over by Moyes and then good work from Baxter saw Fisher find Briggs whose shot from outside the box came back off the underside of the bar.
Brown hit a fierce diagonal shot over the bar at the other end while Fisher's goalbound shot was blocked and then Gillies' low drive was held at the foot of the post by Andy Rafferty.
Jordan Marshall was inches wide after the restart and then Sam Rents' inside ball was swept into the bottom corner by Gillies on 48 minutes.
Briggs was then free inside the box, controlling the ball with his head before volleying wide of the far post with Rafferty exposed.
A Nathan Buddle mistake on halfway then saw Fisher send Gillies sprinting clear but Rafferty managed to come out and block on the edge of the box.
Paul Johnson was just off target with a header in a rare Pools raid while Fisher was next to burst clear for an impressive Heed only to lose possession in the box.
From Gillies' resultant corner Moyes crashed a header into the roof of the net with the highly rated Brown pulling a goal back two minutes from time with a superb strike into the far top corner.
It was an excellent first display from Gateshead reserves on a superb Victoria Park pitch and their next game is at home to Hartlepool United next Wednesday in the totesport.com League Cup.
Hartlepool United Res: Rafferty, Baldwin, Holden, Haslam, Johnson, Mellish (Buddle 39), Richards (Rutherford 76), Hawkins, Brown, Poole, Cooper
Subs (not used): Snaith, James, Jones
Gateshead Res: Deasy, Baxter, Rents, Marshall (Gilbert 72), Moyes, Lay, Brittain (Brown 76), Briggs, Mulligan, Fisher, Gillies
Sub (not used): McDonald
Photos by Paul Reece