Gateshead 2-2 Braintree Town
Gateshead had to settle for a share of the spoils against newcomers Braintree Town in a game of two half's at the International Stadium.
The opening half hour saw little in the way of goalmouth action with the Heed then finishing strongly after Micky Cummins had broken the deadlock ten minutes from the interval.
A poor start to the second half saw the tables turned with two goals in ten minutes, Martin Brittain's first goal of the season six minutes later securing a point that could so easily have been all three.
The second half was a complete contrast to the first and the Tynesiders piled on the pressure without finding the winner.
Ian Bogie's men created enough chances to have beaten the Essex visitors but, despite laying siege to The Iron's goal late on, were unable to find a winner.
The recalled Nathan Fisher had an early shot blocked and Jon Shaw a 20 yard drive deflected wide but generally play was sluggish, Braintree determined to shore up a leaky defence.
Andy Yiadom cut inside past Carruthers only to see his shot held by Jak Alnwick at his near post.
Fisher had another effort deflected over the bar and then Cummins headed a deep Carruthers cross over the bar.
For two attacking sides Gateshead and Braintree had served up a mundane first half which finally came to life ten minutes from the break.
Carruthers swung in an inviting cross from the left and another experienced former Football League man, Cummins, headed home powerfully at the near post.
Phil Turnbull was then just wide from distance after good work from Craig Baxter and Cummins as the Heed finished the half in a flourish.
The second half, however, started disastrously.
On loan Newcastle keeper Alnwick failed to deal with Aswad Thomas's 46th minute cross into the heart of the area as he tried to catch the ball above the head of Sean Marks.
The ball dropped in front of the striker and Alnwick, in trying to retrieve the situation, was then deemed to have fouled Marks to concede a soft penalty.
Jai Reason slotted home the spot kick and a galvanised Braintree took the lead ten minutes later when Yiadom finished off a great move.
Fisher had just had another effort at goal deflected over when Reason found Ben Wright who in turn slipped a neat ball into the path of Yiadom.
His shot from the left side of the box nestled in the far corner to stun the home faithful.
The high flying Heed, to their credit, showed great character to equalise within six minutes and then storm the visitors goal.
Shaw got goalside of his marker from Cummins' through ball only for his shot to hit Iron keeper Nathan McDonald's legs.
Brittain, set up by Nathan Fisher, then found the far corner with a superb angled shot and it was now game on.
Turnbull set up returning captain Ben Clark whose 24 yard shot whistled just wide and then Shaw headed over from a Brittain free kick.
A long Baxter throw was headed on by James Curtis only for Shaw to be again be denied by McDonald's legs as the Heed searched in vain for the winner.
McDonald became an increasingly influential figure making another save from the lively Fisher while sub Chris Moore had a shot deflected wide.
The introduction of pacy sub Moore had further strengthened Gateshead's attacking options, good work from Turnbull almost bringing another chance for Shaw.
Clark was close to claiming an injury time winner but his goalbound header from Carruthers free kick was turned away by an over worked McDonald as the Iron held on.
Gateshead: Alnwick, Baxter, Carruthers, Gate (Moore 59), Curtis, Clark, Brittain (Mulligan 89), Turnbull, Shaw, Fisher, Cummins
Subs (not used): Deasy (gk), Rents, Henderson
Goals: Cummins (35), Brittain (61)
Booking: Fisher (86)
Braintree Town: McDonald, Peters, Thomas, Paine, Reason, Symons, Marks, Wright (Vose 69), Quinton (Johnson 78), Yiadom (Chilka 90), Stevens
Subs (not used): Bailey, Jones (gk)
Goals: Reason-pen (46), Yiadom (61)
Booking: Stevens (64)
Referee: Jez Simpson (Lancaster)
Gateshead celebrate. Photos by Martin Avery and Simon Barclay www.sbsportsphotos.com.