By Matty Hewitt
The 10 men of Gateshead came from a goal down on a weathered pitch to earn a point on the road against Barrow.
It was a spirited performance from the Heed having went down to 10 men as Jamal Fyfield was sent to the stands for a soft second yellow.
Luke James gave the hosts the lead from the spot after Theo Vassell hauled the former Hartlepool United striker to the floor.
Jordan Preston scored a late equaliser that his performance warranted, turning Danny Johnson’s cross goal bound.
Manager Steve Watson made three changes to the side that played against Boreham Wood with Lewis McNall, Rees Greenwood and Callum Williams returning to the side.
Barrow started the bright of the two sides, a flick on from a Dan Jones throw deflected out for a corner, before Vassell stuck a leg out to deny Asa Hall from the resultant set piece.
Callum Williams found himself with time to pick out Jordan Preston, but his free header was held well by Steve Arnold to keep the scores level.
The experienced Grant Holt will feel he should’ve done better with his header, from Luke James cross, that hit the crossbar in the 11th minute as the Bluebirds turned the screw.
Richard Peniket curled one wide of Arnold’s right-hand post from a Scott Barrow free kick.
After weathering early pressure Gateshead grew into the game.
Jordan Preston’s half chance was the closest the Heed came to finding a way back into the game, his shot was blocked by a wall of Barrow defenders before the hosts cleared their lines.
The Heed avoided disaster before there break Paddy McLaughlin’s miscommunication with James Montgomery saw the ball rebound off the latter as the visitors cleared their lines.
Livewire Preston broke from midfield and teed up McLaughlin in added time of the first half, but his shot was well held by Arnold.
The ball then fell to Preston less than a minute later but his shot went inches wide of the left-hand post, as the Heed ended the first half in the ascendency.
The Heed carried on as they finished the first half, Rees Greenwood plucked Russell Penn’s free kick out of the air setting Barrow on his way, but Paddy McLaughlin couldn’t head the left backs cross on target.
The skipper and another good chance to equalise but his shot went well wide of the left-hand post from the edge of the area.
Barrow looked to add another but Montgomery was equal to Hall’s drive from the edge of the area.
The Gateshead stopper had to have his wits about him as Dan Jones cross headed goal bound from McLaughlin.
Substitute Danny Johnson started a smart move that saw McLaughlin and Peniket combine before Johnson’s shot across goal was deflected wide by Calum MacDonald.
The Tynesider’s dug deep and eventually found the equaliser.
Montgomery again got the better of the Barrow goal scorer Luke James, as the Heed broke up the other end through Johnson and Preston slotted his shot into the bottom right-hand corner.
Gateshead could’ve stolen it at the end, Preston broke and played through Johnson who hammered a shot towards Arnold from a tight angle as the ball went out for a late corner.
Barrow AFC: Arnold, Barthram, Diarra, Cook, MacDonald,K.James, Hall, Gomis (Panayiotou 66), L.James, Holt (White 62), Jones (Bauress 78)
Subs not used: Diagne, Makoma
Goals: L.James 18
Bookings: Holt 50, Cook 58, White 68
Gateshead FC: (4-3-3) Montgomery, Williams, Vassell, Fyfield, Barrow, Fox (Penn 38)McLaughlin, Preston, Greenwood (Johnson 66), Peniket, McNall (Burrow 45)
Substitutes not used: Hanford, York
Goals: Preston 80
Bookings: McLaughlin 42, Burrow 70, Barrow 90+4
Red: Fyfield 54
Referee: Joe Johnson
Attendance: 860 (20 Gateshead fans)
Man of the Match: Jordan Preston