By Rory Drake
NICK Haughton scored the only goal of the game as Gateshead’s play-off push took another dent with defeat against AFC Fylde at the International Stadium.
Haughton fired the visitors ahead just after the half hour mark in a first half which lacked any real clear cut chances, and Fylde held on despite Gateshead looking more dangerous after the break.
Gateshead came into the game with the chance to close the gap on the play-off places, but without a win in four and it was Fylde who started the brighter.
After a slow start, a 25-yard freekick from Danny Rowe in the 12th minute was thumped into the wall, deflecting behind for a corner, which was taken short to Rowe, who fired into a crowd of bodies with the ball going behind.
Moments later Gateshead came close to going ahead when a Scott Barrow freekick from wide on the left was floated to Mike Williamson at the far post, who just failed to make clean contact and watched his effort drop wide.
Midway through the half, Dan Bradley twice came close following a corner. After seeing his first shot blocked, the ball fell kindly for him to strike again, but his effort went just past the post.
Gateshead started to grow into the game, with Tom White blazing a shot just over and Steve Rigg seeing a shot blocked by Neill Byrne in the space of a couple of minutes.
White then came close again just before the half hour mark, curling just wide from the edge of the box after a Greg Olley corner.
Gateshead were made to pay for missed chances two minutes later, when Haughton found himself in space 25 yards out and unleashed a fierce shot which flew past a wrong-footed Aynsley Pears.
Gateshead started the second half looking more dangerous, but without creating anything clear cut.
Just before the hour Haughton, inspired by his earlier goal, unleashed an effort from 25-yards which deflected narrowly past the post.
Moments later, Haughton again tried his luck from range, but saw it skew well wide of Pears’ left-hand post.
Gateshead should have been level midway through the second half, when an Olley corner fell to Jon Mellish, who from close range fired over the bar on the half-volley.
Lewis Maloney came close seconds after coming on to the pitch, taking a 30-yard freekick which dropped just over the bar.
With two minutes remaining Olley had the chance to draw the game level, having taken down a pass from White, but clipped the ball straight into the hands of Jay Lynch.
Gateshead XI: Pears; Devitt (O’Donnell 86’), Williamson, Mellish; Tinkler, Hunter (Maloney 75’), Olley, White, Barrow ©; Rigg Thomson (Salkeld 66’)
Unused subs: Foden, Forbes
Fylde XI: Lynch; Francis-Angol, Byrne ©, Tunnicliffe, Croasdale, Rowe (Tasdemir 90+3’), Philliskirk, Bradley, Birch, Haughton (Bond 74’), Reid (Walters 82’)
Unused subs: Hardy, Crawford
Goals: Haughton (31)
Referee: Daniel Middleton
Attendance: 470 (32 away)
MOTM: Tom White