By Rory Drake
Steve Rigg’s first goal in nine games helped Gateshead to a first win in seven against in form Chesterfield, to keep the Heed’s faint play-off hopes alive.
Rigg put the Heed in front 27 minutes in and Gateshead were unlucky not to add to it before half time.
Chesterfield improved after the break, but Gateshead held on despite the visitor’s best efforts in the second half.
Coming into the game Gateshead’s season looked to be coming to a close with a poor run seeing the Heed drop away from the play-off places, but Gateshead started the brighter side.
Exactly three minutes gone, the ball sat up nicely for Jon Mellish who fired a shot from 25-yards harmlessly over the bar.
18 minutes in, Scott Barrow cut in side footed shot lacked power and was easily dealt with by Shwan Jalal.
Chesterfield’s first real effort came 22 minutes in, when a Kyel Reid freekick just evaded Will Evans at the far post before drifting just wide.
Gateshead were awarded a penalty 26 minutes in when Rigg went down under a challenge from Evans, the referee initially waved it away, but then pointed to the spot, from which Rigg fired straight down the middle to put Gateshead in front.
Chesterfield came close to an equaliser in the 36th minute, when a long ball down field found Scott Boden, who cut back to Marc-Antoine Fortune whose angled shot was saved by Aynsley Pears.
Rigg fired a powerful effort, which Jalal dealt with, but the fall fell for Connor Thomson a few yards out, who was unfortunate to see his effort go wide off the post.
Robbie Weir had the chance to level for the visitors shortly before half-time, but his ambitious effort from 30 yards was completely miss hit and went harmlessly wide.
Gateshead were first to come close after the break, with an Olley corner played deep to Mike Williamson, who headed down to Thomson whose flicked backheeled shot went straight at Jalal.
Less than a minute later Jonathan Smith fired a long-range effort just wide at the other end.
Moments later, Chesterfield created their best effort of the game, with a Bradley Barry cross finding Charlie Carter unmarked in the box, with a free header on target, which Pears tipped wide.
Gateshead came close to doubling the lead with 15 minutes to go, when an Olley corner headed on by Williamson was met by Rigg, but the striker couldn’t add to his earlier goal, heading just over.
Another Olley corner a minute later found Williamson, whose header was cleared off the line by Smith for another corner, which was headed just wide by Rigg.
With just over 10 minutes to go, Jon Mellish burst forward and tried his luck from long range but failed to hit the target with his shot going just wide.
Despite a good spell from Gateshead, the Spireites were by no means out of the game and came close through Tom Denton with a header at the far post, but Pears was there to claim it.
With three minutes to go Denton again got his head on a cross at the far post but Pears again was equal to it.
Thomson had the chance to wrap the game up in the dying seconds of normal time after Rigg played him in, in space, but Thomson’s effort skewed well wide.
Gateshead: Pears; Forbes, Williamson, Mellish; Tinkler, Forbes (Hunter 34’), Olley, White, Barrow ©; Rigg, Thomson
Subs: Foden, Salkeld, O’Donnell, Maloney
Goals: Rigg (27)
Bookings: White (42)
Chesterfield: Jalal; Evans, Maguire (Chapman 76’), Hollis; Barry, Weir, Smith ©, Carter (Kiwomya 63’), Reid; Fortune (Denton 58’), Boden
Subs: Shaw, McKay
Bookings: Evans (27), Reid (50)
Referee: Matthew Dicicco
Attendance: 1,208 (649 Chesterfield)
MOTM: Robbie Tinkler