By Rory Drake
A second half strike from Scott Boden helped Gateshead to a draw against Halifax Town at the International Stadium to see the Heed finish 2018 unbeaten in six consecutive home games.
Halifax went into half time ahead with Jordan Preston scoring the only goal of an uneventful first half.
The second half started in a similar fashion, but Gateshead equalised through Boden just after the hour mark leading to a more lively final half hour, but neither team could find a winner.
Gateshead came into the game with a makeshift side, with injuries, illness and Tom White’s suspension leaving Steve Watson thin on numbers.
One of the changes saw goalkeeper Mark Foden making his league debut for the Heed, and it couldn’t have started much worse.
Halifax went ahead 18 seconds into the game, with ex-Heed striker Preston flicking in a Ben Tomlinson cross from close range.
Gateshead’s first real chance came 20 minutes into the game, Jon Mellish’s shot was blocked, but Halifax couldn’t clear, allowing Scott Boden to fire a tame effort was straight at Sam Johnson.
Gateshead looked to have equalised in the 28th minute, after Johnson looked to have parried a Luke Armstrong shot over the line, but he reclaimed the ball just in time.
Preston nearly doubled the lead just after the half hour mark, but his curling effort from the edge of the box was tipped onto the bar and over by Mark Foden.
Halifax started the second half on top, with Preston heading just off target from a Tomlinson cross just after the break.
Gateshead had struggled all game to create any chances, and with 59 minutes gone Fraser Kerr tried his luck from range, but watched his effort go harmlessly wide.
The Heed did draw level moments later, a great pass from Mellish found JJ O’Donnell, who played the ball into Armstrong at the near post, Armstrong then found Boden unmarked in the middle who turned the ball in off the post.
Gateshead came close to taking the lead just minutes later, Luke Molyneux hit a freekick at goal from the side of the box, but it caught the wind and went over the bar.
The Heed were starting to look more dangerous and Armstrong nearly put Gateshead ahead with 20 minutes to go but turned the ball just wide at the near post.
Gateshead came close again in the 77th minute with a Steve Rigg header going just over from a Molyneux cross.
Halifax substitute Jonathan Edwards then came close at the other end but couldn’t find the target from the edge of the box.
Gateshead came close again with two minutes to go, Robbie Tinkler’s ball into the box avoided everyone but went out to Jack Hunter who saw his shot blocked.
Gateshead: Foden; Kerr, Williamson, Mellish; Tinkler ©, Rigg, Hunter, Molyneux, O’Donnell; Armstrong, Boden
Subs not used: Thomson, Salkeld, Forbes, Devitt, Lumsden
Goals: Boden (63)
Bookings: Boden (68)
Halifax: Johnson; Duckworth, Clarke, Brown ©, Sellers; Preston, Ferry, Maher, Kosylo; Tomlinson (Edwards 76’), Southwell
Subs not used: Staunton, Odelusi, Rowley, Hanson
Goals: Preston (1)
Bookings: Tomlinson (9), Kosylo (62), Sellers (65)
Referee: Garreth Rhodes
MOTM: JJ O’Donnell
Attendance 830 (186 Away)