By Rory Drake
A brace from Luke Armstrong helped Gateshead come from behind to beat Salford City 2-1 as the Heed maintained their 100% start to the season.
Salford went in front early on through Adam Rooney, but Armstrong had Gateshead level from the spot before half time.
Armstrong looked a constant threat for Gateshead and added his second midway through the second half.
After an impressive display on Saturday against Maidenhead, Steve Watson made just one change to the line up with Cameron Salkeld and Jack Hunter replacing Connor Thomson and Elliott Forbes.
But Gateshead struggled early on and Salford City took the lead in the 11th minute with the first real chance of the game, Rooney heading in Ibou Touray’s cross from the left wing.
Both teams were finding chances hard to come by in the first half and it took 25 minutes for Gateshead’s first real opportunity. JJ O’Donnell’s freekick from 25 yards looked destined for the top corner, but Chris Neal was there to deny him.
Rooney and Salford nearly made it two on 32 minutes, Nick Haughton’s corner finding the Irish striker in the box, but Rooney’s header clipped the bar and went over.
Tom White came close to bringing Gateshead level shortly after, cutting in from the left and curling a shot just over the bar.
With the half drawing to a close, the Heed were given the chance to equalise from the spot after Toray brought down Cameron Salkeld in the box. Armstrong stepped up and thumped the penalty into the bottom right corner.
Scott Boden tried his luck from range in added time at the end of the first half but watched his shot sail harmlessly wide of Neal’s goal.
Salford started the second half on top and could have retaken the lead on 51 minutes, Lois Maynard’s header looked to be going in, but Jack Hunter was on the line to clear.
Gateshead had the chance to take the lead just before the hour when White found O’Donnell just outside the box, his initial shot was well blocked by Liam Hogan but the ball fell kindly for O’Donnell who looped a volley towards the top right corner, but his shot lacked power and was for Neal to deal with.
The Heed were looking dangerous and should have been in front in the 67th minute. Salkeld fizzed a cross which found Armstrong a couple of yards out, but the Middlesbrough loanee couldn’t guide his effort on target.
Armstrong made up for his miss less than a minute later, beating the offside trap to run in behind the Salford defence and slot the ball into the bottom right hand corner and make it 2-1.
Scott Boden came close to extending Gateshead’s lead with 10 minutes to go, but his shot deflected just wide of the post.
Salford twice came close to equalising late on with Maynard having both chances. His first effort cannoning off the post from close range, and his second a header at the far post which went just wide, as Gateshead held on.
Gateshead XI: Pears; Kerr, Tinkler ©, Melish; Salkeld (Devitt 90+4), Hunter, Olley, White, O’Donnell; Armstrong, Boden
Subs not used: Foden, Thomson, Maloney, Forbes
Goals: Armstrong (37, 68)
Salford City XI: Neal; Wiseman, Hogan © (Shelton 86’), Piergianni, Toruay; Haughton (Mafuta 73’), Maynard, Whitehead, Walker, Gaffney, Rooney
Subs not used: Crocombe, Hooper, Pond
Goals: Rooney (11)
Referee: Martin Woods
Attendance: 1243 (98 away)
MOTM: Tom White