By Jack McGraghan
Gateshead stretched their unbeaten home run to five with a dramatic late victory over Chester on a torrential night at the Gateshead International Stadium.
The Heed opened the scoring four minutes before the break as Andy Halls turned Luke Hannant’s cross into his own net.
Richard Peniket’s second goal of the season made it two moments after half-time to put Gateshead in the driving seat.
Chester halved the deficit with just over 15 minutes left as Harry White’s cross came back off the bar for Ross Hannah to nod home from close range, before substitute Matty Waters curled in off the bar in injury time to seemingly rescue a point.
Paddy McLaughlin’s corner deep into injury time was fumbled into the net by keeper Conor Mitchell to spark jubilation on the pitch and in the stands as Gateshead secured all three points.
Neil Aspin made one change to the side that drew 1-1 at Sutton United on Saturday as Fraser Kerr was replaced by JJ O’Donnell upon his return from a long-term injury.
Chester also made one change after their 1-1 draw at home to Ebbsfleet with Nyal Bell making way for Craig Mahon.
Both sides struggled to get a foothold on the game on a sodden surface, with chances few and far between in the first-half.
O’Donnell continued to overlap down the left-hand side and his cross 10 minutes in almost found Richard Peniket in the six-yard box but for the glove of Mitchell.
The Seals were also limited chances-wise, with Ross Hannah’s 20-yard free-kick which was parried wide by Dan Hanford the closest they came to goal.
The hosts broke the deadlock four minutes before the break as Luke Hannant’s left-sided cross, although intended for the head of Theo Vassell, instead found Halls who turned past his own keeper.
The Heed doubled their advantage almost instantly after the restart as Callum Williams fed Danny Johnson down the right-wing, before the striker pulled back to Peniket who prodded home from two yards out.
Gateshead’s confidence increased after their second goal and enjoyed the lions share of possession as Chester’s midfield struggled to impose themselves during the second-half.
Hannant went close to adding a third 65 minutes in after turning on the edge of the box and striking towards goal but Mitchell was equal to it.
The visitors pulled one back 73 minutes in as substitute White’s cross from the right was tipped onto the bar by Hanford, only for Hannah to head home the rebound from two yards out.
Substitute Waters thought he had rescued a point for the visitors as he curled in off the underside of the bar in injury time.
The Heed turned the game on its head once again at the death as McLaughlin’s corner was dropped by Mitchell and into the net to hand the hosts all three points in dramatic fashion.
Gateshead (3-5-2): Hanford; Vassell, Byrne (c), Fyfield; O’Donnell (Tinkler, 78’), Williams McLaughlin, Penn, Hannant (Langstaff, 74’); Johnson (York, 84’), Peniket
Subs not used: Burrow, Macleod (GK)
Goals: Halls (OG) (41’), Peniket (46’), Mitchell (OG) (90+4’)
Bookings: Hannant (45+1’), Vassell (88’)
Chester (4-5-1): Mitchell, Sheron, McCombe, Halls, Rowe-Turner, Joyce (Waters, 75’) Turnbull (Dawson, 28’), James, Mahon, Hannah, Akintunde (White, 59’)
Subs not used: Lynch (GK), Davies
Goals: Hannah (73’), Waters (90+1’)
Bookings: Dawson (29’), Hannah (88’), Rowe-Turner (90’)
Referee: Simeon Lucas
Attendance: 567 (65 Chester)