By Jack McGraghan
Gateshead played out a goalless draw with Scottish Premiership side Livingston in their penultimate pre-season clash at Kingston Park, despite striking the woodwork twice.
Trialist Tom Devitt and substitute Scott Boden’s headers were kept out by the crossbar and post for the Heed, while Ricki Lamie’s cross deflected off the bar late on for Livi.
Gateshead started the brighter of the two sides early on and tested Livingston keeper Ross Stewart, albeit from distance, as Greg Olley’s 20-yard strike called him into action.
Tom White was next to try his luck after 10 minutes from the Heed’s first corner, first firing against a crowd of Livingston defenders before seeing his second effort held by Stewart.
The Scottish Premiership side worked their way back into proceedings after a shaky start and matched Gateshead for the remainder of the half – although very few chances presented themselves.
The visitors saw their first chance of the half arrive just before the break as Jack Hamilton’s initial effort rebounded to Ishmael Yartey on the edge of the penalty area, but his strike deflected in the grateful grasp of Foden.
The Heed saw possibly their best chance of the game so far pass them by instantly after the restart, as Luke Armstrong burst into the box only to blast over the crossbar.
Moments later Devitt struck the woodwork, heading JJ O’Donnell’s in-swinging corner off the crossbar from close range to leave Livingston counting their lucky stars.
Just after the hour mark Gateshead hit the woodwork once again – this time it was the turn of substitute Boden, who headed trialist Steven Rigg’s pinpoint cross off the post.
Rigg had a go at breaking the deadlock himself shortly afterwards as he broke through the Livingston backline before seeing his powerful drive beaten away by Stewart.
The Heed had begun to rack up the chances on goal, but luck just seemed to evade the hosts as once again a close-range header was kept out – Stewart parrying Thomson’s downward effort out of harm’s way.
Livi survived the onslaught and worked their way back into the game although they failed to regularly threaten Mark Foden’s goal – the only opportunity coming late on as Lamie’s cross deflected off the crossbar on 84 minutes.
Lamie’s effort proved to be the last event of note at Kingston Park as the game petered out into a goalless draw.
Gateshead (4-4-2): Foden; Tinkler, Mellish, Olley, Devitt, Maloney (Armstrong, 56’), Salkeld (Thomson, 63’), White, Armstrong (Boden, 56’), Rigg, O’Donnell (Walton, 63’).
Subs not used: Clark, Lister.
Livingston (4-2-3-1): Stewart (Maley, 75’); Saunders, Quitadamo (Lamie, 67’), McMillan, Lithgow, Byrne (Willweber, 67’), Jacobs (Robertson, 45’), Yartey (Crane, 65’), Sibbald (Knox, 26’), Kaja, Hamilton.
Subs not used: Miller.
Referee: Tony Harrington