|Gateshead||0-0||Havant and Waterlooville|
By Henry Deacon (@H_Deaconmedia)
The pair were standouts in a superb display from the whole defensive line as Ben Clarke’s side rallied in the second period.
The Hawks’ best chance came in stoppage time when Wes Fogden’s shot was dealt with well by Heed ‘keeper Aynsley Pears after Matt Paterson was bundled to the deck.
Despite the point the Hawks lose ground in the table following good results for the other sides in and around the relegation mix.
The gaffer made two changes from the team that started the goalless draw with Dover a fortnight ago with Jordan Rose and Joe Quigley making starts, the latter making his debut on a loan spell from Bromley. Alfie Rutherford and the suspended Chris Robertson dropped out.
It was an even start to the game but it would be the Hawks that would have the first opportunity four minutes in when Rory Williams down the left played a superb ball across the face of the penalty area towards Theo Lewis at the back post, but Lewis couldn’t get the touch to steer the ball home.
But unfortunately, that would be as good as it got for the Hawks midfielder after going down twice in the opening few minutes, before being subbed off and replaced by Hassan Jalloh.
A quarter of an hour after the Hawks’ first effort came their second when Matt Paterson got himself into a decent position before getting his shot away from six yards out but his strike was blocked by a stubborn Gateshead backline.
Despite Gateshead having large spells of possession at points in the first half their first major chance didn’t come until just before the half hour mark when Robbie Tinkler, who caused all sorts of problems down the right flank, decided to have a go from distance with his effort parried away by Hawks keeper Ben Dudzinski.
Just minutes later Joe Quigley had a pop at goal when Paterson had the ball played out to him down the right-hand side before teeing up Quigley at the back post but as he went to fire the ball home, the referee deemed the ex-Bournemouth man to have his marker.
With just five minutes remaining before the interval the Hawks had a free kick on the edge of the box which Rory Williams elected to go for goal from, but Aynsley Pears got down low to make a comfortable save.
But it would be first half stoppage time where the Hawks had their two best chances of the game.
The first came when Andreas Robinson broke free of the Gateshead defence in the box before getting his shot away, which was spectacularly blocked by two other white bodies in the penalty area as the seventh-place side were penned into their own penalty area.
And just moments later came the biggest chance of them all for the Hawks as Matt Paterson through on goal with just a defender and the ‘keeper to beat is bundled to the floor, but the ball falls for Wes Fogden who had his thunderous effort saved by Pears to keep the scores level at the break.
HALF-TIME: Gateshead 0-0 Havant and Waterlooville
Despite the home side having the lion’s share of possession at the start of the second period it was the Hawks that would have the first opportunity after the interval.
Eight minutes after the restart Joe Quigley broke free in the area before shooting from an acute angle which saw Pears in the Gateshead goal parry the ball back into the path of the Hawks striker who then tried to tee up Wes Fogden but his cross proved too heavy.
Just after the hour mark the Hawks had a second opportunity of the half when a Chris Paul corner was floated across goal towards Fogden again at the back post who headed the ball a yard or two wide of the target.
As the game approached its final 20 minutes Gateshead had a glorius chance to break the deadlock when Connor Thompson broke free of the Hawks defence to leave him one on one with Tyler Cordner, but when it came to the final product he could only lag the ball a yard wide of goal.
As the game grew towards its climax, Gateshead stepped up the pressure on the Hawks that bit more, showing why they occupy the final spot in The National League play-offs. But for the balls that they were continually supplying to the six-yard box they couldn’t seem to find a man that could get the head to the ball and poke it into the back of the net.
With seconds left of injury time to go the Hawks nearly had their chance to nick it at the death when Chris Paul broke clear, launching a quick-fire counter attack with Rutherford the solitary runner, Paul played the ball into his path before getting the ball back with a heavy touch which stopped the attack in his tracks.
FULL-TIME: Gateshead 0-0 Havant and Waterlooville
A big point for more than one reason. Firstly, a point away from home against a top seven side has been hard to come by for the Hawks and it was a timely one with the sides in and around the relegation melting pot also picking up big results.
Next up for the Hawks is a visit from Wrexham to the South Coast next Saturday.