Just 17 days after knocking Gateshead out of the F.A.Cup at the Impact Arena the 2-0 scoreline was reversed on Tuesday night when Alfreton Town lost an away game for the first time since September 1st.
The Blue Square Bet Premier points remained on Tyneside after a depleted Reds had failed to adapt as quickly as their hosts to a very heavy pitch and a howling wind, and once again Jon Stewart weighed in with a string of vital saves.
Ashley Worsfold made his first start for Alfreton, while Connor Franklin returned to the fold after missing the Wrexham game through injury and joint leading scorers Ben Tomlinson and Dan Bradley were forced to miss the trip through suspension.
The Reds were rocked by a fourth minute goal when Liam Hatch swept the loose ball past Stewart from six yards after the keeper had parried a Lee Bullock shot.
Nathan Arnold’s angled drive was parried by home keeper Adam Bartlett in the sixth minute, but four minutes later Josh Law had to head behind a wicked cross from Josh Gillies.
Play swung from end to end despite the sapping conditions and Bartlett had to parry a Worsfold shot before Carl Magnay cleared the danger, while Gateshead responded with Stewart having to tip over a stinging Gillies free-kick.
A promising Reds move on 35 minutes saw Paul Clayton and Law combine before Law’s cross led to Franklin’s back post volley that was again blocked by Magnay, then less than a minute later Gillies rattled the ball past Stewart from 25 yards to double Gateshead’s advantage.
A double save by Stewart as the game entered first half added time denied Gillies on both occasions, the second seeing the Reds’ keeper palm the ball on to the upright.
One particular statistic summed up the first period with 15 corners having been racked up, with Alfreton winning that particular battle 8-7, but inevitably the second half was decidedly low key in comparison.
Gillies was again denied by Stewart two minutes after the break, then Arnold fired over from ten yards from Worsfold’s lay-off, but Alfreton were fortunate not to concede a third goal in the 63rd minute.
Arnold was helping out in defence when he diverted a Ryan Donaldson shot into the path of Yemi Odubade, but the Gateshead sub shot straight at Stewart from six yards.
Law saw an angled drive held by Bartlett and Daniel Meadows fired well wide after being set up by Anton Brown, then 13 minutes from time Bartlett fumbled Law’s cross but no-one was on hand to capitalise.
Both sides had chances in added time, Arnold missing from three yards after a header on by Adam Quinn, who played up front after replacing Worsfold, then Donaldson fired wide after being sent through by Turnbull.
ALFRETON: Stewart; Law, Killock, Streete, Franklin (Russell 65), Streete, Meadows, Brown, Arnold, Clayton (Taylor 74), Worsfold (Quinn 79). other sub: Barnes.