GATESHEAD 0 BRAINTREE 1 The Heed are over­come by vis­it­ing Brain

Sunday Sun - - Football - JEFF BOWRON

GATESHEAD missed the chance to move into a play-off po­si­tion when they were hum­bled on home soil by rock-bot­tom Braintree.

The Iron were the only Na­tional League side still look­ing for their first win of the season hav­ing picked up just three points from a pos­si­ble 30 be­fore yes­ter­day.

But they dou­bled their tally on Ty­ne­side as a tooth­less Heed fired blanks, man­ag­ing just two ef­forts on tar­get in game low on qual­ity.

The Heed could count them­selves a touch un­for­tu­nate not to pick up a point, but just didn’t cre­ate enough.

The clos­est they came was a close-range header from Steven Rigg in the sec­ond half which was blocked near the line by Ben Kil­lip.

The Iron keeper also saw sub­sti­tute Scott Bar­row’s at­tempted cross just clear an­gle of bar and post, but he was gen­er­ally un­trou­bled.

On an af­ter­noon to for­get, on­loan Sun­der­land wide­man Luke Molyneux was de­nied his home Heed de­but when he felt his ham­string in the warm-up.

“Ob­vi­ously we missed Molyneux be­cause he’s a very tal­ented player, very attack-minded, and we missed a bit of that this af­ter­noon,” said Gateshead man­ager Steve Wat­son.

“Luke Arm­strong was also a big miss, but we had enough out there to win the game, but cre­ated very lit­tle.

“We weren’t bril­liant, but we cer­tainly had enough about us to have got a point out of that game.

“How­ever, we’ve handed them a goal and that’s prob­a­bly one too many – it’s re­ally dis­ap­point­ing.

“We gave Braintree a leg up and some­thing to hang on to, and we weren’t good enough to break them down.

“I never get too up-a-height when we win or too down when we lose, and we have to some­times step back and un­der­stand where we are.”

A fail­ure to deal with a set-play de­liv­ery into the box again proved to be Gateshead’s un­do­ing.

Billy Crook’s 55th-minute de­liv­ery was on the money, but it was all too easy for cen­tre-back Joe El­lul to head past Ayns­ley Pears.

Both sides strug­gled to cre­ate open­ings in a drab first half, Braintree bright go­ing for­ward but as blunt in the fi­nal third as the Heed.

The one move of qual­ity from the hosts saw Molyneux’s re­place­ment Cameron Salkeld turn Riggs’ pass into the path of Greg Ol­ley.

The mid­fielder, Gateshead’s most cre­ative player on the day, fired an an­gled 25-yard drive just wide of the far post.

Braintree keeper Ben Kil­lip saved El­liot Forbes’ header from JJ O’Don­nell’s cor­ner, with the Heed prov­ing more of­fen­sive af­ter the break with­out find­ing the net.

Salkeld should have done bet­ter from Tom White’s through­ball be­fore Braintree’s sec­ond at­tempt on tar­get from El­lul ended up pro­vid­ing the win­ning goal for the vis­i­tors.

Gateshead huffed and puffed there­after and with Scott Bo­den in­ef­fec­tive it was left to strike part­ner Rigg to pro­vide the goal threat.

The for­mer Carlisle striker was de­nied by Kil­lip and O’Don­nell, given a more ad­vanced role af­ter the in­tro­duc­tion of Bar­row, looped a header over the bar.

Braintree, how­ever, sensed the time to break their duck had come and de­fended stoutly to get over the line – and in do­ing so con­demned Gateshead to a sec­ond home de­feat.

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