The Non-League Football Paper - - NATIONAL LEAGUE - By Jeff Bowron

BAT­TLING Brain­tree recorded their first win of the sea­son and kept a clean sheet in the bar­gain as Gateshead hit the buf­fers.

As hap­less as the Heed were in com­fort­ably their worst dis­play of the sea­son, you could not deny the Iron their mo­ment in the sun.

The Es­sex out­fit came out on top in a dour af­fair on Ty­ne­side, cen­tre-back Joe El­lul’s 55th-minute header de­ci­sive.

“I’m over the moon with the play­ers,” said de­lighted Brain­tree boss Brad Quin­ton. “We trav­elled up on the day and got a great re­sult.

“We were su­perb to­day. We were strong and looked solid and I was proud of them.

“As the game went on con­fi­dence builds. No team is go­ing to come here, put on a per­for­mance like that and get away with it.

“Gateshead were run­ning out of ideas to­wards the end and the boys dealt with ev­ery­thing that was thrown at them.”

It was a bad omen for what was to come when the Heed lost on loan Sun­der­land wide man Luke Molyneux through in­jury in the warm-up.

It was his re­place­ment, Cameron Salkeld, who shot over the bar on the turn from the edge of the box in the first threat on goal.

Steven Rigg, found by Greg Olley, was also off tar­get from a sim­i­lar dis­tance as both sides searched for some rhythm.

El­liot Forbes’s header was eas­ily dealt on a day when Gateshead were tooth­less, man­ag­ing only two ef­forts on tar­get all af­ter­noon. Brain­tree fared lit­tle bet­ter and lost the cor­ner count 11-0, but they got the all-im­por­tant goal that lifted them off the foot of the ta­ble on goal dif­fer­ence. Greg Olley’s ball into Rigg saw the for­mer Carlisle man shoot high and wide from just out­side the box. Rigg then headed over the bar un­der pres­sure be­fore a rare move of qual­ity al­most saw Olley break the dead­lock. Rigg found Salkeld on the right, whose in­side ball picked out Olley, the mid­fielder’s an­gled 25yard drive fly­ing past the far post. The sec­ond half was bet­ter with­out reach­ing medi­ocrity, the Heed at last get­ting on the front foot with JJ O’Donnell prob­ing down the left. An in­abil­ity to deal with a set-play into the box cost Gateshead once again, El­lul head­ing home Billy Crook’s de­liv­ery at the back post. Rigg’s close range header was blocked by Iron keeper Ben kil­lip, the Ty­nesiders huff­ing and puff­ing with­out find­ing an equaliser. “I was very dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult,” said Gateshead man­ager Steve Wat­son. “We weren’t bril­liant to­day and it’s the mis­takes again.”

STAR MAN: Joe El­lul (Brain­tree) ATT: 578 EN­TER­TAIN­MENT: ★★★★★ REF­EREE: Tom Davies 7/10

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