York City 1 Gateshead FC 2

LET it not be said Gateshead are not up for this, or that they lack bottle.

LET it not be said Gateshead are not up for this, or that they lack bottle.

In a week that could define their season, they passed their first test, live on TV too, and after three straight league defeats, are back within a point of the play-offs.

The garlands that go with it? The double over a decent York team, unbeaten previously in seven.

A first win at Bootham Crescent in 60 years, only their fourth in 26 attempts.

And participation – again – in one hell of a game with the Minstermen.

Yes, they withstood an Alamo-like assault at times, but emerged unscathed, and can go to Luton Town, in the FA Trophy on Saturday, with confidence replenished.

They were buoyant from the off. Inside two minutes Yemi Odubade won a right-wing corner, took it himself and pulled it, Teddy Sheringham-style, to Micky Cummins, in line with the front post just inside the box.

And after a touch to tee himself up, the midfielder rifled a shot beyond Michael Ingham, his eighth goal of the season.

Just what the TV cameras ordered. It might even have got better for the visitors on 10 minutes, when Jon Shaw’s 20-yard shot was deflected behind by Chris Smith. And given the flow of proceedings for the ensuing 20 minutes, they might well have wished for such insurance.

For after a nervy, jittery opening – stagefright, maybe; York’s last loss was live – the hosts began to settle, and exert no little pressure.

To Gateshead’s credit, they stood firm.

On 12 minutes Patrick McLaughlin’s teasing low cross was swiped from under the nose of Matty Blair by Phil Turnbull.

Moments later Smith’s header from a McLaughlin corner was blocked behind, before Jason Walker volleyed high and wide and McLaughlin – York’s most potent threat, clearly – cut in from the right but dragged a low, tame shot straight at Tim Deasy.

It was a spell of near relentless attrition, yet Gateshead weathered it, and were unfortunate just after the half-hour mark not to extend their lead – Turnbull’s blistering, left-foot piledriver, though pushed over by Ingham, almost pushed the York goalkeeper into the David Longhurst Stand.

For the rest of the first half, he could comfortably have stayed there, for a further period of York pressure intensified. Again though, Gateshead resisted.

Clean through, Ashley Chambers was denied by Deasy, who then palmed over from Jon Challinor, and just before the break Cummins somehow managed to clear Blair’s low cross from under his own crossbar.

Thrilling stuff. Could the second half match it? It started as it had left off.

Scott Kerr’s shot was blocked, Smith’s palmed over. It could be a long 45 for those in white, you sensed.

And yet, and yet. Relocating their front foot, Gateshead stepped on it.

On 56 minutes, Odubade and Kris Gate combined to serve Shaw one on a plate. Uncharacteristically, the 30-goal man missed, but it mattered little.

Seconds later Odubade crossed from the right touchline, and at the back post, unmarked, Cummins headed in.

It was just the buffer Gateshead required, and might have been greater still had Ingham not then saved from Ben Clark, in attempt at replicating the opening goal.

Cue a triple substitution by York. Instantly, they were back in it – replacement Jamie Reed bundling in McLaughlin’s corner.

Now, again, we would see Gateshead’s mettle. It was sound.

After Cummins drove inches wide at the other end, Reed’s free-kick, spinning to the top corner, was turned behind, brilliantly, by Deasy, and right at the death Cummins blocked a header by, yes, Ingham.

But that aside, York never truly tested their opponents, and the Heed made it home. Breathtaking.

YORK: Ingham, Challinor, Smith, Doig, Gibson, Brown (Swallow 63), Kerr, McLaughlin, Walker (Blinkhorn 63), Chambers (Reed 64), Blair. Subs (not used): Meredith, Parslow.

Booked: Smith, Challinor. Goals: Reed 65.

GATESHEAD: Deasy, Baxter, Curtis, Clark, Rents, Gate, Turnbull, Cummins, Shaw, Odubade (Moore 89), O’Brien (Marwood 88). Subs (not used): Farman, Gillies, Magnay.

Goals: Cummins 2, 57.

Att: 2, 683 Ref: Darren Bond (Lancashire).

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Stuart Rayner
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