Gateshead stretched their unbeaten run to nine games with a vital point at play-off rivals Braintree, who missed a penalty late in the game.
Defences were on top in the first half at Cressing Road, Braintree’s main threat coming from dangerous corners played into the box.
Jordan Cox glanced a header wide from Chez Isaacs’ cross in the first minute, John Oster shooting wide at the other end.
Dan Sparkes’ whipped-in flag kick saw defender Dean Wells’ downward header at the back post blocked by Adam Bartlett.
Isacs’ well-struck shot from outside the box cleared the bar and Sparkes flashed a shot wide as the Iron fed on scraps.
Gateshead created little at the other end, a free kick just missed by James Curtis, making his 500th appearance for Gateshead.
The importance of a game pivotal in the fight to reach the play-offs saw both sides close each other down, players given little time on a poor surface.
Dan Holman had a shot blocked on the stroke of half-time, Nathan McDonald in the home goal still to be tested after a tight opening 45 minutes.
Braintree forced two corners in the first minute of the second half but The Heed stood firm, manager Gary Mills making two changes before the hour.
Rob Ramshaw and former Boro schemer Josh Walker on to bolster the midfield, Braintree twice going close to breaking the deadlock.
Cox’s 25-yard shot towards the top corner was tipped over by Bartlett, Cox’s header from Sparkes’ resultant corner blocked on the line.
It was a scare for Gateshead who continued to be troubled by Sparkes’ excellent delivery into the box.
Offensively the Tynesiders made little headway, leading scorer James Marwood now ploughing a lone furrow up top.
Gateshead were indebted to the reliable Bartlett eight minutes from time, the keeper turning Dan Holman’s penalty against the post after Holman had been bundled over inside the box.
Holman headed the rebound wide with Bartlett prostrate, and with it the best chance of the game had gone, Gateshead earning a precious away point afeter a battling display in Essex.<p/>
BRAINTREE TOWN: McDonald, Massey, Habergham, Paine, Wells, Mulley, Sparkes, Isaac, Holman, Cox, Peters. Subs (not used): Laurent, Carney, Daley, Quinton, Holdsworth
GATESHEAD: Bartlett, Baxter, Magnay, Chandler, Curtis, Clark, Maddison (Walker 57), Turnbull, Marwood, Oster (Ramshaw 60), O’Donnell. Subs (not used): Noble, Cummins, Baird (gk).
Referee: Richard Martin (Weston-Super-Mare) Attendance: 901