It might all have been so much the better. An injury-time penalty sweeping Gateshead into fourth place.
As it is, Glen Morris saved Colin Larkin’s spot kick – the awarding of which seemed harsh, Joe Oastler adjudged to have downed Marcus Maddison.
As it is, it made little difference. Gateshead crept quietly into the Skrill Premier play-off places in any case. Given an under-par performance, Gary Mills might be happy enough about that. First half especially. The early stages were illuminated, albeit barely so, by Ryan Noble firing well off target and James Marwood side-footing a free-kick straight at Glen Morris.
On 10 minutes, Adam Bartlett saved bravely from Brett Williams at the other end.
But proceedings reached the half-hour mark before stirring your interest again.
Then, Craig Stanley’s shot was blocked by James Curtis, and Jordan Roberts curled over.
And for the Heed, Marwood ran at the heart of the Shots defence and was unfortunate that when his slipped pass sent Jamie Chandler clear, the midfielder was wrongly adjudged offside with Noble the actual transgressor.
At least that showed the potency of directness, and Marwood displayed as much again, eight minutes after half-time, only for his effort, off balance, to swerve wide.
And at least the game by now had begun to open up.
Williams curled wide for the visitors, Morris saved from Marwood.
On 64 minutes Aldershot fashioned the match’s best chance, Roberts springing clear but Bartlett deflecting behind, Mark Molesley wide with a follow-up. Yet Gateshead then enjoyed the clearest openings of their evening.
Clark nudged Marcus Maddison’s 68th-minute corner goalwards, and Joe Partington hacked off the line.
On 84 minutes, Colin Larkin volleyed another Maddison centre onto the underside of the crossbar.
And five minutes later, Morris brilliantly clawed Micky Cummins’ header from a Larkin cross to safety, and Brown’s effort darted wide.
Then came the penalty.
GATESHEAD: Bartlett, Baxter, Curtis, Clark, Sirrell, Chandler (Cummins 84), Turnbull, Walker (Larkin 70), Brown, Noble (Maddison 60), Marwood.
ALDERSHOT: Morris, Gibbs, Partington, Oastler, Barker, Molesley (Mekki 65), Oyeleke, Stanley, Roberts, Bubb (Paterson 68), Williams.