Having rebuffed Forest Green’s advances and nailed his colours firmly to the Heed mast, manager Gary Mills believes the goalless stalemate with Luton Town was further evidence of his side’s credentials.
The top two sides in the Skrill Premier form table slugged it out as conditions deteriorated in the second half like two boxers in a top-of-the-bill bout.
Mills’ men created more chances but could not get past Town’s big central defender Steve McNulty who saved his side on three occasions denying both James Curtis and Jamie Chandler in the first half. Neither goal keeper had made a save until Mark Tyler gathered Curtis’ injury-ime header before it found the far corner to ensure the stalemate was not broken.
The outcome saw former top-light club Luton, beaten only twice this season, extend their unbeaten run to ten games while Gateshead have won seven and lost just one of their last nine games.
Mills said: “We’ve proved again just how far we have come in a matter of weeks.
“We more than matched Luton and have shown we can get a result against any side in the Skrill Premier.
“We have a good point against the biggest side in the division who were sitting third and we’ve had four good chances to win it but didn’t take one. The conditions became very difficult in the second half but we stuck at it and it was another good performance.”
Luton were relieved to take a point from an absorbing game of few clear cut chances, the four games against Town on Tyneside producing two shut outs and just two goals.
When the Heed did get the better of Hatters, goal keeper Tyler McNulty twice cleared first half goal-bound efforts from James Curtis and Jamie Chandler.
A super ball from Rob Ramshaw had created Chandler’s opening and the young midfielder passed up a great chance to give Gateshead the lead on half-time.
Ghosting in between the central defensive pairing of McNulty and Alex Lacey Craig Baxter’s cross was perfectly executed only for Ramshaw only for the teenager to glance a six-yard header past the far post.
Luton fashioned just two openings, one in each half, but experienced midfielder Luke Guttridge shot wide on both occasions.
Oster fired wide from nine yards and then Curtis’ header from Oster’s corner in stoppage time was held by Tyler.
Luton boss John Still said: “The conditions were absolutely atrocious, but both teams stuck at it and a draw was a fair result.”
GATESHEAD: Bartlett; Baxter, Curtis, Clark, Sirrell, Oster, Turnbull, Chandler (Magnay 75), Ramshaw (Brown 58), Hatch (Boyes 67), Larkin. Subs not used: Cummins, Walker.
LUTON TOWN: Tyler; Henry, McNulty, Lacey, Griffiths, Parry, Smith, Guttridge, Gray (Cullen 71), Benson, Howells (Wall 83). Subs not used: Justham, Taiwo, Stevenson.