Ten-man FC Halifax Town kept their fifth clean sheet in seven games as they held Neil Aspin’s Gateshead to a 0-0 draw on Bank Holiday Monday.
Matty Kosylo was the hero in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Guiseley, but saw red here midway through the second-half having hit the woodwork earlier in the match.
Adam Morgan also hit the frame of the goal as Halifax produced a battling display but showed some moments of quality, and were good value for at least a point in the north east. Four points out of six represents a very good return from their Bank Holiday double-header.
Aspin said in his programme notes he had been looking forward to the game since Gateshead’s FA Trophy defeat to Town in 2016, which hinted at his eagerness to record a win against his former club.
But his side didn’t seem to share his enthusiasm and looked flat throughout, with some laboured build-up play and a dearth of chances.
After his outstanding goal on Saturday, Kosylo nearly produced an even better effort which belied a dour opening to the game as he dinked in-field before unleashing a thunderous shot from 35 yards that crashed off the post.
Tom Denton then had a goal disallowed for offside before his shoulder-barge on keeper James Montgomery forced the home stopper off a couple of minutes later.
The Town striker cemented his place as public enemy number one with a foul on Theo Vassell that went unpunished, much to the home fans’ annoyance.
Denton then won a free-kick that Adam Morgan was unlucky to strike the crossbar with from 25 yards.
Cliff Moyo was forced off before half-time too with what appeared to be a flare-up of his foot injury, requiring Josh Macdonald to come on at right wing-back of Town’s 3-5-2.
Burrow had a free header six yards out that Johnson did brilliantly to tip over, but that was the sole chance the hosts created in an underwhelming first-half from Aspin’s side.
Former Shaymen Burrow and Richard Peniket, who both started for Halifax in their FA Trophy win at Gateshead last year, were partnered up-front for Gateshead, but were struggling to get into the game, with Halifax again looking solid to the point of impenetrable at the back.
Denton was as effective a defender as anyone for The Shaymen, repeatedly heading away Gateshead set-pieces, and proving a thorn in the hosts’ defence by winning header after header in the final third.
The hosts were too one-paced going forward, and lacked the requisite creativity to break the visitors down.
Halifax were a threat though against a fragile Gateshead defence, with Scott McManus played in by Kosylo’s inventive through ball just before the interval, but he scuffed his finish one-on-one with substitute keeper Dan Hanford.
If Aspin had given his team a dressing down at half-time, there was no real improvement to show for it from the hosts, whose lack of spark going forward continued to frustrate the home crowd.
Kosylo’s second booking for a foul on Callum Williams looked harsh, but Gateshead’s numerical advantage changed little, with substitute Ben Tomlinson nearly scoring from Macdonald’s cross shortly after the dismissal.
Playing with 10-men for a quarter of the game was an unwanted test of Town’s stamina and fitness, but Halifax repelled the hosts as comfortably after Kosylo’s red card as they had before it.
Luke Hannant and Burrow had half chances as the clock wound down, but Halifax’s third consecutive clean sheet was never in any serious danger.
Gateshead: Montgomery (Hanford 23), Vassell, Fyfield, Byrne, Williams, Penn, Mellish (Hannant 46), Preston (York 63), McLaughlin, Burrow, Peniket. Subs not used: Johnson, Tinkler.
Shots on target: 2
Shots off target: 4
Halifax: Johnson, Moyo (Macdonald 35), Garner, Brown, Wilde, Oliver, Hotte, McManus, Kosylo, Denton, Morgan (Tomlinson 55). Subs not used: Nicholson, Lynch, Charles.
Shots on target: 0
Shots off target: 8
Referee: Andrew Miller
Town man of the match: Tom Denton