Niall nods in late leveller for Blues

David Carson in action for Whitby Town in their 1-1 draw against Gateshead on Tuesday night. Picture by Brian Murield.
David Carson in action for Whitby Town in their 1-1 draw against Gateshead on Tuesday night. Picture by Brian Murield.

Whitby Town earned a late 1-1 draw with Gateshead thanks to home debutant Niall McGoldrick.

The centre-half's powerful last-gasp header beat Hanford at his near-post to cancel out Danny Johnson's second half opener.

Chris Hardy's side looked impressive in opening half, matching their National League opponents all the way, but it was Heed who had the first opportunity of the evening.

Jordan Burrow unlocked the Blues' defence with a through ball to find Wes York, though the forward's attempt was thwarted by some good closing down from Shane Bland.

In a first half that spawned few chances, the Blues responded in similar fashion.

Skipper Steven Snaith threaded a ball through the Gateshead defence, finding Luke Bythway in acres of space.

The forward, however, could only chip into the path on the onrushing James Montgomery, who smothered the ball at the second attempt.

Both sides continued their attempts to break the deadlock, with the visitors coming close again.

Burrow headed a ball forward into the path of Paddy McLaughlin, though the attacker could only half-volley, first time, wide of the left-hand upright.

Whitby could have gained the advantage, just five minutes before the break.

A loose ball eventually found its way to Snaith, thirty yards from goal. He unleashed a powerful, looping effort towards the top corner, though it could only find the hands of Montgomery.

Both sides made changes at the break, but it was the alterations made by Gateshead that paid off, just minutes into the second period.

Hardy's former Guisborough Town star Danny Johnson picked the ball just inside the right-hand side of the penalty area before sending a low drive into the bottom corner, via a deflection.

Whitby tried to respond immediately, and almost levelled the score through returning midfielder Adam Gell, who forced a good save from close range from Dan Hanford.

The visitors should have doubled their lead through Jordan Preston, just two minutes later.

Preston beat McGoldrick, before curling an effort onto the post, though his effort rolled across the line and wide of the opposite upright, in a stroke of unfortunate luck for the Gateshead man.

Substitute Blues goalkeeper Daniel Dixon was then called into action, tipping a low 25-yard effort from Danny Johnson wide.

Despite Heed's best attempts to extend their lead, it was Whitby who put the ball in the back of the net, with the final act of the match.

A Town trialist sent a flat, pacey delivery into the box from a corner, which met the head of McGoldrick, whose powerful header beat Hanford and found the top-right corner to ensure another positive result for Hardy's side.