FOOTBALL: SOLIHULL Moors failed to take advantage of ten-men Gateshead as Mark Yates’ men remained firmly rooted to the bottom of the National League table.
Another win for Torquay United ensured Moors are now four points clear at the bottom of the National League table, and a massive eight points short of safety.
A dramatic turnaround is required throughout the second part of the 2017/18 season if Moors are to avoid the drop back into the National League North.
Gateshead were boosted in the opening minutes of the game when Darren Carter’s foul in the box resulted in referee Paul Marsden pointing to the sspot.
Jordan Burrow sent debutant goalie Max O’Leary – on loan from Bristol City – the wrong way from the penalty.
A few minutes later, Heed almost doubled Gateshead’s lead when Richard Peniket’s effort deflected off Liam Daly and rebounded off the post.
Though Moors’ performance started to improve, they struggled to break into the final third.
An ambitious strike from Courtney Richards was the only effort Moors had close to goal throughout the opening half.
But Yates’ men were boosted when a late lunge on Carter resulted in Penn receiving his marching orders.
The red card forced Gateshaead to reorganise their formation, and Moors looked more likely to score than before in the game.
The Moors were frustrated in the early exchanges of the second half as they tried to make their one man advantage pay against the hard-working Heed defence.
The lively James Bowen was finding joy down the left flank, and he tested keeper Dan Hanford with a low shot on the hour mark.
With momentum firmly with the Moors, the equaliser came in the 65th minute when Richards floated in a cross which was met with a superb glancing header into the top corner by Wesley Atkinson.
Atkinson only signed for the Moors 24 hours prior to kick off from Rushall Olympic.
Gateshead responded immediately though. Only a determined block by Daly prevented Burrow from scoring.
Spurred on by the introduction of Dapo Afolayan, Moors continued to press for a winner but could not find the finishing touch to a series of attacks.
After a nervy four minutes of injury time, Gateshead manager Steve Watson was relieved to leave with a point on his return to the Midlands.
Moors: O’Leary, Atkinson, Bowen, Kelleher, Daly, P. Green, Carter, Richards (Murombedzi, 77), Hylton, Asante (Afolayan, 58), Thomas. Not used: K. Green, Kettle, Carline.