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Heed boss Aspin satisfied with draw

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Gateshead manager Neil Aspin was content to take a point despite his side shipping a late equaliser against Barrow at the International Stadium.

The Heed led at the break through Ryan Bowman’s spot-kick, but debutant Jordan Williams earned a share of the spoils for the Bluebirds with just six minutes remaining.

With the wind at their backs, Paul Cox’s side were in the ascendency for much of the second-half, Simon Grand and Dave Symington both going close before Williams restored parity.

The Tynesiders rise two places to tenth in the Vanarama National League with a point, Aspin satisfied with his side’s overall display on a blustery afternoon.

He said: “Conditions did play a part, but I am not disappointed with a point.

“Obviously, you want to be winning games, but on the balance of play and given the pressure they put on us in the second-half, you expect something is going to give and they are going to get a chance.

“I am not disappointed with the players’ efforts. I thought they competed well.

“I just would have liked us to keep the ball a little bit better, which would have relieved the pressure on the back-four.

“But all in all, you couldn’t argue with a draw.

“In the first-half, I was pleased with the way we played. I thought we had a good outlet on the left-hand side.

“It was encouraging. Against Guiseley and in the first-half today, we have been better.

“The wind picked up in the second-half, and it was difficult to get out of our own half.

“After the break, it was about trying to battle, hoping we could keep a clean-sheet.

“But, I’m not blaming anyone for the goal.”

Aspin also confirmed that midfielder Gus Mafuta has been offered terms until the end of the season.

The 20-year-old joined on a short-term deal in September, and has since figured 15 times in all competitions, scoring twice.

Mafuta’s contract was set to expire this weekend, the former Colchester United trainee coming on as a second-half substitute against Barrow.

Aspin has challenged Mafuta to kick on in the months ahead, and outlined why he is looking to keep the youngster on board.

He said: “He has the next few months to prove himself.

“I must be honest, he isn’t an expensive player, and that has to be taken into consideration – I feel he has earned his money since I have been at the club.

“He deserves another few months to push on, and it’s up to him now.

“I’ve had a chat with him, and he knows what I want from him. He’s trained every day and played in the majority of the games, and he deserves another chance.”

Source: Gateshead FC

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