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Aspin proud of Gateshead after Robins draw

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Neil Aspin spoke of his pride as his Gateshead side held title-chasing Cheltenham Town to a goalless draw at Whaddon Road.

The Robins – four points clear at the top of the Vanarama National League and unbeaten in 21 games beforehand – were kept largely at bay by the Heed, who had the better of the chances throughout.

Rob Ramshaw clipped the post with a low strike midway through the first-half, while Ryan Bowman saw a close-range header cleared off the line by the hosts’ Kyle Storer.

Substitutes Danny Johnson and Jamie Chandler both came close to a winner in stoppage time, as the Tynesiders came within a whisker of ending the Robins’ record-breaking run.

Cheltenham’s best opportunity fell to Asa Hall in the last minute of normal time, the midfielder only able to steer a left-footed effort straight at Sam Russell after meeting a Danny Wright flick-on.

Aspin felt a point was the least his side deserved at Whaddon Road, the Heed remaining fifth in the division with 12 games of the regular season remaining.

He said: “I’m very proud of the players. I thought we competed very well from the start, and for spells we were the better team.

“On the balance of play, and in terms of chances and corners, we could argue that we deserved to win the game.

“If you’d asked me before the game, then yes, I’d have taken a point to follow the two wins we’ve had in the last week.

“It’d have been fantastic to finish with a goal – and we had two good chances late on – but I’m not disappointed.

“I expect us to be competitive in every game, and the players have to keep doing that between now and the end of the season.

“I think there’s a good team spirit among the players, and what you get from tonight is a belief that you can go and get results.

“We’ve matched the team at the top of the table, and that has to give you confidence.

“Like I say, the players are working hard at the moment, and that’s all I ask of them.”

The shutout was the Heed’s sixth in their last 11 games in all competitions, opponents Cheltenham failing to find the net in a National League fixture for the first time in almost two months.

James Curtis returned to the Tynesiders’ back-four in place of the injured Darren Holden, with boss Aspin delighted by their showing as a unit.

He said: “Defensively, it was one of the best performances in the time I have been at the club.

“Coming away to a team used to winning games and used to scoring goals, you expect to come under pressure, especially when they had a great win at the weekend against Tranmere, too.

“But I felt we kept them at arm’s length. They had a little spell in the second-half where they threatened, but on the whole we looked the most likely side to score.

“The two centre-backs did very well, and they kept a good front-two quiet.

“Danny Wright has been on an excellent goalscoring run, while Dan Holman did very well against us for Woking [earlier in the season].

“They nullified their threat, and the two young full-backs really backed them up.

“Alex and Andre covered the two centre-backs and stopped crosses coming in. It was a good display by the back-four as a whole.”

Source: www.gateshead-fc.com

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