GATESHEAD boss Gary Mills is delighted with his side’s start to the Conference season despite them losing their 100 per cent record as they drew 2-2 with big-spending Eastleigh.

Alex Rodman’s second-half equaliser earned the Heed a share of the spoils at the Silverlake Stadium, leaving them in third position in the table behind Halifax and Forest Green, who are the only sides to have won their opening three games.

“When the fixtures came out and you looked at the first four games, you could see it was tough for us,” said Mills. “We’ve started well and it’s something we need to maintain.

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“It’s all credit to the players, but we want to make it ten points out of 12. We have a good squad who are capable of doing that, and I’m sure we can get another result next week (against Grimsby).”

Gateshead opened the scoring on Saturday as Dean Beckwith headed Marcus Maddison’s cross into his own net, but Eastleigh, who were promoted into the Conference last season, responded when Ben Strevens headed home Jai Reason’s cross.

The Heed fell behind when Jack Midson headed home Stuart Fleetwood’s inswinging corner, but Rodman side-footed home nine minutes after the break to convert JJ O’Donnell’s cross.

Eastleigh were reduced to ten men in the closing stages as Michael Green was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Rodman.

Gateshead: Bartlett; Baxter, Curtis, Clark, Wilson; Oster (O’Donnell 46), Turnbull, Chandler, Maddison (Brown 83); Guy (Jones 60), Rodman.