Boreham Wood’s longest league trip of the season ended in disappointment as they were beaten 2-1 at Gateshead this afternoon.

A reasonably comfortable 1-0 lead courtesy of Jamie Lucas was usurped by a Ryan Bowman second-half headed double to break Wood hearts.

The full time Heed outfit showed little to lift their fans in a first-half performance that lacked pace or intent. Lucas showed a maturity beyond his 19 years leading the line and his header after 19 minutes was the first effort on target, although it failed to trouble Sam Russell.

Callum Reynolds was colossus again in the heart of the Wood defence and served to frustrate any designs the Heed attack had on influencing the game.

Billy Clifford grabbed the stuttering game by the scruff of its neck and showed flair, having a hand in all of Wood's attacking play. He supplied Luke Howell who in turn played in Graeme Montgomery for a low shot that tested Sam Russell.

Lucas had been suitably shackled by James Curtis, a Heed stalwart who with more than 550 appearances seemingly knew every blade of grass at The International Stadium. It needed something special to catch out the defender in his 13th season with The Heed and it came with a swift move out of defence.

Ben Nunn cut inside from the right, issuing a pass for Clifford in acres of space between a rigid two lines of four players who were sucked into retreating. Clifford realised the full potential, advancing before releasing a slide rule pass for Lucas, who timed his run to perfection and beat the offside trap to shoot low under Russell's body.

Bowman and strike partner Jon Shaw showed a glimmer of hope just before the interval, the former supplying the latter who, owing to James Russell dropping the ball, had two attempts at the near post but the Wood custodian preserved the slender lead.

Gateshead had two quick fire chances after the restart. Josh Gillies played in Simon Ramsden, who forced James Russell out to make a fine blocking save. A resurgent Heed then worked the ball out to Craig Baxter on the right whose cross into danger was headed over the bar by Shaw.

Wood responded with Clifford supplying Luke Howell, who cut in from the wing into a shooting position before losing his balance.

The game continued to improve as a spectacle with James Russell gathering a low shot from Ramsden, before the equaliser came.

A trip on Lucas went unpunished when the forward was through on goal, allowing the home side to counter attack. A quick ball upfield led to a cross from the left from Gillies, finding Bowman whose stooping header was first class and left James Russell no chance.

Clifford tested Sam Russell at the other end before he was withdrawn along with Lucas, with Ian Allinson opting for a change in formation. It was so nearly a master stroke as within seconds of Junior Morias' introduction he found himself running at goal with only Russell to beat, only to drag his shot wide.

The additional striker Morias, alongside the fresh legs of Harry Crawford, gave the home side plenty to think about and when Montgomery played Morias though minutes later he rode two challenges before shooting at Sam Russell.

Those misses proved to be costly when the only corner of the entire game with nine minutes to play produced the winning goal. A delivery from the right was met by Bowman, who rose above a packed box to power home his fourth goal in three games.

Wood were down but not out and the last chance of the game fell to Montgomery after he was played in down the left channel by Crawford only to rush his shot and shoot wide of the target.

The Heed controlled the five additional minutes, leaving manager Ian Allinson to rue the missed chances.

“We learned in the Conference South that you get less chances and in this league it is even more profound,” he said. “We had more chances than Gateshead but the final score does not reflect that. It is ruthless at this level and we will need to look at why we gave away those two goals. That said we have just played extremely well in two consecutive games and in that sense we have nothing to fear in this league."

On the substitutions and formation change, he added: “I felt we were getting exposed down the left and bought on a second striker to try and take the pressure off. Had we have put away the three chances that change in formation manifested it would be a different story with a very happy ending."

Next up for Wood are the current leaders Forest Green Rovers, who visit Meadow Park this Tuesday.

Boreham Wood: Russell, Nunn, Woodards, Doe, Reynolds, Shakes, Howell, Montgomery, Lucas (Crawford 70), C Clifford (Whichelow 87), B Clifford (Morias 70). Not used: Hill, Edwards.