Published: 16:45, 03 February 2018
Jai Reason scored a 90th-minute equaliser to keep Maidstone in the FA Trophy.
United led through Jamar Loza but were heading out after substitutes Lewis McNall and Richard Peniket gave the Heed a 2-1 advantage.
But Reason struck at the death to secure a third-round replay in the north east on Tuesday night.
Maidstone made three changes to the side who lost to the Heed in the league a week ago.
Out went Reece Prestedge, Delano Sam-Yorke and Darius Osei, with Josh Hare, Jack Paxman and Andre Coker coming into the team in a switch to 3-5-2.
A back three had proved effective when Stones won at Torquay in the first round of the Trophy before Christmas and they looked secure pretty here too.
The change in formation saw Coker and Loza paired up top and there were promising signs, particularly given they hardly know each other’s game yet.
There were a couple of chances at either end inside five minutes, with Lee Worgan parrying from Danny Johnson and Coker’s header from a Paxman cross dropping inches wide.
Rees Greenwood thumped a 25-yarder against the bar for Gateshead just before the quarter-hour mark while Worgan made an excellent save when Danny Johnson went through.
Maidstone looked good in possession, popping the ball nicely and getting into some decent positions but it was just that end product lacking in the first half, Loza’s deflected strike and captain Stuart Lewis’ effort going over before half-time.
Maidstone withdrew Paxman at half-time - he’d been booked and was on a final warning from referee Rick Hulme - with Sam-Yorke taking his place.
The substitute was involved in a nice move early in the half, combining with Joe Anderson, Lewis and Seth Twumasi before Lewis’ shot was blocked.
More good possession in the final third ended with Coker going close after nice footwork on the edge of the box, a slight deflection taking it out for a corner.
Pressure was building and Maidstone were rewarded with the opening goal in the 59th minute.
Loza picked up possession 20 yards out and beat two defenders before thumping the ball into the roof of the net.
James Montgomery held Lewis’ fierce strike at the second attempt as Maidstone looked to build on their lead and Loza soon worked the Heed keeper again.
It was all Maidstone but they rocked by an equaliser out of nothing in the 72nd minute.
Gateshead got away down the left with Scott Barrow’s cross headed goalwards by substitute McNall and helped in by Stones centre-half Alex Wynter.
The Stones had a big penalty shout turned soon after, Magnus Okuonghae adamant he’d been pulled back and letting Hulme know what he thought.
Hulme wasn’t interested and Maidstone found themselves behind with eight minutes left.
The ball reached Peniket whose shot took a big deflection off Hare and went in the far corner.
Maidstone threw everything at Gateshead in search of an equaliser and it came in the last minute of normal time when Reason’s deflected strike from 20 yards made it 2-2.
Worgan made an outstanding save from McNall at the end of injury time.
Maidstone: Worgan, Twumasi (ter Horst 87mins), Anderson, Hare, Okuonghae, Wynter, Lewis, Paxman (Sam-Yorke 46mins), Reason, Coker (Osei 87mins), Loza. Subs not used: Prestedge, Muldoon.
Attendance: 1,186 (28 away).
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