GATESHEAD Thunder's penultimate game of another season of struggle finally brought to an end their 64 winless run against professional opposition last night.
Already promoted Workington Town, still in with a chance of the title, had a scratch side out with nine players missing but the Cumbrians could have no complaints as Thunder celebrated for the first time in two and a half years to end their long wait for a victory.
An indisciplined Thunder conceded six penalties in the opening 12 minutes.
From the last Town prop Kris Coward powered over from close in with Carl Forber adding the easy extras.
For all their field position and possession Workington were unconvincing, Thunder defending manfully.
The hosts cut the defecit to two points on 25 minutes when captain Jason Payne hit a gap from 20 metres.
Gateshead upped the ante as Town now gave away penalties and Gavin Beasley slotted over from 20 metres to tie the scores.
Centre Tom Capper then gave Thunder a rare half-time lead when he capitalised on indecision from Town full back Mark Calderwood.
Another Beasley goal gave Gateshead a 12-6 interval lead.
And it got better when prop Brett Waller hit the line from Capper’s pass.
Thunder, sensing a famous and long overdue victory, received another boost when Marc Shackerley had a try ruled out just before the hour.
A disjointed Workington were given a lifeline early in the final quarter when Jarrad Stack’s determined run brought Town’s second try.
John Patrick scampered over from dummy half and then Marc Shackerley put Town ahead with ten minutes left on the clock.
It was a gallant Gateshead, however, who grabbed the win when Tom Hodgson squeezed past a ruck of players and Beasley kicked the conversion from out wide.
GATESHEAD THUNDER: Pocklington, Ackerley, Capper, Brown, Stoker, Beasley, Stamp, McBride, Condron, Welton, Barker, Payne, Smith.
Subs: Waller, O,Mara, Hodgson, Parker.
Referee: Dave Sharpe