A dead-leg saw centre-back Andrew Boyce join the ever-increasing list of walking wounded as manager David Holdsworth was forced to shuffle his defensive pack for the second time in three days for this Bank Holiday Monday match at Gateshead.
Boyce joined fellow centre-back Tom Miller on the sidelines and his absence saw Dan Gray move inside to partner Graham Hutchison with Paul Robson recalled at right-back. Two further changes to the side that started the 3-2 home reverse to Macclesfield Town saw Nicky Nicolau and Colin Larkin come in for Luke Daley and Mark McCammon.
In wet and windy conditions, Gateshead kicked off and it was a cagey opening although City, with the strong wind at their backs, were enjoying the better of the early possession as they looked for an early advantage against their unbeaten hosts.
A Jake Sheridan cross in the ninth minute following good work by Jamie Taylor, saw the advancing Nicolau come close to connecting whilst a couple of minutes later Sheridan was crudely upended by James Marwood who picked up a yellow card for his troubles.
The resultant free-kick led to City's first corner and although this didn't come up trumps, Larkin came close shortly afterwards when he prodded wide at the near post from eight yards out.
City continued to probe away, although home stopper Adam Bartlett remained untroubled as the 20 minute mark approached. He soon was though when Larkin and Sheridan combined before the latter set up Taylor who saw his first time shot held.
A sweeping City move then ended up with Alan Power
driving against team mate Larkin as the ball seemed destined for the back of the net whilst the next opening saw Larkin denied by Bartlett when he was played through by Gary Mills.
At the other end Paul Farman was called into action, saving twice against his former team, as Gateshead pressed for the first time in the game and five minutes before the interval. Their next foray forward saw them take the lead when a cross from the right by Phil Turnbull was missed by Robson for Marwood to control and drill low into the corner of the net.
The hosts' lead was fully undeserved following a more than impressive opening period for the Imps but it's goals that count and Marwood's effort was the one that separated the two teams as they went in for their half-time breather.
HT: Gateshead 1 Imps 0
Both sides emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and City were quickly out of the traps with Sheridan crossing into the side netting following a swift break down the right. Gateshead's response saw Yemi Odubade fire wide from a Carl Magnay cross. The corner was floated in but Farman did superbly well to keep the ball out when the heads went up.
At the other end Power had a shot charged down before Taylor had a snap-shot held by Bartlett. A long Dan Gray throw-in the caused problems and when the ball was played back in by Gray, Larkin had a shot deflected in only for the offside flag to go up and rule out the effort.
A lovely Sheridan centre then flew across the box as no City man took a gamble and went for the low centre whilst Gateshead's reply came with centre-back Chris Bush advancing before Odubade had a shot deflected out for a corner.
City were quick to go on the attack again with Taylor fizzing a drive over from a Larkin lay-off; a Taylor cross was then headed behind by Clark for a corner which was punched away by Bartlett under pressure from Larkin.
Ryan McGorrigan for Yemi Odubade was the first change of the game, this coming in the 69th minute whilst the second saw Luke Daley replace Nicky Nicolau for the Imps three minutes later.
Another break forward from Bush saw him clip the top of the bar with a 25-yard drive whilst at the other end Sheridan also hit the woodwork with his long-ranger being tipped onto the bar by Bartlett and out for a corner. Hutchison met the flag-kick but his header flew inches the wrong side of the upright.
With the game approaching its last 10 minutes, a Josh Gillies chip landed on the roof of Farman's net before the experienced duo of Micky Cummins and Liam Hatch come on for Jamie Chandler and Nathan Fisher.
Hatch was quickly in the action, setting up Marwood who was denied a second by Farman before a double City substitution saw Vadaine Oliver and Conner Robinson replace Sheridan and Robson as the Imps changed formation in a bid to salvage something from the game with just a few minutes remaining.
Robinson took less than 30 seconds to have an impact as, after Larkin gained possession on the left, he looked up and picked out the teenager. He did the rest, taking a touch before drilling a superb effort past Bartlett for his first goal as a professional.
City withstood some late Gateshead pressure during four added minutes to emerge with a thoroughly deserved point; their first on the road this season.
FT: Gateshead 1 Imps 1
City: Paul Farman, Paul Robson, Dan Gray, Graham Hutchison, John Nutter, Gary Mills, Alan Power
, Nicky Nicolau, Jake Sheridan, Colin Larkin, Jamie Taylor.
subs: Vadaine Oliver (for Sheridan 88), Peter Bore, Luke Daley (for Nicolau 72), Conner Robinson (for Robson 88), Jake Turner.
goals: Robinson (89)
Gateshead: Adam Bartlett, Carl Magnay, Ben Clark, Chris Bush, Josh Gillies, Phil Turnbull, Paddy Boyle, Jamie Chandler, James Marwood, Yemi Odubade, Nathan Fisher.
subs: Liam Hatch (for Fisher 82), Micky Cummins (for Chandler 82) , Glen Wilson, Jordan Nixon, Ryan McGorrigan (for Odubade 69).
goals: Marwood (45)
bookings: Marwood (11)
Referee: Peter Bankes
Assistants: Steve Wade & Tom Nield
Fourth Official: Ian Gittins
Attendance: 803 (112 City supporters)