York maintained their rich vein of form with an eighth successive victory to remain top of the Championship 1 table.
With incessant morning rain suggesting a forward battle both sides packed their team with the appropriate ammunition although it was Thunder centre Chris Welham’s strength that ensured an early touch-down.
York quickly hit back with Jack Lee’s cut-out pass seeing Ben Dent roar in by the corner-post before Ben Reynold’s superb chip-kick was touched down by opposite winger James Saltonstall.
Gateshead centre Joe Brown’s devastating break was halted by James Haynes’s scything tackle but the ball was worked cross-field and Jason Payne added to his impressive try-scoring record.
Josh Tonks scored on his debut to give the Knights a six-point lead at half-time and Jack Aldous reached out shortly after the resumption to give York further breathing space. With Ryan Backhouse increasing the lead further it was James Brown who pulled one back for Thunder although Saltonstall added his second of the afternoon, capitalising on a defensive error.
But Gateshead, with more than a sprinkling of Hull KR Super League players in their ranks, produced a late flurry with three tries during a frantic final 11 minutes.
Ex-New Zealand Warriors youngster Jordan Meads’s kick and chase lit the flame and after Matty Barron stretched to touch down it was Lee Mapals who won a length-of-the-field race with Ben Dent following a huge kick and with only four points between the sides York were grateful to hear the final hooter.
York City Knights: Haynes, Saltonstall, Tyler, Day, B Dent, P Smith, Reynolds, Roche, Lee, Aldous, Backhouse, E Smith, Paterson. Substitutes: Brining, Brennan, Leary, Tonks
Gateshead Thunder: Blades, Mapals, Brown, Welham, Capper, Beharrell, Meads, Barron, Stamp, Fewlass, Payne, Clarke, Esslemont. Substitutes: Hough, Lovegrove, Cox, Bowering
Referee: G Hewer (RFL).