Gateshead 0-1 Chester City
Gateshead manager Ian Bogie pulled no punches after his side failed to back up last week's encouraging 3-0 win over Eastbourne Borough.
With Phil Turnbull ill and new loan signings Daryl Clare and Peter Winn both handed debuts there were several changes to the side that beat Eastbourne.
The performance however was a disappointing one as Chester, deducted 25 points before the start of the season, recorded only their third win and completed the double over Gateshead.
Mark Beesley's 57th minute strike was all that separated the two sides, but in truth Chester were far more convincing winners than the score suggests.
Gateshead were well below par and outplayed during the opening hour, their efforts to salvage the game rarely looking like bearing fruition.
It was a performance that angered Bogie and his back up staff, and one that cannot be repeated if Gateshead are to survive in the Conference and look for runs in the FA Cup and Trophy.
"We were second best all over the park," said Bogie "the only saving grace is that we didn't lose by four or five, and that is down to goalkeeper Paul Farman who was excellent.
"It was an embarrassing performance. We were fortunate to reach half-time on level terms and we have been out thought, and outplayed by a club that has been in disarray for months.
"The display was well below what we expect at this club. It was inept, and the manner of defeat unacceptable."
The Tynesiders were cruelly exposed in midfield as Chester made the most of the generous time and space afforded to them.
The Deva Stadium outfit belied their position at the foot of the table with some excellent approach play, Farman making a finger tip save from Ant Barry with less than a minute on the clock.
That set the tone as Chester poured forward at will, and only another fine save from Farman denied Beesley the opener after the striker had nutmegged James Curtis in the box.
Gateshead threatened briefly from set plays with on loan debutant Winn having a header cleared off the line from an Alex Francis corner by Michael Lea.
Michael Coulson slid a Gregg Blundell cross against the bar in first half stoppage time and Beesley was again frustrated by another full length Farman save straight after the break.
A goal had to come - and it duly arrived in the 12 minutes into the second period.
Barry's half hit shot should have been dealt with but the ball broke to Beesley for the simplest of winners, though Chester then took their foot off the pedal.
Curtis, one of the few Tynesiders to impress, powered a header just over the bar from a Francis free kick while Clare turned sharply inside the box only to screw his shot wide of the far post.
Substitute Armand One flashed a 25 yard snap shot just past the angle as Gateshead finished the game with four strikers on the pitch.
In a rare Chester foray Ben Wilkinson's angled shot flew wide of the far post, and then Clare set up Michael Mackay who blazed over under pressure.
"Clare will score goals if he is provided with the right service and Winn will do a job on the left," added Bogie "but there were few positives in the game and we have to bounce back against Southport on Saturday."
Gateshead: Farman, Williams, Cave (Mackay 80m), Gate, Curtis, Swailes, Phillips (Baxter 61m), Francis, Armstrong, Clare , Winn (One 61m)
Subs; (not used) McDermott, Robinson
Referee: Jez Simpson (Lancaster)
Gateshead debutant Daryl Clare shoots wide against his former club Chester City. Photo: Martin Avery