Gateshead 1-0 Chippenham Town
Captain Kris Gate described it as the ugliest game he had played in and manager Ian Bogie admitted the performance hadn't been great - but Gateshead are nevertheless through to the last 16 of the FA Trophy.
Zamaretto Southern premier division visitors Chippenham Town gave as good as they got for an hour before a first move of quality saw Graeme Armstrong grab the all important winner.
Bluebirds keeper Chris Snoddy then made a string of saves, including a beauty from Daryl Clare, to prevent further damage as Gateshead finally hit their straps in the final half hour.
Paul Farman didn't have a save to make in the game and the single goal win took Gateshead into the last 16 for the first time since 1996 and a trip to Barrow in the third round.
"It wasn't a great performance but you have to give credit to Chippenham. They made life difficult for us, but it is all about winning in cup football.
"We were poor in the first half and better in the second. The goal allowed us to play with more freedom and we could have scored more goals in the final third of the game.
"The bottom line is that we are through to the last 16 and with a quarter-final place at stake it will be a big game at Barrow on Saturday week."
The lowest crowd of the season, just 216, made their way to a cold, but snow and ice free, International Stadium and there was little to warm their spirits in a disappointing first half.
The Tynesiders were jittery at the back early on with James Curtis having to slide a Ben Highmore cross over the bar in the opening 30 seconds.
A wayward Phil Cave pass then set up a chance for Highmore who spared the left back's blushes when he dragged his shot wide.
Gateshead struggled to get any momentum in the first half as Chippenham coped comfortably with the visitors keeper Chris Snoddy forced into only one save.
That came on the half hour when he blocked Phil Turnbull's 22 yard drive with his legs and there was little improvement in the early exchanges of the second half.
Ashley Williams' 52nd minute cross struck Luke Gullick's shoulder and looped over the bar but Chippenham failed to threaten the home goal for the rest of the half.
Gateshead finally produced a move of quality after 59 minutes and it brought the all important goal and Armstrong's 7th goal of the season.
Turnbull found space on the left side of the box and his measured cross beyond the back post saw McDermott cushion a volleyed pass into the path of Armstrong.
The striker immediately swept a first time shot into the bottom corner and Gateshead went on to dominate without adding to their total.
Chippenham were now firmly on the back foot and Snoddy saved from Gate while Wayne Phillips' ball over the top saw Armstrong hook an angled drive wide of the far post.
Clare's flick then saw Phillips shoot against Snoddy's legs while a sublime move involving Gate and Clare saw the latter's curler towards the top corner superbly saved by Snoddy.
Gate and sub. Steven Richardson both had shots turned past the post while Phillips cut inside late on to hit a right foot shot that flew inches past the angle.
If the opening hour had been instantly forgettable the final half hour was much more encouraging ahead of Saturday's Blue Square Premier game against Luton Town at the International Stadium.
Gateshead: Farman, Baxter, Cave (Robinson 45), Gate, Curtis Williams, McDermott Richardson (77), Turnbull, Armstrong, Clare, Phillips
Subs: Provett (gk), Francis, Baptist
Chippenham Town: Snoddy, Adams, Tindle, Williams, Casey, Kite, Lye, Gullick, Powell (Griffin 62), Highmore (Allison (75), Martin
Subs: Hussey (gk)
Referee: Richard Clark (Morpeth)
Gateshead captain Kris Gate hits a left foot shot at goal
Bluebirds keeper Chris Snoddy rises above Daryl Clare and a defensive colleague
Graeme Armstrong celebrates his winner on the hour. Photos by Steven Hadlow