Gateshead 3-1 Forest Green Rovers
Gateshead got the win they needed in this tense relegation six-pointer to move eight points clear of Forest Green Rovers and move above Eastbourne and Ebbsfleet in the table.
The Tynesiders got off to a flying start with an early goal from Graeme Armstrong but were pegged back by a Danny Powell solo effort.
A world class strike from Peter Winn immediately restored Gateshead's lead and then Brian Wake finally settled the nerves with a third goal ten minutes from time.
It was a vital win and, without a game on Saturday, Gateshead will hope results go their way and then look to record consecutive league wins for the first time by beating Wrexham at home on Tuesday.
"It was a masive three points," admitted coach Paul Thompson "the table looks a lot better but we need to back this win up with another against Wrexham.
"We got the start we wanted but it proved to be a tense 90 minutes and Forest Green certainly aren't the worst team we've played.
"Winn's goal was out of the top drawer and just what we needed after Rovers had just equalised and we then defended very well in the second half.
"It was good to erase the memory of what hapened at Rushden & Diamonds and if we can now get three points against Wrexham it will take the pressure off ahead of the trip to Oxford United."
Gateshead were ahead after ten minutes when Armstrong finishing a move he had earlier played a hand in with an eight yard voley into the roof of the net.
Phil Turnbull's shot from outside the box had looped up invitingly off a Rovers defender but Armstrong's finish was exemplary.
Turnbull, impressive in midfield, then had a shot charged down and Daryl Clare, back in the side after illness, shot past the angle.
Clare also had an effort ruled out for a marginal offside after Armstrong had found his strike partner with a header.
A poor clearance from Forest Green's on loan Coventry City goalkeeper Danny Ireland saw Armstrong's attempt to embarrass the stranded Australian fail.
The visitors hadn't troubled Gateshead in the opening half hour but Paul Farman had to make a comfortable save from Tomi Ameobi's header.
Reeche Styche then almost got on the end of a through ball before Forest Green levelled following a Gateshead throw in opposite the visitors 18 yard line.
Craig Baxter's throw was too long for Chris Swailes and the ball was soon swept to Powell inside his own half and just outside the centre circle.
The on loan MK Dons midfielder was allowed to run half the length of the field despite the presence of three defenders, and then cut between Baxter and James Curtis to shoot past Farman.
Gateshead's response however was immediate. Armstrong challenged for a high ball from Farman's free kick and the ball broke to Winn.
In an instant the Iron man unleashed a thunderbolt from just outside the far corner of the penalty area that flew into the far top corner.
It was a stunning strike and Gateshead almost made it three when Paul Heckingbottom was twice denied by Ireland from Parkinson's corner.
With the game still in the balance both sides slugged it out in the second half on a much improved pitch that was a credit to the groundstaff.
Curtis released Armstrong down the left but his cross was too heavy to pick out Clare and chances were at a premium until the final quarter of an hour.
Winn shot over from 25 yards before Farman almost gifted Forest Green an equaliser 12 minutes from time when his pass to Baxter was cut out.
An infield ball set up Powell but Curtis made a superb block as Farman attempted to regain his ground.
Ireland then replicated Farman's gaffe when his clearance fell straight to Wake who homed in on goal only to be denied by a last ditch tackle.
Wake however made no mistake when Turnbull found Wayne Phillips whose cross-shot was palmed clear by Ireland only for Wake to find the bottom corner from eight yards.
Wake had another great chance but was unable to pull the trigger as another goal saving tackle came in and then Phillips shot just over the bar from 16 yards.
Gateshead had done enough to pick up their 10th, and one of their most important, league wins of the season with another nine games to negotiate.
Gateshead: Farman, Baxter, Curtis, Swailes, Heckingbottom, Parkinson (Phillips 60), Hurren (Francis 60), Turnbull, Winn, Clare, Armstrong (Wake 68). Subs (not used): Provett (gk), Buchanan.
Goals: Armstrong (10), Winn (41), Wake (80)
Forest Green: Ireland, Armstrong, Thorne (Else 90), Hodgkiss, Stonehouse, Smith, Powell, Platt (Davies 77), Ameobi, Rankin (Brown 69), Styche. Subs: (not used): Wilkinson, Henry.
Booked: Hodgkiss, Thorne.
Goals: Powell (39)
Ref: Tony Harrington (Hartlepool).
Gateshead players congratulate Brian Wake after the striker's 80th minute goal confirmed victory over Forest Green Rovers.
Brian Wake is frustrated by the Forest Green defence. Photos by Martin Avery.