Gateshead 2-0 Cambridge United
Gateshead manager Ian Bogie believes his side's home form will keep the club in the Blue Square Premier as a tough season back in the top flight reaches a climax.
Daryl Clare ended his goal drought with a precious double to earn a vital win over mid-table Cambridge United as the Tynesiders held their nerve at the International Stadium.
The game turned late on with Gateshead holding on to a slender lead following Clare's stunning 38th minute opener.
Home keeper Paul Farman made his only save of the game, superbly saving low to his right from sub Antonio Murray's 20 yard drive.
Aiden Palmer inexplicably knocked the rebound over the bar from eight yards with the goal at his mercy and within an instant it was game over.
Simon Brown fisted clear a Wayne Phillips corner in his six yard box and when former U's winger Andy Parkinson hooked a shot goalwards Rory Macauley handled.
Clare, approaching a double century of Conference goals, hammered home the spot kick to give Gateshead a fifth win from their last six home game and end an eight game personal drought.
"Clare took his goal very well and was clinical with the penalty," said Gateshead boss Ian Bogie "his build up and strike for the opener was good enough to win any game of football.
"It was a big win for us which we must back up at Wrexham on Monday. We're in a good position within the relegation shake up but it is not over yet.
"The lads produced a dogged and determined performance. We deserved the win and our home form will keep us up as away we've been abysmal at times."
"Our destiny has always been in our own hands and that remains the case. The spirit we showed against Cambridge was fantastic and we need that for the tremaining five games."
Apart from an early 22 yard Danny Crow shot that fizzed wide the U's created little and the first half was a dour affair with Gateshead understandably tense..
A great run from Peter Winn from half way saw Clare's lay off find Parkinson whose shot was blocked with Phil Turnbull's follow up deflected wide.
Gateshead lost key defender James Curtis with a hamstring strain on the half hour with left back Paul Heckingbottom switching to the centre of defence to put in an assured performance.
Alongside him, Gateshead-born Chris Swailes belied his 39 years with a commanding display to leave the returning Farman well protected.
With half-time looming Clare showed great composure to take Andy Ferrell's lobbed through ball, sidestep two defenders and drill a left foot shot into the far corner.
Chances were again at a premium in an improved second half before Clare settled the issue to improve Gateshead's chances of avoiding the drop.
"We had a little spell at the start and missing the open goal late on changed the game but Gateshead deserved to win the game," said U's manager Martin Ling.
"I don't want the season to dye out like a damp squib. That's how it's turning out but I won't rest on my laurels until the season is done."
Gateshead: Farman, Baxter, Heckingbottom, Ferrell, Curtis (Cave 32m), Swailes, Parkinson, Turnbull, Armstrong (Wake 84m), Clare, Winn (Phillips 74m). Subs (not used): Provett (gk), Hurren.
Goals: Clare (38, 83-pen)
Booked: Armstrong, Wake
Shots/Hdrs On: 5, Shots/Hdrs Off: 1, Corners: 9.
Cambridge United: Brown, Palmer, Saah, Partridge, Crow, McAuley, Carden, Russell (Marriott 74m), Neilson (Murray 60m), Roberts, Willock (Phillips 60m). Subs (not used): Coulson, Reason.
Shots/Hdrs On: 2, Shots/Hdrs Off: 4, Corners: 2.
Referee: Paul Bankes (Bootle)
Rain storm - Peter Winn attacks the Cambridge United defence during Gateshead's 2-0 win at the International stadium. Photo by Steven Hadlow.
Daryl Clare tucks home the 83rd minute penalty to seal victory over the U's. Photo by Martin Avery.