Hayes & Yeading Utd 2-3 Gateshead
A first half Jon Shaw hat-trick saw Gateshead remain joint top of the Blue Square Bet Premier with Wrexham after victory over Hayes & Yeading United.
The win, Gateshead's 7th of the season, set up Tuesday's big home game against fifth placed York City.
The victory at Kingfield also ended a three game winless run, the Heed appearing to be home and hosed at half-time.
Shaw's three goal blast had Gateshead in cruise control at the halfway stage - but they were hanging on at the end.
A hotly disputed 72nd minute Louie Soares penalty gave lowly Hayes & Yeading hope and that was increased when Tom Collins added a second seven minutes from time.
That set up a tense finish that had seemed highly unlikely after a far superior Gateshead had romped into a three goal lead after dominating the opening 45 minutes.
The Tynesiders had chances to add further goals after the break but didn't take them and were belatedly forced onto the back foot by the spirited Londoners.
The match stats saw Gateshead with almost 70% of the possession. Ian Bogie's side also had twice as many attempts at goal, Bogie believing the slender margin of victory was misleading.
The opener arrived midway through the first half in front of a paltry crowd at Woking, Hayes & Yeading groundsharing with the Conference South club while their new stadium is being built.
Shaw, inside the box, fired past Steve Arnold and into the bottom corner and the former England C man made it two on 34 minutes.
It was Shaw's head that did the damage this time, Micky Cummins providing the cross for a back post finish.
Gateshead were now well on top, Arnold saving from Cummins before he limped off with a thigh injury.
Replacement Delroy Preddie saved from Shaw and Chris Carruthers but was picking the ball out of the net on the stroke of half-time.
A Sam Argent handball saw Shaw head home Carruther's precision free kick at the near post to claim his third hat-trick for the club and leave Hayes & Yeading firmly on the canvas.
Shaw headed wide just before the hour and Preddie saved from Kris Gate, Yemi Odubade and Cummins as Gateshead bossed the opening 20 minutes of the second period.
The Londoners, however, were given a lifeline when James Curtis, a rock at the back, was wrongly judged to have fouled Soares inside the penalty area, the match DVD showing there was no contact whatsoever.
Soares duly converted the spot kick and the Tynesiders were wobbling when Pierre Dubois set up Collins for United's second in the 84th minute.
Late efforts from Dubois and Collins went the wrong side of the post as Gateshead claimed three points from what should have been a more convincing victory.
It was nevertheless a welcome return to winning ways and the third time this season the Tynesiders have scored three goals on their travels.
Bogie's men will now look to consolidate their place at the summit with three home games in eight days, two of them massive six-pointers against York City and Wrexham on consecutive Tuesday's.
Hayes & Yeading Utd: Arnold (Preddie 38), Argent, Cadmore, John, Franks, Bentley, Soares, Crockford, Wishart (Collins 46), Pacquette (Noble 63), Dubois
Subs (not used): Mackie, Saville
Goals: Soares-pen (72), Collins (83)
Gateshead: Farman, Odhiambo, Carruthers, Gate, Curtis, Clark, Gillies (Fisher 70), Turnbull, Shaw (Mulligan 82), Odubade, Cummins
Subs (not used): Alnwick (gk), Rents, Nix
Goals: Shaw (22, 34, 45)
Bookings: Carruthers, Curtis, Mulligan
Referee: Kevin Johnson (Weston-Super-Mare)
Photos by Ray Peploe.