Gateshead 2-1 Kidderminster Harriers
Gateshead put on one of their best performances of the season at home to move into 4th place in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
A Micky Cummins header midway through the first half and a Yemi Odubade strike 84 seconds into the completed the double over Kidderminster Harriers.
The Heed then missed their first penalty of the season on 70 minutes when Jon Shaw's spot kick was touched against the bar by Harriers keeper Tony Breeden.
Former Gateshead target Luke Jones was sent off for a foul on Yemi Odubade in the same incident.
Shaw then hit the post before Tim Deasy gave away a needless penalty 11 minutes from time despatched by Nick Wright to set up a nervy finale.
An impressive Gateshead should have been home and hosed after a great performance in a six-pointer thriller.
"It wouldn't be Gateshead if everyone wasn't on tenter hooks until the final whistle," said manager Ian Bogie ruefully.
"At 2-0 we were very comfortable. It should have been 3-0 with the penalty and after that it could have been four or five.
"The lads have been magnificent. We've exceeded all expectations this season and they deserve it because of the work they have put in on the training field.
"They were disappointed in the dressing room not to have won more convincingly after creating so many chances.
"But it was a great performance man for man, a third win of the new year and it's great to be back in a play-off position."
The opening 20 minutes, while never dull, provided little of note but the game sprung to life thereafter.
Odubade's surging run saw Chris Moore's cross glance off a defender's head for Gillies to force a first save from Breeden.
Gillies then broke into the box to see his deflected shot clawed away by Breeden for a corner that brought the opening goal.
Gillies' pinpoint delivery saw Cummins crash a bullet header into the roof of the net for his 5th goal of the season.
Harriers new boy Dan Bradley twice shot over from distance while Odubade's shot on the turn was saved by Breeden.
The goal had opened up the game and defender James Curtis had a great chance to double the lead from Gillies' deflected cross.
Left with a ten-yard free header Curtis, approaching his 400th game for Gateshead, could not direct his effort wide of Breeden.
A trademark Phil Turnbull step-over brought a 25-yard drive that flew over and then great skill from Odubade set up another chance.
The striker found Moore who cut inside to hit a left foot shot wide of the post.
Kidderminster's first effort on target came three minutes from half-time but Jamille Matt's weak header did not trouble Deasy.
Lee Vaughan then shot straight at Deasy from distance but Gateshead were soon back in the ascendancy and two up after the break.
James Marwood replaced the lively Gillies, struck down by illness, at the interval and took over where his fellow 21-year-old left off.
Marwood's impact was immediate. Moving inside on the edge of the box he slipped a ball into the path of Odubade who duly found the far corner.
Odubade was proving a handful and his shot on the turn was blocked on the line by Breeden and scrambled past the post.
Gateshead had a scare when Sam Rents had to spread himself to block Matt's goalbound shot after Deasy had half cleared on the edge of the box.
A long ball down the right then cleared Rents but Harriers sub Steve Guinan shot into the side netting.
The pace of the game was unrelenting and Shaw turned his marker to shoot just wide and then Turnbull's shot was deflected wide.
Marwood sent Odubade sprinting clear from half way but again Breeden triumphed.
Jones was adjudged to have bundled over Odubade inside the box and saw red, Shaw's blasted spot kick turned against the bar by Breeden.
A Nick Wright shot was turned into the side netting by Deasy while Shaw hit the post with a left foot drive after he was set up by livewire sub Marwood.
Kidderminster, unbeaten in 11 games, had been second best for most of the game but they were handed a lifeline in the 79th minute.
Deasy's rash challenge on Matt near the byline allowed Wright to reduce the deficit from 12 yards.
What should have been an emphatic win was now anything but though Marwood had a shot tipped past the post and another that struck a defender.
Guinan was well wide from distance while Moore sprinted half the length of the pitch pursued by defenders, one of which blocked his effort on goal.
Pulsating fare for a midweek crowd of 724, another win and a great all round performance.
Gateshead: Deasy, Baxter, Rents, Gillies (Marwood 46), Curtis, Clark, Moore, Turnbull, Shaw, Odubade (Brittain (85), Cummins (Odhiambo (90)
Subs (not used): Wilson (gk), Carruthers
Goals: Cummins (25), Odubade (47)
Bookings: Baxter (51), Deasy (79), Rents (90)
Kidderminster Harriers: Breeden, Vaughan, Jones, Sharpe, Demetriou, Bradley (Byrne 71), Hankin (Wright 54), Gittings (Guinan (54), Storer, Hendrie, Matt
Subs (not used): Lyness (gk), Williams
Goal: Wright-pen (80)
Bookings: Hendrie (77)
Sent Off: Jones (70)
Referee: Darren Handley (Bolton)
* Gateshead Reserves are in Durham Challenge Cup 2nd round action tonight on Teeside at STL Northern League club Norton & Stockton Ancients, kick-off 7:45pm.
Winger Josh Gillies takes on the Kidderminster defence
Micky Cummins battles in midfield
Gateshead celebrate Micky Cummins goal
Jon Shaw takes a second half penalty. Photos by Steven Hadlow.