Gateshead 2-3 Ebbsfleet United
Dejected Gateshead boss Ian Bogie lamented the poor home form that is threatening to derail the Tynesiders push for the play-offs.
Bogie described his side as a 'soft touch' at the International Stadium after the Fleet become the third bottom half side to come from behind in the second half to get a result on Tyneside this year.
Gateshead have conceded three goals after leading in each of their last three Conference home games and Bogie was furious with his misfiring players.
It was deja-vu as The Heed played well in the first half, went in front but then collapsed like a pack of cards after the break as belief visibly drained away from the players.
Ebbsfleet, largely innocuous in the first half, suddenly grew in stature, equalised, and then poached two more goals before Jon Shaw scored a last minute consolation.
By then many of the Heed Army had left to drown their sorrows as their favourites once again self imploded and conceded costly late goals at the International Stadium.
All the good work gained from a stirring win at York City the previous week was undone, another lamentable display having waved goodbye to the FA Trophy at Luton Town the previous weekend.
Gateshead fans sup their half-time beverage ill at ease as an interval lead has proved to be anything but an indicator of a home win since the turn of the year.
Jekyll & Hyde performances have become the norm and if consistency does not become the watchword in the remaining dozen games the play-offs will disappear into the horizon.
There could be no complaint from the faithful regarding the opening 45 minutes against the Fleet, except maybe that not enough clear cut chances were created.
The Heed began promisingly causing the Fleet problems down both flanks and were ahead on 15 minutes through Micky Cummins' 10th goal of the season, an impressive return from the midfielder.
James Curtis threaded a great ball into the path of fellow defender Craig Baxter who pulled the ball back for Cummins to lash home at the near post.
A Baxter cross shot drifted just past the far post and Sam Rents' shot was deflected wide, Ebbsfleet finally threatening on the half hour.
Ricky Shakes' ball left Rents for dead and found Neil Barrett who shot horribly wide as the visitors failed to muster an effort on target in the first half.
Curtis was just wide with a header from a James Marwood corner and Jon Shaw's centre across the six yard box just eluded Jamie Chandler as Gateshead played with a good tempo.
The Fleet had shown very little but the Tynesiders are brittle on home soil and doubts were to creep in just ten minutes after the restart.
Cummins had just the chance to double the lead from Shaw's lay-off but his low drive was blocked by Lance Cronin.
A Baxter foul on Liam Enver-Marum then saw the striker's 22-yard free kick clip the wall and thud against the underside of the bar.
Barrett was the first to react to head home the rebound - cue Gateshead's now customary wobbles at the International Stadium.
The ball now became a hot potato, no-one stood up to the plate or took the game by the scruff of the neck. Self doubt crept in and the ball went long.
Jamie Chandler worked an opening after a one-two with former Darlington team-mate Liam Hatch but his shot from inside the box was deflected wide.
Worst fears were then confirmed when the now influential Enver-Marum slid in sub Nathaniel Pinney's 78th minute cross at the near post.
On loan teenage Reading striker Gozie Ugwu put the final nail in the coffin from the penalty spot after he had been brought down by Curtis ten minutes later.
The Heed Army headed for the exits in their droves but those who stayed were rewarded by a last gasp Shaw close range header from Josh Gillies' pinpoint cross - too little too late, however.
Another opportunity for a double presents itself against on Tuesday when relegation threatened Hayes & Yeading are in town - hope springs eternal!
Gateshead: Farman, Baxter, Rents, Chandler, Curtis, Clark, O'Brien (Gate 90) Turnbull, Shaw, Marwood (Gillies 69), Cummins (Hatch 69)
Subs (not used): Deasy (gk), Magnay
Goals: Cummins (15), Shaw (90)
Ebbsfleet Utd: Cronin, Stone, Lorraine, Marwa, Willock (Pinney 55), Shakes, Phipp (Herd 55), Enver-Marum (Stavrinou 90), Smith, Ugwu, Barrett
Subs (not used): McNeil, Azeez
Goals: Barrett (55), Enver-Marum (78), Ugwu-pen (88)
Bookings: Barratt, Marwa
Referee: Peter Bankes (Bootle)
Micky Cummins celebrates his opening goal with Jamie Chandler
Paul Farman punches clear
Ebbsfleet seal the three points from the penalty spot. Photos by Martin Avery and Steven White (www.imagesbysw.com).