Gateshead 2-0 Hayes & Yeading United
Gateshead recorded their first clean sheet in 12 games as they eased to a comfortable win over lowly Hayes & Yeading United to keep the promotion fires burning.
There is still much to do but The Heed put recent disappointments at home behind them with a solid and determined display.
A rainlashed International Stadium saw the lowest league crowd of the season, 465, have the rare luxury of seeing their side perform well in both halves.
Hayes & Yeading failed to give Paul Farman a shot to save, their cause not helped by the dismissal of substitute Freddie Warren sent off 11 minutes into the second half.
Already one up through Kris Gate's 33rd minute header Jon Shaw, inevitably, made the game safe with his 32nd goal of the campaign.
The Tynesiders had chances to post a more convincing victory but didn't take them on a night when the visitors never looked like getting back into the game.
A great ball from Craig Baxter on his weaker left foot found Shaw in space on the right after six minutes.
Shaw's cross picked out the recalled Gate who put a six yard free header wide, seeing the ball late after it had a cleared a United defender.
Pedro Monteiro's square ball from the left side of his box to on loan Wycombe Wanderers keeper Steve Arnold was then cut out by the alert Shaw.
The striker's first time angled drive smashed against the post and Gateshead were back again when Alan O'Brien's pass saw Gate's 19 yard shot turned past the post.
Shaw peeled off his marker to head a James Marwood corner powerfully into the ground, the rising ball tipped over the bar by Arnold.
The breakthrough came three minutes later when Marwood's left side corner was headed home at the near post by Gate.
O'Brien then fed Micky Cummins who in turn found the marauding Baxter who flashed an angled drive past the far post.
Shaw sent the pacy Marwood racing down the right and his pull back set up Gate only for the midfielder to lose his footing and miscue in front of goal.
Paul Dummett, who made an impressive debut on loan from Newcastle United, swung in a free kick after the break that saw Shaw's header saved by Arnold.
Warren saw red after a clash with Marwood to leave United with the proverbial mountain to climb.
Baxter's pull back created another opportunity for Cummins whose crisp 20 yard low shot was saved by a diving Arnold at the second attempt.
Shaw duly doubled the lead just past the hour when he fired past Arnold following good work by O'Brien on the left.
Gateshead had total control against the ten man Londoners and should have made it three when left in a 2 v 1 situation.
O'Brien, sent clear by Cummins, broke into the box and elected to shoot, Arnold saving the former Newcastle winger's well struck effort.
Gate blazed over from outside the box, James Curtis having made an important challenge after the visitors had made a rare foray into the Heed penalty area.
Farman, however, remained untroubled and Jamie Hand almost turned another Marwood corner into his own net at the other end.
Substitute Phil Turnbull, who had previously started every game this season, should have added a third goal late on after a great move of over 20 passes.
Turnbull, however, fired just wide, Hayes & Yeading doubtless relieved to have escaped with just a two goal defeat.
A first half shot blocked before the ball reached the penalty area and a shot high and wide after the break their sum efforts at goal.
For Gateshead, who were full of running and had plenty of pace, the next test is a trip to Braintree this weekend, the two sides having drawn in the their three previous meetings this season
Gateshead: Farman, Baxter, Dummett, Gate (Magnay 86), Curtis, Clark, O'Brien (Gillies 74), Chandler, Shaw, Marwood, Cummins (Turnbull 80)
Subs (not used): Deasy (gk), Hatch.
Goals: Gate (34), Shaw (63)
Hayes & Yeading Utd: Arnold, Moutaouakil, Monteiro, Walsh, Cadmore, Lee, Hand (Ajala 70), Williams, Collins, Thalassitis (Warren 46), Owusu (Wishart 62).
Subs (not used): Beasant (gk)
Sent Off: Warren (57).
Referee: Ross Joyce (Middlesbrough)
Kris Gate heads Gateshead into the lead
Kris Gate celebrates
Winger Alan O'Brien takes on the Hayes & Yeading defence
Warren gets sent off for Hayes & Yeading
Jon Shaw celebrates scoring the second. Photos by Steven White www.imagesbysw.com.