Braintree Town 3-1 Gateshead
Gateshead's faltering play-off challenge suffered another setback on a forgettable afternoon in Essex.
Mid-table Braintree Town became the 4th side this year, none of them in the top half, to put three goals past Ian Bogie's men.
The Heed lacked steel against The Iron, a disastrous start seeing them two down with just six minutes on the clock.
Britt Assombalonga's second of the afternoon ten minutes into the second half then left Gateshead a mountain they never looked like climbing.
Jamie Chandler's injury time stunner was no more than a consolation, Gateshead now closer to mid-table than the top five.
"We actually started very brightly but Braintree scored in their first two attacks and that obviously left us with a lot of work to do," said Bogie.
"You get what you deserve in football. We lacked the necessary hunger and desire and didn't earn the right to play.
"We didn't defend well enough when we didn't have the ball and were second best all over the park.
"Braintree had the lions share of the play, won all the second balls and in truth the defeat could have been heavier."
Assombalonga put The Heed on the slippery slope to defeat when he ran at the defence to curl a beauty beyond Paul Farman in the 5th minute.
A minute later it was two. Gateshead again stood off and this time Ben Wright cut inside to double the Iron's lead.
Jai Reason shot over as The Heed attempted to steady the ship, Liam Hatch heading an Alan O'Brien cross over the bar three minutes from the interval.
Any hopes of a second half comeback, however, were quickly dispelled when Assombalonga scored his second, Matt Paine having earlier been wide with head and foot
Assombalonga scored from the edge of the box and it was game over for a hugely disappointing Gateshead.
The previous three meetings between the two sides this season had been tight affairs.
On this occasion, however, Braintree coasted to victory as they maintained their good recent form at Cressing Road.
Bogie had thrown on all three substitutes before the hour mark and one of them, Micky Cummins, fired wide from fellow sub Martin Brittain's cross.
Farman saved twice from Raison before Chandler, one of three Gateshead players booked, produced a great finish in stoppage time.
Brittain's corner was cleared to the former Quaker who chested the ball down before sending a volley into the roof of the net - the only highlight of a bleak afternoon.
Braintree Town: McDonald, Thomas, Paine, O'Connor, Wells, Reason, Symons, Assombalonga, Quinton, Marks (Bailey 88), Wright (Guy 88)
Subs (not used): Haxell, Clark, Bentley
Goals: Assombalonga (5, 55), Wright (6)
Gateshead: Farman, Baxter, Dummett, Gate (Turnbull 57), Curtis, Clark, Marwood (Brittain 46), Chandler, Shaw, Hatch (Cummins 57), O'Brien
Subs (not used): Deasy, Magnay
Goal: Chandler (90+1)
Bookings: Hatch (25), Chandler (50), Turnbull (71)
Referee: J.Hopkins (Essex)
Jamie Chandler. Photos by Alan Stuckey.