Newport County 1-0 Gateshead
Gateshead boss Ian Bogie was left fuming after Dorset referee Justin Amie put a dent in The Heed's play-off hopes.
Amie controversially sent off defender Carl Magnay for a challenge on Newport's Elliott Buchanan just before half-time with the home side already ahead.
It was to be a fatal blow though the ten-man Tynesiders, who host Luton Town on Tuesday, battled gamely in the second half without reward.
"At the very worst it should have been a yellow card for Magnay," said Bogie.
"It was an awful decision and we also had a couple of penalty claims for handball turned down.
"It is hard enough trying to win a game with 11 men when you are trailing away from home without unjustly having a man sent off.
"We had a real go with 10 men in the second half.
"We penned Newport in and they only had one real threat at goal which Paul Farman dealt with
"I couldn't have asked for anymore from the players and we've now got a massive game at home to Luton Town on Tuesday that we must win."
It turned out to be a nightmare first start for former Chelsea reserves centre back Magnay who was deputising for the injured James Curtis.
Magnay will now be banned for three games as will Liam Hatch who picked up his 15th booking of the season after dropping back into defence following Magnay's dismissal.
It was only the second time The Heed had failed to score in 40 league games this season and the 4th time in a row they had seen a man sent off against Newport.
David Pipe appeared to handle Alan O'Brien's third-minute cross and then County had appeals for handball turned down at the other end.
The only goal of the game came in the 12th minute when The Heed defence failed to deal with an Andy Sandell corner and Ryan Charles scored from near the line.
Hatch volleyed over from six yards after a Jon Shaw knockdown before Magnay saw red for an innocuous challenge on goalscorer Charles.
Farman made an excellent save from Sam Foley's 20-yard volley in a rare County threat after the break.
Late pressure then almost brought an equaliser but Micky Cummins miscued when well placed and sub Josh Gillies shot straight at Exiles keeper Karl Darlow.
Newport County: Darlow, Warren, Hughes, Pipe, Sandell, Foley, Minshull, Porter, Jarvis, Charles (Rose 85) Buchanan
Subs (not used): Thompson, Rodgers, Knights, Read.
Goals: Charles (12)
Gateshead: Farman, Baxter, Dummett, Chandler, Magnay, Clark, Brittain (Gillies 59), Cummins, Shaw, Hatch, O'Brien (Gate 60)
Subs (not used): Deasy, Odhiambo, Carruthers
Bookings: Hatch (58)
Sendings off: Magnay (41)
Referee: Justin Amey