Grimsby Town 2-0 Gateshead
Gateshead's Blue Square Bet Premier play-off hopes nose dived after a disappointing defeat in Lincolnshire which saw them slip to 10th in the table.
The depleted Tynesiders were undone by two Frankie Artus corners, one in each half, that were headed home by Mariners defender Shaun Pearson who had only scored once previously for the club.
That second, 11 minutes into the second half, killed off Gateshead who carried little goal threat and are now six points from the play-offs with four games left.
"It was a poor performance and we played with no real purpose," said disappointed Gateshead boss Ian Bogie "we weren't at our best and didn't do enough to win.
"It's disappointing but we never got going. We huffed and puffed without ever working their goalkeeper and generally lacked a spark."
Jon Shaw put a header wide before a Jamie Chandler foul on Artus saw Conor Townsend's 16th minute free kick cleared for a corner which brought Grimsby's opener.
Pearson stopped to head home after Artus had swung the ball into the near post, The Heed having conceded from a corner in their 1-0 defeat at Newport in their last away game.
Jon Shaw had a shot deflected wide off Simon Church before Paul Farman had to save from Pearson following another Town corner.
The game could have turned on the half hour when Josh Gillies was taken out just inside the box by Gary Silk, but Middlesbrough referee Ross Joyce inexplicably failed to point to the spot.
It was a decision that baffled everyone, Town nearly adding insult to injury when they broke straight upfield to almost double their lead.
Farman palmed clear Liam Hearn's cross and then Michael Coulson latched on to the loose ball only to shhot over the bar.
Shaw had a shot blocked early in the second half by former Quaker Ian Miller but it was the Mariners who doubled their lead four minutes later through Pearson's second of the afternoon.
On loan Newcastle defender Paul Dummett headed Artus' corner into the face of Pearson, the ball rebounding into the net.
Coulson's angled shot lacked the power to trouble Farman, a misfiring Heed now faced with a mountain to climb.
Gateshead lacked a spark and rarely looked like getting back into the game, Town goalkeeper James McKeown having an untroubled afternoon.
Ben Clark had a shot blocked by Craig Disley as The Heed huffed and puffed while Coulson went past Baxter only to shoot well wide.
Hearn, a rival of Shaw's for the Golden Boot, shot over the bar as Grimsby looked to take the game away from Bogie's under strength side..
Bogie introduced pace pair Yemi Odubade, after an eight game lay-off, and James Marwood on the hour in an attempt to galvanise his side.
It was Grimsby, beaten 1-0 on Tyneside back in August, however, who went close to making it three ten minutes from the end.
Hearn's cross saw Farman make a fine reaction save from Mariners substitute Andi Thanoj.
When the ball broke fellow sub, and former Gateshead loanee, Peter Winn, looked a certain scorer but he blasted the ball against the underside of the bar.
Kris Gate forced a rare save from McKeown in stoppage time with a long distance strike but by then Grimsby had wrapped up a comfortable win.
Grimsby Town: McKeown, Silk, Pearson, Townsend, Miller, Church (Thanoj 74), Disley, Artus, Coulson, Hearn, Hughes-Mason (Winn 72)
Subs (not used): I'Anson, Soares, Duffy,
Goals: Pearson (15, 56)
Bookings: Pearson (17)
Gateshead: Farman, Baxter, Rents, Gate, Dummett, Clark, O'Brien (Moore 81), Chandler, Shaw, Gillies (Odubade 61), Cummins (Marwood 61)
Subs (not used): Deasy (gk), Odhiambo, Moore
Booking: Rents (26)
Referee: Ross Joyce (Middlesbrough)
Sam Rents. Photos courtesy of Grimsby Town FC.