Chester 0-1 Gateshead
Gateshead's longest serving player, James Curtis, popped up with a stunning winner 16 minutes time at Chester to put the Heed into the 1st round of the FA Cup for the fourth time in five years.
The 31-year-old central defender, with a decade's service at the International Stadium, struck a stunning volley into the far corner to put Gateshead in the hat.
The Tynesiders had the better of the game but were indebted to a superb save by previously redundant goalkeeper Adam Bartlett late on to prevent a replay.
It was a fourth consecutive home game without scoring for a shot-shy Chester, the other three having all ended goal-less, bur for the Heed it was a 5th straight win.
Gateshead boss Gary Mills was delighted with his side's resilience and is looking forward to the 1st round draw.
"It was a great strike from big James Curtis to win it and we're delighted to be in the 1st round," said Mills who took York City to the 3rd round a couple of years ago.
"We were on the front foot from the first whistle and created two or three good chances in the first half, including one in the first minute when we got behind them.
"We had to be patient and dig deep in the second half. The goal was unbelievable and it's special moments like that that get you into the next round of the FA Cup."
Gateshead were almost ahead in the first minute, James Marwood exchanging passes with Liam Hatch before shooting past advancing keeper John Danby and the post.
Rob Ramshaw had a shot deflected wide and Hatch looped a header over the bar but the tie soon became scrappy at a bright and blustery Deva Stadium.
Conference strugglers Chester rarely threatened and Marwood went close again just past the half hour when his shot at the back post from Hatch's cross was deflected for a corner.
The Blues started the second half on the front foot but their efforts were comfortably repelled, Jamie Chandler's heavy touch preventing him from making more of Hatch's pull back at the other end.
Craig Baxter's cross was then chested down by the hard working Hatch whose shot hit Danby and deflected over the bar.
Hatch's header from Boro loanee Lewis Sirrell's cross then saw Chandler put a dipping volley over the bar as the Heed continued to look the likelier side.
Former Sunderland defender Danny Higginbotham moved up front in the later stages in attempt to beef up the Chester front line.
The 33-year-old gave Gateshead a scare when he headed Lewis Turner's centre across goal without either Gareth Seddon or Craig Lindfield getting a touch.
Jamie Reid then sent Seddon on a run at goal but the experienced striker, challenged by Ben Clark, fired wide - and it proved to be a costly miss.
Curtis's header from Colin Larkin's corner was blocked but when Clark then found defensive partner Curtis a magnificent left volley flew into the corner of the net for the winner.
Bartlett made a crucial save on the line to deny on loan Leeds United defender Ross Killock a late leveller as the Heed deservedly went through at the first time of asking.
Chester: Danby, L.Turner, Kay (Williams 55), Killock, Higginbotham, McIntyre, Lindfield (Horan 84), N.Turner, Titchiner (Jarret 46), Seddon, Reed
Subs (not used): Heath, Fearon
Gateshead: Bartlett, Baxter, Sirrell, Chandler, Curtis, Clark, Larkin, Turnbull, Hatch, Ramshaw (Magnay 75), Marwood
Subs (not used): Brodie, Cummins, Boyes, Baird (gk), Brown, Tait
Goal: Curtis (74)
Referee: Wayne Barratt (Worcestershire)
Adam Bartlett and Craig Baxter
Liam Hatch. Photos by Terry Marland.