Paul Blackett put the hosts in the lead midway through the first half from the penalty spot after being felled by James Belshaw.
Harrogate struck the bar and had other chances to equalise during the second 45, but their efforts proved fruitless as Gateshead secured their second straight win of pre-season.
Player-manager Mike Williamson opted to name a strong starting 11 against National League opponents, with new signing Brad James starting between the sticks.
Gateshead were the stronger of the two sides during the game’s early stages, and saw their first opportunities on the 10-minute mark as Liam Agnew saw a goalbound strike blocked from inside the area following Scott Barrow’s cross.
Agnew saw another chance go begging shortly afterwards, heading over the bar from 12 yards after Blackett’s shot was parried back into the area by Belshaw.
The Heed midfielder turned orchestrator 23 minutes in however, lifting a pinpoint pass over the Harrogate backline and into the path of Blackett, who was fouled as he attempted to bypass goalkeeper Belshaw.
The striker buried the resulting penalty into the bottom-right corner with confidence despite the ‘keeper diving the right way, handing the Heed the advantage.
Blackett was prevented from doubling the lead by Belshaw six minutes later after he was played clean through by Greg Olley’s reverse ball, with the ‘keeper reacting sharply to keep the score at one.
Town could and perhaps should have equalised eight minutes before the break, but Mark Beck could only head former Gateshead defender George Smith’s cross over the crossbar from close range.
The visitors began the second half in more confident fashion than the first, seeing the initial chance of the half fall to Warren Burrell who volleyed into the side-netting at the back post.
Simon Weaver’s side could have had two in the space of three minutes, as Connor Hall’s header struck the crossbar before Beck somehow failed to convert George Smith’s ball across the face of goal from only a few yards away.
Substitute Joe Leesley continued to cause problems for the Heed with his set-piece delivery on the left-flank, but fortunately for the home side there was no one with the golden touch on the end of his dangerous crosses.
The game fizzled out into typical pre-season fare after an entertaining first half, not that Williamson will mind as his side held on for their second win of pre-season.
Gateshead XI: James; Barrow (Trialist, 68’), Lees, Trialist, Nicholson; Oliver, Greenfield, Agnew (Forbes, 68’); Thomson, Blackett (Trialist, 47’), Olley (Cranston, 74’).
Unused subs: Williamson, Trialist, Stephenson.
Goals: Blackett (24’, pen)
Harrogate Town XI: Belshaw, Burrell, W Smith, Hall, G Smith, Kiernan, Emmett, Kerry, Brown (Muldoon, 45’), Jones (Leesley, 45’), Beck (Stead, 65’).
Unused subs: Cracknell.
Bookings: Brown (16’)
Referee: Geoff Eltringham