It took just over an hour for the deadlock to be broken when Josh Kayode put the Heed ahead, only for Jordan Nicholson to level the game up four minutes later for Hereford.
Tommy O’Sullivan struck deep into injury time to hand the visitors their second defeat of the season, despite a positive performance.
Mike Williamson opted not to alter a winning side too much and made just the one change from Saturday’s win over Boston – a straight swap between himself and Michael Nelson.
In truth, the opening half-an-hour of proceedings offered up very little in the way of entertainment for the crowd at Edgar Street – not that the Heed will have cared with Hereford on the back foot for much of the opening 45.
The first opportunity arrived bang on the half-hour mark and it proved to be the clearest chance of the half as Nicky Deverdics found JJ O’Donnell at the near post with a pinpoint free-kick, but the unmarked winger headed wide of goal.
After getting the first taste of goal it seemed Gateshead wanted more and created another chance from out wide one minute later – this time Scott Barrow’s lofted ball was headed into goalkeeper Brandon Hall’s hands by Josh Kayode at the near post.
The Bulls weren’t out of things by any means however, and Jordan Nicholson showed why he remained a threat from the wing by cutting onto his left foot and curling not too far wide of Brad James’ goal.
Kayode saw another chance fall his way on the stroke of half time and this team he beat the ‘keeper by lifting the ball over his head, only for his shot towards an empty net to be blocked by the covering defender.
The Heed looked to open the second half on the front foot and again saw the first sight of goal, this time Kayode set his sights from 25 yards before firing just clear of the crossbar.
It would be Kayode, who had been lively all night, who put Gateshead in front with just over an hour gone. The forward cut in from the left and beat his marker with raw pace, before sending a shot crashing off the post and back off Bulls ‘keeper Hall before nestling in the net.
Unfortunately, the lead would last just four minutes as Hereford drew level with their first real chance of the half.
Kieran Thomas’ ball in from the left wing was missed by Williamson in the box, and Nicholson was able to slot home unmarked at the back post to bring things back to square one.
After surviving an initial period in which the Bulls gained the momentum and pushed for a second goal, Gateshead began to regain their composure and perhaps should have been ahead again through Jordan Preston.
Kayode found Olley with a pinpoint through ball inside the area and the midfielder’s low cross was met by Preston, but he cleared the crossbar with his 15-yard effort.
But there was a twist in the tale to come, and at the death Hereford found a second goal to steal the three points from under Gateshead noses.
A defensive mix-up saw the ball fall the way of O’Sullivan with only Brad James to beat, and the Bulls substitute slotted home from close range to ensure the points stayed in Hereford.
Hereford XI: Hall; Hodgkiss (c), Bodenham, Pope (Owen-Evans, 57’), Cullinane-Liburd, Gowling, Ash, Thomas, Styche (Liburd, 68’), Jagger Cane, Nicholson.
Unused subs: Symons, O’Sullivan, Maye.
Goals: Nicholson (66’), O’Sullivan (90+5’)
Bookings: Gowling (52’)
Gateshead XI: James; Nicholson, Lees, Williamson, Barrow (c) (Blackett, 85’); Deverdics, Agnew (Forbes, 80’); Tear (Preston, 73’), Olley, O’Donnell; Kayode.
Unused subs: Guthrie, Nelson.
Goals: Kayode (62’)
Referee: Jon Kenny
MOTM: Josh Kayode
Attendance: 1,703 (20 Gateshead)