Table-topping Wrexham nudged three points clear in the race for the Blue Square Bet Premier title after grinding out another 1-0 win on their travels.
Brett Ormerod struck on the hour at Hartlepool FC’s Victoria Park to plunder another three precious points for Andy Morrell’s men. The victory was all the more important following Grimsby Town’s shock 2-0 defeat at Braintree Town.
Just two years ago to the day a distracted Wrexham side were crushed 2-7 by the Heed, but this time around the Reds were outstanding defensively to secure successive 1-0 away wins in the league, with the other being at Hereford United seven days earlier.
There was two changes to the side that defeated Gainsborough Trinity 3-1 in the FA Trophy semi-final first leg.
Declan Walker made way for Stephen Wright at right back, whilst Johnny Hunt replaced Rob Ogleby in attack.
The Heed, playing for the first time at their adopted home, started brightly with James Brown and Ryan Donaldson peppering wayward volleys in the general direction of Chris Maxwell.
However, Wrexham almost broke the deadlock after seven minutes. Joe Clarke’s drive cannoned off Danny Wright and Adam Bartlett managed to arc his body enough in the other direction to tip the ball onto the base of the post before James Curtis hacked clear.
The ‘hosts’ enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening 20 minutes and should have taken the lead after executing a length-of-pitch breakaway, however, James Brown side-footed wide from five yards after Josh Gillies put it on a plate for him.
Wrexham’s attack clicked into gear soon after and only a superb goal-line clearance by Heed skipper Jamie Chandler denied Hunt a goal after Jay Harris played him into space.
Harris and Hunt scuffed shots wide as the visitors finally asserted some dominance.
From the resulting corner referee Seb Stocksbridge appeared to award Wrexham a penalty, but after consulation with his assistant gave Gateshead a free-kick.
It was a seemingly baffling u-turn in a half devoid of stand-out moments.
The Heed bossed the opening ten minutes of the second half before Wrexham forged ahead.
Clarke’s corner found Stephen Wright and his thumping header cannoned back off the cross-bar into the path of Ormerod, who made no mistake from close-range.
Wrexham should have doubled the lead five minutes later but Chris Westwood nodded just wide of the post from Dean Keates’ corner.
The Reds skipper should have done better from Joe Clarke’s free-kick, centred to him just inside the box, but he fired well over as the training ground move almost paid dividends.
Liam Hatch directed a weak header into the arms of Maxwell before Gateshead fashioned their best chance of the game.
Joe Clarke’s loose pass was seized upon and Ryan Donaldson raced into space, shrugged off the attentions of a trailing Martin Riley before firing a shot wide with only Maxwell to beat.
It was a rare clear-cut chance as Wrexham’s defence shone brightly in the night sky, locking up three more points in the quest for automatic promotion.
Wrexham (4-3-3): Maxwell; S Wright, Riley, Westwood, Ashton; Clarke, Keates (cpt), Harris; Ormerod (Little 88), Wright, Hunt (Cieslewicz 77).
Subs: Walker, Ogleby, Morrell.
Referee: Seb Stocksbridge (Co Durham)
Away: 83 (although a number went through the home end turnstiles by mistake!)
Gateshead: Galpin (52, foul)
Wrexham: Westwood (24, foul), Ormerod (42, foul)