Gateshead 2 Dartford 0
Dartford's longest away trip of the season was one their supporters will want to forget in a hurry.
The Darts have never scored at Gateshead and they only had one serious attempt on goal in a game the Tynesiders completely dominated.
At the other end, only splendid goalkeeping by Alan Julian (pictured) kept the score down on an afternoon when the Heed could easily have won by more at the International Stadium.
Dartford started the game on the back foot and never imposed themselves on the home side. They were pinned back in their own half for long periods and Gateshead created chances at will.
Max Cornhill came into the Darts team at the expense of Ryan Hayes. He started the game playing behind lone striker Adam Birchall, but the gap between the on-loan Gillingham man and the visitors' midfield was cavernous at times.
Gateshead seized the initiative straight away.
Julian pushed a Ben Clark volley over the bar after Dartford failed to clear a corner, and the Darts stopper then did well to deny James Marwood when he cut in from the left.
Liam Hatch went close with a downward header at the far post moment later, but Julian produced an even better save to keep the scoresheet blank.
Gateshead were celebrating when Marwood smashed the ball in from close-range but the assistant's flag was already up for offside.
The home side were overwhelming Dartford but they could easily have had a man sent-off midway through the first half. Lee Noble fouled Phil Turnbull and the pair tangled on the floor, before Turnbull appeared to catch Noble in the face - twice - with his forearm. The Darts were incensed but referee Darren England decided a caution was punishment enough.
Dartford may have felt aggrieved at that, but they could have no complaints when Gateshead finally took a deserved lead into half-time.
Craig Baxter's cross was met superbly on the volley by Marwood and this time Julian was helpless as the ball flashed into the net.
It was almost 2-0 when Hatch's fierce shot was tipped onto the bar by Julian.
Gateshead must have wondered how they were not further ahead after an opening 45 minutes in which Dartford offered no attacking threat.
They looked to show a little more ambition after the restart, with Danny Harris pushed up front alongside Birchall, but the Darts forward players scarcely saw the ball.
Nathan Collier almost turned a Marwood cross into his own net and Marwood then had two attempts to turn home a Colin Larkin centre before Julian pounced on the ball.
Centre-back James Curtis tried his luck with a shot which flew over the bar. Rob Ramshaw's close-range effort hit Collier and bounced behind. Julian got down to save a goalbound effort from Hatch.
Dartford wasted what little possession they did get and Gateshead duly kept putting them under the cosh.
It was no surprise, therefore, when a second goal arrived on 58 minutes, Ramshaw heading in a cross from the left.
Kenny Clark had Dartford's first effort on goal with 25 minutes left, heading Alex Woodyard's corner straight at Heed keeper Adam Bartlett.
The excellent Marwood was allowed to run through the Darts midfield but his strike from 20 yards flew wide.
Darts boss Tony Burman introduced Jason Prior and Ryan Hayes from the bench. Prior took the place of Birchall, who came off with a hamstring injury.
The pattern of play didn't change, though, and only another great save from Julian, low to his left, prevented Clark making it 3-0.
Elliot Bradbrook almost pulled a goal back against the run of play when he headed a Hayes corner against the bar. Hayes then floated in a free-kick which Bartlett had to catch as it headed for the top corner.
But a disappointing day for the Darts ended on a low note when defender Matt Fry suffered a gash to his knee. He later went to hospital for stitches.
That result in the North East leaves Dartford 18th in the Skrill Premier, one point above the relegation zone.
They host seventh-placed Salisbury City on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Gateshead: Bartlett; Baxter, B Clark, Curtis, Magnay; Ramshaw (Chandler 78mins), Turnbull, Oster; Larkin, Hatch (Hugill 78mins), Marwood. Subs not used: Boyes, Maddison, Lelan.
Dartford: Julian; Burns, K Clark, Collier, Fry; Noble (Hayes 73mins), Woodyard (Ibemere 83mins), Bradbrook, Harris; Cornhill; Birchall (Prior 70mins). Subs not used: Hill, Mitchel-King.
Attendance: 561 (21 away)
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