Harriers were left to rue missed opportunities as Gateshead struck twice to take all three points at the International Stadium.
Alex Rodman and substitute Carl Finnigan found the net in each half, their second occurring as Harriers fought to draw level in stoppage time.
Neither side have seen their league positions change but the Heed now lie only one point behind Harriers.
Gary Whild made one change to the starting XI which drew 0-0 at Nuneaton Town, as Aaron Wildig’s loan spell from Shrewsbury Town came to an end and Callum Gittings
made his first league start since the 2-1 win at Dartford.
Gateshead, meanwhile, made two alterations after their 2-1 defeat at home to Nuneaton 10 days ago, as Rodman and Andrai Jones replaced Matty Robson and Callum Roberts.
The hosts broke the deadlock three minutes before the interval through Rodman after enjoying the better of the first half.
Matty Pattison delivered a well-hit cross from the right and Rodman rose highest to send a powerful header past Danny Lewis
to claim his seventh league goal of the season.
And Harriers suffered a cruel blow as they strove for a last-ditch equaliser, with the Heed striking late to seal all three points at the death.
Finnigan rounded off a simple counter-attacking move as he slotted home Pattison’s low cross to double Gateshead’s advantage and ensure there would be no way back for the visitors.
After a subdued opening 45 minutes, Harriers resurfaced stronger after the interval and had three golden opportunities as they began to apply the pressure.
Just before the hour mark, Jack Byrne did fantastically to advance down the right flank and posted a curling cut-back for the well-placed Danny Wright, but the former Gateshead striker sent a fierce shot straight down the middle where ‘keeper Adam Bartlett was able to keep it out with a block.
The introduction of the versatile Jake Green provided Harriers with energy going forward; they turned up the pressure as the second half wore on and should have levelled through Lee Hughes on the 76th minute.
Aman Verma sent a fine low ball into the box which was certainly worthy of setting up a Harries goal, but it first evaded Wright before reaching Hughes.
It was undoubtedly a position from which the 38-year-old has scored many a time throughout his career but, with time and space, he blasted his chance over the bar.
Verma himself almost found the net eight minutes from time from Kevin Nicholson’s corner but the midfielder guided his free header mere inches past the far post.
Gateshead threatened during the first half and Rodman had looked their most dangerous player, notching the game’s first effort on target after seven minutes after cutting in from the right and hitting a low shot which was collected by Lewis.
Rodman also ensured Gateshead ended the first half on top, as his thumping 30-yard strike goalward was well-saved by Lewis, before Jamie Grimes' last-ditch clearance ahead of the lurking Adam Campbell prevented the hosts from increasing their lead.
John Oster came close for Gateshead four minutes before Rodman took the lead, as the soon-to-be goalscorer’s smooth cross was touched narrowly wide from close range by his team-mate.
For Harriers, Wright and Dominic Knowles saw close-range shot blocked during the first half, while Hughes stole possession superbly from James Curtis and embarked on a charging run upfield to pick out Knowles to his right, but the attack broke down.
Gittings, too, was involved in Gateshead’s penalty area and found himself in a dangerous position eight minutes before half time from Verma’s cross, but the midfielder couldn’t get enough strength on his header.
The ball subsequently dropped to Wright who turned expertly and pulled the trigger but it wasn’t enough to trouble Bartlett.
The second half belonged to Harriers who gradually forced Gateshead to rely mainly on counter-attacks and restricted the hosts primarily to half-chances through Pattison, Campbell and Rob Ramshaw.
But, having failed to make the most of those three stand-out goalscoring opportunities, Harriers ended up leaving empty-handed as Gateshead wrapped up the win late on.