Manager Brian McDermott said afterwards: "I cannot crucify the players. We just were not good enough." Quite an understatement. His Rebels never once tested Gateshead keeper Steve Harper who had only one comer to contend with all afternoon.
McDermott made only one change after Monday's FA Trophy defeat, pitching 18-year-old Gavin Mernagh straight back into the fray in place of flu victim Andy Clement after four games out with a broken nose.
The teenager looked disoriented in an attack already lacking direction, and the frailty up front was further weakened when Gary Abbott limped off early in the second half with an ankle injury. With little width to their game, the Rebels consistently played themselves into trouble by leaving passes short of the intended target or just thumping the ball hopefully forward.
An ordinary Gateshead side which lacked the guile even of a Dorchester therefore enjoyed much possession without having to extend themselves. They did, however, have the extra motivation of a new manager. Appointed five days earlier, former Darlington boss Jim Platt had lost no time in bringing in some new blood and made efficient use of his squad.
The Rebels began to fade midway through the first half and the combination of Paul Proudlock and Paul Thompson looked most likely break the stalemate in favour of the Tynesiders. Proudlock neatly chested down a Thompson cross to send a rising shot over the bar from the edge of the box before having another shot blocked en route to goal.
The best chance for the Rebels came from a Garry Smart cross which Abbott rose to meet, the striker clashing with Harper and landing badly as a result. The ball fell to Mernagh, who earlier had three times chosen wrong options when sent clear, but he too was clattered out of the way.
As the Northerners continued to exercise control in the second half Proudlock and Thompson set up Gary Pearson who also finished off target after being shepherded wide when stealing inside the area. But Thompson then shook the upright from Proudlock's near post cross from the left and found the side netting from the corner which followed.
The first real moment of danger for Slough came when the exemplary Cliff Hercules joined the attack and carved an opening for Gary Blackford. But the timing was out, the contact imperfect and the ball finished over the bar.
At the same moment Platt spiced up his front line with the addition of Ali Dia, signed on recommendation a while back by Southampton who quickly discovered they had been had. But Dia did the trick for Gateshead as Byme, then Gary Robson and Thompson all got into shooting positions before the Tynesiders finally broke through. A missed tackle by Hercules - a one man army eventually makes mistakes - allowed Thompson to latch onto a through ball and beat Wilkerson with a low drive from the left which found the opposite comer of the goal.
Platt immediately swapped Dia for defender Tan Brady to make sure he would leave with all three points.
Gateshead Line up
Harper, Watson, Byrne, G Robson, Kitchen, Ord, Pearson, J Robson, Thompson, Proudlock, Rowe. SUBS: Dia (67, for J Robson), Brady (84, for Dia), Howarth.