Lee Bradbury rang the changes but the result was exactly the same – another spirited Hawks performance without any reward.
A Steve Rigg header from a second-half corner proved enough to give Gateshead a 1-0 win at Westleigh Park.
It also condemned the Hawks to a fourth successive home defeat and kept them in the bottom four of the Vanarama National League.
Bradbury made five changes in all including the introduction of two new loan players.
Will Wood, from Accrington Stanley, and Alex Bradley, from West Bromwich Albion, were both handed their debuts.
Both acquitted themselves well but to no avail.
Unfortunately former Pompey triallist Wood suffered an injury and had to go off in the second half.
But the Hawks are hoping it is nothing serious.
The only difference between the two sides was that one knew how to win games and the other didn't.
At the end the Heed were celebrating their fourth successive win on the road.
After the latest set-back Bradbury accepts the Hawks have a fight on their hands to retain their hard-won National League status.
He maintains his belief, however, that it is a battle his side will win.
He said: ‘There is still two thirds of the season to play,' said Bradbury.
‘It isn't going to be easy but we knew that from the start.
‘We have been taught another harsh lesson.
‘It was the same old story for us. Our goalkeeper has hardly had a save to make and our opponents score from one set piece.
‘That is disappointing.
‘Gateshead got their noses in front and then did a professional job on us.
‘In the final 15 minutes they just sat in and soaked the pressure up.
‘I thought we were the better side but again we end up with nothing to show for it.
‘We have to start winning games between now and Christmas.’
The Hawks edged the first half both territorially and in goalscoring opportunities created.
Strikers Alfie Pavey and Nicke Kabamba were guilty of missing the target from good positions.
Defender Tyler Cordner also forced a good diving save from Heed goalkeeper Ashley Pears with a header.
The visitors decisive breakthrough arrived 11 minutes into the second half.
The home side scrambled the ball behind for a corner after Rigg had fired against the outside of the post.
From the subsequent corner Rigg rose at the far post to send a powerful header into the net.
Bradbury was disappointed with the goal.
He said: ‘I thought we had got better at defending set-pieces.
‘Another header and another smash and grab. We need to be stronger because we were not good enough in both boxes.’
‘In this league it is unforgiving and if you aren't clinical then it comes back and bites you.
‘We need to take our chances and start getting our noses in front in games.’
Hawks: Dudzinski, Wood (Cosgrave 65), Rose, P Robinson (Woodford 76), Stock, Tarbuck, A Robinson, Cordner, Bradley (Sekajja 61), Pavey, Kabamba