Micky Mellon conceded defeat in Tranmere’s battle for first place in the National League – despite their Easter Monday 2-1 win over Guiseley.
For much of the second half, it looked like Rovers would be able to close the gap on Lincoln at the top of the table.
But Danny Cowley’s side produced another late comeback as they stunned Gateshead.
It means they remain five points ahead of Rovers, who have just two games left to play, and Mellon accepts it is unlikely they will be caught.
“I don’t believe that’ll happen now,” he said.
“I’ve got to be honest. We’ve left ourselves an awful lot to do. But we just keep on trying to win games of football until the very end, and you never know do you?
“Fair play to Lincoln, that’s what you’ve got to say to them.
“There’s nothing more that we can do than what we’ve been doing. “We had two tough games where we didn’t collect maximum points and Lincoln did.
“I’m a football man and I’ll be the first to say ‘fair play to them’.
Up until half time, it looked like Tranmere might be heading back to the Wirral empty handed.
A stunning strike from Derek Asamoah, afforded too much space 25-yards out before smashing into the top corner, had put Guiseley 1-0 up.
The visitors improved after the break though, with a more aggressive style of football allowing them to get at their hosts more.
Mellon was delighted with how they turned things around, with James Norwood and Andy Cook netting before the hour to earn the win.
“It was a tough and scrappy game,” he continued.
“I always felt that we’d have the quality to get the opportunities to score goals and they did.
“It’s always difficult coming to these places, where they’re fighting for their lives.
“There were a lot of free-kicks for us to defend which was difficult, because they had a real physical presence.
“We came in at half-time and I just said ‘keep going, keep trying to do the things that we know will get us success.’
“And we did.”
It has been a busy period for Tranmere, who have not had a free Tuesday since late February.
And Mellon’s now planning to reward his players with some rest.
“We battled away great,” he added.
“They’ve had I think 20 games in 74 days, so it’s been a tough old shift for them.
“They deserve a couple of days break and we will go again.”