Sleaford Town pulled off one of the shocks of the season on Saturday as they downed United Counties League title chasers Newport Pagnell.
Town have faced an uphill battle to avoid the drop all season, but victory over the second-placed side moved Jamie Shaw’s side further clear of the two Premier Division relegation places as the season approaches its finale.
Sleaford’s third win in four moved them up a place to 18th and extended the gap to second-bottom Northampton Sileby Rangers to 12 points.
But Shaw is taking nothing for granted until survival is mathematically guaranteed.
“I’m certainly not saying I’m confident of survival until we’ve got the points that mean it is certain, although it was a big step in the right direction that’s for sure,” he said.
“Since Christmas we have taken 17 points from our 10 games which is top-half form, and it’s vital that we continue this form over our remaining five games to give us the best chance of surviving.”
Jack Pemberton got the ball rolling for the hosts after only nine minutes when he put them ahead with a stunning long-range volley.
Hard-working Town held the lead into half-time despite losing goalkeeper Gary Doran to injury midway through the half.
But when Fazel Koriya levelled for Pagnell midway through the second half, home fans would have been excused a few nerves.
The visitors piled forward, desperate to keep their title challenge on track, and pinned the home side back for much of the half.
Yet Town remained a threat on the break, and four minutes from time, a highly positive point turned into a brilliant win.
George Couzens turned in Michael Hayden’s cross at the far post and Town then hung on through seven minutes of stoppage-time until the full-time whistle sparked delight for the home supporters at Eslaforde Park.
“It was a fantastic result for us, and was a real squad effort,” Shaw added.
“I was really pleased for the lads as it was nothing less than their work rate and desire deserved.”
On Saturday, resurgent Town travel to 13th-placed Rothwell Corinthians looking to avenge a 4-2 home defeat back in the dark days of September.
Kick-off is 3pm.