Tom Wade insists his Blyth Spartans side remains “long-shots” for promotion but is, now, full of self-belief.
The Croft Park club are seventh in the table, two places and five points outside the play-offs, following Saturday’s 2-1 home win over third-placed Skelmersdale United.
Wade said: “It was a great game, we just went for it and should have had it put to bed at half-time.
“There was a swirling wind, the pitch was a bit hard. Yet we played some great stuff. I watched from up top and some of our play was excellent. The players battled really hard and showed great commitment.”
That much was clear from the off, Matthew Wade and Craig Hubbard going close and Dan Maguire denied a penalty, though the visitors were as well.
However, it took until the half-hour mark before Robbie Dale fired, on the turn, beyond Skem goalkeeper Zac Hibert for his 11th goal of the season following a corner by Maguire.
Just before half-time, Skelmersdale equalised when Dean Astbury set up Mark Jackson.
However, four minutes after the interval, Maguire won it for Blyth.
A 25-yard lob by Aaron Wearmouth almost caught out Hibert and crashed against the crossbar, and at the second attempt Maguire slotted in the rebound from close-range.
The former Seaton Delaval Amateurs striker almost took his season tally to 23 on the hour, but was denied by Hibert.
In the end, though, Blyth were indebted to some fine defending to preserve the three points.
First, Matthew Wade’s goal-saving tackle thwarted Astbury.
From the resulting corner, Damen Mullen cleared a Hardwick header off the line and deep into added time Conor Grant produced a fine double save at the feet of McIntosh.
Wade added: “We’re still the long-shots, teams have games in hand on us. All we can do is keep on playing well, keep on winning and keep on improving.
“We have a young side out there and we believe in ourselves now.”