Long Melford manager Jules Mumford praised his players for the desire and fighting spirit which earned them a crucial 1-0 victory over Kirkley and Pakefield on Saturday, and then challenged them to show the same fight over the next few games.
The Villagers’ inferior goal difference currently places them in the relegation zone, but the next four games could have a big say on their prospects of survival.
Melford visit Great Yarmouth Town this Saturday (3pm), but then have a run of three home games, against fellow strugglers FC Clacton and Ely City, with promotion-chasing Gorleston in between.
“We’ve got 13 games to go,” said Mumford. “I told the boys before the game today we’ve got to pick something up.
“Stand up and get some points. You’ve got to make it happen yourselves today. I think we deserved the win.
“I thought we just matched them, and didn’t really let them get into the game. We worked well as a unit.
“We came under a bit of pressure late on, but the back four stood up well. The whole team stood up well really.”
A penalty save by Darren Moyes, shortly before Melford took the lead through livewire substitute Hassan Ally in the 53rd minute, proved the boost Melford needed.
“He was our man-of-the-match,” said Mumford. “When it comes to standing up and being counted, that’s what you need.
“I said to the lads it would be a battle and they had to win the battles today. It’s three points.
“A scrappy goal, yes, but I’d take that. At this stage of the season it’s all about getting points.
“Today was our day. We deserved it. They gave me 100 per cent. The team spirit is good and they did what we asked of them.
“Last week, in the 2-1 defeat by Ipswich Wanderers they showed a lot of desire.
“This week they carried that on. And I want them to carry on showing that same desire and fight.”
Melford remain in 19th place in the table, and are one of three teams on 24 points, with Ely and Hadleigh United only above Mumford’s side by virtue of having a better goal difference.
Wivenhoe Town (16th) on 25 points and Haverhill Rovers (14th) and Walsham-le-Willows (15th), who are both on 27 points, are all within touching distance of The Villagers.
Ely are in Buildbase FA Vase action this weekend, as they host Sporting Khalsa in the fifth round, which means a point for Melford at Great Yarmouth on Saturday would be enough to see them climb out of the bottom three.
The Villagers were beaten 2-0 in the reverse fixture at Stoneylands in August.