Curzon Ashton manager John Flanagan praised Kristian Dennis’s last-gasp strike against fellow promotion hopefuls Farsley – edging the Blues ever closer to the play-offs.
Dennis scored the winner as the Tamesiders won 3-2 after Sam Walker and Scott Metcalfe cancelled out a Simeon Bambrook double.
The former Macclesfield frontman has now found the net 35 times this season, with Flanagan waxing lyrical about the goalscoring ability of his most-prized striking asset.
“We were chasing the game a bit on Saturday and needed to show a bit of character to pick ourselves up and come back into it,” he said.
“That opportunity in the last 30 seconds couldn’t have dropped to a better lad than Kristian Dennis.
“He’s phenomenal. He’s not one of those lads you look at and think he’s had a really good game.
“He isn’t outstanding in terms of his contribution to the whole game, he just gets in the right areas and is a very good finisher.
“He does what you expect a goalscorer to do. He scores tap-ins, screamers and headers. He’s a very popular lad as well, very good in the changing room.”
The Tamesiders were among the favourites for the promotion this year after missing out in last April’s play-off final despite leading the division for much of the campaign.
And after an indifferent season, Flanagan now has his sights firmly set on securing a place in the top five and having another crack at securing promotion the hard way.
“Our aim has always been the play-offs,” he added.
“Only one team can win the league and it looks like Skelmersdale United, unless they do something radically different to what they are, should pick up enough points to win it.
“That means everybody else is fighting for the play-off places.
“I don’t mind if we sneak in there in fifth place, we have just got to try and put a run together and keep the pressure on the teams above us.”
In the Blue Square Bet Premier, Hyde were well beaten as an Anthony Malbon brace and goals from Marvin Johnson and Greg Pearson secured a 4-0 win for Kidderminster Harriers.
The Tigers, missing the in-form Scott Spencer and David Poole, could not build on their mid-week triumph and now sit in 17th in the Blue Square Premier table.
Stockport County had Alex Kenyon sent off in the first-half on their way to a goalless draw with Ebbsfleet, leaving them in mid-table.
In the Blue Square North, Stalybridge Celtic’s winless run was extended to six games after they were held to a 2-2 draw at Boston United.
Chris Hall and Corey Gregory put Celtic ahead but goals from Spencer Weir-Daley and Marc Newsham ensured United took a share of the spoils.
Droylsden have now lost seven consecutive games as a Gareth Seddon hat-trick helped Halifax to a 6-0 thrashing at The Butchers Arms ground.
Dan Gardner, Jon Worthington and Alex Titchener got the other goals to leave the Bloods in 21st place and without a win in 15 games.
After disappointment in midweek, Altrincham’s promotion push took another blow as a last minute goal condemned them to a 2-1 defeat away to lowly Workington.
Workington opened the scoring through Jonny Wright before Jake Moult equalised, but Wright popped up again in the dying minutes to leave Altrincham in fourth.
In the Evo-Stik Premier Division, a Tom Greaves hat-trick secured maximum points for FC United of Manchester as the Red Rebels thumped Marine 3-0.
Ashton United twice led at Ilkeston but had to be content with a share of the spoils after being pegged back by the Derbyshire side.
In Evo-Stik League Division One North, Trafford kept the pressure on Skelmersdale United at the division’s summit with a 3-1 victory at Burscough.
New Mills took points off league leaders Skem after a 1-1 draw at Church Lane, while Salford City came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Clitheroe.
Mossley drew 2-2 at home to Wakefield, while Radcliffe Borough and Ramsbottom United enjoyed wins over Lancaster City and Harrogate Railway Athletic respectively.