Leamington boss Paul Holleran said his side had gone back to basics to record their first National League North win in six.
Despite encouraging performances over the festive period, successive away defeats, including a 4-1 thrashing at Alfreton on Saturday had left Brakes anxiously looking over their shoulders.
However, a 3-0 win at home to fellow strugglers Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday night afforded them much-needed breathing space and Holleran said he had been impressed by his side’s work ethic.
“We played on a heavy pitch on Saturday and I thought it might be a factor, plus the travelling,” said Holleran.
“It was a nitty gritty performance – we probably had more control and quality on Saturday. But we did what we needed to.
“We had some good performances over Christmas but only picked up draws and with the two away defeats all of a sudden we were under pressure.
“It was just a bit of a back to basics performance.
“We were a bit more compact, worked that little bit harder and concentrated on individuals’ jobs.
“We made a couple of mistakes but we got away with it.
“As an attacking side Gainsborough are a threat.
“They are always going to score goals with Ashley Worsfold and Nathan Jarman up top and Craig King bombing through.
“You can see why they went to Spennymoor the other Tuesday and scored four.
“But when you play that way you are always going to give your opponents opportunities.”
With both teams deep in the relegation mire, Tuesday evening’s game was fraught with tension, with emotions spilling over on more than one occasion, most notably when Gainsborough’s Nathan Jarman and Nathan Stanfield almost came to blows.
Holleran admitted the three points had lightened the atmosphere around the Phillips 66 Community Stadium and is hopeful one player in particular will be able to reap the rewards.
“Tuesday night has given everyone a bit of a lift.
“I was really happy for Danny Udoh.
“He’s got a good work ethic, he’s a strong boy and a right handful.
“The only thing he hadn’t done was score a goal.”
Brakes have a further opportunity to distance themselves from the bottom three when they entertain Darlington tomorrow.
Tommy Wright’s side are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference after one win in 11 but Holleran knows the three points picked up against Gainsborough will count for little if they fail to back it up against their north-east visitors.
“I’d picked out these two home games and I knew they would be crucial.
“We’ve got the first part of the job done but Darlington will provide a different kind of test.
“They are not playing badly but are just conceding late goals and can’t get on any kind of run.
“It’s a tough challenge but we know the home games are going to be especially vital.”
Richard Taundry has had the stitches taken out from the gash he picked up against Southport but is more likely to make a return to action in the Birmingham Senior Cup tie at home to West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday evening.