Nicky Law has urged his Alfreton Town side to use their FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round win at Gateshead to kick-start their season.
The Reds sit in eighteenth position in the Vanarama National League North, just six points and two places ahead of the relegation zone.
However, they compounded their league form by taking National League side Gateshead to a replay and then knocked the Tynesiders out of the FA Cup with a 3-2 win at the International Stadium.
That win landed them a First Round tie against SkyBet League Two basement club Newport County, a game that Law described as “a great opportunity” for his squad.
“It’s not just the Newport game but this game at Gateshead has to kickstart our season” said the former Chesterfield and Bradford City boss.
“Fylde are top of our league and have scored over forty goals, but then we are second highest scorers with thirty two.
“But we have a negative goal difference and it isn’t because we are poor defensively, there are just mistakes being made that we aren’t learning from.
“We are looking forward to Newport coming to our place and I said to Neil (Aspin) before tonight’s game that I would fancy either ourselves or Gateshead to have a good chance in that First Round game, and that is absolutely no disrespect to Newport County at all.
“It is at home and our players have a great opportunity in front of them, if they can take it then anything can happen”
Alfreton could, and perhaps should, have killed off the tie in the first meeting between the two sides on Saturday at their Impact Arena home.
Goals from Paul Clayton and Craig Westcarr put the Reds two goals up with just fifteen minutes remaining and with one foot in the First Round of the FA Cup.
However former Alfreton star Sam Jones struck twice in the space of three minutes to take the tie to a replay back on Tyneside.
Westcarr struck again to put the Reds ahead in the tenth minutes but, just as it had on Saturday, as crazy three minute spell made life difficult for Law’s side.
An Andy Monkhouse own goal and a sublime Mitch Brundle free kick put the hosts in front at half time.
Law made changes and one of them paid off as substitute Sam Smith got his side back on level terms with a header with just over twenty minutes left.
The sides couldn’t be separated and the game went into extra time.
It was during the first period that the game was won, as Westcarr grabbed his second goal of the night with a penalty and sent his side into the First Round and sealed their first win at Gateshead since 1972.
The result left Law understandbly delighted, as he hailed the “great attitude” shown by his squad.
He said “I’m delighted, although I think we should have won the game on Saturday.
“But credit to Gateshead, they got back into that game and we are coming up to the North East thinking we shouldn’t be here.
“It was always going to be tough, but we didn’t know if Saturday might have joltered them a bit. I thought they might come out and have a bit of a go at us but if I am honest I don’t think they did.
“Maybe they thought it was job done, that we would just roll over up here, but it was far from that.
“Late on they were gambling and we had to defend but, as a group, as a team, we showed great attitude tonight”
If there was one negative on an overwhelmingly positive night for Law, it was his side’s growing habit of switching off at key points.
They were dealing comfortably with Gateshead’s attacking threat and looked in control of the game after Westcarr put them in front.
But two goals in three minutes put them behind going into the interval.
And despite their win, Law challenged his players to learn from their mistakes as they look to climb the National League North table ahead of their First Round tie against Newport County.
“The team is full of good players, full of guts and determination but I don’t know how many times we have to do it before we get sick.
“We do it all of the time, at Darlington earlier in the season we were four up, and hung on to win 4-3.
“On Saturday we were two up and ended up drawing, we could have lost it too.
“It was a mad two minutes, maybe inexperience cost us a little.
“When they equalised, we needed to take a breath, to regroup, but we don’t seem to be able to do that.
“We didn’t absorb it and it could have cost us. They were aided a little by the referee because I am not sure it was actually a free kick but credit to the lad because it was a fine free kick”