AFTER a long, cold, wet winter, there’s nothing better that watching a game in some warm sunshine. When the t-shirts come out it’s a sure sign the season is coming to an end.

There had been signs that the end is nigh. Last week’s home defeat to Boston United had more than a whiff of an end of season dead rubber although the reality was far from it. Ahead of our match at the excellent if not totally complete Broadhurst Park, home to FC United of Manchester, the reality was a five point gap between ourselves and the relegation zone following midweek results. Another performance like the Boston game coupled with a string of results going against us and we could have found ourselves looking nervously over our shoulders. Fortunately by the full time whistle all worries had dissipated. We are finally mathematically safe.

Prior to the game I was feeling a little sceptical of our chances. FCUM’s home form over recent months has been as up there with the best teams in the division. Coupled with our poor performance seven days prior and it felt like the game could be an uphill struggle. That was reinforced by the first 15 minutes where we simply didn’t get going. It felt like the Boston game all over again. And then, something clicked. I don’t know whether we realised the home side weren’t that good or if our players were trying to avoid another half time rollicking from Tommy Wright but we clicked and took a strong hold of the game. The goal we scored was excellent. It was well worked with Stephen Thompson and Luke Trotman once again showing their excellent link up play on the right and then when a good ball was put in the box Josh Gillies put his head where it hurts to nod home.

Throughout a good 23-minute spell, we exposed the home defence time and time again. But for some lax play and finishing, we could have easily come off at half time with four goals. Typical of this season, instead of walking off with the game as good as won, we came off for the break level. Next season we could do with finding the ruthless streak we showed against North Ferriby at home to utilise against other poor sides. The second half on Saturday should have been an easy run out but instead it was competitive. The winning goal pretty much summed up the home defence. A simple through ball bamboozled the goalkeeper allowing Reece Styche the easiest goal he’ll ever score. It meant we got the win we deserved but that was a big slice of luck surrounding the manner in which we achieved it. It would have been more enjoyable if we’d won it with our excellent play in the first half but a win is a win.

The big positive of the day for me was the lack of any poor individual performances. Everyone played their part. FCUM had a couple of useful players but we were simply stronger than them in every area of the pitch and that was good to see. It was a complete performance that deserved to be by a bigger winning margin. It’s hard to pick out individual performances but my man of the match was Josh Gillies. His form has been inconsistent all season but you got the feeling that he fancied himself against the FCUM right back and that seemed to get the best out of him. It would be good to see both Gillies and the whole team take Saturday’s form in to the final four games of the season and secure as high a finishing position as possible.