GRAYS Athletic manager Jamie Stuart says victory against table-topper Bognor Regis Town has given his team confidence ahead of a huge relegation six-pointer on Saturday.
Blues beat Ryman Premier League top-dogs Bognor 2-1 on Saturday, as a 94th minute winner from L’heureux Menga handed the bottom club a much-needed three points.
Stuart’s men now face a very different albeit equally important match on Saturday, when second-bottom Hendon visit Mill Field.
And he said the players deserve their plaudits after all the hard work they have been putting in off the pitch.
“We had a game plan and carried it out perfectly,” said Stuart. “We knew they would have talent but had five in the middle to hit them on the counter-attack.
“Everyone worked their socks off and did the donkey work well and we now need to see that on a more consistent basis.
“The Hendon game is huge,” he added. “Every game is big as we need the points but we go into this match in confident mood. We believe we can win it.
“We all know about the Aveley pitch but we want all three points.
“Earlier in the season a lot of the other teams at the bottom had games in hand on us but it is getting tighter and there isn’t that big a gap anymore.”
Grays took the lead against Bognor inside 10 minutes. Neat build-up play between Harry Watkins and Lartey Sarpong saw the latter get to the byline and cut back for Kieron Bishop to slide home composedly.
Bishop sent a shot just wide soon after, with Joao Carlos testing the home goalkeeper.
Bognor had en effort cleared off the line before they drew level with five minutes to spare - James Fraser nodding in after goalkeeper Amadou Tangara failed to punch a corner to safety.
But two substitutes combined to net the winner.
Barney Williams worked the ball to Sarpong and his cross was met powerfully by Menga with almost the last kick of the game.
Boss Stuart reserved praised for the new signings at the club, including familiar face and former Player of the Year Jon Ashton.
And he added that he is still enjoying the challenge after taking over the reins in the summer.
“We are very pleased and a lot of work has gone in recently,” he said.
“We have brought in two or three quality players, including Jon Ashton, and Steve Skinner and the rest of the board worked hard to help me get these guys in.
“It has made a big difference and the experience will be invaluable.
“That said, no matter the result the mood has always been positive and that is credit to the boys.
“I am a football man and have been for many years and played with so many good players and managers.
“It is a different sort of feeling from when you are playing but I am so motivated and so is this group.”