AFC Fylde boss Dave Challinor says his promotion-chasing side laid down a huge psychological marker over the festive period.
The Coasters hit the summit of the Conference North after beating title rivals and previous leaders Barrow back to back in two crunch games.
In their final game of 2014, Fylde overcame the Cumbrians 3-2 at Kellamergh Park, before edging another close encounter 2-1 at Holker Street on New Year’s Day.
Importantly, the Coasters backed those two results up by beating mid-table Lowestoft Town on Sunday 3-1 at home.
Challinor told the Evening Post: “If you put the two wins over the festive period into context, Barrow’s results have been disappointing over the Christmas period.
“They drew against both Hyde and Harrogate as well as losing the two games against us.
“It was a big one psychologically for us in terms of putting a marker down and going to the top of the table.
“We went into the Christmas period knowing that we had three tough games coming up and if results had not gone our way, we could have been looking at going eight to 10 points behind Barrow.
“The fact that we managed to get two great results and produced two great performances sets a marker down at this stage of the season.
“The games against Barrow were close. In the first game we should have been in front at half-time, but we weren’t.
“In the second half they had a really good go but we kept coming back with a goal, hitting them on the counter-attack and keeping our noses in front.
“The second game on New Year’s Day was affected by horrific weather conditions but I think anybody who was there would say we deserved to win.
“It was massively important that we backed the wins up on Sunday against Lowestoft.”
Fylde can take a breather from the rigours of league action tomorrow when they take on AFC Telford United at Kellamergh Park in the FA Trophy second round.
On paper, Challinor’s men are the underdogs as United ply their trade in the Conference Premier – the division above.
However, many good judges will have Fylde as the favourites with Telford struggling at the foot of the table with just four wins all season.
“The game has come at a good time for us. It’s a nice break from the stresses of league action,” said Challinor.
“Some people might say we are the favourites – just one place separates us but I know the gap in standard between the two divisions is a big one.”