Joint Matlock Town manager Craig Hopkins praised his side’s second half performance as they kept their FA Cup dream alive.
The Gladiators defeated Workington 3-1 away to set up a trip to Altrincham in the 4th Qualifying Round a week on Saturday.
The Robins now stand between Matlock and a coveted place in the First Round Proper, a stage they last reached in 1989/90 when they lost at Scunthorpe United.
Hopkins said: “It was a brilliant win. We were okay in the first half, but played really well in the second half.
“We scored our goals at good times but also defended extremely well, the back five including Barnesy were outstanding. We passed it better in the second half and got what we deserved against a very good side.
“We were desperate to win. That determination possibly affected our performance on Saturday when we weren’t at our best but really wanted to do well for the club and the fans.
“But we could sense the lads still really wanted it in the run up to Tuesday when they were a bit more relaxed. We’ve a set of very honest lads who work really hard for each other, they enjoy being together, not only on a matchday but they also go out together,”
Midfielder Ted Cribley, one of Matlock’s most consistent performers so far this term, gave everyone connected with the Gladiators a boost by signing a new contract prior to Saturday’s match.
“He’s enjoying his football and we’re delighted with him. The way we’re playing really suits him,” said Hopkins.
The Altrincham tie is now being “put on the back burner” with Matlock having two important league games first.
On Saturday they retrace their steps to Borough Park to take on the Reds for a third successive game before welcoming Blyth Spartans to the DCJ Group Insurance Arena on Tuesday night.
“We’ll enjoy last Tuesday’s win but come Wednesday morning our thoughts will change to Saturday and how we can get the better of Workington. Playing them three times like this is how it is, we know it’ll be tough for they’re a good side but maybe they are saying the same about us,” Hopkins added.
“The league is our priority, the cup is a bonus bit last Tuesday was special. All of the players and ourselves would like to thank the fans who made that long journey on a Tuesday night to support us, brilliant, it’s really really appreciated.”