Alfreton Town manager John McDermott was both relieved and delighted as the Reds won a crucial relegation battle 3-0 at bottom-of-the-table North Ferriby United.
Alfreton travelled to Humberside knowing that nothing less than a win was essential in their fight against National League North relegation.
They produced a professional and solid performance with three first-half goals, despite surviving an early scare when Carl Stewart struck the bar for the hosts inside 90 seconds.
It was the Reds’ first clean sheet in an away win for 11 months.
“It’s a relief more than anything,” said McDermott.
“We had a good chat through the week about what we wanted to do and what we needed to prove to people.
“It was more a case of proving something that they have within the group.”
The manager asked his players if they had the heart, workrate and desire for 90 minutes.
“l asked only for those three things ,” he said. “If they couldn’t do those three things they don’t belong within the club.
“I said just do the three things well and we’ll get the result, we’ll win.”
Brendon Daniels set up the opening goal with a 17th minute corner that was headed home at the near post by Luke Shiels.
Three minutes later Bradley Wood’s perfect pass sent Chris Sharp on course for goal and the newly-restored striker finished calmly by slotting past stranded Ross Durrant.
When Frank Mulhern embarked on a central run in the 31st minute he was brought down on the edge of the area by Bobby Johnson, who was was shown a red card.
Daniels’ free-kick was parried on the line by the keeper, with the rebound falling behind Mulhern before being cleared.
lt was 3-0 to Alfreton, however, as the first half entered stoppage time.
New defender Pierce Bird, on a youth loan from Notts County, marked an impressive debut with a towering header to convert another Daniels free-kick.
In a quiet second half the Reds dealt comfortably with any home threat in a manner that has not been evident too often this season.
McDermott added: “The first half was nitty-gritty, but we showed some nerve and some desire.
“We earned the right to play. l thought Sharpy was excellent up front, he bullied a few.
“Brendon was gambling, working, putting tackles in and Woodsy and Bex [James Baxendale] got the seconds.
“We were causing problems, swinging balls into wide areas and Tom [Allan] got balls into the box.
“Pierce Bird and Shielsy formed a great partnership at the back.
“We haven’t turned the corner yet, but it’s nice to stop the rot and show that we care, that we’ve got a bit of passion about us and that was a relief.”
NORTH FERRIBY: Durrant; Cooke, Walters, Johnson, Clappison, Skelton, Bolder, Forrester [Kyei 72], Stewart [Lofts h/t], Agnew, Davidson [Exall 27].
Other subs: Ansu, Slew.
ALFRETON: Elliott; Topliss, Shiels [Jennings 81], Bird, Allan, Wood, Platt [Everington 68], Baxendale, Daniels, Mulhern [Westcarr 68], Sharp.
Other subs: Disley, Burdett.
Referee: Benjamin Speedie.