Macclesfield Town supporters can almost taste life back in the Football League as a fine 2-0 win at Meadow Park against play-off chasing Boreham Wood on an important Tuesday night took the Silkmen twelve points clear at the top of the Vanarama National League table.
Tyrone Marsh, who scored in the televised 2-2 draw last weekend, was again the hero for John Askey`s side.
Marsh opened the scoring after 20 minutes when he scored from close range after pouncing on a loose ball in the box.
Big striker Nathan Blissett was causing Wood problems – the Silkmen having successfully overturned his red card against Ebbsfleet United – but it was Marsh who made sure the points went north when he notched his second just shy of the hour-mark, with the impressive Danny Whitaker once again the provider.
Other results on the night mean that now only Tranmere Rovers can catch Macclesfield, and that`s if the Silkmen lose their remaining three matches and Rovers win all of theirs.
And when Micky Mellon`s side found themselves 2-0 down at Prenton Park on Tuesday night against Gateshead, the title was far from being on their minds.
But Rovers` top marksman Andy Cook had other ideas and a personal tally of four goals turned the game round in the home side`s favour.
It looked like being a disappointing evening for the majority in the 4,328 crowd as the Heed took a 2-0 lead with goals in the 41st minute from Wes York and then 3 minutes later through Kieran Green stunned Rovers.
Crucially, however, Cook reduced the deficit in first half injury-time with a far post finish.
And then just 8 minutes into the second period Cook equalised from a Liam Ridehalgh cross and on the hour-mark, Tranmere and Cook, had turned the game on its head when his far post header made it 3-2.
He wasn`t finished there though as he made it 4-2 and all four goals for himself when he deflected Ollie Norburn`s shot past James Montgomery in the 69th minute.
Tranmere moved to second as a consequence of that win and also Sutton United`s 2-1 defeat at The Shay against a now virtually-safe FC Halifax Town side.
Mike Fondop-Talom put the Shaymen in front in the 18th minute after good work from Jake Hibbs.
And that was that, until 8 minutes from time when the U`s pulled back on level terms with a header from sub Ross Lafayette.
However, Halifax produced a dramatic winner to secure back-to-back home wins for only the second time this season when Ben Tomlinson nipped in to score a minute from the end of normal time.
Things have tightened up at the bottom end of the table, but this win lifts Jamie Fullarton`s side nine points in front of fourth-bottom Barrow AFC, who possess one game in hand, and Gateshead`s defeat against the leaders has also seen them look nervously over their shoulders at the drop zone
Maidstone United are another side in trouble after losing 1-0 to another relegation-threatened side, Solihull Moors at the Automated Technology Group Stadium.
Solihull, who beat Hartlepool United last Saturday and hadn`t lost in six going into this one, took a 25th minute lead when Tyrone Williams finished off good work from skipper Darren Carter from close range.
The Stones offered little in attack and Moors could and perhaps should have made the game much more comfortable, although Jermaine Hylton was unlucky early in the second half when his effort hit the bar.
Torquay United`s hopes of avoiding the drop now look slim after they suffered a 3-1 Plainmoor defeat to an AFC Fylde outfit whose fourth successive win has lifted them to fourth in the table, just two points behind Tranmere.
Torquay’s hopes were boosted by Brett Williams’ 5th minute penalty after he had been brought down by Zaine Francis-Angol.
The Coasters equalised through Jack Muldoon from close range in the 24th minute and took the lead through Jordan Tunnicliffe’s first header only 4 minutes later.
Tunnicliffe then headed the clinching goal in the 78th minute.
The Gulls are now eight points adrift of safety with only five games left.
Woking are also in dire trouble after losing 2-1 at York Road against a Maidenhead United side who were also in need of the points to avoid being sucked into the relegation battle.
If anyone left early though they would have missed much of the serious action!
The Magpies had the best of what few opportunities there were early on and Woking gradually grew into the match.
And eventually they broke the deadlock with 14 minutes to go when some slack defending allowed in Jon Edwards to score.
That seemed to wake Alan Devonshire`s side up and they were back on level terms 5 minutes later when a Ryan Upward free-kick was headed past Nathan Baxter by sub Adrian Clifton.
And then in the 88th minute, Maidenhead pushed the Cards closer to the trap door when Sean Marks netted Sam Barrett`s cross past Baxter from six yards.
Woking are now only a point in front of Barrow and have only three games remaining.
The gap is only a point due to the Bluebirds excellent best-of-five win over mid-table Eastleigh at the Furness Building Society Stadium.
Barrow hadn`t won in five games coming into this one but they started well and took a 15th minute lead when Asa Hall headed in a corner.
Ady Pennock`s shaded the rest of the opening period without managing to trouble the scorers again, and on the hour-mark, they were punished when the Spitfires equalised, Chris Zebroski taking the ball round home `keeper Steve Arnold and netting.
But just 2 minutes later, Barrow were back in front, courtesy of a fine strike from Donovan Makoma.
And they looked as though they had sealed victory 11 minutes from time when Nathan Waterston`s shot hit the post, only for Lewis Walters to pounce on the rebound to beat Graham Stack.
Eastleigh`s long journey looked like it may be rewarded with something though when they reduced the deficit to one as stoppage time ticked in, but instead of it being a nervy finale for the home side, it was they who finished on the front foot, striking the frame of the goal on more than one occasion.
Bromley travelled to already-doomed Chester FC looking to keep their outside play-off hopes alive.
However, the Blues seemed to be a lot more relaxed after their destiny had been confirmed last weekend and they won for the first time since February 17th.
Sadly though, only 754 – Chester`s lowest crowd since being re-formed – were there to witness it.
Goals from Dominic Vose in first half injury-time and Jordan Archer on 77 minutes had Chester in front, but each time they were pegged back as Josh Rees on 65 minutes and Omar Bugiel on 80 minutes pulled goals back for the Ravens.
But as stoppage time arrived, teenage sub Nathan Brown grabbed his first senior goal to win it for the home side.