It has been a hard slog for Corby Town in the Blue Square Bet North in this calendar year.
A dreadful run during January, February and March saw the Steelmen plummet towards the relegation zone as they picked up just two wins in 14 matches.
But Chris Plummer’s side finally came of age over the Easter weekend and their timing couldn’t have been better.
It was just a few weeks ago that I recall confidently writing in one of these opinion pieces that the Steelmen would stay up. I have to say there were times when I wondered whether I would be wrong.
But last weekend, they stepped up to the plate. The 1-0 win over Worcester City was gritty. It was a poor game but no-one really cares about that at this stage of the season when important points are on the line. The Steelmen dug in and got the crucial victory.
For me, that took the pressure off them going into the Northamptonshire derby at Brackley Town, who have been pretty much outstanding throughout the season.
However, whatever the Corby players’ Easter eggs were laced with certainly did the trick as they stunned Brackley, their own supporters and a certain local reporter with an excellent display at St James Park.
There were no arguments from anyone. On this given day, Corby were all over Jon Brady’s play-off chasers and if they had won by more than the final 4-2 scoreline then no-one could have complained. It was one of those days when everything just clicked.
And while it was great to see Plummer’s side finally show their full potential that they have only shown hints of in recent months, it was tinged with a touch of frustration. Where would Corby be if they turned in this sort of display week in, week out?
It is a question that has lots of answers but the key thing for the Steelmen now is to go and finish the job and secure their place in the division for next season and retain their status as the highest-ranked senior side in north Northamptonshire.
And they probably couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity than the one that presents itself over the next few days.
They travel to Droylsden tomorrow (Saturday) to take on a Bloods side who were relegated last weekend and then, 48 hours later, they make the short trip over to another relegated side Hinckley United for a re-arranged fixture.
An away game at FC Halifax (Thursday) and a home clash with Workington (next Saturday) round off a busy seven days but if Corby are on their game, then it could be celebration time at Steel Park next weekend.
The next two matches are the ones. Droylsden and Hinckley have struggled all season, although recent results would suggest they probably aren’t as easy to beat as they have been at certain times during the season.
But it really doesn’t matter how many goals Corby score, it is now simply about winning – that is all that counts.
Six points from the next two games will put them on a total of 45, meaning Colwyn Bay would probably have to win six of their last eight to make it interesting. I am not so sure the Welsh side will do that.
The six points taken over the Easter weekend have put Corby in a strong position and it could be a whole lot better if they keep their heads and play sensibly over the next week or so.
Plummer has been keen to blast away any thoughts of complacency and he is spot on. The performance and result at Brackley has been enjoyed and rightly so.
Now it is up to the Steelmen players to go and do it again and ensure this relegation dogfight ends in success. And if that is what happens, everyone at Steel Park, when you consider the restrictions in the budget, can enjoy their summer and look forward to the new campaign.
The job is there to be finished – go and get it done.