The Rocks toasted their best result of the season but warned: There’s a long, long way to go yet.
Management, players and fans were jubilant with a come-from-behind 3-1 win at Ramsgate which extended their lead at the top of the table to three points.
But they know it’s too early to get carried away and another tough test awaits away to fourth-placed Leatherhead on Saturday.
After that, just eight games remain for the Rocks to keep up their winning ways and try to secure promotion.
As things stand, just one more win will confirm their place in at least the play-offs – but having been top for six weeks, it’s the title and automatic promotion they’re after.
At one stage on Tuesday night, the Rocks trailed 1-0 at Ramsgate and Met Police, who started the evening just one point behind them, led 2-1 at Burgess Hill. But within ten minutes, the Rocks scored two of the goals of the season to take the lead, while the Met let in an equaliser.
The win – their 12th in 17 league awaydays this season – came despite being without injured key trio Michael Birmingham, James Fraser and Perry Ryan.
Joint bosses Darin Killpartrick and Jamie Howell couldn’t mask their elation at the win, just three days after another tricky-looking fixture at home to Faversham ended in a comfortable 2-0 win.
Killpartrick said: “Winning at Ramsgate was one of our best results. It was our best away performance this year.
“We expected a tough night but you could tell from the spirit in the dressing room when we got there that we were up for it. Luke Nightingale’s backheel goal was one of the most inventive finishes I’ve ever seen, then we added a great team goal soon after that to go 2-1 up.
“We were in control for most of the game. We passed and moved fluently, although we need to be a bit more precise with our delivery in the final third.
“We have to keep rising to the same standards. Leatherhead will give us a great test on Saturday.”
Howell added: “To go to Ramsgate with our injury problems and win like that on a bumpy pitch was outstanding.
“When we went a goal down we thought it might be difficult but we don’t panic when that happens because we know we have goals in us, as we proved. We look menacing going forward.”
Fans have praised all 11 players for their part in the victory but Howell singled out midfielder Kane Wills.
“He’s taken on a lot more responsibility because of the injuries to Birmy and JJ (Fraser) but he’s getting better and better and has made it difficult for us to think about leaving him out when the others are fit,” he said.
The Rocks head to Leatherhead knowing their hosts are similar to them – they like to pass the ball about on a good pitch.
Howell said: “They’ve had a few problems with losing their manager but I saw them beat Merstham 4-0 and they looked a good side.”
The management say they’re not looking at other sides’ fixtures – but with the games running out, the tension is mounting.
Many feel the Rocks’ visit to Met Police on April 2 could decide the title, although Howell thinks the battle will go to the last game, with Whitehawk and Leatherhead not out of it yet.
The Rocks may have Birmingham back in contention on Saturday. He has had an injection to help him get over a back and groin problem.
But Fraser and Ryan look like being out for longer. Fraser has shoulder damage after a dislocation while Ryan is suspected to have a hairline fracture of the arm.
Howell said: “He was out with his girlfriend. She was in high heels and tripped and he went over too.”
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