BLUES boss Paul Paynter is determined to lift his side out of the bottom three with just four games of the season remaining.
Nelson are languishing in 16th at present in the 18-club First Division table, but only trail Northwich Villa by a solitary point with the advantage of having a game in hand.
The Blues salvaged a vital win on Wednesday evening, beating Holker Old Boys 2-1 at Lomeshaye Way’s Little Wembley, despite playing with 10 men for the majority of the second half.
Javeed Mohammed and Shakeel Butt gave Nelson a two-goal cushion, and after Brett Ferguson was dismissed early in the second half, Dave Swarbrick halved the deficit on the hour mark.
However, the home side dug deep to cling on to victory.
Paynter, who was forced to play the first half before hobbling off due to the recurrence of a hamstring strain, said: “We’ve been very disappointing recently so it was nice to get the win, especially having to play with 10 men for about 40 minutes.
“We did well to get the three points and it was a vital win.
“We’ve been struggling and in all honesty we’ve not been good enough.
“We’ve had a lot of games in a short space of time so we’ve had to juggle the team around a bit, but that’s no excuse for our dip in form.
“We’ve not had enough fight about us and that’s been reflected in some of the scorelines.
“Heads have dropped at times and we’ve been punished.”
Paynter added: “We needed that victory to stay away from the bottom.
“I was keen on getting a top 12 finish but that doesn’t seem realistic anymore.
“Our first thought now is to stay out of the bottom three.”
Nelson have another ‘cup final’ tomorrow as they entertain basement side Leek CSOB.
The two sides met at the end of March and it was the Blues who left Harrison Park with all three points after a 1-0 win.
“We played them not so long ago and, without being disrespectful, they weren’t one of the strongest teams we’ve come up against,” said Paynter.
“I’m confident of picking up three points at home despite them recording a decent result midweek away at Northwich Villa.
“It’s a game we need to win and we need to play with pride.”
He added: “We’ve looked at our fixtures and targeted the games we can win.
“We’ve got Leek CSOB tomorrow and we’ve still got to play Northwich so we need to look at gaining maximum points against them.
“We’ve still got some tough fixtures to come so a win would give us a bit more freedom to play.
“It seems recently there’s been a weight on their shoulders and confidence has been drained a little.”