Steve Cunningham has urged his players to go out and create history for Colne Football Club in their quest to secure back-to-back promotions.
The Reds go in to the final day of the Evo-Stik First Division North campaign well in the mix for a play-off place, just 12 months after being crowned champions of the ninth tier.
Glossop North End’s 81st minute winner at Surrey Street on Good Friday hit Colne’s hopes of making the top five, but they snatched a late victory against rivals Clitheroe on Easter Monday.
Benjamin Richardson did the damage on the club’s penultimate away fixture of the term when he headed Max Leonard’s wayward shot home.
But Michael Morrison’s last-gasp winner against the Blues means that everything now rests on tomorrow’s crunch clash with Droylsden at Holt House, with kick-off at 3 p.m.
The midfielder lashed home an unstoppable drive deep into stoppage time to spark delirium just as it seemed as though both sides would share the spoils.
Colne drew first blood after eight minutes when Spencer Jordan’s cross from the bye-line was turned home at the near post by Chris Lynch, but the visitors equalised just after the half-hour mark when Dimitri Tuanzebe flicked Robbie Bromley’s set piece into the corner.
However, Morrison’s left-footed thunderbolt, which prompted boss Cunningham to race down the touchline to join the celebrations, ensured that the Reds are now the masters of their own destiny.
“It was a massive win,” said Cunningham. “We needed that one because we knew the pressure that was on us. It’s that tight up at the top of that league, and below us, so if we had lost the game, we would’ve been eighth or nine which, psychologically, is a huge blow.
“However, to be sitting fourth in the division is a big achievement for our football club. It’s a big day for the club.
“The great thing about this now is it’s in our hands, so we are the masters of our own destiny. We’ve got to go again against Droylsden and we’ve got to get a win. We’re just focussing on the three points.”
While everybody associated with the club enjoyed the latest triumph, Cunningham re-iterated that their mission remains incomplete.
Colne, fourth on 71 points, could still be pegged back by Scarborough Athletic, Trafford, Glossop North End and Brighouse Town on the final day if they don’t take care of business: “We’re not there yet,” he said. “The next game is the big one because at the moment we’re not in the play-offs. We’ve just given ourselves a chance. Hopefully adrenaline, courage and a bit of bravery against Droylsden will see us create a little bit of history for our football club.
“Once we’re there, if we do get there, then we’ll be going all out to achieve it. We’ve just got to give ourselves the best chance of doing that.
“This is massive because not so long ago we were sitting mid-table in the North West Counties. Now we’ve got the chance to achieve back-to-back promotions.”
Colne chief Cunningham also paid tribute to his skipper for his match-winning contribution against rivals Clitheroe.
Last season’s recipient of the Manager’s Player of the Year accolade thumped home a stoppage time winner at the XLCR Stadium to boost the club’s play-off hopes.
Speaking after the 2-1 triumph, Cunningham said: “It was an absolute beauty with his left peg, which is normally just for standing on.
“I’m really proud of him, I wouldn’t want it to be anybody else, he’s had a fantastic season.”
With the midfielder inspiring the club to title glory last term, Cunningham added: “Two season’s ago his career was almost over but he was fantastic last year and won all the accolades so to be able to do this now is a fantastic achievement. It’s a great way to finish.
“He’s not even got that in his locker so I don’t know where it’s come from.
“I’m shocked but I’m really proud that he’s done that. He deserves that and the lads love him to bits.
“Whoever scored that, though, I would’ve still run the 90 yards to celebrate. I was knackered.”