Alnwick Town grabbed their second win in three games to claw themselves closer to safety.
Second-half goals from Tony Brown, Tom Vickers and Jon Colley helped the basement side come from behind to beat nine-man Thornaby 3-2 on Saturday.
The victory moved the St James’ Park side to within a point of second-bottom Horden CW and four points off Brandon United – although United have two games in hand.
The Northern League Division Two triumph also keeps Town on track of achieving their points target over the Christmas period.
Boss Paul Yeadon wanted his side to win three of their four festive fixtures – starting at Thornaby at the weekend.
So far, so good. Although, this weekend’s clash against league-leading Ryhope CW, followed by a Boxing Day trip to Morpeth Town, will certainly test the black ‘n’ whites.
But they can take heart from their Thornaby triumph, defeating a side who, before Saturday’s match, had won three of their last four games in all competitions.
And when Richard Walker put Thornaby into a 25th-minute lead, some may have feared the worse.
But Town showed their resolve to come out on top in what was a hard-fought, bruising encounter – epitomised by the first-half dismissal of Thornaby’s Liam O’Mahoney, followed by the sending-off of teammate Michael Joseph in the 76th minute.
Yeadon was particularly pleased with his side’s second-half performance.
Town drew level on 55 minutes, when Brown slotted in from a Dale Kennedy cross.
Three minutes later, Town took the lead through Vickers’ dipping shot from 30 yards out.
Colley then forced in from close range on 75 minutes to put Town 1-3 up.
The visitors were made to endure a nervy final few minutes after Thornaby’s Gary Mitchell scored from 10 yards to make it 2-3.
But there was to be no late drama. In fact, it was Town who had the game’s final effort, when Brown forced a point-blank save from Nicholas Farrell.
Town midfielder Neil Catlow put in a man-of-the-match performance to help his side to victory.
Yeadon said: “It was a big win for us and keeps us in contention of getting out of trouble, which I believe we can do. The work rate, desire and commitment was fantastic.”
He also believes Town can get something from Saturday’s home game against Ryhope (kick-off 3pm).
This is followed by a trip to Morpeth Town on Wednesday (kick-off 11am).
Alnwick Town (v Thornaby): Brooks, Makin, Convery, Murray, McPherson, Catlow, Nixon (Kennedy), Brown, Vickers (Keenan), Colley (Kidd), Hogg. Subs: Jackson, Dundas.