Darrell Clarke believes Cheltenham’s 1-0 win at Carlisle has now put them in the race to survive in League One this season.
Many had written off the rock-bottom Robins by the time Clarke was appointed at the end of September and they endured a run of 11 games without even scoring at the start of the season.
But Liam Sercombe’s first-half winner at Brunton Park means they have now scored in 10 successive matches since then and they are now just three points from safety.
“We have put ourselves into the fight, I firmly believe,” said Clarke, whose side are still bottom but are now level on points with Carlisle immediately above them.
“Let’s make no bones about it, two or three months ago we were nowhere near it.
“Now, we are fighting and scrapping away and trying as hard as we possibly can to stay in the league.”
Experienced midfielder Sercombe reacted quickest to touch in George Lloyd’s pass after Carlisle goalkeeper Tomas Holy spilled the ball while trying to prevent a corner in the 27th minute.
Cheltenham had lost in-form striker Will Goodwin to injury inside three minutes, but with the strong wind behind them, they began to create chances against a Carlisle side clearly lacking in confidence.
Lloyd had the ball in the net in the eighth minute, but the offside flag was raised.
Carlisle then had a goal disallowed of their own, with Jon Mellish denied in the 20th minute.
Cheltenham opened the scoring and went close again through Rob Street in the 44th minute, before Jordan Gibson saw a shot saved for the hosts before the break.
Carlisle applied pressure in the second half, but a shot over the bar from Dan Butterworth in the 75th minute was all they could muster and they are now without a win in seven.
Clarke was particularly pleased after last week’s 2-1 home defeat by Leyton Orient, who scored two goals in the closing minutes.
“To not get any points from that one and then coming here, it was a big game for both teams,” he said.
“My lads stood up to the challenge. It wasn’t a classic, but it was never going to be in gale force winds and we defended our goal superbly.
“A little bit of quality and a mistake from their goalie and we win the game, so I am delighted.”
Carlisle drop to 23rd following the loss and boss Paul Simpson admitted they were second best on the day.
“We got what we deserved, which is absolutely nothing,” Simpson said.
“I am embarrassed to say it, but Cheltenham wanted it more than us and that’s a rubbish thing to have to say.
“They competed, they won first contacts, got onto second balls and we were poor in possession.
“The mistake was horrendous and I am getting fed up of talking about goalkeeping mistakes. It gave them something to hang on to and they absolutely did that, while we didn’t have enough, it’s as simple as that.”