Heanor Town’s management trio praised their team’s resolve to pick up three points and a clean sheet against Stourport Swifts.
The Lions went in to half-time with a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Cooper and Clarke and the message was clear from those on the sidelines at the break.
A workmanlike performance saw Heanor go on to record a first clean sheet in the Midlands Football League since the start of November, a 10-0 win at Dunkirk.
Glen Clarence, the Lions manager, said: “Football is about winning games. It doesn’t matter how you play; if you’re the best side, worst side or anything else, it’s about winning the game.”
Saturday’s game saw Heanor return to winning ways following a narrow 3-2 defeat at home to Shepshed Dynamo eight days previous.
“I didn’t think we were that bad against Shepshed,” said Clarence. “I thought we’d created chances but hadn’t taken them, equally they (Stourport) created chances didn’t take them, another team would have scored goals against us.
“But we’ve got three points and a clean sheet. That’s what football is about.”
The win moved the Lions back up above Alvechurch, who lost at Cleethorpes Town in the FA Vase, to second in the table behind runaway leaders Hereford.
First team coach John Shepherd reflected: “We said ‘let’s get a clean sheet and try to win the second half 1-0’ and we nearly did. The formation they played didn’t make it easy for us, sometimes you have to match it.
“Credit to our lads. I know sometimes it was backs-against-the-wall but the lads worked hard and they kept their shape. They listened and we were good today.
“First half, particularly the first 25-30 minutes, I thought we were bright and positive on the ball. Second half again was the weather and conditions and it was about game management.
“We will improve but I think the words today are ‘clean sheet, on to the next one’.”
He added: “We ground it out. It doesn’t matter who you play against, sometimes you have to grind results out. I thought we did second half.
“We had a couple of opportunities and that would have capped it off.
“You don’t want to go out there and be like that but sometimes you have to be like that but what was nice was that the players did it. Let’s keep progressing because we have a lot of work to do.”
And assistant Steve Huntington thought Heanor ‘completely controlled’ the game from start to finish.
“We scored in the third or fourth minute and, if I’m being really honest, from where I sat, we were never ever in danger of not taking maximum points from that third minute,” said Huntington.
“Second half we were perhaps a little bit deeper than where we wanted to be but we completely controlled the game from start to finish. If we’d have been a little bit more clinical in the last 20 minutes, we would have finished the game three or four nil.
“When we discussed various scenarios at half time, the constant was ‘nil’.
“If the game finished two-nil or five-nil we needed the players to do what we’d asked them to do and they managed to do that so it’s really pleasing. It was a very professional, workmanlike performance.”
Heanor face Stapenhill in the quarter-finals of the Derbyshire Senior Cup on Tuesday night.
“There’ll certainly be changes. I expect us to beat Stapenhead and go in to the semi-final,” added Clarence.