Neil Aspin said his FC Halifax Town side recorded a crucial win in the race for the Skrill Premier play-offs as they beat Nuneaton 1-0.
Defender Chris Smith marked his full debut with a goal five minutes from full-time to hand Town a huge boost in their aim to finish in the top five.
Smith was partnered with captain Danny Lowe after the Shaymen were deprived of their first-choice centre-backs Marc Roberts and Simon Ainge, but Halifax kept their fifth consecutive clean sheet and stretched their unbeaten run to seven games.
Aspin said: “If we wanted to stay in the play-off hunt I feel we had to come here and win.
“I thought the players were absolutely tremendous, they’ve had to absorb a couple of changes in personnel and everybody’s responded really well.
“It’s a fantastic result today. After 10 minutes we settled down and I felt we were the better team and looked likelier to score.”
The Town boss was happy with the contribution of his new pairing at the back and said they dealt well with the threat from the hosts.
He said: “It was a fantastic moment. I’ve known him throughout his career and he is capable of scoring from set pieces.
“He has got quite a good record and he does chip in with goals. It was a perfect day for him.
“They both dealt with everything. I wouldn’t say Nuneaton have got dynamic pace up front but they are certainly strong and they put themselves about.
“We were going to get tested with balls in the air and balls into the box but they stood up to that challenge well.”