SATURDAY'S 2-1 victory over Rhyl was welcomed by director of football Andy Preece, who felt it was a "pivotal" game for the club.

"Obviously we had lost three of the last four but we have been playing really well, Preece said.

"But when we lost Chris Budrys and Ian Kearney like we did, we showed character and belief.

"Rhyl didn't have a shot on goal in the second half, it was a fantastic performance and, when there's nothing untoward going on, we tend to win a lot of games, so I am pleased with that today.

"In the first half we thought it was going to be another of those days. We got into great positions with some great lead-up play.

"To be fair it wasn't too bad, their keeper has made a couple of good saves, Keyo has hit the post, a couple of good shots that have just gone wide but we got in time after time.

"To go in (at half time) one each without Buds and Kearns we thought it was going to be another of those days, everything is stacked against us.

"We showed great character and I think it is a pivotal three points in the season for us."

"But we showed great character and I think it is a pivotal three points in the season for us.

"If we hadn't have won today or we had lost, it doesn't matter how well you are playing, some doubts will creep in if we had lost four out of five, but we haven't.

"We've bounced back again and find ourselves back in second place which is where we need to be."

Preece fears that the injuries are both serious: "I would think both will be long term, Kearney's looks pretty serious," he continued.

"The lad has pushed him which has knocked him off-balance, it was just a petulant push and it has done serious damage so I am disappointed in that.

"Buds was just in a challenge but he looks long term as well so we'll have to deal without those two.

"It's part of football, we could only put 11 players out for about seven or eight games last season and we managed to deal with it and came out with a lad who signs for Leicester, so you just don't know what happens when you are pushed to your limits.

"But the lads showed what they can do today and it's great character in a good game with a nice bit of atmosphere as well."

Photos (top) Mike Pearson and Ellis Healing congratulate goal scorer Ian Kearney and (below) Jordan Barrow goes up for a cross with Stefan Halewood.

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