Richard Towers scored his first win since returning as Arundel Football Club manager on Saturday.
Strikes in each half from Asa Nicholson and Harry Russell helped Mullets come away with a 2-1 victory at rivals Pagham in the Southern Combination League Premier Division encounter.
Going into the clash, Towers had lost all three of his games since taking charge in December, before finally gaining a much-needed win at the fourth time of asking.
Despite the victory, Mullets remain second from bottom in the standings but they closed the gap on teams above them. Every other side in the bottom seven lost as Mullets gained some ground in their quest for Premier Division safety, leaving them two points off 17th-placed Worthing United.
With things working in Towers’ team favour, he just wants the squad to continue to focus on themselves.
He said: “It was a massive win and such a relief I’ve managed to get that first victory since returning. The lads deserve a great deal of credit and I’m so pleased the hard work they’ve put in has been rewarded.
“It was almost the perfect weekend for us with other results but we will continue to focus on ourselves. We’ve still got 36 points to play for, with survival very much in our own hands.”
Mullets took a lead into the interval as Alex Biggs’ cross was turned home by Nicholson three minutes before the break.
The lively derby battle then sprung into life over the course of an enthralling final 45 minutes. Russell was hauled down in the area by Pagham defender Neil Murfin five minutes after the restart with a spot-kick awarded. But Lee Mottershead’s weak penalty was saved by James Binfield as it remained 1-0.
Incredibly less than two minutes later, Lions were awarded a penalty of their own as Mullets goalkeeper James Fernandes was adjudged to have brought an opposition forward down. Pagham midfielder Joe Shelley showed Mottershead how to do it, making it 1-1.
Shelley then went from hero to villain as he was shown a second yellow card following a challenge on Scott Tipper 15 minutes from time.
With time running out, Mottershead made up for his penalty miss, slotting Russell clear and the forward fired past Binfield as Arundel took all three points - ending a run of six league matches without a win.
With Newhaven next up at Mill Road on Saturday and Mullets just two points off two-places above Worthing United, Towers is hopeful the Pagham win will be a catalyst.
He added: “We’ve got some difficult games coming up but we’ve shown by beating Pagham what we are capable of.
“Our focus will continue to remain on ourselves and seeing how many points we can collect in the games coming up after such a good win at Pagham.”
ARUNDEL Fernandes; Lofting, Walker, Dudas, Jenkins; Bunker, A.Biggs, Mottershead, Hooker-Meehan; Nicholson, Russell. Subs: Tilley (Hooker-Meehan), Tipper (A.Biggs), Peskett (Lofting).
Don't miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you'll be amongst the first to know what's going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.littlehamptongazette.co.uk/
2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LittlehamptonGazette
3) Follow us on Twitter @LhamptonGazette
4) Register with us by clicking on 'sign in' (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don't miss out!
The Littlehampton Gazette - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.