PETER JACKSON cut through the controversy today and praised Town's never-say-die approach to the promotion chase.
The manager watched his gritty side come from behind and move fifth in Division III thanks to Saturday's 2-1 McAlpine win against play-off rivals Lincoln.
Efe Sodje and Pawel Abbott grabbed the goals after Marcus Richardson had given Lincoln the lead - Town's winner coming in hotly-disputed fashion after loan striker Abbott pinched a second goal in as many games from a defensive back header when otherwise well offside.
"A lot of teams would have gone under against a side as big, strong and physical as Lincoln, but with the character and spirit we've got in our dressing room we never gave it up," said Jackson today.
"We proved we've got fantastic determination and commitment and, while we know we can play better, the lads gave everything for the cause.
"It was a massive test for us, but the fans responded, the players responded and we got a great three points from a committed, battling performance.
"We owed Lincoln one, really, because we lost 3-1 down there and weren't particularly pleased with how we were treated, so it felt great to overturn that result and to take advantage of the other scores which went our way."
Town are level on points with fourth-placed Mansfield and just four adrift of the automatic promotion places following Oxford's draw, Hull's home defeat and Mansfield's loss to new leaders Doncaster.
There is also an 11-point gap to Northampton in ninth and five points to Lincoln in eighth.
"We don't want to get carried away because there are still a lot of games to play and a lot of hard work to be done, but our form and results suggest we will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season," added Jackson.
"Our aim is obviously to go up, but all you can say at the moment is that we are going well and we are in a handy position in the table with those above us not too far away.
"We just have to keep focused and concentrating on what we are doing. Next game up is Carlisle and we have to be ready for another big test up there."
Jackson is clear in his own thoughts about Abbott's winner, which drew no comment from Bootle official George Cain after the game but plenty from Lincoln chief Keith Alexander, who described the 67th-minute decision as "diabolical."
Jackson said: "It will be replayed time and time again and I'm just delighted that Pav played to the whistle, took the ball round the keeper and put it in the back of the net.
"That's what all strikers should do if they haven't heard a whistle and he, like the referee, thought the ball had come off a defender.
"The linesman flagged because he thought it was offside, but the referee overruled him and that was that.
"I'm delighted for Pav because he has now got two goals in two matches, but I'm more delighted for the whole team because they came under a lot of pressure and responded by putting their heads and bodies on the line.
"We knew it was going to be a big battle, but we came out on top and I think everyone deserves credit for that."
On the match, Jackson added: "I thought Andy Booth was awesome but it was hard to single anyone out because everyone got stuck in.
"I wasn't happy with the goal we conceded - the covering wasn't good and maybe Phil (Senior) should have stayed on his line - but he made up for it with a wonderful save near the end to ensure those extra two points and a great weekend for the club."