MIDDLEWICH Town gave themselves a title chance with a victory at perennial Mid Cheshire League champions Barnton on Saturday.
'It still means we can't afford to lose, but there's a lot of pressure on Barnton now,' said manager Terry Murphy.
The 2-1 scoreline also means Poynton have as good a chance of ending Barnton's domination of the MCL. Both clubs have games in hand but Barnton still cannot be caught if they win all their remaining games.
But Barnton's run-in offers Middlewich greater hope.
They were in the League Cup final last night and have the Cheshire Cup final and the National System Cup semi-finals to look forward to - and distract them?
Murphy said: 'They are looking for honours on four fronts and that is a lot of strain to carry while not daring to slip up - and they have got to go to Poynton yet.
'It is up to us to win all our remaining games and then we have done all we can. We are capable, though I always worry about us against the so-called simpler teams. The tougher games bring out the best in us.'
Rob Hopley and Joey Roberts were Middlewich heroes and aim to repeat the victory at Crewe on Saturday.
For that match, Lee Murphy (unavailable) and Ian Stanton (food poisoning) return and the boss may reward them with a place in the line-up.
'We played well at Barnton and overall we deserved to win. But I pick my strongest team every game and if that means changing the line-up, I will do so,' said Murphy.
Middlewich have still to play Garswood, Bollington and Rylands at home and Knutsford and Daten away. Winsford United are on course for any of the extra promotion places which may be available in the North West Counties League.
Dave Twite has told his players that they are playing for fourth place.
'That's the spot we want and there are several teams after it,' said Twite.
But, unbeaten in eight games, United are increasingly fancying their chances - and they and other clubs around them are now wondering whether Division One leaders Formby would be eligible for promotion wherever they finish.
Their facilities are housed in demountable buildings and they may not get the ground grading. Which, if four go up as anticipated, fifth place will also carry the reward.
Blues entertain Eccleshall tonight (Wednesday) before travelling to much-fancied Colne on Saturday and then switching attention to the Mid Cheshire Senior Cup and a semi-final against Northwich Vics at Wincham Park on Monday.
United are unlikely to get a better chance of beating Vics than right now. Virtually relegated, the club is at a low ebb and the team has only won twice at home all season. Kick-off is 7.45pm and there will be extra time and penalties if necessary.
'We have a busy time ahead, but we are positive and believe we can win each game we play. We are looking forward to playing on a good surface against Vics,' said Twite.