Injury-ravaged Team Northumbria travel to Tow Law Town on Tuesday in buoyant mood after a battling win at Darlington RA.
Colin Stromsoy’s men edged a seven-goal thriller to stay on top of the Northern League’s first division.
But a nailbiting 4-3 win came at a heavy cost with Sam Read forced off following a first half clash – adding to the growing number of TN stars seeking treatment.
“We’ve got four or five key players out now and none of them are minor injuries,” said Stromsoy.
“It’s a big concern with the matches coming thick and fast. But we go again at Tow Law in the League Cup and travel to Nottingham for a BUCS game on Wednesday.
“Who knows what we’ll get out of those games but I was proud of the way we stood firm in the face of a real battle at Darlington.”
TN took the lead through a superb Ross McKeown header before the hosts levelled when Stromsoy’s men failed to track a late midfield runner.
Minutes later Dan Taggart’s cross shot caused chaos in the Darlington area as the league leaders restored their advantage.
And TN took a 2-1 lead into the break – but not before Read was replaced in the wake of a heavy challenge.
“At times it was pretty miserable out there,” added Stromsoy. “Sam was clobbered, Nick Green took a hit and we faced a physical team determined to take no prisoners.
“It was a battle from the opening minute and we knew we could expect more of the same after the break.
“Darlington made it 2-2 thanks to some fantastic football from their central midfielder. He was outstanding and created a great chance for them to level.”
TN fell behind after surrendering possession in the middle of the park – the hosts’ leading scorer Daniel Pigg making no mistake in front of goal.
Kevin Carr hauled the visitors back into contention with a coolly taken right-footed effort before Gerard Richardson sealed a famous win eight minutes from time.
“It’s been a really, really tough week and things don’t get any easier,” added Stromsoy. “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about our injuries.
“But to win at Darlington is a big thing for this team and they deserve the victory.
“Ross McKeown was outstanding from start to finish and refused to be rattled. Without him holding things together I’m not sure we would have come away with the three points.”