Helston Athletic's season looked all but over at Christmas - what a difference three months can make.
As Mousehole ran away with the division one west league title a string of disappointing results in November and December saw Sid Taylor’s side lose touch with the leading pack in division one west.
Helston - along with Callington, Wadebridge and Truro City - notified the league that they would be interested in making the step up to the premier division, but in truth by the turn of the year the Blues’ chances of promotion seemed to have all but vanished.
But the revelation that, should they win the league, Mousehole will remain in division one west has reinvigorated Helston’s season.
Suddenly second place would be good enough to go up, and with a thumping 5-1 victory over fierce rivals Callington, followed by an equally impressive 3-1 win over Wadebridge at the weekend, Taylor knows his side are in with a real chance.
“The way I look at it, with the last few wins we’ve had in the league and eleven games left to go we’re right back in the race,” he said.
“If we can put a few runs together then we’ll start to ask questions of the teams around us like Callington. I think the game against them gave us a way back in.”
Taylor identified Callington as the team he thought most likely to challenge Mousehole for promotion, and a cursory glance at the league table would appear to back his claim up.
Lee Beer’s side sit sixth on 33 points, having played nine fewer games than league leaders Sticker, who have 49.
Helston sit two places above Callington on 39 points, having played four more games.
The situation as things stand is relatively straight forward: Callington are masters of their own destiny. Win those nine games, and promotion is all but guaranteed.
Only it’s not that simple. Amongst the games they have left are home and away ties against Dobwalls and Wadebridge, and matches against Sticker, Mousehole and Truro City.
And with cup games to cope with, Taylor’s hope is that if the Blues can keep winning the pressure may prove too much for Callington’s small squad to bear.
But that’s a big if, and for the time being the Helston boss is happy to remain pragmatic.
“It’s a funny old league this season,” he said. “We’ve got to play Vospers, who are much-improved, and Truro mid-week - who knows what their team will look like. Then we’ve got Perranporth to play, and they’ve just beaten us in the cup. We’ve just got to take it as it comes and not get too far ahead of ourselves.
“But the boys are excited. They’re suddenly up for it. Two months ago they were a bit down, but then we had the break and we’ve trained hard and come back strong. Now the place is buzzing again.”
If Helston are to win promotion, no club will have worked harder, or prepared themselves better.
With a floodlight fund having already raised in excess of £7000, and hard-standing recently installed - both premier division requirements - all that’s left is for Taylor’s side to take care of matters on the pitch.
The Blues boss knows this Helston team are well capable of that.