"It's everything to play for," said manager Gary Johnson after Torquay United had continued their spring revival with a crucial 1-0 win away to National League title rivals Sutton United this week.
The Gulls, who seemed to have blown their chance only a month ago, made it six wins in seven games with captain Asa Hall's tenth goal of the season, a diving 81st minute header.
The top of the table now reads: Hartlepool P35/Pts64 (+16), Sutton 32/63 (+24), Torquay 33/63 (+22), Stockport 33/58 (+24).
"I never felt we were out of it," stressed Johnson.
"We haven't won the league, and we mustn't think we have, but the players have found their game, as individuals and as a team, at the right time.
"It was a great performance - everybody played their part, and that's why I was really proud of them.
"You could see Sutton were happy with a draw at 0-0, but we weren't.
"We've gone away to a team that took over from us at the top a while ago, and we've outplayed them.
"There were some games recently where we didn't have enough shots or crosses, but now we are back doing that - we have found that intent to win games again."
When they lost 4-1 at Maidenhead on March 16, United had won only once in seven matches and their hopes of promotion seemed in jeopardy, let alone the title.
But 18 points out of 21 over the past month have transformed the situation.
Torquay don't play again until Woking away next Tuesday but it gives them a little more time for recovering players like defender Kyle Cameron, who returned at Sutton after two months out with hamstring trouble.
There was one concern on Tuesday - centre-forward Danny Wright appeared to be 'feeling' the hamstring he tore at Christmas as he was taken off in stoppage-time but Johnson said: "We think it was more fatigue than anything - it didn't seem like anything was pulled."
United are hoping to extend the loan of young left-back Ryan Law from Plymouth Argyle. His first month at Plainmoor runs out this week.
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