Three goals in five second half minutes could be the catalyst to Grays' Nationwide Conference survival.
Facing Garry Hill's revived Rushden this was not quite Grays' last chance saloon, but they would certainly have been draining the dregs from their relegation glass had they gone down to another disappointing home defeat.
And for much of the evening it looked like time could well be called.
Justin Edinburgh sprang something of a surprise by dropping keeper Ashley Bayes, giving the starting jersey to Danny Knowles.
The young keeper had little to do in a stagnant first half. Rushden manager Garry Hill said before the game that the rest of the season was a holding operation for his side.
And in a dour, goalless first half his team succeeded in their clear aim of simply holding Grays and no more.
Grays completely dominated the first half but for 45 minutes of hustle and bustle there was very little creativity and only one real shot on target. Dennis Oli's volley in the 34th minute was all Grays had to show for their efforts.
However, things were to change dramatically on the restart.
It took just two minutes for the Blues to unlock Rushden's defence when Stuart Thurgood opened up with visitors with a ball that put youngster Aaron O'Connor through and he remained cool and calm as he slotted it past keeper Scott Tynan.
That put a spring in Grays' step and all the confidence that had been so noticeable by its absence suddenly flowed back.
Two minutes later Anthony Tonkin's cross from the left was met by O'Conner and he flicked it into the back of the net from five yards Rushden were completely shell-shocked and their defence was split open in 50th minute when Oli picked up a loose ball to shoot home from just inside the box.
Rushden could do little in reply and though Hill threw on three replacements, his side slipped to their first defeat in 12 matches.
Their only consolation came in the 89th minute when substitute Simeon Jackson's deflected shot looped over Knowles.
After the match Edinburgh showed visible of signs of relief. The pressure has been mounting on the likeable manager and for once he was able to bring a smile to his after-match conference.
"I asked for a reaction from the players and I certainly got it. I felt we dominated the first half but lacked a bit of ingenuity," he said.
"I was delighted that Aaron was able to bring that with his double strike.
"Our plan worked.
"Three strong midfielders, three fast strikers and three goals!"
By Michael Casey
Thanks to the Thurrock Gazette for the match report