Warrington Rylands manager Michael Clegg has been left delighted by their form – but concedes that they must turn draws into wins.
The Blues have been on a formidable run since their nightmare season opener at home to Radcliffe. They remain closest challengers to the runaway leaders 18 games with nine points separating both sides.
While Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson’s side have yet to draw a game this season, Rylands have been held six times – the latest at home to Basford.
“We were pretty good against Basford, we just struggled with finding that goal. We were good in the opening 20, we were on top and just didn’t get the goal,” Clegg explained to Off The Park.
“They’d say they deserved a point for their defending but they had two shots, very rarely got in our half. It was one way traffic from minute one, a game we should’ve got three points in. We go again on Saturday, we’re in good form and keep working hard.
“They are disappointing because who they came against, Atherton Colls, Bamber, Lancaster, Gainsborough and now Basford, a few of them games we should’ve won completely.
“We should be in a better position but we’re happy with where we are, we’re only in our second year and ahead of some massive non-league clubs.
“There will be some testing times ahead but while we’re up there we’ll enjoy it and we’re under no illusions that the chasing pack are spending a lot of money and have a lot more pressure on them.”
The winter period is now in-session and another hectic period is in store for many non-league clubs with Rylands being no different.
They have a three-point cushion in second but face off Marske United and Stafford Rangers with a Boxing Day ding-dong away to fellow playoff hopefuls Marine pencilled in.
Despite the strong start, Rylands are ahead of schedule in Clegg’s process. He detailed: “I always earmarked this season that Radcliffe, Worksop, Macclesfield and potentially Marine, it would be tough to break that four.
“ I still think it could be the case, we’ll see, there’s a cluster of teams who will probably fight for one playoff spot. But now we’re up there, we’ll do our best to stay up there but it’s tough when you look around so many tough games.
“This group you’ve got in the top eight or nine, they’ll take points off each other, it’s the draws which are the killer, you’ve got to pick up three points every other game if you can, you won’t go far wrong.
“The run we’ve had since Radcliffe has been phenomenal, each game is tough, pitting your wits against good managers and players, we’re doing alright.”