'We're in the driving seat' says table- topping boss
GILLINGHAM Town boss Adrian Foster believes the pressure is on his side's rivals as they look to maintain their position at the top of Toolstation Western League Premier Division.
A Ryan Murray penalty and a Ben Thomson strike gave Gill a 2-0 win at Winterbourne United on Saturday as they notched up their third straight league win.
It leaves them three points clear of second place Larkhall Athletic at the head of the table, with Street a further point back in third.
But with their two biggest rivals having several games in hand, they face a stern fight to maintain their status as league leaders.
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Foster believes the onus is on the chasing sides to bridge that gap and said that holding the numerical edge in the division is enabling his team to play with confidence.
He said: "At the moment we've got the points on the board and it's up to the likes of Larkhall and Street to win their games in hand and put us under pressure.
"If they win their games in hand then they'll go above us, and deservedly so, but they have to win those matches first and as long as we're winning, if our rivals start dropping points, then it'll get to the point where they'll be needing to win every game, and that's very difficult to cope with.
"We're confident that having got points and wins under our belt, we'll be able to carry on winning matches and that will only make things harder for the teams chasing us."
Foster has also praised the defensive improvement of his side in recent matches, with Saturday's victory being Gillingham's third clean sheet in succession, and their fourth in five games.
It comes after a poor run in September, which saw Gill win just two out of six games, conceding 12 times.
But with keeper Jamie Beale keeping out his last three opponents, Foster says that conceding less will allow his side to exert their attacking superiority in matches.
"I've said all along that we'll nearly always create enough chances to score two or three goals per game, and that's something we've proved time and again.
"I hate conceding goals. Even if we're four or five goals up I always us to want to end the game with a clean sheet."
"We know that if we keep clean sheets then we'll win games, and having conceded a number of goals through defensive errors this season it was important that we worked to put that right, so I'm very happy with the response from all the lads.
Gillingham host second bottom Ilfracombe Town on Saturday aiming for their fourth straight league win, as they look to maintain their position as league leaders.
Despite the two sides' placings in the league, it's a game that Foster is refusing to take for granted, and he has warned his side against complacency as they continue their promotion push.
"Ilfracombe are a funny side. Clearly they've not had the best of starts to the season but we have to be wary of that and go and set our stall out in the same way as we would any other game.
"It doesn't matter whether we're playing Larkhall or Ilfracombe.
"You have to be on top of your game and if you're not you won't come away with three points.
"Obviously we're targeting the win, but until you get the first couple of goals you're always facing a fight, and the longer it takes for that to happen, then the harder it becomes to win the game, and we need to make sure that doesn't happen to us."
Foster has moved quickly to replace Wincanton-bound Lee Gale, swooping for former Street and Sherborne Town man Phil Ormrod.
The powerful striker - who netted for the Cobblers at Hardings Lane last season - had a debut to remember, scoring the only goal of the game as Gill beat Willand Rovers 1-0 last midweek.
By Stephen D'Albiac
MERE Town battled back from conceding in the first minute to progress in the Bespoke Teamwear Dorset Premier League Cup at the expense of Sherborne Town Reserves.
Tim Trevett gave Wayne Jerome's men an ideal start before two sharp saves kept the Raleigh Grove hosts ahead at the break.
Callum Chainey's attempt stirred Mere to life and Richard Leach pounced on a loose ball at a corner to level. A similar set piece was to prove Sherborne's undoing, Nick Hewlett heading home.