Knaresborough Town prospering having achieved their goal of becoming 'harder to beat.
That is the view of manager Simon Parkes, who oversaw a seventh victory in eight unbeaten matches on Saturday when his side recorded a 4-2 success over Handsworth.
That run follows a 13-game barren patch, which yielded just one solitary win, and prompted Parkes and his coaching team to press the reset button.
And although Boro have been scoring for fun of late, finding the back of the net no fewer than 24 times during those eight league and cup outings, the Manse Lane chief believes that their approach and their work out of possession has been just as important as their ruthlessness in front of goal.
"Results are what matter at this stage of the season and they are certainly going in our favour at the moment,”
"We got another win on Saturday, even though we were not at our best, but we have been finding a way to win, and that’s been the difference of late.
"We are just proving a very difficult team to come up against. The offensive side of the game is obviously very important, and we have been excellent in that regard, but the defensive side is just as crucial. We had to become harder to beat.
"It is something that we addressed before Christmas, because we were leaking a few goals. Since that point, there has been a lot of focus on how we play without the ball, and on trying to become exceptionally hard to break down.
"We have managed to do that and it’s been proven in both performances and results. We’ve won five of our last six in the league, form that is exceptionally good, and it is pleasing to see things coming together.”
Saturday saw George Thewlis hand Boro a 16th-minute lead at home to Handsworth, only for the visitors to level shortly after half-time through an own goal.
But leading marksman Danny Edwards’ late brace put the hosts back in full control before Dominic Creamer stretched their lead to 4-1.
Owen Haigh did pull another one back for Handsworth in stoppage-time, but Parkes’ men had already done more than enough.
“The first goal came against run of play,” the Boro boss conceded.
"Handsworth were the better team for the first 25 minutes. Conditions were tough, the pitch was understandably heavy given the weather we have had, and it was inevitable that we would start a bit slow having not played for a while.
"But, we caught them on the counter-attack to go 1-0 up and then, even when they equalised, we didn’t panic. We just kept pushing for a second goal, which eventually came and was quickly followed by a third and fourth.
"I think that the difference to earlier in the season is that we are learning how to manage games better, we are keeping our discipline and finding a way to finish teams off.
"We have picked up some good habits, and we just need to keep them up. This run has set us up nicely heading into a tough period.”
Saturday’s result leaves Knaresborough eighth in the NCEL Premier Division standings, where they not sit just three points outside the play-offs.
Next up is a trip to fifth-placed Albion Sports, 3pm kick-off this Saturday.