MARK Owen has challenged his Droitwich Spa players to build an unassailable lead at the top of West Midlands (Regional) League Division One.
The Saltmen went eight games unbeaten in all competitions as a result of their straightforward 4-0 victory against Willenhall last weekend, one which they were unable to extend in midweek after their Division One League Cup game at Bromyard Town was postponed.
A Connor Collins hat-trick and one from Jack Davies kept Spa on top of the pile, with a number of games still in hand on their nearest rivals – including three on second-placed Old Wulfrunians.
Droitwich manager Owen was clear in his assessment: “To be honest it was one of our most complete league performances of the season so far.
“We played brilliantly, the football was free-flowing and we probably should have had more.”
Cory Rudd was the man to go closest for the hosts at Walshes Meadow when driving wide two efforts from distance, while Ben Tilbury, Haydn Morris, James Lemon and Collins all kept Willenhall keeper Chris Adamson busy.
The visitors did have their moments, notably when Nathan Derrick drove a free-kick from 20 yards out on target, forcing Matty Oliver to tip over.
With ten minutes of the opening half remaining, Droitwich had the goal their play had merited when Lemon’s bursting run took him around the keeper and allowed him to tee up Collins for a tap-in.
A second soon followed, Collins this time turning provider with a cross into the path of Davies, who volleyed first-time high into the net.
Droitwich remained on top as the play resumed, adding their third through Collins just after the hour mark, before the forward wrapped up his hat-trick with a curling effort into the bottom corner 15 minutes from time.
Having continued their fine run of form, Owen now says the target is to go clear at the top of the table.
“The next job, now we’re top, is to stamp our authority on the league,” he said.
“We’ve seen our way through a number of tests this season already.
“But nothing is won today, nothing was won at Christmas [when Droitwich first went top], all that matters is how the table looks in April.
“We’ve all agreed that we’ll take a game at a time, that’s the mentality that we’ve adopted going forward.
“Within four walls, we’ve not played as well as we’d have liked [overall], we’ve been a bit and miss in some games. But we’re working on things every week to try and improve.”
The Spa boss will have a fully-fit squad available to him this Saturday (3pm), when playing host to Bustleholme – a side who were handed their heaviest defeat of the current campaign when the side’s last met in October’s 7-1 rout.
Despite the ease with which Droitwich won the previous encounter, Owen warned his players to take their opponents seriously.
“If you look at our recent results, Sikh Hunters up until the game was abandoned – which we’re still hoping will go in our favour – FC Darlaston, not every single game plan is the same,” he said.
“Every single Saturday is like that, so we’ve just go to keep taking each performance as it comes.”