Mean defences paying early dividends for Hengrove and Oldland
BRISTOL rivals Hengrove Athletic and Oldland Abbotonians are benefiting from putting their defences in order this season.
Both have established themselves among the early-season front-runners as a result.
In fifth place ahead of tomorrow's visit to Bradford Town, Oldland boast the best defensive record in the division, having conceded just four times in their opening eight fixtures.
Manager Paul Britton said: "We only had two points this time last season, but we have improved a lot since then and it is mostly based upon being solid in defence.
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"We are a young side, but the lads have learned and now understand their roles."
Nathan Evans and Tom Morgan miss the trip to Bradford owing to suspension, while Luke Bryan is struggling to recover from a hamstring strain.
Hengrove, who are level on points with Oldland but with two games in hand, have been proving just as miserly.
Manager Jamie Hillman said: "We leaked too many goals in the last couple of years and that was something we worked on in pre-season.
"Goalkeeper Liam McFarlane has returned to the club and shown a lot more composure than during his first spell with us.
"Lee Crew, Marcus Maggs, Danny Barwood and Sam Williams have given us a settled back four, which always helps."