I knew this group would come good, says Bunyard
PAULTON Rovers boss Nick Bunyard insists he never wavered in his belief that he had a squad of players strong enough to make a play-off challenge.
The Winterfield Road-based outfit were among the sides tipped to be promotion contenders before suffering a slightly disappointing start to the campaign.
However, Paulton have been in great form in recent weeks and claimed a fifth straight league victory with a 3-1 success at Bridgwater Town last Saturday, which put them in contention to make a play-off challenge.
"We did have a few poor results in the early part of the season, but I never wavered in my belief regarding the ability of this group," said Bunyard, who has not seen his side beaten in the league since October 27.
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"People were asking me if I should be lowering my expectations, but I was thinking some of our performances were actually pretty decent, even though the desired results were not forthcoming.
"It's no surprise to me the lads have managed to put this little run together, but it is important we are consistent between now and the end of the season, now we have got ourselves in a good position."
Paulton attempt to extend their nine-game unbeaten run against Poole Town tomorrow, but face a tricky assignment against the title favourites.
Mangotsfield United claimed a much-needed 1-0 victory at home to top-of-the-table Hungerford Town last weekend, which ended a patchy run of form that had seen Richard Thompson's side win just once in their previous six games.
Ben Hunt scored in the 18th minute and Thompson said: "It was one of those results nobody really expected. We have been out of form and then we go and beat the leaders.
"It gives the players a bit of a boost to beat a team at the top of the league, but the bottom line is getting three points was the most important thing, regardless of who they came up against."
Thompson's side face more difficult opponents tomorrow, with a trip to promotion-chasing Merthyr Town.
Yate Town boss Rob Cousins watched his side continue their mid-season resurgence with a 3-1 success over Cirencester Town at Lodge Road on Tuesday night, which was their fifth successive victory.
The Bluebells also claimed a thrilling stoppage-time victory over Poole Town last Saturday.
"It is a pleasing run of form, but it is important we don't get carried away by it," said Cousins, whose side host promotion-hopefuls Tiverton Town at Lodge Road tomorrow.
"The players must keep working hard in every game because that sort of work-ethic has been key to our recent improvement in results.
"I think the players are starting to realise that ability alone is not going to get you very far in this league. Hard work and desire have to come before anything else."
Cousins celebrated his 42nd birthday on Wednesday and assistant manager Michael Meaker said: "I think Trig (Cousins) enjoyed his birthday a bit more, now we've won a few games lately. He looked about 52 at the start of the season, but now he looks about 28!"
Clevedon Town boss Mickey Bell was pleased to see his players claim their first victory in four games last Saturday, with a 2-0 success away to Winchester City.
Goals from Dan Williams and Mike Stevenson were enough to secure the three points for Clevedon, who are home to Evesham United tomorrow.
"I told the players we needed to end our indifferent form by getting six points from the games against Winchester and Evesham," said Bell. "I was very pleased with how the boys performed on Saturday. We dominated long spells of the game and fully deserved our victory."