LEE Sinnott saluted Altrincham’s new-found defensive solidity after they ground out a 0-0 draw at promotion rivals Worcester City to reclaim a place in the Blue Square Bet North top five.
While the game itself produced few memorable moments, the Alty manager was at least able to reflect on some impressive statistics that suggest they are serious candidates to figure in the end-of-season play-offs.
It was Alty’s second successive clean sheet, and their fourth in the last eight games, while they have conceded only three goals in an unbeaten run that now stretches to five matches.
"That is the kind of return you need if you want to be a successful side," said Sinnott.
"If goals conceded is a lower figure than games played, you are on the right track, and it’s great credit to the players that we have achieved that in recent weeks.
"If you look at the personnel at the back, there is no reason why we should not be keeping more clean sheets, but it’s not just down to the keeper and back four.
"There will be times when Stuart Coburn has to make important saves, or lads at the back prevent a goal with a tackle or block, but it’s about how the team defend as a whole.
"Whichever combination we have gone for as a midfield four, they have worked hard and protected the lads behind them. It has proved an effective mixture, and we need to continue along those lines.
"Duncan Watmore went close soon after going on at Worcester, and Damian Reeves threatened near the end. But Worcester could say they had chances, and certainly Scott Leather went flying in to pull off a wonderful block.
"For a young lad, he has a great knack of getting his body in the way in those situations. If I did that, the ball would probably go flying past me, but he’s a bit like John Terry in the way he always manages to block it."
Tuesday’s game at Droylsden was postponed, due to a frozen pitch, and Alty are keeping an anxious eye on the weather, ahead of Saturday’s home fixture with Solihull Moors. They have another home game next Tuesday against Boston United.