Mind the gap! It's now nine points - but Wilkins is taking no chances at Needham Market
Needham Market boss Richard Wilkins has said the pressure is still on his team despite their fine win over second-placed Margate on Saturday.
Their 3-2 victory lifted the Marketmen up to 18th place in the Bostik Premier table and, more importantly, put a nine-point gap between themselves and Burgess Hill – the basement side – only one team is relegated.
And while most commentators in the non-league world have never seen Needham being that basement team, until that’s mathematically certain, Wilkins will take no chances.
“We were excellent against Margate,” Wilkins said.
“We dominated the first half but due to a mistake we went in at half-time 1-1.
“I’m not surprised we beat them though. We have done well against top-six sides. But we have drawn too many games. Drawn games we should have won and lost points that would have us much further up the table.
“But the pressure is not off.
“Until it is definite we can’t finish bottom, then the pressure will never be off.
“Then again, we are playing well and have been playing well for a while. Our confidence is high and that’s great to see.”
Needham’s victory cemented their fine run of form that has come just at the right time. They are unbeaten in five league games, including three victories.
And while others around them have also picked up, none have picked up as consistently as Wilkins’ side.
“It’s nice to be on such a decent run,” Wilkins said.
“But I’ve been in the game long enough to know there are lots of strange things and strange results still to come.
“It’s nice to move up a few places in the table and nice to have a fully-fit squad raring to go.”
One player who shone on Saturday was Jamie Griffiths.
The former Ipswich Town player, who was offered a professional contract at Portman Road by Roy Keane back in 2010, was pivotal in Needham’s success at the weekend, with two goals.
“Jamie was excellent,” Wilkins said.
“His second goal, especially was superb and a real team goal. He is a key player for us.”
Needham have no game this midweek, but travel to Met Police on Saturday.