Ossett United move into fourth place as Evo-Stik East promotion race hots up
Ossett United kept their play-off hopes well and truly alive with a 4-0 success against Wisbech Town on Saturday afternoon.
Andy Welsh's side scored three goals in five second-half minutes before a fourth goal put the game well beyond the visitors with 11 minutes to play.
United have now kept eight clean sheets in their last 12 games and are only two points behind third-placed Brighouse Town.
Just two points separate the sides between third and sixth, with United's impressive defensive record moving them into fourth spot on goal difference.
After a goalless first half, Tom Greaves struck nine minutes into the second period to put Ossett ahead.
The former FC United of Manchester forward latched onto a high ball and held off his marker to hit the ball into the turf and over the Wisbech keeper.
Moments later, Chris Chantler found himself through on goal and brought the ball down with his chest before hammering a volley low into the corner.
Shiraz Khan made it three goals in five minutes for the hosts just before the hour mark.
The United forward controlled a delightful through ball over the top, advanced forward and dinked it over the on-rushing goalie.
Greaves put the result beyond doubt on 79 minutes as he sidefooted home Andy Monkhouse's cutback.
Assistant manager Paul Quinn felt that Ossett raised the intensity in the second half, and that they reaped the rewards as they scored three or more goals in one match for the fifth time in 2019.
"We just felt that we needed to raise the intensity a bit," said Quinn.
"We huffed and puffed a little bit first half.
"We probably didn't move the ball quick enough, we had asked for that before the game.
"Fair play to Wisbech, they came with a game plan and frustrated us first half.
"But second half we had a lot more intensity about our play, we got the ball into good areas with good runs into good spaces.
"We just picked up the pace of the game and that told in the first 15 minutes of the second half, we really put the opposition to the sword."
Quinn also praised United's defensive effort, with the Ingfield side currently boasting the second-best defensive record in the division.
Welsh's men have conceded just five goals in their last 13 games and haven't conceded more than one goal in a match since their 4-3 win over Frickley Athletic at the end of November.
Quinn added: "It is really important.
"We stressed that in the last 20 minutes of the game, we didn't want to give anything away.
"We don't want goal difference to be a telling tale at the end of the season, so it is important on that front.
"A couple of wobbly moments first half, but overall, second half in particular, we looked pretty solid."
Meanwhile, Ossett top goalscorer Adam Priestley was unavailable for the clash after being included in Gibraltar's squad for their 2020 Euro qualifying match against the Republic of Ireland.
Priestley was introduced as a 64th-minute substitute as Gibraltar produced a heroic performance but eventually fell to a 1-0 defeat.