A PAIR of five-star displays have confirmed Nantwich Town as real challengers for promotion from Division One.
Any lingering doubts that the Dabbers have what it takes to contend for honours this season must surely have been dispelled by two crushing 5-0 wins over Stone Dominoes and Glossop North End last week.
The victories propelled Town into third spot in the table, with a game in hand over second-place Newcastle Town. The competition must now sit up and take notice.
Goals from Adam Beasley (2), Danny Griggs (2) and Rob Adlington secured an expected win over struggling Stone last Tuesday, but it was the success over a stubborn Glossop side which really impressed.
And with injuries to frontmen Mark Grice and James Marrow, it was the evergreen veteran John Scarlett who led the way on Saturday.
He stroked home Beasley's driven cross after just five minutes, and although Garry Kharas went close to equalising, it was one-way traffic.
Matt Blake powered past Danny Yates and drew keeper Stuart Williams before sliding the ball into the path of Beasley who had the simple task of doubling the lead before the break.
Soon after the restart, captain Phil Parkinson collected the ball 30 yards out and drilled an unstoppable shot past Williams to make it 3-0. Stuart Scheuber set-up Blake for a cooly-taken fourth, and Griggs clinically slotted the fifth.
Boss Steve Davis understated: 'It's going fine! We have had a real solid start and the lads have responded to every challenge set to them.
'We have just had two fantastic wins but I am concentrating on Colne on Saturday. They are a real strong side and would be above us if not for having six points deducted for fielding an ineligible player.
'I was pleased for John Scarlett. He always does a good job and he occupied their centre halves well all game at Glossop.'
Meanwhile, Alsager Town quietly kept pace with a 2-1 success over Formby on
Saturday. First-half goals from Peter Heler and Paul Rutter sealed the win, but boss Greg Clowes feels he is only getting 50% out of his men.
He said: 'Defender Ryan Dicker was excellent on his debut and Chris Budrys is playing extremely well up front, but it is just five or six out of 10 for the rest of them at the moment.
'We have got ourselves into a good position but we will get found out eventually if we don't play better. Abbey Hey can be tricky at home so we have to be on our game on Saturday.'
Clowes has been boosted by the news that his first choice goalkeeper and striker, Rob Powner and Paul Macari, are back in full training.
Phil McGing has deputised effectively in goal, while a number of town forwards have chipped in to keep the goals flowing, but there is no disguising Clowes' delight at the return of the pair.
He added: 'Rob has been a huge player for us over the seasons and he should play for the reserves on Saturday, while having Macari back will simply make us a better team.'
Nantwich Town Reserves cruised into the next round of the Crewe FA Cup when they walloped Bunbury 8-1 on Saturday.
Hat-tricks from Pete Murphy and Adam Landstrom, along with singles from Liam Allen and Louis James did the damage. Boss Alan Cooper said: 'It gave me a chance to see some fringe and youth players and I was pleased with the attitude of the players.'