Barnoldswick Town boss Matt Barnes believes their Hallmark Security Premier Division rivals might sit up and start taking note after allowing them to slip under the radar.
Another two wins in succession, adding to their 5-1 thumping of second place Runcorn Town, has propelled Town to fourth spot in the table after 11 games.
Following a goalless first half against Ashton Athletic at the Silentnight Stadium, winger Zack Dale broke the deadlock just before the hour from Nathan Emery’s assist.
Last season’s player of the year then bagged his 11th goal of the campaign to double Town’s advantage when capitalising on a defensive error and keeping his cool with just Martin Pearson to beat.
Christopher Bandell pulled a goal back for the visitors with seven minutes remaining but Town held firm to claim maximum points.
Town then overcame West Didsbury and Chorlton in a five-goal thriller at the Recreation Ground midweek.
Dale was on the scoresheet again, wiping out Scott Mason’s early opener when heading Emery’s cross past Marcus Burgess.
Saul Henderson then walked the ball in to the net in the 37th minute after pouncing on Ryan Livesey’s error but Jack Coop restored parity from the spot in the second half after Dale had been pushed.
And they wrapped things up in the 81st minute when Ethan Kershaw picked out Andrew Hill with a splendid pass and the midfielder finished well to make it 3-2.
“It’s going really well,” said Barnes. “It’s a good place to be. We’re going in to games with confidence and nine times out of 10 I’d back my side to come away with three points.
“Nobody expects us to do anything. They’re expecting us to finish mid-table or below. We’re expecting top six at least because in-house we have high expectations. We know we can win games.
“Outside the club people are under-estimating us. Nobody thinks anything about us but maybe they’re starting to now.”
Barnes can’t put his finger on the key factors contributing to the success but is pleased to see things working out.
“I’m a relaxed person and I think I get more out of the players that way,” he said. “Some people don’t think that but we’re just gelling and playing well.
“It’s quite simple, I can’t put my finger on what it is, but it’s working. I don’t know if there’s anything special that brings this success but hopefully it carries on.
“We’re playing in a formation that suits us, that we’re au fait with. That brings out the best in our players. We aren’t just turning up for a football match, we want more.”