LITTLE Oakley boss Matt Carmichael believes his side can take points off top sides in their division – if they perform to the peak of their powers for 90 minutes.

The Acorns head to second-placed Halstead Town tomorrow, determined to cause an upset against the high-flying Humbugs.

Oakley narrowly lost at home to Thurlow Nunn League division south leaders White Ensign in Carmichael’s first game in charge and were unfortunate to lose 3-2 at home to another of the fancied sides, Coggeshall United, last Saturday.

The Acorns boss believes his side can rub shoulders with the best in the division and says they have no reason to fear their trip to Rosemary Lane.

“It’s been a tough start but that’s exactly what we wanted, to give ourselves a clear indication of where we’re at,” he told the Standard.

“We really feel the players are buying into what we’re trying to do.

“We’re starting to get the best out of them.

“They’re improving and two or three, in particular, have really stepped up.

“We played really well in the first half last weekend but then our second-half performance wasn’t good enough.

“That was disappointing but, overall, the signs are encouraging.

“We were never going to come in and start winning every game and there are undoubtedly things to work on.

“But we’re happy with our squad and running the top sides close.

“At our peak, we’re more than matching sides like Coggeshall, who are mid-table at the moment but will be right up there by the end, and White Ensign.

“It’s only when we drop our levels that we’re giving them a chance to get back in the game, so the challenge now is to produce a performance for 90 minutes.

“If we can do that, I’m very confident more points will follow.”

Luke Mayhew and Harry Mann scored Oakley’s goals against Coggeshall, at the Memorial Ground.

The visitors were two-up at half-time and their winner was shrouded in controversy, amid claims their goalscorer was offside.

“It was a disappointing goal, because he should have been flagged offside, and that was the consensus among everyone I spoke to,” said Carmichael, who has signed former Harwich and Parkeston defender Joss Neale.

“But that’s football and there’s no point getting down about it.

“We have to take the positives from our performance and move on.

“Looking ahead to the rest of the season, our challenge is to get into the top ten.

“If so, how high can we finish?

“That’s the ambition we need to have and the kind of position we should be setting our sights on.”