HARD graft and sound recruitment are two of the key factors behind Little Oakley's eye-catching Thurlow Nunn League form.

That's the view of proud boss Matt Carmichael, who has been delighted with his players' progress since taking the reins in early November.

The Acorns have lost just one of their last nine first division south fixtures - most recently thumping Brightlingsea Regent Reserves 5-0 on Saturday.

And as an added bonus, they have also kept three clean sheets in four games.

"Momentum is a big thing for any team and thankfully we've got it at the moment," said Carmichael.

"It's really pleasing because we're most definitely making progress.

"In my dozen games in charge, we've won seven, drawn two and lost three.

"There's also been a big swing in our goal difference, which was -17 when I took over and now it's down to -2.

"In that time, I think you can pretty much write off my first four games.

"We were just starting out and getting to know each other.

"But our form since then has been excellent and it's a great yardstick to show where we're at."

Oakley continued their excellent form with a 5-0 victory against Regent's reserves on Saturday.

Harry Mann scored the first two and he was joined on the scoresheet by Joss Neale, Luke Mayhew and Mark Palmer, with the last being a spectacular effort from 25 yards.

"Improvement has been made and that's been down to working hard and recruiting well," added Carmichael.

"The lads have bought into what we're trying to do and there's genuine competition for places.

"We've steading the ship and now it's a case of pushing on."

Oakley, who are eighth in the table, head to Hackney Wick on Saturday.

Their next home game is against title-chasing Halstead Town, next Saturday.