HARWICH and Parkeston manager Kieron Shelley believes his side have "all the credentials" to challenge for honours this season.

After a spell of inconsistency, the Shrimpers have had a positive week, drawing with previous Thurlow Nunn League first division south leaders Lopes Tavares before reaching the Knockout Cup semi-finals on Tuesday night.

It has put then in good heart for Friday's tricky trip to May and Baker.

Now Shelley has challenged his players to "kick on", show their undoubted quality and continue to climb the table.

"We've been a bit inconsistent and things like injuries and having players away has hurt us," he said.

"But everyone can see that when things work and happen for us, we've got all the credentials to be a really good side.

"It's so close at the top of the table and if we win our games in hand, we'll only be four points behind (leaders) Little Oakley.

"It's far too early to be talking about people winning the league, though.

"We haven't even had Christmas yet.

"Let's get to the back end of January.

"That's when you get a true reflection of who's in with a chance.

"In the meantime, it's been a positive few days and we're looking to kick on.

"The quality is there but now it's about being more consistent, keeping the players hungry and on their toes."

Sean Bartlett was on target in last weekend's 1-1 draw against Lopes Tavares.

Michael Schofield then put Harwich ahead in Tuesday's First Division Knockout Cup tie against Coggeshall United, at the Gwinnell and Sons Royal Oak.

The Weavers equalised in the closing stages, after a harshly-awarded penalty conceded by Nicky Palmer.

But the Shrimpers held their nerve to win the ensuing penalty shoot-out 6-5.

Schofield converted the all-important spot-kick.

"I thought it was a fair outcome," said Shelley.

"The fact we had to be separated by penalties summed up the game, because neither of us had many clear-cut chances.

"But we were the slightly stronger of the sides.

"We did the basics right and stuck to our gameplan, which is what you have to do against a decent team like Coggeshall.

"They're a tough side to beat but our boys worked hard.

"It wasn't our best footballing display but we brought other qualities to the table, like our team work, workrate and desire.

"And as we always say to the boys, if you show those attributes as a minimum, you've always got a good chance of getting something. You'll stay in the game.

"Maybe we got a bit of luck but that's the first time in two or three months I've walked off a pitch and been able to say that."

Of the late spot-kick that necessitated a shoot-out, Shelley added: "We switched off a bit at the end.

"It wasn't a penalty but you can't feel sorry for yourselves in that situation.

"It's part and parcel of football.

"No-one moaned and the reaction was positive.

"We got on with it and got our rewards."

Harwich's next home game is against White Ensign on Saturday week.