LITTLE Oakley manager Matt Carmichael is keeping his feet rooted to the ground - despite watching his on-song side climb to the top of the table.

The Acorns took over at the Thurlow Nunn League first division south summit after a 4-1 victory at basement boys Fire United, on Saturday.

Two goals from Harry Mann and strikes from Shaun Kioussis and Joss Neale helped them leapfrog previous pacesetters Lopes Tavares, who were held to a 1-1 draw at Harwich and Parkeston.

Carmichael admitted it was a proud moment to go top - a reward for his players' progress and form this season.

However, he is not getting carried away and says he always tries to stay on an even keel.

"Never get too high and never get too low. That's always been my motto in football," said the Oakley boss.

"If you're too high when you're winning, it's a long way to fall.

"And if you get downbeat when things aren't going well, it can be difficult to claw your way up again.

"You can't let things get on top of you because we all do this as a hobby - and you only do a hobby to enjoy it.

"I always try and keep my feet on the ground, to keep on an even keel, and it's no different with our position at the top of the table.

"It's nice and pleasing, of course, but something that has more relevance after Christmas.

"So many things could happen in the next month, given the fact other sides have games in hand.

"But from our point of view, with four going up, the most important thing is being within striking distance heading into the new year."

Carmichael felt his side's quality shone through at Fire on Saturday.

And, encouragingly, he believes his team are beginning to hit their stride.

"We're playing well and slowly starting to find some form," he said.

"We're scoring lots of goals and have the top two scorers in the league, in Harry and Luke (Mayhew).

"Greg Rodger's backing them up, too, and they're all fantastic.

"The squad's settling down and we've still got players to come back from injury.

"There's a great vibe around the club and the academy is bearing fruit already.

"On Saturday, it was a case of getting over the line.

"It was wet and windy and the conditions were horrible.

"But, in the end, our quality was too much for them.

"Despite being bottom, Fire were competitive the whole way through but in the second half, we were just too good for them.

"We kept the ball well, controlled the tempo and, in the end, won comfortably.

"If you do your best and go about things the right way, you hope you'll be rewarded because hard work pays off."

Oakley have no game this weekend but entertain Wivenhoe Town in the First Division Knockout Cup on Tuesday.