LITTLE Oakley manager Matt Carmichael believes his side are firmly back on track after their recent defeats.

The Acorns are riding high in Thurlow Nunn League first division south, sitting second after Saturday's 1-0 victory against Coggeshall United.

They followed it up by booking a place in this season's First Division Knockout Cup semi-finals, beating White Ensign on penalties on Tuesday.

It's been a pleasing few days for the club and important to bounce back after league defeats against Ensign and Hackney Wick, losing 4-2 and 2-1 respectively.

"White Ensign started and finished well in the cup game on Tuesday," said Carmichael, reflecting on the 4-3 shoot-out win that followed a 2-2 draw after 90 minutes.

"It's always a good match against them but we dominated the middle chunk of the game.

"We scored a couple of goals and hit the post when it was 2-0.

"That would have put the game to bed but they got one back before being awarded a late penalty, to make it 2-2.

"Overall, it felt like we were in control and it's a real bonus to go through.

"It's always nice to win in the cup and give the squad valuable minutes.

"We're in a good place at the moment, sitting second in the league and now into a cup semi-final.

"We had a little blip recently, losing at White Ensign and Hackney Wick.

"A couple of weeks before that we'd lost at Holland, too.

"Losing three games in quick succession isn't something we've experienced this season so it was important to bounce back and win on Tuesday night."

Danny Garrad and Harry Mann scored Oakley's goals in midweek and both sides were reduced to ten men. Louie Newland saw red for the Acorns.

The draw for the semi-final will be on Saturday and Carmichael's men could face neighbours and rivals Harwich and Parkeston.

Meanwhile, Jordan Heath scored the winner on the stroke of half-time in Saturday's 1-0 victory against Coggeshall.

By a strange quirk of the fixtures, the sides meet again in the return match at West Street on Saturday.

"It was the most comfortable 1-0 you could wish to see," said Carmichael, reflecting on his side's victory at the Memorial Ground.

"Hopefully we can complete a quickfire double this weekend."