There is no shortage of reasons for Godmanchester Rovers to be jolly going into the festive season.
Manager Ollie Drake celebrated his biggest victory at the helm last Saturday when a hat-trick from captain Micky Hyem inspired a 6-0 drubbing of Hadleigh at the David Wilson Homes Ground.
That emphatic result stretched Rovers’ unbeaten run to six Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division matches - a super sequence which has featured five victories and a creditable draw against high-flying Coggeshall Town.
The impressive streak has catapulted Drake’s men to within two points and two places of the top six. They only trail third-placed Stowmarket by eight points and have games in hand on all but one of the seven sides currently above them in the standings.
“We had a really poor first month of the season,” said Drake, who took over in the summer after guiding Hardwick to Cambs League glory last season. “But we have improved massively since then. There has been the odd dip along the way, but we’re in a good place now.
“We had to have a few words with the lads at half-time on Saturday. We were only 1-0 up and we felt they were merely going through the motions.
“We wanted more and we got it in the second half, when we played with a lot of quality and were clinical in front of goal.
“We scored some briliant goals and we were an absolute joy to watch at times. The reaction to what was said at half-time was very pleasing and the clean sheet was an added bonus.”
Hyem opened the scoring before the break and then doubled the lead early in the second half. Matty Allan and Charlie Bowen then put the result beyond the doubt before Hyem completed his hat-trick.
Leading scorer Jack Chandler completed the rout with his 14th goal of the campaign.
And the Godmanchester feelgood factor is set to be further boosted this week with Austen Diaper ready to return from Premier Division rivals Newmarket Town.
The wideman helped Rovers to back-to-back runners-up finishes in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons - delivering double-figures goal tallies in both of those campaigns.
Drake was full of praise for assistant boss Chris Hyem and senior club figures for making the move happen. Defender Bowen recently made the same switch back to Rovers.
“We hope to have the deal wrapped up this week,” added Drake. “Austen is another good addition to the squad - and another man who knows what the club is all about.
“Chris has had a massive influence in the likes of Austen and Charlie returning recently. He deserves a huge amount of credit for that and between us we are trying to keep everyone happy and get the best we can out of the squad.
“We’ve had some brilliant backing from the chairman and the people behind the scenes. It shows that everyone is buying in to what we want to achieve and that is to get Godmanchester Rovers back challenging at the top of this league.”
Rovers go to Thetford this Saturday and then Diaper will face a quick reunion with Newmarket on Boxing Day. That’s an 11am kick-off.