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Larkhall Athletic goalkeeper Nicki O'Connell admitted that their 1-0 win against St Nicholas on Sunday was an important one as they look to increase the pressure on their South West Division One title rivals.
The Larks have opened up a lead of seven points at the top and, after having lost to Chichester in their previous game, Nicki was pleased with victory over their local rivals. "It was good for the team to get a win behind us following on from the draw at Southampton and loss against Chichester," she said.
"We felt that we wanted to get the new year off to a good start and we have been able to do that. With such a long break between the games it has done us good and important to get back to winning again."
When the teams met in November, Larkhall narrowly won 3-2 with a late winning goal and Nicki admitted that St Nicholas had pushed them hard again: "It was a close game and St Nicks are a good team that have been unlucky with results throughout the season. It did show with our performance that we were a bit rusty and that our finishing wasn't as clinical as it could have been, but we were able to come away with three points and that's the main thing."
As for the bigger picture, Nicki is not looking any further than their next game but insists that the title race is a wide open one. "It is, as they say, a matter of focusing on the game in front of you," she said. "We have played well for the first part of the season and want to just continue doing what we can do by picking up points and concentrating on our own performances.
"Several teams will fancy their chances [to win the title], Swindon being favourites and of course Keynsham will have a big say. Once we have our full strength squad with injured players returning we will be looking to keep our run going.
"It's got the potential to go all the way but there are a number of important games we have left and as they say, anything can happen."
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