Greening: Still work in progress for The Grove

Cautious The Grove manager Steve Greening is refusing to take his eye off the ball as his side continues to set the pace in the Evening News Copy IT Norwich Sunday League top flight title race.

His Earlham-based outfit may have only dropped two points and conceded three goals in six games as they set the early pace.

But that cuts no ice with the man at the helm who is bidding to keep a record of continuous improvement on track in his third season.

“I know it’s one of the biggest cliches in football but the only game that really matters is the next one,” said Steve.

“All I set my stall out for is to win the next game and the table will take care of itself.

“If you start getting carried away it’s easy to take your eye off the ball.”

Steve’s doctrine seems to have worked well so far as he inspired the team to a best-ever fourth place and the league cup in his first season, and then added a creditable third place last season.

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“If we can go one or two better this season then it will be a bonus.”

While the performances on the pitch have been pleasing, with the only points dropped in a draw against last year’s runners-up Dog House, Steve admits that finding enough players has been a challenge at times.

Up until recently winger Craig Clarke had been used to go in goal – a role he fulfilled admirably with only three goals conceded in four games.

But when he resumed outfield duties his fortunes changed for the worse as he was red-carded within five minutes for using his hand to prevent a goal being scored.

New goalkeeper Lee Edwards saved the penalty, and with supersub Craig Clarke scoring a debut hat-trick, 10-man Grove won the game against Wymondham Rangers 7-0.

Long-serving Gary Bee has weighed in with nine goals and captain John Blake and Luke Jones have been outstanding in defence as the Grove have given a clear signal of their intent with their flying start.

Greening believes that reigning champions Marlborough and AFC Wanderers pose the biggest threats to the title ambitions of the Gurney Centre-based outfit who are sponsored by Blakes Haulage.

“Marlborough are always a danger and AFC Wanderers, if they can keep it going, will be a big threat.

“But we’re away to Acle Rangers this Sunday and they are a good team, a very hard team to beat.”

Greening added: “We’re a team without superstars, just players who work very hard for themselves and each other. It’s all about the strength of the unit.”