Tivvy firepower delights David
MIDFIELDER David Steele believes Tiverton Town's potency in front of goal is to thank for propelling the Yellows into a play-off spot.
Tivvy are the division's joint-top scorers with 34 goals from 19 matches, with 15 strikes coming from the in-form Joe Bushin.
The Yellows only managed to net 52 times in the league last season. But they showed their new-found cutting edge in Saturday's 2-2 draw away to Sholing, where Tivvy found themselves a goal down after 40 seconds and 2-0 down by half-time.
And Steele believes that this type of free-scoring fightback – coupled with their impressive range of options up front – underlines how far the Yellows have improved as a team.
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"Last year we would have lost Saturday's game three or four nil," said Steele. "I think the difference now is that we are confident we are going to get the breakthrough.
"We know we have players who can score goals and we are creating chances for them and that's the big difference.
"Bush (Bushin) is in great form while Dave Pearse has come in and done well too. Nards (Michael Nardiello) and Jules (Emati-Emati) showed last season they can score while Owen Howe is also looking good.
"When you have strikers like that, you know you are going to score goals and that helps the confidence of the team.
"I think a lot of last season was very nicey-nicey in front of goal but without the end product sometimes. Now, we are moving the ball quicker and actually creating chances."
The form of Bushin has undoubtedly been a key factor in Tiverton's strong start to the season.
His 15 league goals mean he is the division's top scorer, and he netted a spectacular overhead kick on Saturday to spark the Yellows' fightback.
But another forward player that Steele believes could play a crucial role for the club in the coming months is teenager Owen Howe.
The 18-year-old impressed after breaking into the starting XI earlier in the season.
A badly-sprained ankle in October's Red Insure Cup win over Taunton Town has temporarily put the brakes on Howe's speedy development.
But Steele believes bigger things could be in store for the striker should he regain fitness and hit the same levels of performance he was reaching prior to his injury.
"This is not to put any extra pressure on him, but if Owen performs to his potential then I can't see him staying at the club that much longer," said Steele, whose cross set up Bushin's leveller on Saturday.
"He is a great athlete for his age and he never shirks anything, whether it is going in for a tackle or going up for a high ball with a goalkeeper.
"If we can keep him fit and get him performing to where he was before he turned his ankle then he will be a big boost."