Royston Town manager Steve Castle wants more clean sheets if the Crows are to make a successful charge into the play-offs.

A 4-2 win at home to Stratford Town moved them to 10th in the Southern League Premier Division Central table, seven points adrift of Coalville Town in the remaining spot although having played five games more.

However, the victory over the Bards should have been much more comfortable and Castle says they have to start keeping more clean sheets, something they have managed in just three of their 26 league games.

The boss said: "I don't want to take anything away from them, I don't want to burst any bubbles, but we have to be looking at getting clean sheets week in, week out.

"I believe that with the talent we've got, I don't think we have to worry about us creating and scoring goals.

"But we have to have a clean sheet and probably just that extra 10 per cent conviction would make sure when the crosses come in, they get defended properly.

"That's a must and it is nothing against the goalkeepers or the defenders, it is collectively as a team.

"Our clean sheets start with our strikers winning the ball and with our midfielders holding onto the ball.

"Then our defenders don't have to defend as much."

The game against Stratford was in doubt with the heavy rain of late but once given the go-ahead, the Crows flew into a 3-1 half-time lead courtesy of goals from Kian Harness, Shomari Barnwell and Matt Bateman.

However, it took a Connor Furlong goal with one minute to go to seal the three points.

Castle said: "We've had two home games now where the decision as to whether it was on or off was 50-50.

"It played really well against Mickleover and it still played well [against Stratford] but cut up and wasn't conducive to free-flowing football.

"But, as a contradiction, the goals we scored were of really good quality.

"Stratford were always going to have a recovery and a bit of a chance but, to a degree, we have limited them to a handful of chances.

"Connor getting the fourth put the game to bed but we could have done that a little bit earlier if I'm honest.

"It was probably a little bit too close for comfort and we could have made it easier."

The victory though means Royston have now picked up 10 points from a possible 15 to just reignite hopes of reaching the end of season party.

And Castle is optimistic.

"Who knows?" he said. "There are a few in the division who are up and gone but we've gone into 10th and we just have to get in the play-offs.

"There will be a cluster who, like us, will be inconsistent, but the group we've got are more than capable of getting on a real positive run.

"What position you are going into the play-offs is irrelevant. There have been plenty of times when teams have just got in there but they have carried that momentum and got promoted."