KEEPING more clean sheets needs to be top of Shawbury United’s list of New Year resolutions – or they will risk suffering successive relegations, boss Dave Richards has warned.

Shawbury kicked off 2019 with a 4-2 defeat at their former home ground of Wem Town, having finished the last calendar year with a 6-0 home drubbing at the hands of Wednesfield.

Those defeats have left United just three places and seven points above the drop zone ahead of a tricky run of fixtures, starting with the visit of high-flying Black Country Rangers this Saturday.

Richards said: “Now we have a run of fixtures where we are playing the top teams and we need to concentrate on trying to keep a clean sheet, and not worry about anything else.

“We are giving silly goals away in the first ten minutes and then having to chase games – we need to build a solid foundation to keep clean sheets and see where that takes us.

“We are told the bottom three will go down this season so we need to make sure we are not in and around that with a couple of weeks left as anything can happen then.

“The lads are underachieving. Six of them played Midland League football with us last season – yes, we got relegated but we were only getting beaten by the odd goal.

“Now we are playing a league below and we have shipped ten goals in the last two games. We have to focus on stopping that.”

A Lance Titley own goal and a Matty Cohen brace put Wem three up before James Ashley sealed the points. Sean Evans and Tom Horton pulled late consolations back for Shawbury.