CLEE Hill United boss Wayne Whitbread claims he is not ‘counting his chickens’ despite seeing his side assume the role of favourites in the Herefordshire Premier title race.

United produced a superb display to win 4-1 in their top-of-the-table clash at Wellington Reserves last Saturday to move within five points of the leaders, with four games in hand.

The victory leaves Hill’s destiny very much in their own hands but Whitbread insists they still have several tricky fixtures to negotiate, starting with Saturday’s trip to Kingstone Rovers.

He said: “We would be gutted if we don’t do it but I’m not counting my chickens just yet as anything can still happen.

“There are still six games to go and if we relax and take our foot off the pedal it can still go wrong.

“On paper we are in the driving seat but I hope the lads won’t think it’s job done just because we have beaten Wellington and I’m sure they won’t.

“We have to treat it the same as we have been doing – trying to win every game and the only way to guarantee the title is by doing that.”

On this weekend’s test, he added: “Kingstone have struggled a bit but when they have been able to put a team out they beat Wellington 6-2 and (third-placed) Westfields 5-0.”

Whitbread was delighted with Clee Hill’s performance at Wellington, saying they ‘controlled the game from start to finish’.

Sean Milward scrambled home from a corner to put United ahead and they were unlucky not to lead by more at half-time after seeing two goals chalked off.

Whitbread had no argument with a Liam Whitbread goal being ruled out for a handball in the build-up but was bewildered to see Ollie Smith’s solo run and finish disallowed for offside.

Craig Breakwell slotted home from just inside the box to make it 2-0 just after the hour mark.

James Clifford made it 3-0 when he tapped home after initially hitting the bar – a goal the linesman again bizarrely flagged offside before being overruled by the referee.

Wellington pulled one back but Clee Hill top scorer Josh Carpenter fired home from outside the box to seal the points while Liam Whitbread and Clifford both hit the woodwork in the second half.

The manager added: “Full credit and praise to the lads – they stamped their authority on the game from the first whistle. On another day we could quite easily have scored six or seven.”

At the other end of the table, Tenbury United suffered a fifth defeat on the spin, losing 6-3 at home to Ledbury, while Tenbury Town were beaten 4-0 by Malvern Town Reserves.

Town are one point above basement side Kington and the two sides meet in April as they jostle to avoid the wooden spoon.

Joint Town boss Dean Morris admitted: “That will be a massive game. Like us, they aren’t picking up many points so it could all boil down to that game.”