Sholing need six points from their four remaining games to be crowned champions of the Sydenhams Premier Division.
A hard fought 4-1 victory over mid-table Whitchurch last night at the Silverlake Arena took the Boatmen to within two points of leaders Alresford with three games in hand.
The contingent of first-team players that missed Monday’s 3-2 defeat to Folland Sports returned.
A brace by lethal marksman Lee Wort and one each for Barry Mason and Ashley Jarvis was enough to see off a feisty Jam Boys team, which held Dave Diaper’s side for more than 20 second half minutes after captain Matt Scott had equalised.
The FA Vase finalists looked short of ideas for much of the match as the away-side battled hard, dug in deep and tried to restrict Sholing’s usually potent attacking arsenal.
Diaper admitted before the game that every Wessex match this season was like playing in a cup final, with other teams raising their game against the league’s title favourites. This match was no different in the eyes on the manager, who said: “I’ll be checking their team sheet because they certainly didn’t look like a team that have lost seven on the bounce.
“Every team is up for it against us but we’ve got used to it now and I think we weathered it tonight.
“I don’t like conceding goals and the manner in which we gave it away was poor but we bounced back, that second goal was very important for us.”
From the outset it was obvious that Whitchurch weren’t there to lie down and take a beating.
It looked as if manager Jim Macey had tasked his side with shooting from distance. Something that Adam Everest did to good effect, forcing keeper Lee Webber, starting in place of the injured Matt Brown, into a couple of good saves.
Wort scored his first on 38 minutes. Webber punted the ball up field, Jarvis hassled for the ball but Whitchurch were able to clear, though only to the feet of Lewis Fennemore, who passed to the goal-scorer. He took a couple of steps and shot low but not particularly hard into the bottom left of the net from the edge of the box.
Jam Boys stopper Ashley West impressed with good handling and some good saves, preventing his team from conceding and meaning they could level on 54 minutes.
A Tom Lockyer corner found defender Adam Pearson, who fed Scott to poke home.
Sholing were back on top 20 minutes later. Marc Diaper’s corner found Pete Castle who planted a header at goal, which was cleared, but only to Lee Bright. He headed back into the packed box – and Mason got the all-important touch.
Sub TJ Cuthbertson played through to Jarvis as the floodgates opened and the former Folland Sports striker finished with finesse.
The fourth and Wort’s second came two minutes before the end. Substitute Nick Watts outpaced his full-back and prodded a cross that slipped through the hands of West to the forward, who just slotted home.