DAVE Allen’s impressive display of disciplinary tightrope walking has been hailed “one of the biggest positives of the season so far” by AFC Totton boss Steve Riley.

The whole-hearted striker/midfielder had been teetering on the brink of suspension ever since October having picked up four early-season cautions But it says much for the new-found restraint of the former Bashley and Winchester City skipper that he safely reached the New Year’s yellow card amnesty without being booked for a fifth time.

“Dave’s been getting a lot of hassle from the lads after being on four bookings since October. The boys had quite a few bets with him that he wouldn’t make it to the New Year when the yellow cards are wiped clean,” said Riley.

“But Dave’s managed to win those bets and, to me, that’s one of the biggest positives of the season.

“When we played Gosport recently the referee remarked on what a gentleman our No. 6 was and said he was great to work with.

“Dave’s got to the stage now that he’s a bit cleverer when talking to referees.

“He doesn’t get boisterous about decisions and he manages to keep his calm. Perhaps it’s a sign of maturity.

“I’m really pleased for him that he didn’t pick up a fifth booking, but it made for some good dressing room banter!” smiled the boss. I said to him before our New Year’s game that even I had my doubts he’d make it.

“But he did and he fully deserves to have won those bets.”

Allen put an even broader smile on the boss’s face on Tuesday by striking first in an impressive 2-0 home victory over league leaders Hemel Hempstead.

Richard Gillespie ended a six-match goal drought by scoring the second – his 18th of the season – and confidence is sky-high for tomorrow’s trip to Chesham United.

Star winger Mike Gosney missed Tuesday’s win with back problems and it remains to be seen if he will be fit to travel to Buckinghamshire.

“Gos had some treatment on Tuesday and he may see a chiropractor this week. We’ll see how he shapes up and reassess it for tomorrow,” said Riley.

Totton are still awaiting international clearance for the returning Matt Oldring. The former AFC Bournemouth youth and Weymouth defender is back from Australia, where he played for Whitsunday Miners in the Queensland State League.