If you browse your way through Scarborough Athletic’s season to date then you could conclude that things couldn’t have gone much better.
With over half of the games played, Boro lead the way from landlords Bridlington Town by a single point, though they hold the upper hand over their rivals after the Boxing Day victory at Queensgate.
That win was one of the high points of a solid campaign that has seen Boro switch from the pretenders of last term to real title challengers.
This is mainly down to the strength they have at their disposal thanks to some shrewd transfer business from boss Rudy Funk.
The arrivals at the right time of players to boost numbers and cohesion in the ranks have pushed Boro up to where they want to be in the standings.
The key has been in the defensive areas, as Boro have always been useful in attack, but they had a nasty habit of conceding ridiculously sloppy goals.
Andy Milne has been immense at centre-back, as has Sam Denton, though he may be missing for a while having broken his tibia against Brid.
The midfield also has a solid look, due to the addition of Pete Davidson’s ability and Tommy Adams’ guile.
They will now be battling for their place with another major new signing in Jimmy Beadle.
Beadle made his debut from the bench when Boro comfortably beat Maltby Main just before Christmas, and, once up to full match fitness, he is a player that brings tough tackling and goalscoring from the middle of the park.
Desire is another trait Boro have in abundance this season, after a possible lack of it in the past.
This was demonstrated in a number of battling performances this season.
Among them was the 4-3 win at Nostell, which saw Funk’s men fight back from trailing 3-1 with just 20 minutes on the clock.
Speaking to assistant manager Darren France after that game, he admitted that the Boro of old would have lost the fixture.
There were similar shows of courage at Worksop Parramore and Retford, when previous Boro teams would have slipped to defeat.
And to cap the first half of the season, Boro also managed to gain the upper hand over their old rivals Brid in a scrappy encounter at Queensgate.
Having gone ahead through a couple of Ollie Banks goals, they were pinned back by Josh Greening. In past seasons this would have resulted in a draw or even a loss, but instead they dug in to book another valuable three-point haul.
As Rudy Funk said after that game, there is still a long time to go, 17 games in total.
Among these matches are some stern tests, including the trip to Brighouse, the home derby with Pickering Town and the awaited rematch with Brid.
A lot of hard work has been done so far, but the next four months will be telling.
Pitches will be boggier, teams will be keener, injuries and suspensions will be picked up.
Stats have shown over the past six season that the Christmas leader has gone on to grab the NCEL Premier crown, it remains to be seen whether that will be the case this time around.
Paddy Miller is pictured slotting home one of his two goals in the win at Nostell