HARWICH and Parkeston boss Kieron Shelley believes his side are in a "really strong position" to challenge for honours this season.

The Shrimpers are fourth in Thurlow Nunn League division one south after an astonishing 7-1 blitz of Fire United on Saturday.

The trio above also won, so Harwich remain two points behind White Ensign, four behind Halstead Town (with a game in hand) and seven behind leaders Hashtag United (with two games in hand).

It promises to be a thrilling finale to the campaign and Shelley believes the league is wide open, heading into next weekend's match at Wormley Rovers.

"It's going to go down to the wire," said the Harwich boss.

"The other sides above us have got to play each other, whereas our remaining matches are all against teams below us in the table.

"Points will be dropped along the way and the league is still wide open, in my opinion.

"We're in a really strong position with everything to play for.

"But May and Baker (fifth) and Coggeshall (sixth) are still in the mix, too, because they've got so many games in hand.

"Our aim at the start was to finish in the top eight, to make sure the club are in next season's FA Cup.

"That would make it a successful season and anything else is a bonus."

Harwich recently embarked on a 12-game winning run which equalled a post-war club record for the Shrimpers.

It came to a halt with a 2-0 defeat at Halstead but the Shrimpers got straight back to winning ways with an emphatic victory at Fire on Saturday.

"I was immensely proud of our winning run," added Shelley.

"It had to come to an end at some point and Halstead dug deep for their 2-0 victory.

"It was a game between two evenly-matched sides and one that could have gone either way.

"We were knocking on the door for spells in the second half but just couldn't get back in the game.

"There was a sense of deflation in the dressing room afterwards but I told the boys to forget about it, move on and be massively proud of our winning run.

"That one result certainly won't define our season.

"I challenged them to put things right in the next game and, thankfully, that's exactly what they did."

Harwich were rampant in the first half and established a 6-1 lead thanks to goals from Callum Griffiths (two), Jordan Heath (two), Elliot Johnson and Shaun Koussis.

Substitute Tyler Rose then stepped off the bench to score an excellent seventh after the break.

"Fire represented another banana skin but we dusted ourselves down, showed the right attitude and were professional in the way we approached the game," said Shelley.

"We got the job done and were very good in the first half.

"In the second, we took our foot off the gas a bit.

"We had to defend but then could have added even more goals right at the end.

"Overall, we're feeling really positive.

"In terms of the table, what will be will be but for us it's about ticking the wins off and hoping we're up there at the end.

"It wasn't our best performance and it's a difficult place to go, in terms of the pitch and facilities.

"But to score seven goals and win in that manner was massive for the dressing room."