CARL Macauley hailed Witton Albion’s attacking players following a 4-0 thrashing of Stafford Rangers, but not because of their goals.

He told the Guardian the contribution of Rob Hopley, Will Jones and Steven Tames without the ball at their feet enabled him to pick all three in the starting line-up for the past two games.

“They’re so strong out of possession,” he reflected afterwards.

“Their work-rate is there for everybody to see, and they close down space quickly.

“It’s something we spend time in training trying to get right so that every individual knows what they should be doing and where they should be stood on the field.”

“Of course, those three get us our goals and they were clinical [against Stafford] in a way they perhaps weren’t in midweek.

“It made a big difference.”

Albion rise to third in the Northern Premier League’s Premier Division table as a result, two points adrift of pace-setting Warrington Town.

They are still unbeaten on their travels this season, and have kept clean-sheets in half of their matches.

And from the moment Tames steered in an opening goal at Marston Road, they assumed control.

Further goals from Jones and Hopley before the break, the latter at the end of a slick counter-attack involving James Foley, Ben Hedley and Matty Devine, put them out of Stafford’s reach.

Tames doubled his personal tally in the closing stages.

Macauley said: “We wanted to carry on from where we had left off against Marine, and I felt we did by starting at a high tempo.

“Those boys have delivered another fantastic performance away from home, and I’d rate it as being one of the best in my time in charge.

“Our goalkeeper Calvin Hare has had very little to do, and the lads in front of him deserve credit for that.

“It’s inevitable when you’re 3-0 up that you relax, and our passing wasn’t as sharp as it should be in the second half.

“That invited them to attack us, although we were never in any trouble.”

The second in a sequence of three successive away games continues at Halesowen on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm.

A trip to Coalville then awaits next weekend.