WHILE Town boss Paolo Di Canio urged his players to enjoy the feeling of promotion and celebrate with the club’s fans, the Italian was the first to remind them they need to improve Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Gillingham if they are going to win the League Two title.

A goal from Danny Kedwell and two for Chris Whelpdale made sure of victory for the home side, but results elsewhere meant Town had finally secured the promotion which has looked on the cards for the last few months.

The visitors had a lot of the ball early on but failed to make it count, and although Alan McCormack eventually did find the net with a rasping drive, they could not find another goal to take anything from the match.

It was a much-improved display from the one which yielded a 2-1 defeat at Aldershot on Tuesday night, with the returning Matt Ritchie having plenty of possession and combining well with Simon Ferry and Paul Caddis as the trio looked to pick up from where they left off earlier in the season.

But Di Canio is understandably unhappy with two straight defeats, and wants a return to form next weekend when a win at home to Port Vale will secure the title.

“Four teams can go up from this league, but only one will be good enough to be called champions. I want to be champions and I want to be the best,” he said.

“I did a fantastic job to maintain them, because they proved over the last two games that if they switch off they are an average team who can lose against any side and lose the job we did all season.

“Me and my technical staff work and keep their attention and hammer them every day. My players are the protagonists, but they proved two weeks ago that they switched off.

“We were lucky to get some results, but away from home I was sure we would lose.”

Town got into their rhythm quickly and controlled almost all of the possession for the opening 20 minutes, as Alan Connell and John Bostock combined well in attack.

The Spurs loanee was showing exactly why he was once rated as one of the hottest prospects in English football, and soon slipped in Connell, but his strike was harmless and straight at the keeper.

The striker shot at a grateful Paulo Gazzaniga again minutes later as Town continued to dominate, but Lee and Kedwell were causing Town the most problems at the back, and the pair soon combined to give the home side the lead.

Lee flung a long throw into the box, and striker Kedwell rose between two Town defenders to loop his header over Phil Smith and into the back of the net, to give the hosts a lead they barely deserved.

As Town looked to respond, Connell was inches away from connecting with a fierce Jay McEveley cross before missing another chance, and that was his last act of the afternoon as he was surprisingly hauled off to be replaced by Ronan Murray.

The Town faithful were not happy with Di Canio’s decision, and they were almost plunged into a worse move before half time as Lewis Montrose thundered a shot against the bar, before Whelpdale headed wide when it would have been easier to score.

The visitors came out after the break looking to get back into the contest quickly, and Lee Holmes nearly did but scuffed his shot wide.

But Town soon found themselves 2-0 down as Whelpdale and Ferry battled away in midfield, and after the Gills midfielder came away with the ball he fired in a spectacular chip which evaded Smith and flew into the top corner.

Gillingham had chances to extend their lead even further but Whelpdale hit the post before Danny Jackman hit a shot out of the stadium, but Town soon dragged themselves back into the match as McCormack fired home.

The Irishman embarked on a trademark run out of defence, and after a one-two with Jon Smith drilled his shot low into the net.

The goal gave Town hope, but in truth they never came close to an equaliser, before Whelpdale swept his penalty home in stoppage time after Curtis Weston was brought down by Smith.

At the final whistle Di Canio singled out Bostock for praise, but insisted he needed to see more from his strikers after Connell was replaced by Murray midway through the first half.

“John Bostock as a second striker proved that he can play next weekend, but I hope he does not lose his attention because he was the best player on the field,” he said.

“It was my intuition to play him as a second striker, he has never played there before because he is an attacking midfielder or a central midfield player.

“With all respect to Alan Connell, and I do not blame him for this because the rest of the season he is crucial, but after two minutes how can I keep him in the game?

“I changed him with Murray, and after two minutes he should go out.

“I am not magic.”