CARETAKER manager Lee Spalding hopes Swindon Supermarine have turned a corner when it comes to defensive resolve, with the next target a return to winning ways in Southern League West this evening.

Marine shipped 17 goals in the first five matches they played since Christmas, failing to register a win in that time and just three points in a series of draws.

Although that winless run was stretched to a sixth game at the weekend, Spalding saw plenty of improvement after Marine earned a battling 1-1 draw away at third-in-the-table Bristol Manor Farm.

Spalding, who took the helm at the Webbswood Stadium a fortnight ago following the dismissal of Dave Webb, now hopes his troops can go one better when they travel to North Leigh this evening.

Marine are currently ninth in the table but only two points shy of the play-off places, so Spalding knows a return to winning ways as soon as possible will likely be crucial to the club’s ambitions for promotion.

“It is a game we have to try to win if we want to achieve our goals this year,” said Spalding.

“The results went for us at the weekend with Salisbury and Evesham both losing and now we need to try to take advantage of that at North Leigh.

“It’s still in our hands and if we can put a decent run of results together, we can put ourselves in a strong position.

“It’s so tight that if any team can find a little bit of consistency, they are going to be right up there.

“We wanted to stop conceding so many goals. We had conceded 17 in the five games prior to Saturday and you are not going to win many games when you are defending like that.

“That has been my main focus in the last week or so and on Saturday, we showed positive signs in that regard.”

Ryan Campbell is expected to miss out again this evening but Spalding hopes the squad will all recover to face North Leigh.

“Saturday was a tough game and it took a lot out of the boys as they really did put a lot of effort in,” said Spalding. "I told them to make sure they got some rest and recovery over the back-end of the weekend but hopefully we’ll go to North Leigh in decent shape.”

Goalkeeper Ty Belford has departed Marine after just one match. The former Swindon Town stopper was brought in by former boss Dave Webb and featured in the 5-0 defeat by Bideford on January 13, after which Webb lost his job.

Belford has told the club he wants to take some time out from football.