BALTI Sports recorded an impressive 3-1 victory at home to Merley Cobham Sports with Ryan Dovell notching a scorching free-kick to narrow the gap on second place to just two points.

The win puts Balti up to sixth in the table, two points behind second in what is a congested mid-table with just five points separating second from 11th in the table but Hamworthy Recreation are running away with the league and are already 10 points clear at the top.

Merley started fast and immediately began pressuring the Balti defence, with home goalkeeper and manager Marco Nott called into action a few times in the first 10 minutes.

Sammy Nichols opened the scoring when he nodded in from a Ricky Lane corner after 20 minutes.

Nichols, has been a real highlight for Balti of late and once again had a great game in the centre of the park.

A wonderful Ryan Dovell free-kick from 25 yards was lashed into the top corner after 35 minutes, which Balti manager Nott described as ‘one of the best free-kicks that I have seen.’

The two sides went into the break with Balti comfortably ahead and it would not be long before they further added to their tally.

On the hour mark, Liam Taylor was brought down inside the box, which Lane dispatched with aplomb to put clear daylight between the two sides.

Merley did get a goal back however, when Dovell took too many touches at the back and Josh Buck ran on to the ball and fired past Nott for a consolation goal in the 80th minute.

Injuries for Merley reduced the pace of the match as it slowed to a halt.

Balti held firm and did not concede again, to record their third consecutive victory in their current eight-game unbeaten run.

Balti boss Nott said: “It was a fantastic win really in what was really tough conditions with the wind and the rain.

“It was really pleasing actually, we are in good form at the moment. It was not comfortable, it was pretty hard fought but, at the end of the day, we never really felt in any massive danger really.

“Apart from the first five or ten minutes after that they did not really test us.

“We have put a good run of results together now and that has seen us climb up the table quite nicely.”

Balti host Swanage Town & Herston on Saturday (3pm).

Balti: M Nott, O’Shaughnessy, Roberts, Dovell, Kenderdine, Taylor, Nichols, Devaney, McClements (Jarvis 80), Lane, Andrews (Dean 70)