Shaw Lane Lane AFC have statistically the best defence of all the clubs in the top 16 divisions in England, after they strengthened their grip on the league title with another win.

The table-topping Ducks thrashed relegation battlers Carlton Town 5-1 away so they have won their last six Evo-Stik Division One South games and 13 of their last 14 – with the other being a draw – since their only defeat of the campaign in September. They are also in the semi-final of the Sheffield Senior Cup, in which they will face local rivals Penistone Church. 

While they are also the league's top-scorers with 60, the success has been based on an extremely solid defence with their 15 goals conceded in 24 league matches giving them a record of 0.63 goals against per match.

Their total of goals conceded and the number let in per game are both the best of any team in the top eight tiers of English football from the Premier League down to their level.

The Ducks are just ahead of Chelsea and Brighton who are top of the Premier League and Championship respectively. They have displaced Evo-Stik South side Leamington who had the best defence before a 6-0 thrashing by Slough Town on Saturday.

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Their goal difference of plus 45 is the third best in the country behind Maldon and Tiptree FC and the latest version of former League One club Hereford.

"It's a huge thing to have the top defensive record in the country," said Shaw Lane manager Craig Elliott, whose regular back four includes former Barnsley FC right-back Neil Austin.

"Hopefully it's something we can keep until the end of the season. It's a big compliment to everyone in the team, not just the defenders, because we defend from the front."

Shaw Lane are six points clear at the top with three games in hand on second-placed Spalding United. Their main title rivals may be third-placed Witton Albion who are 13 points behind but have three games in hand. Elliott said: "We've got 18 games left and I think we need 13 wins, which I want to get as soon as possible. "Witton have had some good results recently and the two games against them are probably going to be crucial."