THERE is no doubting the new year has brought a boost to the fortunes of Cheadle Town.
After their miserable start to the season, which saw them collect just two points from their opening eight games, Cheadle have been a different force in 2014.
"We've now collected 18 points out of a possible 24 since the start of the new year," said Cheadle Town director of football Alan Beaman.
"It's been an amazing turn-around and is all credit to the lads for working so hard," he added.
Cheadle's resurgence has lifted them from bottom spot in the Staffordshire County Senior League Premier Division to a comfortable mid-table position.
Said Beaman: "We were unlucky not to have beaten league leaders Uttoxeter Town, otherwise our recent playing record would have been even more impressive."
Cheadle were made to work hard for their victory against Eccleshall at Thorley Drive on Saturday, after taking a fourth minute lead through man-of-the-match Jake Thorley.
Alcock, promoted to striker in the absence of the injured Alex Wood (hamstring) head in from a Dan Rooksby corner.
It was the first goal of a well-deserved hat-trick for Wood, who once again was able to show his versatility when it was needed.
Cheadle went on to dominate periods of the first half, only to fall to a sucker punch when young defender Charlie Goldstraw gave away a penalty, from which Eccleshall levelled.
"We were disappointed to go into half-time level, having played quite well," said Beaman.
Cheadle switched from a 4-5-1 formation to 4-4-2 in the second half and were rewarded for their wisdom Adam Cartlidge restored their lead with a header from another Rooksby set piece.
Alcock made it 3-1 with his second goal, a low header from a Johnny Evans free kick.
The same player then completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after being brought down in the box, making it 4-1.
Harry Smith, who limped out of the game with a hamstring injury, is likely to be out of action for three weeks, and the absent Wood faces a similar recovery period.