Petersfield Town manager Joe Lea hailed his side’s ruthlessness after the Rams cruised to an emphatic 8-1 win at Ash United in Division 1 of the Wessex League.

A fast start proved to be key, as the Rams raced into a three-goal lead after just seven minutes, and Lea was delighted with his side.

“It was one of those games where everything we did came off,” he said. “That probably happens once a season, and for us it happened against Ash.

“I’ve never been 3-0 up after seven minutes in a game of football before. We were ruthless. We made Ash look ordinary, but they are a decent side.”

The scoring started after 84 seconds when Connor Hoare shrugged off his man and played a ball across the box for Marvin Orepo to tap in.

Ollie Davies won the Rams a free kick in a promising position in the third minute. Hoare stepped up and curled his effort over the wall and into the back of the net.

The Rams were three goals up after seven minutes when Hoare’s corner was bundled in by Paul Agbesiyi at the back post.

Archie Greenough hit the post for the visitors, but Nick Thumwood pulled a goal back for Ash when his effort slipped through Rams keeper Jordi Wilson.

Davies then played a perfect through ball to Greenough, who took a touch and expertly placed his effort inside the near post.

Greenough’s second and the Rams’ fifth came just before half-time, when the Petersfield man reacted quickest to a rebound.

The Rams continued to press in the second half. Hoare’s ball over the top found Matt Dougan, who sidestepped past a defender and slotted his effort through the legs of the home goalkeeper.

The visitors scored their seventh on 65 minutes. The ball fell nicely for Hoare, and his first-time effort found the bottom corner.

The scoring was rounded off on 70 minutes when Dougan lobbed the keeper from outside the area.

The Rams sit in the final play-off place in fifth position, and Lea believes his side can stay there until the end of the campaign.

“Everyone expects Andover New Street to win the league, but we’re in fifth place and there’s no reason why we can’t be there at the end of the season,” he said.

Lea joined the Rams as co-manager with Pat Suraci last summer, but last month he stepped up to take the reins when Suraci took a coaching role at Gosport Borough.

Lea said the transition has been smooth, and he is delighted with how the players have adapted to his methods since last summer.

“I’ve known Pat for many years and our football philosophies are very similar, so the messaging has been the same since Pat left and the way we’re working has stayed consistent,” said Lea.

“The players have taken on a lot of information since Pat and I arrived in the summer. Mark Summerhill did an incredible job keeping the club in the league, and we’re now asking a lot of the same players to compete for a play-off place. Whether we get in the play-offs or not, the group will be in a better position next season after a year of my methods.

“The transition since Pat left has been very smooth.”

The Rams have been frustrated by the weather recently, with matches against Millbrook and Fleetlands postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. Next up is a trip to Fawley on Saturday (3pm).