CALOR LEAGUE DIVISION ONE (CENTRAL) CURRENT TABLE - TOP EIGHT ONLY
Dunstable Town currently top the table and are in with a chance of two promotions in two years after they won the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division last season. They are currently on a ten match winning streak in league fixtures having beaten title rival's Rugby Town, Daventry Town and Slough Town in that period. It's a shame many more of the footballing public of the Town are not going to Creasey Park to watch a winning team. Just 91 people attended the 2-1 win versus Chertsey Town on Saturday. Their top crowd has been 215 in the top of the table clash versus Rugby Town and they currently average just 139 which is only a slight increase on the 115 they averaged last season at Step 5 of the non-league pyramid.
They are followed closely by Rugby Town who missed out in the play-off final versus Biggleswade Town last season. There are still many games to play but could their three defeats which have been against rival teams in the race for the title in Daventry Town (0-5), Slough Town (0-4) and Dunstable Town (0-3) be telling come the end of the season.
Third placed Barton Rovers are having their best campaign since 1994/95 when they finished runner's up to Thame United in the Isthmian League Division Two. Since moving across to the Southern League in 2004 they have finished in 8th, 19th, 20th, 11th, 17th, 21st, 12th, 11th and 14th positions so to be up in third place at this stage of the season is unknown territory for the Bedfordshire side. Their two defeats have been at Slough Town (4-0) and at home to Rugby Town (1-4).
Slough Town have lost their last two games against Dunstable Town and somewhat surprinsgly against eleventh placed AFC Hayes at home. The Rebels have been banging the door of promotion over the past four seasons finishing 5th (2009/10 - lost in the play off final), 5th (10/11 - lost in the play off semi-final), 2nd (11/12 - lost in the play-off semi-final to local rival's and landlord's Beaconsfield SYCOB who finished eighteen points below them in the table) and 6th (12/13 missing out on a play-off place to their rival's again - Beaconsfield SYCOB pipped them by one point!). There is no doubt they will be involved at the business end of the season.
Fifth placed Northwood have lost seven of their nineteen games which is too many for them to get involved in the race for the title but they have given themselves half a chance of qualifying for the play-offs. Having said that the average amount of games lost to qualify for the play-offs over the past three seasons has been 9.34 with Slough Town's total of 14 loses in 42 in 2010/11 the most. To stand a chance of finishing in the top five The Cold End predicts The Woods can only afford to lose just 5 games of their remaining 23 games (21.74%) with their current ratio 36.84%. It can be done but it's a tough ask.
The fans of Kettering Town (currently on the edge of the play-off zone) will just be happy their club is playing football and in existence following the much reported financial problems over the past few seasons. Not to mention the loss of their iconic Rockingham Road ground. The club are currently sharing at United Counties League side Burton Park Wanderer's Latimer Park ground which is on the outskirts of the club's home town after ground sharing at Corby Town's Steel Park.
Daventry Town, who are currently seventh, have a good chance of climbing the table. They have only played thirteen games due to their tremendous FA Cup run and have 5/6 games in hand over the teams above them. If they were to win all five they have over Dunstable Town they would go two points ahead of them. This brings out the argument of what's better - games in hand or points in the bag. The Cold End would go for points in the bag all day long and I would predict Dunstable will finish above Daventry at the end of the season.
The division also has both Aylesbury and Aylesbury United (still playing out of town ground sharing at Leighton Town) for this season following The Duck's promotion last season. All roads in the Town will lead to Haywood Way on Boxing Day when The Moles entertain The Ducks in a massive local derby. Aylesbury FC who changed their name from 'Aylesbury Vale' in 2009 (formerly Haywood United prior to 2005) and were promoted from the Spartan South Midlands League in 2010 which was the first time they have played at Step 4 of the Non-League pyramid. United were relegated to the SSMFL in 2010 so the result really does matter for both sets of supporters of which United will outnumber their hosts. Steve Bateman's Aylesbury side are currently 19th with United, under manager Tony Joyce, in 13th place. What a game in prospect!