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Harlow Town, Needham Market and Thurrock lead the way in the Ryman Division One (North) and with a gap of seven points down to Brentwood Town down in fourth position along with games in hand for both the top two the trio can now be considered as strong favourites for the title. Betway.com make Harlow Town 5/4 favourites with Needham Market at 2/1 followed by Thurrock at 13/2 with the next best being AFC Sudbury (currently eighth position) at 14/1.
The Hawks are unbeaten and have who can be considered as one of the best strikers at Step 4 on the non-league ladder. Alex Read has played in everyone of their 15 league games scoring 17 times with his current full total being 21 goals in 19 league and cup games. Their next three league games come against Heybridge Swifts (15th), Cheshunt (12th) and Maldon and Tiptree (23rd - under the next management of Alan Kimble).
For all their good form and unbeaten record Danny Chapman's side could still be overtaken at the top by Needham Market who have 36 points from 14 games played. If they win their game in hand over The Hawks they will go two points clear. Their leading league scorers are Sam Newson on 11 goals and Luke Ingram on 7 goals. Newson did attract football league scouts to Bloomfields a few seasons back after he scored a huge number of goals and was set for a trial with Gillingham in 2011. He badly injured his knee denied him this chance so it's good to see him back amongst the goals. Ingram came through the ranks at Ipswich Town and has previously played at AFC Sudbury and Bury Town.
The Marketmen can also count on the valuable experience of Ian Westlake, Chris Hogg and Kem Izzet. Between them they have over 700 appearances in the English and Scottish football league. Could this wealth of know-how be the difference at the end of the season?
Thurrock are currently third and the highest scorers in the division at present on 42 goals although when you work out goals scored per game they are on 2.62 per game to Harlow's 2.47 and Needham's 2.50 so there is not much in terms of difference here.
Ross Wall has been amongst the goals for The Fleet on a current total of 11 with Charlie Stimson on 9 goals. Wall has played for Concord, AFC Hornchurch and Aveley previously. Charlie is the son of Manager Mark and counts Gillingham, Barnet and Tooting & Mitcham amongst his former clubs. Another player hitting the back of the net recently is Mark Onyemah who has recently rejoined Thurrock on loan from football league side Luton Town. He moved to Kenilworth Road in the summer from Ship Lane and has moved back on a temporary basis. Abs Thompson has also bolstered Stimston's attacking force by recently joining for league rival's Redbridge.
Needham Market v Thurrock on Saturday 13th December should be a really good game.