Both The Rams and The Millers have made National Headlines for their exploits in the FA Cup with hopefully the Kent club making some more in their Second Round game at League Two side AFC Wimbledon this evening which in 06/07 and 07/08 was an Isthmian Premier Division game.
Since Cray Valley PM were knocked out of the FA Cup and FA Trophy in the space of three days they have settled down to the bread and butter of league football with three wins and a draw in the top of the table clash at home to Ramsgate which ended 1-1.
They are only one of three teams from the Premier League down to Step Four of the non-league pyramid who are still undefeated in league games - Hornchurch (Isthmian Premier) and Bedford Town (Southern League Division One Central) join them on this list.
The Rams have been pulling in some very impressive attendances at Southwood Stadium with their league average currently at 745. This is really good news for the club as going back to the 18/19 season they had an average of 212.
Their Thanet local rival's Margate are currently averaging 466 for their Isthmian Premier Division games.
They made some waves in the non-league games over the summer signing striker Joe Taylor from Lewes. He has since netted 25 goals in 22 league and cup games for The Rams. At 32 years of age he is at the opposite end of his career to Kyrell Lisbie who is bound to play in the football league sooner rather than later following his impressive performances for Cray Valley PM. The 20 year old who has played in both Watford and West Ham United's academy systems has scored 19 goals in 25 league and cup games.
The Rams only league defeat so far came on the opening day of the season at Sevenoaks Town who won 4-2. Their only other dropped points came in the 1-1 top of the table clash away from home at Cray Valley PM.
The Millers dropped points in that game along with a 2-2 draws at home to Broadbridge Heath on Saturday 26th August and Littlehampton Town on Tuesday 24th October.
Whilst The Rams and The Millers have been in FA Cup action both Three Bridges (currently 2nd) and Sittingbourne (3rd) have been having really impressive league campaigns along with Sevenoaks Town who are currently in 5th place.
Since promotion from Step Five in 2018 The Bridges have finished in 14th, 19th, 13th, 14th and 15th positions so this is by far their best season in their history.
Club legend Jamie Crellin has been with Three Bridges as a player since 2014 and was appointed Managed in May 2021. They have had only two defeats so far which came at Lancing (4-0) and at Sittingbourne where they lost 4-1. Former Millwall academy player Noel Leighton has been in excellent form this season scoring 17 league and cup goals. He joined the club from Hythe Town in November 2021 and counts Margate, Dagenham & Redbridge and Margate as former clubs - He spent time on loan with Woking and The Gate whilst with The Daggers.
Sittingbourne have an impressive squad with many players who have played higher up the pyramid so there is no surprise to see them up towards the top of the table. Bagusan Graham has played in the football league for Cheltenham Town and with Billericay Town, Chelmsford City, Dartford, Dagenham & Redbridge and Ebbsfleet United to name a few teams. Alex Bentley made over 300 appearances for Hornchurch. Chris Harris who has played for Cheshunt and Bishops Stortford. D'Sean Theobalds has played for Concord Rangers, Welling United, Tonbridge Angels and Dartford.
Former Walthamstow and Braintree Town boss Ryan Maxwell has been Director of Football and Manager since January 2023. There is no doubting they will be up there or thereabouts at the business end of the season.
Sevenoaks Town have also recruited many player with experience playing at a higher level. Harry Hudsdon recently departed the club to "explore opportunities in professional football' with Mark Dacey (who was Hudson's Assistant) taking up the role of Manager. Hudson joined the club in February 2022 after spell in charge of Southern Counties East League side Glebe.
The Oaks have former Crystal Palace, Burton Albion, Rotherham United, Aldershot Town, Barnet, GAIS (Sweden) Sutton United, Corinthian-Casuals and Kingstonian winger Kieron Cadogan in their squad. In total he made 21 Championship appearances for The Eagles between 2008 and 2012.
Just outside the play-off zone at present are Hythe Town (6th) who are managed by former Maidstone United boss Steve Watt. He was in charge of The Cannons from to November 2021 returning in May 2022 where he took them to the play-off final last season which included a dramatic win on penalty kicks at Ramsgate in the semi-final. He resigned from his position in May 2023 but returned only a day later after talks with the club's directors.
Hythe Town have former Sittingbourne striker Johan Caney-Bryan in their squad as well as Full Back Aaron Barnes who came through the Arsenal and Charlton Athletic academy systems and was a full time professional with the South London side for four seasons from 2014 to 2018. He has also played for Dulwich Hamlet and Welling United in the Vanarama South Division. Experienced Striker Frannie Collin, who many fans will know from his time with Maidstone United and Margate, is player-coach at the club.
Lancing (7th) are next who have finished in 18th and 13th after promotion from Step Five in 2021. The Lancers announced a new Manager in May when David Altendorff joined the club - he has coached an managed at Loxwood, Ringmer AFC and Newhaven previously. Former Leyton Orient player Dean Cox had been Manager since December 2022 who is now in charge of Burgess Hill Town who are currently in 13th place.
Lukas Fransen-Jones has scored 10 league and cup goals for Lancing this season. He was one of a number of players to follow Altendorff from Newhaven where he scored 27 goals in 35 league and cup games last season - He also had a short spell in the South-East Division with Haywards Heath Town in 22/23.
Ashford United (8th) and Chichester City (9th) are next in the division.
FACTS AND STATS
Ramsgate have won all six of their league games played so far scoring 23 and letting in just 3 goals. They have also beaten Bexhill United, Cray Wanderers, Frome Town and Woking in FA Cup games as well as Northwood, Sevenoaks Town and Sheppey United in the FA Trophy. Their only defeats have been in the Velocity Trophy (Ashford United 2-4) and Cray Valley PM in the Kent Senior Cup which ended 1-7 where a number of squad and younger players were played.
Three Bridges, Hythe Town and Cray Valley PM are also without a defeat at home in the league.
100% AWAY FROM HOME
Cray Valley PM are undefeated in all of their league games and have won all five of their games on their travels. Sittingbourne are also unbeaten away from home.
NO WINS AT HOME
Broadbridge Heath are in their first season in the Isthmian South-East Division having been promoted as Southern Combination Premier Division champions last season. The Bears have no wins at home at present drawing three and losing three. Their two wins have come on their travels at Littlehampton Town (0-4) and Erith & Belvedere (1-2).
NO WINS AWAY FROM HOME
Littlehampton Town and Merstham are yet to record a win on their travels.
BOTTOM OF THE TABLE
Beckenham Town had a brilliant first season in the Isthmian League last season finishing in fourth place losing narrowly at Whitehawk in the play-off semi-final which ended 1-0 to The Hawks. This season they are currently bottom of the table with two wins from thireteen games played.
Of the players who started in the Whitehawk game many are no longer with The Becks. Harvey Brand (Ashford United), Archie Johnson (Margate), Ibrahim Jalloh (started the season with the club but signed for Three Bridges in September), Danny Waldren (started the season with Beckenham but recently signed for Cray Valley PM), Tunde Aderomnu (signed with Punjab United at the beginning of the season but has yet to make an appearance) and Alfie Bloomfield (Punjab United) have all departed.
Erith & Belvedere have only scored 7 goals in their 14 league games played so far. The Deres are back in the Isthmian League after running away with the Southern Counties East Premier Division last season. Former Hornchurch striker Chris Dickson scored 9 goals in league and cup games for the club earlier in the season but has since moved to Premier Division Chatham Town.
FORTHCOMING FIXTURESTuesday 5th December
Cray Valley PM v Beckenham Town
Littlehampton Town v Broadbridge Heath
Sheppey United v Burgess Hill Town
Saturday 9th December
Beckenham Town v Burgess Hill Town
Broadbridge Heath v Ashford United
Cray Valley PM v Horndean
Littlehampton Town v Sittingbourne
Merstham v Erith & Belvedere
Phoenix Sports v Sevenoaks Town
Sheppey United v East Grinstead Town
Three Bridges v Ramsgate
Sunday 10th December
Chichester City v Herne Bay
Tuesday 12th December
Beckenham Town v Erith & Belvedere
Broadbridge Heath v Sevenoaks Town
East Grinstead Town v Sittingbourne
Horndean v Ashford United
Littlehampton Town v Sheppey United
Three Bridges v Cray Valley PM
Wednesday 13th December
Hythe Town v Herne Bay
Ramsgate v Chichester City
Saturday 16th December
Broadbridge Heath v Beckenham Town
Herne Bay v Horndean
Hythe Town v Chichester City
Lancing v Sheppey United
Littlehampton Town v Cray Valley PM
Phoenix Sports v Ashford United
Sevenoaks Town v Burgess Hill Town
Sittingbourne v Merstham
Three Bridges v East Grinstead Town
Sunday 17th December
Erith & Belvedere v Ramsgate
Tuesday 19th December
Chichester City v Merstham
Horndean v Broadbridge Heath
Hythe Town v Beckenham Town
Wednesday 20th December
Erith & Belvedere v Littlehampton Town
Saturday 23rd December
Chichester City v Broadbridge Heath
Tuesday 26th December
Ashford United v Hythe Town
Burgess Hill Town v Lancing
Cray Valley PM v Phoenix Sports
East Grinstead Town v Sevenoaks Town
Horndean v Littlehampton Town
Merstham v Three Bridges
Ramsgate v Herne Bay
Sheppey United v Sittingbourne
Saturday 30th December
Ashford United v Erith & Belvedere
Beckenham Town v Littlehampton Town
Burgess Hill Town v Herne Bay
Chichester City v Phoenix Sports
Cray Valley PM v Sittingbourne
East Grinstead Town v Hythe Town
Horndean v Three Bridges
Merstham v Lancing
Ramsgate v Sevenoaks Town
Sheppey United v Broadbridge Heath
TABLES USED COURTESY OF FOOTBALLWEBPAGES.CO.UK