Thursday, 15 December 2016
RYMAN PREMIER WEEKEND PREVIEW
Billericay Town v Kingstonian
The Blues are now officially under the new ownership of Glenn Tamplin - the club have been nicknamed the 'El Billácticos' by some fans following the raft of new signings brought into the club by Manager Craig Edwards. In their last game they lost at Burgess Hill Town 2-1 - their starting XI included only two players who started their first game of the season in goalkeeper Jack Giddens and midfielder Connor Hubble. They included recent recruits Oliver Sprague (from Hendon), Matt Johnson (from Margate), Danny Fitzsimons (from Margate who was on loan to D1S side Greenwich Borough earlier in the season), Lewis Taffe (from Hemel Hempstead Town formerly of Concord Rangers), Billy Bricknell (from Chelmsford City) and Dipo Akinyemi (on loan from Stevenage). The K's have lost twelve of their twenty-three games played so far and were well beaten by Lowestoft Town at home last weekend. The twelve defeats is just three short of the fifteen they lost in the whole forty-six game season in 2015/16. I expect the up-front partnership of Akinyemi and Bricknell to be too strong for Kingstonian and for either one of them (or both) to hit the back of the net in this game. Altough the 'El Billácticos' are the team everyone wants to beat so The K's could well raise their game here. The bookies make Billericay Town 11/10 to win this one so this could be a really good bet in my book.
Canvey Island v Merstham
In their last twelve league games The Islanders have only beaten Lowestoft Town. They beat The Trawlerboys 3-0 both home and away in a rare moment of celebration for their supporters as they have had a pretty miserable season so far with only three wins on top of the Lowestoft victories in their twenty-one games played. Their last two games ended in a very disappointing defeat to Essex and relegation rival's Grays Athletic last weekend and a 3-0 defeat at play-off (and arguably Championship chasing) Tonbridge Angels on Tuesday evening. The Moatsiders are still without a win away from home in the league but did draw 2-2 at Tonbridge before losing 1-0 at Harrow Borough in their last two games on the travels. Manager Hayden Bird will be encouraged by their good 2-1 home win over Billericay Town last weekend which was followed up by a convincing 2-5 away win at Corinthian Casuals in the Ryman League Cup in midweek.
Dulwich Hamlet v Tonbridge Angels
The Hamlet crept through in a FA Trophy midweek replay at Royston Town with Nyren Clunis getting a late goal in the 85th minute to set up an intriguing Second Round game at Vanarama South side Whitehawk. This is 4th v 6th in the table so it's one of the games of the day. Dulwich have won 50% of their home league games (6 of 12) with The Angels winning 50% of their away games (5 of 10) so far. A difficult game to predict - it'll be a very close one and could end all square.
Folkestone Invicta v Bognor Regis Town
"The battle of the sea-side towns" as title chasing Bognor visit 'Fortress Fullicks Stadium'. Invicta have only lost once at home in the league for the season so far which came back on Saturday 27th August when Needham Market won 0-1. It's been fourteen league and cup games since Folkestone last failed to score in a game so form would say The Rocks need to score at least two to pick up three points here. Bognor have only failed to score once all season in their surprise 0-2 home defeat to Hendon a few weeks ago. Another close game here which could well end in a draw.
Harrow Borough v AFC Sudbury
Harrow Borough have never been relegated from the Isthmian League top division since promotion back in 1979. In the last five seasons they have finished in 17th, 15th, 18th, 16th and 17th in the table just about doing enough to keep out of the drop-zone on each occasion. They are really going to have to have a brilliant second half of the season if they are going to preserve that record as at present they are bottom of the table currently six points from safety but the positive of having games in hand over teams above them. The Suffolk side travel to London in good form having won four of their last six league and cup games - they won 3-0 at home to Burgess Hill Town on Tuesday evening with former Concord striker Sam Bantick scoring in the last two games.
Havant & Waterlooville v Grays Athletic
A true test to the up turn in Grays Athletic's form as they make the trip to the title favourites in Hampshire. The Blues have improved their squad recently with the re-signing of former fan's favourite Joao Carlos (a wide attacking player) and Luke Wilson (a central defender) from Billericay Town who only recently signed for The New Lodge side in October 2016. He spent two and half seasons with Bowers and Pitsea helping them to promotion from the Essex Senior League last season as well as reaching the FA Vase Semi-Final. Both sides have won three out of their last six games. You can get odds of 9/2 from the bookmakers for an away win with The Hawks 8/15 odds on favourites for a victory. Grays will have nothing to lose in this one and will be full of confidence following their amazing 0-4 midweek victory at Hendon. I expect the pace and skill of Joao Carlos and the in-form Kieron Bishop to cause the Havant back line some problems so Grays could possibly nick a point here which I think they'll be very happy with.
Leatherhead v Enfield Town
Earlier in the season The Towners signed Tony Mendy from Evo Stik Southern League Division One Central side Chalfont St Peter - His appearances at Donkey Lane were unfortunately limited due to injury with the goal-scoring centre forward making only seven appearances before departing to join Jimmy Bullard's Leatherhead side. He scored two goals on his first start for The Tanners against Hendon last weekend so will be confident of carrying on that form against his former side. Since taking over in September Bullard's side has played fifteen league games winning five, drawing four and losing six which is an improvement on their one win in seven games prior to his appointment. There has been much player movement of late with Daniel Akindayini and well travelled professional player Rohan Ricketts leaving - Adam Cash (from Margate) and the experienced defender Danny Murphy have joined along with Mendy - Murphy is 34 years old and played for QPR from 2000 to 2003 making 23 appearances. Town are nine points (and 10 places) above Leatherhead in the table - Bradley Quinton's side are unbeaten in nine games but he will want to pick up more wins having drawn four of their last six. Enfield Town are 7/4 to win this game with Leatherhead at 11/8.
Leiston v Harlow Town
The title chasing Suffolk side gave Vanarama National side a real fright in the FA Trophy First Round replay on Tuesday evening. After gaining an excellent 1-1 draw in the game at Hayes Lane on Saturday they were 3-2 up on 58 minutes with the side from non-league's top division scoring three times in the last half-an-hour to record a 3-5 victory in front of 306 people. The Hawks will be very tough opposition for Leiston - their narrow midweek 2-1 league defeat against Needham Market was their first loss in eleven league and cup games. Harlow's form has been solidly mid-table throughout the season with a ppg of 1.4 over their first ten games compared to 1.45 over their last eleven. Leiston's has dropped - In their first nine league games they got 2.55 ppg compared to 1.33 over their last nine. They have only won three of their last nine against AFC Sudbury and Staines Town and have actually not won in their last six league games!
Lowestoft Town v Worthing
"The battle of the seaside towns part two" and a long round-trip for Worthing of around 360 miles. The Rebels have lost six of their ten away games so the home side will be favourites following their big win at Kingstonian and their 2-2 draw at Enfield Town in midweek. Worthing have scored at least one goal in their last eighteen games - the last time they failed to score was against St Albans City in the FA Cup which they lost 0-6.
Metropolitan Police v Wingate & Finchley
The Met's form has improved remarkably recently - they are unbeaten in five league games having won three of those. The Blues ran Vanarama South side Wealdstone very close in their FA Trophy replay in midweek going down 1-2 with The Stones scoring the winner on 120 minutes via Daniel Green. Reece Beckles-Richards has been in great scoring form for W&F scoring nine times in their last league and cup games. The 21 year old Full Antigua & Barbuda International was born in Enfield and was with Kingstonian last season. A win or a point for the Met could lift them out of the drop zone depending on results elsewhere which is a magnificent achievement when you read they picked up only three points from their opening eleven games compared to eighteen in their last ten.
Needham Market v Hendon
Just when the fans of Hendon thought their form was turning a corner with nine points gained from eighteen available between 19th November and 6th December which included two amazing away wins at Leiston and Bognor Regis Town they go and lose at home to Leatherhead (1-3) and Grays Athletic (0-4). They still haven't recorded a league win at Silver Jubilee Park - their points per game at home is 0.64 compared to 1.42 on the road. Needham sit proudly top of the table having beaten in form Harlow on Tuesday evening and despite Hendon's form on the road it'll be a very tough game for Gary McCann's side.
Staines Town v Burgess Hill Town
The Hillians, who are one of only two teams without a win on their travels (Merstham as mentioned above are the other), make the trip to Staines Town who are a real Jekyll and Hyde side. Their last two games being a real example of this where on Saturday they recorded an excellent 1-2 victory at Tonbridge before going down 5-3 at Worthing on Tuesday evening. Midfielder Max Worsfield is in great from for The Swans having scored four times in their last two games.