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It’s a crucial Bostik Weekend!

By Ian Townsend

Cray fight for the title, many clubs fight over playoff places, and many more fight to escape the drop. Where will you be watching? Here’s our preview.

Premier Division

Well, we know three of our four champions, so let’s start by giving credit to Dorking Wanderers, who are secure of their title with four matches to go. But they can’t relax yet, they’ve a big match this weekend!

Wanderers travel to Longmead where they will face Tonbridge Angels, who are one of perhaps nine clubs who think they still have a shot at a playoff place. Angels sit in third, and are surely within touching distance of that spot in the end of season lottery, but will be hoping for three points to help them secure home advantage- and have been promoting the match like crazy on social media, with the aim of attracting a crowd of 800 to shout them on.

Second placed Haringey Borough host a Kingstonian side who finally got back to winning ways last weekend with three points against Enfield Town. When the two sides met at King George’s Field earlier this season Borough won four-nil, so the K’s will be looking for revenge whilst the Coles Park faithful will want more of the same.

Fourth placed Worthing have the joint-best away record in the Division, with eleven victories on their travels so far, but they will need to be at their best as they head to the Prokit UK Stadium to face Bishop’s Stortford. Their hosts are on a fabulous run, with four straight victories, and still have hopes- legitimate hopes, if that form continues- of crashing into the top five. The Blues will be looking to do the double over their Sussex coast visitors.

Carshalton Athletic, in fifth place, travel to our midweek Velocity Trophy winners Enfield Town. The Towners are seven points behind their opponents, who occupy the last playoff place, and perhaps that might be a step too far for them- but the Robins will be desperate to keep up a run which has seen them lose only one of their last fourteen matches.

Sixth placed Leatherhead have been in magnificent form, with only two defeats in their last ten matches- but host a Lewes side who also still have playoff pretentions. The Rooks got back to winning ways last weekend with victory over Merstham. The Moatsiders slipped to seventh following that defeat but will be looking to bounce back at home to Folkestone Invicta. Neither side has been able to find consistency of late, with Hayden Bird’s men losing three of their last six whilst Invicta have been winning two, drawing two and losing two.

Down at the bottom, can Burgess Hill Town survive by the skin of their teeth for a fourth year in succession? They host Brightlingsea Regent but are now only two points from safety after seeming dead and buried a few weeks ago, but a run of three wins from four matches has given them real hope of staying up. Regent were in Sussex last weekend, too, defeating Bognor Regis Town, and will be difficult opponents for Simon Wormull’s men.

Hill’s relegation rivals are all on the road. Wingate & Finchley, two points clear of the drop zone, travel to Corinthian-Casuals, whilst second-bottom Whitehawk travel to our beaten Velocity Trophy finalists AFC Hornchurch, hoping that the Urchins haven’t got over their cup disappointment. Bottom side Harlow Town have conceded twenty goals in their last four matches, and they travel to Bognor, who will be buoyant after their midweek Sussex Senior Cup Semi-Final victory over Brighton & Hove Albion Under 23’s.

In the only match we haven’t mentioned, Potters Bar Town will hope that they are now safe, seven points clear of the drop zone, but will be looking to make certain as they travel to Margate.

North Division

We know who are champions are, and Bowers & Pitsea will be looking for a remarkable fifteenth straight victory as they travel to Felixstowe and Walton United. We also know who has qualified for the playoffs, so the job of Maldon & Tiptree (away to Canvey Island), Aveley and Heybridge Swifts- who are playing each other at Scraley Road- and Coggeshall Town, who travel to Tilbury, is simply to fight it out for home advantage whilst garnering as many points as possible in case points-per-game comes into play at the end of the season.

Our biggest excitement, then, comes at the bottom of the table. Romford are six points from safety, Mildenhall Town seven, but both will be heartened by the fact that the only side they can catch, third bottom Witham Town, are in freefall. Witham host Dereham Town, and that will be a tough proposition as the Magpies have been in excellent form of late, whilst Mildenhall travel to Barking and Romford, who defeated Witham last weekend, travel to AFC Sudbury.

Elsewhere Grays Athletic host Brentwood Town, Great Wakering Rovers host Bury Town, and Soham Town Rangers entertain Basildon United.

South Central Division

Congratulations to champions Hayes & Yeading United, who have already clinched their promotion with four matches to play. They host a Waltham Abbey side who still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs but are eight points from the promised land.

Second placed Bracknell Town, who surprisingly lost at bottom side Egham Town in midweek, are on their travels again- to Northwood- whilst third placed Marlow, who came back from a goal behind in the ninetieth minute to win 4-3 at Molesey last time out, travel to an FC Romania side who are nine points clear of the drop zone. Cheshunt, in fourth, have a seven point cushion over sixth placed Ware so surely, barring a miracle, have their playoff place secure- but are still battling with Bracknell and Marlow for home advantage and will hope to pick up three points at relegation-threatened South Park. And of course, points per game may also be critical in May.

It looks increasingly like any two of Egham Town, Molesey, Hertford Town and South Park will be filling the relegation spots at seasons end. The Sarnies have been magnificent without a manager, picking up seven points from their last three matches, but are still eight points behind third-bottom Hertford. That gap could be reduced to five with victory this weekend, however, as they are heading to Hertingfordbury Park to take on their rivals.

Second-bottom Molesey look to have a tricky task in prospect as they try to get over that last-gasp defeat in midweek, as they travel to fifth placed Westfield. Field, in the last playoff spot, have a four point cushion over Ware but will be looking to extend that. Ware host Uxbridge, whilst Tooting & Mitcham United, also four points off fifth place, travel to Ashford Town.

Our other matches see Chalfont St Peter host Bedfont Sports, and Chipstead- with their new manager in place- host Hanwell Town.

South East Division

Cray Wanderers need two points to confirm their promotion- a promotion which everyone thought would have been assured long before now given their form earlier in the season. The Wands had been striding purposefully towards the finish line but suddenly they are crawling towards their goal, without a win in four matches, which have included two defeats. Will tomorrow be the day they finally clinch the title? We’ll be there to tell you all about it, as it will be our #bostikmatchday feature, but they will have to overcome the challenge of fourth placed Ashford United, and Tommy Warrilow’s side will be looking to bounce back after defeat last time out – and still have a mathematical chance, albeit unlikely, of catching their hosts!

Wanderers shouldn’t be too worried as they do still have the luxury of an eight point cushion over second placed Horsham, who travel to Herne Bay. Hastings United seem to have found form at exactly the right time, and the third placed side will entertain Hythe Town- conquerors of the Nuts and Bolts last weekend.

Haywards Heath Town occupy the final playoff place, and they entertain Sevenoaks Town at Hanbury Park, whilst the only side with realistic hopes of catching Heath and stealing their place in the end of season finale, VCD Athletic, host East Grinstead Town. There are six points between Vickers and Heath with only twelve left to play for, so you’d have to think that victory over the Wasps is essential if they are to give themselves any chance.

Perhaps- if you discount what is happening at Hayes Lane- the match of the day in the South East Division is at the bottom. With the sad demise of Thamesmead only one side will go down, and that looks increasingly likely to be either Greenwich Borough, Guernsey or Faversham Town. The first two on this list both have twenty-eight points, and they play each other in the Channel Islands on Sunday, whilst Town host Three Bridges only three points better off. .

The Green Lions haven’t picked up a win since 19th January, and don’t have a home victory since 21st November, when Herne Bay were their victims at Footes Lane. Borough, in contrast, have improved in recent weeks, a draw with champions-elect Cray Wanderers last weekend following victory over Sittingbourne. Faversham have gone five matches without a win, and only two points from the last fifteen have put them in real danger- and they’ll do well to be careful when facing a Bridges side who seem to be on the up, with only one defeat in their last five following a terrible run of their own.

Elsewhere, Whitstable Town host Phoenix Sports, whilst Sittingbourne- who aren’t mathematically safe yet but do have a seven point advantage over Guernsey and Greenwich- travel to Whyteleafe.

If you’re travelling tomorrow, tweet us a photo of your journey to a game to be in with a chance of winning a family ticket to Non-League finals day. Include #BostikLeague, #NonLeagueFootball, #FootballAwayDays #SouthEastFootball
Follow us on Twitter, here.

Where next?

Brentwood open their doors to Romford The Boro to share the Arena next season
We're up for the- County- cups! It's been a very successful year for our sides in County Cup competitions

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