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It's Saturday- time for football!

By Ian Townsend

We've got a number of big matches in prospect today. Here's our preview of the action across all four divisions.

We start our preview in the FA Cup- although we really started this preview yesterday! Kingstonian entertain Dan Walker, Football Focus, the actual FA Cup- head along early and have your picture taken with it- and AFC Fylde in the Second Round at King George’s Field. The K’s have only one defeat in fourteen and will be in confident mood- and you can still get a ticket, if you’re quick, there are a handful left. The action starts with the BBC show at 12 noon, the match kicks off at 3, and hopefully by 5 we might just have a club in the Third Round draw. Fingers crossed!

Back into the League now, and with the exception of the above we don’t have any cup competitions to distract us, so let’s start with the Premier Division.

Leaders Horsham have only one defeat in their last ten matches and only two all season. They have a one point gap between themselves and second placed Folkestone Invicta, entertain the stripes seaside rivals Margate at the Camping World Community Stadium today. It’s difficult to know what to make of Margate’s form, as they’ve been incredibly inconsistent, winning five and losing four of their last ten and drawing only one- the last one, last Saturday, when Potters Bar Town came from two goals down and grabbed a last minute equaliser at Hartsdown Park. Gate have actually won more games away than at home, but they’ve played more games away than at home so that stat needs to be taken with a small pinch of salt.

Invicta travel to Lewes. The Rooks got back to winning ways after two defeats last time out, with a two-nil win over Bishop’s Stortford, but they’ll need to be at their best to make it two in a row as Invicta have only two defeats all season, and only one in their last seven matches. They won at Enfield Town last time out- but that was a fortnight ago.

Worthing, in third place, have seen three players depart Woodside Road this week, two to Bognor Regis Town and one to Burgess Hill Town- but they will still take a strong squad to Haringey Borough. The Mackerel Men are undefeated in eight league matches, whilst Borough look to be easing their way back to form after a sticky period, but lost four-one at home to National League South side Hemel Hempstead Town in the FA Trophy last weekend.

We look to have a titanic struggle on Bridge Avenue. Hornchurch, in fourth place, were giant killers in midweek, despatching National League South Oxford City from the FA Trophy after a 4-4 draw- but it took them one hundred and twenty minutes and a shootout to do it, and Bognor Regis Town will be ready to pounce on any tiredness. The Urchins have drawn three of their last four league matches and need to start picking up wins, whilst the visiting Rocks have won five league matches in succession and will be in no mood to let that run come to an end.

Another clash of the titans will take place at Colston Avenue, as eighth place Carshalton Athletic entertain fifth place Cray Wanderers. Athletic lost at Enfield Town in midweek and have seen their league campaign interrupted by cup and trophy success, but went into that match at Donkey Lane on the back of four successive victories. Wands have won their last three, and haven’t lost an away match all season, so this match has all the makings of an exciting encounter- which probably means it will be a nil-nil draw!
Enfield, fresh from that victory over the Robins, have a North London derby as they host Wingate and Finchley. The Towners have only one defeat in ten and are flying, whilst the Blues have only one win during that same period- but they have won their last three matches away from the League, in the London Cup, Middlesex Cup and Velocity Trophy, so perhaps the tide is turning?

Potters Bar Town, fresh from that comeback at Margate, host a Bowers and Pitsea side desperate to pick up some points. The Scholars have only two defeats in ten so are very difficult to beat, but that statistic must be balanced a little by the fact that they’ve won only three of those matches; whilst Bowers have only one victory and eight defeats during the same period.

Another side who can’t remember what victory looks like are Merstham. The Moatsiders have lost nine consecutive league matches, but perhaps haven’t been helped by not having a home match since October 15th. They’ve got one today, Bishop’s Stortford heading to the Whisky Bible Stadium, and with the Blues having five defeats from their last six perhaps this might be Merstham’s day? We’ll know by five PM.

Finally, Brightlingsea Regent, with only one point from their last thirty, host a Cheshunt side who got back to winning ways last time out after seven consecutive defeats. Will the Ambers start to build a run of positive results or will regent kick start their season? Head to the Taydal to find out.

North Division

Leaders Bury Town host our match of the day in the North Division, as third place Coggeshall Town travel to Ram Meadow. The hosts have an injury crisis, six members of the first team squad missing, and the Seed Growers know that victory will take them to the top of the table- but it’s so tight that any one of three sides could be top tonight. The only one of the top four who can’t take over at the summit are Maldon & Tiptree, and that’s only because they aren’t playing after their cup heroics last night.

A win for Bury could take them four points clear, but that will depend on how Heybridge Swifts do at home to seventh placed Great Wakering Rovers. Swifts lost to AFC Sudbury last time out, whilst Rovers have only three defeats from their last ten but have only won four of those. If Bury and the Seed Growers draw and Swifts win they’ll take over at the summit, and if Rovers could pull off a victory they could overtake their hosts and jump back into the top five.

Grays Athletic, in fifth, hadn’t managed a win in four matches until they overcame Histon by a single goal last weekend. They host Hullbridge Sports, the visitors with only one win in their last seven.

Sixth placed Aveley have only two defeats in their last ten league matches, and have been magnificent away from the league, making FA Trophy giantkilling look almost ordinary in recent weeks. They walloped Step Three Biggleswade Town four-one last weekend and will be full of confidence as they travel to Cambridge City. Their hosts lost last time out, and are still searching for consistency, winning four and losing two of their last six.

Dereham Town, who have been scoring goals for fun recently, travel to Felixstowe and Walton United. The Magpies are unbeaten in six, and scored thirteen goals in their last three, whilst the Seasiders have only two wins from ten but have become more difficult to beat of late, with only one defeat from their last four.

Tilbury, in ninth, travel to Romford- and who knows what to expect? Romford may be bottom, but they have an entirely new squad; however the Dockers have only two defeats from ten and also now have former Bowers goal machine David Knight, who already has seven goals since making his debut on November 2nd.

Canvey Island, who strengthened with the signing of Sam Bantick on Thursday, are likely to give the forward his debut as they entertain Histon today. Canvey always seem to be searching for a good run of form and have seven points from their last twelve, but have only one defeat at home all season; whilst Histon are similarly inconsistent with only one win from their last four and only two away victories.

Basildon United host Brentwood Town, the Bees undefeated in three matches in all competitions since parting company with their latest manager whilst Town have lost their last two in the league after a four match undefeated run.

Finally for the North, Soham Town Rangers entertain Witham Town. Rangers promising early-season form has shuddered to a halt of late, as they are without a win in five, whilst their visitors have won only one of their last eight. Perhaps one of them will get back to winning ways today?

Into the South Central Division now, and we know that leaders Hanwell Town will still be the leaders at the end of the day as they have a five point cushion. The Geordies have gone off the boil recently- think how far ahead they’d be had that not been the case- with only two points from their last nine; and they travel to fifth placed Chertsey Town hoping to get back to winning ways. The Curfews have similar hopes, as their form has also taken a nosedive of late- after a period where they couldn’t stop winning they’ve entered a period where they haven’t been able to find one, picking up only one point from twelve.

Ware, in second place, also had a stutter recently but escaped from that in style when defeating Chipstead six-one last weekend. The Blues have a difficult task in prospect today, as they travel to Bracknell Town, who saw their own improved form come to an end in defeat at Barking last time out. The Robins have lost only one home game, the Blues only one away game, so what price a draw?

Third placed Uxbridge are our form side over the last ten matches, picking up twenty two points, and after two games without a win got back to winning ways at South Park last weekend. They host Westfield, in seventh place, their visitors without a win in five but with having drawn their last three.
Fourth placed Harlow Town host Northwood. The Hawks five match winning run came to an end when they lost three-nil to Bracknell Town, and they followed that up with a point at Marlow last weekend; whilst Woods recent revival came to a shuddering halt as they fell to a six-one hammering at home to Hertford Town last weekend, and that after taking the lead.

Marlow, with new striker Nnamdi Nwachuku hopefully making his debut, travel to face sixth placed Tooting & Mitcham United. The Terrors have fallen to narrow defeat in their last two matches, whilst Marlow have drawn four of their last five- but the third lowest scorers in the Division will be far more potent in front of goal with the addition of the former Coggeshall Town hitman, and already have one of the very best defences.

Barking have been in superb form of late, winning four consecutive league matches. They travel to face a Chipstead side who will be desperate to bounce back from that hammering against Ware, and who were unbeaten in three prior to that reverse.

Waltham Abbey, in ninth, travel to Ashford Town. The Abbotts are unbeaten in four matches, whilst the Tangerines have been in mixed form but did win the last time out- and what a win it was, as they climbed off the bottom of the table by becoming the first team to defeat leaders Hanwell Town.

Chalfont St Peter have strengthened their squad this week with three signings, and will put them to the test as they travel to FC Romania. The Saints have only one win in their last four and were hammered by Staines Town in their last league match a fortnight ago, whilst their hosts have only one win in ten matches and sit at the bottom of the table.

Staines host Bedfont Sports. The Swans have been much improved of late, that six-one win over Chalfont being followed last time out by a two-one win at high-flying Tooting, whilst Sports have only one defeat in their last six league matches and seven points from their last nine.

South East

Our leaders Cray Valley PM face a trip to the seaside today, as they head to Brighton to face Whitehawk. The Hawks, in fourth place, are in confident mood after four successive victories, whilst their opponents are unbeaten in eight matches but have drawn their last two.

If the Millers slip up at the Hawks then Hastings United will be hoping to take advantage. United, who are three points behind with two matches in hand, travel to the Channel Islands to take on Guernsey, and will be full of confidence- not just because they are unbeaten in the league this season but because they scored twelve goals against East Grinstead Town in the Velocity Trophy in midweek. Perhaps Davide Rodari can add to his eight goal tally for the week, but we suspect he won’t find it quite so easy against the Green Lions, who you expect would be even higher than seventh place if they had been able to play more than two home matches so far this season. They won them both, and will want to make it three from three.

Sevenoaks Town, in third place, travel to face Herne Bay. Oaks have lost only two of their last ten and defeated Bay’s seaside rivals Ramsgate three-one last weekend, whilst Bay’s recent revival seems to have slowed over the last two matches, only one point being picked up from the last six.

VCD Athletic yesterday added Carshalton Athletic forward Raheem Sterling-Parker to their ranks, and he will perhaps be put to the test as they host Haywards Heath Town. Heath have only played nine league matches this season, and only lost two of them, so they are hard to beat, whilst their hosts, in fifth place, are unbeaten at home and could climb as high as second with victory.

Sixth place Ashford United travel to Hythe Town. The Nuts and Bolts defeated Ramsgate four-two in midweek, but that result followed a defeat and a draw so fans of the side in green will be hoping that they will quickly find some consistency. Supporters of the Cannons, however, would love that kind of consistency, as they don’t have a win from their last six and currently sit in sixteenth place.

Whyteleafe, in eighth place, host Three Bridges. Leafe have only one defeat from their last six, whilst Bridges got back to winning ways last weekend, hammering Hythe to put a run of five successive defeats behind them. The visitors also strengthened their squad yesterday with the arrival of a keeper and a defender.

Phoenix Sports, in tenth place, travel to Ramsgate, in nineteenth. A run of five straight wins from Sports has been followed with three defeats in their last four, but the Rams have lost four in a row so the visitors will fancy their chances of getting back to winning ways.

Faversham Town have strengthened their squad this week, and will put it to the test as Whitstable Town travel to Salters Lane. The home side have a recent record of won-lost-won-lost-won, so will hope to put an end to that sequence, whilst the Oysterboys have lost their last two and don’t have a win since October 19th so will want to put that right.

Finally Burgess Hill Town, in seventeenth place, host Sittingbourne. The Hillians seem to have brought in half of South Park, and also added a Worthing striker yesterday as they look to get back to winning ways- they have only two wins in ten, but to put that in more positive light manager Jay Lovett has a win, a draw and a defeat from his three league matches in charge. They’ll face a tough test today as the Brickies are unbeaten in four matches, winning three of them, and defeated VCD Athletic last time out.

Where next?

Gate swat the Hornets, Ware hit six- again- and we’ve draws galore! Margate wallop our leaders, Ware score six for the second weekend in succession, Bury Town and Hanwell Town are held but stay top- and Hastings can’t take advantage of a Millers slip. It’s our round up.
Another Hillian We gave you some Burgess Hill transfer news yesterday- but in case you wanted more, here it is!

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