Today is the last day of the regular season for the clubs in our division. It has been a hard season for Wingate & Finchley with a new management team and an almost entirely new squad. Many players who started the season with us have moved on but since February we’ve had a largely settled squad. For much of the first half of the season we were flirting with relegation and it’s only in the last 2 months that we started to pull clear with some good results while others around us hit bad times. Even so, we could ‘mathematically’ have still been relegated until just 2 matches ago when we got an away point at East Thurrock – that finally made relegation impossible.
This is the current Isthmian League Premier Division table as we prepare to travel…
Today, we conclude the season away to Hornchurch. For us, that game only holds the possibility of increasing our points tally – we can’t improve our position in the league. For our hosts however, it is very important to win. They are in the play-off places but will want to maintain their 3rd position in the league in order to have home advantage in their first play-off match. So I expect it to be a hard match and I’ll be pleased if we get something from the game.
With Worthing already crowned champions and the teams that will be in the play-offs already decided, there is little of interest to the travelling football fan at the top of the division today. At the bottom though, it is a different story with 4 clubs separated by just 3 points and 3 relegation slots. The two bottom clubs at the end of play today will be relegated automatically. The third from bottom will hope that their points-per-game tally is better than one of the other teams across 4 divisions. While nothing is set in stone until the final whistle across all games this afternoon, it is likely that the demoted 3rd from bottom team will be Kings Langley of the Southern League Premier Division South. But, none of our bottom 4 will want to be taking that Mathematical gamble!
So today, we’ll be keeping one eye on Cray away to Bishops Stortford, East Thurrock at home to Horsham, Merstham at home to Carshalton and Leatherhead at home to Potters Bar. Having been through several relegation battles with Wingate & Finchley over the years, I know what their fans will be going through today. I have some personal thoughts on who I want to survive but those belong on the terraces to be discussed with other Wingate fans😉
Then, in the closed season, we will await the FA’s rearranging of the divisions to fit in the newly promoted sides. We may continue in the Isthmian Premier, or it might mean us moving across to the Southern Premier South – something which we only avoided by the width of a couple of local council wards last time the FA did a reshuffle 🙄 With some much longer away trips in the Southern League – a day trip to Truro anyone? – I hope we stay where we are 🤞🏻