The normal Ryman Football League season ends with today’s matches and brings to a close one of the strangest seasons I can recall. Both ends of the table see teams bunched together on similar numbers of points, especially at the bottom. I don’t think we’ve ever gone into the last match with only 2 relegation spots confirmed out of the 4. And things are so tight amongst the lower teams that it has become a perm any 2 from 6 situation!
I recall chatting with the Metropolitan Police’s kit man Chris only 6 weeks ago and the prognosis then was that 52 points were needed to stay up. Recent results have left 3 teams in the relegation battle with 53 points including the Met! It seems that the safety line was 54 points this season which is unprecedentedly high. Chris is a friend so I wish the Met luck today.
Sitting in the prime relegation spots to join already relegated Grays Athletic and AFC Sudbury, are Canvey Island and Burgess Hill Town. Both have games that on a good day they’d expect to win but it’s out of their hands because if they do win they’re still reliant on the results of the matches involving the teams immediately above them. It feels a little strange to see Grays and Canvey in this position as both are battling sides that normally can be found in the upper mid-table. Putting the final nail in Grays coffin fell to us on the 1st April but, in truth, they were already gone. It was a sad day but despite their woes they brought along a good loyal following of fans – Respect!
The top end of the table see’s the automatic promotion spot still undecided with Havant & Waterlooville currently in the box seat having knocked Bognor Regis Town off the spot in a derby between the two sides last Saturday. The roles could still be reversed again depending upon results for the sides today and it will be interesting to see who takes the league title and who gets the poisoned chalice of the top playoff spot.
The remaining play-off slots are occupied by Dulwich Hamlet, Enfield Town and ourselves, Wingate & Finchley. Dulwich are safe with 77 points. The two spots below the playoffs are occupied by Leiston and Needham Market – both of whom have been in the top 5 at times with Needham occupying a playoff position for much of the season.
At this end of the table the permutations are simple – if we get a point or win against Dulwich who we play today then we are in the playoffs. If we lose then it depends on Leiston’s result – they need a win to have a chance to overtake us. Needham are unlikely to challenge for a playoff spot now – they would need to win and overturn a goal difference of 8 which is a ‘mathematical possibility’ that will get you very long odds at the bookies! So we know what we have to do – let’s get out there and do the business…
C’mon you Blues!