A South East and Trophy Saturday

By Ian Townsend

Millers, Rams and Cannons hope for Trophy success- whilst Three Bridges could extend their already extensive lead at the top. Here's our preview.

FA Trophy

Chatham Town take a break from title chasing to take on a collection of cup specialists, Cray Valley PM making the trip. The Chats have only one defeat from seven, but their visitors can boast a considerably better record, as the only side to defeat them so far this season were Punjab United, who beat a significantly weakened Millers team in the Kent Cup. They’ve played eighteen matches in all competitions this season, and that was their only defeat- and having knocked Premier Division sides out of the last two rounds of the FA Cup, they’ll travel confident of making that a hat trick.

Hythe Town and Ramsgate meet in a clash of the Pitching In Isthmian South East promotion challengers. The Cannons have lost only one at home this season, and defeated Premier opposition on the road in the last round, that victory at Concord Rangers perhaps the highlight of their season so far. The Rams have been sweeping all before them, and travel having won their last six matches in League, Cup and Trophy, and with striker Joe Taylor already on eighteen goals for the season. The Cannons have only beaten the Rams once in five attempts, but that was their last meeting- and it was a big one, Hythe triumphing on penalties in the Play Off Semi Final at the end of April.

Pitching In Isthmian South East

Leaders Three Bridges already have an eight point lead at the top, and could extend that even further with two of their closest rivals not playing. Bridges are on the road, but not too far, travelling down the A23 and along the A27 to Lancing- and they are taking a fabulous five match winning streak along with them. The Lancers are in thirteenth place, fourteen points behind, and have won only one- and lost three- of their last four. The last four meetings between the clubs have all gone the way of the side who were at home, so the hosts will hope to inflict a first defeat of the season on their high-flying opponents.

Herne Bay, in fourth, are level on points with the two sides directly above them- but with Sittingbourne out of action and Ramsgate in the Trophy could go second if they can defeat Erith & Belvedere. The Deres lost heavily to the Brickies and the Rams recently, whilst Bay have been steadily picking up points, with only one defeat in six.

Sixth takes on fifth as Sevenoaks Town welcome Chichester City. Oaks have slipped up a little of late, with two defeats from their last three, whilst City have suddenly looked vulnerable, taking one point from fixtures against Three Bridges and East Grinstead Town. The last six meetings between the sides have seen three City wins and three draws, so Oaks will believe they are overdue three points.

Horndean welcome seventh place Ashford United. The Nuts and Bolts have taken seven points from their last three matches and could climb as high as second with victory, whilst the Deans have seen their last four matches take a W-L-W-L pattern so will want that to continue.

Burgess Hill Town will watch Phoenix Sports arrive in Mid Sussex knowing that a home win should send them into the top five. Hill look to be putting a run together, having lost only one of their last six; whilst Sports are on a rather different type of run, having taken one point from the last fifteen available. Sports have a good record against Hill, winning five of their last six encounters.

We’ve another Sussex derby as Broadbridge Heath travel to the seaside to take on Littlehampton Town. Both sides have been rather inconsistent this season, but the Golds came within a whisker of taking Cray Valley PM’s unbeaten record in midweek and will be buoyed by that. The match kicks off an 1PM to avoid clashing with a bonfire procession. POSTPONED.

Merstham welcome cup heroes Sheppey United. The visitors are bottom of the pile despite looking much improved of late, and will hope to catch the Ites distracted by their impending cup tie. Sheppey were caught out last weekend, losing to Horndean, but bounced back to defeat Lancing in midweek.

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Where next?

Highlights: Walthamstow 1 Basildon United 1 A shootout victory for the Bees in the Velocity Cup
A North- and Trophy- Saturday Felixstowe hope to top the pile, and Bowers, Brightlingsea, Swifts and Stow also have top two ambitions - whilst Bury Town and Redbridge face Premier tests in the Trophy

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