We enter matchday five- for eighteen of our sides, anyway- with only two clubs yet to suffer defeat this season. Our table-toppers, Bowers and Pitsea, may face their greatest test so far, as they travel to face title-favourites Worthing- although visiting fans and casual daytrippers need to note that the match is being played at the Camping World Community Stadium, home of Horsham, whilst the Mackerel Men deal with another set of pitch problems. Don’t turn up at Woodside Road and complain we didn’t tell you!
Both sides have scored twelve goals in their four matches so far, although Rob Small’s men have defended more efficiently and will be in great spirit despite being held to a draw against Lewes in midweek; whilst the ‘hosts’ slipped up slightly in losing four-three at Leatherhead in midweek, but have been hampered by having to play all of their matches so far away from their own stadium.
Our other unbeaten club, Bishop’s Stortford, put their unbeaten run at risk when they travel to Cray Wanderers on Sunday, the Wands having lost their unbeaten run- which stretched more than nine months- at Potters Bar Town in midweek. The Blues have won two and drawn two of their four matches so far, whilst Wands had been perfect in all competitions and scoring goals for fun before the wheels came off on Tuesday night- so will be looking to quickly put the wheels back on again.
Haringey Borough, in fourth place, travel to face Brightlingsea Regent knowing that if they win and the match between Bowers and Worthing ends in a draw they will be top on Saturday night. They’ve certainly been in good form so far, winning three out of four, whilst Regent have gone three matches without a win and will be working hard not to make it four.
Cheshunt have had a super start to the campaign. Craig Edwards Ambers have defeated East Thurrock United, Horsham and Margate, and will hope to put Bognor Regis Town to the sword- and perhaps go to the top of the table. The Rocks were walloped in the FA Cup last weekend, but looked to have put that behind them when defeating Carshalton Athletic in midweek.
Leatherhead have really turned a corner since that seven goal thrashing at Bowers last month, taking seven points from nine and defeating two of the top five. They travel to Enfield Town, who conceded five at Horsham in midweek and four at Bishop’s Stortford the week before. The Towners will be desperate to tighten that leaky defence, and delighted to be back at home for the first time since the opening day, when they crushed Lewes four-one.
Carshalton Athletic’s strong start to the season has ground to a halt over the last two matches, defeat at Bedfont Sports in the cup last Saturday being followed by a league defeat at Bognor Regis Town in midweek. The Robins will want to get back to winning ways against Corinthian-Casuals at Colston Avenue, but will find their opponents in good form, having come very close to shocking Dulwich Hamlet in the cup last weekend before defeating Brightlingsea regent in midweek.
Potters Bar Town on Tuesday night became the first side to defeat Cray Wanderers for two hundred and eighty five days, and on Saturday will hope to become the first side to defeat Folkestone Invicta for a week, which sounds rather less impressive. Invicta drew at Bishop’s Stortford in midweek and surely must be ready to get back to winning ways, having not managed a victory in any of their last three matches. Can the Scholars shock their second promotion favourite in a week? Find out at the BuildKent Stadium!
Wingate and Finchley have had a fabulous seven days. First they defeated Lewes by four goals to one to record their first victory of the season, and then in midweek they topped that by travelling to Hornchurch, going two goals down, and bouncing back to win three-two. Confidence will be sky high as Horsham come to call this weekend, but the Hornets will also be in a positive frame of mind after they put five past Enfield Town in midweek to record their first win of the campaign.
Lewes host Margate at the Dripping Pan, and will take encouragement from that draw at the leaders in midweek and the form of striker Aaron Cosgrave, who has already struck four times this season. The Rooks home form was terrible last season, far and away the worst in the division, and they’ll hope to make the Pan a fortress for the new campaign. Margate arrive without a win in all matches across all competitions, although theu have drawn three of those and actually remain unbeaten away from home.
Two of our fancied clubs, Kingstonian and Hornchurch, haven’t had the best of starts- but the K’s seem to have turned that around, winning their last two, and will be confident as the Urchins arrive at King George’s Field. The Urchins are searching for consistency, as Tuesday night’s defeat proved, but their number eleven Ellis Brown will be looking to add to his four goals so far this season and if they can replicate their FA Cup form in the league tomorrow then they might just find lift off.
Finally, twenty first takes on twentieth as East Thurrock United host Merstham. The Essex Rocks are still searching for their first win, and need to tighten up at the back as they haven’t yet kept a clean sheet this season. That said, three of the sides who have defeated them are currently in the tp five, so perhaps the form table gives a disjointed impression. Each of the Moatsiders defeats have been rather narrow ones, with only one goal the margin on each occasion, and Calvin Ekpiteta, who ended the last campaign in blistering form, has started this one in a similar fashion and always provides a goal threat.