Can the Abbotts extend their lead- or will one of the chasing pack displace them at the top

By Ian Townsend

Waltham Abbey have a three point South Central advantage- but three clubs have a chance of overtaking them if they slip up. It’s our preview.

Waltham Abbey have had a wonderful season so far, and could have gone five points clear at the top on Tuesday night had they held on to win against Chipstead- but the Chips got an equaliser, and so that lead is only three. The Abbotts are still unbeaten in the League, and but for that Chipstead leveller would have had a one hundred percent record, so must be favourites as they host Northwood; but the Woods have looked much improved during the last week, losing only on penalties in the FA Cup last weekend after a three-all draw and holding high-flying Hanwell Town in midweek.

If the Abbotts slip up and fall to defeat, the Geordies are one of three clubs who could take over at the summit with victory- the fourth with ten points, second place Bracknell Town, don’t have a match. Hanwell are on the road, making the short journey to Chalfont St Peter, who will need to stop Ogo Obi from scoring given that the striker has eleven already this season. The Saints have only one league win this season and start the day one place off the bottom.

Ashford Town have hit the heady heights of fourth, their squad looking a vast improvement on last year’s model. The Tangerines are off to Harlow Town, the Hawks looking very much the same as they did last season- frustratingly for their supporters. After starting the season with three wins in all competitions, Harlow haven’t won a match of any kind since, and have lost six in a row. They need to start picking up points as they are only two points and two places off the bottom.

Another side who seem to have no resemblance to last year’s model are Staines Town, who start the day in fifth. The Swans entertain eighth place Tooting and Mitcham United on the back of a three match unbeaten run which has seen them score nine goals and pick up seven points- and given they’ve also conceded six supporters have not been short on entertainment. The Terrors have won five of their last six in all competitions but despite that haven’t really begun to fly yet. The Swans will want to make sure that they are the only ones with wings.

Ware, in sixth place, will look to kill off Kenny’s mates as they travel to South Park. The Blues have been inconsistent this season, which is why our title favourites are four points off the top- but what’s four points after only five matches? The Sparks are fourteenth, having delivered great entertainment over the past few weeks with ten goals in their last four games- and the Blues will have to watch out for Leon Lalor-Dell, who already has seven for the season.

Another side who seem to have grown in stature since last season are Hertford Town, who start the weekend in seventh. They travel to Chertsey Town, who are experiencing a bit of a blip with only one win from their last six matches. The visitors have also been a little hit and miss, but went with hit on Tuesday night as they won three-one at Westfield.

Marlow have striker James Clark in fine form, with seven goals in his last three matches and nine for the season so far. They travel to another side who seem to be in a good place at present, Bedfont Sports, who defeated Chalfont in midweek with help from a hedgehog. See our programme article on Wednesday for details!

Westfield have seen the wheels come off their season in recent weeks, whilst visitors Barking haven’t been able to find their wheels yet- but with so few matches played that can be forgotten in an instant with three points. Field saw their good start to the campaign come to an end with three defeats in their last four matches, conceding fourteen goals in the process; whilst the Blues are still looking for their first league win of the season, although they have won four matches in cup competitions.

Uxbridge defeated our leaders Waltham Abbey last weekend, but that was in the FA Trophy. They have gone four matches unbeaten, defeating Ware and drawing with two of the top four, so look a good bet to climb the table. Chipstead will be looking to stop that climb, the visitors buoyed by their point at the Abbotts in midweek.

Where next?

Will Vickers long reign at the top come to an end? VCD Athletic seem to have been on top of the pile for an age, but without a game on Saturday they’ll have to watch on as four others vie to replace them. It’s our Pitching In South East preview.
The top two are otherwise engaged- can the rest of the North Division take advantage? We've a slightly reduced fixture list, but some real crackers on offer. Here's our preview.

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