It’s the big one!

By Ian Townsend

Ramsgate welcome Cray Valley PM in our match of, well, perhaps the season- whilst we’ve third v sixth and a relegation battle between Becks and Wasps amongst our South East highlights

It’s the match we’ve been waiting for! Ramsgate, top of the table on goal difference from Cray Valley PM after playing a game more, welcome the Millers to the seaside. We can’t call this a winner take all battle, but it may turn out to be critical in deciding the title and automatic promotion, with the Rams with only two matches left to follow it, and their visitors with three.

Cray Valley bring a seven match winning streak to Southwood, are unbeaten on the road, and indeed have only one defeat all season; whilst the Rams have won eight- and lost one- of their last ten, and have lost only once on their own patch.

Third place Sittingbourne are three without a win, and with fourth place Chichester City breathing down their neck will be desperate for three points as Lancing come to call. The Lancers will also believe that three points is critical, as they’ve fallen four points away from a play off spot and with only three games left to play could see their dreams come to an end this weekend with defeat. Fifth place Three Bridges play on Sunday at Erith and Belvedere.

Chichester City are our form side, after nine consecutive wins which have seen them concede only one goal- indeed they’ve had nine clean sheets from their last ten. City head to Kent to take on Ashford United, the Nuts and Bolts looking to bounce back after a five-one hammering at Sheppey United last time out but resigned to a mid table finish.

Herne Bay have slipped to six points away from the top five with three games left, and will need a victory over eighth place Sheppey United to have any chance of keeping their play off hopes alive. Bay have won three of their last four, but they’ve also won only four of their last ten, and it seems their February/March form may have cost them dearly. The Ites play off hopes are already over, but they have won three of their last four.

At the bottom, our big match sees second bottom Beckenham Town travel to play the side one place and four points above them, East Grinstead Town- the Wasps also with a game in hand. Becks suddenly look revitalised after two thumping victories, whilst East Grinstead have taken only one point from their last six matches, so there is a great deal riding on the outcome of this one. A home win would stretch the margin to seven points and greatly increase the Wasps chances of staying up, whilst an away win would really put the cat amongst the pigeons- or perhaps the insects amongst the insecticide.

Broadbridge Heath travel to Burgess Hill Town, thirteenth v ninth. The Bears are in fine form with only two defeats from ten, whilst Hill have only two wins from ten, and only eight points from the last thirty available. Both sides are safe from trouble at either end of the table.

Sevenoaks Town welcome Littlehampton Town. Oaks are comfortably in mid table but have lost their last three, whilst the visiting Golds have only one win from ten, a run which has left them five points above the drop zone- and not safe yet, particularly given the improving form of second bottom Beckenham Town.

Hythe Town are in freefall and without a permanent manager after Steve Watt’s early departure. The Cannons have lost their last six and conceded eight goals against Three Bridges on Tuesday night, but will hope to do better against sixteenth place Phoenix Sports. Sports are seven points clear of relegation, and an away win will guarantee their safety no matter what the sides below them do. With only three defeats from ten, they aren’t displaying relegation form.

Finally, Horndean play host to Merstham. Both sides are safe from danger- indeed the Deans have been safe for quite a while, but have gone five without a win and will hope to quickly recover from their Thursday night hammering at the hands of Sheppey United. Two wins from their last three have seen the Moatsiders safe with games to spare, and they’ll want to build on their five goal thrashing of Sevenoaks Town last time out.

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Where next?

Highlights: Hornchurch v Chatham Town/Cray Wanderers The Urchins win the title- and then continue their march towards one hundred points
Is it title time for Chertsey Town? Victory will do it, whilst we’ve second v sixth- and Binfield’s great escape bid heads to Guernsey

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