With the football season approximately half way through, Football in Bracknell takes a closer look at the Combined Counties League Division One to see what the current state of play is for the local sides and the battles at either end of the table.
Our step 6 man Rob Davies has even give a few predictions in order to provide some laughter at the end of the season.
Of the two local sides in the Combined Counties League Division One Sandhurst Town have enjoyed the stronger start to the season and currently sit in 8th place in the table.
After a couple of early season defeats and being knocked out of the FA Vase by Step 5 Lymington following a replay, Michael Herbert’s men started to build some good form and only lost twice in their next fourteen league matches, a run that saw the Fizzers climb into the top half of the table.
The early season goal was to get into the top six and they are now just one point away with games in hand over many of the teams above them.
Top scorer Charlie Oakley is joint sixth in the league’s scoring charts with 11 in 14 games and Sandhurst are still in both the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy and the Aldershot Senior Cup.
Our other local representatives, Eversley & California, started the season in positive fashion with a couple of good league wins and a strong showing in the FA Vase that saw the Boars reach the First Round proper for the first time in their history before being narrowly defeated by Step 5 Horndean.
The league form fell away through September and October, Eversley taking just 3 points from 9 games, but there was an upturn in fortunes in November with the club winning 4 and drawing 1 of their 5 games and new signing Josh Sapsed scoring 8 in 5.
Sadly, Ellis Woods resigned from his role as First Team Manager in mid-December and the Boars are looking for a replacement with the side sitting in 13th place in the table.
For the first time the FA has decided to take control of promotion and relegation between Step 5 and 6 rather than leaving it to the discretion of the league.
This means that only the first placed sides at Step 6 are guaranteed promotion with 9 second placed sides from the 19 leagues going up based on the best points per game.
This reduces the chances for sides at the top of the Combined Counties Division One who are used to having three places to fight for.
Currently top of the pile are the season’s surprise package Frimley Green who have 41 points and just two defeats from their 19 games and are currently on a run of 9 wins from 10 games in all competitions.
At the beginning of the season Sandhurst’s manager Michael ‘Nostradamus’ Herbert said: “Sheerwater, Farnham, Epsom and Ewell and Bedfont [& Feltham] will be the 4 favourites to win the league.”
His prediction is proving to be accurate as all four sides sit in the top 6 and are well placed to mount a challenge for the title. Of those four the league’s top goal scorers, Bedfont, are the best placed, just a point behind Frimley with two games in hand. Bedfont have three of the league’s top 5 strikers in their ranks with Michael Capon leading the way having scored 27 in just 21 matches.
Sheerwater are a point further back again, with Epsom & Ewell in 4th and Tooting Bec, another surprise package, in 5th. Farnham Town are 6th, 11 points behind Frimley, but don’t write them off just yet as they have 5 games in hand and boast the leagues tightest defence.
Normally the bottom two sides would face relegation at the end of the season but with AC London having been expelled from the league in mid-November, there is only one place to worry about. Cove are the side currently in bottom spot on 7 points, 5 points adrift from their nearest rivals although they have played fewer games than them all.
Next comes Kensington Borough, Fleet Spurs and FC Deportivo Galicia who are all on 12 points, with Godalming Town 3 points better off.
Godalming were relegated from the Premier Division last season, so it is a surprise to see them at this end of the table. Eversley & California sit a further point ahead.
Now for the part that will be used to mock me in April. Apologies in advance to the sides I back for jinxing your title bids.
Promoted: Bedfont & Feltham (Champions) & Farnham Town
Bottom: Cove (sorry)
Local sides: Sandhurst Town 6th, Eversley & California 12th
Agree or disagree with Rob’s predictions? Let us know in the comments below.