Saturday will see arguably the tightest finish to an Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division title race in living memory with the champions potentially being decided not by points or goal difference, but goals scored.
You’ll be aware of the current state of play with one game to go:
In simple terms, Bracknell Town need to beat Highworth Town at Larges Lane in their final game of the season on Saturday which would – looking at the goal difference column – ensure they lifted the title and won promotion to the Southern League.
It’s not quite that simple though is it..
Assuming Bracknell win by one goal, that would take the goal difference to +8 – a seemingly insurmountable hill to climb until you realise that Thame’s opponents on Saturday are Henley Town who’s most recent fixture saw them ship nine goals without reply away to Binfield.
Editors note: This article isn’t about Henley bashing, we know how tough it is at that end of the table having been supporters and volunteers at Bracknell Town on two similar occasions – just look up ‘Bracknell Town season 2009/10’ and ‘Bracknell Town season 2011/12’ – we are just looking at the numbers.
Bottom side Henley have conceded 9 goals and 8 goals this season on two occasions – one of those was in fact an 8-1 defeat to Thame. They don’t have the worst defensive record in the league though despite conceding 116 goals – that belongs to second bottom Burnham and their 126 goals conceded.
It’s all about goals
Whatever happens on Saturday, you can expect goals.
Between Thame, Bracknell and Highworth they have four of the top five goalscorers in the Hellenic Premier Division this season.
- Lynton Goss (Thame) 36 goals
- TJ Bohane (Bracknell) 30 goals
- Shane Cooper-Clark (Thatcham) 29 goals
- Adam Cornell (Bracknell) 29 goals
- Aysa Corrick (Highworth) 27 goals
Bracknell have the tightest defence having conceded just 35 goals while Thame are four behind on 39.
The crucial figure is that Bracknell have scored the most goals with 112 while Thame have scored 109 – that figure would quickly flip if United rack up a score at Henley.
Why it’s so tight?
Whatever the reasons behind Henley’s heavy defeat on Saturday – an inexperienced side, the manager was away – there’s every chance that the Oxon side will redouble their efforts and ‘park the boat’ in order to finish the season on a higher note.
What it means for the title race though is that if Bracknell beat Highworth by at least one goal, that would mean Thame need to win by eight clear goals which would hand them the title by virtue of scoring more goals in the season than Bracknell. This might be the first time in semi-professional football that a swing in the goal difference column of that magnitude with the prize of a title and promotion at stake is entirely possible.