The first bank holiday weekend of the season is upon us and it is once again the busiest time of the season. It is quite tasty at the top of table and the top 4 all meet each other this Saturday and come 5pm it could all change.
Cambridge United have made a great start to the Skrill Premier season and sit ahead of the league table. Richard Money’s side sits there alongside Barnet and Nuneaton on seven points. As well as Lincoln City, who visit the U this Saturday. Both teams are unbeaten with two wins and a draw. So something may give on Saturday afternoon.
Second place Barnet welcome third place Nuneaton to the Hive, who have made a fantastic start to their second season in the Skrill Premier. The visitors had just avoided the drop last season and now sit level on points with Barnet and Cambridge in the table and only third due to a goal difference of 2 goals. While Edger Davids Barnet have quietly gone about their business. They sit unbeaten like the others which I am sure what everyone at The Hive wanted following relegation from the Football League.
While at the other end sees basement club Aldershot, now on -6 points visit Salisbury. Promoted from the Blue Square South last season are yet to win this season and sit 22nd in the league with 3 games played and no points won as well as having only find 2 goals so far. Aldershot will no doubt be disappointed with the points deduction had they not had the points deduction, the Shots would be sitting 12 in the division going into to Saturday’s fixture had they not have the points deductions. But in manager Andy Scott. They have a manager who will be able to them away from the relegation places when they get to zero points.
Sitting one from bottom is Chester who have made the return to the Skrill Premier. Formerly Chester City. The Blues haven’t had had an easy return to the pinnacle of non-league. Three games in a 3 losses. However they have faced Barnet and Hereford in that time. On Saturday they make the trip to Worcestershire to play last season’s runners up and many people’s favorites to take the title in Kidderminster. The Harriers sit sixth in the table with 2 wins and a loss and I am sure Steve Burr will be a lot happier with the start to the season then last season. Where they sat bottom of the table.
The harriers were beaten in the play-off semifinal by north Wales side Wrexham, who will be looking to make it third time lucky. On Saturday they welcome Hyde to the Racecourse ground on Saturday.
The Dragons have started sluggish with a win a loss and a draw sitting 14th in table. The loss came away to Halifax who got their first win of the season that night with a 3-2 win. While Hyde were last season’s major success story- no one expected them to stay up but they did quite convincingly which included a win at home over Wrexham. This season they have started slowly as well with a 2 loses and a draw. The Tigers were hammered 8-0 at Forest Green on day one before a 2-1 lose at home to Southport. Before drawing 2-2 with Hereford last Saturday.
Another team who were close to going down last season was Southport, who have had a great start with a 1-0 win at home to Luton. New manager Alan Wright has so far proved the critics wrong as many tipped them to go down. They host Gateshead to Haig Avenue looking to get back to winning ways after a 3-1 loss at Nuneaton. Gateshead will be hoping that this season they can be back challenging for honours near the top after last season which saw them having to play at Middlesborough, York and Boston for their home games. Also they will be looking for a new manager as Ant Smith resigned as manager during the week.
Another team who were forced to move a couple of ‘home games’ to a different team were Halifax, who are another side to have returned to the Skrill Premier from the lower leagues. Unlike Chester the Shaymen have had a decent start to their return despite a 5-1 loss to Cambridge on the opening day and had 2 men sent off. They got their first win of the season at home to Wrexham 3-2 which impressed many punters. They visit Macclesfeild, who have had a summer of torment which includes the club now being owned by the local council. On the pitch it hasn’t started well with 2 losses and a draw.
Macclesfield fell into the football league with Hereford who welcome Tamworth to Edger Street. The Bulls are another team who had a troubled season so hopefully will be pushing for a better season and already sit 9th in the table one point ahead of Tamworth. Dale Belford’s Tamworth have made a good start and are unbeaten with 1 win and 2 draws. Belford has now been installed as permanent manager following taking over in caretaker role from Marcus Law at the turn of the year.
The biggest team to drop into the Conference was Luton who fell out of the Football League in 2008 and have remained ever since. Last season was their poorest since that time with a 7th place finish however they did make the 5th round of the FA Cup and did beat Norwich City in the process. This season John Still will wanting to take them back into the play offs and this Saturday they face a team in challenging them in Forest Green in the battle of the millions. Both teams are reported to have budgets of a million pounds each. Still’s counterpart in Dave Hockaday will be hoping they can break into the top 5 this season coming.
Alferton are the only team so far we haven’t talk about in the top 10 of the table as they make the trip to Grimsby. The Rams have quietly gone about their business with 2 wins and a loss sitting one points off fourth place Lincoln. The Rams also upset the odds on Match day 2 with a 3-1 over Kidderminster at the Impact arena. Grimsby haven’t made the best of starts as Rob Scott’s side were held by brother Andy’s Aldershot on day one and are currently sitting 16th in the table. But will no doubt be swimming up the table soon.
Kent are now represented in the Conference Premier by just one team in Dartford who surprised many by a top half finish last season. The Darts have only had one winner this season so far which was at home to Alferton 1-0 before losses to Aldershot 3-0 and 2-0 to Halifax Town respectively. While Braintree sit 12th in the table following one win, one draw and one loss. The one loss came last Saturday with a 89 minute winner from Kyle Storer to see Braintree fall to a 1-0 loss they win be hoping for another decent season.
Woking welcome Welling in the battle of the W’s. Woking are another team to have one win one draw and one loss sitting 17th in the table sitting behind Welling in 15th with identical records the only difference is Welling have scored 2 more goals then Woking but have conceded 2 more goals then the Cards.
Full fixture list: Barnet v Nuneaton, Cambridge v Lincoln, Dartford v Braintree, Forest Green v Luton, Grimsby v Alfreton, Hereford v Tamworth, Kidderminster v Chester, Macclesfield v Halifax, Sailsbury v Aldershot, Southport v Gateshead, Woking v Welling and Wrexham v Hyde.