15 games in - Relegation reckoning and Football league fantasising

15 games in - Where are the teams at?

So after 15 games and two months of National League football we are beginning to find out our title challengers, relegation stragglers and play off hopefuls. Here I will show where each team are in the league and what a few supporters think of their team's performances so far this season.













Title challengers:

Top of the league a third of the way through the 2018/19 campaign are solid Salford who have won their last seven games. The last team they dropped points to were Dagenham and Redbridge who sit 22nd, The Ammies drew 0-0 at Victoria Road on September 1. Their recent form contrasts their slow start to the season, three games in they were winless and they sat 10th after 7 games. The northern side are unbeaten in 12 and are no doubt thinking of  yet another promotion. 

Orient sit second, a point behind leaders Salford, as their hopes of an invincible season came to an end after defeat to Sutton on September 29. So they have had a fantastic start to the 2018/19 campaign, Os fan Jeremy is calm yet quietly confident explaining ' things can and will happen throughout the course of the season' not underestimating the importance of consistency. Their main man up top Macauley Bonne has scored 10 goals this season but he like his side sits behind Salford man Adam Rooney.

Harrogate Town have been some surprise package this season leading for a short period at the start of the season and their consistency puts them third. Many no doubt thought they couldn't keep this up for so long, Harrogate Town National League champions? But they are well in the mix losing just one game this season after what has been a stellar start. Only goal difference sets them apart from Orient in second both sides having won nine games out out of fifteen. 

Play-off hopefuls:

Early leaders Wrexham sit in fourth after a 3-0 defeat to Sutton and a draw against good going Harrogate stunted their good recent form. But the Welsh side are back on track with two 1-0 wins and they look for a third win and three points on Non-league day against Dagenham. Solihull Moors are in fifth after their four game winning streak came to an end along with Barnet's winless run when they went down 2-0 to John Still's side.  Tim Flowers' men will be happy with this position come the end of the season after last season's brush with relegation.

Hartlepool United are up to sixth with just one defeat in six losing only to Salford in that period of time. Last time out Davies' brace saw them beat Boreham Wood 2-0 in what seemed a comfortable victory. Pools fan Keith believes his side have had a solid start but it 'could be better' probably referring to their six draws where they could have picked up a few more points. AFC Fylde make up the top seven with 26 points and six wins. The Coasters have lost only once but the eight draws they have had may explain their place in the National League.  Last time out they drew 0-0 away to strugglers Chesterfield in a match where they looked the inferior of the two sides.

The Heed are just missing out on the play offs currently on goal difference but they have lost five times! Their eight wins, the latest being against Dagenham & Redbridge, outweigh those defeats so unlike many in the play offs they haven't drawn many - only two! Sutton United have been a team on people's lips in recent weeks after they were the first team defeat Orient in the 2018/19 campaign. However after that victory they lost to mid table Barrow ending their three game unbeaten run. Their third placed finish last season will be hard to replicate in what is in my opinion a tougher league this season. 

Mid table:

In tenth place are Eastleigh who are in a good run of form with four wins in a row but manager Hessenthaler has been reappointed as manager of Dover. He replaces Kinnear who leaves 23rd in the league four points from safety, Hessenthaler has previously managed Dover leading them to back to back promotions. The Spitfires have also seen departures from their board including Mark Jewell and Alan Harding. So the future of the club is undecided off the pitch but can the team continue their form on it? Barnet are another side on their way up after what was a slow start being winless in their first five. More recently they have ended another winless run as they beat Solihull Moors 2-0 last time out.

Barrow are twelfth right in the middle of the table, having won three out of their last four. Their most recent win coming against an in-form Sutton side, they came out 2-1 winners on the day. Bluebirds fan Greg believes their good start this season is down to their new manager, Ian Evatt. Halifax are without a win in seven and sit just inside the bottom half, the last time they picked up three points was in August against Gateshead. The Shaymen are in front of the cameras on a special Non -league day as they face Chesterfield, it would be a great way to end their lengthy winless run.

The Wood continue their decline as their fourth straight win came against a Hartlepool side on the up last weekend. Boreham Wood haven't won since thrashing Sutton 4-0 on September 18, this came just a couple of weeks after their  Scottish challenge cup exit on penalties as they lost to Dunfermline. With a few key players going it hasn't been an ideal start for The Wood but they will look to turn things around against a weaker Maidenhead side.

Above the dotted line:

Ebbsfleet are in fifteenth with fifteen games gone with just five wins and seven defeats. In their last game The Fleet lost 2-0 to a strong Harrogate outfit, this was a week after registering their fifth win against relegation strugglers Dagenham. John, an Ebbsfleet fan expressed the need for a new manager 'urgently' blaming Daryl Mcmahon for theirless than impressive start. Next up they face Solihull Moors who will provide a tough test away but with the National League like across the whole of English football anything can happen. Bromley sit six points above the relegation zone and are enjoying a three game unbeaten run which has seen them slowly but surely climb up the table. They will look to further distance themselves from the drop zone as they go head to head with mid table Barrow on Non- league day. 

Maidenhead are level on points and goal difference with Bromley but goals scored sets them apart. Their last two fixtures have been unsurprisingly tough against the top two Salford and Orient, but they have won two in their last five and for their ambitions of survival they are doing well after a very slow start. Boreham Wood will be a closer contest today and it will be an opportunity to pick themselves up after two expected defeats. The shots are also on 17 points along with Bromley and Maidenhead, four points in two sees them climb out of the relegation zone. They like the others will look to make the gap between them and relegation more comfortable as they face Eastleigh today.

Maidstone have dropped to 19th after a draw to Chesterfield and defeat to Bromley has seen them hit a bump in the road. This was after back to back wins so their inconsistency is obvious and may be a cause for concern after 15 games this season. Chesterfield find themselves in yet another relegation scrap, Alan, a Chetserfield supporter said simply 'poor- we have no quality in the team only the supporters'. Their fans seem to know what to expect angry with the club's hierarchy and facing a potential third relegation in three years. They go up against  Halifax in a televised fixture without a win in twelve, they started the season with three wins but that has been followed with twelve without a win - could today be the day?

The relegation zone:

Havant & Waterlooville are two points from safety in 21st and they just simply haven't won enough games, just two this season. With five draws and eight defeats it's a case of grinding out results for Havant as they step up into the top tier of non-league football. It has been a bit of a struggle but they are a side capable of climbing out the relegation zone just two points from safety. 
My team The Mighty Daggers have also had a tough start to the 2018/19 campaign picking up just nine points and like Havant two wins. I feel they are in a similar boat to the National League newcomers in that they have the resources and are capable of grinding out results it is a case of putting that plan into action on the pitch. With new american investors at hand The Daggers will surely be looking to bring in some players that can get them out of the relegation scrap. They face a strong Wrexham side at home on Non-league day, can they cause an upset?

In 23rd are a side under new management after former gaffer Kinnear was relieved of his duties earlier on in the week. They have reappointed Andy Hessenthaler as manager, he previously led them to back to back promotions to the National League South. So will new management be the key to a sudden winning streak, well we will see as The Whites and Hessenthaler on seven points face a tough  test away to a solid Harrogate team. Finally, in 24th are Braintree who have registered just one win like Dover and have a new man at the helm just like Dover. Brad Quinton left the club after picking up just six points in fifteen games, caretaker - manager Hakan Heyrettin has been reappointed while they search for a permanent boss. Hakan has offered to sponsor for free travel to the Essex side's trip to Barnet in the FA Cup so if he doesn't give them results at least he has given them that. Things don't get much easier for The Iron as they face top side Salford on what could be a long Non-league day.

Thanks for reading and enjoy today,
              Keane
     


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