Friday 3rd February 2017
A big month in the play-off race starts tomorrow
As Chesham United prepare for tomorrow's home game with St Neots Town, the Southern League promotion race remains full of twists and surprising results. Whilst Chesham went down to a disappointing 3-1 loss at Cambridge City last weekend, long time leaders Leamington were hammered 0-6 at home by Slough Town to lose the top spot they have held for 15 matches. Then on Tuesday Slough found themselves 5-0 down at half time at Kings Lynn before ending with a 5-2 defeat.
Chippenham Town and Merthyr Town have benefited and now sit first and second respectively with Leamington in third, Hitchin fourth and Slough in the fifth and final play-off position. It all makes for a crucial few weeks for The Generals as we travel to Chippenham next Tuesday and to Merthyr the following Saturday. A midweek away trip to St Neots in the reverse of tomorrow's fixture follows on the 14th February before we welcome Leamington to the Meadow on Saturday 18th for another huge fixture.
Reflecting on the defeat at Cambridge, United manager Andy Leese said, "We need to bounce back quickly tomorrow after last week's disappointing performance at Cambridge. We never really turned up as a team. Cambridge wanted to scrap a bit more than we did which was very disappointing to see.
"We made errors which would cost you any game at any level, and we did not follow the game plan. That ensured we ended our long unbeaten run. It is only one game and we have plenty in hand to catch up, but we cannot have many more off days. We had 6 key players missing and we need to get some back quickly. That may well happen this weekend, but if it doesn't, than we will need to strengthen again.
"The players need to grasp how important it is this month and they need to do all they can to get back playing. We have lost Taylor McKenzie who has taken an offer to play at Concord Rangers FC. We didn't see the best of Taylor, but we could not stand in his way so that he gets games."
Tomorrow, Saturday 4th February, we welcome St Neots Town for another Southern League Premier Division fixture. Kick off at The Meadow is 3pm.
St Neots come into the game placed 21st with 25 points from 30 games played. It has been a tough season for our visitors and they come into the game with just one win in their last ten matches, a 3-2 home win over Dorchester on 14th January. However, a new manager, Matt Clements was appointed a little over a month ago and he appears to be in the process of almost entirely re-building the Saints' squad with seven new signings having been made in the last few weeks. Since the win against Dorchester our visitors have narrowly lost out twice by 2-1 against promotion chasing Hitchin and Banbury so it would be unwise to place too much emphasis on their current league position. After the disappointment last weekend, we need everyone's support to get back on track to chase those play off places. Get down to The Meadow to support the lads if you can, as Andy Leese says, "It will be another tough game tomorrow as St Neots have new management and new players as they look to avoid the drop. They will be battling and we have to match that.
"We need our match winners to be back on song. We have a lot of points still to play for if we want to get into the play offs. We have some really tricky away games next week and the confidence of a win tomorrow would help our cause. Hopefully we will have decent crowd in again to back us."