The Battle for Promotion in the Conference South

It’s been a very exciting race throughout the season to see which two teams will make it to the 5th tier of English football. Here is who I think will make it.

The Story so far

At the moment Maidenhead are top of the league, five points ahead of Ebbsfleet in second. With just one team going up automatically and just four games left in the season, Maidenhead look as if they may have just stolen it from Ebbsfleet. Both sides have been battling it out for weeks trying to get an edge over each other in the title race and after Ebbsfleet’s 1-1 draw away at Truro on Saturday, Maidenhead look as if they are nearly there. Both sides still have to play each other for a second time this season, but even with an Ebbsfleet win, Maidenhead would still have a two point gap. Also, with the other three of Maidenhead’s last four games being against sides in the bottom six, it looks unlikely they will drop any points other than possibly the Ebbsfleet game.

Chelmsford and Dartford both look as if playoffs are a definite. Both sides sit 14 points behind leaders Maidenhead making it mathematically impossible to get the automatic promotion spot. Both sides also sit nine points ahead of Hungerford, the just side outside the playoffs. With just 12 points left to play for, it would take a complete collapse for either side to miss out.

The battle for the last place looks as if it will go down to the wire between two teams, Poole Town and Hungerford. Poole sit four points clear of Hungerford and look set to claim it, with them having a slightly easier run-in. Both sides have to face Dartford at home as well as Hemel Hempstead. They also both have to face a side away from home who are just below them, (Hungerford away at 8th placed Wealdstone and Poole away at 9th placed Bath). The difference is whereas Hungerford still must play third placed Chelmsford, Poole face 19th placed Whitehawk. The two sides faced each other last week, with the result ending 1-1. It was a game Hungerford really had to win for it to be a nail-biting end but now it is Poole’s hands.

Prediction for how the the table will end

I feel the table will pretty much stay exactly as it is. I can’t see Maidenhead dropping five points between now and the end of the season. Chelmsford are on the better form out of them and Dartford as well as having a slightly better run in compared to Dartford. With both Poole and Hungerford being on similar form, I can’t see where Hungerford will pick up four more points than Poole.

Prediction for the Playoffs

Chelmsford and Ebbsfleet are on by far the better form out of the four sides. Chelmsford winning their last four games, including an impressive 3-0 victory aginst playoff rivals Poole in their last game. Meanwhile, Ebbsfleet are unbeaten in their last 10 games, winning seven of them. Dartford have only won four of their last 10, while Poole haven’t won in their last two. Based on that, I’ll have to say Ebbsfleet and Chelmsford will reach the final, but once you’re in there it’s all about who can hold their nerves the best. Ebbsfleet have a reputation for ‘bottling it’ having been very close to promotion the last few seasons but not quite making it. So therefore, I’ll say Chelmsford to win the playoffs and go up with Maidenhead. But it easily could be Ebbsfleet, Poole or Dartford as long as they make it into the playoffs.



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