Daventry desperate for points as fight for survival continues

Ady Fuller is assisting new boss Allan Smart at Daventry Town, who face a fight for survival
Ady Fuller is assisting new boss Allan Smart at Daventry Town, who face a fight for survival

New managers Allan Smart and Ady Fuller must set a minimum target of 35 points if Daventry Town are to make virtually certain of retaining their Southern League status at the end of a rollercoaster season.

Following predictable Central Division defeats at Chalfont and Egham under the changed regime, the Purple Army needs somehow to beg, borrow or steal another 15 points from the remaining 26 league fixtures.

Forget the likes of Kettering, Royston and Hanwell, the focus now is on beating the basement boys such as Beaconsfield SYCOB, AFC Hayes and this Saturday’s Communications Park opponents North Greenford United.

Fortunately for the Town all three bottom markers lost last Saturday to set up a “six-pointer” this weekend against a North Greenford side which has never lowered Daventry’s colours in nine previous encounters.

The two teams first met five years ago to the day when soon-to-be UCL champions Daventry beat their Combined Counties rivals by 1-0 in a windswept FA Vase clash.

Both outfits won promotion that season but since then the best the Londoners have managed in eight Southern League encounters is a 1-1 draw in the 2012-13 campaign. Altogether the Town have netted 18 times to their opponents’ six.

Even so, the new cash-strapped Town management team has been given precious little time to blend together the Heathrow academy raw recruits with old soldiers such as Tom Berwick, Josh O’Grady and Ryan Howell.

In the past couple of seasons 23 points would have been enough to avoid relegation but this time a much bigger points tally is clearly required.

Chertsey (22) and Ashford (21) went down in 2013-14 whilst poor old Woodford United failed to pick up a single point 12 months earlier. There are no lame ducks ripe for plucking this winter.

Go back to the 2011-12 campaign and Fleet Town were relegated with 32 points. That is why Daventry chairman Iain Humphrey’s claim that one more win will see the Town stay up is totally unrealistic.

Now down to 15th place in the Division One table, Daventry must target clubs like North Greenford and AFC Hayes who are due to visit Browns Road in Christmas week.

Altogether so far 20 points have been gleaned from 16 Division One matches but another 15 need to accrue from 26 fixtures to guarantee safety. The North Greenford game looks a good point at which to get started!

Relegation for Daventry would be calamitous as the UCL currently contains a whole host of big-money clubs including likely champions AFC Rushden and Diamonds, Holbeach and Huntingdon.

As a matter of interest Rushden had three players sent-off, including mild-mannered ex-Town striker Russell Dunkley and former Long Buckby captain Richard Bunting, when winning 3-1 at Wisbech last Saturday.

Meanwhile on Tuesday night Daventry themselves suffered an almost inevitable - defeat in the Red Insure League Cup against a Stratford Town side which has now won 11 games in quick succession.

Sixteen league games so far have yielded 20 ponts but at least another 15 are needed to ensure Daventry don’t suffer the disappointment of demotion.