History is in danger of repeating itself for Daventry Town, whose inability to win any of their final five matches last season put paid to the Purple Army’s Southern League promotion prospects.
Now failure to overcome Leighton Town at Communications Park on Saturday will lead to an off-the-pace Division One Central mid-table position, not to mention swift exits from two cup competitions.
Last weekend’s 2-0 defeat by bottom-of-the-table AFC Hayes left the Town seven points adrift of league leaders Kettering Town, even though the new season is barely two months old.
Repeating last season’s FA Cup run all the way to the first round proper was always going to be a tall order, as was a successful defence of the NFA Senior Cup competition.
Defeats by Hitchin and Conference club Brackley Town were not entirely unexpected, but patchy league form is another matter altogether.
Already seven points have been dropped at home, culminating in the horror story 4-0 defeat by Royston three weeks ago.
Cast your mind back to last season, and Daventry did not lose a single home match in Division One Central until the Poppies triumphed by a 3-0 margin in mid-March.
A great deal of water has flowed under the bridge since then!
Players of the calibre of Liam Dolman, Marcel Simpson and Adam Confue were never going to be easy to replace, and the stark reality is that Daventry no longer have the cash banks needed to compete with the likes of Kettering and ambitiouss UCL Premier Division side AFC Rushden and Diamonds.
Town manager Darran Foster was not a happy bunny after the goalless home draw with Northwood, so his mood will scarcely have been improved by the weekend debacle aat Hayes.
Last season’s camaraderie seems to have evaporated, with the hard-grafting Josh Cole having already reverted to local football after delivering the parting shot about not enjoying himself in the Southern League.
Somehow Foster and his assistant Neil Champelovier must galvanise the current crop of players, as a strictly controlled budget will not allow them to introduce any big money signings.
Chairman Iain Humphrey remains as committed to the club as ever, but the mobile phone business isn’t what it once was, and the days of big-name captures such as Mark Kinsella and Lee Hendrie have long since gone.
The league season is still recoverable (just), but cup horizons are now limited to the non-profit making Red Insure League Cup and the FA Trophy which starts in mid-October.
Banbury United look beatable in the League Cup, but Northern Premier League opponents Romulus may be made of sterner stuff in
Sutton Coldfield later this month.
In the meantime, the next two home league fixtures against Leighton Town and Aylesbury are of paramount importance, with the former club one of only two teams to have beaten Kettering in the league so far this season.
Much-improved Aylesbury provide an even stiffer test on Tuesday night, having risen to the dizzy heights of second in the table behind pre-season title favourites Kettering.