DAVENTRY TOWN: On-song Daventry struggling to attract fans to Communications Park

KEY MAN - Daventry Town defender Liam Dolman
KEY MAN - Daventry Town defender Liam Dolman

Daventry Town have the best results, best attack and best defence in the Southern League’s Division One Central this season - but the picture is not so rosy when it comes down to attendance figures at Communications Park.

Average crowds of 154 for home matches see the Town drop down to ninth place in the attendances table, a long way adrift of the four ex-Conference League clubs, not to mention UCL champions St Ives Town (341).

Kettering Town are way out in front with more than 2,000 spectators (average 699) having witnessed their three games at Burton Latimer despite the threat of a High Court winding up order concerning non payment of £58,000 in rent arrears at Nene Park.

The Poppies have dropped down three divisions this year, while other fallen giants Aylesbury United (average 352), Slough Town (333) and Rugby Town (286) have also been well supported at the start of the campaign.

Contrast all of this with the top three teams in the Central Division.

Third-placed Beaconsfield SYCOB average a pitiful 79 while Daventry’s nearest challengers, Barton Rovers, are not faring much better on the 106 mark.

Barton-le-Clay is a Bedfordshire village similar in size to Woodford Halse and Beaconsfield cannot compete with their own tenants from nearby Slough. With a population approaching 25,000 the town of Daventry can offer no such excuses!

Despite six straight league wins and an FA Cup success Daventry are languishing in mid-table when it comes to crowd numbers.

In fact the picture would have been even more bleak but for a local derby in which visitors Rugby Town provided about half of the 258-strong gate.

High prices are not to blame either as Daventry’s adult charge of £8 are the lowest permitted by the Southern League.

Sadly this Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Berkhamsted is unlikely to buck the trend.

Only 77 fans turned up to see the cup success over Hillingdon Borough, and another low attendance is expected for the visit this weekend of another South Midlands League side as season ticket holders are required to pay on the gate.

Last Saturday’s lone goal success at Royston means Town have now gone almost eight hours with conceding a goal.

That fact will surprise no-one, but more revealing is the fact that Darran Foster’s men have scored 21 times in winning all six league encounters.

Strikers Scott Cross (six) and Ashley Robinson (five) are responsible for more than half those goals with Robinson heading home a superb winner to maintain the 100 per cent record at Royston.

Both players have benefited from losing weight and gaining fitness since moving to Communications Park.

Cross is still only 25 but was released by Northampton Town in 2007 after making five first team appearances as a teenager.

Since then he has also played for Banbury United, Corby Town and Aylesbury United.

Robinson meanwhile helped Bedworth United to gain promotion to the SL Premier Division in the 2011-12 campaign.

His steady improvement has made the search for a centre forward far less urgent.

Weekend visitors ‘Berko’ are reported to have a talented young side which might just lack the mental and physical experience to cope with a more battle hardened Daventry side led by Liam Dolman who himself played 45 games for the Cobblers.

If, as expected, Daventry make it win humber eight then the club’s FA kitty will swell to almost £5,000 before all eyes turn towards Monday’s draw for the second qualifying round.