History is on Daventry’s side as they target promotion

HOME COMFORT - Daventry celebrate a goal in their Communications Park win over Rugby earlier this season. Darran Foster's men's home form has been very impressive
HOME COMFORT - Daventry celebrate a goal in their Communications Park win over Rugby earlier this season. Darran Foster's men's home form has been very impressive

Official statistics supplied by the Southern League website suggest that Daventry Town are on target for a place in the Division One Central play-offs, and even a realistic shot at the title itself.

Much though will depend upon the Town’s ability to at least partially match an excellent first half to the season which started with eight straight league wins as well as protracted runs in both the FA Cup and Trophy competitions.

That may yet prove to be a tall order as Darran Foster’s men have hit a flat patch, particularly away from home, after all the hype surrounding the courageous 2-0 FA Cup defeat by second division promotion-seekers Chesterfield.

With 44 points in the bag so far, Daventry could have reached the 50 mark by halfway in the campaign had maximum points been obtained from two of the three matches scheduled for the beginning of 2014 against Kettering Town, Ashford Town and Potters Bar.

Double that points tally up to 100 and you have a total good enough to have won the league championship in all but two of the past 10 years.

Things are not that simple however as current league leaders Dunstable Town are currently averaging 2.45 points per game.

Daventry and Rugby are both on the 2.30 mark with the Purple Army due to face some tricky fixtures in the second half of the season.

Barton Rovers, who were beaten 3-1 by Town on Tuesday night, have to be played away, while in-form Kettering Town and sleeping giants Aylesbury United both have to be played twice.

Dunstable and bogey team Slough Town have yet to visit Communications Park which puts the 100 per cent home record in jeopardy. At least local promotion rivals Rugby are out of the way with honours evenly divided!

Realistically, Town are unlikely to pick up as many points in the second half of the season, although reaching the play-offs places looks relatively straightforward.

An average of only 75 points has been needed since the present system was first introduced eight years ago. Last season’s huge requirement of 84 points was a one-off.

Before that an all-time low of 69 points was sufficient to make the play-offs behind 2011-12 champions St Neots.

That kind of total looks well within Daventry’s compass.

Organised with a Central Division for the past three seasons, the Southern League’s step four format contained a Midlands Division in the four years before that and a Western section in the earlier three campaigns. The points tally needed to win the league has tended to increase in recent times, if you allow for the 2010-11 champions Arlesey being allotted only 88 points following a nine-point deduction for player irregularities.

Reigning champions Burnham amassed an imposing 99 points after the St Neots total of 93, Bury Town 102 and Leamington 101 as the requirement hovered around the 100 mark. Earlier on the division was more competitive, with both Evesham United and Brackley Town needed only 91 points to clinch the title.

Clevedon’s tally was 90, Mangotsfield United 83 and Redditch United 84.

Clearly much will depend on Daventry’s ability to rediscover their excellent form of the autumn after losing at Dunstable, Slough and Rugby, as well as being held to unconvincing 1-1 draws by both St Ives and Chalfont St Peter.