Mission accomplished as Daventry Town avoid relegation

Daventry players celebrate one of their goals against Beaconsfield at Communications Park on Saturday
Daventry players celebrate one of their goals against Beaconsfield at Communications Park on Saturday

A 2-2 draw with 10-man Beaconsfield SYCOB earned Daventry Town their first point for almost a month but more importantly ensured that Communications Park will continue to host Southern League football for a sixth season.

Bottom two clubs North Greenford United and AFC Hayes both lost at the weekend to remain 13 points adrift of the Purple Army with only four Central Division fixtures still to be completed.

That meant Town’s Easter Monday game against Bedworth United was of academic interest only.

The same will be true of forthcoming games against Uxbridge, local rivals Rugby Town and Godalming.

A huge turnover in players since the money dried up before Christmas has always meant that step four survival was the main object of the exercise. In that sense it’s a case of mission accomplished.

Even so loyal fans will be hard-pressed to work out just how chairman Iain Humphrey is going to keep to his promise of spearheading a genuine promotion challenge in the 2015/16 campaign.

By then Kettering Town will have been elevated to the Southern League Premier Division alongside the winners of the play-offs which could boil down to a straight fight between Royston and Barton Rovers.

Both Burnham and Arlesey look to be heading back down to the Central Division next season with Banbury United allocated to the parallel South and West Division.

Moving in the opposite direction will be UCL champions-elect AFC Rushden and Diamonds, not to mention Spartan South Midlands League top dogs Kings Langley.

Rushden carry the prospect of big attendances of Kettering proportions as well as a chance to see old Daventry favourites such as Liam Dolman, Adam Confue and Russell Dunkley.

Choosing a Daventry player-of-the-year is no easy matter as only a handful of players have remained with the Browns Road club from start to finish following manager Darran Foster’s mid-season departure.

The King brothers, Aaron and Simon, have recently shared six goals in eight games but Kieran Fitzgerald remains the club’s top scorer on six despite departing to St.Ives in November.

A case could be made out for Anthony O’Connor and even James Tricks if for no other reason than he travels from Kings Lynn once or twice a week to play in purple.

Then there is 37-year-old central defender Arron Parkinson who did not rejoin the club from Rushden until the New Year. The back four looks a great deal more solid when he is not on the injury list.

In the end though it surely boils down to a contest involving the three players who have remained loyal to Daventry throughout a season of turmoil. Step forward Ashley Deeney, Ricky Hill and Ryan Howell.

Ever-present captain Deeney has never let the side down and gets my vote on account of his consistency at a time when the starting line-up has varied alarmingly from week to week.