Will it be joy unconfined or the depths of despair for our local non-league football sides?

There'll be no celebrations like this at The Walks this year. Picture: Matthew Usher. There'll be no celebrations like this at The Walks this year. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Saturday, April 12, 2014
9:15 AM

Can Lowestoft and Dereham reach the play-offs? Can Wroxham beat the drop? What have Lynn achieved this season? The Pink Un analyses what there is left to play for our local sides…

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Will Lowestoft endure play-off misery again? Picture: James BassWill Lowestoft endure play-off misery again? Picture: James Bass

Dereham Town

What’s left to play for?

The Magpies have performed superbly since their promotion to Step Four of the non-league ladder. While the club’s Norfolk rivals Wroxham, in their second season in Ryman Division One North, have struggled, Matt Henman’s champions have taken to the league like a duck to water. 
The Aldiss Park outfit have never been looking over their shoulders and still stand a chance, albeit a slim one, of finishing in a play-off position. That said, Dereham are five points off the top-five having played a game more than the team that occupy that spot, Needham Market. 
They could end up finishing outside the top 10, which would be a shame, although that looks unlikely. Other than keeping their faint play-off hopes alive, the Magpies will want to end what’s been a good season on a high.

Dereham Town's Luke Tuttle. Picture: Matthew UsherDereham Town's Luke Tuttle. Picture: Matthew Usher

Will it be a happy ending?

Yes and no. The latter could be suggested because it looks very, very unlikely that Town will finish in the top-five. While there’s still a chance they will keep fighting. On a positive note, it’s still been a fantastic term and the Magpies should win most of their remaining games.

Key man: Luke Tuttle

Wroxham's Matt Halliday. Picture: ANTONY KELLY.Wroxham's Matt Halliday. Picture: ANTONY KELLY.

With star, and in-form frontman, Shaun Bammant moving to Lowestoft, there will be more of a goalscoring burden on Tuttle’s powerful shoulders.

Remaining fixtures

Ware - (A) today, Romford - (H) 19/4, Waltham Abbey - (A) 21/4 and Burnham Ramblers - (H) 26/4

Lowestoft Town's Jake Reed. Picture: Nick Butcher.Lowestoft Town's Jake Reed. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Season rating (out of five): 4

King’s Lynn Town

What’s left to play for?

As boss Gary Setchell would admit, not a lot. 
Lynn’s hugely successful manager conceded a few weeks back that the Linnets “had run their race” following a brief flirtation with the play-offs. Had their promotion hopes still been alive it would cap a remarkable spell that has already seen the reformed outfit fly up the non-league ladder. Back-to-back promotions had to slow at some point and Norfolk’s biggest non-league club have found their level this season. 
The Evo-Stik Premier Division has presented its fair share of problems for Town, especially in terms of travelling and recruiting players. Although there is little at stake, Setchell is already planning for next season. He has recently tried a new 3-5-2 formation, and experimented with playing Dan Quigley at centre-back. Following a poor run, which put paid to any slim top-five hopes, Lynn have lost just once in their last four. Under such a proud man as Setchell they’ll always fight till the very end.

Will it be a happy ending?

For some Lynn fans the answer would be no. Expectations are always sky-high at the sleeping giant and many have given up the ghost of an ‘unsuccessful’ campaign. But Lynn’s boss, and the club’s more realistic supporters, will be happy with a top-half finish and a good end to the term.

Key man: George Thomson

The classy midfielder has long been admired for his ball-playing abilities. But with Quigley deployed deeper, Thomson has shown another side to his game, namely a defensive one. Will be key in 2014/15.

Remaining fixtures

Stocksbridge Park Steels - (A) 19/4, Stamford - (H) 21/4 and AFC Fylde - (A) 26/4

Season rating (out of five): 3

Lowestoft Town

What’s left to play for?

It will have to be the dreaded play-offs again for the Blues if they are to finally achieve promotion from the Ryman League Premier at the fourth time of asking.

Having lost out in the final in the last three years such a prospect is likely to fill most fans with dread but it could be different this time around. After a difficult first half to the season, Lowestoft have put some off-field uncertainty behind them to catapult themselves within touching distance of the play-offs.

At first glance it looks like Lowestoft have the odds stacked against them given their seventh-placed position.

However, it’s those two games in hand they enjoy over the teams above them that will be crucial to their chances of success. Win those and they could climb as high as third - lose them and supporters had better get used to the thought of another trip to Bury next season.

Four games over the next week, starting with a trip to fourth-placed Kingstonian today, won’t help their cause but get to the final day of the season and the Crown Meadow faithful could just roar them over the line once again.

Will it be a happy ending?

The next week is crucial - four games in seven days will be tough for the Blues’ paper-thin squad. The mental scars of three play-off failures could come into play but this time they would be grateful for a play-off place rather than ruing the fact they had missed out on the title and automatic promotion.

Key man: Jake Reed

The former Dagen-ham & Redbridge man has managed to fill the void, at least goals wise, left by Jack Defty, who remains sidelined through injury.

Remaining fixtures

Kingstonian - (A) today, Enfield - (H) 15/4, Grays - (A) 17/4, Billericay - (H) 19/4, Bury - (A) 21/4 and Harrow - (H) 26/4

Season rating (out of five): 3

Wroxham

What’s left to play for?

Survival is the only option for Pawel Guziejko and his men. 
Thursday’s 2-1 loss against fellow strugglers Ware made it 10 games without a win for the Yachtsmen, leaving them three points from safety with just four games to play in what is beginning to look like an uphill battle to beat the drop. Joe Marsden – Wroxham’s top scorer this season with 22 goals – also picked up his 10th booking of the season in Thursday’s game, meaning he will miss two of the four games remaining in what will be a massive blow for a Wroxham team that has been uncharacteristically shy in front of goal of late.
Tricky away trips to Redbridge (today, 3pm) and promotion chasing Witham Town lie ahead, games which may potentially hammer the final nail in the coffin of what has been an arduous season for Guziejko’s side. Despite their desperate league situation, the Yachtsmen do still have the Norfolk Senior Cup final against Gorleston to look forward to, with the possibility of silverware presenting a potential consolation for the side.

Will it be a happy ending?

The happiest of endings would be Ryman Division One North survival, a task which is looking harder by the minute. With Barkingside and Ware – their two nearest rivals – still holding games in hand, Wroxham’s best hope of a reprieve may lie in the form of a lack of teams in the leagues below applying for Ryman League status. Clutching at straws perhaps?

Key man: Matt Halliday

Wroxham’s captain needs to lead from the back if they are to stay in the Ryman League. An experienced head in a youthful team, Halliday has all the credentials to inspire those around him in what are tough circumstances.

Remaining fixtures

Redbridge - (A) today, Burnham Ramblers - (H) 19/4, Witham Town – (A) 21/4, Erith and Belvedere – (H) 26/4

Season rating (out of five): 2

Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division

What’s left to play for?

The top end of the table is certainly less interesting now Gorleston have withdrawn their application for promotion. The Greens looked poised for a battle to grab one of the top three slots – which they would have needed to move out of the Eastern Counties League set-up – but now it doesn’t really matter where they finish. Stewart Larter’s troops can mathematically still win the title but they pretty much need to win all of their remaining games and hope the sides above them slip-up. Norwich United will want a top-six finish while Kirkey & Pakefield are likely to fancy ending up in the top half. All eyes are mainly on the battle to stay in the top flight with Thetford Town and Diss Town perilously close to dropping out of the division.

Who will it be a happy ending for?

Not Gorleston, who won’t be going up nor are they likely to win the league. You’d be a brave man to suggest that both of Diss and Thetford will avoid being relegated, especially with FC Clacton having two games in hand. But they could, which would leave both delighted. However, one probably will suffer an unhappy ending.

In the First Division, Fakenham should be celebrating going up.

Key man: Mike Derbyshire

Since the former Great Yarmouth boss took over Diss, they have won more games than they did for 95pc of Chris Tracey’s tenure. Two wins in his first four games has stopped the rot and given the Tangerines a fighting chance of avoiding the drop. Two more should see them safe.

Anglian Combination Premier Division

What’s left to play for?

t’s a three-horse race for the title with Dersingham Rovers and Spixworth holding all the aces – even though long-term leaders Acle United have the points on the board.

Robbie Back’s Rovers will go top if they win their two games in hand. But Spixworth, down in fourth, have a couple of matches in hand on Dersingham and will climb above them in the table if they pick up six points. It’s going to go to the wire and Acle will just have to sit and hope that their rivals suffer a case of title run-in nerves.

At the bottom, Wymondham, Beccles, and Loddon are all trying to avoid the dreaded drop.

Who will it be a happy ending for?

It’s anyone’s guess for the title. Dersingham have been on a sensational run –and have a cup final against Mattishall to look forward to. Their momentum could be key. Spixworth’s fixture backlog could cost them while Acle are waiting on others. At the bottom, expect Beccles to go down along with Wymondham.

Key man: Tommy Anderson

When the Dersingham midfielder’s mind is on the game, there’s probably nobody better outside of the non-league scene. The experienced player drives Rovers forward and is an inspiration. Has been chipping in with his fair share of goals lately and is always hungry to taste glory.

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