Apologies for the delay in the production of blogs over the last week, being a full-time journalist is all go, go, go and had no time to get anything published, but here we are this time around and looking at the results this week, one by one, teams are beginning to fade in their title charge.
On Friday night, Clifton All Whites saw their hopes of clinching the title this season come to a crashing end as they slumped to a heavy 5-1 defeat to Bilborough Town – a result nobody before the start of the game would have predicted.
Following the disappointment of getting knocked out of the cup earlier in the week, the All Whites dismal run of form continued, despite going into the game against Bilborough on the back of wins against West Bridgford and Bingham Town.
With the All Whites sitting 12 points off the top and four points behind Ruddington Village – who have several games in hand – you can’t help but think their title charge is over.
Another side whose title hopes are slowly coming to end are West Bridgford’s as they were held to a 2-2 draw by fellow title hopefuls Real United, a result which proved costly as reigning champions Wollaton.
Despite their blistering start to the campaign, West Bridgford have slowly faded away since mid-February, a run of form which has seen them pick up only two wins in their last seven league outings – not the kind of statistics you want to see when you’re chasing for the title.
Other early pace setters included Awsworth Villa and Unity but their results this weekend have probably ended their hopes of clinching the title – albeit there is a long way to go yet and everybody always says, it is not over until the last ball is kicked on the last day of the season.
Villa were held to a 2-2 draw by a young AFC Dunkirk side, a result which sees them sit on 55 points in sixth position with eight games to go, while sitting 13 points off the league leaders.
With games against Ruddington Village and Real United in the pipeline for Villa, to keep any hopes of walking away with the NSL title alive, they will look at these games as must wins.
Likewise, Unity have a difficult run-in as their next three games sees them battle it out against Clifton All Whites, Wollaton and Real United, and after being held to a 1-1 draw by Newark Flowserve at the weekend, Unity’s motives will be simple. Win all three of their next three games.
The fact Unity sit on 47 points, eight points off the top six, you can’t help but feel that their title charge is over, considering the size of the task that is now at hand if they have any hopes of climbing up the table but regardless of this, in their first season in the NSL, they have definitely been a breath of fresh air.
Meanwhile, the draw for Newark Flowserve is an impressive one and their bid to remain in the top flight is certainly alive and 12 games to go for them, the great escape is certainly one as they sit just eight points from safety -assuming that this year the bottom two go down (only those who understand how inconsistent the NSL is with relegation will get my point).
The fact Flowserve have only lost one of their last six league outings makes for good readings and with fellow relegation-threatened sides yet to be played, it would be naive to say they’re good as gone because they aren’t – a dramatic turnaround from the start of the season.
FC Cavaliers boosted their chances of survival at the weekend with a comprehensive victory over an in-form Beeston who, despite their current good run of form, still aren’t safe going into the remaining games of the season.
Cavaliers now sit on 26 points for the campaign, 11 clear of second-from-bottom-side Sandhurst and will look at their big win over Beeston as one that has secured their safety.
Another side which took a huge step towards safety is Underwood Villa as they claimed a narrow victory over Sandhurst, a result which sees the Villa move six points clear of the dreaded drop zone and with plenty of games in hand on those below them, it looks as if Villa will consolidate their position in the top flight after securing promotion last year.
Reigning champions Wollaton boosted their chances of retaining their title as they claimed a comfortable victory over a Cotgrave side who will be looking closely over their shoulder as they hover just above the relegation zone.
The win for Wollaton sees them climb up to third, 11 points off the league leaders with seven games in hand while sitting three points behind Ruddington Village having played the same amount of games.
With teams around them faltering, Wollaton will consider Ruddington Village as their closest rivals for the title and with both teams having to play each other again later in the year, it’s going to be a straight shoot-out for the title over the remaining weeks of the campaign.
Meanwhile, down in mid-table obsecurity, Attenborough edged past Burton Joyce to move to within one point of the top half.
Neither side has anything to play for this campaign, not challenging at the top, but not facing relegation, so both teams will be aiming to finish as high as possible this season but with the top seven running away with things, it will be a tussle for eighth.