Category Archives: Skrill Premier Zone
With Lee Gregory of Halifax Town and Andre Gray of Luton Town well clear of Brett Williams of Aldershot Town and fellow Hatter Paul Benson in the goal charts; Ben Tomlinson of Lincoln City still has a rather elusive milestones to reach. STMI also wish Luton congratulations – we said Still was the man to take you back to the promised land – the Conference will be much the poorer without you and your hordes at the turnstiles.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Hopefully the fitness doubts that robbed the Hatters of Gray’s prowess against Braintree will enable him to make up the one goal deficit to crown a superb season for the goal machine and the Hatters. Gregory got back to scoring ways, after two without a goal, to edge ahead with a goal in the 4-0 romp at Barnet.
No one should bet against either to break thirty goals to take the honours, but Gregory has to be the favourite. Prior to the short barren spell he had plundered seven in four games, including a brace against Alfreton and a treble at the well tanned Hyde. Gray has just one in his last six games, although he bagged 5 in 3 including a treble at the Bulls in a seven nil rampage. Williams of Aldershot (21) and fellow Hatter Benson(17) look too off the pace to trouble the top two crackshots.
Tomlinson, in 5th meanwhile, has just three games to bag the two goals he needs to break the twenty goal barrier and emulate Simon Yeo (21 almost a decade ago). Currently on 18 goals in all competitions STMIs tip for 20 this season has been sidelined by a three match suspension thanks to 15 yellow cards, but who would bet against a passionate talismanic figure hitting an elusive target during another frustrating season for a club of the Mighty Imps stature? Imps can click here for the hoped-for goal machines of 2013/14.
Top 20 Skrill Premier Goal Machines
|2||Andre Gray||Luton Town||27|
|3||Brett Williams||Aldershot Town||21|
|4||Paul Benson||Luton Town||17|
|5||Ben Tomlinson||Lincoln City||16|
|Scott Boden||Macclesfield Town||16|
|James Norwood||Forest Green Rovers||16|
|John Akinde||Alfreton Town||16|
|Connor Jennings||Grimsby Town||15|
|11||Louis Moult||Nuneaton Town||14|
|12||Luke Guttridge||Luton Town||13|
|Dan Fitchett||Salisbury City||13|
|Dan Holman||Braintree Town||13|
|16||Yan Klukowski||Forest Green Rovers||12|
|Luke Berry||Cambridge United||12|
|19||Michael Gash||Kidderminster Harriers||11|
Alfreton Town, Welling United, Tamworth, Woking, Southport FC, Nuneaton Town, Tamworth, Braintree, Dartford FC and Hyde FC are all considered part time. Yet with three training sessions a week they could be labelled as what Lincoln manager Gary Simpson has recently described as part-time in disguise.
Perhaps this is why Lincoln struggles to beat sides who have superior budgets and look to raise their game in order to gain the scalp of a big team. The real issue and reality check for Lincoln fans, is that the club is anything but a big team when it comes to the playing budget. The forecast budget is still less than that enjoyed by David Holdsworth last season, this, despite better than expected season ticket sales, higher admission prices due to the closing of the home end and better average crowds than last season.
After an interminable half decade of misery and decline, the team finds itself mid-table yet we are failing to play the dream football that fans wish to see. At £18 for an adult they do have a point, but the economic reality and real issue is the competition from the 23 other Conference clubs that the Imps are struggling to match. They show ambition, they inspire, while a club with the potential of Lincoln, does anything but shrouded behind non disclosure agreements that frustrate fans and keep them in the dark. Who would like answers on the Stadium, the recent supporter director elections etc etc etc? What about a fans forum and not one that shortens a Trust or club AGM?
But back to money, the route of all evil it would appear. Lincoln and Macclesfield have the lowest full-time budgets in the Skrill Premier League, dwarfed by Luton, Forest Green, Grimsby, Wrexham, Cambridge, Kidderminster and Gateshead. But these disguised part-time sides are also outspending the club thanks to rich benefactors and commercial deals that allow them to punch above their financial weight. While geographically challenged Lincoln cannot afford more than 5 overnight stays, Salisbury identified and funded the 15 they face before a ball was kicked in earnest.
When we look at the performance on the pitch of Alfreton, Salisbury and Welling, they are doing so because they have the ability to fund better loans and can pay wages in excess of ours. Lincoln have an average of £350 per week, but many of our part-time competitors can easily offer far more – sometimes double – our highest earners. Surely everyone realises consistency costs and that you get what you can ultimately pay for on the creative and goals front, which is the lifeblood of the sport.
Alfreton, Welling, Woking and Tamworth all have bigger playing budgets than Lincoln despite our gates. Southport and even Nuneaton are certainly on a par with the Imps, but able to pay money and get loans that are out of our reach. Only Hyde, Braintree, Dartford and Macclesfield have an inferior budget to Lincoln, but their geography is less challenging when it comes to attracting talent.
We cannot really do anything about it any more either, the dye is cast. The Trust historically appear in fans eyes to be anything but a critical friend, despite the two long-term gold member and supporter director reigns on the board of the club. The 1 million shares have gone to the Holding Company and even the current supporter Director is now a business partner of one of the board members on the Holding company, suggesting a cosy closed shot relationship remains. All we can do is keep faith it appears and be thankful the club is still in business even if it had to give away the fans crown jewels to sustain itself without any long-term guarantees. Not that we had a vote on it of course – this at of all clubs, the one Supporters direct once saw as the model community club.
Please note we have omitted the actual figures for each club for legal reasons, alas, as our regular readers are aware, STMI does not have the legal backing to publish the full truth as bigger publications would.
Luton Town, Chester FC, Cambridge Utd, Lincoln & Grimsby Town still top the Away stats, with Wrexham FC, Barnet FC, Aldershot Town, FC Halifax and Kidderminster Harriers all still above the 200 mark.
Thanks for reading the prof
The Hatters hordes continue to raise the bar with an unbelievable take to Tamworth – 1199 (and that is/was some round trip). Aldershot also took a credible 193 to Impdom, with Grimsby taking 285 & 272 all the way to Salisbury & Aldershot respectively, to move within 10 of the Imps average away support. The Lincoln legions topped the Fishy foe however with 483 to Nuneaton.
Cambridge are travelling well too with 331 at Chester who continue to confound their League position with 220 at Alfreton. The League leaders also took 239 to the Fishy foe on a Tuesday night.
The second highest for the month was the Hatters once again with 840 trooping down to Aldershot. Barnet mustered 358 for Welling, with 260 Shaymen at Luton and The Harriers also took 259 to Chester.
Outstanding support as ever with every regular traveller deserving a medal for what they shell out financially and emotionally for the cause. Here is the table in full, please feel free to put a link on your forums to ensure STMI get the reads. Our prof is a sad so and so but he his harmless really.
|Total turnstile clicks||Away-days||Average|
Luton Town, Wrexham FC, Grimsby Town and Cambridge United all top 3,000 with Lincoln, Chester FC, Aldershot and Kidderminster Harriers all averaging over 2,000 home gates in the Skrill Premier League so far this season.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
The Luton Town effect has seen them not only pitch in with a seventh of the total turnstile clicks for the SPL (just under 352,000 with an 1826 average), but also feature in seven of their counterparts seasonal highs (we will cover the away crowds separately later today). Lincoln City have featured in four, which is incredible given our mid-table position.
Home stats (to Oct 31 3013)
|15||Forest Green Rovers||8,397||1,199||1858|
The Imps travel to Welling Utd, who lost 3-0 at FC Halifax prior to their 1-0 FA Cup win at Brislington on Saturday. United have been a surprise package so far this season although, like ourselves, injuries to a small squad are starting to tell. Inspirational striker Ross Lafayette – one of the Skrill Premier players of the season so far – is currently sidelined while Tomlinson is back with a vengeance for the Imps.
Rose Tinted always looks on the bright side of life.
Manager Jamie Day had to play in the disappointing defeat at Halifax, thanks to a first-half Lee Gregory hat-trick, replacing injured Alex Dyer. In defence they also have issues although Blaine Hudson returned for Jack Obersteller,who reported sick on the day, with Baily Cargill switching to left back. The Imps also experienced a three goal reverse at Kidderminster thanks to two wonder-goals and an own goal from Boyce.
But at least our leading marksman is back on the goal trail with a brace against Worcester. As to how long is anyone’s guess as he appeared to hint at a move in his post-match interview. United’s leading scorer Ross Lafayette (6 goals and 3 assists in 13) thankfully looks set to miss the game after he was forced off just six minutes into the 1-1 draw with Barnet, but they would go on to beat Braintree 3-2 and Tamworth 2-0 in their next two Skrill Premier games.
Welling have slipped to nineth place after a brilliant start to the season where most pre-season previews had put the play-off dark horses down as relegation fodder like our good selves. Live-wire Loick Pires had to play up with Guthrie against the Shaymen, with Day in for inspirational central midfielder Dyer. Both sides desperately need to get back to winning ways, but with so many injuries the Imps could not have a better opportunity to get back to winning ways in the League in the first of three away fixtures in the SPL. The home FA Cup game against Plymouth is of course on Saturday 9th November.
Barnet FC, Luton Town, Grimsby Town, Kidderminster Harriers, Cambridge United, Braintree, Hereford Utd and managerless Forest Green Rovers are featured in the next round of BT Skrill Premier live matches but there is still no Christmas cheer for Lincoln City.
Vic Erzantartz smells something Fishy
BT have announced the latest round of matches to cover the festive period but there is still no room at the Inn for the Imps, despite two instalments of the Lincolnshire Derby. The Cambridge V Braintree Boxing Day classic is preferred, with Luton and Barnet getting the New Year nod as opposed to a fixture that attracted one of the highest gates in the division last season. The Sincil Bank fixture attracted 5,702 with the corresponding Jan 1st rubber seeing 7,405 willing to witness the Imps against the Fishy foe. The Imps have not been at their best in the last three weeks but this is beginning to look like a club snub.
Scouts from Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall FC and Peterborough United were at the Kidderminster Harriers V Lincoln City match on Saturday keen to keep tabs on Joe Lolley. They must have been licking their lips as the 3 goals in 11 striker was only denied his fourth of the campaign due to his 55th minute effort being put down as an own goal for Andrew Boyce.
The Owls, The Posh and The Lions will need to get in quick ahead of the winter window with Steve Burr’s find of the season having another life and soul performance on the right against Newton, the finest left back in the Skrill Premier Division. The 21 year-old winger cum centre-forward was playing for Littleton in the Midlands Combination up until last season banging in an incredible 88 goals in 83 games.
Burr signed him for an undisclosed fee on July 31st, he has bridged the gap with aplomb and, although Harriers could well be playing League football next season, Joe could well beat them to it by six months. Burr would probably prefer to keep hold of the lad but with several other clubs interested a big fee will surely test the harriers resolve sooner rather than later. Take a look at this entry on his growing CV.
Luton Town and Kidderminster trail Cambridge United while Salisbury City ended Grimsby Town’s Hurst inspired renaissance with a 1-0 win as they continue to astound. STMI takes a look at our pre-season tips to return to the football League. For Lincoln ‘mind the gap please’ comes to mind.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
At the beginning of the season the STMI Big Fat Conference preview saw the title as a four horse race with the remaining play-off spot going anywhere in a Division where anyone could beat anyone. With fifteen match-days completed how are Cambridge, Luton , Grimsby and Kidderminster doing and currently Salisbury look like nicking the Imps wild card?
So, the Hatters double six clicks, indeed, it appears to be going the one step beyond the non-league’s super-club needs. Luton, under John Still – going for a seventh promotion have won five and drawn two in an unbeaten seven match spree. The Hatters have only lost twice all season beating The Harriers 2-0 at Aggborough as well as holding Cambridge and Grimsby 0-0 at home. In those last seven The Hatters have scored 4 goals and three goals on three occasions. With Andre Gray back with a hat-trick last week you feel the Hatters are coming to the boil. With Tamworth, Gateshead, Southport, Braintree and Chester to come the Hatters could be celebrating Christmas a month early.
Saturday’s opponents, Kidderminster Harriers, look set to continue with a young strike force against the Imps, but in truth they have goal creators and takers all over the park. The Harriers are unbeaten in five, with just the one defeat in nine, suggesting last seasons fantastic run, that saw them just fail go win the title, has started ominously early. If the Imps get a point on Saturday we should get the flags out, against a side that has an embarrassment of riches in every department even if Dance will miss this week and next in the cup. With Lincoln, Barnet, Woking, Macc and Wrexham to come, they only need a United wobble to pounce.
Cambridge have the most balanced and in-depth squad in the division, with old sage Money able to rest or rotate to beat the big or the passing sides in the division. His resting of Cunnington and Sam-Yorke in the 0-0 at Chester, still sees the Black and Amber gamblers remain unbeaten and six points clear with 4 strikers more than able to come in, Despite the embarrassment of riches up front, the U’s are not big scorers, perhaps due to the policy, with just the one sufficient on most occasions, but they are a hard working side with great experience running through the side. Whether that will be sufficient to avoid the inevitable wobble is anyone’s guess. Little Salisbury will test that tomorrow, with Southport, Macc, Aldershot and Barnet to follow.
Paul Hurst’s Grimsby do look better without ‘Mr pointy and shouty’ even if successive 0-1 defeats against Cambridge United and Salisbury brought a free-scoring three match run to an end. The Mariners certainly have quality and strength in depth too; the strike force boasts Hannah, hit-man-Hearn, Cooke and John Lewis, with a terrific midfield that will outplay most teams, but those defeats to top clubs and a 0-0 with Luton suggests the 4-4-1-1 may not accommodate all their strengths sufficiently to be anything but play-off contenders again. The Mariners will beat Forest Green but Woking and Welling are useful, before Tamworth and Barnet come to Town.
|12||FC Halifax Town||15||6||4||5||25||25||0||22|
|15||Forest Green Rovers||15||5||3||7||28||26||+2||18|
|23||Aldershot Town (-10)||15||6||4||5||18||15||+3||12|
The Aldershot Town, Barnet FC, Luton Town (x2) Macclesfield Town and Welling FC hotshots are being trumped by Nuneaton Town striker Louis Moult (9 goals) and at the moment in the race for the STMI Skrill Premier muddy boot prize. Aldershot’s Brett Williams is second along with Barnet’s Keanu Marsh-Brown on 7 strikes after his penalty decider against the Imps
thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Luton have two players in joint fourth with Luke Guttridge and Andre Gray on 6 goals apiece along with Cambridge Utd’s Adam Cunnington Macclesfield’s Connor Jennings and Welling’s Ross Lafayette. Ross’s team-mate Lee Clarke is just a goal behind on five along with Ben Tomlinson sitting joint 9th.
Top 20 SPL Goal Machines
|1||Louis Moult||Nuneaton Town||9|
|2||Brett Williams||Aldershot Town||7|
|4||Luke Guttridge||Luton Town||6|
|Adam Cunnington||Cambridge United||6|
|Andre Gray||Luton Town||6|
|Connor Jennings||Macclesfield Town||6|
|9||Ben Tomlinson||Lincoln City||5|
|John Akinde||Alfreton Town||5|
|Matthew Barnes-Homer||Forest Green Rovers||5|
|Andy Brown||Nuneaton Town||5|
|Dan Fitchett||Salisbury City||5|
|Luke Berry||Cambridge United||5|
|12 others on 4 goals||4|
Chester City, FGR, Tamworth FC and FC Halifax top the card collecting charts (Aldershot Town and Cambridge United are the Angels) with a Lamb head and shoulders above any other when it comes to getting into the referees notebook.
thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Now for the men of steel.
|10 players joint 10th||4|