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The Ups and Downs

The Ups and Downs

Gerry Lightfoot23 Apr - 17:09
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As the 2023-24 season draws to a close here is a look at the ups and downs for our league and those around us.


Steyning Town had most of the fingers of their other hand wrapped around the second handle of the championship trophy already when Crowborough Athletic visited Crawley Down Gatwick. Defeat there ended the remote chance Crowborough had of overhauling a team that play a home game against relegated AFC Uckfield on the final day. Steyning Town move up to the Isthmian League having been given a run for their money by Newhaven, Eastbourne United and Crowborough Athletic who all make it to the play-offs for the second promotion place. Hassocks need a point from their final game at home to Newhaven to join them while Haywards Heath Town must win on their trip to eighth placed Peacehaven & Telscombe to have any hope of a play-off.

It had long been a battle between Saltdean United and AFC Uckfield Town as to who would be the sole club relegated this season. Saltdean picked up a few points in recent games but confirmed remaining in the Premier Division with a dramatic late 4-3 win at home to Hassocks rendering it irrelevant what result Uckfield achieved in their home fixture with Midhurst & Easebourne – a 2-4 defeat in the end. Formed by the merger of Uckfield Town and AFC Uckfield in 2014, the club were promoted to the Premier Division in their first season and stayed there until now.

Relegated last season, Roffey have bounced back at the first attempt by winning Division One with ease. We gain a club in the Premier Division for next season - two extra fixtures having required an extension to complete the programme this season? – and currently Seaford Town, Wick and Worthing United have qualified for the play-offs. Chessington & Hook are currently in the fourth play-off place but have completed all their fixtures so must watch anxiously from the sidelines as Selsey play this evening away to Forest Row and on Saturday away at Mile Oak. With an inferior goal difference Selsey need to win both matches.

At the other end of the table, Oakwood and East Preston are relegated – a second successive relegation in East Preston’s case. The third relegation place is currently held by Mile Oak but just two points above them are Alfold and Forest Row. Goal difference favours Forest Row and their final game is a trip to East Preston. Alfold face a final day trip to Roffey.

Storrington have won Division Two and had applied for promotion so will move up to Division One. I am not sure if they will be replaced as the information I am seeing says that all three teams relegated from Division One go to County feeder leagues.

The other leagues

Starting with who might be dropping down to our league, it looks more complicated. In the Isthmian South East Division, Erith & Belvedere have been relegated and would not be coming to the SCFL – the South Eastern Counties Football League most likely. In the second relegation place is Beckenham Town – another unlikely SCFL candidate – but just two points above them sit East Grinstead Town. Our neighbours have a game in hand but a slightly worse goal difference. They host twelfth placed Horndean this evening and a win will see them safe ahead of a visit from seventh placed Sheppey United on Saturday. Beckenham Town have a trip to Burgess Hill Town for their final game and they currently sit fourteenth in the table.

At the bottom of the Isthmian South Central Division, Corinthian-Casuals have been relegated. Occupying the second relegation place are Chipstead Town, three points adrift of Binfield and Ashford with just Saturday’s games to come. With Chipstead facing a trip to fourth placed Southall the odds are stacked against them. Binfield have turned in some good results of late and host twelfth placed Uxbridge while Ashford visit a Met Police side two places higher up the table.

Depending on how it plays out between now and the final whistle on Saturday, there could be some inter-league movements in May which makes it of interest that AFC Whyteleafe have won Division One of the SECFL.

Further reading