Isthmian League Division One North’s runaway leaders have amassed an incredible fifty points already. Last Saturday’s hard fought single goal victory at Harlow Town, their fourteenth straight league win, brought up the milestone half century of points, and sees them fifteen points clear of second placed Grays Athletic.
In their eighteen games so far, manager Terry Spillane has masterminded sixteen victories and two draws, meaning Town have dropped just four points all season. They have scored fifty four goals and conceded just sixteen, bringing their average result to roughly a 3-1 win. Not bad going when you consider they finished eleventh last season. Jamie Guy, the matchwinner at Harlow, is the division’s top scorer with sixteen goals in his debut season after moving from Braintree Town. The rest of the goals have been spread out between the other players, which is always a good sign of a top club.
Their next few fixtures are sure to test them, though. This Saturday they entertain fifth place Potters Bar Town, who boast twelve goal striker James Gershfield in their ranks. However, they let in as many as they concede, with thirty two goals flying into their own net, just two fewer than they’ve scored at the other end. This one should be a home win, and a comfortable one at that.
Boxing Day, though, could be another story. Town travel to the current third placed side Heybridge Swifts, who have three of the top five scorers in the division in their ranks. However, while Maldon have plenty of other players that can find the net, Michael Cheek, Luke Callander and Ben Newson have scored forty of Swifts’ fifty one league goals. This one should be a, sorry for the pun, Christmas Cracker! Swifts score a lot, but also concede a fair few, and a high scoring game could be in prospect. I have a feeling Terry Spillane would take a draw from this one if offered.
On the 29th, Town are again on the road, as they travel to Soham Town Rangers, currently seventh in the table. Rangers have striker Robert Mason on twelve league goals, while penalty king Buster Harradine has nine, five from the spot. In their nineteen matches so far this season, there have been an incredible eighty nine goals, with Rangers scoring forty nine and conceding forty. Just like the game with Potters Bar, there should be goals flying in all over the place in this one, and a comfortable away win would be my prediction.
Finally over the festive period, Town host Witham Town on New Year’s Day. Witham currently sit ninth, some twenty one points off the leaders, and there is no reason to assume that this one will be anything other than a home win.
So, it’s been a stunning start for Maldon & Tiptree under Terry Spillane this season, but with a couple of potentially tough matches over Christmas, it should be a real test of his team’s potential. If they are still unbeaten, or still a dozen or more points clear, after January 1st, I think they will ease to the title and take their place in the Premier for 2013-14.