Relegation trapdoors, play-offs and ‘on the beach’ – Things to look out for this weekend

Binfield’s Tyler D’Cruz and Mitchell Parker. Photo: Neil Graham.
Binfield’s Tyler D’Cruz and Mitchell Parker. Photo: Neil Graham.

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The football season is entering its final few weeks meaning that with each game promotions are being achieved, playoff places won and relegations avoided by teams up and down the country. So which of our Berkshire sides could be celebrating or commiserating this weekend? This is your guide to all the things to look out for at full-time on Saturday.

Step 1 – Vanarama National League

Maidenhead United are playing their final game of the season away at champions Chesterfield. The Magpies have already secured their National League status for another season following some excellent end-of-season form. A win for Maidenhead could see them finish as high as 11th which would be the best league finish in their history, surpassing the 12th place they achieved in 2017-18, their debut season at Step 1.

Step 2 – Vanarama National League South

Slough Town are also playing their final game of the season when they host Welling at Arbour Park on Saturday. The Rebels sit 10th in the table but they already know they are unable to get into the end-of-season playoffs. A win could take them as high as 8th but whatever the result Slough will achieve their highest league finish since 2019/20, which is a great return after battling relegation in the last 3 seasons.

Step 3 – Southern League Premier Division South

Bracknell Town travel to Southern League Premier South champions Chesham United hoping for a result to lift them into the playoff places. With two league games left the Robins are in 6th and only outside the playoffs on goal difference. Bracknell will be hoping that Chesham are “on the beach” after already securing the league title and promotion, and fifth-placed Merthyr Town drop points on their trip to fourth-placed AFC Totton.

Haydon Vaughan. Photo: John Leakey.
Haydon Vaughan. Photo: John Leakey.

Hungerford Town are 3 points behind in 8th and will be looking for a win when they travel to relegation-threatened Hanwell Town. With so few games left the Crusaders will be hoping Bracknell, Merthyr and 7th place Walton & Hersham all drop points if they are to keep their playoff chances alive.

Step 4 – Isthmian League South Central Division One

After lifting themselves out of the relegation zone on Thursday night, incredibly, Binfield could secure their survival this weekend with a game to spare. For that to happen they will need to win at home to play-off chasing Raynes Park Vale and hope that Thatcham Town can do them a favour when they travel to Chipstead. If results go their way, the Moles could finish the day as high as 16th in the table but could also drop back into the relegation zone if they lose and Chipstead beat Thatcham.

Thatcham will secure a top-half finish with a win while Ascot United can finish no higher than their current position of 13th in their debut season at Step 4.

Step 5 – Combined Counties League Premier Division’s North and South

In the Combined Counties North, one of Reading City or Holyport will finish the day in the playoff positions. Reading City currently sit in 5th place in the final playoff spot, but if they lose at home to Ardly United they will leave the door open for Holyport who could leapfrog their Berkshire rivals with a win at home to Wembley.

Dan Warre. Photo: Peter Toft.
Dan Warre. Photo: Peter Toft.

At the other end of the table Wokingham & Emmbrook could secure safety and Step 5 status for another season if results go their way. If the Sumas win at home to third placed Bedfont Sports and bottom-placed Chalfont St Peter lose away at Virginia Water then they will be safe. However, if Wokingham fail to win and Chalfont beat Virgina Water, then the Sumas will be back in the relegation zone after only climbing out in midweek.

Wallingford & Crowmarsh are not playing this weekend but will be confirmed as safe from relegation if Chalfont drop any points.

On Thursday night Tadley Calleva climbed into the Combined Counties South playoff places with a 5-0 win against Fleet Town. A win at home to relegation-threatened Guildford City could see them climb above Redhill into 4th place, however if the Romans drop points they could fall as low as 8th in what is a hotly contested playoff race.

A win for Sandhurst Town at home to Tooting & Mitcham could see the Fizzers climb into the top half of the table.

Step 6 – Combined Counties League and Wessex League Division One

In the Combined Counties Division One Berks County can secure a playoff home semi-final with a win at London Colney. The Swords have three games left and still need a point to be guaranteed any sort of playoff place, but even if they lose they can secure a spot if Molesey or Rising Ballers Kensington drop points.

Action from Eversley & California vs Windsor. Photo: Richard Milam.
Action from Eversley & California vs Windsor. Photo: Richard Milam.

Eversley & California will be looking for a win at home to Oxhey Jets to keep up the pace in a close playoff race. The Boars are 4th with four games left, and while it is unlikely they will catch Berks County, they look best placed to secure one of the two remaining playoff spots.

Yateley United and Langley are both still in with a shout of a playoff place but as they both only have two games left to play, both could be out of contention by 5pm on Saturday if other results go against them

A point for Woodley United away at Westfield and a win for Windsor away at Rising Ballers Kensington should be enough for each side to be officially safe from relegation, but in reality, both sides have enough points to avoid the drop already.

In the Wessex League Division One AFC Aldermaston may already be relegated, but that depends on off-field matters. Up to three teams could go down but the exact number will depend on the number of teams eligible to come up from Step 7 and the number of gaps in the pyramid above them. The Atomics cannot lift themselves out of the bottom three, but they could overtake Andover Town who are a point above them in the table when they host Totton & Ealing on Saturday.

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Upcoming fixtures

Saturday 18th May 2024

Sandhurst Town Boys & Girls Royals14:00KS Gryf
Southcote Colts14:00Virginia Water Reserves

Sunday 19th May 2024

Ascot United Reserves14:00Eversley & California
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