Sevenoaks Town boss Micky Collins: Southern Counties East fixtures need to be better organised

Thursday 15th February 2018

SEVENOAKS TOWN manager Micky Collins calls on the Southern Counties East Football League to follow in the footsteps of the Isthmian League in arranging fixtures.

The Oaks installed an artificial pitch at Greatness Park in the summer and have been hit with a fixture backlog.

They suffered their first league home defeat of the season when they went down to a shock 2-1 defeat to fifteenth-placed Erith Town on Tuesday night, which was their first league defeat in 19 games.

Beckenham Town were in second-place after coming away from Sheppey United with a 4-2 win at Holm Park but they leapfrogged over Sevenoaks to reach the summit after the League awarded them three points to punish Rochester United for failing to field a team for a game between the two clubs on 13 January.

Beckenham Town now have 53 points, while Sevenoaks Town have slipped down to second-place with 50 points on the board, but Collins’ side do have three games in hand.

Sevenoaks Town have 16 league games left to play between now and 28 April and Erith Town’s visit to Greatness Park was their first midweek game since Lordswood were beaten 3-0 on 12 December 2017.

“It’s like that, which is disappointing when you’ve got a pitch where every game in on.  It is a bit silly and it becomes a log jam,” said Collins.

“Do you know what – I’ve got to say it – it is probably the reason why nobody from our league never really ventures close – apart from Tunbridge Wells in 2013 – getting it right in the FA Vase late on because it kills them.

“Anyone who wants to get promoted, which is going to be one of the top sides, you’ve got to sacrifice something.  You either sacrifice your league position and then you might lose promotion, which upsets your chairman.

“It’s something the League have got to look at and try to give those teams a better opportunity in The FA Vase because when those Vase games come, if you’re in any other competitions, your fixture backlog at the end of the season could kill you from winning the league and I don’t think that’s how it should be.”

Kellie Discipline, the Isthmian League secretary, sends out an email once or twice a week with dates of their re-arranged fixtures.  Member clubs re-arrange fixtures between themselves within six weeks of the original date.

For example, the Bostik South fixture between Sittingbourne and Walton Casuals fell victim to a waterlogged pitch on Saturday 10 February and has been re-arranged for Tuesday 13 March.

Isthmian League club’s must play 46 league fixtures and get through their fixtures without the need of a fixture backlog, whereas the Southern Counties East Football League cram in midweek fixtures in February, March and April.

Also, Sevenoaks club officials have brought up that there are not always 10 league games in the division on a Saturday, giving at least two sides a day off when they should be out on the pitch.

Collins said: “I think you can get more games in earlier on in the season when the weathers decent.  You can have more midweek games, they do in the Bostik League quite well and they organise themselves correctly and that will give people an opportunity to venture in the Vase later on without too much added pressure on their league form.

“It proves it every year. It becomes a nightmare. It’s not a one-off, it’s every single year!

“We haven’t had a midweek game for something like nine weeks and we’ve got four on the bounce. That’s football, we have got to deal with that, I’m not moaning but it just needs to be better organised.”

Sevenoaks Town play Deal Town at Greatness Park on Saturday (15:00).

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