THIS EVENING'S PREVIEW - MERSTHAM (HOME) KO 7.45PM
Champions of the Combined Counties last season, Merstham have proved this season surprise package as they stand within three points of a play-off position having been unbeaten since an early December defeat at home to Croydon Athletic. In that time they picked up the January Performance of the Month campaign for a 5-0 trashing of Walton and Hersham at the Moatside, an afternoon that saw veteran defender-turned-striker Kevin Lock smash home a quartet of goals as the flustered Swans were scattered to the winds. Currently they sit in 8th place one win away from Fleet Town, current occupants of the last play-off place but having played twice more in the league. With Dulwich a further eight points back and suffering the draw syndrome in recent weeks, tonight's encounter is a must win contest for both sides, though the onus on Crag Edwards and his men to repeat the August trouncing of the Moatsiders must weight heavy on the Hamlet boss's shoulders. That afternoon, inspired by JP Collier who smacked in the opening goal just after the quarter hour, Dulwich rallied from a Lock equaliser before the hour to romp home 4-1 victors. Methinks tonight will not such a smooth ride for Merstham have lost just four times in the league since that sunlight afternoon on the Surrey Downs.
Consistency seems the key to the Moatsiders success this term with a settled, rarely changed, squad from Ian Chatfield between the sticks in 34 games this term to the aforementioned Lock, 15 goals from his 36 starts this season and his strike partner Kwabena Agyei (34 appearances, a dozen goals), the pair as seemingly inseparable as loving couple!
A further seven players have notched up 30 plus appearances this season with former Dulwich winger and erstwhile England futsal international Mark Simmons on 28. Last time out Simmons put in a man of the match performance as Merstham continued their winning ways and in doing so dented the hopes of one of their rivals for a seat at the play-off party as they emerged victorious at Godalming Town. If the Merstham momentum, Dulwich must match the spirit and heart of recent games against Dover and AFC Wimbledon.
Be at Champion Hill for the 7.45 pm kick-off to see if they can raise their game to those levels once more.