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Keep Playing The Bottom Half
By: Kevin Dolan
SOMETHING that occurred to me after the robbery against Boston and before the sponsored hoof against Mansfield was how much Town could get away with it against the lower sides, but couldn't raise their game against their main rivals.
With Town's erratic form not being punished due to everyone else dropping points, Town still find themselves in a fantastic position and, with 13 games to go, eyes will now start drifting to the fixture list wondering how many points will it require to get promoted. Last season Swansea finished third on 80 points and assuming Town need the same amount (although the way everyone's going it could be a lot less) then we would probably need another 7 wins from out 13 remaining games.
We could have made things a lot easier.
From the five games against the main four challengers Town have only accumulated one point and scored only two goals suggesting Town can't mix it with their rivals, and can only beat the teams who aren't performing. Using the results so far this season of the games between the current top 5, the mini-league would look like this:
The most crucial thing about the table is not that Town are bottom; but how poorly they have done and how much self-inflicted damage the Mariners may have caused themselves by dropping points against their rival challengers; especially in the home defeats to Wycombe, Orient and Carlisle. If only Town had avoided defeat in a few of those games then the top of the League 2 table would be much more spread out.
Wycombe's tremendous results against the other top teams highlights how many points they have dropped to the lower teams, a fact that has stopped them from running away with the division.
Looking at Town's record against the rest of the teams in the top half fairs better:
But against the teams currently in the bottom half, Town's success can be founded and highlights how consistent Town have been at beating the mid-table and relegation threatened teams. Until last night, Stockport were the only team from 11th downwards who had beaten Town. The record is as follows:
The forthcoming fixtures look favourable for Town and the next 5 games should be seen as winnable. The problem arises with what could be the make or break games in April and May, because worryingly for Town, at the end of March there will only be three games left between the current top five and they all include Town. The two trips to Carlisle & Orient, plus the final home with Northampton.
Basing these games on our previous 6-pointers lets all hope that Town maintain their knack of beating the lower half team over the forthcoming weeks; because after losing at home to every team in the top 10 we've played this season, except Lincoln, I don't fancy a Northampton decider on 6 May.
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