The Blues are going into this fixture sitting 5th in the Isthmian Premier League table after one of their best starts to a season in a number of years. The next few fixtures will prove a real challenge for Ahmet Rifat and his young squad as they face other teams in and around the play off places, starting with a trip to promoted side Chatham Town on Tuesday night, however they will also know this presents an opportunity to consolidate their excellent start.
Chatham Town are 3rd in the table with 27 points from their first 14 games in the Isthmian Premier League. The start that the Chats have made to this season is particularly impressive given that they are currently at their highest position in their 140-year history after back-to-back promotions, being promoted as champions from the Isthmian South East division last season after promotion from the Southern Counties East Premier Division in April 2022. Off the field, Chatham Town have also made great strides in recent years, winning the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of their outstanding community service in 2022 and awarded the Non-League Paper’s Community Club of the Year in 2020.
Head To Head
As a result of the Chats’ recent rapid success, and their geographical location (often sitting in the Southern categories of our league), it has been a long time since our most recent league fixture. Our last league clashes came back in the 2008-09 Ryman North season where there was a home win apiece; Chatham winning 2-0 in Kent, while the Blues took the victory in North London by a single goal to nil.
Last Time Out
The Blues secured only their second home league clean sheet on their way to a 1-0 win over Margate on Saturday. A Billy Cracknell header shortly before the interval was enough to secure all 3 points on that occasion.
Chatham Town were not in action at the weekend, their most recent league fixture was also a home 1-0 win – a Simon Cooper goal giving the Chats victory over Whitehawk in front of over 900 fans at the Bauvill Stadium on 11th November. After an incredible start to the season where the Chats took 5 wins from their opening 5 fixtures, the subsequent form has been inconsistent with 3 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats in the league.
Players To Watch
In Chatham’s impressive opening five matches, Jamie Yila scored 5 in 5 in the league. The young forward, signed from Eastbourne Borough in the summer, has missed the last two matches but will be looking to add to his tally if available on Tuesday.
The Chats also have players with significant experience including 40-year-old striker Danny Kedwell who played the majority of his career at step one with sides such as Ebbsfleet and AFC Wimbledon and also made over 100 EFL appearances for Chatham’s neighbours Gillingham. Kedwell’s strike partner on Tuesday could be 38-year old journeyman striker Chris Dickson who has two Ghana appearances to his name as well as appearing for a host of clubs at EFL level including Charlton Athletic, Gillingham and Dagenham & Redbridge, before settling down to torment defences in the Isthmian Premier in recent years.
For Wingate, Ahmet Biler picked up another assist on Saturday and has made an impressive start to life in N12, proving to be a great find by his namesake Ahmet Rifat. The Blues will be looking to Biler to provide his usual creative, hard-working threat from the left flank on Tuesday night.