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EIGHTEEN more league games stand between AFC Portchester and their stated hope for the current campaign - which was promotion when they kicked-off back in August.

With 90 days of the season remaining before the curtain is brought down on the 2019-20 campaign at home to Hamble Club on April 18, the Royals have plenty of hard work ahead of them if they are to achieve their goal for the season.

And those remaining games will be coming thick and fast in the weeks ahead. Between now and the scheduled end of season date the Royals will play a game on average every five days.

However, next month they face seven matches at present during February’s 29 days meaning they will be playing fixtures at the rate of a game every four days.

At the moment the fixture list is manageable but any more extended periods of wet or freezing weather could cause issues for all clubs in the Sydenhams Wessex League Premier Division, and not just the Royals.

In this scenario fixtures would pile up in the final weeks of the season. This situation would certainly favour those sides with the points on the board rather than those with games in hand trying to play catch up.

The Premier Division is being described by many as one of the most open in years and there are more than half a dozen clubs at the top end of the table who could make a case for featuring in the running to win the title or finish in the top two promotion positions.

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The likes of Horndean, Bashley and Lymington Town are living proof of what is possible for anyone who can stick together an extended run of winning form as those three sides have moved up the table in recent weeks.

Fareham Town and Portland United, in ninth and tenth places respectively, would fancy their chances too of finishing in the top places in the Premier Division if they can go on good runs of form again.

There is also a sense of everyone being able to inflict defeats on each other at the moment - a fact confirmed by the lost games column in the league table.

Everyone has lost at least four matches so far this season and you have to go back to the 2016-17 season for the last time so many clubs had experienced defeats in these kind of numbers by this stage of January.

In that season, Portland United didn’t lose another game from January 19 onwards on their way to winning the title and runners-up Moneyfields only lost once more from that date onwards.

Alresford Town and AFC Stoneham are the teams to catch and beat in the run in - and they have shown in Portchester’s last two home matches what a tough task that will be.

However, if any side can put together a long run of winning form in the final three months of the season, while losing no more than one or two league games along the way, they will put themselves in the box seat for finishing in the top two positions in the Premier Division come April 18. 

One advantage the Royals will have on the fixtures front is they are only involved in one cup competition still.

The winners of this Tuesday night’s El Creekio derby in the Russell Cotes Cup will be away to Alton in the next round.

 

Remaining fixtures

January

21 - Fareham Town (h - Russell Cotes Cup)

25 - Lymington Town (h)

28 - Tadley Calleva (h)

 

February

1 - Baffins Milton Rovers (h)

4 - Horndean (a)

8 - Hamworthy United (h)

15 - Christchurch (h)

22 - Fleet Town (a)

25 - Bashley (a)

29 - Solent University (a)

 

March

7 - Amesbury Town (h)

14 - Portland United (h)

21 - Bashley (h)

28 - Brockenhurst (a)

 

April

4 - Tadley Calleva (a)

11- Hamworthy United (a)

18 - Hamble Club (h)

 

TBA - Christchurch (a)

TBA - Baffins Milton Rovers (a)

     

AFC Portchester
The Crest Finance Stadium
Wicor Recreation Ground
Cranleigh Road
Fareham
Hants
PO16 9DP
U.K.

+44 (0) 1329 233833