6 Outstanding Non-League performers so far this season
Non-league's most impressive players so far this season.
By Will Hinch, Tuesday 13 December, 2016
The Christmas period signals the half-way point for many football leagues up and down the country. With it comes the opportunity to report on those who have excelled in the upper reaches of Non-League football so far this season.
Here are six who have caught our eye.
The Cup specialist
The footballing five listed below have all excelled in their contribution to outstanding league form, but we'll start off with a player who has produced their best for the magic of the FA Cup.
Midfield man Roarie Deacon has seven goals in all competitions for Sutton United this season, but four of them have come in the club's three FA Cup victories.
The Ex-Arsenal, Sunderland and England youth player booked his side into the Third Round draw recently with a 95th minute winner over Cheltenham Town. This, added to goals against Forest Green Rovers and Dartford (2), has lead Sutton to a home tie with Wimbledon in January.
The goal scorers
If it's goals you want, then look no further than AFC Fylde's Danny Rowe. Staggeringly, Rowe has hit the back of the net 30 times before we new year, amounting to almost half of Fylde's 61 league goals so far this season.
Rowe is no stranger to notching up goals for Fylde, having hit well over 50 over the last two season for the club. His goal scoring form has elevated the club to the top of the National League North, a full seven points ahead of the chasing pack.
Consistently scoring throughout the season, Rowe hit the ground running from the very start. 10 goals in four games from mid-to-late August launched the club towards the top early in the season.
In it's current form, Dover Athletic (formed in 1983 after the previous club folded) have never made it to the holy grail of the Football League; but if striker Ricky Miller continues his prolific form in front of goal, they may make it to the promise land yet.
Miller's 22 goals have propelled Dover into National League promotion contention. In the midst of a particularly prolific November, Miller grabbed a hat-trick to claw Dover to a 3-2 away victory at Solihull Moors.
Miller's exploits have not gone unnoticed. Rumours of interest from promotion rivals Lincoln City and Forest Green Rovers have been circulating for months, but Dover are believed to have no intention of selling up in January.
Promotion hopefuls Tooting & Mitcham are enjoying a goal-frenzied season in the hunt for top spot in the Ryman League South. Notching up 70 goals in their first 24 games, their success in front of goal is owed in no small part of frontman Billy Dunn.
Official TMUFC are sorry to announce that Billy Dunn has today left the club in order to sign for Greenwich... https://t.co/syXrl9s7bL
A full Guyana international, Dunn's impressive goal tally of 23 saw Tooting & Mitcham shoot towards the summit of the league table. His hat-trick in a recent 8-2 demolition of Molesey is just one of many performances that unsurprisingly caught the eye of rival clubs.
So much so that Dunn has recently joined fellow Ryman League South side Greenwich Borough. A place below T&M in 3rd, acquiring the league's top scorer could be a significant hammer blow to Tooting's hopes of holding off the clubs below them.
Speaking of mean defences, Farsley Celtic have stubbornly marshalled through the EVO-STIK NPL North so far this season. Breached just 12 times in 16 games, Celtic's centre-half and captain Paddy Miller deserves a nod for his first-half seasonal exploits.
Miller has been a key cog in keeping opposition out so far this season, starting in 13 of their 16 games. Thanks to the solidity of their defence, Farsley have battled into the top-half of the table. Despite sitting ninth, they trail league leaders Lancaster City by just six points, and have anywhere between two and six games in hand over the clubs above them in the standings.
Shaw Lane AFC have been in irresistible form this season. With just one defeat in 17, they sit at the top of the EVO-STIK NPL South with a two point and three game cushion over nearest rivals Newcastle Town.
Their success is built on solid foundations. Not only are they the top scorers in the division with 41, but they've also been keeping the goals out. The club have picked the ball out of their net just 11 times this season (second place Newcastle have conceded 25), a commendable effort from Shaw Lane's defence and goalkeeper Jon Stewart.
Nine league games have resulted in clean sheets for the club, including five since they last lost a league game at the end of September.