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Meet the newcomers - Part 1.

Meet the newcomers - Part 1.

Stephen King19 May - 17:54
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With 3 more places in the division for 2024/5 there is a total of 8 new teams facing us. Here's a breakdown on the first 3 of those.

Beaconsfield Town: The Rams started life in 1994 after a merger between Beaconsfield United and Slough Youth Club Old Boys to become Beaconsfield SYCOB. They have only crossed our path in one season when we were shuffled across to the Southern League in 2015/6. We beat them 1-0 in the home game with Harley Haag scoring in the 91st minute. The away game ended 1-1 when Murat Karagul’s goal was cancelled out by Sam Deadfield in, you guessed it, the 91st minute. They finished that season 9th in the table, two places above Ware.

Having changed their name to Beaconsfield Town in 2017 they celebrated by gaining promotion to the premier division for the 2018/9 season. There, either side of two Covid-disrupted seasons, they had mid- to lower-mid-table finishes and were unable to improve last season finishing 19th out of 22 sides.

Their best run in the FA Cup came when in 2016/7 when they reached the 4th Qualifying Round but lost to Brackley Town.

Berkhamsted: Formed in 2009 after the demise of Berkhamsted Town, the Comrades made a steady rise form the Spartan South Midlands League to reach the Southern premier central for last season after a near miss in the previous campaign. We have enjoyed a number of close encounters with them in recent years with the accent on “enjoyed”. Of our seven meetings so far, we have won five and drawn one. The single defeat coming in the 2021/2 FA Cup by one-nil when we were reduced to ten men.

That win to loss ratio seems out of kilter with the closeness of the games we have played against them and we will doubtless find Berko very competitive opponents once again after their return to Step 4. Like Bedford, North Leigh and Didcot of recent seasons, they found life at the higher level tough. They finished bottom of the table with just three wins.

They have gone no further than the third qualifying round in the FA Cup with exits away to Banbury United and AFC Totton in the last two seasons. They did, however, win the Hets Senior Cup in 2022/3, beating Hitchin Town on penalties after a 2-2 draw in 90 minutes.

Enfield: One of the best known amateur clubs in the post war years, they won the Isthmian championship seven times before moving up to the Alliance Premier League (now the National League) and won that too although there was no automatic promotion to the Football League at that time.

Eventual relegation back to the Isthmians saw them win that championship for an eighth time but financial problems once their home in Enfield was sold have dogged them ever since and they no longer have a home ground of their own. They had a spell based at Wodson Park earlier this century but having left their most recent home at Bishop’s Stortford they will now groundshare at Hertford in 2024/5.

Twice winners of the FA Amateur Cup and later twice again of the FA Trophy they have also made numerous appearances in the competition proper of the FA Cup. Their best performance saw then reach the fourth round in 1980/1 before going out to Barnsley in a replay. These glories were all in the last century however and success has been more elusive lately. They won the Essex Senior League in 2023 but last year was difficult and saw them finish just one place above the relegation spot in the Isthmian North division. Their move to play at Hertford is the reason for their transfer to the Southern League for 2024/5.

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