March: Where we will be!

Saturday 3rd March – Heybridge Swifts v Potters Bar Town

Saturday 10th March – Brightlingsea Regent v Dulwich Hamlet

Monday 12th March – Kingstonian v Staines Town

Saturday 17th March – Leiston v Wingate & Finchley

Saturday 24th March – TBC

Tuesday 27th March – Dorking Wanderers v Leatherhead

Saturday 31st March – Tilbury v Bury Town



The Bostik League Show Ep 37: Thurrock v Hendon

On Saturday 17th February we were at Ship Lane for Bostik Premier action between Thurrock and Hendon.

Despite the confirmation of no longer existing as a club come the end of the season, Thurrock have had an unprecedented first season in the Bostik Premier, positioning higher than all the clubs which were promoted alongside them (Dorking Wanderers, Brightlingsea Regent and Tooting & Mitcham United). In their recent 5, The Fleet have had 3 defeats and 2 wins, with included putting an end to Leatherhead’s unbeaten run of 9.

As for Hendon, they have also had 2 wins in their last 5. Although, despite dropping points to Leatherhead, Folkestone Invicta and Dorking Wanderers, Gary McCann’s side remain strong contender’s for promotion. In midweek, The Dons were without their talisman and leading goal scorer, Niko Muir,  however took the lead quickly, and went on to take all 3 points from Leiston.

The following Bostik Premier League highlights also feature on this episode: Dorking Wanderers v Kingstonian, Leiston v Billericay Town, Met Police v Harrow Borough, and Dulwich Hamlet v Enfield Town.



1-on-1 with Lewes midfielder James Hammond

James Hammond is a midfielder for Lewes FC, who currently sit second in the Bostik South, a point behind poll position with two games in hand. James is a highly rated player with lots of potential, after starting out at Peacehaven & Telscombe he moved to Lewes in 2015, and is a regular starter for the club. We caught up with James for this weeks one-on-one…


Firstly, how is this season going for Lewes, and how is it going for you personally?


The season is going well for Lewes. We are at the right end of the table however that means nothing unless we continue that until the end of the season! For me personally again it is going well, I have managed to stay injury free and play most minutes of every game.


Who has been the toughest opposition you have faced this season?


That’s a difficult one! We played Truro in the cup and they were very decent, and as a team they were very organised. In terms of league opposition, it is very difficult to say as all the games are hard, however if I had to single a team out it would be Carshalton. They have a good way of playing and are a very technical and pacey team.


Who is the best player you have played with… and who is the best player you have played against?


The best player I have played with is probably Charlie Walker, in my first season coming through into the men’s game he scored 43 goals in this league and then got a move to League Two for Luton Town, some of the goals he scored were incredible! The best player I have played against is probably Jamal Blackman, to be fair he didn’t have much to do, but he is the most credible name currently.


What is the best piece of advice you have been given in football?


Probably from when being young, just to be confident and positive at all times. Football is very much a confidence game at all levels, and I believe it really does effect performances. Football is very up and down, so it’s so essential you’ve got this positive type of mind-set.


What is your best asset as a footballer?


I would say my right foot, I like to think I have a half decent ping but few of the lads don’t think so… They are entitled to their opinion I suppose!


If you could change one rule in football, what would it be?


The length of time you have at half time, especially in the winter!! You warm up… Play for 45 minutes, go in for fifteen minutes, then go back out with your lactic acid built up and then stand and wait about four or five minutes to get playing again!


Who is your favourite footballer, past or present?


Steven Gerrard! What a man… Growing up as a Liverpool fan, we had a very average team, but Gerrard produced at the most crucial moments and was an unbelievable player! Now its Mo Salah, for a winger his goal record is crazy, and he has just been a privilege to watch this season. It was Philippe Coutinho until about 4 weeks ago!


What makes Lewes unique as a club?


Well the “Equality FC” tag singles us out and have made our club known nationwide and even in some other countries. Furthermore, having supporters as owners, there are a great bunch of supporters who week in week out come together to cheer us on, and it really does help as they are part of the club, so we all seek for success as one.


And finally, what do you aim to achieve with the rest of the season at Lewes?


In the position we are in it has to be promotion, there is still a long way to go but we will give 100% to make sure it happens.


If you enjoyed this interview be sure to follow us across our social medias at @OfficialBOTN, James Hammond is also on twitter as @JamesHammond97 and myself at @adam__willmott



The Bostik League Show Ep 36: Merstham v Leiston

Following the postponement of our chosen TBLS fixture, Sittingbourne v Walton Casuals, our team took a detour to the Specsavers Stadium for Bostik Premier Division action.

The Moatsiders succumbed defeat to Staines Town to end their 3-game winning streak last weekend, and earlier in the week announced the departure of goal-scorer Ryan Hall, who scored 13 league goals under Hayden Bird. As for Leiston, they have had a mixed bag of results in their recent 3 games, with 1 win, 1 draw and 1 defeat. Last season, Matt Blake was the Blues’ out-and-out striker, however this campaign, Jake Ainsley and Christy Finch are levelling his efforts.

Earlier in the season, at Victory Road, it was the hosts who were victorious, earning 3 points after a 3-1 win over Merstham.

The following Premier Division highlights also feature on this show: Met Police v Billericay Town, Tonbridge Angels v Staines Town, Tooting & Mitcham United v Wingate & Finchley, and Hendon v Dorking Wanderers.



1-on-1 with Folkestone Invicta marksman Ian Draycott

Ian Draycott is a forward for Folkestone Invicta, with an impressive goal scoring record at all levels in non-league. Draycott is an experienced player with great experience in the game, having won promotions with both Folkestone Invicta and Bedford Town. Ian was kind enough to talk to us about non-league football, and gave us some great answers.


Firstly, how is this season going for you Folkestone Invicta, and how is it going for you personally?


We are having a great season and we’re performing way above expectations. Last season we finished 15th in the league, only three points above the relegation zone after winning our last two games of the season. That lead to us being predicted to finish in the bottom eight by the betting companies before the 17/18 campaign.

So far this season we have already passed the 55 points we achieved last season with 16 games to go, we’re in the playoffs with some big non-league clubs, and we are confident we can stay there if we keep performing to the levels we have done so far this season.

On a personal note, our improved team performances have naturally lead to me performing better than last year. We play fast, energetic, attacking football which suits my game. Whether I’m linking attacks, creating chances or finishing them I’m having a bigger impact on results than I did last season.


Who have been the toughest opposition you have faced this season?


I’d have to say, certain periods of our game at Dulwich Hamlet was the toughest so far. Once they went ahead, their confidence was high and they had 2000+ fans cheering them on, we had to ride the storm for a little while which was tough. I don’t think I touched the ball for 10 minutes! Once we got a foothold back in the game I felt we matched them, but unfortunately we still ended up on the wrong side of a seven goal thriller.


Who is the best player you have played with… and who is the best player you have played against?


I have played with a lot of players that have progressed into full time football, the top three probably being Jed Wallace (currently Millwall), Sonny March (currently Brighton) and Matt Ingram (currently QPR). The best non-league player has to be my idol Paul Booth. A non-league goal scoring legend!

The best player I’ve played against is tough as I don’t want to just name some pros that I’ve played a pre-season friendly against. I also played for England Colleges when I was 18, so I played against a lot of international under eighteen players too. If we’re talking non-league the best front line I’ve played against is Matt Tubbs and Paul Sales when they were at Salisbury together in the Southern Premier, and then the Conference (now National) South. They were unplayable on their day, Salisbury even turned over Nottingham Forrest in the FA Cup thanks to that partnership. I haven’t played against a better pair in non-league since them and that was over 10 years ago.


What is the best piece of advice you have been given in football?


Never lose sight of why you started playing football in the first place. For me that’s both the enjoyment through scoring goals and winning games, and also to be part of a ‘team’ both on and off the pitch, and we have certainly got that at Folkestone.


There’s been a lot of talk about VAR lately, what is your opinion on it?


I’m all for it although I can’t see it coming to non-league anytime soon! It obviously needs a bit of time to be refined and finalised, but I think it will be good for the game long term once referees, players, managers and supporters have a good understanding of the processes. I watch a number of sports including cricket, rugby and tennis where the games have all improved due to the introduction of technology.


If you could change one rule in football, what would it be?


It’s not a rule but playing three games in five days over the Christmas period is ridiculous. I can understand the tradition of professionals playing Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, but I don’t understand the reason behind asking part time, non-league players to sacrifice that much time and effort over the Christmas period.


Who is your favourite footballer, past or present?


I would not say I really have a favourite player, but when I was growing up I used to love watching Dennis Bergkamp in the Arsenal team from the late 90’s early 2000’s. I appreciate good teams rather than individuals and I have not seen many teams over the last couple of years that are as good as Man City’s this season.


What is your favourite thing about non-league?


The characters. There’s nowhere else you can meet so many different characters whether they’re managers, players, supporters or volunteers all in the same environment. I won’t name any names, but every club has them and everyone knows who they are!


And finally, what do you aim to achieve with the rest of the season at Folkestone Invicta?


We never set the play-offs as a target at the beginning of the season but now we’re in them we want to stay there! Play-offs can be a lottery so it would be great to be a part of it at the end of the season. I have been promoted to Conference South via the play-offs before back when I was at Bedford Town in the Southern League, we were big outside underdogs then too, so it would be great to do the same with Folkestone!


If you enjoyed this interview then look out for new ones every Thursday on out twitter (@officialBOTN), you can also follow Ian at (@Draycott10) and myself (@adam__willmott)



Mental health, emotional-wellbeing and the impact of social media in football

On Wednesday 7th February, fresh off the back of midweek win (progressing in the FA Trophy to host Wealdstone), and being named the Bostik Premier manager of the month, Harry Wheeler made his BOTN panelist debut. A good week also, so far, for Heybridge Swifts manager, Jody Brown, as his side enjoyed a 3-1 win over Norwich United on Tuesday night. Marc White and Mick Sullivan complete our line-up, and the team discuss the importance of emotional-wellbeing, and the impact of social media.

We also hear from Calum Best, son of the late and great George Best, who speaks out about mental health in the professional game, and the ways in which his family were affected.

Ollie Robinson (Met Police), and Danny Bracken (Corinthian-Casuals) were the latest players to enter the Super Sub rankings.

You can watch the full show below.



The Bostik League Show Ep 35: Folkestone Invicta v Brightlingsea Regent

On Saturday 3rd February we were at the Fullicks Stadium for Bostik Premier action between Folkestone Invicta and Brightlingsea Regent. Last week, the hosts let slide a 3-goal advantage, after Hendon found the net 3 times in the final 15 minutes of the game to draw level. Brightlingsea Regent are also coming off the back of a disappointing result – last weekend two ninetieth minute goals at The Taydal Stadium, saw Dorking Wanderers bag all 3 points despite trailing twice to the Regent.

The following Premier Division highlights also feature on this show: Folkestone Invicta v Brightlingsea Regent, Staines Town v Merstham, Burgess Hill Town v Hendon, and Dulwich Hamlet v Met Police.


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Quick-fire Q&A with Dorking Wanderers forward James McShane

James McShane is a forward for Dorking Wanderers, playing an integral part in their Bostik League South promotion campaign last season. His previous clubs include Molesey, Walton Casuals as well as spells in Scotland with Clyde and East Stirlingshire. We caught up with James for a quick-fire Q&A


Firstly, how is this season going for you Dorking Wanderers, and how is it going for you personally?


It has been inconsistent really, with some great wins along the way, but after some games we feel we have come away with the feeling we should have got more than we got.


Do you set yourself any targets at the start of the season?


I always set a goal target of twenty goals a season. I am not quite there yet, but there is plenty of games remaining so I am hopeful of reaching my target.


Who has been the toughest opposition you have faced this season?


Hendon, I thought they were very well organised. They had a very well thought out game plan which nullified our threats.


Which position do you think you are most effective in?


I prefer to play the ‘number ten’ role, just behind the striker. I feel this is where I am best utilised.


Who is the best player you have played with… and who is the best player you have played against?


The best player I have played with has got to be Ruari MacLennan from my time in Scotland with Clyde.

The best player to play against was Jerome Beckles, when I played against him a few years back I couldn’t get near him.


There’s been a lot of talk about VAR lately, what is your opinion on it?


I disagree with VAR. I feel it has ruined the beautiful game from what I have seen of it so far.


If you could change one rule in football, what would it be?


Getting booked for celebrating a goal with fans, or booked taking your shirt off annoys me. I’d change the rule to make it more relaxed.


Who is your favourite footballer, past or present?


Zinedine Zidane is my all-time favourite player.


And finally, what do you aim to achieve with the rest of the season at Dorking Wanderers?


To keep our unbeaten run going, and to finish as high up the table as possible in our first year at this level.



February: Where we will be!

Saturday 3rd February –  Folkestone Invicta v Brightlingsea Regent

Saturday 10th February – Merstham v Leiston

Saturday 17th February – Thurrock v Hendon

Saturday 24th February – Billericay Town v Wealdstone (FA Trophy Special)