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National League Q2 Report

Following on from our popular National League Q1 report we find ourselves at the halfway point in what is becoming a quite fascinating season.


Just like our Q1 report we will cast a data led eye over every club, the managers and the players, present our updated NL team of the season so far and look ahead to the next dozen or so games and how the stats see things panning out.


Like last time, a bit of housekeeping. Firstly all data used is from Wyscout so if you see anything that doesn't add up please let us know.


Secondly, just to remind you there are approximately 600 players at clubs in the National League. With this in mind we have restricted the data to players with 500 minutes or more so far. This will mean that some players that missed out in our Q1 report could make an appearance in this report.


Finally, all the team data visualisations include every league game played up to and including 26th December 2022 and has been presented per 90 minutes. The reason for this is because at this point clubs have played differing amounts of games so to use total figures would be a misrepresentation of performance when use in comparison.


Let's get started!


Aldershot Town

Since our Q1 report Aldershot have changed managers, with Mark Molesley shown the door. Ross McNeilly initially took charge on an interim basis, but that was made permanent after a string of good results. In our Q1 Report we wrote that ‘the general consensus around the league is that Aldershot’s performances have actually been better than their results’ and under new boss McNeilly it appears they are finally getting the points to match their performances. After 13 games Aldershot were rock bottom with just 1 win, but since then the turnaround has been astounding. They’ve won 5 of their 9 games since Molesley’s departure, This has seen them rise up to 18th in the table, 6 points above safety at the time of writing.


As mentioned, new boss Ross McNeilly has been instrumental in Aldershot’s improvement in form. He has got them playing with confidence, and they aren’t afraid to go at teams. It’s seen results such as a 3-0 win away at Dorking, where the league leaders actually lost, and a 2-0 win over high flying Southend, both unexpected results. For the most part he has also shored up the defence, keeping 4 clean sheets in those 9 games. However, his side are still sometimes prone to mistakes, as shown by a 6-1 away hammering at relegation threatened Torquay. This could be put down as a freak result though, as McNeilly has got the best out of his players. They see more of the ball (45.1% in Q2 compared to 42.6% in Q1) and overall look a much stronger outfit.


Young attacker Tommy Willard is starting to come good on the expectations many had at the start of the season, scoring 4 goals in 4 consecutive games in October and November. Willard has been synonymous with Aldershot’s turnaround, as he too had a poor start to the season. The 22 year old is a direct dribbler, one with an eye for goal, and he will be targeting double figures come the end of the season.


Loan keeper Luca Ashby-Hammon continues to acquit himself well, with 80 saves to his name so far this season, 5th most in the league. Despite Aldershot’s upturn in form Ashby-Hammond is still kept busy in goal, and his acrobatic saving style has earned him plaudits so far this term.


Left back Ollie Harfield has also had an excellent season, and the 24 year old has proven to be a creative outlet from full back. Harfield has 3rd highest xA total with 5.94, showing the quality of his passing. He only ranks behind Ruben Rodrigues of Notts and Luke Young of Wrexham, showing the esteemed company he finds himself in. Harfield is able to get up and down the flanks with regularity, and he wins a respectable 59.72% of his defensive duels, showing his capability at both ends of the pitch.


 

Altrincham

A side that often flatter to deceive, Phil Parkinson’s men continue to play good football, and aren’t a million miles away from a playoff challenge. The Robins remain in the bottom half, 2 places better off than in Q1, but as in the first half of the season their league positioning just doesn’t do justice to their performances. They rank 8th for average possession, 51.9%, 5th for passes and 3rd for progressive runs. Most impressively they have the 3rd highest xG total, behind only Notts and Wrexham, showing how good they have been going forward. Their commitment to their attractive playing style is admirable, and for the most part has generated good results.


Phil Parkinson (not to be confused with the Wrexham manager of the same name) turned down high profile jobs in the summer in order to continue to oversee Alty’s transition to full time. So far the jury is out as to whether he made the right decision, but from an Altrincham point of view they couldn’t be happier. In Parkinson they have one of the brightest young coaches at this level, one who is already a specialist in promotion. Parkinson has his side playing possession based football, it’s easy on the eye, which gives him breathing space when the results don’t go his way. A top coach, there’s no doubt that he is the right man for the job.


In the final third Altrincham’s standout performer is undoubtedly Ryan Colclough. He leads the way across the whole league in terms of shots and dribbles, showing how key he is to Alty’s attack. His attacking output has been extremely high too; he has 12 goal contributions this season, 8th most in the league and more than any Altrincham player. This includes 6 goals and 6 assists, showing both his effectiveness in creating chances, but his ability to take them too. There’s good reason that Colclough has plied most of his trade in higher divisions, and there’s no doubt he has the ability to do that again.


The loan capture of Elliot Newby has proven to be somewhat of a revelation. In the 6 games since his arrival on loan from Stockport Newby has scored 4 and assisted a further 2, an incredible return from a midfielder. Altrincham are unbeaten in 6, and Newby has started all of these games, showing the influence he has had since his arrival. Versatile, Newby has played both out on the right but also through the centre, and his goal contributions as well as attacking threat in general make him one of the players to look out for in the second half of the season. Unfortunately for Robins fans Newby has been recalled by Stockport ahead of a permanent move in January, so he will be a big miss.


Another loanee who has caught the eye at Altrincham is Chris Conn-Clarke. The 21 year old Fleetwood midfielder is another who has been versatile for the Robins, with the young midfielder showing the ability to operate in the middle or out wide. He’s also another loan midfielder who has an eye for goal, with 5 goals and 2 assists to his name so far this season. An exciting young talent, Conn-Clarke loves to have the ball at his feet, driving at opponents, as underlined by his 115 dribbles, 7th most in the whole league. He stretches defences, and his youth and exuberance bring another element to Altrincham’s side.


In the defensive third Altrincham have one of the finest defenders in the league in 27 year old Toby Mullarkey. The English defender has shown why he was the subject of big money bids in the summer, and he has been a crucial part of their side this season. A defender who can do it all, Mullarkey is equally comfortable in possession as he is defending on the back foot. Blessed with excellent technique, Mullarkey has a great range of passing, allowing him to play 8.18 progressive passes per 90. Mullarkey is also strong in 1 on 1 defensive duels, winning 66.67%.


 

Barnet

The Bees were surprise early leaders in the National League, but after 6 games it looked like they had fallen back to earth, and hard. They went on a 5 game winless run, during which time they were on the wrong end of a 7-5 and 5-4 defeat. Clearly they had no issue scoring the goals, but keeping them out was a big issue. So the fact that Barnet now sit in 5th place, with a game in hand on 4th, is a testament to the great work that Dean Brennan and his team have done. They have done so by addressing the defensive issues. Since their 7-5 loss away to Wrexham they have conceded just 7 goals in 9 league games. They’ve also kept 4 back to back clean sheets in that time, showing what a turnaround it has been at the back for the Bees. They have also combined this with a strong FA Cup run, going out in the 2nd Round due to a narrow 1-0 away defeat to League One Accrington Stanley. The signs are clearly positive for Brennan and co, as Barnet have emerged as genuine playoff contenders.


Irishman Dean Brennan can be a polarising character, with his direct interviewing style, but there’s no doubt over the fine job he is doing in London. Brennan has cultivated a hard working side full of individuals with real quality. In recent weeks they have shown a real resoluteness, keeping 4 clean sheets on the spin. A large part of this has been down to Brennan’s decision to switch to a back 5 system, one he made off the back of conceding 7 away at Wrexham. It sees far more defensive solidity, due to the increased numbers they have back, and it allows Brennan to field the talented front players he has at his disposal. This usually involves having 2 technical players in behind big striker Nicke Kabamba, and to this end Brennan has got his tactics spot on. However, in terms of xG the reading isn’t as comfortable for Barnet fans.


Their xG for this season is only 28.05, 7th lowest in the league. This means they have an over performance of 13.95, something which simply isn’t sustainable. This would suggest that Barnet will slow their scoring down over the second half of the season, something which may have already begun to happen, with the Bees scoring 9 in their last 6, a downturn from the 14 in the 4 games before that. The xG against is much better reading for Barnet though, as they are only expected to have conceded 33.14 goals, 5.86 less than their actual total of 39. This suggests they will begin to concede less, and with 4 clean sheets on the bounce there is clear evidence to suggest this will be the case.


Laurie Walker leads the way for saves so far this season, and the 33 year old stopper has been excellent between the sticks for Barnet. Walker has kept 4 clean sheets on the spin, making a whole host of impressive saves, and he’s certainly been a key player for the Bees this term. There could even be an argument that Walker has been the best keeper in the whole division in 22/23, such are the level of his performances. If he maintains his shot stopping in the second half of the season there is a very good chance Barnet will be in the playoffs.


Big forward Nicke Kabamba continues to have an excellent season, and he is perhaps the best example of Dean Brennan’s good work this season. Kabamba had not hit double figures since 16/17, and he had never scored more than 7 in a season at this level. So the fact Kabamba already has 11 goals to his name at the halfway mark suggests this could be the best season of his career. At 6ft3 Kabamba is a rangy forward, but one that combines this with sublime skill and deft finishes. Kabamba has hit the target with 39.13% of his strikes, a decent return.


Barnet suffered a blow when they lost young starlet Ephron Mason-Clark to League One Peterborough, but as part of the deal 22 year old attacker Idris Kanu came the opposite way on loan. Kanu’s arrival transpired to be a master stroke, as the Sierra Leone international not only kickstarted his season but Barnet’s too. A powerful runner, at 6ft Kanu has size but also speed, and he puts it all together to present a frightening prospect for National League defenders. He’s scored 4 goals in 13 games, including an absolute stunner against Wrexham, and he could be crucial in securing a playoff berth.


 

Boreham Wood

Another side that are firmly in the playoff hunt are Boreham Wood, a side that sit just 2 points outside the top 7. For the Wood the FA Cup run they are currently on is bound to be exciting, but it may potentially have been detrimental to their league efforts, as they have dropped 7 places since our Q1 report. The Wood are still defensively solid, conceding just 23 goals, joint 4th best in the league, but in front of goal they have been poor. They’ve scored just 9 in their last 10 games, which has led to plenty of narrow results. If they are to steal a playoff place they need to be more ruthless in front of goal. They also need to create more chances too; they rank 13th for xG, so they simply need to be better in the final third if they are to be in the playoffs come the end of the season.


Wood boss Luke Garrard remains one of the brightest young coaches in non-league, and it appeared he had looked to become more expansive in the final third. However, it seems he has reverted to type, which isn’t necessarily a criticism, keeping his side as solid as ever defensively. The Wood have played the 7th most long passes, emphasising their direct style, but as discussed his men have been gun shy. A large part of this may be due to taking his side to the FA Cup 3rd Round, where they will have the chance to take their 2nd League One scalp, when they host Accrington Stanley. Garrard is an astute enough coach to keep Boreham Wood in the playoff race, and if he does you have to back the young coach to take them over the line when it matters.


As we mentioned in our Q1 report, Lee Ndlovu remains Boreham Wood’s main threat in the final third. The Zimbabwean forward scores 0.49 goals per 90, the same rate as Wrexham’s Ollie Palmer, joint 21st in the league. He’s the Wood’s top scorer with 7 in 18, including a brace against Oldham which stopped Boreham Wood’s goalless streak of 3 league games. His return from injury could kickstart the Wood’s season as he will spearhead their attack in the second half of the season.


Femi Ilesanmi has shown his versatility in defence this season, operating as both a wide centre half in the back 3 or as a left wing back. He has won 70% of his defensive duels, so he’s been tough to get past so far this term. In fact, most of Boreham Wood’s defenders rank highly in terms of defensive success rate, which comes as no surprise. David Stephens has won 76.56% of his defensive duels, 16th best in the league, and Jamal Fyfield has won 73.02%, 37th best. Fyfield has also popped up with some important goals, a winner away at Torquay and an equaliser at home to York.


In goal Nathan Ashmore continues to show why he could be considered the best keeper in the league. The large shot stopper has shown his agility this season, pulling off saves which shouldn’t be possible for a man his size. He has been instrumental in the Wood having the 3rd best defensive record, making 66 saves along the way this season, 10th most in the league.


Lee Ndlovu has been a talismanic figure for the Wood, and despite playing just 776 minutes he has scored 5 goals. This means he averages 0.58 goals per 90, 13th highest in the league. At the other end of the pitch Femi Ilesanmi has won 73.74% of his defensive duels and also records 12.53 successful defensive actions per 90, the 7th most in the league.


In goal Nathan Ashmore has arguably been the finest keeper in the league, and the 100kg shot stopper has prevented 3.12 goals, the 3rd most in the league. He also has the 4th highest save percentage of any keeper, 78.85%, showing the good work he is doing between the sticks.

 

Bromley

Andy Woodman’s physical Bromley side have potentially been the biggest disappointment at the halfway stage, despite the playoff hopefuls sitting 8th in the table. Bromley would have been looking to build on a historic 21/22 campaign, where they lifted the FA Trophy, but their season seems to have stagnated somewhat. Bromley are one of only 3 sides who have gone to league leaders Notts and gotten a point, but they are now on a run of just 2 wins in 10 games, a run that started all the way back on the 8th October. And despite playing with a back 3, it would appear their main issue is keeping the ball out. They’ve conceded 16 goals in 9 games, at a rate of just under 2 a game, so they simply have to be stronger when defending, something they managed to do last time out at Southend.


This isn’t something that is often said about Bromley, who are renowned for their physical approach to the game, but it feels like this season their opponents seem to have worked them out. It’s not all doom and gloom though. Bromley sit just outside the playoffs on goal difference, showing just how tight the league is. So while they are leaking a few too many goals, a couple more good results would see them right back in the playoff mix. You can’t write Woodman’s side off, but they’d have hoped they would be in a better position at this point in the season.


Over the summer Woodman was linked with several jobs, but he decided against moving away in favour of taking Bromley on that extra step. Whilst he hasn’t quite managed that yet, he has shown flashes of brilliance. He has used his links with clubs he coached at, namely Arsenal and Crystal Palace, well, bringing in loan players who have performed, showing his strength in recruitment. He’s also stuck with his 5 at the back system, showing loyalty to players who haven’t necessarily performed this season. In some instances this faith has been repaid, with Michael Cheek netting 3 in his last 5 matches, more than he had managed across the rest of the season combined. Woodman is a good coach, one that is likeable, and one that could get this group working. If he does, he might just drag them into the playoffs.


One of Bromley’s unsung heroes is midfielder James Vennings. The 22 year old has been an ever present this season, playing 1,834 minutes, the only player under 30 to do so for Bromley. He adds energy and robustness to the midfield, and his game is extremely well rounded. He mixes good passing range with energetic runs, and he also adds defensive solidity too. He’s completed 87.5% of his passes this season, 13th most in the league. He also wins 60.34% of his defensive duels, a more than decent return for a central midfielder. Extremely well rounded, Vennings adds some much needed balance to Bromley’s side.


Since the Q1 report Adam Marriott has added just 2 goals to his tally, but a striker who has had an upturn in form is Michael Cheek. Readers will be familiar with the talismanic forward, one who has hit double figures in each of his last four seasons. He had an extremely slow start this term, but the big forward remains as important and powerful as ever, and he also remains very much a threat in the air. 2 of his 5 goals have been headers, and as mentioned 3 of these 5 have come in the last 5 games. Clearly, Cheek is beginning to find a bit of form. This could be crucial for Bromley, and Cheek has shown time and time again that he is the man for the big occasions. His winner in the FA Trophy final at Wembley delivered the clubs biggest honour to date, and is the finest example of how Cheek can come in clutch in the big moments. He could still have a pivotal role to play in the playoff race, and if Bromley are still in with a shout with a few games to go, they know this man can rise to the occasion and score goals when most needed.


Omar Sowunmi made our Q1 Report Team of the Season So Far, and whilst he doesn’t make it into the Q2 team, he has still had an excellent season and is comfortably Bromley’s most important player. When he plays well, the rest of the team do. The 6ft 6” colossus is a strong defender, winning 61.54% of his aerial duels, but it’s his attacking threat from set pieces that marks him out from the crowd. Sowunmi has 6 goals to his name so far this season in just 17 games, or 0.32 goals per 90. This is a better scoring rate than the likes of Ryan Colclough, Danny Elliott and Ruben Rodrigues. All of this from the centre of defence. 2 of these 6 goals came in his last 2 games, so Sowunmi is clearly bang in form too.

 

Chesterfield

A side that is momentarily overlooked in the context of the title race, 3rd place Chesterfield should be very happy with the first half of their season. If you had offered them their points haul of 46 after 22 games they would have snapped your hand off, and they are simply unfortunate that two other sides are having freakishly good seasons above them.


Chesterfield are also the side that have performed best in the big games. They went to Meadow Lane and arguably dropped 2 points rather than gaining 1, and they comfortably dispatched Wrexham at home. Paul Cook has created a side that suits his style. His squad is mainly composed of young talent, and they spread the goals around the squad better than any other side in the division. Their joint top scorers, Kabongo Tshimanga and Jeff King, have just 6 goals a piece, and one is a striker who has managed just 731 minutes and the other is a right back. On their day they are unplayable, but the only downside to their season is the odd game where they simply don’t turn up. Halifax away, Maidenhead at home, both are prime examples of where Chesterfield simply don’t turn up, and get beaten by a single goal in a game they would usually win. If they can iron these issues out they can be a genuine force in the division.


Paul Cook has set his side apart from the other 2 big hitters by committing to a 4 at the back system. This allows him to pack his side full of attacking talent, and the introduction of veteran Mike Jones as a holding midfielder allowed this to flourish even further, providing attacking licence to right back Jeff King. It’s resulted in some strong attacking play, with goals coming from all over the pitch. They’ve scored 45 goals, 3rd most in the league, and sit 5th for xG, so aren’t over achieving too much. They also keep 54.8% of the ball on average, 4th best in the division, another sign of the good football being played in Derbyshire. They also complete the 3rd most passes per defensive action against, so they certainly like to use the ball, and keep hold of it.


As mentioned, Chesterfield’s joint top scorer has been right back Jeff King, and the 26 year old full back has undoubtedly been the best in his position. 6 goals, 5 assists from right back in a back 4 is unheard of at this level, and the manner in which he has taken these goals has been superb too. Excellent free kicks and long range screamers on his left foot, King really has got it all in his locker, and he has shown it throughout the season. He’s not just an output machine though, as he gets up and down the flank with regularity. He’s strong in the defensive third too, winning 66.43% of his defensive duels, a figure which is very high for a full back. There is an argument that King is the best full back in the division, such is the strength of his opening half of the campaign, and he has been the Spireites standout player.


Outside of right back the strongest area of the pitch for Chesterfield is the centre of midfield. Cook has gone with a 3 man midfield for the second quarter of the season, and with 4 quality midfielders at his disposal it has meant that Arsenal loanee Tim Akinola has often been left out. In fact, of outfield players he is one of only 2 players who feature in the top 7 for pass accuracy that don’t play for Notts County. His pass accuracy of 89.47% is closely followed by that of teammate Mike Jones, who completes 88.61% of his passes. As we mentioned earlier, Jones has come into the side as an anchorman, playing at the base of the midfield 3 in order to give the other players more freedom to go out and attack. The other two midfielders who have been especially impressive are Ollie Banks and Darren Oldaker, both of whom are serious contenders to be in the team of the season so far. Both exert high amounts of influence and control over a game, and both are technically brilliant. Oldaker has a pass accuracy of 87.29% and Banks 82.66%, just highlighting the quality Paul Cook has at his disposal in the middle.


Chesterfield also recently added Ash Palmer from Stockport, an experienced defender who last season won the National League. He will be hoping to make it two promotions from two, as he looks to add that little bit of extra experience and security at the back. Another mention must be given to exciting winger Jesurun Uchegbulam, who has played his part from the bench this season. The 21 year old has been content with his limited opportunities, and when he has entered the action he has frightened defences with his direct running style and blistering pace. He’s added 2 goals from the bench this season, and he may be Chesterfield’s secret weapon in the second half of the season.

 

Dagenham & Redbridge

Looking back on our Q1 Report summary of Dagenham it initially appeared as though we had been slightly harsh on Daryl McMahon’s side. However, the basis for the criticism came in the fact that they sat 11th despite investing heavily in the summer, and despite the fact that they were one of the favourites for the playoffs. In fairness to the Daggers, they have played the fewest amount of games in the league, but their last ldefeat provided Torquay with their first win in over a month. The statistical signs aren’t particularly great for Dagenham either. They have an xG of just 27.73, 6th lowest in the league, but they have actually scored 35, an over performance of 7.27. This would normally suggest that their current scoring rate isn’t sustainable, and therefore a possibility that Dagenham’s scoring will slow down.


They have however improved massively in the defensive third. At the time of the Q1 report they had conceded 29 goals, 3rd most in the league, but since then they’ve only conceded an impressive 7 goals, something which means they have improved to having just the 8th worst defensive record. Whilst it’s still not ideal, it is certainly a stark improvement. In the Q1 report we suggested that ‘The Daggers are the division’s entertainers’, but on both fronts they have slowed down. If they can win their games in hand they will be in with a shout of the playoffs; they sit just 1 point outside of the top 7. However, games in hand and points on the board are two very different things, so time will tell for McMahon’s men.


Significantly less pressure is on Irish coach Daryl McMahon, no doubt aided by a cup run which saw them narrowly miss out on the 3rd Round of the FA Cup. McMahon has committed to playing with a back 5, with 2 very attack minded wing backs now at his disposal following Joel Taylor’s loan arrival from Notts County. McMahon has stuck with the 3 centre back system despite not having an abundance of fit central defenders. It’s meant he’s used midfielder Harry Phipps as a makeshift defender, and while his commitment to the tactical identity could be admired others may see it as stubbornness. Despite having 5 defenders Dagenham haven’t performed too well in defence; they rank 5th for xG against, showing how often they concede high quality chances.


Dagenham have been without star striker Paul McCallum for the last few months, but 24 year old Josh Walker has stepped up in his absence. He has partnered Junior Morias up top, and between them the pair have formed one of the best strike partnerships in the division, firing a combined 14 goals between them. Both carry bags of pace, with Walker especially looking to get in behind to stretch the lines. Walker attempts the 22nd most dribbles per 90, 5.69, showing his willingness to get on the ball. Morias has had a particularly strong season, once again showing why many believe he could play in the EFL. His free kick against Wealdstone was a particular highlight, dipping the ball into the near side top corner to score one of the best goals of the season.


Midfielder Matt Robinson continues to be an ever present this season, showing why he is one of the best in the division. Robinson is all action, has an incredible engine and work rate to match. Robinson has played every minute of Dagenham’s season, the only outfield player to do so, showing his importance to that side. Robinson has played more passes than any other Dagenham player, 63rd most in the league as a whole, and he’s also won an impressive 66.25% of his defensive duels. He is strong in all aspects of the game and is a key man for the Daggers.

 

Dorking Wanderers

Arguably the success story of the first half of the season, Dorking have done the best of the 4 promoted sides, something a scarce few would have predicted. Marc White’s side are well followed due to the YouTube series about them, but their commitment to playing attractive football might not be mentioned enough. They’ve scored 43 goals, 12 more than any side in the bottom half, and 4th most in the division as a whole. Dorking also sit 10 points above the danger zone, so if they continue in the way they are they should ensure safety. Dorking have also played the most games of any side in the division, so only need to maintain their levels for another 22 games. Despite the positives though, Dorking are abysmal defensively. They’ve conceded the most goals in the league (55), and despite scoring the 4th most they actually have the 5th worst goal difference in the league. White’s men should be fine, but if they are dragged into a relegation scrap it will be due to defensive errors rather than an inability to score.


Owner-come-manager Marc White deserves an immense amount of credit, mainly for the way he has his side playing. Dorking like to dominate the ball and attack, as evidenced by averaging 58.00% possession, 2nd most in the league. Dorking play an attractive brand of football, and it results in goals. White is extremely good at getting his side finishing well, and they take a large amount of shots, 5th most in the league. They also like to get their wing backs forward, and get balls into their front 2. They rank highest for crosses, and 4th for touches in the box, showing they are very much a side who play on the front foot. Their tactical shape allows them to commit men forward; they play a 5-2-1-2, although the wing backs push on high up the pitch.


Dorking’s star man is undoubtedly James McShane, a player who at 31 is enjoying the best season of his career, and could be in the conversation for player of the season. Versatile, McShane normally operates as an attacking midfielder, but he’s able to play slightly deeper or up front, and regardless of where he’s played he manages to find the back of the net. McShane has 15 goals to his name, and if it wasn’t for Macaulay Langstaff having a crazy season McShane would be one of the favourites to be top scorer. He also has the 4th highest xG in the league, showing his goalscoring form is no fluke. A dangerous player, if McShane sustains his form he is sure to be of interest to a whole host of clubs; fortunately for Dorking he recently signed a new deal.


Diminutive forward Ryan Seager has played in each of Dorking’s 25 games so far this season, the only player to do so, and he’s shown an eye for goal during that time. Seager has 11 goals to his name, 6th most in the league, following on from last season where he scored 27 for Hungerford Town. At 5ft 9” Seager isn’t the biggest of forwards, but his clever movement and sharp finishing make him a real threat. Seager is extremely accurate in front of goal, and he has the 2nd best shots on target % in the league, behind only Cedwyn Scott of Notts. Seager hits the target with a staggering 62.22% of his shots, and he will be targeting 20 goals come the end of the season.

 

Eastleigh

Eastleigh continue to make a surprise playoff push, and they owe much of that to their fantastic home form. Eastleigh have picked up 26 points at home, 4th most in the league, and the only sides who have claimed more are the current top 3. This is a staggering 81% of all of their points, so Eastleigh are very much a side who rely on home advantage. They’ve also not drawn a game since we published our Q1 Report, so their second quarter has been quite decisive. Perhaps most peculiarly is the fact that they are the only side in the top half who have lost more games than they’ve won. It would be a genuine surprise if Eastleigh made the playoffs, but something that isn’t beyond the realms of possibility at the halfway stage.


Spitfires boss Lee Bradbury is one of the few managers who seems to change his tactical shape every week. In their last 3 games they have operated with a 4-3-3, a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-1-4-1, and he has used a 4-4-2 earlier in the season too. Whilst the shape changes, the way in which he likes to play the game does not. Bradbury likes his side to be solid defensively, soak up pressure and then look to steal the game by scoring on the break. It’s a tactic that works well at home, as buoyed by their home support their defence often holds out. They don’t tend to commit men forward in large numbers, possibly a factor behind them scoring just 27 goals. Only 5 sides in the division have scored less than Eastleigh, so their high league position is a testament to their ability to keep games close.


Eastleigh have one of the youngest sides in the division, with an average age of jus