A mid-table team in disguise?

Chelmsford City enjoyed such a strong start to the season that many fans have disappointed with the gradual decline that has finally seen us slip out of the play-off spots in the National South. But I saw some worrying stats today that suggest perhaps we are not a play-off side going through a sticky patch, rather a mid-table side finally working our way back to where we should be.

The busy start of the season saw the Clarets grab six wins from their opening seven games and put us right at the top of the table. September started with a few mixed results but things picked up again towards the end of the month, before being consistently positive in the first half of October.

By Christmas, things had began to slip and City were sitting towards the lower end of the play-offs, with many fans still hopeful of a strong season. As we approach February though, the realisation that we simply are not good enough currently is beginning to set in. The form tables make for some scary reading:

Last 25 games – 10th
Last 20 games – 13th
Last 15 games – 10th
Last 10 games – 15th
Last 5 games – 20th

… and a look at our league positions over the course of this campaign support those figures:

We are a club on a downwards slide at the moment and no one seems to know what to do to stop it…

Rod has tried to bring in some new faces. Taylor Miles looks an impressive addition to the midfield, whilst the re-signing of Chris Smith on loan from Ipswich has been celebrated amongst the Clarets faithful. What we’re really missing though, is a goalscorer, something which beggars belief when you consider just how many strikers we already have on the books.

Between the 5 (yes, five) of them, Chris Dickson, Kudus Oyengua, Lee Barnard, Shaun Batt and Tom Hitchcock have managed just 24 league goals so far this campaign (with the vast majority of those coming from Dickson and Oyenuga), that’s not too far shy of the individual totals of Sam Higgins (18), Phil Roberts and Matt Patterson (both 17)… And yes, that’s the same Phil Roberts who was deemed not good enough for this club last season…

Presumably our forwards are all contracted, hence why Rod Stringer has been unable to shift any of them on to free up space. Whatever the reason, the lack of new additions up front is concerning and something which we all hope can be addressed before it’s too late.

Retaining the Essex Senior Cup is beginning to look like the only hope for success this season, so let’s hope that Tuesday’s trip to East Thurrock United yields a better result than we have seen for a few weeks – the 1-0 win over Colchester in the same competition being the side’s only victory since the 23rd December after all…

Up the City…