National League South Play-Off Permutations

With lots to fight for at both ends of the National League South table as the season concludes this weekend, here’s a quick look at the possible finishing positions for City and what that could mean for our play-off campaign this year.

The Clarets currently sit 4th, behind Hampton & Richmond Borough by way of a single goal. Here’s a quick look at the top of the table.

Pos Team GD Pts
1 Havant & Waterlooville 39 83
2 Dartford 36 83
3 Hampton & Richmond 21 71
4 Chelmsford 20 71
5 Hemel Hempstead 21 70
6 Truro 16 68
7 Braintree 15 66
8 St Albans 14 65

The Clarets can finish as high as 3rd or as low as 6th, which makes a big difference with the introduction of the new play-off system as the clubs finishing 4th – 7th now need to play an additional play-off match in order to reach the semi-final, whilst 2nd and 3rd get a few day extra rest and one less game.

To finish 3rd, the Clarets need to better Hampton & Richmond’s result by just a goal – so if they win 1-0, we need to win 2-0, which would see us climb above them on goals scored.

Even if City lose on Saturday, they can still finish in the top 3, as long as Hampton lose too and by a goal more. This, however, would also rely on Hemel Hempstead losing, otherwise they would climb above both City and Hampton.

A draw for Chelmsford at Eastbourne would mean that either a win or a draw for Hampton against Truro would be enough to keep that Clarets in 4th (or drop them down the table). If Truro win that one, they would need a 5 goal swing over Hampton to move above them, but cannot overtake the Clarets, whilst any win for Hemel Hempstead would move them into 3rd.

So, to summarise:

  • City Win: The Clarets will either finish 3rd or 4th, depending on the result of Hampton & Richmond vs Truro.
  • City Draw: The Clarets will either finish 3rd, 4th or 5th, depending on the results of Hampton & Richmond vs Truro and Weston-super-Mare vs Hemel Hempstead.
  • City Lose: The Clarets will either finish 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th, depending on the result of Hampton & Richmond vs Truro and Weston-super-Mare vs Hemel Hempstead

If you’re interested in more detail, please read on…

If City win and…

  • Hampton win, we finish 3rd if we win by a margin of at least 1 goal greater than them (unless they win 11-10 and us 2-0…), otherwise we finish 4th
  • Hampton draw, we finish 3rd
  • Hampton lose, we finish 3rd

If City draw and…

  • Hampton win and Hemel win, we finish 5th
  • Hampton win and Hemel draw, we finish 4th
  • Hampton win and Hemel lose, we finish 4th
  • Hampton draw and Hemel win, we finish 5th
  • Hampton draw and Hemel draw, we finish 4th
  • Hampton draw and Hemel lose, we finish 4th
  • Hampton lose and Hemel win, we finish 5th
  • Hampton lose and Hemel draw, we finish 3rd
  • Hampton lose and Hemel lose, we finish 3rd

If City lose and…

  • Hampton win and Hemel win, we finish 5th
  • Hampton win and Hemel draw, we finish 5th
  • Hampton win and Hemel lose, we finish 4th
  • Hampton draw and Hemel win, we finish 5th
  • Hampton draw and Hemel draw, we finish 5th
  • Hampton draw and Hemel lose, we finish 4th
  • Hampton lose (Truro win) and Hemel win, we finish 6th if Truro overcome the current 4 goal swing, or we finish 4th if they don’t and we lose by at least 1 goal less than Hampton, otherwise we finish 5th
  • Hampton lose (Truro win) and Hemel draw, we finish 6th if Truro overcome the current 4 goal swing, or we finish 3rd if they don’t and we lose by at least 1 goal less than Hampton, otherwise we finish 5th
  • Hampton lose (Truro win) and Hemel lose, we finish 5th if Truro overcome the current 4 goal swing, or we finish 3rd if they don’t and we lose by at least 1 goal less than Hampton, otherwise we finish 4th

*If anyone spots an error in my maths please let me know – it’s still early so my brain may not be functioning…!

Elsewhere in the league, the title will be also be decided on the final day as Havant and Dartford are separated by just 3 goals at the top, whilst 8th placed St Albans still hold out hope of climbing above Braintree and/or Truro and into the top 7 on the final day.

At the bottom of the league, with Bognor Regis and Whitehawk already relegated, the final spot is also yet to be decided. Currently in 20th are Poole, but with Hungerford just 1 point ahead of them, they won’t have given up hope of safety just yet.

The final league fixtures will take play this Saturday, with all games kicking off at 3pm (though Wealdstone and Oxford have an extra game tonight).

Bath City vs St Albans City
Bognor Regis Town vs Dartford
Braintree Town vs Gloucester City
Chippenham Town vs Welling United
East Thurrock United vs Hungerford Town
Eastbourne Borough vs Chelmsford City
Hampton & Richmond vs Truro City
Havant & Waterlooville vs Concord Rangers
Poole Town vs Oxford City
Weston-Super-Mare vs Hemel Hempstead Town
Whitehawk vs Wealdstone

It’s also worth noting that City’s play-off rivals Hampton & Richmond have a cup game against Hanworth Villa tonight, though it’s unlikely that any/many of their first team squad will feature in this game.