After fourty-five days since we ended the 2018-19 season at home to Merstham, the first game of 2019-20 takes us along the coast to familiar foes, Folkestone Invicta.
While most of us were either celebrating the end of another working day or already starting dinner, The BetVictor Isthmian League computer was busy compiling the Saturday afternoons and Tuesday evenings – and possibly Monday or Wednesday evenings – that will shape the majority of at least our thoughts, if not our lives, over the next nine months.
For those of you not up on your social media, you may not be aware of what the immediate future holds for our boys in red. At least everyone will now know who and where they’re aiming for on the 10th August, as I declared at the top of this piece, when we make the familiar journey to our good friends and regular play-off rivals, Folkestone Invicta.
I don’t think anyone needs reminding of our last trip there back in March; a last-gasp goal from David Ajiboye seeing us nick three points to complete the double over the Kent club.
The familiar face of former player Darren Freeman marks our opening clash at Woodside, by him bringing his Lewes team down on the 13th. If anyone missed either of our meetings with The Rooks last term then you missed a couple of absolute corkers ! Suffice to say that both sides will be looking to overturn their respective defeats from January/October and the two Managers will be keen to experience a somewhat calmer ninety minutes !!
Hornchurch – now minus the AFC prefix – are up next and Callum Kealy featured significantly in the matches against the 2018 North Division Champions last campaign, climbing off the bench to rescue a point in November before notching another in a 3-1 home win at the end of March.
Newly-promoted Bowers & Pitsea represents a new ground for many and a new clubhouse is amongst the changes for a side very much on an upward trajectory under Gaffer, Rob Small on the 24th, before we conclude the season’s first month with fixtures against that lot from this side of Pagham and many peoples tip for the top, Margate.
Festive frivolities will have to be toned down amongst the serious business of a Boxing Day out at the now completed Camping World Community Stadium, Horsham’s now humble abode for a local derby, with the return coming on Easter Monday after Bowers have journeyed down to our own hospitable habitat for their maiden visit.
New Year’s Day will be a test of character for those partial to a celebratory tipple as we welcome in 2020 with a visit to Nyewood Lane; a venue that saw Jesse Starkey poach a late leveller last term in a two-all draw.