A look at Sutton’s form in the second half of their last five Ryman Premier seasons.
In recent years, Sutton have twice entered the second half of the season one place off the lead. In 1997/8 our Championship challenge faded away and we finished 9 points behind winners Kingstonian but, the following year, a storming finish to the season, with 15 wins in the final 21 games, saw United win the Ryman Premier title for the fourth time. Last weekend, Sutton’s 3-1 victory over bottom side Hampton & Richmond lifted the team into second place – but what can we expect over the next 23 games?
Some elementary mathematical calculations tell us that, over our last five Ryman Premier seasons, we increase our points tally by 88%, so we can expect to score a further 38 points. Finishing with 81 points is unlikely to be enough to win the league in a season of 46 games and this is supported by United’s average positional gain of zero. The statistics then, favour a second place finish, which, whilst only one position from glory, would represent an amazing achievement for a United side building towards the future and warned to expect a tough season back in August. In terms of wins, draws and losses, Sutton’s 38 points could be made in a number of ways. Keeping as close to the statistics as possible, though, means a further 11 wins, 5 draws and 7 defeats.
In front of goal, Sutton have faired impressively this season, goals from all over the pitch making them second highest goalscorers with 44 netbusters – only Canvey Island have scored more. In recent years United have slightly more than doubled both goals scored and goals conceded in the second half of the season. If this is the case again, the U’s would finish with 93 goals for and 66 against – an impressive goal difference of 27.
This could well be how United finish this year, but predictions are often proved wrong and I for one am hoping for an even better finish to the season of 2002/3 – Come on you U’s.
By David Loughlin. Taken from the Sutton United v Grays Athletic programme, 1st January 2003 (Match postponed until 11th March 2003).