Premier League quartet eye top spot

Sent Her Forward looks ahead to the games in prospect – if the weather allows

P W D L F A PTS
Cardiff City 9 7 1 1 34 9 22
Brighton 10 7 1 2 31 14 22
Portsmouth 9 7 1 1 25 9 22
Charlton Athletic 10 7 0 3 38 16 21
West Ham U 9 6 0 3 18 10 18

Four Premier League teams head into the weekend hoping to end it on top of the table.

Any of Cardiff City, Brighton, Portsmouth or Charlton Athletic could head the league by Sunday night, with only one point separating the top four – and just another three between them and fifth-placed West Ham United.

Portsmouth would appear to have the most straightforward task – visiting Copsewood Coventry, a team they have already beaten in the Premier League Cup, while current leaders Cardiff look to have the toughest, at West Ham, who are biting at the top teams’ heels, despite an inconsistent season so far.

But each will be waiting for their rivals to slip up as they vie for the chance to play off for a Super League place in the summer of 2016.

If Pompey’s game survives the weather, they will be confident of extending their superb unbeaten run in all competitions, which includes eight wins and a draw in their last nine league matches.

Their hosts have won only once all season and lost 4-2 at home to the Blues early in the campaign.

Brighton will be full of confidence after their incredible 5-1 win over goal-happy Charlton Athletic last Sunday. They entertain Queens Park Rangers, who are making a decent fist of their season following promotion last term.

The Londoners should not be short of confidence themselves after hitting eight in their last game, two weeks ago, against Keynsham Town.

Charlton can go top if the teams above them all slip up and they get back to winning ways at Plymouth Argyle.

The Londoners are still the division’s top scorers, with 38 goals in 10 games, but last week’s 5-1 reverse at Brighton – whom they beat 4-1 a few weeks earlier – could prove a watershed in their eventful season.

The club have just signed Nikita Whinnett from Gillingham, where she was a key member of the team that just missed out on the Premier League title last season, adding to the competition for places.

Victory for Cardiff should be enough to keep them top, but success for West Ham would throw them right into the mix. Cardiff, who have lost just once on their travels this season, will be looking to inflict a fourth home defeat on the Hammers, who ironically have a 100% record away from home.

Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur can expect to rejoin the promotion challenge by winning at Keynsham Town, who have become the league’s cannon fodder, losing all 10 of their league matches and shipping nearly six goals a game.

And Gillingham will be desperate for a third league win of the season at home to Lewes to drag their Sussex opponents into the congested bottom zone. Success for the visitors would open up a gap between them and the strugglers.

FAW Premier League Division One South West

With leaders Forest Green Rovers in cup action, second-placed Southampton Saints will go top if they win at promotion rivals Exeter City.

Swindon Town are also set to take advantage of Forest Green’s absence. They will expect to win at St Nicholas, which would take them level with the leaders.

Chichester City take another break from league action to host Leicester City, from the parallel Midlands Division, in the FAW Premier League Plate, subject to the weather. Kick-off at Oaklands Park is scheduled for 3pm.

FAW Premier Reserves League Southern

Leaders West Ham host Spurs, strugglers Lewes and Gillingham meet in the reverse fixture of their respective senior sides, Brighton and QPR also meet at both levels and Portsmouth are at home to neighbours Chichester City.

London & South East Regional Women’s League

Sussex sides Hassocks and Crawley Wasps clash with both in desperate need of a win. Hassocks are bottom, with only one point from eight games, while Crawley have fallen behind most other clubs after cup commitments, slipping down to eighth after failing to win any of their last three games.

Bexhill United‘s hopes of building up momentum after only their second victory of the season last week will be kept in perspective by the knowledge that they face leaders Fulham Foundation.

Aylesford, who also chalked up a rare win last Sunday, will be rather more optimistic of adding to that tally when they visit London Corinthians.

Eastbourne Town, who have won their last two, are at home to third-placed AFC Wimbledon, while Carshalton Athletic will look to burst back into the promotion pack when they host KIKK United.

Old Actonians take the only unbeaten record in the division to Maidstone United, looking to close the two-point gap on leaders Fulham.

South East Counties Women’s League

League Cup 1st Round

All-conquering Herne Bay, who have pulled off a series of cup upsets in their two-and-a-bit seasons in existence, will be fighting to avoid becoming giant-killing victims themselves when they host Abbey Rangers, who have made a fine start to life in Division One West, the league below their opponents.

The winners will be at home to Premier Division Parkwood Rangers in the second round.

Premier Division

With leaders Herne Bay not in league action, Dartford Royals or Meridian could go top.

Dartford, who are level on points with Bay, visit Long Lane, who are in mid-table. Meridian are at home to struggling Crockenhill, who were knocked out of the League Cup last week by lower-league opponents.

Two more struggling teams meet in East Sussex – weather permitting – when Eastbourne, who have had a dreadful run in league and cup competitions, host bottom club Burgess Hill Town.

Burgess Hill, who have been involved in several cup games, have matches in hand of most other teams but have lost their last four league games.

After performing well when losing 6-0 to Chichester City in the Sussex Challenge Cup, last week they beat Ashford, from the division below them, by the same score in the League Cup.

Revitalised South Park will be anxious not to lose momentum when they host fourth-placed Anchorians.

After finishing bottom last season and losing their first four league and cup games this time around, the Reigate side have won three of their last five, including a 5-1 League Cup success last Sunday over one of the teams bidding to succeed them in the Premier Division next season, Prince of Wales.

Division One West

Weather permitting, Adur Athletic are the latest team to attempt to take a point off leaders Worthing Minors when they make the short trip along the road.

Minors have won seven out of seven in the league, and knocked Premier Division Crockenhill out of the League Cup last week.

Wivelsfield Green will be looking for their fourth league win in a row if their home fixture against bottom club Dorking survives the weather.

Burgess Hill 2nds are at home to Worthing Town.

Division One East

Pick of the games is leaders Prince of Wales‘s home match against Charlton Athletic Development.

Kent Division

The battle of the reserves stands out in this division, when third-placed London Corinthians Reserves bid to become the first team to take a point off Long Lane Reserves.

Sussex County Women and Girls Football League

Women’s Division

It would be a great shame if the forecast rain interfered with an intriguing programme of matches in the Women’s Division, where Crawley Wasps, who lost for the first time last week, entertain Lancing, who have not played since October 12 after winning their first three games in this league.

Second-placed Hurstpierpoint also face a tough challenge when they visit Rottingdean Village, who have surged to form after an indifferent start.

Lewes, who remain in front despite two recent defeats, visit Worthing Town, who are still looking for their first win.

In the other scheduled game, Jarvis Brook are at home to Henfield.

Under-16 Division

The bottom two in the four-team division meet, with both still looking for their first win of the season.

Royal Tunbridge Wells, who crashed 13-0 to leaders Southdown last Sunday, attempt to pick up their first points when they host Hawks Youth Withdean.

Surrey County Women and Girls Football League

Under-18 Premier Division

Horsham Sparrows try for the seventh time to pick up their first point since joining the Surrey League at home to Wealdstone.

Leaders Crawley Town are in cup action against challengers Beecholme Belles.

Hampshire County Women’s Football League

Under-18 Division

The south-coast rivalry between Portsmouth and Southampton will have that little bit extra edge on Sunday when they clash as the top pair in the Under-18 Division.

Portsmouth have won four and lost two of their six games, while leaders Southampton Saints have dropped only three points all season.

Note: Fixtures courtesy of FA Full-Time, and are subject to postponement or relocation.

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