46 games, it only got worse … and other thoughts and stats on 2013-14
Our record from the 12 “extra” matches now reads: P12, W1, D1, L10. In the first two seasons, we stayed 3rd and dropped from 2nd to 4th, respectively; this season, we were in touching distance of the playoffs and slipped to 11 points behind 7th place.
Actually, Hendon’s season can be put in three sections: first 7, middle 33, last 6. First 7 games: W1, D2, L4 (5 pts); middle 33: W20, D4, L9 (64 pts); last 6, W0, D1, L5 (1 pt). If the form in the middle two-thirds of the season had been replicated over the full campaign we would have finished on 89 points, good enough for second place behind Wealdstone.
Another way of looking at the season would be to compare our records against the bottom three clubs and the next four. Against Cray, Carshalton and Thamesmead, our record was P6, W6, D0, L0, Pts18; against Wingate & Finchley, East Thurrock, Enfield Town and Harrow Borough it was P8, W1, D2, L5 Pts5. If we had dropped, say, 8 points against those four teams, our total for the season would have been 86 points, again good enough for a runners-up spot.
The bottom line is that the table rarely lies and although we were certainly better than 6 points from the first 7 and last 6 matches, we were definitely not as good as almost 2 points per game from the middle 33 games.
Cup runs excluded, it has been a magnificent performance by Gary and the teams on the pitch and in the dugout. I seem to recall that, in odds available at the start of this season, we were among the favourites for relegation. To finish eighth, and be in the playoff hunt after almost 40 games, shows that this has been an exceptionally good season.
By the way, one last statistic: and let me stress this is not a criticism, if Dave Diedhiou had taken more than two of his chances in the last four games – and there were more than a handful – we would have finished with four players in double figures in goals, something we haven’t done since way back in 2011–12 when Greg Ngoyi (17), Elliott Charles (12), Isaiah Rankin (12) and Carl McCluskey (11) achieved it, and we were the only club in the top three divisions of non-league football to achieve it.