Date: Fri 05 Aug 2022

By Steve Whitney

2022/23 Premier Division South Preview

Saturday marks the start of the 2022/23 Pitching In Southern Football League season, with a full fixture list in both the Premier Division Central and Premier Division South as well as Emirates FA Cup ties for a number of clubs in the Division One Central and Division One South.


Moses Emmanuel - staying

Moses Emmanuel - staying

Last season saw Hayes & Yeading United finish as runners-up to champions Taunton Town and, although Paul Hughes` side were beaten in the play-offs by Farnborough, have been installed as 7/2 favourites for the 2022/23 title.

Hughes has lost some influential players, most notably Francis Amartey to Vanarama National League side Aldershot Town.

However, he has managed to keep hold of top scorer Moses Emmanuel and has added some decent looking players.

Hayes & Yeading make the relatively short trip to Imber Court to take on Metropolitan Police on the opening day.

New Signings

Florian Envoudou Ada – Langley FC
Jacob Adams – Fulham
Emmanuel Adebiyi – Westfield
Ade Ademayo – Cray Valley PM
Mo Bettamer – Aldershot T
Drew Churchwell - Westfield
Steve Ngunga – Rising Ballers
Jerry Wiltshire – Walton Casuals

The bookmakers seem to think it will be something of a two-horse race as Bracknell Town, promoted as runaway champions of the Isthmian League South Central Division and switched by the FA in the summer, have been made second favourites at 9/2, with Poole Town at 8/1 next in the betting.

Manager Bobby Wilkinson has made quite a number of changes, signing up a number of players who were selected in the division’s team of the year for 2021/22.

Bracknell begin life at Step 3 with a Larges Lane visit of Weston-super-Mare.

New Signings

Gary Abisogun – Chertsey Town
Dan Carr – Hanwell Town
Ben Cook – Basingstoke Town
Jordan Esprit – Bedfont Sports
Darnell Goather-Braithwaite – Waltham Abbey
Simon Grant – Marlow
Ashley Lodge – Chertsey Town
Conor Lynch – Basingstoke Town
Romarni Medford-Smith – Farnborough
Adam Richards – Marlow
Darryl Sanders – Bedfont Sports

Promoted with Bracknell and also switched across by the FA in the summer were Hanwell Town.

Known as the `Geordies`, they have been relatively quiet in the summer and, understandably, are not fancied to stay up by the bookies.

However, Chris Moore is a shrewd manager, and they are a well-run community club.

Truro City are the Geordies first ever Step 3 visitors on Saturday.

New Signings

Kai Davis - Westfield
Mat Mackenzie – South Park
James Mansfield – Harrow Borough

North Leigh, who won a place at Step 3 level for the first time after being the surprise play-off winners of the Division One Central, are also tipped to be relegated straight back down again.

Somewhat surprisingly switched to the Premier Division South, manager Eddie Odhiambo is realistic and understands the Millers are perhaps `punching above their weight`.

Eddie Odhiambo

Eddie Odhiambo

However, few will fancy visiting the Oxfordshire village and a lot will depend on how they fare away from home as to whether it’s a one-season stay at Premier Division level.

North Leigh’s opening salvo at the higher level is a long trip to Dorchester Town on Saturday.

New Signings

Jack Alexander – Wantage Town
Matt Nutt – Pershore Town

Expectations are much higher though at Plymouth Parkway after their Division One South title success.

And the bookmakers even make them 11/1 on making successive promotions.

Judging from Lee Hobbs` summer shopping spree, he doesn’t feel that’s out of the question either, with the likes of Dan Rooney and Ben Seymour being very good acquisitions.

Parkway welcome Chesham United on the opening day.

New Signings

Tyler Ashmead – Bristol Manor Farm
Rio Garside – Truro City
Brandon Pursall – Plymouth Argyle (Loan)
Dan Rooney – Truro City
Ben Seymour – Exeter City
Theo Simpson – Tiverton Town

On the other hand, Winchester City, who came up with Parkway as play-off winners, have been tipped to go straight back down again.

But they have made some interesting signings, with Silva Obeng showing in pre-season that he can score goals at the higher level after switching from Wessex Leaguers Brockenhurst.

Winchester have a home game with Poole Town as their opener.

New Signings

Josh Bertie – Andover Town
Claudio Herbert – Hungerford Town
Mark Jamison – Wimborne Town
Alex MacAllister – Aldershot Town (Dual Reg)
Dan Neild - Weymouth
Silva Obeng – Brockenhurst
Charlie Philpott – Eastleigh (Season’s Loan)
Jack Torniainen – Eastleigh
Jordi Valero – Romsey Town
Archie Willcox – Fareham Town

Metropolitan Police and Weston-super-Mare were the two other teams who finished in the top five last season and both are expected, and tipped, to feature prominently again this term.

Gavin MacPherson has, as usual, searched the lower leagues for new recruits and usually comes up with a gem or two.

New Signings

Zak Brown – Bedford Town
Callum Coulter – Aldershot Town
Tom Lanek-Read – Balham FC
Conor Lee – Spelthorne Sports
Didi Ndombe – Chertsey Town

At the Optima Stadium, it’s very much `as you were` in terms of the squad for Scott Bartlett, although he has added strength in depth.

New Signings

James Dodd – Exeter City
Max Harris – Cheltenham Town (Season’s Loan)
Reuben Reid – Yeovil Town
Elis Watts – Aldershot Town

James Duncan and Michael Murray have also managed to maintain stability at Chesham United, who finished just a point shy of the play-off places last season.

No significant new signings have been announced, whilst the majority of last season’s squad have re-signed.

New Signings

None

As mentioned earlier, Poole Town are amongst the favourites for promotion, despite a disappointing 2021/22 campaign when they finished 10th.

But manager Tom Killick has made three significant new signings, with Wes Fogden’s move after helping Dorking Wanderers to win promotion to the National League especially interesting.

However, the loss – temporarily at least - of top scorer Tony Lee, who has been suspended by the club, could prove costly, and Killick will be hoping that Toby Holmes` arrival could be a solution.

New Signings

Luke Cairney – Hungerford Town
Wes Fogden – Dorking Wanderers
Toby Holmes – Taunton Town

Truro City will always be amongst the favourites to feature at the top end of the table, although having to play `home` games at Plymouth Parkway’s Bolitho Park doesn’t help Paul Wotton’s cause.

The bookmakers don’t fancy them much though at 16/1.

New Signings

Ben Adelsbury – Taunton Town
Kyle Egan – Tiverton Town
Jacob Grange - Mousehole
Ollie Knowles - Salisbury
Jack Rice – Willand Rovers
Dan Sullivan – Taunton Town

Two clubs tipped to struggle by the bookmakers are Hartley Wintney and Merthyr Town.

The Row finished 18th last season and are another club seen to be `punching above their weight` at this level.

But they are a well-run outfit and have a consistent squad which has been added to.

The Row welcome Swindon Supermarine on the opening day.

New Signings

Isaac Charles - Windsor
Harry Cooksley – Farnborough
Adam Desbois – Brighton
Aaron McLeish-White – Bracknell Town
Anis Nuur – Metropolitan Police
Jake Rumble – Woking

The Martyrs gained a last-gasp reprieve from relegation after finishing second-from-bottom and some 11 points adrift of the next team, Kings Langley.

But Paul Michael begins his first season in charge with a new-look squad and some decent signings.

They have a strong backing and may well surprise a few.

A long trip to Privett Park to play Gosport Borough awaits Merthyr on the opening day.

New Signings

Liam Angel – Yate Town
Will Fuller – Bath City
Rhys Kavanagh – Barry Town United
Tom Handley – Cirencester Town
Andy Lewis – Yate Town
Zack Maher – Newport County
Ricardo Rees – Yate Town
Callum Ryan-Phillips – Newport County
Abubacarr Sama – Gotyre FC

Due to possessing a high-profile manager such as Steve Claridge means that Salisbury will always be fancied to do well.

But they slipped to a very disappointing 15th-place finish last season and threatened the bottom end rather than the top for the majority of the campaign.

Brandon Goodship

Brandon Goodship

He has made quite a number of changes to his personnel and Brandon Goodship’s signing looks like being a very good one.

Beaconsfield Town travel to the Ray Mac on Saturday.

New Signings
Gerard Benfield - Weymouth
Dinesh Gillela – Hereford
Brandon Goodship – Weymouth
Lewis Gunstone-Gray – Christchurch
Ryan Penny – AFC Stoneham
Ben Thomson - Weymouth

Beaconsfield Town finished 17th last season and manager Gary Meakin is another to have largely maintained stability in the summer.

Keeping striker Nathan Minhas has been good business for the Rams.

New Signings

Aymen Azaze – Barnet (Season’s Loan)
Louis Walsh – Barnet (2-Month Loan)

Dorchester Town finished fourth-from-bottom in 2021/22, despite an initial improvement in results after the arrival of Glenn Howes as manager.

He has had something of a clear-out in the summer and one of his shrewdest recruits could be veteran Army man Keith Emmerson.

New Signings

Olly Balmer – Winchester City
Harry Dillon – Hamworthy United
Kieran Douglas – Winchester City
Keith Emmerson – Hungerford Town
Jordi Foot - Shaftesbury
Ollie Griggs – Winchester City
Shaq Gwengwe – AFC Totton
Michael Lilley – Exeter City
Louie Slough – Torquay United

Gosport Borough flirted with a top five spot last season before falling away to end up in ninth.

They too look to have recruited well and their loyal support will expect a play-off challenge at the very least.

New Signings

Abdulai Bell-Baggie – Salisbury
Harvey Bradbury – Welling United
Danny Hollands – Eastleigh
Andreas Robinson – Weymouth

Yate Town under the experienced management of Peter Beadle are not tipped to challenge but are also not expected to struggle.

They did extremely well to finish seventh last season and their summer signing spree suggests that, with the former Hereford boss steering the ship, a decent season awaits the Bluebells.

Yate travel to North London to play Hendon on Saturday,

New Signings

Louis Evans – Swindon Supermarine
Landon Golding – Chippenham Town (Loan)
Matt Green – Gloucester City
Prince Henry – Bristol City (6-Month Loan)
Martin Horsell – Swindon Supermarine
Pierce Mitchell – Swindon Supermarine
Toby Raison – Hereford FC
Omar Taylor-Clarke – Bristol City (6-Month Loan)
Leighton Tuodolo – Chippenham Town (Loan)

Lee Allinson’s Hendon squad has a much different look to it this season after he has made 13 new additions to date.

The Greens finished 16th last term but never really looked in any danger of being in trouble.

Could be an interesting season at Silver Jubilee Park.

New Signings

Azeez Alabi – Bedfont Sports
Bobson Bawling – Haringey Borough
Marcin Brzozowksi – Torquay United
Robbie Buchanan - Ware
Reece Crowter – Arlesey Town
Dave Diedhiou – St Albans City
Kevin Diomande – Bedfont Sports
Isaac Galliford – Royston Town
Arthur Iontton – Hampton & Richmond Borough
Frank Keita – Harrow Borough
Tariq Moore-Azille – Walton Casuals
Giovanni Palmer – Bedfont Sports
Dan Williams – Bedfont Sports

Swindon Supermarine under Lee Spalding finished 12th in 2021/22 and are always a tough side to play against.

It’s more a case of who has stayed rather than who has joined `Marine, with the likes of top marksman Conor McDonagh re-signing.

New Signings

Salhin Abubakar – Metropolitan Police
James Harding – Yate Town
Connor Johns – Highworth Town
Leon Morrison – Highworth Town
Wayne Nderamani – Mangotsfield United
Sam Turl – Yate Town

It`s a different scenario at Tiverton Town where there has been major squad surgery undertaken by Scott Rogers.

The Yellows finished 13th last season but with the likes of Niall Thompson and Louis Morison scoring goals for fun in pre-season, supporters are hopeful of a much better 2022/23.

New Signings

Matt Britton – Swindon Supermarine
Matt Buchan – Bideford AFC
Toby Down – Bideford AFC
Kai Fisher – Bideford AFC
Dylan Jones – Cinderford Town
Josh Jones – Larkhall Athletic
Joe O’Loughlin – Frome Town
Lerone Plummer – Bemerton Heath Harlequins
Tom Purrington – Dorchester Town
Jamie Richards – Truro City
Niall Thompson – Truro City
Lucas Vowles – Weston-super-Mare

Tiverton begin the new campaign with Harrow Borough making the long trek down to the Ian Moorcroft Stadium.

And Steve Baker’s side have, as usual, been tipped as one of the favourites for relegation.

Boro ended up in 14th spot in 2021/22 and have a mainly youthful squad to which Baker has added a handful of new faces to this summer.

New Signings

Montel Brown – Aylesbury Vale Dynamos
Taishan Griffith – FC Romania
Lanre Ladipo – Kings Langley
Billy Leonard – North Greenford United
Jaden Sharman – Potters Bar Town
Josh Williams - Ware

What the Bookmakers Think

7/2
Hayes & Yeading United
9/2
Bracknell Town
8/1
Poole
10/1
Weston-super-Mare
11/1
Gosport Borough
11/1
Plymouth Parkway
12/1
Metropolitan Police
12/1
Tiverton Town
14/1
Chesham United
16/1
Salisbury
16/1
Truro City
25/1
Yate Town
28/1
Swindon Supermarine
40/1
Beaconsfield Town
40/1
Dorchester Town
40/1
Hendon
50/1
Hanwell Town
50/1
Harrow Borough
50/1
Winchester City
66/1
Hartley Wintney
66/1
Merthyr Town
66/1
North Leigh