SWIFTS begin a five-game run-in today which will have a huge bearing on their play-off hopes, so we have taken a closer look at the teams they will face this month…
Sat, Apr 6, (A) Tilbury: After a 3-1 friendly win over Wivenhoe Town on Tuesday evening, Swifts will go to Chadfields today to face a Dockers side in fine form under relatively new boss Marc Harrison. He has been in charge for 21 league games, of which they have won ten, drawn six and had five defeats. Lewis Smith has been Tilbury’s star man this season with 27 goals, 24 in the league. Swifts won the reverse fixture 2-1 in early December.
Sat, Apr 13, (H) Aveley: It is difficult to say what sort of challenge awaits against the Millers after the shock departure of their manager James Webster this week. The ex-Brightlingsea gaffer had been in charge for 19 months, built a strong squad and had guaranteed a crack at the play-offs this season. Swifts lost an exciting clash 3-2 at Parkside in September but much has changed since then. For a start Sam Bantick (pictured) got both Heybridge goals that day – now he plays for Aveley and has bagged five goals in their last three games!
Sat, Apr 20, (A) Bowers: A trip to a Bowers side who will undoubtedly have officially been crowned champions by then. Rob Small’s side have been the best and most consistent in the division, no doubt. But one of their only two league defeats this season came at the Aspen Waite Arena in January when Charlie Kendall’s second-half goal sealed the win. Title sown up or not – expect the Pitsea boys to be well up for this one.
Mon, Apr 22, (H) Coggeshall: This Easter Monday Bank Holiday fixture promises to be a cracker and may well hold the key to where both of these sides finish in the top six. At the time of writing their relative positions in the table would result in a play-off semi-final between the two at the Aspen Waite Arena. Elliott Ronto’s sensational volleyed winner earned Swifts a 1-0 victory in the reverse fixture on New Year’s Day. Former Swifts No 1 Danny Sambridge now keeps goal for Coggeshall.
Sat, Apr 27, (A) Bury Town: Swifts finish with a trip to Suffolk to face a Bury Town side currently seventh in the division. Swifts won the reverse 2-0 in mid October in what was Julian Dicks’ second game in charge of Heybridge. Given how close it has been in the play-off pack this season it will inevitably be a day when Swifts fans will also be keeping a close eye on how Aveley are doing at home against Soham, how Coggeshall are faring at home to Sudbury, and how Maldon are doing against visiting Barking. And when it is all done everyone will be getting out their calculators to see if their points-per-game ratio gives them a chance of going up from the play-offs!