Epsom & Ewell are sitting proudly on top of the Combined Counties Premier Division after achieving a perfect run of 10 straight wins, and manager Lyndon Buckwell knows just how they did it.
The Salts’s crowning win came at Chessington & Hook last Thursday, where two goals from Robbie Burns and a Mark Jarman strike sealed a 3-2 victory.
Having started the season indifferently with a draw and two defeats, Buckwell’s men picked up the pace and eventually embarked on the perfect run on at the end of November.
The Salts, two points clear of their nearest rivals Egham Town, host Horley Town this weekend, looking to build on what has been an unexpected turn of events.
Buckwell said: “To get 30 points out of 30 is fantastic. It was not so long ago that we were in the bottom half of the table, and our aim at the start of the season was a top six finish. Even then we thought we would have to work bloody hard to do that.
“We have kept about 80 per cent of the players we had last season, so that nucleus of the side all know each other.
“In the summer we resigned three Salts heroes Kylie Hough, Darryl Marvin and Robbie Burns who have all scored goals, and so the balance of the team is right.”
He added: “They are a good and reliable bunch of lads. We had to get rid of the reserve team and youth team because of the cost, so we have lads who have sat on the bench for two or three games and they are being loyal to us.
“And they are all mates now, which makes it harder for them to leave. There are one or two who aren’t playing who say they might go here or there, but it is hard to leave when you’re playing with your mates.”
Despite meeting virtually all their fixture requirements at the ground they share with Chipstead, postponements elsewhere have left the Salts ways ahead of their rivals in terms of games played.
Buckwell said: “If we finished top, under the current League rules we don’t know if we would go up to the Ryman League, or to another League or be allowed to be promoted at all. But it would be a lovely problem to have.
“There’s a long way to go and you have South Park (seven) and Guernsey (10) who are miles behind on their fixtures – if they win three or four of their fixtures, they’ll go above us.
“We know all this, but for a side that was expecting to find it hard to finish in the top six, you cannot ask anymore of the lads.”