As Dulwich supporters battle to save their club from the tentacles of property speculation, the Angels’ next visitors, Billericay Town, are hot favourites for the championship.
The Blues visit Longmead on Thursday evening (March 22), in a third attempt at staging a clash so far jinxed by dreadful weather.
Disruption in the capital (land-based rather than water-based) might yet affect the outcome of this year's Bostik Premier race, even if many pundits believed the top honour was Essex-bound anyway. That was before a ball was kicked, because of Billericay owner Glenn Tamplin's ambition and heavy investment, including stadium revamp.
His charges are flying high and have sufficient games in hand to claim top spot by the end of the season. That said, the need for three-game weeks – the tussle with Tonbridge requires Thursday night football – could affect the final outcome.
Dulwich, homeless and ground-sharing at Tooting, are currently five points clear at the top but Billericay have six games in hand.
National headlines across the Thames Estuary have usually been of the tabloid variety and mostly profile raising - no such thing as bad publicity, is an old adage. The current management of the Angels' next visitors raise eyebrows on occasions, but there is no doubting the passion, determination and ambition. Tamplin, a once semi-professional player, is a football man.
A surprising slump in form means the championship outcome is not necessarily a foregone conclusion, despite dark days in Southwark. Rallying calls and being on a war-like footing in South London might provide impetus for a stirring finale. Crisis often works one way or the other.
It is also worth keeping a watchful eye on Folkestone. Neil Cugley’s troops were progressing largely under the radar until recently, but the wily commander is likely to be quietly confident about promotion prospects.
A downturn of late (by Billericay's high standards) involved several surprise defeats. Since hammering Lowestoft 5-0 on Tuesday February 15, there have been losses to Leiston (by 1-3 on February 17), Folkestone (1-2, on February 21), Worthing (1-2 on March 3) and Dulwich (1-3 on March 6). The latter, at the New Lodge, should have provided a major morale-booster for the Hamlet. Progress in cup competitions has contributed to a fixture backlog, but games in hand are gradually being chalked off.
The Blues reached the Quarter Finals of the FA Trophy, but bowed out following a 2-5 reverse to National South side Wealdstone, on February 24.
On Tuesday evening (March 20), they beat Chelmsford in the Essex County Cup Final, in front of a crowd of 2,500-plus. The most recent Bostik outing involved a 1-0 success over Dorking, nearly a week ago (Thursday March 15).
On Saturday, Tonbridge enjoyed an entertaining victory over Kingstonian (please see match report). On the minus side, a midweek trip to Leiston finished in a 0-2 reverse.
If this match had been played on the original date, a couple of months ago, spectators would probably have seen up to a handful of former top-flight stars in action. However, these days the squad is more in line with the quality required for a successful non-league side.
Tamplin, as a manager for much of the season, has been recruiting players very accustomed to picking up honours. It does not need the likes of once-Premiership performers to win the Isthmian League. As people will see from the pen pictures in the matchday programme, lots of familiar names are among the visitors' ranks.
The plus-side of missing out on seeing star-studded opponents on the Longmead turf, is the protagonists on the field on Thursday evening should be more closely matched. Furthermore the guests' recent form suggests they are, hopefully, no longer invincible, giving others in the division a fighting chance.
Recruitment is fairly frequent and another acquisition arrived following a transfer for an undisclosed fee. Liam Hughes moved from Guiseley, of the National League. The midfielder started his career as a professional with Cambridge United, before spells with Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Barrow.
One ex-Premiership player possibly in the starting line-up is Jamie O'Hara, whose national profile would have been raised as a "Celebrity Big Brother" contestant last year. The 31 year-old's football career included appearances for Tottenham, Wolves, Fulham, Portsmouth and Gillingham.
Our match and ball sponsor this evening is Mark Jenner. We thank Mark for his generosity and support and hope he and his friends have a great evening with us.
The Bostik Premier match between Tonbridge and Billericay, at Longmead Stadium, on Thursday March 22 is a 7.45pm kick-off.