The Ten Things We Have Learned In The First Ten Matches

By Sam Elliott

We’re ten games in to the new season, well more or less. You’ll have to afford us a bit of licence with the headline, we know most sides in the National League North and South have only played nine!

We can’t let the facts get in the way of a good article. So, what exactly have we learned so far?

Here’s ten things we’ve picked up on in the first ten games - or so!

1: The Macclesfield Town effect

Like what happened when Leicester City won the Premier League back in 2016, the underdogs are all suddenly believing.

In years gone by you may have seen the likes of Harrogate top of the National League, or Chorley ahead in the North and said to yourself ‘it can’t last’.

Now? You’re not so sure.

2: Second time’s the charm?

They’ll be first to admit it, Leyton Orient and Hartlepool United fans hardly enjoyed a kick last term.

But after a season of soul searching and getting their houses in order, both the sides relegated from the EFL the summer before last look very strong.

We know what comes down rarely goes straight back up, but year two - as Tranmere proved back in May - can be crucial.

3: Our friends in the north.

After the success of Macclesfield and Tranmere last time out, are we in for round two?

Seven of the top eight National League sides are all northern, with only the Londoners from Leyton Orient bucking the trend.

The bottom four, however, are all from England’s south east!

4: Move over, big boys!

Everyone knows the National League North is littered with big clubs watched by great crowds. It’s a fantastic division.

But so far it’s all about the unfancied sides. Chorley, an incredible seven points clear already, have stolen a march.

In second place it’s last year’s strugglers AFC Telford United. In third we see Bradford (Park Avenue), who like last season are punching above their weight.

5: Managerial movement has already started

We’re around six weeks in, but we’ve already had seven changes in the dug-out.

The latest being Hereford manager Peter Beadle on Thursday. On Wednesday Torquay’s Gary Owers went, he follows FC United boss Tom Greaves, Truro’s Lee Hodges, Billericay’s Harry Wheeler, Maidstone legend Jay Saunders and York City manager Martin Gray in moving on.

They do say it’s the most unstable profession there is!

6: Role reversal for Chesterfield and Barnet

The moods in both the newcomers' camps have changed dramatically.

Chesterfield won their first three and looked good for an instant Football League return while Barnet fans may have been fearing another relegation battle!

But now the Bees have won their last four while Martin Allen’s team have lost six from seven and haven’t scored in their last five matches.

7: Ricketts’ wonders

Sam Ricketts is playing a smart game. He’s easing the pressure on his players while not undermining their wonderful first six weeks.

Wrexham are record breakers and have made their best start to a season for ten years at this stage.

A decade on from losing their Football League place, belief is growing that their young and exciting manager may just be the one to take them back.

8: Dowson playing his Cards right

Woking fans’ National League South expectations weren’t too high after relegation.

They needed a new manager who knew how to win matches, but what he did in the summer was just as important - put a smile back on their faces.

Open, honest and telling it like it is, Alan Dowson's refusal to sugar coat past problems or current issues won around the Kingfield faithful instantly with a splash of humour for good measure.

9: Winless and wondering

It’s not all about the early pace-setters, there are teams yet to put three points on the board.

Braintree Town are without a win in ten in the National League, but there’s been no question of Bradley Quinton going anywhere.

In the division they won promotion from last season, Weston-super-Mare are the surprise strugglers. Marc McGregor remains confident that first win is coming.

10: Great goals...guaranteed!

We’ve not had a month and a half of football yet and to borrow a popular youth phrase, there’s bangers everywhere you look.

Andy Bond’s beauty for Fylde against Solihull, Danny Rowe’s delicious double, Mitch Brundle’s perfect finish for Dover, perhaps? Michael Green’s unbelievable effort for Eastleigh at Barnet or how about Greg Olley’s opening day chip for Gateshead?

They are just a small selection. Just what have we got to look forward to?

Where next?

Daggers Future Secured Thanks To American Investment Dagenham & Redbridge have confirmed the club is in new hands, ending the money worries which have dogged the club for the past six months.
Garrard's Eyeing Top Seven As Wood Show Their Teeth Luke Garrard believes his Boreham Wood side are really now starting to find their feet.

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