Redbridge: Some may have been surprised with Redbridge’s final league position, but those who knew of the Motormen’s manager Terry Spillane’s excellent work at Stansted saw this one coming. Spillane’s side, while somewhat unattractive, was hard-working and effective, and an excellent second half of the season put them 4th in the 50/50 table. In the end, they just ran out of time and finished 6th. While their league season was excellent, it was in the FA Cup that Redbridge wrote headlines. The Barkingside club made it to the 2nd round of the FA Cup, beating Ebbsfleet United in the 4th Qualifying Round of the cup. Their reward was a tie with Oxford City, who they beat after a replay. In the 2nd Round they had a far more challenging tie away to Crawley Town. Despite losing, they gave an excellent account of themselves and the Ryman League. This season will live long in the memory of Redbridge’s players and supporters.
Harlow Town: Like Grays, Harlow’s inconsistency was their downfall. They eventually finished with 71 points, 6 points off a play-off place, and while they flirted with the top 5 for much of the season, they eventually fell just short. Despite having Bertie Brayley leading the line, their supporters simply felt that the players were either not trying, or too past it. Indeed, Brayley only managed one goal all season. Harlow signed Jeff Hammond from Forest midway through the season, but he could only find the back of the net five times in 17 starts. Forest came out victorious on the two occasions the sides met, winning 2-0 at Cricklefields and coming from 2 goals down to win 3-2 at Barrows Farm.
AFC Sudbury: An indifferent start to the season saw Sudbury 18th in the table with ten games played. This forced manager NIcky Smith to hand in his resignation, and Chris Tracey was appointed manager. Barry Larkin, former Heybridge Swifts manager was appointed Tracey’s assistant, and once their form finally picked up, Sudbury never dropped lower than 8th, their eventual finishing position. An 11 game unbeaten run from February through to the start of March really put them in the play-off mix, but after losing their last three games of the season to Thamesmead, Romford and Heybridge, they fell eight points short of 5th place.
Brentwood Town: Like Sudbury, Brentwood’s season was a story of falling away at the final hurdle. They will no doubt be disappointed with their finish, after losing in the play-off final last season. Manager Steve Witherspoon admitted his side underachieved this season, saying: “I haven't done what I set out to do and I've failed in that respect. We've underachieved this season there's no doubt about it.” However, it was problems off the field that blighted Brentwood’s season. The club's first two home games of the season had to be moved because The Arena floodlights weren't working and the pitch wasn't up to scratch. Then, in April, they were forced to play at Redbridge because their new tunnel had not arrived in time. With a settled manager and squad, they’ll no doubt be looking to be back in the play-off mix next year.
Thamesmead Town: A far better season than last, finishing seven places higher than in 2010-11. Their season started well, and after nine games they were as high as fourth in the table. Solid form from then until May helped them finish the season with 62 points. Theo Fairweather-Johnson was no doubt their key performer, leading the front line with 15 goals.