Five new teams in Isthmian Division One South
Date Posted: 15/05/2017
Guernsey FC will have faced at least 87 opponents in its history by the end of the 2017-18 season, with three new teams joining the Isthmian League Division One South that Tony Vance's side have never faced before in addition to two old FA Cup rivals.
The Ryman League, which will be renamed for the 2017-18 season due to new incoming sponsors, announced how the three Isthmian League divisions would line up for next season on its website on Monday.
The Green Lions' new opponents are Ashford United, Haywards Heath Town and VCD Athletic.
Kent-based Ashford have moved up a level after being crown champions of Step Five's Southern Counties East League last season. Like ourselves, 'The Nuts & Bolts' play in green and white.
Haywards Heath, from West Sussex, also join the league as title winners - this time of the Southern Combination Premier Division.
VCD Athletic (short for Vickers, Crayford & Dartford Athletic), remain at the same level, having been moved across from Ryman North due to the geographic location of the teams in the North & South Divisions. The Vickers also play in green and white. They hail from Crayford in South East London. They finished 15th in Ryman North last year, just climbing above a tight relegation battle thanks to a strong end to the season in which they lost just twice in their final 10 games.
There are two other teams that were moved across from the North Division to the South, and they are both FA Cup opponents from the last two season.
Phoenix Sports, from Barnehurst (Kent), knocked the Sarnians out at the pre-qualifying stage in 2015-16, winning the replay (which was a 'home' tie for the Green Lions but played at Lewes' Dripping Pan due to FA rules concerning Guernsey cup replays) 2-1 after snatching a last gasp 2-2 draw in the original tie. A strong season saw them finish eighth in Ryman North last season, missing out on the play-offs by six points.
The other returning cup face comes in the shape of last season's conquerors Thamesmead Town, who were the first team to visit Guernsey in the competition's history in the first-ever tie to be played outside the mainland. Dave Rihoy's second-half brace claimed a 2-2 draw at Footes Lane before we lost on penalties in the away replay. Thomas Dodds made his debut in that fixture. The mead ended the 2016-17 season in 17th place.
The five teams exiting our league are the promoted Tooting & Mitcham United and Dorking Wanderers and the relegated Chatham Town, Three Bridges and Godalming Town.
The allocation will be confirmed at the AGMs of the competitions in June following any appeals to the FA.
Guernsey FC looks forward to welcoming all its new opponents to the island in 2017-18.