The Escape Clause

As you, me, the world, his wife, his second cousin and the imaginary friend he had three ice ages ago know, finishing fourth from bottom in any of the three divisions that make up step three of the non-league pyramid enters you into a relegation lottery. With Mossley lying eleven points off the coveted fifth bottom spot currently occupied by Kendal Town, our best chance of avoiding the drop at this moment appears to be finishing in 19th place and buying a ticket.

So with the end of the season fast approaching what better time to examine the straw we could be clutching at should our manager's target of 25 points from the final 45 available be missed by a long margin?

In the Unibond Premier Division Radcliffe Borough currently hold on to 19th position with 24 points; four points ahead of Leek Town and five ahead of our beloved Lilywhites. Boro's points total is also greater than that of the teams in similar positions in the Rymans and British Gas Premier leagues - the other two divisions which face the prospect of having four teams relegated.

However Radcliffe's position is not as rosy at it first appears. Because some teams have played more games than others, in order to get a truer picture of how things currently stand you need to work on an average points per game (PPG) basis:

UNI Radcliffe Borough -  P 29  Pts 24  PPG 0.83
RYM Hendon -  P 23  Pts 21  PPG 0.91
BGP Cheshunt -  P 23  Pts 22  PPG 0.97

As well as not being good news for the north Manchester side it isn't good news for Mossley either who have a PPG average of just 0.70, less than half of the average PPG required to meet the managers target of 25 points. This means that even if fourth bottom is our best chance of survival we're going to have to start racking up the points and quickly; picking up the odd one here or there might see us pip Radcliffe or whoever to 19th place but it almost certainly isn't going to be enough to save us if things continue to play out the way they are.

Fortunately a third of Mossley's remaining fifteen games are against the four other teams that make up the bottom five of the Unibond Premier so all is not lost yet, particularly with sides like North Ferriby who we've still to play in free fall as well. It just means that we can't settle for a point in games any more - it's now a question of win or bust if don't want to face the prospect of clutching a losing ticket come the end of April.