Match Preview: Bet Victor Division One South
Melksham Town v Basingstoke Town
When: Saturday 15th February 2020 Kick-off 3.00pm
Where: infiLED Arena at Oakfield, Eastern Way, Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 7GU
As I write this match preview of our third meeting and second in Wiltshire against Melksham, the game is in serious due to the oncoming ‘Storm Dennis’.
Melksham who are pushing for promotion will be looking to get their revenge from a 4-2 defeat back last October. Then we played them in back-to-back weeks, beating them in the league, but then losing on the road in the FA Trophy 1-0.
What is clear since those earlier games, is that if your team can get it’s act together and put a string of wins together, you can significantly change your league position as Melksham have done.
In 17th place back then they now sit in 6th place, behind Paulton Rovers on goal-difference. Their league record now looks much better at PLD 25 WON 12 DRAWN 5 LOST 8 GF 52 GA 47 with a total of 41pts. That equates to 33pts from a possible 45pts, with just two losses out of their last 15 games.
If the game goes ahead Melksham managed Richard Fey, will look to his forwards to continue their promotion run.
Their forwards starting with 31-year-old Luke Ballinger has 14 goals. Ballinger, who previously played for Bristol City, Frome Town, Gloucester City and Chippenham Town, also holds a record unusual to normal players. He is the England record holder for Futsal caps at 108. Supporting him is fellow forward Jack Ball just 21, who has added 11 goals. They also have ex-Gillingham and Dorchester Town striker Phil Ormrod with 8 goals.
Their home record now sits at Won 6 Drawn 3 Lost 4, but only one of those losses has been since we met them in October.
As for your Basingstoke side, we head to Wiltshire following a good win at home to Mangotsfield. In truth the scoreline did not represent the domination we had throughout the game.
If Melksham’s rise was an impressive jump upwards, we have fallen four places since the last time we met them.
Now sitting in 19th place with a record of PLD 23 Won 5 Drawn 3 Lost 15 GF 32 GA 63 with 17pts.
With the return of Simon Dunn we saw how he can influence the game, as neat quicker passing movements, were matched by the pace of George Hallahan and Bradley Wilson.
Fans will expect to see the Harrison Cliff/Simon Dunn midfield partnership flourish over the coming weeks, which seemed to allow Ben Cook a more advanced role last week.
It was good to see defender Scott Armsworth back on the pitch and he looks to have secured his place somewhere in the line-up.
However, with Alfie Saunders back to Forest Green Rovers, who will start at right back (Stow) or Aiden Harris, especially if defender Josh Edwards can return to the team from injury last week.
If forward Ben Wright can also from his injury will he start and if so who for?
It would also be good to see Ricardo Andrady earn some game-time, as he has done little wrong when he has played.
Lots of questions for Dan to make decisions on as we face a team on form.
What we do know from the previous two games against Melksham is that this will be a physical battle as they will try and strong-arm their way through the game.
If the game goes ahead then this will be a real challenge, but one we must meet with a renewed strength following last week’s display.
Storm Dennis however may put a stop to all thought of that though.
Match Preview by Martin French..