Match Preview: Ashford Town v Basingstoke Town Saturday 4th March 2023

Match Preview: Isthmian South Central Division
Ashford Town Vs Basingstoke Town
When: Saturday 4th March 2023 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Robert Parker Stadium, Short Lane, Stanwell. TW19 7BH
Ashford Town (Nickname – The Tangerines), Avg 2022-23 Home Att 131
Website Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £5 Under 16’s Free with Adult or £2

After our win against Leatherhead, the winning streak now reaches twelve games as we head back out on the road and back upto Robert Parker Stadium for the second time in ten days as this time we host the tenants Ashford Town.
We played Ashford Town back in September in what was our first home league win of the season, with a dominating 5-0 victory. A brace by George Reid, and a hat-trick by Bradley Wilson were the goalscorers on the day.

Our Opponents
The Tangerines are managed Paul McCarthy, who was a goalkeeper in his playing years, and played four seasons with the Tangerines before an even longer period at Uxbridge. He returned in the 20-21 season in a playing/coaching role, before taking over towards the end of last season.

Following their midweek three-nil home defeat to Leatherhead, Ashford now sit in fifteenth place with a record of Pld 28 Won 10 Drawn 3 Lost 15 Pts 33. That leaves them seven points above the relegation playoff places.
Ashford do however have one of the better home records, which despite the Leatherhead loss leaves them with 8 Wins, 1 Draws and 6 Losses.

Ashford’s leading goal-scorer is Lewis Flatman with eight goals, but he’s now plying his trade at Farnham Town. Well-travelled Ricky Johnson & Lindell Stewart, both have six goals, with Stewart having played for Windsor, before joining from Northwood earlier this season. Daniel Brown has four goals this season, and has played for clubs such as Beaconsfield Town, Met Police & Staines Town. They recently signed Tomasz Siemienczuk, who had been at Hanwell Town earlier this season. There is also forward David Pitt (31), who has two goals. Pitt, spent most of his early career playing in countries such as Cyprus, Albania & Roumania, before returning to England in 2015-16, and has since played for numerous clubs including Bedfont & Chalfont St Peter.

In midfielder, there is Danyaal Iqbal, who has five goals and has previously played for Carshalton Athletic. Javin Dougan, who was at Crawley Green and more recently Thatcham Town. Former Uxbridge & Hendon player Prince Mbengui, has three goals this season. Wayne Ridgley has four goals and was at Knaphill last season.

In defence they have Ben Peden who joined from Uxbridge earlier this season. Isy Nzelo, is a French fullback who has played for clubs such as Guildford City, Godalming, before joining Ashford. Dale Burnham moved over to Ashford after gaining promotion from Westfield two seasons ago. Chad Goulter will likely line-up at the back and has played for Frimley Green, Guildford city and Northwood. Clyde Ikpo-Ondo plays on the left, and was at Hartley Wintney. Before joining the Tangerines in 2021
Fred Chapman is likely to be the keeper, and is on loan from Maidenhead Utd.

Our Basingstoke Town Side
Last Saturday’s win at home to Leatherhead, which kept us seven-points clear at the time, was a game that we started and finished well, whilst Leatherhead had lots of possession in the middle hour of the game. An early goal started by Bradley Wilson, to George Reid, who then set-up Paul Hodges who took his chance putting it away from close range gave us the early lead. The fortunate sending off of the Leatherhead No.4, seemed to allow us more space, and we attacked a number of times in the last twenty minutes, finally putting the game away two minutes from time, as a Callum Winchcombe’s cross found substitute Brody Peart, who headed home. Tuesday night’s win for Walton & Hersham cut the lead to four points with just nine games remaining for both teams.

We sit top of the league with our record at Pld 29 Won 22 Drawn 2 Lost 5 and Pts 68. Bradley Wilson still leads the league’s goal-scoring table with twenty-five, but Walton’s Eddie Simon who got two on Tuesday, now gives him twenty-one. George Reid has sixteen goals on the season, fifteen in the league, but when you add all his assists, it gives you some idea on how well he’s been playing this season. Paul Hodges continues to hit the ground running, as he added his fifth goal since joining seven games ago, and has given us another spoke to our attack. Sam Argent has six goals this season, but was an unused substitute last Saturday. Brody Peart, who scored his fourth goal of the season, could be one of those who could make a second-half intervention tomorrow afternoon as well. Marcio Neves is another option if needed. Stefan Brown could also make a surprise addition to the match-day squad.

With no midweek game, this should give Simon Dunn a full week to regain full fitness and assume he will lead out our side out tomorrow afternoon. If not Michael Atkinson, who was a second-half substitute last weekend will captain the side. Both Ben Cook & D’Andre Brown fight for the third midfielder role, if we set-up that way. James Clark, who now seems to start in midfield when required, as the forward roles all seem taken at the moment.

With two successive clean sheets, our defence is unlikely to change which means Scott Armsworth & Billy Upton will be the two starting centre-backs, whilst veteran Nathan Smart is a fine replacement in waiting. Both Callum Winchcombe on the left and Markus Johnson-Schuster on the right, appear to have won their starting roles, which means players such as Ben Mason, James Hayworth & Aiden Lewis wait on the bench.
Paul Strudley continues to defy his age with his fine performances and will be the keeper tomorrow afternoon, whilst the good news was that Mark Scott was back in full-training last night.

Although Ashford have a reasonable home record, their current form is not the best and it will be interesting to see Dan’s line-up tomorrow.
As for those who went to the Southall game, the pitch is not the best, so we will need to negotiate that as much as the Ashford defence.

I am expecting another huge Basingstoke turnout as we continue our push for the title, so I hope to see many of you at the game tomorrow afternoon, and hope we leave Middlesex with all three points.

Match Preview by Martin French..