Match Preview: Barnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town Saturday 11th January 2020

Match Preview: Bet Victor Division One South

Barnstaple Town v Basingstoke Town

When: Saturday 11th January 2020 Kick-off 3pm

Where: Mill Road, Barnstaple, Devon. EX31 1JQ

Barnstaple Town (Nickname – The Barum), Average 2019-20 Home Attendance 149

Well we continue with the reverse fixtures from the first part of the season, and we hosted Barnstaple Town, on the opening day of the season, with the visitors leaving with a 3-4 victory. After taking the lead through the now departed Reece Rusher, the game went into the break tied 1-1. However, things soon went south as the Barum added goals on 47 and 60 mins. The football was now end-to-end and we pulled a goal back through Ben Wright on 62 mins. Chances were missed by both teams, till an unfortunate own goal by the departed Joe Hancott with 15 mins to go doubled the visitors lead. Despite Ben Wright adding his second goal with 10 minutes to go, we could not get that winner and the lasting impression of the game was our keeper Freddie Gee, spending the last 15 mins hobbling around the 6-yard box unable to move or kick the ball.

Since then both clubs have made Managerial Changes!

Barnstaple, after losing ten games on the bounce, have shown the fight to get away from the bottom of the table, as in the past four weeks, they have won three out of their last five games, including back-to-back wins against Mangotsfield (3-1), and last week’s last gasp winner at Bristol Manor Farm (1-2).

The Barum are now managed by Dean Edwards, who took over the club at the beginning of October, following the clubs fall to the bottom of the league. With no youth teams associated at the club, thus no younger players coming through the junior ranks, he has clearly had to pick and choose his squad of players wisely and they now sit in 19th position, which stands at PLD 22 WON 5 DRAWN 0 LOST 17 GF 24 GA 57 PTS 15.

Their leading goal-scorer is 25-year-old striker Saddam Bello with 6 league goals so far. Fellow forward 20-year-old Javan Wright has added 3 goals. The rest of their 24 goals are scattered among a number of players.

Yet again, apart from a splattering of young players, Barnstaple will be much older, and assumed experienced team that we will face this coming Saturday.

Well 2020 has not got off to the start that we had all hoped for, in fact, it probably could not have not got any worse, but that gives Manager Dan Brownlie and the squad, only way forward up and this Saturday’s game at Barnstaple Town, is of ultimate importance for this to start.

The long, long trip to North Devon will be a tough one not just for the players but fans a like, but will give our players the obvious chance to get back to winning ways.

With these two latest losses, we plonked ourselves at the bottom of the table, three points (effectively four), behind the team we play this weekend Barnstaple.

Our league record PLD 19 Won 3 Drawn 3 Lost 13 GF 26 GA 56 with 12pts, is a sorry read, and simply needs to improve, if we are to stay in the division.

On the injury-front, I am not aware of any current injuries, and am led to believe defender Scott Armsworth is back in full training and will return to the playing squad this weekend.

With the latest acquisition of defender Josh Edwards to the team, it would be expected that he will earn a starting role at the back. At least he will have the understanding of fellow ex-Flackwell Heath player Aaron Watkins, whose start between the sticks, has probably not got off to the start he and the club were hoping for. That’s not to say his keeping is at fault, as the defence has made his job a tough one so far.

What sort of formation will Dan go with this Saturday, will be a difficult one, and would love to see a bit of man-for-man marking against their dangerous players.

We also need to decide on a penalty-taker, as although it probably didn’t affect the results of the last two games, two missed penalties and more the lack of certainty on who should be taking them is more the worry.

In midfield we need someone to take on the Aaron Kuhl role, but overall we need to closedown the opposition a lot quicker and challenge them further upfield.

Upfront, we need to be more active and give the defence more time to recover, when they are under pressure.

Whilst Ben Wright and Bradley Wilson, will look to start, both Mikey Davis and young Kallum Cousins, could be looking for a start or at least time on the pitch, especially if we are having to chase the game.

Yes, this is one of the games that is classed as a six-pointer, but for us it must be more about us leaving North Devon with at least a point.

In our favour is the fact that we have 3 games in hand over Barnstaple Town, but that is of only any use if we obtain points from those extra games!

Having lost our last four games, the recent acquisitions need to start to improve the squad, and this Saturday along with the rest of the squad would be a perfect time to start.

Match Preview by Martin French..