Match Preview: FA Cup Preliminary Round
Prize Money Winners £1,444 Losers £481
Basingstoke Town v AFC Totton
When: Saturday 21st August 2021 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Winklebury Sports Complex, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
AFC Totton (Nickname – The Stags), Average 2020-21 Home Attendance
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £7 Aged 13-17 £3 Aged 12 and Under £1
Following last week’s workmanlike one-nil victory on the opening day of our league season at Binfield, we host a hugely important FA Cup qualifying tie against the only team that beat us in last season’s shortened league season, AFC Totton.
Many will say that they are one of the money-bag clubs at this level and a few of their signings seem to trend this way, including the signing of our left back Ben Jefford from last season’s squad.
As stated the Stags were the only team to beat us in the league and on our first league match back in Basingstoke. That day under through the wind and rain, it was the Stags who took a two goal-lead into halftime. Stoke pulled a goal back with 20 mins to go through a Bradley Wilson deflected shot, only for Totton to go down the other end 90 seconds later, and give themselves that two-goal cushion once again. A late Ben Cook goal was not enough and our return to Basingstoke was ruined with a 2-3 defeat.
The Stags managed by Glenn Howes, twelve months on from upping sticks along with the money man at Blackfield & Langley, they have started their Southern League season with two one-goal victories. Firstly at home to Plymouth Parkway, a penalty converted by midfielder Jack Hoey was the only difference in front of 335 fans. This was then followed up by a good one-nil win on the road at Melksham, as a Connor Johns goalkeeping error allowed Stags striker Hisham Kasimu to round him and plant the ball in the net. This means they sit equally atop of the table with two other clubs, and will be confident as they head up the M3 to face us.
They have the bulk of last season’s squad back, starting with the vastly experienced strikers Brett Williams and Craig Feeney. Williams 32, who started at Eastleigh before being signed for £50,000 by Reading, even though he never played for them, also had spells at numerous clubs including Northampton, Rotherham and a wealth of experience at Conference level. Williams was at 6 goals when the season stopped, whilst Feeney had 4 goals. They also have a 19 year-old Ethan Taylor and of course strong forward Hisham Kasimu, who previously played at Team Solent. Experienced forward Ryan Pennery is a long-term injury case.
In defence they again they return the experienced long-time club player Stephane Zubar plus Adam Tomasso and of course now Ben Jefford.
Well last Saturday, we did what we needed to do in a resolute performance, plus some fortunate Binfield misses, to come away with 0-1 victory on the road and start with an important three points.
We now face a tough home FA cup match in AFC Totton, with all the expectations and hopes that we can progress a little further this season, after losing out to Chichester on penalties last season.
Like all clubs facing players with niggly early season injuries, we do have that constant attacking threat in Conor Lynch, Bradley Wilson, along with George Reid and McKoy Palmer on the wings.
The midfield could also be boosted if experienced players Simon Dunn and Lewis Hayden play more of a central role this coming Saturday. This is not to say the current midfield led by Ben Cook and a game-by-game improving D’Andre Brown, did anything wrong.
The defence with two new backs Daniel Williamson from Winchester City and James Howarth from Ascot Utd, played alongside Scotty Armsworth & Shaun Dallimore and it was Scott’s clean powerful header that was the difference between the two sides.
Apart from Dunn & Hayden, we have the returning experience in Adam Everiss, Daryl Wollers and Aiden Lewis, and let’s not forget striker Stefan Brown waiting in the wings.
Between the sticks last week was Julian Schwarzer, and it will be interesting to see if he or Paul Strudley starts this week.
This is not only a big game, and an expected highly competitive match and both clubs will expect to win, and apart from the £1,500 up for grabs for the win, the simple fact is that we as a club, need to have a decent cup run for a change.
When we played Totton in the league last year we met our covid restricted 400 capacity and I see no reason why we won’t beat that crowd this Saturday.
I urge all Stoke fans to get down to Winklebury this Saturday, and get behind our team.
Match Preview by Martin French..