Match Preview: Isthmian League South Central Division
Basingstoke Town Vs Binfield
When: Monday 18th April 2022 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Winklebury Complex, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Binfield (Nickname – The Moles), Average 2021-22 Home Attendance 205
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £7 Aged 13-17 £3 Aged 12 & Under £1
Back-to-back wins including Good Friday’s two-nil win at Westfield, alongwith with other results, now puts us just one win away from guaranteeing a playoff place as we host Binfield the team we have not seen since the opening day fixture. Back on a beautiful sunny day in August, a very entertaining game was won by a solitary superb Scott Armsworth header from a corner.
Binfield have been in the top half of the league all-season long and sit in eighth just outside the pack of teams chasing for a playoff place. In recent weeks they have helped Basingstoke by taking points of our playoff opponents with a goal-less draw at home to Uxbridge, and then Good Friday’s late equaliser at home to Marlow. Their record now sits at PLD 34 Won 13 Drawn 11 Lost 10 GF 52 GA 47 PTS 50. Their away record is vastly better than their home record and sits at an impressive 9 wins, 4 draws and just 4 losses from their 17 away fixtures.
The Moles are jointly managed by Carl Withers & player-manager Jamie McClurg who plays in midfield for the Moles. McClurg had previously played for Slough Town and Wycombe Wanderers.
Turning to their playing squad, two of their leading goal-scorers have both left the club, one being ex-Stoke fan favourite Callum Bunting who had 15 goals, when he departed for Step 5 club Flackwell Heath just before the trading deadline. The other was Josh Helmore who left with 8 goals to his name when he joined Northwood back in November. This leaves their striking partnership as Sean Moore, in his third season with the club on 11 goals, and teenager James Beauchamp with four goals. In fact Beauchamp, a former Hartley Wintney player is on loan at Binfield till the end of the season, having recently signed for Slough Town. Their other main striker is Ollie Harris who has nine goals.
Apart from McClurg, their midfield contains two former Stoke players in Kian Duncan & Dylan Ive. Ever present is attacking midfielder Liam Tack, who joined from Thame United.
In defence yet another ex-Stoke player is centre-back Joe Gater, who joined from Hartley Wintney, having had previously been at Bracknell Town. With him at centre-half is Lewis Pegg, but he may miss the game following his straight red card against Uxbridge. Elliot Legg will start in either full-back role and was at Marlow last season. Jack Thompson-Wheeler could fill the other full-back role. Thompson-Wheeler is in his fourth season at the club.
In goal should be Chris Grace a reliable keeper who played virtually every game this season between the sticks.
Your Basingstoke Town Side
We host Binfield knowing that a win against them will secure one of the four playoff slots, that begin Wednesday week, following another encouraging win and clean sheet on the road, in that win at Westfield. Currently we sit in fourth place with our record now at PLD 34 Won 20 Drawn 7 Lost 7 GF 62 GA 45 Pts 67
Our game at Westfield saw us control the game from early-on, even if we were unable to create anything of note for most of the first-half, and it took a neat volley finish to open our scoring just before the break. A second and another goal by Conor Lynch, wrapped up the game and secured all three points and sent the huge number of travelling Stoke fans home happy.
Manager Dan Brownlie, took the opportunity to rest Stefan Brown, leaving Conor to forage up top alone, which should leave Stefan raring to go tomorrow afternoon. Lynch now has 25 goals on the season. Brody Peart who made a late substitution could also play a part in an attacking role.
Worryingly winger George Reid hobbled off in the first-half at Westfield, and his fitness is unclear at this time. McKoy Palmer will likely assume one of the wingers role if Reidy is unable to go. Simon Dunn who played the full 90 minutes at Westfield, should be wearing the captains armband tomorrow. More decisions on who else plays in the middle, as a number of options, but Ben Cook who scored that all-important first goal at Westfield, should be in the starting line-up. This leaves D’Andre Brown, Anton Rodgers a late substitute last Friday and Lloyd Snell fighting for a starting role.
The defence looked solid once again, and once again kept a clean sheet, when on natural grass. Unless an injury has occurred then look for Nathan Smart & Rob Sheridan to hold the centre-back roles, whilst James Haworth on the left and Dan Williamson on the right, should keep their full-back roles. Daryl Wollers who was on the bench at Westfield, may if the situation is right, been given a few minutes playing time, as part of his recovery from injury.
In goal is the ever-reliable and winner of this season’s ‘Away Player of the Season’ Paul Strudley, who looked solid as usual, even if he was rarely troubled last Friday.
With Binfield having such a good away record, we will need to be at our best to gain the three vital points to secure our playoff place, and allow Dan to rest some players for the last game before the playoffs.
Whilst many fans will be keeping their eyes on the Uxbridge, Bedfont and Hanwell results, everything is our own hands, and a nice win on our last home season will be a fitting end to a good season, in front of a hopeful crowd.
Match Preview by Martin French.