Match Preview: Basingstoke Town v Bracknell Town Saturday 26th February 2022

Match Preview: Isthmian League South Central Division
The Rematch (The Passion vs The Money)
Basingstoke Town Vs Bracknell Town
When: Saturday 26th February 2022 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Winklebury Complex, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Bracknell Town (Nickname – The Robins ), Average 2021-22 Home Attendance 394
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £7 Aged 13-17 £3 Aged 12 & Under £1

A hard-working defensive performance last week at Chertsey, allowed us to leave our latest adventure into Surrey with a 0-0 scoreline and a point that with results going our way in midweek, leaves us in fourth place, as we face the runaway league leaders, Bracknell Town at Winklebury, in front of what could be our biggest home league attendance of the season.

Our Opponents
The Robins are managed by Bobby Wilkinson who took over as Manager in December 2019. Wilkinson signed a five-year contract, having previously managed Hungerford Town & Wealdstone.
Bracknell Town, latest game was two weeks ago as they won two-nil on the road at Chipstead. As runaway leaders, their league record sits at PLD 26 Won 23 Drawn 1 Lost 2 GF 65 GA 10 PTS 70. The two losses occurred both at home and one recently in their loss to Chertsey Town.

The club has pumped in tens of thousands of pounds into guaranteeing promotion, and their forward line has seen a large proportion of that money spent on it. They lead the league in goals scored, and their forward Seb Bowerman has his fair share with 21 goals, 19 in the league. Bowerman, who was wanted by any other clubs, has been with the club since the 2015-16 season, despite many higher clubs looking to sign him. Alongside him will be the latest acquisition, as after losing (ex-Stoke player Dave Tarpey through injury, they signed Ashford Town’s leading striker Alex McLeish-White, who repaid some of his probable high wages with both goals in his debut at Chipstead. McLeish-White now has 16 league goals between the Tangerines & Robins. Tarpey, who has spent time at many clubs prior to being signed at the start of this season has 12 goals on the season. Another pre-season signing was attacking winger James Clarke from Marlow, but another goal-scorer, has not been the player expected with just two goals. Clark has also had spells at Hungerford Town, Wealdstone and Hayes & Yeading. Two other forwards that the Robins could use are  Shamar Moore, who has two league goals, whilst Duncan Culley has five goals on the season.

The midfield contains two other ex-Stokies in Zidan Akers, who joined the Robins mid-season. Zidan had played for us in the 2018-19 season, never really met his potential with us and has since played for Thatcham Town, Hungerford Town & Walton Casuals. The second being Michael Atkinson who has been absent from the line-up for the last few weeks. Max Herbert, who captains the side, who joined from Ashford Town in 2018, having had spells at Brentford & Wycombe Wanderers, will be another player to keep an eye on.
Moving to the defence, you will see one more ex-Basingstoke player, Dan Bayliss. Bayliss, who has seven goals this season, joined Stoke at the age of 18 back in July 2017, and led our defence for two seasons before signing for Bracknell in 2019. It was Bayliss who got the late injury-time winner in our first meeting back in November. With him will be Temi Eweka at centre-half. Eweka has five goals on the season, and joined from Staines Town last season.
Both of these will look to dominate the air at corners, at both ends of the pitch. Ever present Jack Dean will start as the right back, and joined from Westfield in June 2020, having previously played at Camberley Town. Their current left back looks to be Ethan Burke.
In goal will likely be Michael Eacott, but let’s hope he does not continue the ridiculous antics he displayed in the game at Bottom Meadow last November.

This is a team that looks strong across the park, and will head south down the M3 with expectations of completing the double over one of its rivals.

Your Basingstoke Town Side
Well we host the league leading goal-scorers on the back of a clean sheet at promotion chasers Chertsey Town last weekend. This gives us four clean sheets out of last four games, but is likely to be tested against the likes of Bowerman & McLeish-White.
With that point last weekend, we sit in fourth place with an overall record of PLD 25 Won 15 Drawn 6 Lost 4 GF 50 GA 35 Pts 51
It is hoped that both our forwards Stefan Brown, who was rested and Conor Lynch are able to recover and are raring to go tomorrow. Lynch carries a tally of 20 goals on the season, whilst Brown has seven league goals. Bradley Wilson who fought on his own up front last weekend, has 12 goals on the season.
If Dan decides to go with just two up front, then this allows a four-strong midfield and could see the return of either George Reid from injury, or McKoy Palmer an unused substitute at Chertsey, to the starting line-up.

It is expected Simon Dunn will lead the team, and depending on how we choose to line-up with either Reid or Palmer, then Anton Rodgers, looks to be the holding midfielder, with the possible inclusion of D’Andre Brown, next in line for a start. Both Lloyd Snell & Brody Peart are probable subs tomorrow, but will look for game time. Snell can fill a role at right-back, whilst Peart would be a lively replacement on the right. Jack French has been unable to break into the starting line-up and will likely feature on the bench.

The back four could see changes as Lloyd Snell replaced a hobbling Dan Williamson last week, whilst normal left-back James Haworth now back from injury, could earn his starting role back. If Williamson, is unable to go, then the back four could be Nathan Smart, Robert Sheridan, Daryl Wollers and James Haworth.
Paul Strudley who again made two critical saves last weekend, will have the keepers jersey once again.

Tomorrow’s game is far more important to us than Bracknell and with an expected big crowd, it is a chance to stamp our push for promotion. If Stoke are to grab the three points, we will need to break down a defence that has conceded just ten league goals this season.

That said, I think we are more dangerous upfront, than the first game, and it will be interesting to see how the league leaders will cope.

Match Preview by Martin French.



  1. Seems the Manager is making excuses already for tomorrow, by stating half the team are carrying knocks. Stefan can only play twice a month it appears. Yes he can score goals on the pitch, but that is pointless if he misses half the season through injuries.