Match Preview: FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round
Prize Money Winners £2,250 Losers £750
Basingstoke Town v Bridgwater Utd
When: Saturday 4th September Kick-off 3pm
Where: Winklebury Sports Complex, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Bridgwater Utd (Nickname – The Robins),
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £7 Aged 13-17 £3 Aged 12 and Under £1
Well we head into this Saturday’s FA Cup game as we host step 5 Bridgwater Utd from the Toolstation Western Premier League.
We currently have a four-game win streak in league and cup, whilst Bridgwater until Monday’s loss had also been on a good winning run.
Last season/Last Time,
With them being in a completely different level and geographical area, we have never played them in the league, but we have played them once in the FA cup. This was back in September 2014 down in Devon, and Stoke came away with two-nil victory.
The Robins were for most of their 72 year history called a variation of names but mainly Bridgwater Town, but it seems they were renamed this season to Bridgwater Utd and are jointly managed by Karl Baggaley & Dave Pearse.
They have had two or three cup games depending on your stance in the FA Cup. Starting at the Extra Preliminary round at Brixham in a game that started 30 minutes late, it included Bridgwater being down to seven players on the pitch at one point, due to injuries and an error by the referee, a player already shown a red-card and then another player who was sin-binned in error. Although Bridgwater won that game 2-1, they made an official complaint about the incorrect sin-bin decision by the referee, and the match was replayed at Bridgwater. Again Bridgwater won 2-1.
Then in the Preliminary round they comfortably progressed beating fellow league-side Ilfracombe at home 3-0.
There is very little information around their squad, but the Robins forward-line looks to be led by Jack Taylor who is close to having scored 100 goals for the club and George King who appears to have joined the club this season.
Well back-to-back wins over the Bank Holiday weekend, sees us sitting at the top of the league, and we are now the only team with a 100% record, with 3 wins from 3 matches.
But this Saturday we return to the FA Cup, having battled through beating a good AFC Totton, in the last round.
We now compete against a lower league side, but we should not take this team or match for granted.
It is clear that like similar clubs our squad has a number of minor injuries at this stage of the season, and Monday’s game confirmed this as we relied on a couple of players who are progressing through our academy on our bench. To some fans surprise the play of youngsters D’Andre Brown and Lloyd Snell have been an amazing welcome to the team, and have earned their chance to be a regular in the starting line-up.
This week it is expected that one or two players will be set to return to the starting line-up, with the likes of winger George Reid who should be ready to return and we may rely on him to help get the job done early this Saturday.
The likes of McKoy Palmer, Bradley Wilson and Conor Lynch will hopefully have an easier time against a less experienced side as AFC Totton, Hanwell or Thatcham and goals from them will be expected by some in the crowd.
Manager Dan Brownlie states that striker Stefan Brown is being eased back to the starting squad, so is unlikely to take part this weekend.
In midfield Simon Dunn will again lead the team, with the support of Ben Cook and the impressive D’Andre Brown, whilst it will be interesting to see who will start at the right and left-back positions.
I have to say Shaun Dallimore has been exceptional in the past couple of games and his towering header at Thatcham, matched Scotty Armsworth’s finish against Binfield.
Again more decisions for the manager to who starts with the gloves this week.
The bench may see a couple of players pushing for playing time, especially if the game starts well. With that, there has always been two schools of thought for cup games, one take it steady then bring on those players if need be to turn the game, or the second, start with your strongest line-up, hopefully win the game early then bring on replacements/back-ups to allow playing time for the whole squad. I have always sat in the second camp, get the job done first then deal with how you rest players for what will be a tough season on a hard 3G surface for some players.
Bridgwater are reported to be bringing good support for what will be a big game for them, so I urge all Stoke fans who are able to come to the game, watch the magic of the cup unfold and a hopeful passage into the next round of the cup come 5pm.
Match Preview by Martin French..