Match Preview: Basingstoke Town v Cirencester Town FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Rd Tuesday 13th September 2022

Match Preview: FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round
Basingstoke Town Vs Cirencester Town
When: Tuesday 13th September 2022 Kick-off 7.45pm
Where: Winklebury Sports Complex, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Cirencester Town (Nickname – Centurions), Avg 2022-23 Home Att 126
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £6, Under 16’s £3, Under 12’s £1

After the battling loss to Weston-Super-Mare in the FA Cup, we now turn our attention to the FA Trophy and the visit of old foes Cirencester Town from the Southern League.

The last time we met was in the 2019-20 season where we faced them both in the FA Trophy and the Southern League Division One South. The FA Trophy game was first and we travelled to the Corinium stadium, and we progressed through to the next round after winning 3-2. Then the last league game before Christmas the score was reversed despite leading two-nil at halftime and we left Gloucestershire pointless. We never got to play them in the reverse fixture due to the initial covid lockdown.
From that squad, only Scott Armsworth, Bradley Wilson and a very young D’Andre Brown remain.

Our Opponents
The Centurions are managed by John Brough, who had an impressive football career as a centre-back, making over 300 appearances for clubs such as Hereford Utd, Cheltenham Town and Newport County. Once he retired he became head of youth football at Cheltenham, and then went onto manage clubs such as Bishops Cleeve, Cinderford Town and North Leigh, before taking over the Manager’s role at Cirencester in 2019.
Cirencester moved to the Central Division at the start of this season, and with just one draw and three losses, they currently sit next to bottom after four games.
The one point came on the opening day of the season after a 0-0 draw at Biggleswade Town, which were followed by loses at home to Thame Utd (1-2), Welwyn Garden City (1-2), before another (2-0) loss at Kidlington.

They progressed in the FA Cup, with a 2-0 victory at Larkhall Athletic, and they now travel to Merthyr Town in the next round. Both goals were scored by striker Levi Irving, who now has three goals on the season. Irving, came through the academy in the 2018-19 season and scored 14 goals for the club last season. Alongside him could be Ross Gabriel, who joined in 2020 from Lydney Town.

In midfield will be club man Ellis Denton, who first joined the club at the age of four, rising through the club levels, starting for the first team in 2010-11 season. After two short stints in Australia, he re-signed for the club in the 2020-21 season. With him will be tough tackling Nick Hancock who is in his 3rd season with the club, having previously played for Bishop Cleeve and before that Shortwood Utd. Jordan Morris will patrol the left side of the midfield, and is an Ex-Forest Green Rovers professional who joined the club via Shortwood Utd.

In defence will be the well-travelled Joseph Turley who has played for Southern League clubs Evesham, Mangotsfield Town, Bishops Cleeve and Cinderford Town. Josh Nelmes who joined from Bristol Manor Farm, debuted and scored in the December match against Basingstoke back in 2019 and is an integral part of the aerial side of the defence. One of the other centre-back roles is likely to be filled by Jake Lee, who has played for a number of clubs, re-joining the club from Swindon Supermarine in the 2021-22 season.
In goal will be the tall commanding Alex Harris, who has played for Hereford, Gloucester, before joining Merthyr Town during the covid season. He then joined the Centurions in the 2020-21 season.

Our Basingstoke Town Side
Our battling but ultimately disappointing loss to Weston-Super-Mare in the FA Cup, brings us to the FA Trophy and a chance to progress in a competition we have had very little real success in recent or distant years.

For periods of that FA Cup game, we looked the better side, and some neat passing movements just failed to come to fruition at the key time to level up the scoring. Both our scores, a header and a neat finish by Ezio Touray were both when we fell two goals behind.

This brings us to what we can expect this weekend in a line-up that Dan Brownlie has many options. Does he go with a line-up on our 3G pitch, which is more suited to pace, if so then Ezio could well start again and Marcio Neves could well earn a recall to the starting line-up. If not the other option is the experienced Sam Argent being your target man. Whichever option, the reliable Bradley Wilson should get a starting slot, with either James Clark or George Reid, being the other attacking threat.

In midfield Simon Dunn is likely to be joined once again by Luis Le Paih, with both Michael Atkinson & D’Andre Brown still sidelined. Will James Clark play that attacking midfield role, or will Ben Mason, who looked good in an attacking defensive role, move into a slot here.

With Scott Armsworth coming through a full 90 minutes, again we will have a number of options at the back. Will we play three centre-backs, the other two being Ben Upton & Nathan Smart. Again more options at left & right back, with Dan Williamson, Callum Winchcombe & James Haworth. Add Aiden Lewis to that group as well, means we can set-up in any formation that is required.
Paul Strudley will we assume will be wearing the keeper’s gloves once more.

With the game now rescheduled for a Tuesday evening it will be interesting to see what the crowd will be, but with Cirencester not having started well this season, a good solid performance should hopefully see us progress into the next round.

Match Preview by Martin French..