Match Preview: Basingstoke Town v Hanworth Villa Saturday 25th March 2023

Match Preview: Isthmian South Central Division
Basingstoke Town Vs Hanworth Villa
When: Saturday 25th March 2023 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Winklebury Stadium, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Hanworth Villa (Nickname – The Villains), Avg 2022-23 Home Att 141
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £7, U16’s £3, U12’s £1
Match Programmes £2

Our three-two win at home to Uxbridge last Saturday, now gives us twenty five wins on the season, as well as our fifteenth win in a row, and with now just six games to go, starting with tomorrow’s home match against Hanworth Villa.
We played our opponents Hanworth Villa in the away fixture back in August seven months ago, it turned out to be our first win of the season, as we left Hanworth with a fine four-nil victory, with a George Reid opener, followed by a brace from Bradley Wilson and a goal from Ezio Toure, were the scorers on the day.

Our Opponents
The Villains are managed by Danny Edwards, who after working at both Chelsea & Southampton football clubs went onto manage at Chalfont St Peter for 15 years before joining Uxbridge, bringing many of his staff with him now.

They currently sit in fifth place as much to the fact that teams who were above them have fallen away, as much as the Villains reasonable performances in recent weeks. Their league record sits at Played 31 Won 13 Drawn 9 Lost 9 Points 48pts. The Villains away record is one of the best in the league standing at 8 Wins 4 Draws and 4 Losses.
Their leading goal-scorer is striker Sam Merson, the son of ex-Arsenal legend Paul Merson. Sam now has twelve goals on the season. He had previously spent time at Redditch Utd & Staines Town, before joining the Villains. Kyen Nicholas has seven goals this season, and was at Hartley Wintney at the start of the season. Former Northwood striker Meshach Williams has bagged four goals this season. Meshach joined the Woods in the summer of 2017 from Cockfosters and has played for other clubs such as Hatfield Town, Hanwell Town, Wingate & Finchley, Egham Town and Fleet Town.
Well known strikers Jonathan Hippolyte & Duncan Culley were strikers at the start of the season, and combined for 12 goals, before moving on to other clubs.

The midfield contains Finlay McNabb, who joined from Kings Langley last month, having spent some time at AFC Wimbledon including their U18 side a few years ago. Another midfielder is young Njie Sharif, who was previously at Oxley Jets. Gagan Samra is another midfielder who was part of their promotion season and was at North Greenford Utd prior to joining the Villains. They did have Tom Scott, but he suffered a horrific injury at Guernsey last month, where the game was abandoned. Scott, had been at Ascot Utd, as well as being an AFC Wimbledon academy player, he was also at Harrow Borough and Beaconsfield.

Club Captain and defender Tom Bender joined the club from Step 2 side St Albans City where he had been for over six years, making over 200 appearances. The 29-year-old was with Colchester and Millwall as a youngster and represented Wales at levels up to Under-21. He also played for Dartford and Forest Green Rovers. Defender Guy Ansah-Palmer has been at Hanworth Villa since their promotion season from the Combined Counties and was formerly at North Greenford Utd. At left back maybe George Wells, who joined from Slough Town in December, but Wells was sent off (two yellows), in their last game at Marlow, and therefore maybe be absent tomorrow. Ber Geraghty is another reliable defender who previously played at Banstead.
In goal they have 35-year-old veteran Terry Buss, who has played over 1,000 games for the Villains, however Gary Ross has been between the sticks the last few games. Ross had spent time at Bedfont Sports, Egham Town and Westfield.

Our Basingstoke Town Side
The first of two hugely important games arrives tomorrow afternoon, as we host Hanworth Villa looking for our sixteenth win on the bounce.
Our win last week against Uxbridge, was closer than it needed to be as for the second home game in a row, after taking a notable lead, we suddenly dropped 15 yards, allowing the opposition to play comfortably out from the back, and build attacks for most of the second-half, and this resulted in two goals, that made the scoreline closer than it should have been. This leaves our table-topping league record at Pld 32 Won 25 Drawn 2 Lost 5 with 77 points. Our goal difference is now down to just five over Walton.

We will face Hanworth Villa with a number of player decisions for Dan Brownlie to make. What we know is that Bradley Wilson will look to get back to goal-scoring ways and will be supported by the hard-working Paul Hodges. The decisions then start as winger supremo George Reid will be back this weekend and will he be given a starting role. If so then either Sam Argent or hat-trick hero Brody Peart may be pushed onto the bench.
Stefan Brown is also in the mix, but is likely to earn a spot on the bench.

The important return of captain Simon Dunn, will lead the midfield trio, whilst assuming Michael Atkinson, whose surprising but important forty-five minute appearance last week, will again be available for a full role tomorrow. If so, it should mean Ben Cook will be the third midfielder. D’Andre Brown & James Clark will be waiting on the bench. It was also superb to see the training return of Louis Le Paih, but he may be one or two weeks away from a bench spot.

Our consecutive clean sheets went last weekend, but the best centre-back pairing in the league, Scott Armsworth & Billy Upton will be the starters tomorrow afternoon. Unless the backs have any niggly injuries, then Markus Johnson-Schuster will be on the right, whilst Callum Winchcombe will be on the left. Waiting on the bench will be veteran Nathan Smart and Ben Mason.
Paul Strudley, will be wearing the goalkeeper jersey once more, whilst Mark Scott may be one of the substitute options on the bench.

Clearly being top of the league, our home record is impressive, and with seven home wins on the bounce, we will look to make it eight tomorrow.

For confidence sake, it would be huge for Bradley to get back to scoring ways as we head down the final stretch of important games (repeated from last week).

With another large crowd expected, but minimal support from Hanworth Villa’s first visit to Winklebury, although there may be the odd extra fan than Uxbridge last week.

Tomorrow we face the prospects of a tough game against Hanworth Villa, so our home crowd needs to be the twelfth man once again as we look to keep that winning momentum going into the crucial match against Walton & Hersham next Saturday.

Match Preview by Martin French..