Match Preview: Evo Stick South Premier Division South
Basingstoke Town v Hendon Town (The Dons)
When: Saturday 8th December 2018 Kick-off 3.00pm
Where: The Camrose, Basingstoke. RG22 6EZ
After last Saturday’s postponement, and our win in the week against Hartley Wintney, we return to our next vital league match as we entertain (weather permitting), Hendon Town to the Camrose.
New Manager Martin Kuhl, will be happy with his first win, but knows his major work is turning round the pretty poor league form and kick-starting our season as we leap towards Christmas and the New Year.
Our opponents this weekend Hendon (The Dons), after an average November, moved back into 4th place after beating playoff rivals Merthyr Town 3-0 at home at Silver Jubilee Park.
Their league record sits at 9 wins, 4 draws and 4 losses from 17 games, with 35 goals scored and 25 goals conceded and 31 pts.
The Dons goals from two major sources, 19yr old forward Ricardo German who joined in August from Chesterfield, has notched up 18 goals 13 of those in the league and is on the radar of league clubs, and 23yr old forward Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick with 12 goals (8 in the league). Hippolyte-Patrick joined Hendon in September from Leatherhead, but has already notched appearances at Wealdstone, Hampton & Richmond and Sutton Utd.
Their other goals come from ex-Farnborough forward Connor Calcutt with 4 goals and midfielder Cole Brown with five goals.
Ex-Basingstoke centre back Guri Demuria started the season for Hendon, but in early October picked a long-term injury, so won’t be present at Saturday’s game.
Meanwhile, Basingstoke sit in 18th place and since being knocked out by Bristol Manor Farm in the FA Cup have picked up just 4 points in 8 league games and 3 of those were at bottom-placed Staines Town. The Staines Town match was not only the last time we kept a clean sheet, but also the last time we scored more than once in a league game.
When you look at those stats, then it seems we have concerns at both ends of the pitch. Where has that feast of goal-scoring gone from earlier in the season. We’ve created the chances, but simply failed to take them. How we never won at Harrow, still haunts me, but our ‘Fortress Camrose’ persona has also disappeared as well.
Defensively, we still look shaky and vulnerable to crosses, but in a league where goals get you prizes, then we have been under recent pressure to virtually keep a clean sheet every week to get anything out of game.
It is clear the Management team are working to fix this, and this may need bringing new players, something Martin Kuhl has stated since his arrival.
With Smart back for the moment, we will create the chances, but hope that Jack McKnight who was absent on Tuesday, will be available Saturday. Personally, we need to shut down German & Hippolyte-Patrick and think Collier would be ideal in one of those roles.
I am also hoping that Callum Bunting will be close to returning from injury, to provide support and competition to the forward line.
Although, just the beginning of December, this is could be a key game for Basingstoke, as we move into a busy period of games.
Odds please Ian.
Match Preview by Martin French