Match Preview: Basingstoke Town v Leatherhead Saturday 25th February 2023

Match Preview: Isthmian South Central Division
Basingstoke Town Vs Leatherhead
When: Saturday 25th 2023 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Winklebury Stadium, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Leatherhead (Nickname – The Tanners), Avg 2022-23 Home Att 355
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £7, U16’s £3, U12’s £1
Match Programmes £2

After battling back-to-back away wins, we keep our seven points lead at the top, and up next is a tough home game against a Leatherhead side this Saturday. Ben Cook’s finish, his fourth goal of the season, on Wednesday night, once again was the deciding goal on a pitch that did not help flowing football.
We played the Tanners back at Fetcham Grove in October and on what was a rather disappointing game on the day ended goal-less.

Our Opponents
The Tanners have made a number of changes this season, and that includes their Manager after Luke Tufts was replaced by Hayden Bird back last year. Bird who was previously at Kingstonian
They currently sit in twelfth place with a league record of Played 27 Won 9 Drawn 7 Lost 11 Points 34pts. Their away record sits at 6 Wins 3 Draws and 5 Losses. February has not treated them well with 1 Win, 2 Draws and 2 Losses. With the new management, this sometimes brings in new players and Leatherhead have now used 59 players so far this season.

The Tanners are one of the lowest goalscorers in the league with just thirty league goals this season, and their leading scorer is ex-Stoke striker Dave Tarpey, with thirteen goals this season, who has over 150 goals in his career having played for numerous clubs in his career including Maidenhead, Barnet, Woking and more recently Bracknell Town. Another ex-Kingstonian striker is Lewis Pearch who has two goals on the season. Daniel Hector, is back for another term at Leatherhead after playing for the Tanners back in 2020, and joined from Sevenoaks in October. Hector has three goals this season.

Attacking Midfielder Omarr Lawson has four goals, and was previously at Kingstonian and other clubs such as Sevenoaks Town and Ashford Utd. They did have on-loan Keane Anderson from Aldershot Town, but he has joined Kingstonian football club yesterday. Thirty-six year-old Kenny Beaney has two goals and joined from Kingstonian after spending five years at Grays Athletic. Oliver Allen, son of well-known footballer Clive Allen, joined this season, after a wealth of experience at clubs such Birmingham City, Barnet and Stevenage Borough. Archie Burnett, came through Crystal Places & then Bromley’s academy, before playing for clubs such as Horsham, Margate & Cray Wanderers.

Whilst they score few goals, their defence has been pretty solid, letting in just thirty-six goals. Starting with Louis Collins, who has spent time Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and Dover. Maxwell Mullins, is another defender, and has added three goals, who passed through Aldershot’s academy is on loan at Leatherhead.
They have 27 year-old Benedict Frempah who has been at many other non-League clubs, but rarely finds a club to earn a starting role. Jerry Puemo, is a centre-back who was at Kingstonian before joining from Bognor Regis.
Their current goalkeeper is 30 year-old Slavomir Huk, who joined on a season-long loan from Dorking Wanderers.

Our Basingstoke Town Side
Two tough away wins in five days, aren’t they all tough at the top nowadays, keeps us with that seven-point lead with ten games to play. Ben Cook’s all-important finish was his second winning goal in recent weeks, and with his work in midfield and with a strong defence, we were able to head back home with the points. This gives us a league record of Pld 27 Won 20 Drawn 2 Lost 5 with 62 points.

Bradley Wilson still heads the league goal-scoring charts with 25, and 29 in total, and will look to add to his total tomorrow afternoon. George Reid, who set-up Cook’s finish Wednesday, also played his part in defence and currently sits on sixteen goals on the season. Sam Argent (five goals) and Paul Hodges (four goals), both played their part on Wednesday, and will likely be the attacking pairing up front. This leaves Marcio Neves & Brody Peart waiting for a chance to prove themselves off the bench.

Both Simon Dunn & Michael Atkinson missed the midweek game, and with just 72 hours further on look to be gametime decisions tomorrow. Would it be worthwhile to give them an extra week to fully recover for the matches ahead, rather than risking extended injury worries. This leaves Ben Cook and James Clark to set-up in the middle, with D’Andre Brown as an option. Ashleigh Artwell, who appeared on the bench for the first-time since October could also be an option off the bench.

Following the defensive performance at Chipstead, the defence turned it around and were much stronger, as Southall put considerable pressure on us in the second-half. Scott Armsworth, temporary captain on the evening, and Billy Upton made vital tackles and blocks at crucial times, and look to be the centre-back pairing once again. Nathan Smart remains the unlucky option on the bench. Markus Johnson-Schuster was superb and seems to give us more and more each week. Callum Winchcombe played his part on the left and will keep James Hayworth, Aiden Lewis and others on the sidelines.
Paul Strudley made another critical save to keep us in the game, and how big was the cheer around the ground when he caught that corner six minutes into added-time Wednesday.

Whilst we host Leatherhead tomorrow afternoon, who will battle all ninety minutes, Walton & Hersham will have a tough game at Hanworth Villa, but like us they are finding a way to win their games.
With an expected large crowd and large support from Leatherhead, the atmosphere is likely to be electric, so why not come down and support your Town’s side and we take our latest step to win the league.

Match Preview by Martin French..