Match Preview: Basingstoke Town v Northwood FC Saturday 15th October 2022

Match Preview: Isthmian South Central Division
Basingstoke Town Vs Northwood Fc
When: Saturday 15th October 2022 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Winklebury Stadium, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Northwood (Nickname – The Woods), Avg 2022-23 Home Att 182
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £7, Under 16’s £3, Under 12’s £1
Match Programmes £2

With last Saturday’s battling win against Chipstead, we now have back-to-back home league victories and are now unbeaten in our last four games, as we welcome the somewhat surprising league leaders Northwood tomorrow afternoon.
Last season we split the series, with either side winning on each other’s ground. Firstly, we won at Northwood on a wet and windy October night with the only goal being scored by Conor Lynch just after halftime, then in January this year, Northwood ran out comfortable 3-1 winners, at Winklebury, with a Bradley Wilson injury-time goal at the end of the game being the only real positive on the day.

Our Opponents
The Woods who finished 11th in last season’s league table and 22 points behind Basingstoke are led by Director of Football, Steve Ringrose, who was instrumental in the latest Managerial change at Northwood Park, when they appointed Ben Bukowski back in November 2021. Bukowski, has had previous coaching stints at Hendon and Hampton & Richmond.

As early league leaders, Northwood have a record of Played 9, Won 7, Drawn 0, Lost 2 Points 21. Both losses have been on the road and their last two trips at Walton & Hersham (1-2) and Ashford Town (1-2).
Their leading goalscorer is Dutch-born forward Sydney Ibie who was one of the scorers in their 3-1 victory against us last season. Ibie now 22, has eleven goals on the season, with an amazing six of them from the penalty spot. Fellow forward experienced 30 year-old Josh Helmore, moved to the Woods from divisional rivals Binfield FC in November 2021, started out with Reading City and has also played for clubs like Gloucester City, Thatcham Town and Bracknell Town. Josh has five goals this season. The Wood also recently signed Uxbridge forward Juwon Akintunde, as well as Potters Bar winger Sandro Costa Dias Fernandes.

In midfield they have 18 year-old Ronan Hutchins, who is a former Brentford Academy player, who joined the Woods in the summer of 2022 from Hampton & Richmond Borough. Hutchings has three goals so far this season. With him will be 26 year-old Micah Jackson, who is regarded as an attacking midfielder who was recruited from Enfield Borough FC in November 2021. Riccardo Alexander-Greenaway (22), joined the Woods on a dual-registration basis from Southern Premier side Hendon in March 2022 after having played at Chalfont St Peter, but has signed on for the 22/23 season. Carl Stewart (25) is a former Watford youth midfielder, who joined from Beaconsfield Town, and has played for many other clubs including Italian Serie A side Udinese.

In defence will be James Gurteen, who was previously with the Woods as an 18-year-old in 2017 and made a couple of appearances but returned in October 2021 on dual-registration from Kings Langley, but signed for the club at the start of this season. James Budden (30) is in his second spell at the club, having previously played for Hemel Hempstead, Aylesbury and Leverstock Green, he moved on to play Step Three for Hitchin Town and Potters Bar Town and now 30, brings plenty of experience to the Woods back-line. Andy Lomas, is an experienced 32 year-old left-back who returned to the Woods in a Player-Coach role in November 2021, who has had previous spells at the club as well as Harrow Borough and Potters Bar.
In goal will be Andrew McCorkell (24), who had a short spell with the Woods back in 2017 after release from MK Dons where he picked up representative honours in Northern Ireland’s Under-19s. He had previously played at clubs such as Hendon, Chesham United, Beaconsfield, Hayes & Yeading, and most recently Bedfont Sports before joining Northwood for the new season.

Our Basingstoke Town Side
We head into this important first test against league leaders Northwood, with us on an amazing turnaround from earlier in the season, following our fifth clean sheet in a row in all competitions. We now have a league record of Played 8 Won 4, Drawn 2, Lost 2 Points 14.

Last weekend we had to battle against a stubborn Chipstead side, where our current forward-line again clicked when the few chances came along, as a Bradley Wilson finish, either side of another George Reid goal, was enough to lift us to a 3-0 win and into fourth place.

Wilson who now has ten goals on the season, will play that attacking role on the left, whilst Ezio Touray is your central target man, who has nine goals on the year. The other main attacking threat is now George Reid, who too many has now returned to that period where he was unplayable, and now has notched up five goals on the season. Stefan Brown who played the whole of the second-half last week, will likely play some part off the bench once more.

Despite leaving the field early in the Chipstead game, Michael Atkinson (with the captains armband), will lead the midfield in Simon Dunn’s continued absence, whilst James Clark is very likely to retain a slot that he has impressed many fans in this new role. Ashleigh Artwell could well win a start here as well, as he gradually plays more minutes each game. Brody Peart will also be in contention having returned from injury.

The Upside – Luis Le Paih & Anton Rodgers were both back in full training last night whilst Marcio Neves and D’Andre Brown were training on the sideline so are still a week or so away from returning.

The defence were once again superb in holding a Chipstead side that had close to five strikers on the pitch at the end of the game, and when they did create a chance Mark Scott was there to save the day. This should therefore mean that the defence should remain the same with centre-backs Scott Armsworth & Billy Upton, James Haworth at left-back and Ben Mason in the right-back role. Dan Williamson, Nathan Smart & Callum Winchcombe are likely to be on the bench once again. Shaun Dallimore who missed out on the Chipstead game, should hopefully be an option from the bench as well.

Mark Scott, made two critical saves last Saturday and has started his Stoke career with three consecutive clean sheets, so I assume he will be wearing the No.1 shirt this Saturday.

Yes it is only October, but this first vs fourth match-up, will be a true test on how we can fare against a fellow-playoff team, so why not come along tomorrow afternoon and give Dan Brownlie and the team the support your Stoke side deserve.

Match Preview by Martin French..