Match Preview: Basingstoke Town v Northwood Saturday 15th January 2022

Match Preview: Isthmian League South Central Division
Basingstoke Town Vs Northwood
When: Saturday 15th January 2022 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Winklebury Complex, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Northwood (Nickname – The Woods), Average 2021-22 Home Attendance 143
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £7 Aged 13-17 £3 Aged 12 & Under £1
We host Northwood on the back of the North-Hants cup demolition of local side Stockbridge, as both us and Northwood fell victims to the weather last Saturday. Our narrow win at Northwood back in October, secured by Conor Lynch’s finish was the start of a push into the playoff places in November, and although on a three-game unbeaten league run, this has included two disappointing draws.
With our squad starting to return to full fitness, an interesting match-up awaits this Saturday.

Our Opponents
The Woods like us have a Director of Football, Steve Ringrose, who would have been instrumental in the latest Managerial change at Northwood Park, when they appointed Ben Bukowski back in November, who has put an immediate stamp on the club, bringing in virtually a new squad under his regime. Bukowski, just 28, has had previous coaching stints at Hendon and Hampton & Richmond.
As like many teams under new management, it brings new energy into the club and they have had some useful results against teams vying for promotion.

Despite their mini-revival since we played them, they have lost there last two league games, both at home against Thatcham & Hanwell, and they still sit in a worrying 16th place, level with Staines Town but above them on goal difference and just two points above the automatic relegation places that Guernsey & Chalfont St Peter fill. Their record stands at PLD 19 Won 4 Drawn 1 Lost 14 GF 20 GA 45 Pts 13

Their squad including their forward line has undergone many changes, with two pre-Christmas signings of 20 year-old Kyal Williams on a season-long loan from Kings Langley and experienced Josh Helmore (29), who joined them from Binfield. Helmore who opened his Woods account on Tuesday in a Middlesex cup match, has eight league goals and comes with a CV of playing for teams such as Gloucester City, Thatcham and Bracknell.

Prior to these two arrivals their goals had recently come from Dutch-born Sydney Ibie (21) who netted the only goal in a 1-0 win at Chipstead and a brace in the 4-2 win against Chertsey Town. Micah Jackson an attacking midfielder has netted twice since joining from Enfield Town, where he had eight goals this season, and is looking to establish himself at a higher level.

At the back is defender James Gurteen who is on dual-registration with Kings Langley. who played in our previous match-up, whilst central defender Matt Surmon was a non-playing substitute in that game, are likely to be part of the match-day squad. They are joined by experienced defender Tommy Boxer, who scored his first goal in the midweek cup game, and has played for too numerous clubs to mention them all.
In goal now is young Daniel Hosier who joined the Woods from Southern League Chesham Utd.

Northwood appear to perform better on the road, as their last three wins have come that way, and will look to attack on the break.

Your Basingstoke Town Side
Starved from league football last weekend, those 222 present at the North-Hants cup match Tuesday night, saw a much-changed squad-based team maul Hampshire League side Stockbridge 10-0. The return of Bradley Wilson saw him play the full 90 minutes, and he could have easily scored more than the six he registered on the night. A neat brace by Mckoy Palmer, whilst Daryl Wollers and a neat finish by George Reid accounted for all ten goals. A number of substitutions were made on the night, to give much-needed playing time to some players, but let’s be clear the line-up on Saturday against Northwood will be vastly different.

Our last league game was that very disappointing draw at home to Westfield, where we woke up after an hour and with a better referee, could have snatched all three points in the end.
This draw leaves us in fifth place with our record now at PLD 18 Won 11 Drawn 4 Lost 3 GF 37 GA 27 Pts 37
Conor Lynch, Stefan Brown and Bradley Wilson should be in the starting line-up, and will head the strike-force looking to put the game away early, if there is such a thing with Stoke games. Conor who added to his tally against Westfield, now has 16 on the season, and both Stefan and Bradley will look to add to their tallies.
Providing the opportunities will be wingers George Reid & McKoy Palmer, which leaves the midfield to be marshalled by our captain Simon Dunn, alongwith Anton Rodgers and the likely return of Ben Cook, who put some playing time in Tuesday evening.
Having spoken to both D’Andre Brown & Lloyd Snell at training Thursday night, both are still recovering from injuries and are still a couple of weeks away from returning to first team action. The much-welcomed return of Danny Vickers, will likely make him available off the bench alongwith with Jack French.

The return of Dan Williamson at right back, should strengthen an area that looked vulnerable to the speed of Westfield, whilst centre-backs Nathan Smart, Rob Sheridan & Daryl Wollers will fight it out for the two starting roles, leaving James Haworth in the left back role.
Shaun Dallimore who also had playing time in the cup game Tuesday evening is likely to continue his match fitness with Tadley, before rejoining our league match-day squad.
Paul Strudley, who was rightly rested Tuesday, will be back between the sticks this Saturday.

Moving into this Saturday’s match against Northwood, our team needs to show intensity from the start, which has been lacking in recent home games. Northwood despite their recent improvement are still not a huge goal-scoring machine, so we are clear favourites to get back to that much needed winning way, but the anticipated large crowd once again, will look for a convincing win to keep us in the playoff slots, in front of what is an expected dry but cold Saturday afternoon.

Match Preview by Martin French..