Match Preview: Basingstoke Town v Paulton Rovers Saturday 22nd February 2020

Match Preview: Bet Victor Division One South

Basingstoke Town v Paulton Rovers

When: Saturday 22nd February 2020 Kick-off 3pm

Where: The Simplyhealth Ground, Hillier Way, Winchester. SO23 7SR

Paulton Rovers (Nickname – The Robins), Average 2019-20 Home Attendance 136

Having walked around the pitch with Terry with the rain falling early Tuesday evening, it was clear the game could not go ahead, but more worryingly, this was just rain on top of pre-existing rain, that seemed to be there from days before.

Also that night, this week’s opponents were also having the same problem calling off their home game against Sholing.

So both teams have sat idle for two weeks, as we face another major challenge to get the pitch ready for this Saturday.

We played them in Somerset back in November, in that early morning kick-off and after good earlier chances we fell two behind early in the second-half, but a brace of goals by loanee Zach Robinson, pulled the score level.

However, back then and even now, we couldn’t hold onto that draw, and two late goals, saw us go down 4-2.

The Robins managed by John Rendell after an initial good start went through a bad run in December, which saw them drop out of the playoff places for a while, but following their last game, which they handed out a six-nil drubbing to bottom-placed Barnstaple, they moved back into fifth place.

This leaves them with an overall record of PLD 24 WON 12 DRAWN 5 LOST 7 GF 55 GA 37 PTS 41. Their away record sits at 5 Wins, 4 Draws and 4 losses from 13 games.

The Rovers leading goal-scorer Ben Bament, is also the league’s leading goal-scorer with 18 goals. (Boy could we do with a striker like that).

Fellow forwards Edward Butcher and David Sims-Burgess both have added 8 goals each. In midfield they have 18-year-old Marcus Day who has 7 goals.

Moving onto your Basingstoke side, if the game goes ahead this Saturday, we will face two teams within 48 hours, who sit in 5th and 6th place (Melksham away – Monday night), so Dan Brownlie knows he has a tough job to navigate through these two games and try and win some points along the way.

Our record now sits at PLD 23 Won 5 Drawn 3 Lost 15 GF 32 GA 63 with 17pts (1pt deducted). Our home record is 4 Wins, 1 Draw and 6 losses, so a fifth would come in handy tomorrow.

From the first game we played them, defensively they were not that great, but their keeper had a blinder that day, making two good saves in the first half and a terrific second-half reaction diving save, when we trailed 3-2.

Ok, this has been confirmed as Bradley Wilson (4 goals) last game, as he leaves for Australia after Saturday.

The two-week lapse without a game, has given our injured players a chance to recover, as it is hoped that both defender Josh Edwards and striker Ben Wright are fit enough to rejoin the squad. Will Elliott Bolton be fit and back in the squad?

I’ve not heard of any other injuries, so assume the squad is good to go.

It should also be naturally understood that the delay, has given a chance for Simon Dunn to regain his match fitness and could be expected to play the full 90 minutes. Would be good if he could go 2 games 2 goals. It is also hoped that he can build and cement a partnership with Harrison Cliff, who seems to have nailed down a starting role.

At the back, with Alfie Saunders gone, and Scott Armsworth back in the back four, does that naturally push Dean Stow to right-back. Some fans would like to see him push further into a midfield role, but then we have an abundance of midfield players.

Upfront unless things change, you would assume Bradley and George will be starting pair, with he experience of both Bens on the bench.

I know I say this most weeks, but please if you read this, please take the time to come down and support our club. We need you more than ever, as we look to get our club back into Basingstoke.

Match Preview by Martin French..