Match Preview: Basingstoke Town v Sholing Saturday 4th January 2020

Match Preview: Bet Victor Division One South

Basingstoke Town v Sholing

When: Saturday 4th January 2020 Kick-off 3pm

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

Sholing (Nickname – The Boatmen), Average 2019-20 Home Attendance 149

Well a tough start to 2020 brings us to a hugely important match-up against fellow relegation side Sholing and we sit officially bottom when we take into account our point deduction.

We played Sholing at the start of the season, which ended with a 2-0 loss at the tiny ground on the outskirts of Southampton. Five of those players in the line-up that evening, have since left the club, so this Saturday’s line-up will be dramatically different. Falling behind early on due to Chris Rackley’s first of numerous errors, we were unable to capitalise on a number of chances in the first half and Sholing doubled their lead with 20 minutes remaining and we never looked like getting back in the game.

Well since then, Sholing due to runs in various cup competitions are sitting in 17th in the league, but with a mountain of games to play. Their current record stands at PLD 14 WON 5 DRAWN 0 LOST 9 GF 17 GA 21 PTS 15.

Managed by Dave Diaper, he has been in control at Mackoy Stadium since 1999 and more recently was joined by son Marc Diaper as an assistant coach. Having managed them for over a 1,000 games, he clearly is the heart and soul of the club.

Before we look at their league record, it’s worth taking a look at their cup success, as they reached the first round proper of the FA Trophy for the first time in their history before being knocked out by Bath City 2-0 on the road. They still however remain in both the League Cup and Hampshire Snr Cup. In the 3rd round of the League Cup they face the team that beat us 5-1 yesterday, whilst in the Hants Snr Cup they have also reached the 3rd round and have a winnable tie at AFC Stoneham.

In the league they appear to go on winning and then losing runs, and are currently on a two-game losing streak, with both of those being at home (Larkhall 1-2), and yesterday’s 0-2 defeat to league leaders Thatcham Town.

They are the lowest goals scorers, with just seventeen league goals, so that we must take as a positive for us this Saturday. Of those 17 goals, five have been scored by 29-year-old striker Stuart Green, who did not join them till October from Bognor Regis. Aside of him they have fellow forwards Bradley Targett with four, and Dan Mason with three goals.

As like the Masons, they keep it in the family as they have Byron and younger brother Dan, and cousin Marlon Mason.

One final note, for those who visited Sholing back in August, is that their new clubhouse was opened recently by Ex-Saints and England international James Beattie, and was largely supported by Budweiser UK.

Whilst writing this match preview after a very disappointing loss to Winchester City yesterday, I was thinking, like a number of fans, we would have preferred it to have been lost to the weather like our Moneyfields game on Boxing Day.

Having said that, and myself included, we all need to understand that Winchester, now sit in 3rd place, and are clearly a better team than possibly expected in this league.

In no cups, we must concentrate on pulling us out of what is an unofficial bottom place and our record sits for the moment at 19th place with our record now as PLD 18 Won 3 Drawn 3 Lost 12 GF 25 GA 50 with 12pts.

I could dwell on some of the poor performances in yesterday’s game, but would rather comment on the three oncoming substitutes, Riccardo Andrady, Lionel Masudi and Harrison Cliff. All three brought some life in to our side, and Riccardo was especially lively down the wing and should in many fans view, be back in the starting line-up for this game.

With Ben Wright off the pitch, I was expecting previous penalty taker Dean Stow to take on the role, but Bradley’s Wilson’s kick, summed up the majority of the day, when he blasted over. Yes it didn’t make any difference to the outcome of the game, and yes Bradley did get on the scoresheet in injury-time.

Keeper Aaron Watkins, would have wished for a better start to his career at Basingstoke, and will be a big part of the second-half of the season.

Not aware of any new injuries, I am hoping defender Scott Armsworth can return to the squad.

It will be interesting to see if both Harrison Cliff and Lionel Masudi earn starting roles this Saturday, and what formation Dan will look to start with.

Goals could be at a premium, so let’s be the team that gets on the front foot and start pushing our way back up the league.

Yes like every Premier League Manager states “One Game At A Time”, we all know that is rubbish, as the next four games, are hugely vital and could really set us on our way off the bottom of the table.

Match Preview by Martin French..