Match Preview: Evo Stick South Premier Division South
Basingstoke Town v Walton Casuals (The Stags)
When: Saturday 22nd December 2018 Kick-off 3.00pm
Where: The Camrose, Basingstoke. RG22 6EZ
Just 11 days after Basingstoke Town progressed in the League Challenge Cup 2-1 against Walton Casuals, the Stags Managed by Tony Gale return to the Camrose for the return league match.
On the opening day of the season, Basingstoke Town were held to a 3-3 draw at the Riverside Stadium.
On that day Walton got what seemed a very, very, late injury-time goal to rob us of two points. Our goal-scorers on that day were a Dean Stow penalty, a sleek left-foot drive by Sam Deadfield and a Callum Bunting header within 60 seconds of his arrival on the pitch as a sub.
After Saturday’s poor performance going down 5-2 at Swindon Supermarine, Manager Martin Kuhl has had a week to set his side up for the last league game before we head into the Christmas & New Year period.
Since our last meeting the Stags, following back-to-back lop-sided wins, now sit in 10th place, with their league record of 8 wins, 3 draws and 8 losses with 27pts from 19 games. They have improved their goal difference over the past two results, and it current sits at -4, which is 1 better off than the Dragons.
In the past two games, Walton’s leading goal-scorer forward James Ewington has hit the back of the net 5 times, as he scored 4 times in a 5-1 home win over falling Hendon FC and grabbed another in last Tuesday night’s 3-0 home win against lowly Wimborne Town. This now puts his record at 15 goals (10 league, 5 cup). He is ably backed up by fellow forward Taurean Roberts who now has 10 goals (5 league & 5 cup).
Tony Gale will be well aware that like Basingstoke, his team have had trouble keeping teams out at the back and their keeper Denzel Gerrar, was partially at fault for both Basingstoke’s two goals in the recent league cup loss.
Basingstoke’s Manager Martin Kuhl, will clearly be upset not just because his 3-game winning streak came to an abrupt end last Saturday, but possibly more for the poor second-half performance as they conceded 4 goals in a 5-2 loss at Swindon Supermarine.
With no mid-week game, he will have hoped to have given some of his players some much needed rest and time for players to recover from injuries. He will also have had time to set-up for this week’s crucial game and will have his squad drilled in what he expects for them when the come out on the Camrose pitch on Saturday.
It will be interesting to see how he set’s up at the back, as he will have options at the centre-back pair.
In midfield, will he give new signee Harry Pearse a start and if so in place of who. We weren’t at our best last week, so am looking for more productive performances from the 3 Sam’s Deadfield, Smart and Argent as we will likely need to score a few goals if we are to secure the much needed 3pts.
Finally, it was sad to hear of the departure of Callum Bunting. Not only was he last season’s leading goal-scorer, but he was a fan favourite amongst the Camrose faithful, and the club will sadly miss him. His last goal for the club was that smashing header which gave us the lead and what was thought was the winner in our opening game of the season against Walton Casuals.
For all those reading this preview, I hope to see you at the game and will take this opportunity to wish you a merry Christmas and let’s all hope for an early Christmas present and a win against our visitors.
Match Preview by Martin French..