Match Preview: Basingstoke Town vs Thatcham Town Monday 27th December 2021

Match Preview: Isthmian League South Central Division
Basingstoke Town Vs Thatcham Town
When: Monday 27th December 2021 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Winklebury Sports Complex, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Thatcham Town (Nickname – The Kingfishers), Average 2021-22 Home Attendance 162
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £7 Aged 13-17 £3 Aged 12 & Under £1

Well after the 1-1 draw at Hanwell Town and a ten-day wait, we have our last league game of 2021, as we host nearby rival Thatcham Town in this season’s return fixture. Back at the August Bank Holiday we won a tight encounter 2-3, which included first-half goals by Bradley Wilson, Lloyd Snell & Shaun Dallimore, and two penalty-saves by Paul Strudley being just enough to hold onto the three points.

Since that day, the two teams have taken differing routes as they come to us in mid-table.

Our Opponents
The Kingfishers are managed by Jamie Leacock, who after the early season defeat to Stoke, took on a hesitant start to the season and were sitting in the bottom five of the league, until things took an upswing over the last seven weeks. Since November and possibly due to a number of squad changes, they have lost just once at home to Tooting & Mitcham, whilst picking up two wins (Staines Town 4-0 & Northwood 1-0), and four draws.
This leaves them in 12th place, as they head down the A339 with a league record of PLD 17 Won 4 Drawn 6 Lost 7 GF 22 GA 30 Pts 18.

Their forward-line is led by Lamin Ceesay who has seven goals on the season, six in the league, with fellow striker Balai Dembele jumping ship to join Bracknell, Alex Miller is Lamin’s main strike partner. Miller who rejoined Thatcham from a period at Mortimer, has 3 league goals this season. Other strikers are Kai Stubbs who joined from Reading City & Glenn Gabriel, who was playing in Spain’s 3rd tier of football.
In midfield, is Daniel Fosu, regarded as a box-to box player, who has five goals on the season, and previously played for Farnborough & Hendon. With him are two Harry’s, Harry Grant who was part of the FA Vase winning side, and rejoined this year after a spell at North Leigh, and Harvey Harry a young midfielder who was part of the Madejski Academy at Reading.
In defence and the team captain is ex-Stoke defender Josh Edwards. Edwards scored his only goal of the season, in last week’s one-nil victory at Northwood. Yet another player who joined mid-season is Cameron Rohart-Brown, who having played for a number of local clubs, joined form Westfield.
Another ex-Stoke player Chris Rackley, started as the number one, but in recent games Jack Hopwood who joined the club in November, now appears to be the keeper in favour.

Your Basingstoke Town Side
Our last game, the 1-1 draw at Hanwell Town, mean’t we had obtained 4 out of 6 points against one of our playoff challengers, and we now sit 3rd in the league with an overall record of PLD 16 Won 10 Drawn 3 Lost 3 GF 31 GA 22 Pts 33
Assuming the game goes ahead, and with no players restricted through covid, then in many fans eyes we should set-up with both Conor Lynch & Stefan Brown upfront, and look to attack from the outset. Lynch, will look to increase on his seven league goals, 13 on the season, and both should be supported by the increasingly dangerous Bradley Wilson, if he is back from suspension. Bradley has 8 in the league, 9 on the season.
Wingers George Reid & McKoy Palmer both in contention, will we look to line-up with either of them in the starting line-up.
The midfield roles should see Simon Dunn with the captains armband, whilst Anton Rodgers is one of Dan Brownlie’s key players in the middle. Dependent on the wingers options, D’Andre Brown strengthens his starting role each time in a Stoke shirt, and deserves the start, alongside Ben Cook. This leaves players such as Lloyd Snell & Jack French on the bench.
The defence still without the likes of Scott Armsworth & Shaun Dallimore, still have plenty of quality in experienced Nathan Smart & Daryl Wollers. If either miss out Jon Boardman is waiting to step in. The defensive backs will as usual comprise from any two of Dan Williamson, who stood out at Hanwell Town, James Haworth & Aiden Lewis.
Many fans view keeper Paul Strudley as one of our players of the season so far, and will presumably continue with the keepers jersey.
On paper we are clear favourites to get back to winning ways, but Thatcham Town will come to North Hants with nothing to lose, and thus Dan Brownlie’s starting line-up could be key in taking control of this game early on, in an attempt to try and put this game away and earn three valuable points.
Match Preview by Martin French..