Match Preview: Basingstoke Town vs Walton & Hersham

Match Preview: Isthmian South Central Division
Basingstoke Town Vs Walton & Hersham
When: Saturday 17th December 2022 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Winklebury Stadium, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Walton & Hersham (Nickname – Swans), Avg 2022-23 Home Att 314
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £7, U16’s £3, U12’s £1
Match Programmes £2

A blank league Saturday due to the frozen pitch at Southall, saw us lose ground to today’s visitors Walton & Hersham, whose turn it was to pile the goals on against Guernsey.

Our Opponents
Walton & Hersham is home to the world’s youngest football club a group of students cobbled together their student loans to buy the club back in 2019.

The Swans currently sit in second place and are managed by Manager Scott Harris, who led the team back to this league after a six-year absence, and is a former Walton & Hersham player.
The Swans despatched Guernsey six-nil last Saturday and now have a record of Pld 17 Won 11 Lost 6 with 33pts. They are the only team in the league yet to have been held to a draw, whilst their away record sits at a less impressive, Pld 8 Won 3 Lost 5. They have scored 41 goals, the most in the league, but have conceded 24 goals the most of the playoff teams. Like Stoke they play on an artificial surface and their home is the former home of defunct Walton Casuals.

Their leading goal-scorer is Eddie Simon who has 14 goals on the season, 11 in the league. Simon, a full-time dentist had spent the last three years at Combined Counties side British Airways. Jordan Adeyemi, a former Leyton Orient U18 player has ten goals on the season (three in the league). He has also played for Guildford City and Harlow Town. There is also incoming Palace Francis who has joined from Fulham and has three goals so far this season.
Another well-known striker is Max Blackmore who joined from Met Police this season. Blackmore has six goals this season, but appears not to have played since the end of October.

In midfield they have John Gilbert, who has seven goals on the season, and is a former Walton Casual player, who previously played for Maldon & Tiptree. Add experienced Arsen Ujkaj, who has played for Westfield, East Grinstead & Met Police. With him will be Alex Kelly, regarded as a cultured ball-player who joined from Horsham. Add experienced winger Taurean Roberts, who has six goals this season, and started his career alongside Wilfrid Zaha, in the Crystal Palace academy, and has since played for a number of clubs, such as Tooting & Mitcham, Merstham, Met Police and more recently Horsham.

Starting with seven goal Harry Mills, a fullback, who is a former Hampton & Richmond, Walton Casuals and Horsham player, who is on his second spell with the club. The Swans have strengthened their defence recently signing Leatherhead’s Mitchal Gough. Gough, has played for a number of clubs in our league as well as the defunct Walton Casuals and more recently Hayes & Yeading Utd. There’s also Joe Hicks who has played for Corinthian Casuals, Hampton & Richmond, Met Police and of course Walton Casuals. They also have on-loan young Fulham defender Devan Tantum, who will remain till January and is originally from the US, and has played in Fulham’s U18 & U21’s sides.

In goal will be Liam Allen, a former Chelsea & Woking youngster who has been at the club since 2014 and has already racked up 30 appearances this season and now over 150 for the Swans.

Our Basingstoke Town Side
Following a large number of absentees from Tuesday’s Hampshire Snr Cup victory over Fleet Town, it was good to see most players back at training last night. This should leave Manager Dan Brownlie with options on how to face a tough match against a free-scoring opposition.

Stoke currently sit in fourth place with 32pts from 16 games, a point behind but with a game in hand of third-placed Marlow who lost 2-0 at South Park last weekend and tomorrow’s opponents Walton, who sit above Marlow on goal-difference.

Bradley Wilson still leads the leagues goal-scoring chart with fourteen league goals, add four cup goals, gives him eighteen on the season. He will play alongside veteran Sam Argent who has four goals on the season, whilst James Clark playing in his more suited attacking role also has four goals.
Add wingers George Reid & Brody Peart to the mix gives us a formidable threat from many angles on the pitch.
The present fitness of Stefan Brown, Ezio Touray and Marcio Neves are unknown for this Saturday.

Simon Dunn will again lead the side from his midfield slot, whilst the experience of Michael Atkinson and Ben Cook, gives us a strength in midfield we have been lacking for some time. Cook has also scored in his last two games.
D’Andre Brown, Anton Rodgers & Lewis Hayden continue to make good progress in their fitness recovery and could play some part of the bench.

The defence still missing the linchpin of Scott Armsworth, means the centre-back pairing will be Billy Upton & Nathan Smart. The depth of the squad gives us more options at both defensive back roles, but Ben Mason at right and Callum Winchcombe on the left, need to be unseated by Markus Johnson-Schuster or James Haworth, who both can also play wing back roles. Dan Williamson & Aiden Lewis are also possible players in the mix.

Paul Strudley will continue in goal this weekend as Mark Scott is still out through injury.

The last home game before Christmas will be a true sign if coming to watch your local side is more of a pull than going Xmas shopping, but this is a key battle as we almost hit the halfway point in the league season. Beating tomorrow’s visitors will be a clear indication that we are true potential promotion challengers.

Match Preview by Martin French..