Match Preview: Isthmian League South Central Division
Basingstoke Town Vs Westfield
When: Monday 3rd January 2022 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Winklebury Sports Complex, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Westfield (Nickname – The Field), Average 2021-22 Home Attendance 127
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £7 Aged 13-17 £3 Aged 12 & Under £1
For those fans amongst that huge 740 crowd, who decided to leave on 90 minutes, you would have missed what was 8 minutes of see-sawing emotion, that fell our way as the final whistle blew on a 4-3 victory against Thatcham Town. That thunderbolt finish by McKoy Palmer worthy of goal-of-the-season contention, leads us to our match-up against an interesting Westfield side.
The Field are managed by Simon Lane, who took over the role in May 2020. He has a wealth of managing teams, including spells at Wingate & Finchley and Northwood.
Westfield were in action yesterday losing to the runaway leaders Bracknell Town 0-2, and now sit in 14th place, as they head down the M3 with a league record of PLD 18 Won 3 Drawn 7 Lost 8 GF 19 GA 24 Pts 16.
With just 19 league goals on the season, only Chalfont St Peter have scored less (17), and the Field have not found the net in their last four league games. Their strikers appear very young, including 18-year-old Sam Evans who has 7 goals, just two in the league, and 23-year-old Sheridan Campbell has 2 league goals, and joined them this season from Staines Town.
Most of Westfield’s goal have come from midfield, with ex-Winchester City Ik Hill with six goals, 3 in the league and Samir Bajja (23), who has five goals, but just two in the league, both via the penalty spot. Samir, has previously played for Beaconsfield, Egham Town, Farnborough & Hayes & Yeading. They also have Kai Hamilton-Olise, who joined Westfield from Met Police, who also has two league goals.
In an effort to improve their defence, they have recently signed ex Sutton Common Rovers defender Niran Butler, who has also had spells at Staines Town and Maldon & Tiptree, whilst ex-Chalfont St-Peter defender Luke Elliott joined them at the end of November. Centre-back
Caleb Wright and left-back Joel Nakatani-Brown are constants in their defence.
In goal should be Callum Backhurst, who appears to have won the starting role. Backhurst is a product from Woking’s academy.
Despite their league position, they appear well managed at the back, and have conceded three goals in a game just twice in the league, however on the flipside, they clearly struggle to find the net.
Your Basingstoke Town Side
With no fixture on New Year’s Day, we have had a full seven days to recover and prepare for our first game of 2022 and a critical home game, as teams around us took the opportunity to close in on us with their games yesterday, but we still currently still remain in third place.
Our last game, the last gasp 4-3 victory against Thatcham Town, leaves us with an overall record of PLD 17 Won 11 Drawn 3 Lost 3 GF 35 GA 25 Pts 36
We face Westfield for the first time this season, knowing that striker Bradley Wilson, is back from suspension and likely to be in that starting line-up, along with fellow strikers Conor Lynch & Stefan Brown. It was good to see Conor get back to finding the net and his brace against Thatcham takes his season tally to 15, nine in the league, whilst Stefan who converted his second penalty of the season, also neatly laid on Lynch’s second goal. Wilson who has nine goals on the season, will be looking to break into double figures.
McKoy Palmer whose match-winning strike against Thatcham, is likely to start with the latest injury to fellow winger George Reid. Palmer now has five goals on the season.
Assuming Simon Dunn is wearing his normal captain’s armband, he will be joined by Anton Rodgers and D’Andre Brown in the middle of the park, especially as Ben Cook who was absent at Thatcham, will also miss this game as well. Both Lloyd Snell and Jack French are likely to feature on the bench. It is hoped that Lewis Hayden will be back in full training sooner rather than later.
The centre-backs at Thatcham, Nathan Smart & Rob Sheridan look to start again, unless Rob who tied the knot last week, is absent with leave, which means Daryl Wollers will step right back into his slot he lost through suspension. Dan Williamson, appears to have nailed down the right-back slot, following a number of impressive performances recently, whilst James Haworth has done the same at left-back.
It has been confirmed that Shaun Dallimore is on loan at Tadley, to regain match fitness before rejoining our match-day squad.
Paul Strudley, will be wearing the No.1 shirt as usual.
As proved by their narrow loss to Bracknell, Westfield are well managed, and having personally seen them a month ago, hold a Woking side for 80 minutes, they will be difficult to break down.
What is clear is that we need to take our chances, when they come along, but with Lynch, Brown & Wilson all looking likely to start, we are more than set to find the net.
It will be interesting to see what sort of crowd we get for this Bank Holiday Monday game, but another 500 plus should be expected.
Match Preview by Martin French..