Match Preview: Bedfont Sports v Basingstoke Town Saturday 7th January 2023

Match Preview: Isthmian South Central Division
Bedfont Sports vs Basingstoke Town
When: Saturday 7th January 2023 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Bedfont Sports Recreation Ground, Hatton Road, Bedfont. TW14 9QT
Bedfont Sports (Nickname – Eagles), Avg 2022-23 Home Att 116
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £5, U16’s Free with Paying Adult

A win on Bank Holiday money to start 2023, was just what we needed as we head to Bedfont this Saturday, especially with the three teams above us all dropping points.
We played Bedfont in the home fixture on the opening day of the season, and on a sweltering hot day, both teams failed to produce any real entertainment on the pitch in a goal-less draw.

Our Opponents
Bedfont Sports are currently managed by Harrison Williams, who left league opponents South Park to join the Eagles in November, after Paul Johnson was fired, after their poor start to the season.
The Eagles sit in 16th place with a current record of Pld 19 Won 4 Drawn 7 Lost 8 with 19pts, but head into this fixture on a six game unbeaten run, which has helped them move away from the relegation places.

The unbeaten run, includes the only two home league wins they have this season, and one of those was a 3-2 home win against title challengers Walton & Hersham. The other a 4-2 win against Merstham. Last Saturday they travelled to one of their nearby opponents Uxbridge, coming away with yet another 3-2 victory.

One of the new managers first decisions was to bring former South Park striker Alden Brown to the Rec. Brown had nine goals whilst at South Park, and scored his first goal for the Eagles, in last week’s victory at Uxbridge.
Their leading goal-scorer is forward Sam Evans, who has ten league goals, plus two in the FA Trophy. Evans, joined the club from Woking.

In midfield Steve Ngunga has three goals on the season, whilst 22 year-old Ethan Nelson-Roberts, is one of the few returning players from last season. There is also two former Westfield players in midfield as Tayshan Hayden-Smith (25), and Caleb Wright both joined this season.

Club Captain, Joseph Morrison leads the defence, who was previously at Walton Casuals. He is joined by Marco (Figueiredo) Correia, who was at Leatherhead, and last season Tooting & Mitcham.

Their keeper has been Cairo Richards in recent weeks, but as part of a pre-Christmas signing, they brought Merstham’s giant keeper Mo Otuyo to the club, presumably to be their No.1 keeper moving forwards.

Our Basingstoke Town Side
A quick-fire early second-half brace of goals by George Reid & Bradley Wilson was enough to secure all three points against Thatcham Town, in a much needed win to get us back on track. This win leaves us in fourth, with our record now at Played 18 Won 11 Drawn 2 Lost 5 and 35pts.

Bradley Wilson’s goal last Monday now gives 15 league goals and 19 on the season. Alongside him will either be James Clark, or veteran Sam Argent who both have four goals on the season.
Attacking winger George Reid who nipped in to grab the first goal against Thatcham, now has nine goals on the season, as he continues on his rich vein of form. Marcio Neves and Brody Peart are currently the back-up wingers, although Peart’s playing status is still unclear.
Stefan Brown’s fitness is still unknown, but he failed to make the bench against Thatcham. Ashleigh Artwell anyone?

Simon Dunn will again lead the side from his midfield slot, whilst the experience of Michael Atkinson and Ben Cook, gave us the strength last week, to withhold Thatcham when they tried to put pressure on us. D’Andre Brown, who made a successful substitute’s appearance last week, will be challenging for a starting place moving forwards. Anton Rodgers could be an option off the bench if fit, whilst Lewis Hayden continues to make progress in his return to the first team squad.

The Thatcham game saw both Billy Upton and experienced Nathan Smart look at their best in the middle of the back four. It was good to see Scotty Armsworth back on the bench, but his return to the line-up is unlikely to be this Saturday. Unaware of Ben Mason’s situation, who was not at training last evening, is unfortunately for Stoke, due to return to AFC Wimbledon soon. This means Markus Johnson-Schuster will continue at right-back as he settles into this slot. On the left Callum Winchcombe continues to beat out James Haworth for the role. Reliable Aiden Lewis could be an option off the bench. Dan Williamson was on the sidelines at training last night, so hopefully will be an option in a couple of weeks-time.

Mark Scott who has missed the last few games through injury, was also back in training, so he could return to the No.1 jersey, if not the assured Paul Strudley will continue in goal this weekend.

With Bedfont’s recent run of form, this match-up will be a much more trickier game to navigate to gain all three points, but the attacking fire-power that we have should put the homeside under constant pressure throughout the game, who are still conceding an average of two goals a game in recent weeks.

With the continuing unnecessary train disruptions this Saturday, it may reduce the number of expected travelling fans to the game, but I hope many can find a lift to he game, with the expectation of us leaving Bedfont with the win.

Match Preview by Martin French..