Match Preview: Binfield v Basingstoke Town Tuesday 31st January 2023

Match Preview: Isthmian South Central Division
Binfield Vs Basingstoke Town
When: Tuesday 31st January 2023 Kick-off 7.45pm
Where: Hill Farm Lane, Binfield, Berkshire, RG42 5NR
Binfield (Nickname – The Moles), Avg 2022-23 Home Att 156
Admission Prices: Adults £8, Concessions £5 U16’s £1

We head to Binfield four points a top of the league in what will be our third game against them this season, and with a need to stamp a clear message that we can beat another playoff opponent, as we continue to push for promotion.
Our previous two meetings, were both two-nil losses at Winklebury, starting with the league defeat on the August Bank Holiday, followed by a Tuesday night Velocity Cup loss in October.

Our Opponents
The Moles are one of many clubs in our league, who have had a managerial change this season, when Carl Withers & Jamie McClurg upped sticks and went down the road to local big boys Bracknell Town. Former Hayes & Yeading & Farnborough boss Garry Haylock took over at the end of September, and his resume includes taking Hayes to the National League, as well as being a player in Ireland and under ex-Liverpool legend Ronnie Whelan for Greek side Panionios, who reached the quarter-final of the European Cup Winners Cup.

Binfield sit in a firm sixth place with a record of Pld 19 Won 11 Drawn 4 Lost 4 with 37pts, and thus have a number of games in hand of all the teams above them, that could push them up into the playoff places. Their home form stands at an impressive 6 Wins, 1 Draw & 1 Loss.
They are on a current seven-game unbeaten run, that dates back to November, and have won their last three games, including last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Bedfont.

Johnny Efedje, was the leading goal-scorer with eight goals, but now plies his trade at Hartley Wintney, whilst Brad Pagliaroli has also added eight goals since joining the club. Sean Moore, was in his fourth year with the club, had seven goals, but then joined Hanwell Town in November. Young James Beauchamp and experienced Taylor Morgan, both have five goals. Morgan, previously played for Ascot Utd, and Scottish clubs Falkirk & Airdrie.

They have attacking midfielder Liam Tack, who has added six goals on the season, whilst Harvey Harry, a winger who joined from Thatcham Town has three goals. Massimo Giamattei who has four league goals, will likely patrol the left and joined from Hanwell Town, after spending time at Bracknell Town previously. Experienced Harrison Bayley joined the club at the end of November after spending time at a number of clubs such as Bracknell, Hartley Wintney, Marlow and Hungerford Town. Jonny Denton is another regular player who joined from Ascot Utd. Add young Brandon Curtis to this area, who is a former Reading FC Academy player. Connor Holland, is regarded as an energetic midfielder, who has played at Ashford Town, Wokingham, Knaphill and Frimley Green.

In defence they have centre-half Liam Gavin, who has added five goals on the season, and has been at the club four years. With him will be Lewis Pegg, who has previously played for Slough Town & Bedfont Sports. There was ex-Stoke player Joe Gater, but he has not played for a month. Kai Hobbs, is a young fullback who joined the Moles from Camberley’s youth team. Binfield announced last Saturday the return of central defender Lewis Pegg, who had a short stint at Met Police.
In goal will be Chris Grace, who has been the Moles keeper for the past couple of season, and has previously played at Hendon & Ascot Utd.

Our Basingstoke Town Side
Well another Stoke win, and with teams around us dropping points, this allowed us to increase our lead at the top to four points, following our challenging 3-1 victory at home against a competitive Merstham side. It was no surprise that Bradley Wilson found the net not once but twice, with two stunning finishes. Whilst Reid added another goal to his tally, after great work from Sam Argent.

Bradley Wilson’s brace, now not only gives him nine goals in the last five games, but 23 league goals, and 25 in total on the season. George Reid also sits in the league goal-scoring table with eleven, twelve in total on the season. Veteran Sam Argent, has played a more integral part in recent games and his experience would be invaluable for tonight. Marcio Neves was an unused substitute Saturday, but may regain a starting role to allow others to rest. Assuming Brody Peart’s red card was a three-game ban, then this be his third game missed. It’s still unclear on when James Clark & Stefan Brown will return to the match-day squad.

Captain Simon Dunn, once again belied his age as he seemed to be everywhere last Saturday, before being replaced by the much-awaited return of Lewis Hayden. Lewis, will likely be an option off the bench, whilst regaining match-fitness. Michael Atkinson, continues to impress the Stoke faithful as he made some important timely tackles last weekend. Ben Cook did some of the hard work in the middle, before being replaced by D’Andre Brown for the last half-hour of the game.

Our defence saw a number of changes last Saturday, as the centre-back pairing of Scott Armsworth & Billy Upton, mean’t Nathan Smart took his turn on the bench. Markus Johnson-Schuster replaced Ben Mason at right-back last Saturday, and either could earn the starting role tonight. Callum Winchcombe remains the starting left-back. Possible options are James Haworth, Dan Williamson and Aiden Lewis.
Paul Strudley will remain the starting keeper tonight.

Even the most staunch Bradley fan, will not believe what a superb season he is having, but until an oppositions defence can actually stop him, then there is no reason why he should not continue on his rich vein of scoring goals at will.

Tonight’s game as many fans believe can set a real marker for our promotion expectations. Yes there are many games and many twists and turns still to be played out, but beating a playoff rival at any stage of the season, gives huge belief to the players and fans, that we are rightly at the top of the league table.

Match Preview by Martin French..