Match Preview: Isthmian League South Central Division
Bracknell Town v Basingstoke Town
When: Saturday 6th November 2021 Kick-off 3pm
Where: SB Stadium, Bottom Meadow, Sandhurst Memorial Field, Yorktown Road, Sandhurst. Berkshire. GU47 9BJ
Bracknell Town (Nickname – The Robins), Average 2021-22 Home Attendance 312
Admission Prices: There are two sets of prices.
Pre match-day online prices are (NB 11.45am cut-off time)
Adults £8.00, Concessions £5.00 (Over 65’s NHS & Military) Under 16’s Free
Match-day prices are otherwise
Adults £10, Concessions £7 & Under 16’s Free ?
Well we return to league football after another two week gap in our fixture list, as we travel to table-toppers and pre-season promotion favourites Bracknell Town.
The last time we met them was 2017, in a pre-season friendly on their old (?) ground Larges Lane, coming away with a 5-3 victory. From that game four years only defender Dan Bayliss & midfielder Michael Atkinson played in that game and the fact is that both play key roles for our opponents this season.
The Robins new ownership run by the SB Group, have invested heavily into the club since taking control, and part of this was to put over two million into nearby Sandhurst Town football club, in an effort to reach ground grading whilst Bracknell council look to find a new ground for them.
Bracknell clearly have big plans and have thus also invested heavily into a squad to gain promotion which is managed by Bobby Wilkinson in December 2019, who has had successful roles at Hungerford Town and then Wealdstone.
As stated they currently sit top of the league with a record of Played 10 Won 8 Drawn 1 Lost 1 GF 21 GA 5 PTS 25
As their record states, they have just dropped five points so far this season, in the season opener draw at Hanwell Town (1-1), and their only loss at home to fellow promotion hopefuls Marlow Town in a close 1-0 loss.
Their FA Cup run ended with a two-nil loss at Isthmian South-East division side Burgess Hill Town, whilst their cup participation is still alive in the FA Trophy having beaten step 3 side Chesham Utd on penalties in the 3rd qualifying round last weekend.
They did play midweek leaving Northwood with a 2-0 victory, and many of us will have heard of the controversial abandonment of their game at Chertsey after 84 mins the week before.
So looking at their squad, they currently have three ex-Stoke players and two of them lead their goal-scoring for the season. Ex-Stoke striker Dave Tarpey who has made his career at various other clubs leads the way with six goals, five in the league and well-liked Dan Bayliss with five league goals. They also have long-serving talisman Seb Bowerman, who has four goals, 3 via the penalty spot.
We will also need to keep an eye on ex-Marlow midfield/striker James Clarke who has yet to hit the expected form when he was signed in the summer. Clarke has previously played at Hungerford, Wealdstone & Hayes & Yeading and is a known goal-scorer.
In midfield they have ex-Stoke player Michael Atkinson, but he may miss the game following his red card at Chesham Utd last Saturday. It is expected that ex-Hartley midfielder Mickel Platt will start, along-with 19-year-old Massimo Giamattei who joined them from Swindon at the start of the season. They also recently signed winger Balai Dembele from Thatcham Town.
In defence is Temi Eweka who joined them from Staines Town and has two league goals on the season. They also have Caden Genovesi who will likely start at left back.
In goal, it is unclear who will start as experienced Mark Scott and Michael Eacott, have both played a number of times. Even Bracknell’s mid-week game saw Sonny Wheeler between the sticks. Yes if you remember, Wheeler was the Stoke keeper who whose only appearance was that 8-0 loss at Frome Town.
They are a very experienced side and their record suggest this will be a close game.
Your Basingstoke Town Side
Well many fans have been waiting for this meeting of our likely new rival just 20 miles up the road.
We head to Bracknell, sorry Sandhurst still unbeaten but having played three games less than them, knowing this despite it being November, a big guide for how good our Stoke side really is!
What we do know is that we sit in fifth place (with games in hand over all the teams above), with a record of PLD 7 Won 6 Drawn 1 Lost 0 GF 14 GA 8 Points 19
One thing is for sure is that Bayliss & co, will have to try and cope with our Conor Lynch who has 13 goals on the season, six in the league and has scored in Stoke’s last five matches.
Our last match at Ashford saw Lynch finish off a “Wham, Bam thank you Mam” move, followed by a quality McKoy Palmer finish just before the break. This was his third goal of the season. Up front with Conor will be Brad Wilson, who is slowly reaching the level of form from last season, and helped set-up the first two goals at Ashford.
In midfield, we now have a number of options, as George Reid is nearing a full return, whilst Simon Dunn will still lead the team along with options from Ben Cook, D’Andre Brown, Anton Rodgers and Lloyd Snell who got that late winner at Ashford.
In defence more options for Manager Dan Brownlie to make as Daryl Wollers, Nathan Smart look to hold the midfield roles unless Shaun Dallimore is ready to return from injury and suspension. The full-back roles will again be contested by Daniel Williamson, Aiden Lewis and James Haworth.
In goal we have the dependable Paul Strudley, no more needs to be said.
With it looking like another cold but dry day, as we head into our November fixtures, we know we face a Bracknell side who have a number of step 3 players and will put an expected professional game-plan in place.
An expected large turnout by our fans, should make this an exciting and great atmosphere for a big game for both clubs.
Why not come along and support your Stoke side and see the fireworks on the pitch, this Guy Fawkes weekend.
Match Preview by Martin French..