Match Preview: Bet Victor Division One South
Frome Town v Basingstoke Town
When: Saturday 30th November 2019 Kick-off 3pm
Where: The Badgers Hill Stadium, Berkeley Road, Frome, Somerset. BA11 2EH
Frome Town (The Robins), Average 2019-20 Home Attendance 274
Well after Devon, we head next door into the county of Somerset to take on League Leaders Frome Town, and what is expected to be another tough match-up that we need to take head on and battle for points.
Like us Frome were relegated from the Premier division last season but have started this season in a more positive way as they look to regain an immediate return through promotion. When we met last season, it was Stoke who handed them 4-1 beatings at both the Camrose and on the road. However those reading this preview, should not expect the same result this Saturday.
Why do I say this, well in the league this season, under the guidance of Manager Danny Greaves, they have just lost once and have yet to concede more than two goals in any game this season.
The Robins sit top of the table with a league record of PLD 16 WON 10 DRAWN 5 LOST 1 GF 31 GA 15 PTS 35. The Robins have a three-point lead over Thatcham Town, but have played 4 games more than them, so it is likely Frome will slip down the table once the Berkshire club catch-up, but Frome will still likely remain in the playoff places.
Frome’s last four league matches have resulted in 3 wins, and last week’s 2-2 draw at Moneyfields. The wins were against Paulton Rovers 2-0, at Barnstaple 0-2 and a 1-0 defeat of Sholing at Badger Hill Stadium.
Having conceded 74 goals last season, they have clearly tightened up at the back, behind experienced defender Sam Teale, who is the club captain after stints at Weston-Super-Mare and Paulton Rovers.
In midfield they have the exciting 19-year-old Rex Mannings, who has 7 league goals. Mannings joined the Robins via Bristol Manor Farm and a short stint at Oxford Utd. More experienced Daniel Cottle has also added 3 goals from midfield.
Their strike-force consists of leading goalscorer 29-year-old Jonathan Davies with 8 goals. He is backed by Will Hailston with 4 goals.
Their cup exploits have included a decent run in the FA Trophy, as they progressed one round further than us, but lost earlier his month 5-3 on the road to Carshalton Athletic, in the second qualifying round. However, their FA Cup run like us was ended at the first attempt as they lost 2-1 at Western League Tavistock.
It is clear we will face a much more confident team and are vastly more experienced team, with an average age of over 25
For Basingstoke, it is clear Manager Dan Brownlie has his work cut out, as he sets his plans for this Saturday, after losing pivotal loan players in recent weeks, and now keeper Chris Rackley, who accepted an offer to join Bracknell Town last weekend.
It has also been confirmed that midfielder Jordan Edwards, will miss the trip, due to his one-game suspension for last weeks red card, and Reuben Collins is likely to be out for some time due to the seriousness of his injury.
Added to this will be the obvious concern of the injury to our now No.1 keeper Freddie Gee, who picked up a serious looking injury in the Badshot Lea friendly Tuesday night. Does that leave us with academy keeper Huw Holliman who replaced Gee? Note, Badshot Lea’s keeper had an outstanding game last night, making save after save!
With all this, things look a little worrying!
With our current record of 3 league and 1 cup losses in a row, our position in the league is an extremely worrying one, and we face Frome Town sitting in 18th place with a record of PLD 13 Won 2 Drawn 3 Lost 8 GF 18 GA 29 with 9pts.
Our away league record does not look great either, as we are yet to win on the road, with a record of two draws and four losses from six away games.
So what are the positives, you may ask?
Whilst we are young, there is a strong camaraderie amongst the team and that can only help in the coming months.
Experienced forward Ben Wright has clearly not only lifted his game, but has also shown commitment and support on the pitch to his younger teammates.
Everytime I see Kalum Cousins play, I see a talent waiting to burst out for the first team, and like Riccardo Andrady earlier in the season, he must be edging towards a start for the team. Goals are what is needed and I think he can provide them.
We have an attacking midfield/winger group of players in Rusher, Andrady, Herbert, Cliff, Cook and D’Andre Brown.
However, sometimes it is clear that they need to get back behind the ball quicker when the opposition have the ball.
Defensively, Dan Brownlie is still looking to strengthen that area, and they will need to be at their best as a unit to withhold Frome this weekend. Another goal like last Saturday from Dean Stow would also be much appreciated too.
What we will also contend with is the sloping, possibly undercut grassed pitch like last year. If the rain has been as bad as it has been in Basingstoke, then the bottom of the sloped pitch could be extremely muddy and not suitable to our players.
We do need to go into this game with the belief we can get something from this game and it is imperative not to concede an early goal.
It is clear the home crowd will be expecting an easy three points, so lets go and disappoint them!
The backing of our travelling fans is huge to this young team, so I hope many of you make the decision to travel down to Somerset and get behind our team.
Match Preview by Martin French..