Match Preview: – FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round
Melksham Town v Basingstoke Town
When: Saturday 9th October 2021 Kick-off 3pm
Where: InfiLed Arena at Oakfields, Eastern Way, Melksham, Wiltshire. SN12 7GU
Melksham Town (Nickname – The Town), Average 2021-22 Home Attendance 400
Admission Prices: TBC but were previously Adults £8, Concessions £6 Under 16’s Free
Following our ten-man battling win 2-1 victory at home to Chipstead, we travel to Wiltshire to face old foes Melksham Town in the last of this seasons cup competitions, the FA Trophy, to face a team that is currently red hot having scored eleven goals in their last two games.
The Last Time We played Them
We were due to play them at the end of October in the 2020-21 season, but the league postponed the game that week and ultimately the season due to the second wave of Covid concerns. It was therefore back in the 2019-20 season when we again travelled to Wiltshire on a rare Monday night rearranged game.
Having taken a well-deserved lead through George Hallahan, we then conceded an equaliser soon after and despite chances in the second -half and though a disputed offside goal, Melksham went onto win 3-1.
Earlier in the 2019-20 season in October we had beaten them at home (Winchester), 4-2 and later that same month we lost 1-0 in the FA Trophy in Wiltshire, on a day that we conceded a 40-yard strike on a day where the heavens broke.
Melksham, still managed by Richard Fey, are from our old Southern League South division days, and as stated above enter this competition on the back of a mid-week six-nil victory in the League Challenge Cup at league opponents Mangotsfield Utd, and their five-nil demolition of league opponents Slimbridge also on the road last Saturday.
In the league after a slow start, they now sit in 11th place, with a league record of Played 8 Won 3 Drawn 1 Loss 4 GF 12 GA 10 PTS 10. Initial losses at Willand Rovers (3-1), at home to AFC Totton (0-1) were then overshadowed by a home loss to lowly Shepton Mallet (0-1) in the FA Cup. A two-nil win at Barnstaple, was then followed by a 0-3 home defeat to Frome Town. A 3-1 win at Bristol Manor Farm appeared to right the ship and despite a draw and then a further loss (1-0) at Cinderford, October has appeared to start on better footing.
From our previous matches, we know we will have to keep an eye on their star midfielder Luke Ballinger, who returned to the club in September and has found the net consistently recently. They also have fellow midfielder Jay Malshanskyj, who has found the net four times, Up front they have ex-Weston Super Mare Jake Mawford and Philip Ormerod who both have two goals each on the season.
In goal they have ex-Highworth Town player Connor Johns and in front of him will be another ex-Weston Super Mare player Greg Tindle (32), who will lead the defence with experience, alongside club man Dave Thompson and 21 year-old Harry Rutty.
Your Basingstoke Town Side
Well the FA Trophy will be our last chance of glory, following losses to Wimborne Town (FA Cup) and Portsmouth (Hants Snr Cup), as we face Melksham who we previously played in the FA Trophy just two years ago.
Just four players remain from the last time we played them 20 months ago, but this includes Captain Simon Dunn, who again shows the fight and commitment for the team that will be needed across the whole squad in this expected tough match-up. The other players who played back then were Scott Armsworth, Adam Everiss and Ben Cook,
What we do they know is that they will have to deal with Conor Lynch from finding the back of the net, which as yet very teams can claim they have.
We enter this game on the back of a battling performance, including being reduced to ten-men for the whole of the second-half against Chipstead and another brace of goals by Conor, including that stunning chipped goal from an acute angle, that gained all three points, we remain in 5th place with a number of games in hand compared to 3 of the 4 teams sitting above us.
Although this is the cup, but just to confirm our league record stands at PLD 5 Won 4 Drawn 1 Lost 0 GF 10 GA 6 Points 13
Lynch will again be supported by Bradley Wilson and McKoy Palmer, who will look to find the scoresheet again. Tomorrow would be a most opportune time.
With George Reid unlikely to play, this again gives D’Andre Brown and Lloyd Snell, the chance to push for a place alongside Dunn and Ben Cook who is expected to be fit to hold the midfield.
We should have 28 year-old Anton Rodgers (son of Leicester Manager Brendan Rodgers) available and it will be interested on where he lines up.
It is unlikely that Scott Armsworth will be fit for this game, leaving Daryl Wollers to lead the back whilst Shaun Dallimore serves his suspension. The rest of the back will give Dan Williamson, Aiden Lewis, James Haworth all a chance to play.
In goal Paul Strudley was again exceptional and is as reliable as they come between the sticks.
Whoever starts on the bench will no doubt include one or two academy stars, who may be given a chance to shine if called upon.
What we do know is that our Management team and our supporters alike will know the challenge that Melksham Town will bring tomorrow afternoon and we need to be on our best to proceed through to the next round.
Have faith in Dan and the boys and get down to Wiltshire to cheer on your Stoke side.
Match Preview by Martin French..