Match Preview: Merstham vs Basingstoke Town Saturday 12th November 2022

Match Preview: Isthmian South Central Division
Merstham Vs Basingstoke Town
When: Saturday 12th November 2022 Kick-off 3pm
Where: The worldflow Stadium, Weldon Way, Merstham, RH1 3QB
Merstham (Nickname – The Moatsiders), Avg 2022-23 Home Att 202
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions (Over 60) £6 , Aged 16 & Under £3

Last weekend we got back to winning ways at home to a stubborn Sutton Common Rovers side, ultimately coming away 2-1 winners through goals by Sam Argent and a fortunate own goal by Rovers left back, which leaves us in seventh in the table as we head to new boys to this league Merstham.
We have not played Merstham in any competitive game for a number of years, however we did play them in a pre-season friendly at the Camrose, back in July 2017 winning 4-1 on the day.

Our Opponents
The Moatsiders are managed by player/Manager Peter Adeniyi who rejoined the club this pre-season, having played for them in the 2014/15 season. Peter has previous success as a player/Manager having won the Isthmian South Division in 2017/18, in his six years in that role at Carshalton Athletic.

Merstham currently sit at the bottom of the table, and are yet to win a league match from 12 games. The four points they have acquired are from four draws, with a home record of two draws and four losses from six matches. Last weekend they got a useful point in a one-one draw at Chipstead. Similar to Stoke they are out of the three major cups and will now concentrate on pulling themselves out of the relegation places.

With just fifteen goals, ten in the league on the season, one of their leading goal-scorers is forward Lorenzo Lewis with three goals, who was key in keeping Lancing in the South East division last season, and has previously played for Oxford City, Carshalton & Lingfield. Bryan Zepo a forward from Lewisham Borough also has three goals on the season. Another forward is the experienced Omar Koroma who joined a few weeks ago and is a former Gambian international and the first Gambian ever to be signed by an English Premier League club (Portsmouth). He has also played for Norwich City, Forest Green Rovers, Worthing and Carshalton. Omar opened his goal-scoring account last weekend. Other forwards include Raheem Sterling-Parker (one goal) another ex-Carshalton player who spent time at league opponents Chipstead last season, as well as Harrow Borough & Enfield Town.

In midfield they have Michael Aziaya, who previously played at Eastbourne Borough and Dartford, but will be better known to Isthmian League watchers from his time at Hastings United and Carshalton Athletic. Alongside him will be central midfielder Alpha Diallo, who is on dual registration from Dulwich Hamlet. Charlie Greenwood is a young 18 year-old midfielder who joined from Sevenoaks last season and has established himself with the new Manager. They also have ex-Ashford Town midfielder Siao Blackwood, who ended his season at Faversham Town last season. but has played for numerous other clubs in his career.

In defence is well-known non-league centre-half Michael Kamara, who is now also a coach at the club and has a wealth of experience at numerous clubs, including three spells at Woking, two spells at Dulwich Hamlets, as well as club s like Farnborough & Tonbridge. They also then strengthened this area ten day ago signing two defenders. Firstly Aaron Goode, who spent a couple of seasons as Kingstonian, as well as Met Police, Hartley Wintney and played twice for Leatherhead this season including our goalless draw back in October. Secondly was another Leatherhead player who also played against in Adam Allen, who also spent time at Hartley Wintney last season. Aziz Sankoh, is a left-back who has also played for Carshalton previously. Another central defender is Luke Reid who joined the club from Carshalton.
In goal will be 6ft 6 Mo Otuyo, who we have faced whilst he played for South Park last season, having also played for clubs such as Uxbridge and Hayes & Yeading.

Our Basingstoke Town Side
Well we head back out on the road following the workmanlike 2-1 home win against Sutton Common Rovers. A first-half goal by Sam Argent upon his return, gave us the lead until Rovers equalised through their long throw technique. However a second-half shot that became a scramble on the line resulting in the Rovers left-back knocking it in to his own net, gave us back the lead and despite chances for both sides being squandered, Stoke picked up the win and all three points. The shenanigans by the dugouts at the end of the game, saw both Managers see straight red cards brandished to them.

Last time we was on the road, we squandered a two-goal lead at Marlow losing 5-2, which leaves us with an away record of three wins, one draw and two losses.

Sam Argent’s return saw him not only get back on the scoresheet, but also combine well with Ezio Touray, so it makes sense that they start up front again, with the support of Bradley Wilson and winger George Reid, who put in a shift and a half last Saturday. Marcio Neves and Stefan Brown look to be the attacking threats off the bench.

The midfield position’s will depend upon the possible return of Simon Dunn, which means Michael Atkinson will hand over the captaincy duties and concentrate on him doing the dirty work in his midfield role on Saturday. James Clark is likely to retain his place following another strong game from him, which means that players such D’Andre Brown & Anton Rodgers will likely have places on the bench if they are fit to win.

The defence will once again be set-up with Scott Armsworth & Billy Upton the two central defenders, with Ben Mason in the right-back slot. Leaving just one question, on who will take the No.3 shirt this Saturday. Callum Winchcombe who did a good job in replacing James Howarth last weekend, has the edge on James, who may still not be ready to start, but will leave Manager Dan Brownlie with a decision to make on who starts in this role. Whoever does not get Dan’s nod will be on the bench with veteran Nathan Smart and hopefully Dan Williamson.
Mark Scott will be wearing the goalkeeper’s jersey once again.

Whatever happens we need to ensure that we have appropriate cover on the bench, to give us as many options as required, as Merstham will look to get their first win of the season at our expense.

We must be clear favourites to push on up into the relegation places against a Merstham side short of goals.

Match Preview by Martin French..