On a day when Basingstoke Town travelled into deep Somerset to earn a hard-earned and well-deserved point at Taunton Town, Stoke’s Director of Football went to see our FA Cup 1st round qualifying opponents Paulton Rovers earn their 1st first win of the season at home to Mangotsfield Utd 4-2 in the Evo-Stick League South Division South last Saturday.
What Terry would have seen would have been Rovers best performance of the season, as they scored two goals in injury-time of the first half, then extending their lead before almost being pegged as Mangotsfield missed a penalty before hitting two quick goals to pull it back to 3-2 before a late goal by Rovers secured the win.
Prior to that Paulton had stuttered in their previous three league games. A 3-1 loss at Cinderford Town on opening day, was followed by a 0-1 home loss to nearby Melksham Town, before their earning their only point with a 2-2 draw at Street.
Paulton Rovers were in the 1st round draw after a 0-1 win at Bradford Town in the preliminary round. Current leading goal-scorer is striker Ryan Gay with 2 goals, as they have shared the goals across 6 players this season.
One other point is that they don’t seem capable of scoring early, something that Basingstoke have had no problem with. In fact, the earliest Paulton have scored is on 39 mins. They also like us, seem to have a fairly young team.
As for us, we will have the returning Sam Argent, upfront who was rested last Saturday and the same with defender Dan Bayliss. I have to say that Dan’s replacement, Harry Philby certainly didn’t look out of place and looks certain for more appearances this season. Orvis at left back has been strong and has in my eyes at least, solidified his and the left back role going forwards.
Both Dean Stow and Shane Hollamby are starting to put their own mark on games now and with Deadfield, showing the type of play, that we have been yearning for since his injury-hit last season, we can only hope for more to come.
This is going to be an interesting match-up against a team just one division below us, but one that we should and must win to earn not only the £6,000 prize money but the opportunity for a bigger home tie in the next round.
If anyone wants to add some odds then please do.
Come on Stoke, let’s put this game away early this Saturday.
Match Preview by Martin French..