Match Preview: Bet Victor Division One South
Paulton Rovers v Basingstoke Town
When: Saturday 2nd November 2019 Kick-off 3.00pm
Where: The Athletic Ground, Winterfield Road, Paulton, Somerset. BS39 7RF
Paulton Rovers (Nickname – The Robins) Average Home Attendance 124
Following our exit in the FA Trophy, we head back into Somerset, and a tough early morning kick-off versus 3rd placed Paulton Rovers.
Whilst we sat idle in the week (and will do most mid-weeks going forwards), Rovers on Tuesday night drew 1-1 at home in the FA Trophy. When I saw this result, I had to take a second glance at this, because I knew they had been soundly beaten at home in the previous round by Willand Rovers. Upon further checking it appears Willand by pure misunderstanding had played a player who had played in the Welsh League a season or two before, but in playing for Willand without transferring his registration from the Welsh to the English League. The FA being that association we all seem to love, not only removed Willand from the FA Trophy, but also demanded back all the money Willand had made in the competition that season.
Paulton are also still in the League Challenge up after surprisingly disposing of Salisbury 4-0 in the First Round, and face another home tie against Weston Super-Mare in the second round.
Moving to the league, Manager John Wendell has steered the Robins into the promotion playoffs and are the league’s top goal scorers with 26 goals. Their overall record currently sits at PLD 10 WON 7 DRAWN 1 LOST 2 GF 26 GA 13 with a total of 22pts.
Their last league game was a 1-0 loss at fellow promotion chasers Slimbridge and if you take out their earlier season loss to Thatcham 1-2, they average 3 goals a game. They have only played four games at home so far this season, which includes 3 wins and the Thatcham loss.
With 26 goals they have the league leading goal-scorer in 28 year-old forward Ben Bament, who has 11 so far on the season. He is supported by attacking midfielders Edward Butler who has five league goals and David Sims-Burgess with three league.
Despite all their goals and promotion challenge, they still average just 124 at home.
Moving onto your Basingstoke Town team, we now head into the winter months and a hard month of fixtures for Manager Dan Brownlie, to deal with starting with the really early journey to Paulton.
Apart for the rearranged Thatcham Town (likely mid-week in November), then we now just have Saturday matches until Christmas time.
Last season we met Paulton in the FA Cup and left the Athletic ground with a 1-1 draw after seeing George Bennett’s 30 yarder chalked off by an equally long-range effort in the second-half. The replay although never in doubt, took a while to stamp our dominance, but we progressed 2-0 behind goals by Zidane Akers and Sam Deadfield, only to play that forgettable match down at Bristol Manor Farm.
On the injury front apart from D’Andre Brown’s continued injury rehabilitation, there are rumours that defender Reuben Collins is likely out for upto 4 weeks. This is tempered with the probable return of midfielder Harrison Cliff, defender Ryan Suckling and forward Ben Wright to this weekend’s squad.
Our league position remains the same as we sit in 15th place with a record of PLD 10 Won 2 Drawn 3 Lost 5 GF 14 GA 18 with 9pts.
It will be interesting to see what formation we start with, as we may go with a more defensive 3-5-2 formation which provides a more solid midfield, in an attempt to shut down Paulton’s attacking ability. If so then one of our more attack-minded midfielders like Jordan Edwards or Claudio Herbert may start on the bench.
Yet again we will have to deal with the issues of defending on a noticeable sloping pitch and the expected wind and rain.
What is clear is that we will need to take our chances, when they come along and the first goal could be really important and possibly something we need to achieve, as we will need to put pressure on them and not allow them to control the game.
It will also be important that Dan has the players ready for this unusually early kick-off and for those travelling down with the prospect of missing England hopefully beat South Africa in the rugby.
This is a big game for both teams, so I hope many of you will travel down to the game and give our boys the support they deserve and need.
Match Preview by Martin French..