Match Preview: Southall v Basingstoke Town Wednesday 22nd February 2023

Match Preview: Isthmian South Central Division
Southall Vs Basingstoke Town
When: Wednesday 22nd February 2023 Kick-off 7.45pm
Where: Robert Parker Stadium, Ashford TW19 7BH
Southall (Nickname – The Sparks), Avg 2022-23 Home Att 73
Admission Prices: Unknown at this time.

Ten wins on the bounce, after a monumental comeback win at Chipstead, we head back out on the road tomorrow night to face Southall for the first time this season.
Our two-goal come from behind win at Chipstead, started with a fortunate error by the Chipstead keeper allowing George Reid’s shot to sneak under his body. Trailing 2-1 at halftime, we came out pushing for an equaliser and it finally came through a neat finish from Paul Hodges. Further attacks saw us then be awarded a penalty as Bradley Wilson who was pulled down, then got up and put the penalty kick away. The penalty saw Chipstead reduced to ten men and the game was delayed time and time again for various reasons, with our fourth on ninety minutes, as from our throw, whilst Chipstead assumed they would get the ball back, we found Paul Hodges free down the right, and he neatly beat the keeper for the final goal of the game.

Our Opponents
The Sparks who currently share Ashford Town’s ground are managed by Max Howell. Howell an ex-full back, played for clubs such as Luton Town, Hillingdon Borough, Northwood and Chesham United.
Last weekend they lost a close battle at Thatcham Town losing 1-0, in a game where three players were sent off, two from their side.
With that loss Southall now sit in eighth place with a record of Pld 26 Won 9 Drawn 11 Lost 6 Pts 34. Their home record stands at 6 Wins, 5 Draws and just 2 Losses.

Southall’s leading goal-scorer is striker Anthony O’Connor who has notched up nine goals this season. He has played at Inter Milan, North Greenford United and Harrow Borough. They recently signed Jaden Thompson-Brissett (21 years-old), who has goals and has an impressive list of previous clubs including Norwich City, Maidenhead United, Dagenham, Brentford and Hayes & Yeading United. Another recent signing is Michael Bryan, an ex-U21 Northern Ireland player, who has one goal and has played more recently at Hendon, Hampton & Richmond Borough and Harrow Borough. Bruno Tavares, is another new recruit, but saw red on Saturday, but is likely to be available tomorrow night.

Attacking midfielder Luke Heneghan has added eight goals, and has been part of league clubs Northwood, Chalfont St Peter and more recently Uxbridge. Louis Stead has also added four goals, and has a wealth of experience having played for teams such as Northwood, Beaconsfield & Hampton & Richmond Borough. Jack Roper in his fifth year at Southall, is just 22 and has added three goals, and was one the other player shown a red card last Saturday. Ryan Hope, who returned to Southall after leaving National League South side Hemel Hempstead. Hope has played over 150 times for Southall. Kevin Songolo is a tall midfielder, who has played for Harrow Borough and recently joined the club from Sutton Common Rovers.

In defence is Carl Pierce, who has played for clubs such as Northwood & Chesham Utd and captaining England C in the Falkland Islands, but has become a stalwart in Southall’s defence in recent seasons. Yet another player who has played for Northwood, is Alex Nolan, who has played for clubs such as Egham Town & Chalfont St Peter. At left-back has been Frankie Taylor in recent games. He has previously played for Boreham Wood.
In goal will be Michael Edegbe, who is on a season-long loan from Slough Town. Michael has also had two loans spells at Uxbridge in between playing for Slough Town’s U23’s.

Our Basingstoke Town Side
Saturday’s win at Chipstead, keeps us seven-points ahead of Walton & Hersham, who beat Bedfont Sports 4-1. Walton & Hersham have the pleasure (sic), of travelling to Chipstead twenty-four hours before us, whilst we prepare for our game at Southall.
In what Dan Brownlie stated was an appalling first-half performance, we were able to turn-it-around, and leave with all three points. Our record now sits at Pld 27 Won 20 Drawn 2 Loss 5 Pts 62. Our away record improved once more to 10 wins, 1 draw and just the two losses.

Bradley Wilson’s penalty conversion now gives him 29 on the season, 25 of those in the league and he will look to add to this tomorrow night. Paul Hodges’s brace Saturday, now gives him four goals in just five games since joining us, and has already become a fan favourite amongst the Stoke fans, both at home and on the road. George Reid’s somewhat fortunate goal, got us back into the game, and now gives him sixteen goals on the season. Against a reasonably strong defensive side, it will be interesting to see how we set-up. Sam Argent who played for an hour, is likely to start once again, we add an extra player in midfield. James Clark is likely to be an option off the bench. Marcio Neves is another option we can use off the bench.

Simon Dunn will lead out our side out tomorrow evening, and continues to defy his age, with his strong performances across the park. It is hoped that Michael Atkinson, who missed last Saturday’s game at Chipstead, will be ready to go at Southall. D’Andre Brown is likely to get the nod if he isn’t. Again, depending how we set up then Ben Cook will either start or take a seat on the bench.

We have the best defence in the league, which has let in just twenty-six goals in the season, and despite last Saturday’s poor start, is likely to set-up the same, unless the late knock to Billy Upton, removes him from the line-up. If he does play, he will once again partner Scott Armsworth. If he misses out Nathan Smart is a fine replacement. Markus Johnson-Schuster, is likely to remain the starting right-back, whilst Callum Winchcombe will do the same in the left-back role. In reserve will be Ben Mason & James Hayworth.
Paul Strudley will be wearing his goalkeeper gloves once more tomorrow night.

It will be interesting to see how attacking a line-up we put out tomorrow night, as although Southall are not a goal-scoring machine like others in our league, their defence keeps all matches close, so I expect the game to be kept close.

As what seems a weekly occurrence, we will likely outnumber the Southall supporters tomorrow night, so let’s get behind Dan and the boys, and hope we head home down the M3 with all three points.

Match Preview by Martin French..