Match Preview: Isthmian League South Central Division
Staines Town Vs Basingstoke Town
When: Tuesday 30th November 2021 Kick-off 7.45pm
Where: Wheatsheaf Park, Wheatsheaf Lane, Staines, Middlesex. TW18 2PD
Staines Town (Nickname – The Swans), Average 2021-22 Home Attendance 149
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions & Juniors (6 to 16) £5
Well this twice rearranged match-up will hopefully finally be played tomorrow night, with us sitting nicely in third place off the back of two convincing wins, whilst Staines Town sit bottom of the table.
The Last Time We played Them
Well we would love a repeat of the last time we played Staines, as back in the old Evo-Stick South Premier South division in the 2018-19 season, we won both home and away games with an aggregate 13-3 score difference. We started at Wheatsheaf Park in October and behind a solid performance and a couple of goals by Sam Argent and a 30yd finish by then Jack McKnight, was more than enough as we ran out comfortable winners 0-3. Then in Feb 2019, with Staines having financial issues, a weakened Swans side got thumped 10-3 at the Camrose. The halftime score was surprisingly 3-2, but on the day braces by Manny Williams, Sam Argent and Oliver Harris accounted for six goals, and whilst both Sam Deadfield and Sam Smart added goals on the day.
Although just three years on, there are no Stoke players in the current squad from back then
Well the Swans have not had the best of starts to the season, sitting bottom of the table as we face them Tuesday night.
With this poor start they were first in this league to make a managerial change, parting company with Mick Woodham, and replacing him temporarily with head coach Jack Porter. This change was made permanent manager at the end of October. However, after picking up a valuable home point in a 1-1 home draw against Marlow, things have not gone well for Jack’s since his confirmation, as they have lost their last four league games without finding the net and currently their record stands at PLD 13 Won 2 Drawn 1 Lost 10 GF 14 GA 39 Pts 7
With just seven points, they started the season with four straight losses before picking up the first of two wins defeating Westfield 3-1 at home. They then lost an amazing game after taking an early four goal lead at Hanwell Town, they somehow managed to lose 6-5. The reverse match at Westfield a 2-0 loss, then saw them pick up their second win of the season, winning 2-0 at Chalfont St Peter, which brings them upto the Marlow match in October.
Taking a look at Jack Porter’s squad, they have just 14 league goals, six of these have come via midfielder Sheridan Campbell (20) is dual-registered with Abbey Rangers, and has not appeared for the club for over a month.
Forward David Pitt (30), has one league and one cup goal this season. Pitt, spent most of his early career playing in countries such as Cyprus, Albania & Roumania, before returning to England in 2015-16, and has since played for numerous clubs including Bedfont & Chalfont St Peter. Striker Noah Amissah who had scored five goals in just eleven appearances for the Swans, joined Marlow last week.
In midfield they have 22 year-old Reece Cave, who has one goal on the season and joined the club this season, having previously played for clubs such as Tooting & Mitcham and Bedfont Sports. With him will be Kristian Campbell who joined from Molesley, having played for Colliers Wood for two seasons, and Jack Torbett (2 goals), who previously played for Bedfont Sports before joining in the summer of 2021.
In defence they have 19 year-old Connor McShane who has previously played at Cobham, Westfield and joined the Swans last month from CB Hounslow Utd. Alongside him is ex-Staines defender Luis Fernandes (34), who joined the club in 2011, before playing for various clubs including Marlow, before returning to Staines Town and is the Swans captain for this season.
In goal will be 21 year-old Joe Ringer who has previously played for clubs such as Northwood, Southall & Enfield Town.
What is clear with the managerial changes, the club has made many squad changes in an effort to improve their season, but as we speak the changes have done little to improve their circumstances.
Your Basingstoke Town
Well for those who braved the travel and wintry conditions last Saturday at Bedfont Sports, you will have seen what was a commanding one-sided match, against a team who had not only lost one game, but had only conceded 10 league goals all season long. The actual performance was dominating, as we attacked multiple times down both wings in the first half and taking a three-nil lead was not a partial reflection of our dominance and play, as with better crossing, it could have been a much higher score. With Simon Dunn absent, the midfield was led by a more influential Anton Rodgers, whose week-by-week improvement is starting to show. Anton was superbly supported by captain of the day Ben Cook and D’Andre Brown, who put in a shift chasing down every Bedfont possession. Centre-backs Daryl Wollers & the returning Nathan Smart, never put a foot wrong, and looked in total control of virtually everything Bedfont put at them throughout the 90 minutes. This allowed Dan Williamson & James Haworth to push forward and give our attack a further dimension to our play.
Two further neat finishes by Bradley Wilson, a confident penalty conversion by Stefan Brown and when the Chef scores, you just know it’s going to be a good day.
Bedfont aren’t a bad side, it was simply the fact that we never allowed them to settle and they only came into the game for a few minutes in the second-half.
This brings us to Tuesday’ night’s game with our record now sitting at PLD 13 Won 9 Drawn 2 Lost 2 GF 29 GA 20 Pts 29
Resting Stefan Brown early in the second-half, should allow him to start upfront alongside Bradley Wilson, and if as expected George Reid is available, many will expect him to start on the right. Assuming Simon Dunn is back to wearing the captains armband, this gives a number of decisions (good ones), for Manager Dan Brownlie to make on who fills the rest of the midfield slots. None of them deserve to be dropped, but resting one or two of Palmer, Cook & D’Andre Brown may be worthwhile with Marlow coming up Saturday, and will also lead to a very strong bench.
I’ve not mentioned Anton Rodgers, as I think his continued presence in front of the back four, will give Simon Dunn more opportunity to push forward. We can’t forget Lloyd Snell who has been a star in the making, but may again start on the bench.
The back four of Wollers, Smart, Haworth & Williamson, were in full control Saturday, but could still see changes if Rob Sheridan or Aiden Lewis are given starting roles.
As always Paul Strudley will be wearing the goalie’s jersey.
We will head to Wheatsheaf park, with the confidence that should be part of a team who are sitting third in the table, but with the understanding that despite their record, Staines Town will fight tooth and nail on another expected wintry night
Match Preview by Martin French..