Match Preview: Isthmian League South Central Division
Uxbridge Vs Basingstoke Town
When: Saturday 5th March 2022 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Honeycroft, Horton Road, West Drayton, Middlesex. UB7 8HX
Uxbridge (Nickname – The Reds ), Average 2021-22 Home Attendance 102
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £5 U16’s Free with accompanied Adult
Last week we suffered our fifth loss of the season, fourth at home to the League Champions in waiting Bracknell Town by the solitary goal, scored in what was a fairly uninspiring game. We now head back out on the road for our next two games, the first being yet another playoff match-up against Uxbridge at the Honeycroft this Saturday.
Uxbridge visited us back in November and on a competitive night it was Stoke who deservedly took the lead through a Ben Cook finish with fifteen minutes to go. However, as had happened back in those times, Uxbridge stole a point with a reply six minutes into injury-time.
The Reds are managed by Danny Edwards who after working at both Chelsea & Southampton football clubs went onto manage at Chalfont St Peter for 15 years before joining Uxbridge, bringing his whole coaching staff with him.
Uxbridge now sit in fourth place, a point behind Hanwell in third and three points behind Chertsey in second. Their league record sits at PLD 26 Won 15 Drawn 7 Lost 4 GF 49 GA 29 PTS 51.
The Reds will be returning to the Honeycroft after four unbeaten games on the road, including a one-one draw last weekend at Chipstead.
Their leading goal-scorer is the vastly experienced striker Anthony Mendy who now has 22 goals on the season, which 18 have come in the league. Mendy, has had spells previously at Beaconsfield Town, Bedford Town, AFC Hayes, Chalfont St. Peter, to name a few.
With him will be Mahlondo Martin, who returned from playing abroad in Kazakhstan to join Uxbridge. Martin, has 13 goals this season. Lonit Talia is another striker who is a product of the youth set-up at Uxbridge. Ezra Ndukuba, the forward who got the equaliser in our first meeting has six goals on the season after having joined the Reds from Tower Hamlets.
In midfield they have well-travelled Victor Osobu, who joined from Barton Rovers, who has added four goals. Osobu has had spells previously at Beaconsfield, Chesham United, Hemel Hempstead Town, Chalfont St. Peter, Ware, Canvey Island, Harrow Borough, Slough Town and Hayes & Yeading United. Another midfielder is Juwon Akintunde who has seven goals on the season, who was a QPR youth product before playing in the US, before returning to England to play for clubs such as Harrow Borough & Chalfont St Peter.
Alongside him they have attacking midfielder Sam Shaw, who has also played at Hartley Wintney. There is also Ade Adesoye who can also play in defence, and Prince Ogunmekan, who has played previously for Bromley & Coalville Town.
In defence they have ex-Harrow Borough Ryan Haugh, who is a left-sided defender and has four goals this season. Centre-back Baboucarr Jarra joined Uxbridge from Thatcham Town where he was club-captain. They also prioritised the signing of Alan Hedley who is also club Captain, and had previously played 500 games for Chalfont St Peter before joining the Reds. They also have defender David Sota, another ex-Chalfont player.
Their keeper is the reliable Tyler Tobin who joined in 2019 from Ashford Town.
But going into this Saturday’s game, Uxbridge are very similar to Basingstoke, as apart from a 7-1 thrashing of Northwood earlier in the season, most of their games they win by the odd or goal or two, and I expect no different to their play this Saturday.
Your Basingstoke Town Side
Our loss at home in front of a large crowd, this time 802, yet once more proved we struggle to produce our best form, when the expectancy of a large crowd is on hand, and this continues to haunt us. However, this is something we won’t have to worry about next weekend as we head out to North-West London to take on Uxbridge in a game that we could have a travelling support close to 50% of the match attendance.
Our record following our loss last week sits at PLD 26 Won 15 Drawn 6 Lost 5 GF 50 GA 36 Pts 51. More importantly our record on the road has us with nine wins, three draws and just the one loss at Bracknell last year.
This preview is prior to tonight’s training session, so things may change, but with Conor Lynch unable to play last weekend, we struggled to create chances up front, and Conor’s absence affected what Stefan Brown could achieve, thus doubly affecting how we could play. It is hoped that Lynch will be back after missing the past two games, and assuming Stefan Brown is available, they should recharge the offense that needs to create goals on Saturday. Bradley Wilson is likely to be the third attacking player, as we have failed to find the net in our past two games. However, if Conor starts on the bench, Wilson will be moved up alongside Stefan, allowing more options in midfield.
Another key player is winger George Reid, who has also been absent from the last two games, as he is our creative midfield player, and whether he passes any form of fitness test will be key to how we line-up. Assuming Simon Dunn is able to start following his exit due to concussion worries last week, it leaves us with other decisions on who plays in the middle. If Anton Rodgers plays in the role in front of the back four, it leaves subject to Lynch & Reid’s situation, Ben Cook & D’Andre Brown as well as McKoy Palmer, fighting for one or two slots. Elsewise they will be available to make a difference off the bench alongwith Lloyd Snell, Brody Peart and Marco Magalhaes-Nevez.
The defence only breached just the once last week, is our current area of strength, but is likely once again to be tested by a decent good-passing Uxbridge side.
If Dan Williamson, who missed last weekend, is fit to play, then we may well see him wearing the No. 2 shirt once again. If not then the probable line-up will remain as Nathan Smart, Robert Sheridan, Daryl Wollers and James Haworth. Aiden Lewis if available will likely start on the bench.
Paul Strudley who despite conceding just the one goal, was under very little other pressure from Bracknell, and will be between the sticks Saturday at Uxbridge.
With ten games left to play, this is one of the more difficult but more important games left to play. A point is good and three would be a six-pointer in old football terms.
Despite expected talk that this is just another game, this will be a chance to put a marker on the clubs that sit around us, and it will be good to see as many Stoke fans up at the Honeycroft to get behind the team.
Match Preview by Martin French.