Match Preview: Isthmian League South Central Division
Basingstoke Town Vs Ashford Town
When: Saturday 12th February 2022 Kick-off 3pm
Where: Winklebury Complex, Winklebury Way, Basingstoke. RG23 8BF
Ashford Town (Nickname – The Tangerines), Average 2021-22 Home Attendance 135
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £7 Aged 13-17 £3 Aged 12 & Under £1
We host Ashford Town at Winklebury after two successful away visits into Surrey, with close but deserved wins against South Park & Chipstead.
The Tangerines were managed by Luke Tuffs who was part of the ex-Hartley management team that included our very own Dan Brownlie. However Tuffs, who had joined the club in April 2020, but then last month, decided to up sticks and take on the Manager’s role at Leatherhead.
Ashford quickly installed a new manager in Dean Greenwood, who was part of the previous management team.
The Tangerines have been going through an up-and-down season, but did come away from Waterside Park on Tuesday night with a 1-2 victory against Thatcham Town. Their record however against teams in the playoff chase, tells a story of woe as they are 0 for 7 in games against the top six, including the 2-3 home loss to Basingstoke back in October.
With the understanding of this they currently sit in 10th place with an overall record now of PLD 25 Won 9 Drawn 2 Lost 14 GF 36 GA 44 Pts 29
They have won four times on the road from 13 games, these were at Staines (5-0), Westfield (3-2), Northwood (3-0) and of course Tuesday’s win at Thatcham.
Looking at their playing squad, you have to look no further than forward and leading goal-scorer Alex McLeish-White who has 16 goals on the season for Ashford, of which 14 are in the league, and he has scored in back-to-back league games.
However following a twitter post yesterday afternoon from the player, it appears he has left the club. It is not clear who he has signed for.
Other goals this season have come from forward Daniel Brown who has six goals, and ex-Farnborough striker Conor Cullen who has four league goals. They also had current Basingstoke Town player Jack French who had five goals before joining us back in November 2021.
In midfield they have ex-Knaphill player George Spiers, who has been an ever-present this season. Siao Blackwood is another ever-present in midfield, and has previously been at clubs such as Haywards Heath Town and Grays Athletic.
There are few other player bios around this squad.
Their performance at an improving Thatcham Town side and a narrow loss to Uxbridge recently does mean they are certainly not any form of pushovers and with four wins on the road, they will look to break that losing habit against playoff clubs, but the late departure of their top goal-scorer will put more pressure on whatever strike-force that arrives at Winklebury this weekend.
Your Basingstoke Town Side
With three wins on the bounce, we will look to make it four against Ashford Town. Our league record now has us sitting in fifth place with an overall record of PLD 23 Won 14 Drawn 5 Lost 4 GF 49 GA 35 Pts 47
Whilst Stefan Brown got his seventh of the season at Chipstead, it was Bradley Wilson who came to the table, with the only goal at South park and the winner is what was a strong toe-poke finish at Chipstead. This gives Wilson 13 goals on the season.
I expect all three Lynch, Brown & Wilson to start this Saturday as they continue to build as an attacking unit.
In midfield the possible knee injury to George Reid probably means at best he may be available off the bench, which leaves McKoy Palmer who was given extra recovery time at Chipstead, means he could earn himself a start. This would be essential, as without a regular winger (Yes Wilson can do this role), means more hard work for Lynch, where his best role is in front of goal, not down the flanks.
The rest of the midfield will hopefully see the continuation of the Simon Dunn / Ben Cook role, who have forged a strong midfield partnership recently. It is noticeable how more attack-minded Ben is this year and he has added a couple of important goals to his role. Other slots depending again on how we set-up are likely to be filled by Anton Rodgers & D’Andre Brown. Reports that Lloyd Snell came through a ninety minute game at Tadley, could mean he is added to the match-day squad. Jack French will also likely be on the bench against his old team.
The back-four over the past few games, has started to solidify this key area, and both Daryl Wollers & Robert Sheridan had their best games of the season at Chipstead. With the reliable Nathan Smart & Dan Williamson on the right of defence, the only possible change maybe the return of left back James Haworth to the starting line-up. This area seems set with the understanding that Aiden Lewis is out on loan at Alresford Town.
In goal will as usual be Paul Strudley, who again showed his reliability in his penalty area against Chipstead.
After our recent wins on the road and to maintain our player-off push, we now need to continue this winning feeling at Winklebury.
Match Preview by Martin French.