Match Preview: Sutton Common Rovers v Basingstoke Town Saturday 20th November 2021

Match Preview: Isthmian League South Central Division
Sutton Common Rovers v Basingstoke Town
When: Saturday 20th November 2021 Kick-off 3pm
Where: The Borough Sports Ground, Gander Green Lane, Sutton, Surrey. SM1 2EY
Sutton Common Rovers (Nickname – Rovers), Average 2021-22 Home Attendance 45
Admission Prices: Adults £10, Concessions £5 Teens £2 Aged 12 and Under Free
(Note their website states different prices, but the ones above are the correct ones)

Well the team has plenty to prove after Tuesday’s disappointing loss at home to Chertsey Town, as we travel upto Gander Green Lane, to take on a team we have never faced before in Sutton Common Rovers.

Our Opponents
As stated we have never played Rovers before, as their current Chairman and Life President Alan Salmon founded SCR F.C in 1978, when the club began life as INRAD FC, based in Carshalton. The club entered a new era when Alan moved the club to Sutton.
When the Non-League pyramid went through it’s league restructuring this season, they moved upto step 4 football, and this then started their groundshare with Sutton Utd, who had to dig up their 3G pitch and return to a grass pitch following their promotion to the Football League.

Rovers are managed by Darren Salmon & Ryan Lock. Salmon, is obviously part of the Salmon family who run the club.
Looking at their first year at step 4 football, they currently sit in the lower half of the table in 14th place with a record of Played 12 Won 3 Drawn 1 Lost 8 GF 15 GA 35 PTS 10

With their groundshare they had to start with a number of games away from Gander Green, and they kicked off their step 4 campaign with losses at Uxbridge (2-0), Bracknell (2-1), before picking up their first point in a 1-1 draw at Tooting & Mitcham. They picked up their first win 2-1 at Ashford Town. Their league campaign was halted as they took part in the FA Cup over the next few weeks, having already beaten minnows Steyning Town Community, and Cay Wanderer 3-1, they faced and lost 3-2 in a replay against Jersey Bulls. A 5-0 loss at Ramsgate in the FA Trophy ended their cups for the season and they returned to league football still on the road losing 5-1 at Hanwell then 3-1 in Guernsey.
Rovers first home league game did not go well as they lost 6-0 against South Park, before picking up their second win at bottom-placed Northwood 3-2. That winning feeling did not last as they then took a 7-1 thumping at Bedfont Sports, before picking up their third win and first at home, narrowly beating Thatcham Town 1-0. Two further narrow losses both 3-2 at Binfield and then last Saturday at Chalfont St Peter, leaves them in their current position.

Taking a look at their squad, with just 15 league goals from 12 games, striker Conor French (no relation) has three league goals from just five appearances, whilst 19 year-old Tyrell Butler has two goals in the league, plus two in the cup, is regarded as a pacy striker who joined from Chessington & Hook. His older brother 21 year-old Nirah Butler is a defender at the club.
Other goals come via defender Brendan Murphy-McVey who also had four goals, two in the league.
In midfield they have 22 year-old winger Kyle Henry, who joined them from Sutton Utd’s academy, and he  has three goals, two in the cup. Holding the centre midfield role is Ryan Healy who joined them from Merstham this summer. Naseem James, 26 another exciting player joined the club from Colliers Wood.
Their squad is pretty defensive heavy, and having already mentioned Murphy-McVey and Nirah Butler, they also have experienced defender 31-year-old Aaron Bogle, who having played over 200 games for the club is now one of their starting centre-back pairing, having transitioned from a right-back role. Alongside him is Aaron Goode, who spent some time at Hartley Wintney this season, before recently returning to the club.  Malachi Robinson (25), is now in his third spell at the club, after having spent time at Herne Bay, Corinthian Casuals and Dulwich Hamlets.
In goal was Michael Eacott, who now is the Bracknell keeper whose antics upset many Stoke fans at the recent game, but with his departure, his role appears to have gone to Craig Bradshaw who rejoined the club in October.

This Saturday’s game will be the first of six home games, that Rovers will have before Christmas.

Your Basingstoke Town Side
Well although Rovers are a new team for us to play, it will be on the same old ground we have played many times, but this game will be more important to us following our one-sided defeat last Tuesday evening.
Following that defeat against Chertsey Town, we now sit in fourth place, with a record of PLD 11 Won 7 Drawn 2 Lost 2 GF 20 GA 18 Points 23 and have just picked up four points out of a possible twelve in the last four games.
Some will say we had a number of injuries, some state it was the wrong line-up or that we gave the ball way too often, too easily, whilst others felt Chertsey played really well on the night, but to be honest it was probably a combination of all four.

As I write this preview, it is unclear if Conor or Stefan will be fit to start or even be on the bench, but either way Bradley Wilson must clearly start where he is most effective, and that’s up front. McKoy Palmer was one of a couple who came out with any favourable reviews from Tuesday, as he provided a number of crosses, especially in the first half, that needed that finishing touch of a forward, plus he scored from our only shot on target in the game.

It is very likely that Lloyd Snell will make another start, and despite George Reid’s early departure from Tuesday’s game, I would assume he will be ft to go tomorrow.
The rest of the midfield contains D’Andre Brown who will start, but maybe Anton Rodgers will bolster the midfield from the start this weekend.
In defence assuming Nathan Smart is still not ready to return, then Daryl Wollers should start alongside Jon Boardman in the middle.
Many supporters have different views on who should be starting at the back, but it will be two from Haworth, Lewis & Williamson. Paul Strudley, will be the guy between the posts.

I expect a large turnout of supporters will make the trip by car and train, and they will be expecting not just a better performance, but an expectation that we leave Gander Green with all three points.

There is a very strong likelihood that we will out-number and double their average crowd, so this should feel like a home game and give the players the backing that they need.

Match Preview by Martin French..



  1. Good preview and some accurate thoughts around the club and more how supporters feel about the line-up decisions that the manager made last week.
    A big game for us.