John Gorman’s Weekly Preview

Just the League Programme to focus on again this week and the last matches before the clocks alter and the dark winter nights arrive to enhance the enjoyment.

Last Saturday’s fixtures caused little change as far as the positions at the top of the two Divisions were concerned so Sholing still lead the Premier Division with their one hundred per cent record intact. Cowes are their visitors on Saturday with the Islanders generally happier at home as far as results are concerned. AFC Portchester, who have won five of their last six matches, travel to Christchurch with the latter still seemingly finding it difficult to adapt to the higher level while Horndean will be looking to recover from last week’s home defeat when they journey to Brockenhurst who have lost their last three matches. Baffins Milton Rovers have moved quietly in to fourth place and meet a Tadley side who conceded four on the road last week while Hamble Club, who have moved equally quietly to fifth, go to Shaftesbury with the home side not having won in four. Alresford and Bashley, who have both won their last two matches, meet at Arlebury Park and two sides who will have hoped to be higher in the table at this stage of the season, Lymington and Hamworthy, cross swords at the Sports Ground. The hosts have lost their last four and exited the League Cup in midweek while Hamworthy, down in sixteenth place, found their shooting boots – albeit against opposition from a much lower level – on Tuesday. At the lower end of the table Bemerton, with two wins in their last three matches, travel to the rapidly improving Portland who won at Horndean last time out and Andover New Street will be looking to build on last Saturday’s win when the high scoring Bournemouth visit Foxcotte Park. That just leaves Team Solent at the bottom who visit a Fareham side to whom the word “inconsistent” almost seems permanently attached.

Hythe and Dibden, very much a welcome surprise packet this season, will look to continue their goalscoring form when Petersfield visit Claypits having lost their last four while Amesbury have a local derby to win if they wish to retain second place with Laverstock and Ford making the relatively short journey to Bonymead. The visitors have only won one of their last six matches but form often counts for little in such encounters. AFC Stoneham, who enhanced their promotion credentials with a League Cup win at Lymington in midweek, host a Downton side who have not won in their last four matches while US Portsmouth, after two home defeats, tackle the A31 en route to Verwood. The home side lie in sixth place and it should be a good game at Potterne Park. Alton’s recent resurgence was halted at Amesbury while Fawley AFC have won their last two but Alton are a difficult proposition on their own ground and Fawley will have memories of a n uncomfortable evening there last season. East Cowes Vics entertain Whitchurch in a game that could go either way and Newport are also at home on the island with Totton and Eling visiting St.Georges Park for perhaps the first time since their BAT days. Another game that could go either way. That leads us to the lower end of the table with two of those involved away from home and Ringwood not in action. Follands go to Romsey who are pushing hard to join the top three whilst Andover Town face their second “six pointer” on successive Saturdays. Having won at Follands last week to put themselves in touch with those above them, they now face one of those Clubs, New Milton, at the Portway with the visitors striving to end a losing run. All may become marginally clearer come five o’clock on Saturday.

Happy Halloween.