John Gorman’ Weekly Preview

Another full League programme scheduled, which will alert the weather gods, and some interesting games in prospect none more so in the Premier Division where Portland and Horndean, in second and third places respectively, meet at The Grove. With Portland’s game called off in midweek Horndean’s victory narrowed the gap between the two to just two points so a close encounter is assured in front of what may well be the biggest crowd of the day. Leaders Sholing travel to Fareham who have conceded goals of late – only the bottom two in the table have conceded more overall – whilst fourth place Bournemouth will be looking to bounce back from their midweek defeat against a Bemerton side who have dropped in to the bottom three. Something of a local derby at Baffins Milton Rovers where AFC Portchester are, the visitors with the home side having lost their last two and the visitors with just one win in their last six. Bashley, who have won six of their last seven including a fine victory at Bournemouth in midweek, will be hoping to keep the run going at Hamble Club where the game has a 2.00 kick off and it should be another close encounter at the County Ground. Hamworthy and Alresford are level on points and both have won four of their last five matches so something has to give. Lymington and Shaftesbury are also level on points and meet at the Sports Ground with the visitors hoping to build on their midweek win that pushed them four places up the table and two Clubs who have shown better form of late, Team Solent and Christchurch, cross swords at Test Park with neither totally free of the relegation zone. Cowes Sports, in nineteenth place and beaten by a last minute winner at Brockenhurst on Tuesday, have a swift chance of revenge and badly needed points when the sides meet again at Westwood Park while the last game is between two of last season’s promoted sides who have enjoyed contrasting fortune at the higher level. Tadley are comfortably placed in mid table but time is beginning to run out for Andover New Street who badly need a win at Foxcotte to halt a long losing run and more importantly gain three valuable points.

The top game in Division One, and rivalling the Portland/Horndean clash for the title of Match of the Day, is at Bonymead Park where Amesbury, third in the table with only two defeats, face second place AFC Stoneham who have yet to lose in the League this season. The two Clubs are level on points but the visitors have two games in hand and it is perhaps possible to say that the result of this game could have bearing on promotion at the season’s end. We should not forget however that there are two more sides at present very much in the mix and Hythe and Dibden, one point clear in first place, have a potentially difficult game in prospect with US Portsmouth visiting Clayfields. Romsey, in fourth place and having lost last Saturday, travel to Alton who are a far from easy side to beat on their own pitch. To return to US Portsmouth, they are in fifth place with games in hand, and victories in those could put them in the promotion hunt – but points in the bag or games in hand? Many would side with the former one suspects. Newport and Fawley, separated in the table by one place and two points and both having picked up results of late, meet at St Georges Park, while two more sides in form and seemingly on the up, Ringwood and Petersfield, clash at Long Lane. Laverstock and Ford, still inconsistent but with a good win last week, travel to Whitchurch, who have lost their last six matches, while Follands , whose away form is somewhat removed from their form at home, cross the Solent to meet an East Cowes Vics side who have been happily picking up results of late. Finally, to the two sides struggling at the bottom and badly in need of a win and points. Totton and Eling host Downton who, like Laverstock and Ford, are perhaps not as consistent as they would wish, while Andover Town journey to New Milton who, whilst clear of the bottom two, would probably feel happier with a few more points to their name.

It could be cold but hopefully the football will overcome same.