John Gorman’s Weekly Preview

There is every chance that the weather will make this largely a waste of time though the forecast does look better for Saturday.

Most eyes will be on the Universal Stadium where Sholing will be in FA Vase action with a late change of opposition. Their original opponents, Godmanchester Rovers, have been removed from the opposition for fielding an ineligible player in the previous Round so Sporting Khalsa have been re-instated. They are based in Willenhall in Staffordshire at the ground once used by Willenhall Town in the Southern League and are currently in fourth place in the Midland League.

A chance therefore for Sholing’s lead to be cut at the top of the Premier Division with their two nearest challengers both playing at home. Horndean, having gained a valuable victory at a windswept Portland last week, were held to a draw at Baffins Milton Rovers in midweek and now face a Fareham side that need to arrest a poor run of results that has left them on the edge of the relegation area. Portland should have travelled to Lymington in midweek, but the weather intervened, and the two Clubs now meet at the Grove with the home side no doubt wishing to prove that last week’s result was a “one-off”. Fourth place Bournemouth face probably their longest journey with a trip to Tadley where the home side, unlike their free scoring visitors, have injury problems that have of late badly affected their goalscoring ability. Baffins, with more draws than wins to their name recently, journey to Alresford with the home side having lost only once in their last six games and the two sides level on points. Hamworthy United’s run of six wins in seven matches has taken them to fifth place in the table and they visit a Shaftesbury side that has suffered quite the reverse in terms of recent results and fallen very much in to the relegation area. Christchurch, in sixteenth place, go to AFC Portchester whose last few results have been difficult to predict which brings us to the three sides at the bottom of the table. Bemerton Heath after a run that took them towards mid-table, have now dropped back in to that bottom three and travel to Test Park where Team Solent have begun to string some results together while Cowes Sports and Andover New Street will both be looking to add to last weeks victories. The Islanders, now under player manager John McKie, cross to Hamble Club for a two fifteen kick off with the home side having only won two in seven, whilst New Street host sixth place Bashley at Foxcotte Park.

Not quite a full Programme in Division One but still interesting after last week’s results that involved the Clubs in the top four. Amesbury regained top spot after inflicting a first defeat of the season on AFC Stoneham and now travel to Hamble to meet Follands who can be guaranteed to give a good account of themselves on their own ground. Second place Hythe and Dibden have the day off while Stoneham, still with games in hand, entertain a Laverstock and Ford side who very much blow hot and cold. The last of the leading quartet, Romsey, who pulled ff a stunning win at Alton last week return to home soil with a visit from East Cowes Vics. The islanders are enjoying a good season but their away form remains suspect at times. US Portsmouth, with games in hand that they need to win, host Verwood, who won for the first time in seven games in midweek whilst the two sides in sixth and seventh places and separated by just two points – Newport and Alton- meet on the island where perhaps home advantage may be the difference. In form Ringwood host New Milton who suffered a heavy defeat last time out and Whitchurch, who won for the first time in seven last week, go to Fawley who normally give little away at home but lost on their own ground on Wednesday evening. Downton meet Petersfield in a game that could go either way and Andover Town, after a run of away fixtures, return to the Portway where Totton and Eling are the visitors. The two Clubs are rather adrift at the bottom of the table, though the visitors are building up some games in hand, and a loss for either side could perhaps prove terminal.

We can but hope for the weather and extend all good wishes to Sholing with hopes for a victory and a good attendance.