John Gorman’s Weekly Preview

The weather gives every impression of allowing a full League Programme this Saturday and there are some interesting games in prospect in both Divisions.

In the Premier Division it is top versus bottom as unbeaten Sholing travel to Andover New Street with both sides looking for three points for totally differing reasons and where, with respect, a home win would be something of a “coupon buster”. Second place Horndean visit another Club, Bemerton Heath, who are deeply embroiled in the relegation struggle but picked up a useful point in midweek while Bournemouth, third on goal difference and having won five of their last seven, renew their keen rivalry with a trip to Bashley who have lost their last three, a run they will obviously be keen to break. Portland, after a mixture of home defeats and postponements, will be eager to get back in to action when they make the journey to AFC Portchester and if the game is as enjoyable as the fairly recent League Cup encounter between the two sides those present will get value for their money. Alresford and Hamworthy United, in fifth and sixth places respectively, are both away with the former hoping to extend a run that has seen them win six of their last eight matches when they visit a Fareham side who are still on the fringe of the relegation area. Hamworthy make their longest journey of the season, to Tadley, and will be looking to make it four League wins in a row, though wins at Barlows Park are never easy to come by. Brockenhurst entertain Hamble Club with both sides perhaps wishing for a little more consistency and just down the road Lymington play host to a Baffins Milton Rovers side that has gone off the boil over recent matches and slipped to tenth place in the table. Two sides who have found some form of late and are level on points, Christchurch and Shaftesbury, meet at Hurn Bridge and there is something of a relegation battle at Test Park where Cowes Sports are the visitors, Team Solent are two places higher in the table but a win would do wonders for both sides though probably more so for the Islanders.

The intriguing promotion race at the top of Division One continues with three of the main protagonists away from home and two meeting each other. Leaders Amesbury travel to Petersfield, who are capable of causing an upset on their day, whilst second place Romsey Town, who have won seven of their last eight, cross the Solent for what could be a difficult afternoon at Newport. The top game however is the meeting of third and fourth place Hythe and Dibden and AFC Stoneham at Clayfields. The home side have an unbeaten run that stretches back over some sixteen games while Stoneham have seen a similar, if not longer, run ended by two successive defeats. US Portsmouth, unbeaten in seven but held to a draw in midweek, tackle the A31 and the much improved Ringwood, as they try to catch the top four while Downton, one place behind, are the “odd team out” this week and therefore without a game. East Cowes Vics, enjoying a run of results that has taken them in to eighth place in the table, welcome Alton to Beatrice Avenue with the visitors having lost their last three, and two teams that have very similar records, Laverstock and Ford and Verwood Town meet at the Wiltshire Club’s Church Lane Ground. Of the three Clubs at the bottom of the table Totton and Eling are at home and will be looking to build on their midweek win when Follands cross the City to Millers Park but both New Milton and Andover Town are on the road. The former travel north to Whitchurch who have won their last two League matches but suffered a rather embarrassing Cup defeat in midweek, whilst Andover Town, whose win last week lifted them off the bottom for a couple of days, visit a Fawley side that has not won in four matches.

Things could change – they could stay as they are. Five o’clock on Saturday will provide some of the answers.