Weekend Preview – Saturday 09/09/17

The FA Vase enters the fixture list for the first time this season with seventeen First Round Qualifying Ties involving Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) Clubs. As usual with the FA Competitions at this stage there are far too many ties where Clubs are drawn against opponents from the same League, nine in our case, and we will start with those matches. First on the list is the meeting of the top and third placed Clubs in Division One as Andover New Street travel to Tadley for a game in which home advantage may just count. Shaftesbury and Brockenhurst go head to head in Dorset – that could go either way – and it will be a battle at Five Heads Park where Andover Town, who have not enjoyed the best of luck as regards the Draw in Cup Competitions this season, face Horndean. Both Clubs went out of the FA Cup last weekend and will be looking for better progress in the Vase. Hamble Club and Bemerton Heath Harlequins cross swords for the third time this season, the former having come out on top in both the League and the League Cup, so the Wiltshire visitors will be looking for a change of fortune. Hamworthy United, whose fine start to the season was halted by Thatcham Town in the FA Cup last Saturday, entertain an AFC Stoneham side no doubt boosted by a five goal victory in midweek while Amesbury Town will be looking to end a losing run when New Milton Town come to Bonnymead Park. The Division One visitors however came from three behind to share the points last week and will not make life easy for their hosts. An all Division One tie at Burnaby Road where US Portsmouth’s home form may be too good for a Verwood Town side seemingly yet to get started this time round, and a similar looking tie at Laverstock and Ford with visitors Fawley AFC yet to win a game this season. Finally, in this section Baffins Milton Rovers, who have slipped slightly after a good start to the season, cross the Solent for a difficult looking meeting with Cowes Sports

So to the ties against “foreign” opposition and we remain on the Island where East Cowes Victoria entertain Calne Town from the Western League. The visitors are mid table in Division One and the

Vics will be looking to make home advantage count. Another Western League side, Corsham, make the cross country trip to Petersfield with neither side having started the season well. The home side however are a Step higher and should be confident after a hard earned point at Portland last Saturday. The third Western League side to meet Wessex League opposition are a former Wessex League side themselves – Warminster Town – who have made a useful start to the season and entertain a Folland Sports side with only one win to their name thus far. Another former Wessex League side, AFC Aldermaston, who now play in the Hellenic League, play host to Romsey Town and the latter’s form of late should see them through. The remaining four ties all involve Combined Counties League opposition and again a former Wessex League side. Ironically Fleet Spurs, who opted to move Leagues at the end of last season because of the travelling have to go to Newport and the home side may well welcome a break from League Competition. They have lost their last four games without scoring a goal and should see this as a way to get back on track. Lymington Town, enjoying good season travel to Guildford City, who knocked Newport, out of the FA Cup, while Ringwood Town host Eversley and California. The latter top Division One and defeated Fleet Spurs five nil in midweek. Finally, Hythe and Dibden have every chance of progress when they entertain a Bagshot side with just one win to their name so far this season.

Finally, a heavily truncated League programme with just seven matches across the two Divisions. Premier Division leaders Blackfield and Langley take their one hundred per cent record to bottom Club Team Solent whist the only other side in the top six in action, Sholing, entertain an Alresford Town side who were victorious in the FA Cup on an earlier visit this season. Fareham Town, who have lost their last four League matches, welcome Bournemouth to Cams Alders with the visitors so far only having three League goals to their credit in seven matches. The last game in the Premier Division sees Bashley host Portland United. Neither side have probably started the season as well as they would wish though the home side recorded their first League win last Saturday and will be looking to build on same.

Three games in Division One with Christchurch, in fifth place, looking to take advantage of those above them having the day off when they meet Totton and Eling at Hurn Bridge. Downton, with a couple of impressive results behind them of late. entertain a Weymouth Reserves side yet to gain a point on their travels while Alton, for the first time for a few seasons, make the relatively short trip to Whitchurch still without an away win to their name in the current campaign.