Weekend Preview – Saturday 11/11/17

The Second Round Proper of the FA Vase means a reduced League Programme with ten of our Clubs still in involved in the Competition. The matches were covered fairly comprehensively in Sunday’s Newsletter so just a brief mention this time. Two all-Wessex League ties with Division One leaders Christchurch hosting Fareham Town and Hamble Club at home to Brockenhurst. Christchurch will welcome the chance to measure their promotion aspirations against Premier opposition whilst Hamble Club, for whom all matches so far have been against Wessex League opposition, will be looking to end a bad run of results when the often free scoring Brockenhurst come calling. In the ties against “foreign” opposition only one away draw with Blackfield and Langley travelling to Exmouth for a repeat of last season’s tie which went the way of the West Country side. Team Solent make their first appearance, after their successful run last season, and could face a tough encounter against Tavistock Town who are among the leaders in the South West Peninsula League, whilst another SWPL Club, Cullompton Rangers, visit Baffins Milton Rovers. Having defeated AFC Portchester in the last round the Devon outfit face virtually the same journey all over again. Sholing, after their superb victory at Highworth Town in the last round, entertain Western League Wellington AFC who previously defeated Downton after extra time and another Western League side, Hengrove Athletic, journey from the outskirts of Bristol to Newport (IOW). Finally, Horndean face Hellenic League opposition when Royal Wootton Bassett Town travel to Five Heads Park.

So to the League with the Premier Division reduced to just six fixtures. Leaders Andover Town, who lost their unbeaten record at Alresford in midweek will be looking to get back on track when they travel to Petersfield who are one off the bottom of the table. In Pools terminology an Away Banker but there are always “banana skins” for leading Clubs. AFC Portchester who have lost only twice in their last ten matches and are bubbling along under the radar in sixth place, entertain the improving Bemerton Heath Harlequins, whilst Alresford Town, no doubt buoyed by their midweek win over Andover, welcome a Bashley side who are not the best of travellers to Arlebury Park. Shaftesbury, unbeaten in six face Bournemouth, whilst Cowes Sports, perhaps in need of points, have Hamworthy United as visitors to Westwood Park who no doubt will be hoping to improve on a poor away record of late. The last game sees Amesbury Town, another of the bottom three, in the table face a Portland United side who are slowly returning to last season’s form.

Eight fixtures oi Division One and with leaders Christchurch elsewhere Laverstock and Ford could return to the top of the table if they can return to winning ways against US Portsmouth. Third placed Romsey Town make the short trip to AFC Stoneham and will not find points easy to obtain whilst Andover New Street, enjoying a very good season to date, welcome Totton and Eling to Foxcotte Park. The Downton/Alton fixture has been switched to Alton because of problems with the Wiltshire Club’s lights, and the visitors will find their hosts in confident mood after last week’s victory over high flying Tadley Calleva. The North Hampshire Club will be hoping to bounce back from that defeat when they make the long haul to Ringwood who seem temporarily to have lost their goalscoring touch. Fawley AFC, who have won four of their last five, welcome Verwood Town to the Waterside with the visitors still trying to kickstart their season, while East Cowes Victoria, with two high scoring victories behind them, travel to New Milton whose win last week ended a run of three defeats. The final game sees bottom Club Folland Sports, who have won only once in their last ten games, travel to Whitchurch who are perhaps not as consistent as they might wish.

Good luck to all in the Vase.