Weekend Preview – Saturday 16/12/17

In theory a very full League Programme this week but in practise there must be a chance that the weather will intervene – though we can but hope! Andover Town and Blackfield and Langley, the top two teams in the Premier Division. both face stern tests. Andover welcome fourth placed Lymington Town to the Portway with the visitors having only lost once in the last six matches and fresh from scoring eight last weekend. Andover however are seven points clear at the top and will be looking to maintain that advantage and very much have the ability to do so on their day. Second placed Blackfield, fresh from scoring six in midweek and having won their last four, travel to Horndean who are coming back off a poor run and are always difficult to defeat on their own ground. Sholing, who are unbeaten in nine and regained third place in midweek, journey to the slightly inconsistent Baffins Milton Rovers whilst fifth placed Alresford Town are also on the road and making the long journey to Portland. The home side have drawn their last three whilst Alresford have won five out of seven so another draw perhaps on the cards? The final side in the top six, Hamworthy United, also face a long journey, to Petersfield, and will be looking to get back to winning ways after defeat last week. Petersfield simply need points. Bashley welcome Shaftesbury to the Forest in what is probably the first League meeting between the Clubs at the ground, and with neither side seemingly able to string results together it is a game that could go either way. Newport (IOW), still in need of points to escape the bottom three, travel to Bemerton whose recent fine run has been halted by two defeats while their Island neighbours, Cowes Sports, entertain Fareham Town at Westwood Park – another game that is too difficult to predict. Bournemouth and Hamble Club, both looking to end a sequence of losses meet at Victoria Park, whilst Brockenhurst, with four straight defeats behind them and having conceded six in midweek, host Amesbury Town who, like Newport, badly need points to hoist themselves away from the relegation zone. Finally, Team Solent, who hit form with seven goals last Saturday, face AFC Portchester at Test Park and will not find goals so easy to come by against a side that hovers on the edge of the promotion race.

The top game in Division One, and possibly the top match of the day overall, is at Barlows Park where third place Tadley Calleva face leaders Christchurch. Tadley concede little on their own ground whilst their visitors have won their last six matches. Could be a good one. Andover New Street, who lost top place last week when their game was postponed, will be looking to stretch their six match winning run at Alton but will not find it easy against a side that with a little more consistency could be nearer the promotion shake-up. It should also be a good encounter at Stoneham where New Milton Town are the visitors. Two sides very much on the up and little to choose between them. Romsey Town, after their loss at home to Folland Sports last week, will be hoping to avoid the same fate against Verwood Town while Laverstock and Ford, with only one win in six, will be trying to get their promotion challenge back on track when they visit Fawley AFC who will not concede anything willingly. The Downton v Ringwood Town fixture has been postponed, whilst Totton and Eling, who similarly have only one win in seven, cross the City to take on bottom Club Folland Sports who, happily, have shown a marked improvement of late. The Island’s form side, East Cowes Victoria, who are unbeaten in six, will have that record put to test with the visit of US Portsmouth who themselves are unbeaten in five, whilst in the last game two sides without a recent victory between them, Whitchurch United and Hythe and Dibden meet at Longmeadow.

Some good games on offer – just hope for the weather!