John Gorman’s Weekend Preview 11th August

With the Cup Final only nine months away the FA Cup enters the fixtures with the Extra Preliminary Round and seventeen ties involving Clubs from the Sydenhams Football League (Wessex). This means there are no fixtures in the Premier Division and just five in Division One and we will commence the preview with the latter.

Two Clubs, Follands and Totton and Eling, make their seasonal competitive bow at Folland Park on Friday evening and both – certainly the home side -will be looking to improve on last season’s results. On to Saturday and East Cowes Vics cross the Solent to meet Hythe and Dibden in a game that could go either way while Verwood, another side very keen to show improvement this time round, will be hoping to build on last Saturday’s away win when Fawley visit Potterne Park. “The Oilers” however came from two goals down on Saturday to claim a point and will be looking for at least a repeat result.

A much changed New Milton also make their seasonal debut when they entertain Whitchurch. The North Hants Club have lost both matches to date but acquitted themselves well at Stoneham in midweek. The final game is at Laverstock and Ford where Ringwood are the visitors and the home side will be looking to add a home win to last week’s three points at Petersfield.

The FA Cup as usual contains too many ties involving Wessex Clubs playing each other with only seven ties involving opposition from other Leagues. Only Horndean and Fareham have home ties with the former welcoming Godalming Town from thirty miles north up the A3 to Five Heads Park. The Surrey side have struggled of late, dropping from the Southern League through to Division One of the Combined Counties League, and a home win should be in prospect. Fareham face opposition from the same League and roughly the same area with Frimley Green travelling to Cams Alders. The “Creeksiders” have not made as good a start to the season as they would wish but this could kick start their campaign.

Both Sholing and Petersfield travel to Combined Counties League Premier Division Clubs with Sholing’s destination being Knaphill, near Woking. Their hosts have gathered three points from two matches to date but may find their visitors too strong. Petersfield head north on the A3 to Guildford City at Wey Court. Like Godalming, City have seen better days in the Southern League and have won one of their two League matches to date.

The third meeting of the Wessex and Combined Counties Leagues is at Sandhurst with Lymington visiting the Division One side. Sandhurst have returned to the Combined Counties this season after two fruitless terms in the Hellenic League and could, and should, find Lymington too strong. Lastly in this segment two of our sides head west. Portland, no strangers to long journeys, go to Western League Clevedon on the edge of the Bristol Channel while Shaftesbury make the slightly shorter trip to the Cathedral City of Wells. Clevedon are in the Premier Division with a win and loss against their name after two League matches whilst Wells are in Division One and have yet to gain a point in the very fledgling season to date.

There are six ties with Wessex Premier League Clubs in opposition, two with Division One sides meeting each other and two “cross-divison”ties. Team Solent make the longish trip to Hamworthy with both sides still finding their feet while the Hamble Club/Alresford game is too close to call. Tadley, unbeaten to date, host Baffins Milton Rovers and there is a local derby in the Forest with Bournemouth visiting Bashley.

Cowes Sports, who have started the season in very impressive fashion, travel to Bemerton who have lost both games thus far and Christchurch, after winning at Horndean last week, make the slightly shorter trip to Brockenhurst. In the “Division One Ties”, Newport, back on home soil after gaining a point at Alton, entertain Amesbury and Andover Town, after their horrendous result last Saturday, will not find life very much easier against US Portsmouth. Please note that this tie is being played at AFC Portchester.

Finally Andover New Street welcome near neighbours Romsey to Foxcotte Park while in the battle if the “AFC’s” Stoneham will test their promotion credentials against Portchester.

Good luck to all,