BY NICK WILSON
Basingstoke begin their FA Trophy campaign for the season at Dorchester Town, the second of a back to back run of games against the Dorset side. After a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night in the league thanks to an own goal from Ross Carmichael and an equaliser from Aaron Rodriguez, the teams will do battle again at the Avenue Stadium for a place in the Second Qualifying Round.
It is a repeat of last season’s Second Qualifying Round tie in which Basingstoke were victorious with goals from Nana Owusu, Aaron Redford and Sam Deadfield, on the way to a Third Qualifying Round exit at Bath. Basingstoke will be looking for a repeat of that result in what will be the third meeting between the teams in less that three months. Should the match be drawn on Saturday, the teams will go again at the Camrose on Tuesday in a replay.
Since relegation to the Southern League Premier, Basingstoke have one just once in five meetings with the Magpies, drawing three times and losing the other one. The cup tie last season was also the only time in those five matches that Basingstoke had scored more than once, managing just three goals in the other four games.
Dorchester were much improved in midweek from the side which earned their first points of the season over Basingstoke back in August after the arrival of a new manager and several new players and Saturday’s visitors could be hampered after suffering a spate of injuries in the Tuesday night encounter. Dan Bayliss was carried off in the warm-up, while Ashleigh Artwell was substituted at half-time and Michael Atkinson suffered a recurrence of the toe injury that kept him out of last weekend’s defeat at Frome. Basingstoke have also been without Sam Deadfield for an extended period of time, although there was hope that he may be available for a return this weekend.
After the early exit from the FA Cup, it’s another chance for a cup run this season in a competition the Terry Brown will be taking very seriously and his side will look to shrug off recent form and find a way to win away from home.