Aldershot Town v Havant & Waterlooville – Match Preview – Monday 22nd April 2019
On Bank Holiday Monday, Aldershot Town return to the EBB Stadium to take on Havant & Waterlooville, the one team that they can still climb above in the National League this season. Whilst Shots went down 1-0 to a 89th minute Dover goal on Good Friday, Havant were involved in a six goal thriller at home to Ebbsfleet. 3-0 up at half time, Havant were pegged back in the second half and it ended 3-3, meaning that a win for Aldershot on Monday will take them above their Hampshire neighbours. BBC Surrey’s Rob Worrall previews the game…
Despite five Aldershot players having agreed early termination of their playing contracts, to seek opportunities elsewhere, Manager Gary Waddock still has plenty of players to choose his starting eleven from, including the likes of Nick Arnold and Lewis Kinsella who both returned to the team off the bench on Saturday, following long term injuries. Will Mannion was not involved in the matchday squad at Dover. Academy youngster Ryan Hall took his place on the bench as Jake Cole returned to the starting line-up and pulled off several fine saves in the second half.
Name: Havant & Waterlooville
Founded: 1883 (as Havant FC) 1905 (as Waterlooville FC)
Nickname: The Hawks
Manager: Lee Bradbury
Stadium: West Leigh Park (Capacity 5,300)
2017/18 National League South position: 1st
2018/19 current National League position: 21st (relegated)
‘Havant FC’ were formed back in 1883 before merging with local side Leigh Park Avenue in 1969. In August 1982, they were rebranded ‘Havant Town FC.’
Waterlooville Football Club were established in 1905, and in June 1998 they merged with Havant Town FC to create the newly formed Havant and Waterlooville FC.
Lee Bradbury took charge of the Hawks for the first time in October 2012. During his second season in charge, Bradbury guided the Hawks to an FA Trophy semi-final, Hampshire Senior Cup final and missed out on the playoffs by goal difference alone. They began 2015/16 as promotion favourites but found themselves relegated to the Southern Premier, before a rapid return saw them promoted back a season later. Bradbury made it back to back promotions as they pipped Dartford to the title in May 2018, to cement himself in Havant folklore.
Just three players departed West Leigh Park in the summer, all strikers. Top scorer Jason Prior was the key loss, whilst the experienced Matt Tubbs and James Hayter also moved on. Sixteen of last season’s playing squad (initially) stayed, including Skipper Brian Stock (has since announced his retirement) and striker Alfie Rutherford (top scorer with 16 goals to date). Four additions arrived, including the National League’s top goal scorer, former Shots loanee Alfie Pavey, who has since moved on to Dover Athletic. Another ex-Shot, Nicke Kabamba also joined the club from Portsmouth but has since moved on to Hartlepool. Another key signing was Centre Back Paul Robinson joined from Football League side AFC Wimbledon.
More recently, yet another ex-Aldershot striker has come in, Matt Patterson (four goals already since returning to the club following budget cuts at Welling). Also in on loan, until the end of the season are; Striker Joe Quigley (Bromley), defender Jack James (Luton Town), goalkeeper Matija Sarkic (Aston Villa) plus defender Dan McNamara and midfielder Harry Donovan, both from Millwall.
Bank Holiday Monday’s referee is Richard Hulme, who ironically, also took charge of the reverse fixture between these two sides back in September. It will be his 24th National League match of the season. To date, he has shown 85 Yellow cards and 4 Red cards. He has refereed Aldershot Town on three previous occasions this season, resulting in one draw and two defeats.
BBC Surrey Sport’s Rob Worrall and former Aldershot Town Media Manager Steve Gibbs will be covering the game live on Monday afternoon. Tune in to the BBC Sport website (or the BBC Sport App) from 2:50pm for full match commentary. To interact with them, tweet @RobShot66 &/or @SteveGibbsPR.