Swindon Supermarine boss Lee Spalding has promised his side won’t be adopting a “casual” approach on Saturday as they travel to Surrey to take on early season strugglers Walton Casuals, writes Nick Taylor.
After smashing in 10 goals in their last two games, a 3-0 FA Cup replay win at home to Dunstable, followed last Saturday by a resounding 7-1 thrashing of Woodbridge Town in the subsequent round of the competition, Marine now return to the Southern League Premier South protecting an unbeaten record on their travels. However, two home defeats, the most recent being a 1-0 loss to Hendon earlier this month, leaves Supermarine in the lower half of the table after five matches while opponents Walton find themselves second bottom of the league with only two draws from their five games so far and having conceded the most goals (16) of any side so far.
The hosts, who gained promotion from the Isthmian League at the end of last season, play their home fixtures at the highly impressive Elmbridge Sports Complex, a £20 million pound sporting centre which includes athletics track and 3G pitches, with the main artificial football pitch built directly on top of their former Waterside Stadium.
After a confidence boosting 3-0 home victory on Tuesday night in an FA Cup replay against Beckenham Town, the home side will be no pushover and Marine boss Lee Spalding is expecting a competitive encounter but believes his side are capable of returning to Wiltshire with the three points.
“The 3G pitch will make it more difficult and will give them the slight advantage, but we went to Merthyr and performed well on a similar pitch,” said Spalding. “I’ve watched them on various video clips and they are a good footballing side who create chances but also concede a few.”
“We will need to approach the game properly, momentum is with us and we want to go and make it three wins on the bounce. I’m not focusing on the league table too much at this early stage but we can go mid-table with a win. I’m not too worried about what the opposition has been doing, I’m more focused about what we’re doing.”
With five goals in the last two games, Josh Parsons has struck form on his recent return to the side and given his manager some food for thought regarding player selection for Saturday.
Spalding added: “Josh got a good opportunity against Dunstable and did really well and is clearly enjoying his football again. We have now got good competition in the squad at every position, all the lads have done fantastic so far.”
Spalding will be without the services of utility player Joe Shepherd, who looks to be out injured for several weeks with a possible cracked rib, whilst forward Brad Gray is struggling with illness this week.
Veteran holding player Dave Bampton, who has been influential in Marine’s away performances, faces a fitness test on a hamstring problem, having left the field first half last Saturday.
Meanwhile, in the Southern League Division One South, Jeff Roberts and his Highworth Town side travel to Somerset to face fellow new boys Street.
Roberts was in the stands to watch their hosts lose 4-1 at home to Plymouth Parkway in an FA Cup replay on Tuesday night and will expect a reaction from their opponents in their encounter.
The Worthians last outing was two weeks ago, a 3-1 away win at basement boys Barnstaple Town, whilst Street went down 2-0 at AFC Totton on the same day.
Striker Ash Edenborough is unavailable as he completes his three match suspension this weekend, whilst midfielder Harrison Bennett faces a fitness test on a troublesome knee injury.