Keynsham Town welcome Chichester City to Somerset this Sunday in the FAWNL Southern Premier Division.
Only way is up for K’s
Currently pointless and rooted to the foot of the table, Keynsham’s campaign to date has been a stark contrast to last season which saw them win the FAWNL Division One South West convincingly.
Following promotion to the FAWNL Southern Premier Division, the K’s experienced an exodus, with several of their title-winning side opting to ply their trade elsewhere, and began the season having to postpone their opening league fixture due to being unable to field a team.
They eventually kicked off their season the following week, coming from behind to beat Buckland Athletic 2-1 in the FAWNL Cup.
Since then they have lost seven games in a row including voluntarily withdrawing from the FAWNL Cup resulting in a home walkover win for Chesham United and most recently lost 0-5 against Yeovil Town at The AJN Stadium.
In the search for a silver lining, the K’s can take a little comfort in the fact they have a game in hand over Chi and that statistically, very little separates the sides at present – it really is anyone’s game.
Green Army on the road
Much like Sunday’s opposition, Chi also experienced a very turbulent close season that saw their manager and most of the squad that helped them secure a third-place finish last season depart the club.
Appointed shortly after Aaron Smith’s departure in May, former player Sadie Blakely undertook the considerable task of rebuilding the Green Army, signing more than 20 players with several members of the development squad stepping up in preparation of the new season.
Understandably, Blakely’s young side whose average age is just 23, experienced a difficult start to the season, losing six games before earning a point away from home against Gillingham; Megan Fox put the Green Army ahead before Gillingham equalised late on to rescue a point.
Chi lost the following game 1-4 to Portsmouth before winning their first game of the season in the FAWNL Plate, beating Swindon Town 4-2 to progress to the Second Round of the competition.
There’s no disguising the fact that both sides have experienced difficult seasons to date, and will view Sunday’s game as the perfect opportunity to register some vital points, and potentially kickstart their season.
After the frustration of having their games postponed last weekend, both teams will look to bounce back from recent defeats when they meet on Sunday in the FAWNL Southern Premier Division.
Keynsham welcome Pompey to Somerset
Keynsham began the season in unusual fashion, unable to field a team their scheduled opening day fixture against Oxford United was postponed just days before the match was due to take place.
They eventually kicked off their season a week later, coming from behind to beat Division One South West side Buckland Athletic in the FAWNL Cup but have since suffered narrow losses against MK Dons, Cardiff, Crawley Wasps, and a heavy 6-1 defeat at the hands of early title contenders, Plymouth.
Further questions were also raised when Keynsham forfeited their scheduled cup game against Chesham United, opting to withdraw from the competition instead of completing the fixture.
With just two league goals to their credit so far this season, Fabiana Alborghetti and Justine Lorton the scorers, the departure of record goalscorer Kerry Bartlett is already proving to be a huge loss for the Somerset side.
Keynsham currently occupy 12th place at the foot of the Southern Premier Division. But despite their league position, The K’s can take some comfort in knowing two of those losses have come against two of the top three teams in the division, have games in hand and a much better goal difference than teams around them.
Portsmouth on the road
Portsmouth are on the road for the first time this season as they embark on a considerable 240-mile round trip to face Keynsham this Sunday.
Having only managed to play three league and two cup games, it has been a season of scheduling frustration so far for Portsmouth.
Kicking off the season with a loss, Pompey responded well by winning three on the bounce, first quickly avenging their opening day defeat against Watford, followed by an emphatic 8-0 win against Hounslow and an extra time cup victory against Southern Premier rivals, Gillingham.
Last time out they welcomed a very strong Oxford United side to the south coast. The U’s proved to be too much for The Hampshire side who were outmuscled and outclassed on the day, with Jay Sadler admitting as much during a post match interview.
“We simply weren’t good enough all over the pitch. Individually and collectively. I felt there were large moments of the game where we were outmuscled.”
Jay Sadler, Portsmouth manager.
One postive that can be taken from the game against Oxford was 16-year-old Mia Adaway scoring her first senior goal.
In terms of selection, Portsmouth have to manage without ‘keeper Hannah Haughton and Katie James who were both selected for the inaugural World Beach Soccer Games in Doha, Qatar.
Tamsin de Bunsen, Becki Bath and Charmaine True are joint top scorers, each finding the net three times.