Town gear up for Chelmsford test

Shaun McAuley is expected to be fit to face Chelmsford on Saturday.

Shaun McAuley is expected to be fit to face Chelmsford on Saturday.

First published in Football Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

STRUGGLING Basingstoke Town’s bid to turn their season around continues with a home game against high-flying Chelmsford City on Saturday.

Jason Bristow’s men have failed to win any of their last six games and crashed out of the FA Trophy with an appalling 3-0 defeat at AFC Totton last week.

The Town boss branded that performance “unacceptable” and warned his players that they would be moved on if things did not improve.

He got the response he was looking for on Monday night, Basingstoke producing a much-improved display to draw 1-1 with in-form Boreham Wood – and the Town boss wants a repeat performance against Chelmsford.

“It’s important that we build on Monday’s result and performance,” Bristow said. “We worked hard and that paid dividends.

“It was a spirited performance and we showed a lot more energy and desire. We need to be more consistent, playing like that in every game.

“Going up there after the way it went on Saturday, we would have taken a point – but I thought we played some good stuff and possibly could have shaded it.”

Despite earning a point in Hertfordshire, Basingstoke slipped into the Blue Square Bet South on Tuesday night, Havant and Waterlooville leapfrogging them by beating Dorchester Town.

In stark contrast to their hosts on Saturday (kick-off 3pm), Chelmsford are in excellent form. The Essex side are unbeaten in 10 games, a run that includes a 3-1 win over League One outfit Colchester United in the FA Cup. That set up a trip to Crawley in the second round, while they also progressed in the FA Trophy on Tuesday night, winning 4-2 at Dover in a replay.

Bristow said: “It will be another tough game on Saturday but Chelmsford had a hard game on Tuesday night and have a big cup tie coming up.

“If we start well and put them under pressure then we might be able to get at them – but it’s down to us and we need to show the same spirit we did on Monday.

“I expect them to be fairly direct and try to load the box. They will get crosses in whenever possible so it is a game where we need big characters to stand up and be counted.”

Defender Ross Adams remains on the sidelines due to a knee injury but Shaun McAuley is expected to shake off a hip problem in time for the game.

See the latest Gazette for a full report from Town’s draw at Boreham Wood – and log on to basingstokegazette.co.uk|/sport for live updates from the Camrose on Saturday.

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