Saturday Preview: Vanarama National League South

11 months ago By Sam Elliott

Both teams were predicted to be up near the top this season, but so far it is experience showing more than anything.

Bath City play host to Chelmsford City on match day 3 in the Vanarama National League South but so far, not so good for the expectant Romans.

Predicted to be up there, Bath haven't been swimming towards the top. Having let it 8 goals in their first 2 matches, their defence has been drowning.

But sometimes it needs a big match for people to pull together and it won't come much bigger than this weekend - Rod Stringer's Clarets have started superbly. They have yet to let in a goal after getting the better of Gloucester 2-0 and, on Tuesday, Welling United 1-0 thanks to Lee Barnard's penalty winner.

It's a similar scenario at St Albans, who have won all their games, against Weston who have yet to earn their first point.

Up there with them in the early table is Truro City. Lee Hodges' team travel far to Concord Rangers who registered in midweek, a 1-0 victory against Hemel.

Gloucester City need to get off the mark. After back-to-back defeats, manager Tim Harris knows it's important to beat Wealdstone at their adopted home of Evesham United.

Another side who have begun slowly are Eastbourne Borough.

Jamie Howell would have wanted a better opening to his Priory Lane managerial career than two painful defeats and the ex-Bognor Regis man will be well aware they need to come away from Hampton & Richmond Borough with something to show for their trip to the capital.

There are a number of clubs in the National League South chasing that precious first point.

Something has to give at the Enclosed Ground, that's for sure, on Saturday afternoon.

Jimmy Dack will be keen to get Whitehawk moving in the right direction and with Oxford City visiting, both clubs know they can't afford to be pointless from three games so this match has early season importance attached to it.

Welling United, also with a pair of defeats to their name, are at home to Bognor Regis.

Hungerford Town manager Bobby Wilkinson wants Bulpit Lane to be a fortress against this season.

Wilkinson said: "We are happy with four points from six so far but a good start turns into a very good start if we win again at home on Saturday."

Hungerford face Hemel Hempstead Town, who lost to Concord in midweek.

Dartford's two draws leaves one of the title favourites slightly off the pace so there's a little bit of pressure to get a win this weekend.

But it won't be easy against an effective and defensively strong Havant and Waterlooville team, managed by Lee Bradbury.

"It won't be easy," Dartford boss Tony Burman said ahead of the south coast trip. "But we aren't lacking in confidence."

Chippenham Town - still on cloud 9 after beating Bath City 5-2 in their local derby - need a similar show of character at Braintree Town.

"We want to make our home ground a place where teams don't want to visit, like it used to be," claimed Iron manager Bradley Quinton.

Poole Town have had a productive start but so have East Thurrock United, also on 4 points, and they lock horns on Saturday.

Fixtures in full:
Bath City v Chelmsford
Braintree Town v Chippenham
Concord Rangers v Truro City
Gloucester City v Wealdstone
Hampton v Eastbourne Borough
Havant v Dartford
Hungerford v Hemel Hempstead
Poole Town v East Thurrock
St Albans City v Weston
Welling United v Bognor
Whitehawk v Oxford City

Where next?

Aldershot Have Done Their Homework For Guiseley's Visit Early Vanarama National League leaders Aldershot Town are looking for their third win of the new season tomorrow when they host Guiseley at the EBB Stadium.
Warning: Rovers' Andy Cook Is 'In The Best Shape Ever' Micky Mellon believes his striker Andy Cook is in in the best shape he has ever been – and that’s bad news for the other Vanarama National League clubs.

Match centre

Vanarama National League North
Vanarama National League South