Date: Thu 03 Jan 2019

By David Simpson

#SFL Match Preview

Bedworth Utd v Stourbridge

Our last visit to Bedworth was in April 2013 and on that occasion the in-form Glassboys ran out 3 – 0 winners thanks to a Ben Mackey brace and a goal for Luke Benbow. Since then the Greenbacks have installed a 3G pitch at the Oval so hopefully, there will be no weather-related issues.

The Greenbacks returned to step 3 of the non-league pyramid for this campaign following two seasons at the lower level by finishing 4th in the Evo-Stik League NPL Division 1 South last season before securing promotion via the playoffs. They defeated Chasetown 2 - 1 in the semi-final at The Oval and then overcame Stamford AFC at home in the Final, winning 2 - 1 after extra-time.

The Warwickshire outfit, without the resources available to some clubs at this level, have found life tough so far this season, including suffering an early exit from the FA Cup at the hands of step 6 side Atherstone Town and lie bottom of the table. However, there have been recent signs that they are now finding their feet at this level and are proving to be much stronger opposition.

On Boxing Day the Greenbacks were dogged opponents at home to Kettering Town and pushed them all the way before falling to a 2 - 1 defeat. Last Saturday Bedworth was able to celebrate their first league win of the season at the 23rd attempt as they overcame fellow strugglers St Neots Town 1 - 0 at the Oval with Iyseden Christie netting a last-gasp winner to the delight and relief of the home faithful. New Year's Day saw Bedworth head to Coalville Town and they almost came away with a point but conceded a stoppage-time goal from Luke Shaw to lose 1 - 0.

Bedworth's league record reads played 24, won 1, drew 6 and lost 17 with 9 points to their name.

Goalscoring has been a concern with only 20 league goals from their 24 Premier Division Central games. Veteran striker Iyseden Christie may now be in his 40's but he still provides a strong presence up-front and can make life hard for defenders. The Greenbacks have drafted in 21-year old former Notts County forward Montel Gibson from Redditch United to bolster their attacking options, while experienced wide midfielder Owen Story is a recent arrival from Barwell.

At the heart of the defence for Bedworth is central defender Mark Albrighton. The 42-year old has vast League and Conference experience having played for the likes of Telford United, Doncaster Rovers, Boston United, Cambridge United, Stevenage Borough and Kidderminster Harriers during a long playing career.

Stourbridge ran out with a 4 - 1 victory over Bedworth at the War Memorial Athletic Ground in mid-October. The Greenbacks had a couple of early opportunities to score, but once the Glassboys settled, Gary Hackett's men ran out convincing winners in the end. Greg Mills converted a penalty after 36 minutes and Chekaine Steele added a second on 56 minutes. Mills netted a second spot-kick after 71 minutes and Steele headed home a fourth for his second goal of the evening in the 89th minute before Christie grabbed a consolation goal for Bedworth in stoppage time with a close-range header.

Stourbridge FC