It’s a borough bonanza for the Fleet this week as we move from Eastbourne Borough to Farnborough, the newly promoted Hampshire visitors making their first visit for almost eight years.
It’s a surprising gap of time for an opponent who has been a regular in the fixture calendar for the Fleet since the Nineties in the Southern and Ryman Leagues, then the Conference for a couple of seasons and finally the Conference South, culminating in 2011’s promotion final.
After two hugely climactic victories on the road for the Fleet, supporters might just settle for something slightly more uneventful at the Kuflink Stadium – but the desire for three points to continue the excellent start Dennis Kutrieb’s men have enjoyed will be no less fierce.
There will be obvious omissions to the home lineup with Chris Haigh’s injury confirmed as a broken ankle and Elliott Romain’s departure to Eastbourne Borough on a 28-day loan. Joe Martin sat out the Eastbourne game in midweek with a head injury while Alex Finney played a quarter of an hour before he was withdrawn at Priory Lane.
Which all goes to show how quickly squads can be transformed from fully fit groups to ones with several absentees over the space of a match or two. Christian N’Guessan’s two yellow cards at Eastbourne will also see Fleet another man down when that suspension kicks in next week.
And that’s why Dennis Kutrieb will be glad of the options in his squad and in hindsight the changes he made in midweek allowing some of his main men to return against Farnborough this Saturday.
“There was a little bit of fatigue [after Weymouth] and for me it was still a little bit like pre-season because we started late. But you can see how they are fit, we played with 10 men and we get the winner. They are already in a good state [of fitness]. We made seven changes, it was not as fluid as normal but I expected that and our bench, I would bet there’s no better bench in the league than we had and we needed it. But you have to give credit to Eastbourne, it’s not always about us, it was always a tough place to come.
“Now on to Farnborough, they have so many good and experienced players so it’s not a young side which got promoted. So we need to be careful and on top of them otherwise we will have a bad Saturday.”
Among Farnborough’s experienced players is one the Fleet know only too well, with Sam Deering having inspired Spencer Day’s side to promotion in the final last season in much the way he did here at Stonebridge Road back in 2017. Now in possession of the captain’s armband on regular occasions, at 31 Deering clearly still has plenty to offer at this level.
Boro’s other experienced heads include former Maidstone and Dover defender Kevin Lokko who played with Toby Edser at Aldershot last season. Player-coach Ricky Holmes had a long Football League career with the likes of Portsmouth, Northampton Town and Charlton – and as a youngster, his goal knocked the Fleet out of the FA Cup at Chelmsford back in 2006.
In midfield is Kenny Davis who helped lead Sutton to promotion to the EFL and he also played against the Fleet for Braintree Town in their Conference Premier days. Goalkeeper Jack Turner has been a regular at his level with the likes of Staines Town and Slough Town while new signing Freddie Grant has also starred for the likes of Slough, Oxford City and Wealdstone.
There are also plenty of new faces at Farnborough, with manager Day having cherry-picked the best of his promotion rivals from last season! Omar Rowe and Jordan Norville-Williams come in from Hayes & Yeading having played in the promotion final against Boro last season, while Tony Lee scored 36 goals for Poole Town in 2021/22 and Liam Ferdinand managed 25 for Met Police. He is joined by his former Police teammate, defender Ollie Robinson. There is also some excitement around Hisham Kasimu who managed 30 goals for AFC Totton.
That’s a lot of firepower in the Farnborough side, and although the step up a level doesn’t easily translate into so many goals, it’s clear there’s a hunger and conviction amongst the visiting forwards.
Farnborough earned their first three points against fellow Southern League promotion winners Taunton Town in midweek, Taunton having beaten them to the title by six points last season. That will have done the visitors no harm in terms of confidence heading into this win after an opening-day defeat at Hemel followed by a draw against Dulwich.
This will be the 21st meeting between the clubs with Fleet on a run of five wins and having won nine of the last 11 – but home fans will need little reminding of the 3-0 win Farnborough chalked up in our promotion season of 2010/11 when Preston Edwards earned his record fastest time for a goalkeeper’s sending-off!
MATCHDAY SMALL PRINT ——–>
Our online ticketing sales platform at fleetlive.club has tickets available until 12.00pm on matchday. We would advise pre-purchase for both your and our convenience in gaining admission to the ground.
On-the-day ticket sales are available from the windows by main reception, accepting card and cash payments. Turnstiles open at 1pm but they will only accept online tickets (printed out or on your device) and tickets bought at the windows on matchday. There is a dedicated gate for season-ticket holders but they may also use their cards through other turnstile gates.
MAIN STAND BAR
There is no segregation for this game – so all supporters are welcome in our Main Stand Bar and Social Club bar. To access the Main Stand bar, enter through the turnstiles and walk the length of the gangway in the Main Stand to the door at the Swanscombe (uncovered) End. There is signage pointing you in the direction. Dennis Kutrieb does a pre-match teamsheet run-through and he and other players attend the bar post-match as well for the man of the match presentation.
Please also support our post-match live music set after the game… all supporters are welcome to join us after the final whistle for this free live entertainment.
Check out our food stalls (to the left of the main turnstiles entrance, there is our Würtsel Haus German sausage experience and straight ahead as you enter the ground is the Manhattan Grill for all your burger, hot dog and more needs!). Pop-up bars are also situated near to the turnstiles and by ‘Geeks Corner’ between the Plough End and old stand. Our new Hofmeister popup can be found in the marquee between the main turnstiles entrance and the Main Stand.
Car-parking as per usual on matchdays is available at Ebbsfleet International Car Park C for £3. Please have the correct change if possible to aid our parking staff and again, we would recommend an early arrival. Please note that the areas near to Northfleet Station, namely Railway Street and Hamerton Road, are resident/permit-only parking and non-valid vehicles will be ticketed. The area on Thamesway before the roundabout as you approach the Kuflink Stadium is a designated clearway – though that is not particularly apparent as you approach – so you are advised not to park here because of the risk of being ticketed.
If you wish to purchase your programme in advance for collection from our club shop before you enter the ground, you can do so either via our online shop or when booking your matchday tickets online.
Programmes are also on sale at the ground from the club shop, the popup bar as you enter the turnstiles, the Main Stand tea kiosk or in the Social Club behind the Plough End, costing £3. Advance-order programmes will be available to pick up from the club shop before the game and before you enter the turnstiles.