Matchday number nine in the league is almost upon the Fleet and it’s another trip out West for the loyal following – but if it’s anything like last season’s corresponding fixture, then the trip should be more than memorable!
Fleet led 4-1 at Bulpit Lane last November before Hungerford almost mounted a superb comeback, in the end being edged out 4-3. But the Crusaders gained revenge at the Kuflink Stadium in the return last April in another eventful tussle, winning 2-1. Indeed that win was the last time anybody earned three league points against the Fleet, who extended the winning run to nine games last Saturday courtesy of progress in the Emirates FA Cup.
Hungerford may not have hit the same heights as the past two seasons quite yet during this campaign, but this will prove another challenging trip for the Fleet who have enjoyed home advantage of late and haven’t travelled since the game at Concord a month ago.
The switch from league to cup action last weekend proved no bother to manager of the month Dennis Kutrieb’s side and now the focus is back on the league for one more weekend as the Fleet look to keep their run going and, as a potential bonus, possibly extend any gap over the teams beneath them. Kieran Monlouis was a casualty of that cup game, limping off in the first-half against Dover, but Kutrieb has a fully rested Christian N’Guessan and Greg Cundle amongst others to potentially recall.
Another goal for Dominic Poleon took him into double figures for the season and his goals total for the club reached 29, just one behind striker partner Rakish Bingham as the reds continued to rattle in the goals last Saturday.
Speaking of goals, for our hosts this Saturday, they will face the Fleet without scorer extraordinaire of the past two seasons Ryan Seager who moved to Dorking Wanderers in the summer. With him went Sol Wanjau-Smith who was impressive in both games against us last season. Those two departures have been key but the Crusaders had a busy summer in personnel changes.
Midfielder Joel Rollinson came in from Eastbourne and former Hartlepool, Hampton and Billericay striker Niko Muir was another of the new recruits but goals have been hard to come by, with Hungerford having scored just four in the league this season and one more in their FA Cup defeat at home to Gloucester last Saturday. They’ve registered only one win so far, but it was a creditable 2-0 over Eastbourne at Bulpit Lane and at home, Hungerford are still a tough proposition with only small-margin 1-0 defeats on their own patch.
Striker Conor Lynch, a former Crusaders academy player, has returned to the club this month from Bracknell Town in the quest for goals, having scored 27 times for Basingstoke Town in recent times, while goalkeeper Jed Ward has extended his loan spell from Bristol Rovers until the end of the season. Both are in line for a start against the Fleet tomorrow.
For all the changes, Hungerford have several faces who have played against the Fleet before, including defenders Curtis Angell, Matt Berry-Hargreaves and James Rusby – who was sent off at the last meeting – plus midfielder Callum Willmoth, while boss Danny Robinson remains at the helm.
Hungerford are once again offering their 4 For A Score deal (entry, programme, meal deal, drink) amongst other admission options online. An advance ticket is cheaper than paying on the gate – click here to get your ticket now.