AFC Stoneham v Horndean ‘should be one heck of a game’
Horndean bid to end AFC Stoneham’s stunning winning run on Tuesday (7.45pm) in a mouthwatering Wessex League Premier Division clash.
Second-placed Stoneham have stormed into title contention in their first ever top flight season by rattling off nine straight victories.
But Horndean are up to third after four successive wins of their own, and manager Michael Birmingham is expecting a cracking encounter in the second Wessex game to be staged at the new £9m Stoneham Lane complex and the first under lights.
'It should be one heck of a game because they are on fire at the moment,' he remarked.
'I can't remember the last time they lost.
'All we can do is go there as underdogs and have a free hit.
'One thing is certain, though, and that is we intend to take them on.
'They wouldn't expect anything less.
'Both teams like to get the ball down and play and we will give them the respect they deserve.
'Stoneham are a very well organised and well-drilled team with plenty of pace going forward.
'They like to hit Callum Laycock early and have runners off him.
'We will need to nullify their strengths and play to ours.'
Stoneham have conceded just three goals in recording nine straight league wins.
They have triumphed at leaders Alresford, fourth-placed Hamble and sixth-placed AFC Portchester during a run which is the ultimate Purple patch (the team are nicknamed The Purples).
In all, Stoneham have won 11 of their last 12 league games - the other being a 2-2 draw at Hamworthy.
They have not lost in the league since a 3-0 home defeat to AFC Portchester at the end of September.
Tuesday’s game starts a run of six successive home league games, including a visit from table-topping Alresford on February 8.