Fareham boss Stiles hoping home advantage can help claim FA Vase ‘kudos’

Pete Stiles is hoping Fareham Town's hunger can help them see off Roman Glass St George in their FA Vase first round tie at Cams Alders (3pm).

Thursday, 29th October 2020, 12:23 pm
Josh Benfield could be back in the Fareham squad for this weekend's FA Vase tie with Bristolians Roman Glass St George. Picture: Vernon Nash

The Reds have not played for ten days after their Wessex Premier games against Lymington Town and Fleet Town were called off.

Lymington cried off after their manager tested positive for Covid-19 and a couple of players also showed symptoms.

The midweek home game against Fleet fell victim to the weather and a waterlogged Cams Alders pitch.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Stiles admits the club will be doing everything they can to ensure the Vase tie goes ahead.

'If the game can't be played then the chances are it could be switched to their place later in the week,' he said.

'We don't want to go up there and play them on their 3G pitch.

'The evidence suggests this will be another tight game.

'Though we haven't played for a little while, we have trained a couple of times.

'I am hoping that my players will be eager to get back out there and will be chomping at the bit

'We don't want another sloppy performance like the one we put in against Badshot Lea.'

Fareham only scraped through their last tie against Badshot on penalties despite their visitors going down to 10 men in the opening 20 minutes.

Fareham's spot-kick practice paid off as they cruised through 3-0 in the shoot-out against the Surrey side.

Stiles has insisted on repeating the preparation.

'We have practiced penalties again just in case,' he said.

'You have to go into the Vase games prepared because it can go down to sudden death.'

The home side are boosted by the news that Jack Breed and Josh Benfield could return.

Breed has twice had to self-isolate after being involved with the Gibraltar under 23 squad, while Benfield has been injured.

The return of both players could have an important bearing.

'Josh is always good to get us a goal and Jack is a versatile player who gives us more options,' said Stiles.

Bristol-based RGSG are currently 10th in the Toolstation Western Premier League, winning six games - including their last two - and losing five.

'We have to make the most of home advantage,' said Stiles.

'Having a good run in the Vase can bring a lot of kudos.

'It also provides something different and a chance to play against new teams.

'If we are to progress then we will need to be far more ruthless than in the last round.

'We know our opponents are quick up top so we will have to be on our game.'

Ben Bament will provide the main danger to Fareham.

He took his seasonal tally to eight in nine starts with two goals in RGSG’ last game, a 3-1 victory against Buckland on October 17.

Last season Bament, playing for Paulton Rovers, was the top scorer in Division 1 South of the Southern League.

The year before that, 2018/19, he won the Western League Premier golden boot, firing 28 goals in 33 league games for Bitton. In all competitions, he struck 39 times in 44 outings.

The furthest Fareham have ever progressed in the Vase is the third round.