City travel to Hampshire on Wednesday evening to take on Havant & Waterlooville, hoping to continue their pleasing away form which has seen five points gained from the last three matches. Only Wednesday’s opponents have scored more than City’s thirteen goals on their travels this season.
The Hawks have made an impressive start to the season, currently sitting in second position with 29 points, three less than leaders Ebbsfleet who they welcome to Westleigh Park seven days after our visit.
Before Saturday’s fixtures, they boasted a 100% home record in the League but this was ended by Oxford City who came away from Westleigh Park with a 1-0 victory. And despite dispatching Totton and Carshalton in the FA Cup, Paul Doswell’s team were shocked in the last qualifying round when bottom of the table Weymouth returned to Dorset with a 2-1 win.
City and Havant have been regular opponents this century and in fifteen league visits there have been four City wins, the most recent coming just three weeks before last Christmas when goals by Jack Batten, Cody Cooke and Alex Fletcher secured a fine 3-1 victory. The return match at Twerton was played on Easter Monday when a late penalty conceded by Dan Ball saw Manny Duku strike the bar and enable City to come away with a valuable 0-0 draw in their relegation struggle.
Those points dropped to City over the two matches proved crucial as the Hampshire club finished in eighth position, overtaken by Chippenham with their dramatic win at Westleigh Park on the season’s final day to earn a place in the play-offs.
Over the summer, Paul Doswell made several signings including the return of Jason Prior, who scored the championship winning goal in his previous spell with the Hawks. Of course it was Prior’s goals which helped Dorking win promotion last season and his present total stands at five.
The Westleigh Park ground has seen many improvements in recent years and is covered on all four sides. The best view of the 3G surface is probably from behind the goals as the touchlines are flanked by floodlight pylons.
Tickets can be bought in advance from the Havant website (but paying at the turnstile is the same price).
It would be fair to say that Havant as a town is not on many tourists’ itinerary but any supporters wishing to make a long day or two out of our visit should note that historic Portsmouth is close by.
The 90 mile road trip from Bath will take around two hours and that is the only option as there are no trains returning to Bath that late in the day. So this may well be another away match where many fans will tune in to the commentary provided by Bath City Radio to hear if City can go where Weymouth and Oxford dared!