By Connor Steel
LOCAL football clubs have been ramping up their preparations for the new 2022-23 season as they finalised their long awaited pre-season schedules; with Gosport Borough, AFC Portchester and Fareham Town all offering intriguing derbies for their supporters throughout July as players join management teams / coaches in warming up for the start of their respective leagues in early August.
Pre-season fixtures were confirmed over the weekend following the announcement of certain games over recent weeks; including Gosport Borough’s home match versus Portsmouth FC at Privett Park on July 3 (Sunday) and AFC Portchester’s away trip to Southern League Premier outfit Dorchester on the evening of July 5 (Tuesday) along the coast with a 7:45pm kick-off time in Dorset.
But it has now been announced that AFC Portchester and Gosport Borough will play twice this July as part of the Steve Woods / Ray Stainton Memorial Cup, a two-legged affair that began last summer and was won by Shaun Gale’s men on penalties. The two will clash at Privett Park on July 20 (Wednesday) and July 26 (Tuesday) at the On-Site Group Stadium in the pre-season competition.
Alongside this Borough will travel to rivals Fareham Town for their final pre-season encounter, which will take place on July 30 (Saturday) with a 3pm kick off at Cams Alders. The two sides last met in August 2020 in a pre-season game won by the visitors at Cams, but no fans were allowed to watch due to a range of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions preventing their access into the closed stadium.
Shaun Gale’s men will open their pre-season campaign on July 1 away at Petersfield Town before hosting Portsmouth two days later at Privett Park. Further home games versus National League side Eastleigh (July 9) and Lymington Town (July 13) will then be played, whilst a visit from Bognor Regis will be held on July 15 at home for a rare piece of Friday night action. The above games versus AFC Portchester and Fareham Town will round off their preparations for the new Southern League campaign.
An in-house game at Westleigh Park (Havant & Waterlooville) between the first team and Under-23 teams will start the Royals’ pre-season on June 28, before Dave Carter’s side will visit Lymington Town four days later on July 2. After the Dorchester game Portchester are scheduled to travel for a clash versus Folland Sports on July 8, with a home clash with Havant & Waterlooville on July 23 sandwiched by the two above Gosport games. The club are also looking for an away game for July 16 and more up-to-date information will be released in due course via their media channels (website / socials).
The Creeksiders will open their pre-season matches with a trip to Royal Navy on July 5, a game that will kick off at HMS Temeraire 3G in Portsmouth at 7pm. Away trips to Broadbridge Heath (July 9) and Petersfield Town will then follow for Pete Stiles’ team, before they host Basingstoke Town on July 23 at Cams Alders. Another home game against Littlehampton Town will be played on July 26 (Tuesday) before the match versus Gosport four days later. They may arrange more if needed over the coming weeks.
All fixtures are subject to change at short notice and ticket prices will be charged on a match by match basis. Fans should visit their club’s website or social media platforms for updates; with league games in the Wessex League expected to begin on the week of August 1. The FA Cup is then due to begin with the Extra Preliminary Round on August 6, with the draws to come in mid-July.
PICTURED BY SHUTTERSTOCK: Pre-season will begin in the coming weeks before games start in July.