STUART Fleetwood, the former EFL striker, is the new manager at Swindon Supermarine after Lee Spalding became an early managerial casualty. Alarm bells sounded on the opening day of the season, when the Spitfires were on the receiving end of a 7-2 home humbling from Poole Town, and a run of successive losses saw them anchored to the bottom of the Southern League Premier Division South table.
The Wiltshire club parted company with Spalding on September 2 in the aftermath of their Emirates FA Cup exit to Southern League Division 1 South team, Cribbs, and experienced player Jamie Edge then oversaw team affairs as caretaker-manager until Fleetwood’s appointment on September 21.
Having played 71 times for the club at this level in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, Fleetwood will be familiar with the set up at the Webbswood. In his tenure so far, close losses by the odd goal against Totton and Hungerford indicate that the Marine are not far away from that elusive first win of the campaign.
Although seven points separate the two teams, Tiverton find themselves closer than they would like to be to the relegation places ahead of this game. September has been a struggle for the Yellows, although they will have been boosted by the midweek Bayside Graphics Devon Challenge Cup 4-1 victory at Okehampton, when Louis Morison, Matt Britton, Tom Bath and Jack Rice were all on the scoresheet.
Yellows assistant manager Richard Pears was in charge for the cup win, as he will be against Marine as team manager Martyn Rogers is absent because of a longstanding holiday commitment.
This weekend's match was given extra spice by Monday's draw for next week's third qualifying round of the FA Trophy, which paired Yellows and Marine at Webbswood for a second successive game, for which Richard will again be in sole charge in the dug-out.
Both are crucial games for each club. Who will lay down a marker for next week’s FA Trophy tie?
Three points will be like discovering gold for both sides, so let’s get behind the lads to help them achieve this.