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SSMFL: Newsletter No. 17

SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS FOOTBALL LEAGUE NEWSLETTER NO 17

SAT 9th DECEMBER
The first really really really freezing conditions of the season with only 14 SSMFL fixtures, along with a couple of County Cups, completed. Well done to all those who did manage to get their game on – almost certainly it’s the groundsmen who deserve all the plaudits.

PREMIER DIVISION
Only three Premier Division matches managed to beat the freezing conditions but there was still plenty of action and talking points. Our mad Scot Bill Hamilton witnessed a good old fashioned end-to-end tussle. Hadley and Biggleswade United shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw, with the highlights caught on three separate video cameras at the highly impressive Hadley Sports Ground in Arkley. United now have a substantial following on Facebook and Twitter and followers from all over the country can even watch live streaming of their home games while the coaching staff and players are often to be seen being interviewed at the end of away fixtures like this one. It all happens because the club has given opportunities to students from UCFB Wembley, the only university in the world offering degrees in the football industry. They’ve provided the club with young talent keen to make a name for themselves by maintaining the club’s social media channels on match days and putting together financial projections for the tightly-run budget. Highly innovative and most impressive. Kerkstun Macpherson shot Hadley ahead after 18 minutes and for a long spell the home side looked to be taking control of the match before they were hit by two goals in the space of three minutes by the visitors, the first from Abraham Eze followed by a fine solo effort from Nick Elliot. The second half was a tightly fought affair. Hadley drew level when goalkeeper Rees Voller was sent off for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity. Dan Boughton took over in goal but was unable to save the resultant penalty by Zane Gangadeen. A game to warm the cockles of the spectators’ hearts on a bitterly cold afternoon. Not that Biggleswade United are the only innovators. At Hadley, they’ve come up with a great idea to make a few bob at half time. Forget scratch cards or raffle tickets. Instead we have the throw the tennis ball competition in which spectators pay £1 a time to hurl a ball on to the pitch from the terraces. The one that lands nearest the centre spot walks off with half the takings. In this case, a young man with a particularly powerful arm, Steve Wheldon, was only 4 centimetres off the spot. Maybe, they should book him on the first plane to Australia! The idea came from a trip two Hadley fans, Tom and Chris, made to the Faroe Islands. Attending a top league tame there, they were treated to this exciting half time enterprise whilst sucking their Jaffas. So if you’re looking for a rather different type of challenge, maybe a trip to Hadley is on the cards! Hoddesdon Town missed out on the chance to move within a point of third place after they lost 1-0 at Edgware Town. Tommy Walsh scored the only goal of the game, converting from a 15th minute free kick. In the days other game, Holmer Green left it late before securing a 1-1 draw at Colney Heath. Spencer Clarke-Mardell reacted quickest from a 52nd minute corner to put the hosts ahead but with just two minutes to play, James Britnell headed home a Gary Lines corner to earn Green a point.

DIVISION ONE
In a mid table fixture that beat the weather, Bedford entertained Baldock Town at McMullen Park and in a close game Town just edged out Bedford by 2-1. Baldock dominated the first half but poor finishing meant that Bedford were very much in the game, although they rarely troubled Jack Farmer in the Baldock goal. But the wayward finishing of Baldock had to end and it did on 32 minutes when Dean Gilbert scored following a corner kick. Just before half time, Bedford defender Benat Pena needlessly fouled Harrison Holland for a penalty. Holland picked himself up to put away the penalty past keeper Jack Mudge on 43 minutes. Half time came with Bedford relieved that they were only two goals down. The second half was a different affair as Bedford stormed back and scored in the first minute of the half catching Baldock cold when Cameron Hyde chipped the ball over Farmer and into the net on 46 minutes. Bedford could and perhaps should have equalised when substitute Tyrone Kelly shot against Farmers legs when he had the whole goal to aim at. It was now end to end stuff and home keeper Mudge did well to save from Callum Donnelly. Bedford had another great chance on 75 minutes but Farmer saved from Jack Downes. Baldock continued to press the home goal but also continued their poor finishing thus keeping Bedford in the game until the final whistle. Just two more chances, one at either end, before the close. Firstly Mason Smith shot narrowly wide for Bedford and in the dying minutes Mudge produced a great save to deny Holland. It was a good game to watch, the second half in particular, which warmed the hearts of the watching crowd on a bitterly cold day. Bedford were disappointed not to have drawn the match and in the end, Baldock were relieved that they held on and escaped with the three points. Mike Taylor was back at the Boro’ to enjoy a really chilly afternoon at Enfield Borough, who awaited the visitors from St Neots. The pitch was in fine condition and very well looked after by the dedicated ground staff. Perhaps inspiration for the visitors, who’s play and endeavour in the first half matched that of the home club, it certainly made St Neots lowly position seem misplaced. Honours even at half time, but it would seem that the half time tea had greater effect on the Boro’ than their opponents. Two crosses into the visitors 6-yard box and St Neots found themselves to goals down early in the second half. Try as they may, St Neots failed to make inroads, as the Enfield Borough defenders remained resolute. Enfield did manage a third goal late on, which arguably was a little bit tough on the visitors. The game well controlled by the referee, who only had to issue one caution and that was late on (but quite justified). Pleasing to report that not one audible expletive from either club….well done. Elsewhere, Brimsdown beat Harefield 3 2…. Hatfield had a close win 3 2 over bottom side Hillingdon Borough,,….and London Lions beat struggling / inconsistent Rayners Lane 3 nil…

BEDS SENIOR TROPHY – QUARTER FINAL
The only side to beat the wintry conditions in this competition was Langford who beat Caldecote 6 1, so hopefully that result will do their confidence some good. Referee Chris Turner writes – Another week and another fine example of great sportsmanship, this time in particular by Langford who continued playing in such a sporting manner respecting their opponents and the match officials throughout the 90 minutes despite the score line, and I cannot commend them highly enough. My two colleagues should also both be commended for a magnificent example of assistant refereeing which greatly contributed to the respect shown by both clubs enabling me to fully enjoy this match confident in the knowledge that both clubs and officials were here to play positive skilful football in a sporting spirit. Please would you be kind enough to communicate to all the clubs, that I look forward to each match this season in the hope that All of the clubs in the league at which I referee reflect the improvement that I have seen over the past two seasons on the league as it can only encourage more referees to join the league and more importantly with the skill, sportsmanship and less foul language now clearly on display , will hopefully increase spectator attendance and funds for the clubs.

DIVISION TWO CUP – 2nd ROUND
In front of 15 frozen spectators, Aston Clinton moved into the next Round with a 2-0 home win over The 61 FC. Goalscorers for the home side were Alex Little and Harry Brown

SUBSTITUTE BOARDS
A reminder to all clubs, particularly those in Division Two , that the use of Substitute Boards in a match is a League requirement. The home side are responsible for providing the Boards, and they are normally placed on the half way line, so that they can be used by both sides as required.

DIVISION TWO

Before their game with Pitstone & Ivinghoe, Park View were presented with the APBS sponsored Team of the Month by Board member Norman Ingram. On a less than welcoming day, when only idiots go out in the cold to watch a game, played safe, and went to a 3g ( or 4 g ) pitch to watch a game between Park View against Pitstone & Ivinghoe. I don’t normally like pitches with a running track circling the pitch but had a very good view from the impressive main stand, and the view from the elevated opposite side wasn’t bad either. As there were nine goals in the game I don’t intend to itemise them all, but would make a special mention to FRANCIS WILLIAMS who notched 4 of his team’s 6 goals, plus Pitstone’s number 8 – sorry never got the line-ups, and nothing on full time at the time of composing this report – but he gave a masterful performance in midfield, as well as scoring the best goal of the game – a dipping 35 yarder. This was a game that graced Division Two ( and probably higher ) as both sides were intent on attacking, and no blame should be levied against either defence. Some of the goals would’ve been drooled over by the Match of the Day pundits, such was the quality of the goals. The scoring went as follows….Francis Williams, but wearing number 5 scored after 6 and 9 minutes, and initial thoughts were game over. However Pitstone had other ideas, and No 8 volleyed home after 10 minutes to reduce the deficit, and it was all square when No 7 shot home after 19 minutes from a cut back. In the 45 minute Williams put his side back in front. Back came Pitstone with a well worked goal to equalize after 61 minutes when the 9 slotted home. However 2 minutes later Williams notched his fourth of the game. In the closing stages KOFI APPIAH netted with fine strikes after 77 and 85 minutes. In short you can understand why Park View are top as they are so potent up front, but Pitstone certainly gave them a good game, and its hard to believe why they are so low in the table. Both teams played the game in a very sporting manner.
There was another idiot out and about in the Berkhamsted area where the Editor watched Berkhamsted Raiders claim their 4th victory of the season as they beat visiting Mursley Utd 3-1. This was another very watchable and enjoyable game, despite the brass monkeys weather, with end to end football to keep the large band of groundhoppers happy. Both sides had numerous chances to score – no exaggeration to say that it could easily have been 12-11 at the end!. Berko took the lead midway through the first half after Joel Danso converted a penalty but Adam Bone showed good strength to hold off a defender and slot home to bring the scores level in the 39th minute. The best strike of the day came in the second half, unfortunately it was from the boot of a Mursley man past his own keeper to put the home side back in front. Mursley’s hopes of a comeback were dealt a body blow when Ellis Spence received a red card for verbals towards the referee. Mursley continued to throw men forward as they pressed for the equaliser, and Drew McFarland took advantage of one such gap to burst through the middle to put the match beyond the visitors. Apart from the red card incident , the match was played in a good spirit by both sides, and well refereed by Newton Gordon. The only other match to beat the weather in this Division saw Loughton Manor return from Tring Town with a 4-1 victory, thanks to two goals from George Sofroni and one apiece from Jamie Palmer and James Davey.

LATEST TRANSFERS
Original Club        New Club
Dean Roper- Berkhamsted Raiders- Amersham
David Etheridge- Colney Heath- Codicote
Rowan Bullivant- Winslow- Buckingham Athletic
Stephen O’Hara- London Colney- Hadley
Jack Blair- Harpenden- Berkhamsted
Sami Mahrouche- WGC- Hatfield
Sean Fryer- Colney Heath- Hadley
Brandon Carney- WGC- AFC Dunstable
Chris Blunden- Berkhamsted- Oxhey Jets
Jordan Goode-Keeley- Harefield- Broadfields
Laurence Rispoli- AFC Southgate- Cockfosters
Nathaniel Higgins- Tring Corinthians- Leighton Town
Bradley Kirkwood- Leighton Town- Winslow United
Simon Dent- Hertford Town- Wodson Park

NOVEMBER APBS TEAM OF THE MONTH
Premier Division: Harpenden Town
Division One: Broadfields Utd
DivisionTwo: Amersham Town

Congratulations to all 3 winners.

MIND YOUR LANGUAGE
A reminder to all clubs that it is a League Directive that the laminated A3 MYL posters must be displayed in all 3 changing rooms and in the clubhouse or refreshment area. Non compliance with this Directive may well result in a charge being levied against your club.
Grateful thanks to Chris Mitchell, Bob Flight, Dave Henman ,Mike Taylor, Wild Bill Hamilton & Chris Turner for their reports. It’s very good to see some of our match officials putting pen to paper and submitting reports, particularly when it’s clear they are reporting on an enjoyable game.

All news, views items of interest, tittle tattle etc are welcome, particularly from our refereeing fraternity.
Enjoy your football and remember MIND YOUR LANGUAGE
BillScholes-bill@spartansouthmids.co.uk

SSMFL,D2 Cup, 2R: Aston Clinton into the quarter-finals of Division 2 Cup

Aston Clinton are into the quarter-finals of Spartan South Midlands League, Division 2 Cup.

Aston should of took the lead early in the first but Vinny Greco penalty was saved by the 61 keeper.

Aston Clinton

Aston left it late but go into the Division 2 Cup quarter finals thanks to a Alex Little header from a corner on the 83rd minute.

Young Harry Brown then finished the game off with a superb lob from just outside the 18 yard box following good pass from Dylan Walker.

B&B Intermediate Cup, 4R: Wiltshire buoyant as Winslow Development reach county quarter-finals

Winslow United Development are into the quarter-finals of the Berks & Bucks Intermediate Cup.

Mark Wiltshire

Mark Wiltshire, joint player/manager of the Elmfields gate-based club, spoke to Sports Shots straight after the victory.

We started the game really well today, we created four clear chances that we could not convert. Charlie Wright hit the bar also, then Olney hit the bar themselves in the first half and could well of taken the lead.

The conditions worsened after the break and pitch started to freeze over.

We let a goal in around ten minutes into the second half then 25 minutes before the end we moved my joint manager Faz (Nick Farrow) up to left wing and he had an instant impact. First setting up the equaliser then he went on to score again with fantastic work from Ethan Whitmore and Dale Butler, who was outstanding second half. Harry Dalton finishing twice for us.

Harry Dalton

We then had a man sent off, which was a very strange decision, but this made us stronger and we went on to score again through Dale (Butler).

It was a great result and we are really, really pleased. Both myself and Faz (Nick Farrow) wanted to go into the Christmas break still in this cup competition, which we have achieved.

Also thanks to Sports Shots for all the coverage, it means a lot.

SSMFL: Results from Saturday 9th December 2017 + tables

Picture by Dale James

Saturday 9th December
PREMIER DIVISION
P-P Cockfosters v Leverstock Green
1-1 Colney Heath v Holmer Green
P-P Crawley Green v Leighton Town
1-0 Edgware Town v Hoddesdon Town
2-2 Hadley v Biggleswade United
P-P Harpenden Town v London Tigers
London Colney v Berkhamsted NO RESULT TEXT RECEIVED
P-P Oxhey Jets v Welwyn Garden City
P-P Stotfold v St Margaretsbury

DIVISION ONE
1-2 Bedford v Baldock Town
3-2 Brimsdown v Harefield United
P-P Buckingham Athletic v Broadfields United
3-0 Enfield Borough v St Neots Town Reserves
3-2 Hatfield Town v Hillingdon Borough
3-0 London Lions v Rayners Lane
P-P Risborough Rangers v Codicote
P-P Winslow United v FC Broxbourne Borough
P-P Wodson Park v Southall

BEDS SENIOR TROPHY Quarter Finals
P-P Cranfield United v Ampthill Town
6-1 Langford v Caldecote
P-P Totternhoe v Shefford Town & Campton

DIVISION TWO CUP Second Round
2-0 Aston Clinton v The 61FC (Luton)

DIVISION TWO
3-1 Berkhamsted Raiders v Mursley United
P-P Grendon Rangers v Clean Slate
6-3 Park View v Pitstone & Ivinghoe
P-P Tring Corinthians v AFC Southgate
1-4 Tring Town AFC v Loughton Manor
P-P Unite MK FC v Old Bradwell United

U25 DEVELOPMENT DIVISION
P-P Ampthill Town Development v Risborough Rangers Development
2-1 Berkhamsted Development v Colney Heath Development
P-P Biggleswade United Development v Hertford Town Development
0-4 Hillingdon Borough Development v AFC Dunstable Development
P-P Hoddesdon Town Development v Harpenden Town Development
P-P Holmer Green Development v Buckingham Athletic Development
P-P Leighton Town Development v Cockfosters Development

BERKS & BUCKS INTERMEDIATE CUP Fourth Round
1-3 Olney Town Reserves v Winslow United Development

HERTS INTERMEDIATE CUP Second Round
P-P Stevenage Borough Community v St Margaretsbury Development
Welwyn Garden City Development v Hampstead Heath Lions NO RESULT TEXT RECEIVED

SSMFL,D1: Return of the King! – Winslow Utd’s Aaron King interview ahead of FC Broxbourne Borough visit

Winslow United welcome FC Broxbourne Borough to The Gate Saturday in their first home league game since a 5-1 win over Hatfield Town on Saturday 4th November.

Although Boro have struggled away from home which has seen them pick up only 1 point from 7 games, Winslow will know they will have a battle on their hands and will have to be at their optimum best if they are to take the vital 3 points from this game.

Winslow go into the game on the back of a very disappointing 3-3 draw with Wodson Park on Tuesday night. A game which saw Winslow in total control at 2-0 up until an off the ball incident which saw Sam Ashmead receive his marching order and Winslow ultimately drop an important 2 points along with it.

An Interview with….

We sat down with Winslow United’s returning Striker Aaron King to talk about his return to the squad since October.

Aaron King – Winslow United

What are your thoughts going into your first game since the 6-0 win over Codicote in October?

Yeah I’m really looking forward to it! I can’t wait to be back involved with the boys and get back winning and scoring goals again!!

How do you feel the team have done since you have been out?

The boys having been doing well to be fair! The games I’ve been to watch they have been playing quality football but not always getting the results, they deserved.

What are your short term aims as you come back into the match day squad?

Just to get some minutes under my belt and gain some fitness then pick up where I left off scoring goals!

You had built a very strong understanding with Peck (Sean Coles), which saw you both score and assist many of each other’s goals, is this something you’re excited about building up again?

Yeah we link up well on the pitch so looking forward to get back playing with Peck! Maybe he can set me up for some goals! Seeing as I’ve assisted most of his!

Last Time Out:

Winslow United drew 3-3 with Wodson Park, Sean Coles followed up his hat-trick against St Neots with another brace to take his tally to an astonishing 28 in 22 games and the other was an OG.

FC Broxbourne Borough defeated Rayners Lane 2-1 the goals came from Christopher Wells and Nathan Wilson.

Current Form:

Winslow United WWLWWX

FC Broxbourne Borough LWWLLW

Top Scorers:

Sean Coles is the top goal scorer for Winslow with 28 goals from 22 games and is also currently the top league goal scorer in the division.

Christopher Wells is the top goal scorer for FC Broxbourne Borough with 13 goals from 21 games.

Squad:

Goalkeeper: Sam Ashmead

Defenders: Ryan Freshwater, Tom Brindley, Jack Bowers, Mitch Collins

Midfielders: Simon King ©, Alex Kedzierski, Grant Karwacinski, Matt Cruse, Sean Coles, Niall Williams

Forwards: Daniel Delderfield, Daniel Parsons, Aaron King

Notable fixtures:

We have picked out the 4 stand out games from this weekend’s set of Division One Fixtures:

Wodson Park V Southall
Enfield Borough V St Neots Town Reserves
Bedford V Baldock Town
London Lions V Rayners Lane

SSMFL,D2: A Little Luke at Unite MK’s goalscoring sensation ahead of Old Bradwell derby

Unite MK’s Luke Little has spoken to Sports Shots as his side prepare to welcome Old Bradwell United in a Spartan South Midlands League, division 2 local derby tomorrow (Saturday).

Luke Little

The Unite MK man has been finding the net with outstanding regularity and currently has a goal-a-game from his 18 appearances.

Little told Sports Shots;

Our season is going well so far, we’ve had a decent couple of cup runs and been unlucky not to progress against teams from one or two divisions above. We are currently sixth, but only seven points behind Totternhoe in 2nd with 3 games in hand, so it will be nice to keep the pressure on and push Park View as much as possible. I’m on 18 goals in 18 games so pretty happy with that ratio.

Little’s scoring feats is down to a combination of contentment and a change in his work life.

There is no particular reason, just got a good bunch of lads around me, really enjoying my football this year and hopefully that’s showing on the pitch. I used to work Saturday mornings, but I’ve recently got a new job that’s Monday to Friday, so I keep saying to the lads now I’ve got extra energy from not grafting away all morning at work before football!

Going forward’s Little explained the mood in the Unite MK camp going into the second half of the season.

The gaffer’s just said he wants us to continue how we are, just keep getting points on the board and pushing towards the right end of the table. We aren’t getting carried away, we just want to keep the pressure on the teams above us and see what happens!

On a personal level I just want to keep scoring goals and helping the team push on, the gaffer has set me a target, in terms of goals, by the end of the season so I’m just plugging away to get close to that.

In closing, Little said.

I just want to add a thank you for asking me to do this, I really enjoy reading through your tweets and it keeps me and the boys updated with everything that’s going on football-wise.

SSMFL: Newsletter No 16 – Saturday 2nd December 2017

SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS FOOTBALL LEAGUE
NEWSLETTER NO 16
SAT 2nd DECEMBER

Many congratulations to our 3 FA Vase winners – Leighton Town, Tring Ath and Biggleswade FC and the best of luck in the next round.

F.A. VASE – THIRD ROUND
Leighton Town made the long journey to Norfolk to take on Gorleston and emerged as 4-2 winners in this 3 round match. Both teams looked eager to attack and the game was certainly being played at a high tempo in the early stages. Town looked the better of the two teams in the first half but despite lots of possesion could not find the final killer ball. They eventually took the lead in the 42nd minute when Tom Silford unleashed a left footed shot that ripped high into the net. Two minutes later Silford laid the ball square to Lewis McBride who drove a low shot into the bottom corner of the net to double Town’s lead. Gorleston made some tactical changes at half time pushing their captain, Ingram into midfield from left back and he was a major influence for the hosts who started the half in determined fashion. In the 59th minute the hosts pulled a goal back when Watts fired the ball in from the left and it carried over Tom Wyant and into the far side of the net, was it a cross or was it a shot ?, the scorer said it was a shot, who can argue !!. Within 4 minutes Gorleston had levelled the tie when Lambert drove a low shot across the goal and into the far corner. Gorleston were now looking the livelier of the two sides and Town needed to up their game again. In the 71st minute they won a corner on the left which went right across the goal before striking a home defender and dropping nicely for Tom Silford who knocked it into the net to restore Town’s lead. After working so hard to get back in the game Gorleston must have been disappointed to find themselves behind again. Both sides continued to attack and in the 81st minute Town created 3 consecutive chances but 2 shots were blocked by defenders before a third was saved by the keeper. In the 84th minute town increased their lead after the home keeper made a good block the ball went out as far as Lewis McBride who superbly curled the ball home from about 25yards to restore Town’s 2 goal advantage. Town introduced 3 subs toward the end of the game but the hosts who had battled throughout were unable to score again and Town progressed through to Round 4. This was an exciting and well contested game which was well refereed and over the 90 minutes Town were good value for their win. The game between Welwyn Garden City vs Biggleswade FC turned into a very long afternoon, what with extra time, and stoppages, but in the end the better side won, but it wasn’t always that way during the game. The hosts were quickest out of the blocks, and the Greens rearguard initially looked rather uncomfortable, with the keeper looking a little hesitant. The first goal arrived after only 9 minutes when a Welwyn attack wasn’t properly cleared, and fell invitingly to the onrushing captain Danny Payne, who from 20 yards out, hit a lovely shot, which entered the net, via a deflection. It was all Welwyn for the first 35 / 40 minutes or so, and if it wasn’t for Daniel Green in goal saving 2 one-on ones it probably would’ve been game over. His initial hesitancy had gone, and in my books he kept his side very much in the game. As the half was nearing completion Alex Marsh shot through a crowd of players – probably with Charlie May unsighted – to claim an unexpected equaliser after 45 plus 5 minutes. If the first half belonged to Welwyn, the second half definitely belonged to Biggleswade, who were camped inside the Citizens half for most of the game. Try as they might to get in front Welwyn’s rearguard held firm, so onto extra time. Biggleswade still held the edge but it wasn’t until the 111th minute that they got the deserved breakthrough. It took a penalty – no arguments from me – for Nathan George to comfortably shoot home. Welwyn pushed for the equaliser whilst Biggleswade were just happy to keep the ball by the opposition corner flag which is so frustrating, but in the modern age, so common to see. So after another 5 minutes of extra extra time it was finally all over. I don’t like to be negative but the experienced referee let too much physical challenges go by in the first half, and one WGC player could’ve / should’ve walked within the first few minutes. Fortunately it all quietened down in the second half, although surprisingly there were more bookings! Finally a more than healthy crowd of 232 watched the game, which as a neutral commented was a very good advert for our league. Tring Athletic’s home 1-0 win against close neighbours and rivals Berkhamsted was an enthralling cup tie at The Grass Roots Stadium. The game attracted an official crowd of 285 who contributed greatly to a compelling derby game with both sets of supporters making plenty of noise to make it a cracking atmosphere. To say the result was a surprise was probably an understatement, with the visitors sitting on top of the table having not lost a league match for 17 games, whilst Tring sat second from bottom. The scene was set with a penalty shoot out from youngsters from Tring Tornadoes. Tring started on the front foot with teenager Max Hercules forcing a great save from Carl Tasker after only 2 minutes following a move instigated by Max and also involving Chris Vardy and Elliott Goward. Encouraged by this early opportunity the crucial breakthrough came just 6 minutes later when Chris Vardy stole in front of the big defenders to head the ball emphatically past keeper Carl Tasker. Further half chances fell to both sides. A super cross field pass from Luke Dunstan, who had another influential game, picked out Elliott Goward who cleverly rounded the defender but could only find the side netting from a tight angle. Former Athletic man Chris Blunden was twice foiled by late interventions from Chris Mason and Sam Joliffe and later fired a shot from some distance way over the bar after a fine piece of play by Berko. The visitors main threat came from set pieces struck by Adam Mead but by and large Tring dealt with this threat well but Jack Hopwood had to punch one effort away and failed to catch another although a foul was given for the latter. Tring were better side during the first half and deservedly went in at the interval with a one goal advantage and very nearly doubled the lead within 22 seconds of the restart when Chris Vardy met Goward’s cross only to see his effort just go agonisingly wide of the far post. As expected it was the visitors who picked up the pace with Josh Chamberlain forcing a fine save from Jack Hopwood (it has to be said his first major one of the game) who then cut out Alex Campana’s follow up cross. Campana then struck a fierce long range shot that flew well wide of the target. There was some apprehension when Adam Mead stepped up to take a free kick given on the edge of our area but Jack Hopwood was equal to the task tipping the well struck set piece over the bar. There was then an unfortunate halt to proceedings when the floodlights failed which delayed the match by about 48 minutes.
Play resumed with the visitors winning three corners on the trot and showing a determination to get back into the tie. They dominated possession but failed to break open the well organised and stubborn Tring defence.. Berko centre back and captain Jon Munday headed over a couple of corners but clear chances were thin on the ground for the visitors and they began to leave gaps at the back as they pushed forward in search of the equaliser. With time almost up the visitors had one last opportunity from a free kick which hit the post and following a melee in the area the ball was smashed over the bar from a promising position. There were calls for a handball and penalty from Berko who claimed that when the ball rebounded off the post it struck Tommy Twelves on the arm. This was later denied (as you would expect!) and the officials obviously agreed with him as they waved away the appeals. Seconds later the final whistle went.

4th ROUND DRAW
Leighton Town v Norwich CBS (Eastern Counties Div One)
Tring Athletic v Hullbridge Sports (Essex Senior)
Thatcham (Hellenic Premier) v Biggleswade FC

PREMIER DIVISION
With Berkhamsted and Welwyn Garden City in FA Vase action, Harpenden Town moved into second spot after they won 2-1 at Oxhey Jets. For Harpenden, it was a 12th win of the season but a defeat that leaves their hosts in the bottom third of the table. At the foot of the table, Crawley Green remain bottom despite drawing 1-1 at Hadley for whom Kerkstun Macpherson was on the scoresheet. Two of the bottom five met as the hosts Holmer Green won for just the 4th time this season as they overcame fellow strugglers St Margaretsbury 4-0 with Leo Blackman scoring twice. One of the division’s form sides, Leverstock Green, made it six straight league wins after their 3-0 home win against Edgware Town with Curtis Donaldson, Jonathon Lacey and Alex McCarthy on the scoresheet. Elsewhere, Hoddesdon Town won 4-2 at Cockfosters with Leigh Rose, Bradley Fraser with a brace and Emmanuel Melford-Rowe scoring the goals and Stotfold move out of the bottom two after winning 2-1 at London Tigers thanks to Dan Harper’s penalty.

DIVISION ONE
Winslow Utd are up into third place after their 8-1 thrashing away at St.Neots Reserves Sean Coles put Winslow in front at St Neots Town reserves with a left-footed effort from 20 yards out following a corner. Matt Cruse then struck twice before Coles made it four with Winslow’s 54th goal of the season, surpassing their totals the previous two campaigns. Two own goals put Winslow six in front before Daniel Delderfield scored goal number seven right on the stroke of half-time. Coles scored his 26th goal of the season as he wrapped up a match hat-trick. In a mid table fixture, Buckingham Athletic entertained Ampthill Town on a damp afternoon at Stratford Fields and the home team ran out winners by 5 – 2. A frequent quote is that football is watched by one man and his dog, however for this game it was four dogs and a small but enthusiastic crowd. All the early pressure came from Athletic and it was no surprise when they scored on just 5 minutes through Ben Acquaye. Ampthill did not trouble Nick Bennion in the home goal until the 19th minute when he saved a shot from Brad Clarke. Two quick goals before half time sealed the game for Athletic as first Chris Stapleton struck home a 25th minute penalty and then he hit his second goal on 33 minutes when his shot hit a post and went in. Ampthill rallied with a couple of corners in quick succession and Bennion had to save at the second attempt from a shot by Sam Holmes. The half ended with Athletic in firm control. Ampthill started the second half better and Bennion made a good early save from Clarke and Athletic had to survive a couple of free kicks. But Ampthill were not to be denied and from another free kick, Jamie Cerminara rose to head the ball past Bennion on 54 minutes. Any thought of an Ampthill revival soon disappeared however when just minutes later Athletic scored their fourth goal on 57 minutes when Jack Menday headed home a corner kick by Ryan Marsden. Athletic went further ahead on 66 minutes when Ryan Kelsey netted from close range and could have scored again but substitute Juyin Oluwayemi missed the goal when it seemed easier to score. This miss proved costly as Ampthill hit their second goal a minute later when Cerminara headed the ball into the home net on 69 minutes. The final minutes of the game saw Ampthill try to reduce the arrears and Bennion had to produce a great save to deny Sam Holmes from scoring. However, Athletic held out for a great win which moves them above Ampthill in the table on goal difference. Our very own Mike Taylor was on the line for the battle of the B’s as Broadfields entertained Brimsdown. A dull dark day, an early kick-off precipitated by floodlight issues at Preston Park, but out came Broadfields guns blazing, visitors Brimsdown were soon pegged back in their own half. That the home club went into an early lead came as no surprise to the few hardy souls that came to watch the game, but they were somewhat bemused when then visitors capitalised on a long pass and swept in the equaliser. Broadfields, with promotion aspirations, were shaken and stirred into some sprightly wing play that ran their opponents ragged, two more goals before the half time tea and the Broadfields were looking home and dry. However Brimsdown are made of stronger stuff, turning the game around and taking over the middle of the park, this time the visitors wingmen getting their own back. Another Brimsdown goal and should end the game with ten men, as one of their player’s decided to use his head in a manner not allowed. Shame really, it wasn’t that kind of game. But Broadfields will have to play a lot better than this if they are to retain their promotion hope. ….Must’ve been a cracker between 2 more mid-table teams who have slipped recently – Buckingham beating Ampthill 5 -3. I’ll see how Ampthill fare on Tuesday, when they take on runaway leaders Southall. If they play to their full potential it should be quite a game…Harefield won 3-1 at FC Broxbourne with their scorers being Leonard Farhall, Paul Underwood and Tom Williams, with Chris Wells responding for the Borough…Rather surprisingly promotion chasers Risborough Rangers came up against a rejuvenated bottom club Hillingdon Borough with 7 new signings and could only drew 2 -2 and so drop to 4th in the table….Rayners Lane drew 1 – 1 with improving Codicote with Sekani McCalmon, and Jacob Cook scoring for their respective sides…The young St Neots team got thrashed 8 – 1 by Winslow on their own patch , a win which lifts Winslow up to 3rd, with games in hand….Now 2nd in the table Wodson Park beat Langford 3 nil with Matthew Ellis, Peter Sawyer and Louis Wylie finding the net. I know its an ongoing gripe of mine but why were only 15 in attendance?..

PABLO ARDILES: Update on Pablo’s appearances in SSMFL football. Pablo made 431 appearances for Hoddesdon Town, 70 appearances for Welwyn Garden City and at least 125 appearances for Wodson Park. Therefore he has racked up over 626 appearances in SSMFL football, and as Colin Sinden has pointed out he will celebrate 25 years of plying his trade in the SSMFL next year. An incredible achievement and much deserving of our congratulations. Rather puts to shame the number of modern players who seem to chop and change their clubs more frequently than their undercrackers!

DIVISION TWO
Park View returned to the top of the table following their 2-1 win away at Old Bradwell. Francis Mathews and Albert Ofori- Mensah were on the scoresheet for the visitors whilst Ross Butler replied for the home side. Apart from getting the 3 points, their return to the summit was helped by Totternhoe’s rather surprising 4-2 defeat away at Pitstone & Ivinghoe .Ryan Mellor hit a hat trick for Pitstone whilst Joe Smith was responsible for both of Totternhoe’s goals Amersham Town made it six wins out of six and moved up to third in the table with a hard earned 1-0 victory over The 61FC ( Luton ). Records show that the last time Amersham won six successive games was in 2002. Their current form reflects great credit on manager Mani Asare who has improved the squad both by good coaching and the recruitment of some promising players. It could all have been very different had The 61FC’s Ryan Smith converted a chance after only twenty seconds but, with the goal at his mercy, he bundled the ball wide. Amersham, however, moved the ball around well and produced several half chances. Germaine Agyemang delayed a shot when well !placed and The 61 keeper, Daniel Gould, was well positioned to field shots from Isaac Asare and Bertie Squires-Adams. On the half hour mark The 61FC worked their way back into the game. Bradley Currington received the ball from the right, dummied his defender but then hacked his shot over the bar. It was a costly miss as nine minutes later Amersham took the lead. After good inter-passing in midfield Agyemang slid the ball into the run of Tom Parry who clipped his shot past the advancing Gould and into the net. As the second half went on, The 61FC started to dominate as Amersham lost their composure and their shape. The home side were indebted to their defence who came to the rescue with some resolute defending as their forwards, so lively in the first half, seemed to decide that tracking back to help out was not in their job description! There was still time, however, for a header from a 61FC forward to graze the bar before the final whistle drew to a good and fairly contested match to a close . Mursley United travelled to MK Gallacticos on Saturday and were defeated 4-3 in a hard-fought game.Manager Anthony Lands introduced new signing John Mulholland and the former Aylesbury Utd and Winslow United player-manager slotted into the middle of the back four. The home side were quickest out of the blocks and scored after ten minutes through Josh Douglas-Smith, although there was a suspicion of offside as the striker ran on to a through ball and slotted past Sam Jay. Mursley looked to take a hold in the game and a terrific strike from Adam Bone crashed back off the bar with the keeper beaten. Gallacticos extended their lead on the half hour as Douglas-Smith had time to control the ball and curl an effort past Jay from eighteen yards. He went on to add his third on the dot of half-time as he got away from the Mursley defence again and calmly slotted home. Lands swapped himself for Lewis Delahaye at half-time and the visitors used their possession better. They scored with just over twenty minutes left as Peter McAnaspie ran onto a through ball and his firmly struck shot beat the home keeper before he could move. They added a second after a sustained bout of pressure as a Bone corner curled under the bar and into the net. The hosts hit back immediately as a flowing move ended with Dahire touching home at the near post. A frantic ten minutes ensued and, in injury time, a long deep cross from Simon Hodges cannoned back off the far post, hit the keeper and lodged in the net. Mursley had one final chance, but Bone’s free kick from twenty five yards flew tantalisingly over the bar. Aston Clinton returned from Loughton Manor with a 3-0 win, thanks to goals by Tom Burton, Vinny Greco and Lewis Workman, but the home side were undoubtedly not helped by the red card received by goal keeper Ricard Radford after just 25 minutes. The referee, Dean Carney, was so impressed with the attitude of Loughton following the sending off that he wrote the following : I have to note the Loughton Captain, Manager and Chairman were all superb to work with and conducted themselves very very well in a tough fixture for them! Having had to dismiss the goalkeeper after 25 minutes for a DOGSO, The captain was superb in controlling his players and having a calm discussion with me regarding the incident – a credit to his team. The Chairman had heard some sour words thrown in my direction(Of which I did not hear), in which he popped his head into the changing room at Half time to apologise on behalf of the club, he also backed my decision – again a credit to the club. The manager was also very calm and composed as he asked at half time for my take on the incident, I explained and he wasn’t convinced, he accepted it gracefully. In what must have been a frustrating afternoon for the team, I fully felt the club were a credit to the league. IF ONLY CARLSBERG MADE CAPTAINS, MANAGERS AND CHAIRMAN!

HERTS CENTENARY TROPHY :Both matches in the Trophy saw victories for SSMFL sides – Baldock thrashed Wormley Rovers 5 1, whilst London Lions progressed by disposing of Knebwoth by 3 goals to nil

SUBSTITUTE BOARDS :A reminder to all clubs, particularly those in Division Two , that the use of Substitute Boards in a match is a League requirement. The home side are responsible for providing the Boards, and they are normally placed on the half way line, so that they can be used by both sides as required.

MIND YOUR LANGUAGE
A reminder to all clubs that it is a League Directive that the laminated A3 MYL posters must be displayed in all 3 changing rooms and in the clubhouse or refreshment area. Non compliance with this Directive may well result in a charge being levied against your club.

Grateful thanks to Chris Mitchell, Bob Flight, Dave Henman and Mike Taylor for their reports. It’s good to see some of our match officials putting pen to paper and submitting reports – more please – particularly when it’s clear they are reporting on an enjoyable game..

All news, views, items of interest, tittle tattle etc, are welcome, particularly from our refereeing fraternity. Enjoy your football, and remember MIND YOUR LANGUAGE

Bill Scholes- bill@spartansouthmids.co.uk

CS&TFL,D1: Gavrovski previews 3rd placed Robins clash at the top with Raunds in fourth

Stephen Gavrovski has spoken to Sports Shots as third-place Buckingham Town head to Raunds Town, who are fourth in the ChromaSport & Trophies league, division 1, for a big game on Saturday (9th December) afternoon.

Steve Gavrovski

The Robins defender netted a goal, described in the match report as a worldy, as Gary Ollard’s men defeated S&L Corby 5-1 to continue their incredible league run at Manor Fields.

Tomorrow (Saturday) the third-placed Town go to face a Raunds side who are just a place below them in the table, one point behind, but having played two games more. Even at this early stage of the season the Robins must look to win games against side’s in their mini-league at the top of the division.

We started the season very well picking up maximum points. Our home form is incredible and we are still unbeaten in over a year now so its a tough place for teams to come.

Gavrovski has enjoyed a good start to the campaign and is looking forward to the Robins competing for honours this season.

My season’s started well, plus we have a strong squad with depth. We have added key players throughout, where we needed to strengthen. We are focused and know what we have to do over the Christmas period, starting with Raunds this Saturday. We dropped points against Pinchbeck so we need to ensure we gain maximum points where we can.

We are pushing for promotion and I personally believe we have the quality and depth to ensure we do go up this year. We were unlucky last season but we all believe this is our year.

In closing, Gavrovski added.

Thanks also for the support we have from Sports Shots.

 

 

SSMFL,D2 Cup 2R: Aston Clinton’s Harper previews cup with 61FC

Aston Clinton’s Michael Harper has spoken to Sports Shots as 61FC visit in the Spartan South Midlands League, Division 2 cup, round 2 on Saturday (9th December).

Michael Harper

You have had a tough run of games recently, how did you think they went?

The run of cup games were tough for us, we were unlucky to lose to Marlow but bounced back well at Holmer Green and could’ve won by more really. We’ve got one more cup game on Saturday but then it is important to concentrate on our main priority over the Christmas period which is to win the league.

What’s your thoughts after Saturday’s victory away to Loughton Manor?

Always tough going to Loughton Manor, but we made it look very comfortable. They went down to 10-men early on and we controlled it from there. The only negative from the game was that we didn’t manage to score more, as goal difference could play a big part at the end of the season, but we would’ve certainly taken a 3-0 win at the start of the day.

Do you have any personal goals which you are looking to achieve this season?

Personal goal is too just play as many games as possible this season as I missed the majority of last season. I have been at Aston 3 years now and this by far the strongest squad we have had, we need to win a trophy, I think the management and the squad know the season will be a failure with no trophy to show for at the end of season.

Do you have any long-term goals?

To keep enjoying my football, everyone would love to test themselves at a higher level and most of the lads will go on and play at a higher level at some point. We all want that to be with Aston but we will have to see.

What’s your thoughts moving towards Saturday’s game at home against 61FC?

Winnable game but a very tough one. The higher opposition, the better Aston Clinton seem to play however we have to start turning up and performing against teams in our division. The Div 2 cup is a big priority for us, if we play our game I’m sure we will be fine on Saturday. 61fc are a physical team to play against and I’m sure they will be in our faces on Saturday. Saturday is all about being professional, sticking to our game and getting through to the next round.

Any final thoughts?

Thanks for the continued coverage of Aston Clinton. If anyone wants to come down and support the boys on Saturday it is a 1:45 kick off with the bar open!

Amersham Town away is the prize for the winner.

SSMFL,D1: Stapleton looks ahead to Ath hosting Broadfields United

Chris Stapleton has spoken to Sports Shots as Buckingham Athletic prepare to host Broadfields United in the Spartan South Midlands League, division 1 on Saturday (9th December) afternoon.

Chris Stapleton

The Athletic striker is enjoying his inaugural campaign at Stratford Fields.

So far has been really good, we’ve already had a few up and down moments this season, a great run in the F.A Vase, still in a few cups and if we continue to perform and win the upcoming games before Christmas we will be right in the mix in the league coming into the new year. So we’ve got plenty to look forward too.

Stapleton explained how he arrived at the Athletic after playing in the Spartan South Midlands League, premier division last season.

I left Tring Athletic at the end of last season and came down to watch Buckingham play MK Dons in pre-season. I saw a young but very keen side who I thought had the potential to do well and progress. I love the focus on promoting and developing the youngsters here at Buckingham and they have a great set-up. I approached Mark after the MK Dons match and within a week I was signed on. For me it was a great decision, I’m enjoying my football, I’m scoring goals and the coaches and the club made me feel very welcome so I’m very happy.

Chris Stapleton

As the Athletic approach a tough time of the year, Stapleton believes his side are prepared.

The lads are feeling good, injuries are our main worry at the moment but we’ve added a few new faces recently and others that have been injured have returned so the next few games are crucial to get results but also to get people fit again. Overall I believe we are in a good position at the moment.

In closing, Stapleton wanted to thank his team mates.

I’d like to say thanks to everyone involved at the club for making me feel so welcome this season and helping me enjoy my football again, and also to Sports Shots for recognition for all the boys achievements so far, onwards and upwards, #UTA

Kick-off at Stratford Fields is 3pm.