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SSMFLP; Biggleswade Utd 1-1 Leighton Town

Biggleswade United – 1

Leighton Town – 1

The race for second place in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division saw no advantages taken on Tuesday evening, as Leighton Town could only draw at Biggleswade United, but this did not affect the table as rivals Berkhamsted only managed to share ten goals at home to Leverstock Green. Leighton fell behind early on and were on the back foot for the opening stages, but they grew into the game & equalised from the spot through recent new signing Ash Fuller and went on to dominate the rest of the first period. After the break Leighton continued to press but United fought back and almost snatched a late winner but for a good save from Tom Wyant in the Leighton goal, but both defences did their jobs in the end and a point apiece was a fair reflection of the game.

It took four minutes for the first attack, Fuller received the ball out on the left and fizzed a ball across the goal mouth but with no one near forward enough, the ball rolled away for a goal kick. From there Biggleswade took the lead when Kane Farrell was fed down the left channel, he delivered an inch perfect cross into the Leighton box, the ball just too high for Town defender Matt Hall to reach and waiting in behind was Abraham Eze who headed past Wyant.

United went on to enjoy some time on the ball and had Town defending deep, but on thirteen minutes were almost caught out when Dom Marsala pressured Farrell out on the touchline to win the ball, as the home crowd called for a foul the midfielder was away and squared to Fuller inside the penalty arc, he took a touch before firing low past home keeper Robbie Ponting’s left hand post.

Marsala then played a pass out to Lewis McBride who attacked the right flank, he fizzed low & hard across the six-yard box and with Fuller stretching to get to the cross Jordan Wright somehow managed to flick over for a corner. Alex O’Brien swung the corner in right underneath the crossbar, Ponting seemed to have the ball in his clutches but lost it, a clearance to the edge of the penalty arc was then thumped narrowly over the top by Carl Resch.

Alex O’Brien fouled for penalty

United fought back, a loose ball some twenty-five yards out was seized upon by Farrell and he aimed at the Leighton net, a swooping and dipping drive that eluded Wyants outstretched hands but just didn’t dip enough & flew inches over the crossbar. Leighton equalised on thirty-six minutes when O’Brien on the right-hand side of the United box jinked through three United players & Gerard Martinez promptly stuck out a foot to bring the midfielder down. Fuller took responsibility and sent Ponting the wrong way to level the game.

The visitors almost undone their own hard work minutes later when surrendering possession in their own half allowing Eze to advance towards goal, but he didn’t connect properly and Wyant was behind his shot all the way. Straight back at the opposite end Marsala got in behind the home backline & attempted to square across the box, United skipper Martin Russell sliced the ball straight back to Marsala and he smashed at goal, the ball coming back off the goalframe and was eventually cleared. H/T: 1-1

Ten minutes after the restart James Hatch had a thumping header from a corner cleared off the Biggleswade goal line, followed moments later by another O’Brien corner being swung in and met this time by a great run from Resch who headed over the top. Leighton continued to have the better chances but just could not find the goal they needed to relax, and were almost undone when a Wyant clearance came back off Eze but bounced wide of the open goal from very close range.

Lorrell Smiths pace caused problems

Lorrell Smith came on to add some pace to the attack, and a ball down the right channel for him to chase after saw him get away from his marker, advancing into the box his low shot was blocked by the arm of Ponting and he fell on top of the ball to smother.

The home side then burst back into life with twenty minutes or so left, and picked up the pace sensing maybe they could pick up a late winner, having already beaten Welwyn Garden City at home this season, the league leaders only defeat to date. However, as much as they had the lion’s share of the ball, their crosses were too deep or they ran into a red & white brick wall.

The home side had the best chance of the half when Matt Cooper sent a free kick deep into the Town box, sliding in at the back post Lu Ndovi managed to touch the ball across goal to substitute Joshua Muschett but the ball was at an awkward height and he could only steer goalwards by his shin and the lack of power allowed Wyant to brilliantly dive away to his right to gather.

There was a late chance for the away side, a cross into the box was headed clear and running in O’Brien went for goal on the volley, but the ball flashed across the goal face and wide of Ponting’s right hand post. F/T: 1-1

Attendance: 103

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit sportsshots.org.uk

After the game Sports Shots spoke to Town boss Scott Reynolds: 

For match photography, click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskySBW1G

Great Horwood lift Oving & District Villages Cup

Great Horwood – 1

Long Crendon – 0

Great Horwood won the Oving & District Villages Cup on Easter Monday, with a single goal victory over Long Crendon to capture the trophy for the first time in their history. A first half strike from leading scorer Adam Dixon was enough to settle the tie, and although Crendon dominated the second half they just couldn’t find their way through a resolute Horwood defence, and were restricted to long range shots that never really threatened custodian Ian McStraw.

Crendon had the first shot on goal on five minutes, when Eliot Farley twisted & turned to create some space to the left of the Horwood box but pulled his shot wide of the right hand post. The first chance for Horwood came on the quarter hour mark when a corner swung in by Sam Archer was attacked by both Stuart Parker & Adam Armitage, the ball somehow heading towards goal saw Crendon keeper George Collingwood almost collide with his defender on the post, but between them they cleared for another corner.

Crendon then won a free kick just inside the Horwood half, Dino Bonwick found Oli Lethbridge on the edge of the box and with his back to goal he turned and shot but could only find the gloves of McStraw. From the goal kick came the only goal of the game on eighteen minutes, a flick on in midfield from Brandon Bowes saw Adam Dixon in behind the Crendon defence, as Collingwood came out Dixon knocked it past him and into the empty net.

Adam Dixon scored only goal

Armitage then climbed highest to another cross into the Crendon box, his header forcing Collingwood to use both fists to punch away, before a ball out to Dixon to the right of the area saw him flash a low drive across the goal face, two yellow shirts were coming in at the back post but neither could connect and the ball rolled harmlessly away for a goal kick.

Ten minutes before the interval Bowes sent in a cross that Dixon got the slightest flick on and running in behind Terry Archer could only lift over the top. Dixon then threaded a ball through the Crendon defence for Eddie Archer to run onto, he went for the lob over the keeper but Collingwood recovered and gathered before the ball crossed the line. As the half drew to a close, a Crendon throw on their left found Bonwick in space, with little other option in front of him, he smashed at goal but wildly drove wide. H/T: 1-0

Crendon took the game to their opponents from off the off after the break, Archie Pettingell received the ball on the edge of the Horwood area just ninety seconds in, he took a touch and went for goal but his connection was poor and McStraw comfortably fell to his right to gather. Seconds later Crendon skipper Alex Farley got into the box and thumped the ball across goal and wide of the back post.

Horwood celebrate

Long Crendon continued to enjoy some possession, on fifty-six minutes Alex Farley again tried his luck from distance and for a moment McStraw looked in trouble, but he managed to scramble across his goal line and turn around the post. A diagonal ball through the Horwood back line then saw Ben Sykes faced with goal, but just to the left of the area he screwed his shot wide, beating the turf in frustration realising how good an opportunity it had been.

Despite their dominance Crendon just could not find that little bit of quality in front of goal, and passes continued to go astray or were mopped up by their opponents. With fifteen minutes left, another chance went begging when Bonwick found himself in possession down the left channel, again little option in front of him he went for goal but blazed high and wide.

Within a minute Bonwick again got down the left, and again sent the ball high over McStraw’s crossbar. Horwood managed the remaining minutes and sent on long serving Darren Sirett to help hold the ball up at the other end and relieve some of the pressure off the defence, a tactic that worked well as the final whistle sounded with Horwood playing keep ball in the corner. F/T: 1-0

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit sportsshots.org.uk

After the game Sports Shots spoke to winning goal scorer Adam Dixon: 

For full match photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm9s6Cuo

 

NBLP; Great Horwood 3-0 Towcester Town

Great Horwood – 3

Towcester Town – 0

Great Horwood beat local rivals Towcester Town on Saturday to put themselves in pole position to clinch the North Bucks League Premier Division title for the first time in their history, but with ten league games left to play in a punishing schedule for the next few weeks, Horwood will need to ensure they maintain the form showed against Town to capture that elusive prize come May. Despite the weather, the game was played on a heavily sodden pitch, and more rain arrived during the ninety minutes, but the home side adapted to the conditions and two goals in the first half put them in the driving seat, before an acrobatic finish from Ryan Tappin sealed the win midway through the second period, to leave Horwood in second spot in the table, just a point off Towcester who remain top but they have played three games more.

Towcester started the brighter of the two sides, a cross from Jake Dixon found Horwood keeper Ian McStraw at the near post grateful to gather, before another cross from the byline saw bodies waiting in the middle however the cross landed on top of the netting the wrong side of the crossbar. The first shot at goal came from the hosts on seven minutes when a cross from their right from Ben Thickbroom found Brandon Bowes on the eighteen yard line, he turned and shot but Town keeper Laurence Benham was behind it all the way.

The home side took the lead on seventeen minutes, a relatively harmless looking long ball upfield seemed comfortable for the visitor’s defence however the ball was allowed to bounce which wrong footed a defender and Eddie Archer was on it in a flash, from just inside the box he curled around Benham and into the far bottom corner. From the goal Horwood seemed to take control, and it was a matter of Towcester trying to keep them out, a fierce drive from the edge of the centre circle from Frankey Tarrant was dipping towards goal and Benham had to use both hands to stun the ball, and gather at the second attempt.

Daniel Richardson goes close for Towcester

On twenty-six minutes Towcester had a chance to draw level when a half clearance fell nicely to Daniel Richardson twelve yards from goal, he went for the near top corner but the ball flashed narrowly wide. Then seven minutes later the hosts doubled their lead, attacking down their right wing the ball was pulled across the eighteen yard line by skipper Sam Archer to Adam Armitage who smashed at goal, Benham got something on it but the power on the shot took the ball into the back of the net.

A late free kick to Towcester was swung into the box and a glancing header from Jack Shaw bounced wide of McStraws right hand post, and seconds before the whistle a Towcester free kick was headed clear by Stuart Parker at the heart of the Horwood defence, the ball picked up by Tarrant saw him play a good one-two with Tappin to get down the right, he fed club leading scorer Adam Dixon but he didn’t connect as he’d like and Benham made the save. H/T: 2-0

Straight from the restart Tappin broke away from a couple of challenges before crossing into Sam Archer who lifted over the top, before a long ball over the top saw Adam Dixon away on goal, but before he had time to shoot a defender recovered brilliantly to block for a corner. Archer swung the corner in which was cleared to the edge of the box where running in Bowes smashed over the crossbar.

The next Horwood attack was halted on the halfway line, a ball through the Horwood defence for Jake Dixon to run onto saw him take the shot on early and he fired straight into the waiting gloves of McStraw. Armitage then cut in from the left and let fly from just outside the area but was inches wide of the Towcester goal frame.

Laurence Benham cant stop Ryan Tappin goal

The home side killed the game off on sixty-eight minutes, a goal kick from McStraw was met in midfield by substitute Ryan Lightfoot who went up to challenge a Town defender, the ball bounced off the Towcester man towards his own goal, Tappin was on it like a flash and as Benham came out the front man leapt and simply knocked the ball up and over the keeper from the edge of the area, and despite Benham doing his best to reach the ball on his six-yard line it sailed over his reach and bounced into the unguarded net.

Horwood continued creating the better chances, and deserved a fourth late on when substitute Robert Churchill played a good one-two with Tarrant to get down the right wing, he fizzed the ball across the six-yard box and running in at the back post Tappin threw himself at the ball just couldn’t get enough on it to poke home, steering wide instead.

A rare Towcester attack saw a pull back to Richard Parker who thumped wide from the edge of the area, and two minutes before the end Horwood did score again but a raised flag ruled the effort out. A free kick released Adam Dixon down the left wing and he threaded a great cross into the path of the incoming Lightfoot who scored from three-yards out only for the offside decision to cut short his celebration. F/T: 3-0

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit sportsshots.org.uk

After the game Sports Shots caught up with Horwood boss Mark Broom: 
And also defender Stuart Parker: 

For match photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmdim4K9

UCLD1; Nurserymen look forward to derby day

Monday 2nd April 2018

Buckingham Town v Olney Town

United Counties League Division One

Manor Fields

K.O. 3.00pm

Olney Town travel the short distance to Manor Fields to face Buckingham Town on Monday for the local derby, and will be confident they can get a result to continue their recent good form that has seen just one defeat in their last eight games. Just three points separate the two sides but their hosts currently have four games in hand so victory is much needed if they are to keep Town below them.

Ahead of the game, Sports Shots caught up with Nurserymen Jason Crawley & Gary Thurston, and asked Jason how tough it is playing Buckingham Town:

It will be a tough game as any derby is in football. I’ve never played at Manor Fields before but from what I’ve heard the pitch isn’t great but I’m still looking forward to playing there for the first time

Gary also relishes the derby:

I love a derby game, most of us have friends who play for the opposition so it’s an even better feeling to beat not only your local rivals but your mates as well. Although saying that I’m still not convinced this standard of football should be played on Boxing Day or at Easter, having to run around with a belly full of roast dinner or crème eggs is not ideal!

Gary Thurston

We asked Gary what the secret has been behind Olney’s recent good run:

I think training has been a massive part of it. Conditions have been so bad that we have been training at Power League with at least fourteen players attending each week. I think the lads are less likely to throw an excuse in when its power league over a fitness session in the mud. We have a good crack up there which helps with team bonding

Jason discussed the confidence in the team:

We are very confident at the moment as we have only lost once in eight games. Our good result at Harrowby last week helped keep things going nicely, we’d have liked a win Saturday at home to Burton to take that little extra confidence into Monday’s game, but it wasn’t to be

We asked Jason how he sees the season panning out in terms of league position for both clubs:

We are above them at the moment but they do have those games in hand, but I honestly believe if we beat them on Monday then we will remain above them come the end of the season. They had a great start to the season but they’ve lost their momentum so I honestly cannot see anything but a win for us Monday, and a strong finish to our season resulting in us finishing higher in the table

Olney Town v Buckingham Town December 2017

Gary reflected on the positives of the season, and where points were dropped:

To be honest we haven’t really studied the table in recent weeks, we’ve simply agreed to have a real good go for the remainder of the season, win every game and then see where we end up. I think at the end of the season we’ll reflect on a season that should have been better, we have taken points off all teams in the top half, beating teams like Pinchbeck & Raunds, but unfortunately we’ve slipped up against teams lower in the table, and that’s what has cost us

Both players look back at their own personal season, firstly Gary:

My season has been up and down, the manager brought in a few new players over the summer which meant the start of the season saw me wearing the sub suit more than the playing shirt. I played a few games in the reserves to keep my fitness levels up & worked to get back into the first team. I feel my performances have mirrored that of the team, not consistent enough. As a defender, even playing at this standard if you make a mistake it could cost you the game. Having Ben Hill on the side lines has helped as you know he is always watching you and doesn’t hold back, letting us know when our standards drop. I haven’t got on the score sheet yet, so there’s a massive fine coming my way at the end of the season if that doesn’t change

Jason has a similar view:

It’s been up & down for me, at the start of the season I was in the squad but took a while to break into the starting eleven. Then in the middle part of the season I wasn’t available for training and a couple of games and rightfully found myself in the reserves getting minutes. But now I’m back in the first team where I think I belong, and I do love playing in this team. We have a very strong squad when everyone is available, and I’d like to give huge credit to the manager Neil Griffiths and his assistant Ben Hill for this season, a lot of times our squad has changed dramatically from one week to the next but they have always managed to get a team together when it would possibly have been easier to say no game as we have no team. Which recently we are seeing a lot of in the UCL with teams unable to field a full eleven

Jason Crawley

Rounding up, we asked Jason if he had any good memories against Buckingham:

I honestly don’t have many memories as this is my first season at Olney, so I’ve only faced them once which was the goalless draw at Christmas. I did play UCL football for Whitworths a few years ago & faced them a few times then, but that was a long time ago and I can’t really remember much about it, must be old age!

And Gary looked at the players he feels will make the difference for Olney:

It’s no secret how dangerous Drew Mitten can be when he’s on form, he’s a massive player for us and has been all season (excluding when he left us for two games). I also think Smail is untouchable in most games and miles above any other centre midfield player I’ve seen this season. Tapps (Robert Tapp) can play a huge part in Monday’s game, he’s a solid defender and although he doesn’t stop moaning you can’t question his passion on the field. I don’t usually like to name individuals because everyone needs to be on form for the game, from Jack in goal to Pas (James Pacifici) on the bench, we all have a part to play

Sports Shots would like to thank both Jason & Gary for their time this week

UCLD1; Robins frontman looking forward to derby day

Monday 2nd April 2018

Buckingham Town v Olney Town

United Counties League Division One

Manor Fields

K.O. 3.00pm

Buckingham Town play just their third league game of 2018 at Manor Fields on Easter Monday, when they host local rivals Olney Town, and will be looking to get points on the board and more importantly some confidence as they go into their final eight games of the season. Town haven’t tasted victory since February, and a win over their closest rivals would be the ideal way to get back on track.

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with leading scorer Kelvin Osei-Addo, and asked how much the squad look forward to the derby:

We look forward to every game but as this is our local derby and we are at home we look forward to it even more. There is always that different feeling to any other game, as it’s the derby, and we don’t want to lose

How difficult has the recent run been for the team:

The last four games have been really tough, but so has the second part of the season. It’s been up and down but we know we are good enough to get back on track and finish the season strongly

Kelvin Osei-Addo

With Town having games in hand on Olney they can go above them, does Kelvin think they can finish higher:

Yes I do see us finishing above Olney and with the games we have in hand on other teams above us I know we can finish above all of those also, it’s in our hands and we know what we have to do

We asked Kelvin what he would consider a good finishing position for Town:

I think finishing in the top four would be a good finish for us, especially after how this part of the year has gone for us

Finally, we asked how Kelvin feels his own personal season has been:

Personally it hasn’t been the best season for me, but I know there’s enough games left for me to try and score in & help the club finish the season strongly

Sports Shots would like to thank Kelvin for his time this week

NBLP; Great Horwood FC looking to toast a successful week-end

Saturday 31st March 2018

Great Horwood v Towcester Town

North Bucks League Premier Division

Castle Fields

K.O. 3.00

The North Bucks League Premier Division title race hots up this week-end with third placed Great Horwood hosting top placed Towcester Town at Castle Fields. Horwood were pushed down to third last week by Hanslope who beat Brackley Spots by the incredible scoreline of eighteen goals to nil, which drew them level with Horwood but the goals difference tally now significantly better. However, Horwood sit just four points off top place Towcester, but with three games in hand are in prime position to mount a serious title push.

Stability has helped the side this season, with nine players having started thirteen or more games, and up front have Adam Dixon who has fifteen goals in sixteen games (FA Full Time), but this is the first meeting of these two sides in the league this term, the reverse fixture set for the season finale in May. Horwood haven’t played a league game since 20th January due to the weather and various cup competitions, in which they have reached the Oving Cup Final on Monday against Long Crendon, reached the inter-divisional cup final where they wait for either Duston, Stony Stratford or Silverstone, and lost in the premier division cup to Duston at the quarter-final stage just two weeks ago.

The hosts have not lost in the league since October, whilst Towcester have lost their last two games one of which was a cup game, their league defeat at home to Deanshanger three weeks ago their first in the league since September. Hopefully the weather will not intervene, and these two title fighting sides can do battle, with the lighter evenings now available the title run in begins here.

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with Horwood keeper Ian McStraw & defender Stuart Parker, and asked Stuart how big the game is for Horwood:

Saturday is a massive game for us, yes we have games in hand, but we need to ensure that we turn them into points. With home advantage we will be looking to close the gap and try to make things a little easier going into April which is going to be a very busy month for us, with plenty of midweek games coming up it won’t be easy. Despite winning plenty of cups over the past few seasons the club have never won the Premier Division title, so this is the one all the lads want to achieve this season

Stuart Parker

Ian agreed on the magnitude of this fixture:

This week’s game against Towcester is probably our biggest game of the season so far, they have points on the board, but we have the games in hand to catch them and overtake them, and we know the two games against Town are massive for Great Horwood FC

We asked Ian what has been the secret to the success at Horwood this season?

We have had a very consistent team this season, and we are much stronger in depth than previous years, and the spirit within the team is sky high

Stuart agreed their success has been built on the improved squad:

If I’m honest we haven’t played too many league games due to having some good cup runs & also the weather, but we have only lost three games all season so that in itself brings confidence to the squad. We haven’t got the biggest of squads, but we seem to have found a fairly settled formation & spine to the team which really helps. However, this will all be tested going into April with eleven league games still to play. Having good players who have played at a higher level is an added bonus!

What does Stuart expect from Towcester?

The last couple of seasons have all been very close games, so I expect Saturday to be no different, especially with so much at stake for both clubs. They are a physical side but we just have to ensure we continue to play the football that has got us into this position

Horwood haven’t played a league game since the 20th January, and we asked Ian how it affects the squad:

Having not played in the league for so long is frustrating but we have had such success in the cups, mixed with the weather we’ve had it makes it hard to get the consistency needed. But our lads can miss a week then turn up and still manage to play some decent football

How does Ian view Horwood’s leading scorer this season Adam Dixon:

Adam Dixon (Dicko) is in fine form and having played with Dicko for a number of seasons I have seen him score consistently, but he does seem hungrier this season

We asked Stuart how disappointing the Premier Division cup quarter-final defeat to Duston was:

Obviously it was very disappointing, we want to win every game and every competition we are involved in. Conditions and preparation were not ideal and we didn’t play anywhere near the level we have been at for most of the season. However, it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise and help us get a few more league games in on Saturday’s rather than midweek. We are already into the Inter-Divisional final, and also the Oving Cup final on Easter Monday, so we still have plenty of silverware up for grabs, but the league is our priority

Ian looked ahead to the season finale:

The clocks going forward last week bring lighter evenings, and with the amount of games we have left we could see three games a week which isn’t ideal, but I’m sure we can overcome any fixture pile ups and go on to lift the title

Finally, we asked Stuart how he feels his season has been:

It’s been enjoyable thus far, as it tends to be when you’re winning games, & I’m back playing in defence where my career started as a junior, after playing many seasons up front. We have a great bunch of lads here who all get on well off the pitch, which helps us on the pitch. Scoring both goals in the semi-final of the Inter-Divisional cup away at Potterspury was a personal highlight

Sports Shots would like to thank both Ian & Stuart for their time this week.

For more information on The Oving and District Villages’ Cup Competition, one of the oldest cup competition’s in the whole of the country, click here: http://www.ovingvillagecup.com/Pages/History.html

For full list of previous winners click here: http://www.ovingvillagecup.com/Pages/PastFinals.html 

SSMFLD2; Clinton boss reveals trump card

Saturday 31st March 2018

Aston Clinton v Tring Corinthians

Monday 2nd April 2018

Aston Clinton v Grendon Rangers

Spartan South Midlands League Division Two

Aston Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Aston Clinton host Tring Corinthians on Saturday, before welcoming Grendon Rangers to Aston Park on Bank Holiday Monday, ahead of a busy week and a busy month for Jordan Kings men. Losing their game at Southgate on Wednesday evening doesn’t help, meaning they now face a back log of fifteen league games, one cup semi-final (& final if they beat Thame Rangers) and one cup final all to squeeze in the next six weeks. It all starts this week, as Clinton play Saturday (home), Monday (home), Wednesday (away) & Saturday (home), and play AFC Southgate home & away inside three days.

Clinton haven’t kicked a ball since the 10th of March but did manage to bolster their squad this week ahead of the transfer deadline, and Sports Shots caught up with manager Jordan King this week to ask how the squad have been dealing with the long lay-off:

It hasn’t been the ideal preparation to say the least, it doesn’t help when your given a free week-end as we were last week either, but it is what it is, and we have to deal with it. In terms of the squad we’ve had to mix it up a bit, resting some & giving some playing time in the reserves. In the two fixtures that the reserves played last week, seven of our lads got minutes whilst the others were resting, which is just as important as this period of the season

During the week the club announced the signing of highly rated Mitchell Collins from Winslow United, and we asked how it came about & what he’ll bring to the team:

Mitchell is a class act & has a lot of technical ability, he’s someone I’ve known for a number of years and he’s a good lad. Mitch approached me after he left Winslow last week-end, and he is simply too good a player for us to turn down. He will add some much needed creativity in the final third; we have a lot of forward options available to us now which will keep everyone on their toes

Mitchell Collins

We asked if having four games inside a week is made slightly easier with three being at home:

Yes it makes it easier obviously, but we now face a trip to Southgate on Wednesday again which is not the easiest of games to arrange with the distance. It’s been very frustrating with all the postponements but that seems to be the story of our season. Totternhoe is another example, it’s been called off twice on a Saturday and now we go there on a Thursday night, in a week where we have three consecutive away trips on the Saturday, Tuesday & Thursday!

This week Aston face Tring & Grendon who are lower in the league table, before a double header against Southgate, so how does Jordan view these games?

All of our remaining games will be tough, we drew with Tring last time out one all, in what was one of our worst performances of the season. Grendon is always a tough one, they are physically very strong & we always expect a battle from them. Then we face Southgate away then home just a few days apart, and we don’t know too much about them. But speaking to other managers we’ve learnt that they are a decent outfit, with a lot of quality within their ranks, and obviously sit third in the table with games in hand to go second if they win. But we can catch them with our games in hand, so the two games against them are crucial to our season

Jordan King

Finally, we asked Jordan how much the schedule is going to affect his planning of games & squad rotation with so much still to play for:

It’s going to be tough, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. Our squad is going to be so important to us, & rotation will be necessary, but with all these games coming up in such a short space of time it will be a great chance to build some serious momentum for the run in, and hopefully that will help us end the season with a trophy or two

#UptheAston

Sports Shots would like to thank Jordan for his time this week.

UCLP; Swans fly the nest in search of promotion points

Saturday 31st March 2018

Rothwell Corinthians v Newport Pagnell Town

Seargents Lawn

Monday 2nd April 2018

Cogenhoe United v Newport Pagnell Town

Compton Park

United Counties League Premier Division

K.O. 3.00pm

3rd placed Newport Pagnell Town face two away trips in as many days over the Easter period, starting with the trip to Rothwell on Saturday and then onto Cogenhoe on Monday, and with just eight league games left to play a win in both games is essential. The tension at the top of the Premier Division table is really bubbling up and the final eight games really are the proverbial ‘cup finals’ for Darren Lynch’s men.

As the pressure mounts, Deeping Rangers have dropped points recently but both Yaxley (1st) & Wisbech (2nd) have won five and three consecutive games respectively, so Newport simply must win to keep the heat on those above them, albeit with three games in hand on Yaxley, they are adrift by seven points, and just a point behind Wisbech having played the same amount of games. An exciting run in is assured.

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with Swans manager Darren Lynch and asked how difficult it is getting a squad for two games in three days?

We have a really tight knit squad here, & our team spirit is brilliant so it’s not too hard to get them together, especially with the games so close together

How does Darren think his side is faring in the promotion race?

Every team has a blip and at the moment sides are dropping points against lower placed clubs, so I think as long as we can carry on in the form we’re in, keep some consistency then we have a great chance

Darren Lynch

How important will resigning Dom Lawless be?

Signing the league top scorer was always going to make us stronger & I’m glad Dom got off the mark last week, going into the business end of the season I now have four top strikers and each one will be vital in our run in

And finally, onto the two games, how does the manager see things going?

We beat them at home last month at Willen Road, but Rothwell are always a different proposition at home, and we have struggled over there in previous seasons, so it’s vital that if we have any aspirations to win this league we must turn up on Saturday with the attitude that this is the first of our eight cup finals.

Then we travel to Cogenhoe on Monday who beat us at our place on Boxing Day and are on a great run at the moment. But I’m confident that if we play the way we know we can, then we can beat anyone on our day

Sports Shots would like to thank Darren for his time this week.

SLD1E; Moles on Easter Eg Hunt

Saturday 31st March 2018

Aylesbury v Egham Town

Monday 2nd April 2018

Arlesey Town v Aylesbury

Southern League Division One East

Haywood Way

K.O. 3.00pm

Aylesbury FC host Egham Town on Saturday looking for their first points under new manager Kevin Poole, who takes charge of his fourth game since taking over the hot seat at Haywood Way. A tough start to life at The Moles has seen three defeats so far, including the most recent on Tuesday evening where the trip down to Hampshire to face in form Hartley Wintney saw a four goal defeat. However, with new players arriving a change of fortunes are hopefully imminent, however they face a resurgent Egham side who have won three of their last five games. Aylesbury haven’t tasted victory since Boxing Day, and have picked up just two points in 2018, so another tough battle lies ahead.

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with manager Kevin Poole, and asked just how tough it’s been since taking over:

It’s been tough no doubt about that, but it was never going to be easy, we knew that. However while we obviously would have liked a win along the way, that wasn’t the main objective in the first couple of weeks. We needed to get Aylesbury players back to the club and so far we have achieved that

And how is that squad shaping up now:

We brought in what we could within the restrictions we are under, a lot of local based players responded well to the calls and made themselves available, at this late stage of the season & with other commitments it’s a credit to them that they did. We have some talented players here, but they need time to gel and reach the levels of fitness needed at this level, unfortunately time is against us on this one. Overall though I am more than happy with what we’ve brought in, our first priority was to stabilise the club

Kevin Poole

How does Kevin feel his side have played so far?

We played well against Marlow and really deserved a draw, but then against Hanwell we really struggled with sickness through the squad and it showed, we just weren’t at the races & that was disappointing as on another day we felt we’d have won that game. Then at Hartley the lads played very well, it was never a 4-0 game and we competed with them up until the hour mark and at times we outplayed them, however their strength in depth & superior fitness told

So anything different for Egham on Saturday?

Egham are a big physical side that can play football, we will need to adapt to that, but if we have the right squad available then we want to push the onus back onto them having to deal with us

Finally, a look ahead to the trip to Arlesey on Monday:

I’ve not seen Arlesey Town play so I don’t really know a lot about them, however the last game against them was played under extremely difficult circumstances, and I am confident that with full availability mixed with a good performance we can beat a lot of teams, not just Arlesey

Sports Shots would like to thank Kevin for his time this week.

B&BC; Buckingham Athletic Ladies progress to Berks & Bucks County Cup Final

Buckingham Athletic Ladies – 3

Haddenham Ladies – 2

Buckingham Athletic Ladies booked their place in the Berks & Bucks County Cup final on Sunday with this win over Haddenham, but their semi-final opponents made them work for the win right up until the final minute in a much closer game than their league encounter just two weeks previously. Despite Haddenham having a bright start, they found themselves two goals down early on, but a goal back before the break revived the visitor’s hopes; a wonder strike from Lauren Baker-Hawes moments after the break restored the Athletic two-goal lead, but a penalty to the away side then saw a tense end to the game as Buckingham held on to reach the final in their inaugural season. With the league title within their grasp, a cup final to look forward to now is the icing on the cake for Carmen Robinson’s side.

The opening minutes saw Haddenham take the game to their hosts, an early attack was thwarted by an offside flag before a through ball saw Athletic keeper Ellen Fenables have to advance from her goal to clear. Just as the away side started to enjoy their possession, they were caught with a sucker punch on nine minutes when a ball up to Evie Hawkins on the half way line saw her away on the visitor’s goal, shoulder to shoulder with her marker they tussled all the way into the box, but Hawkins was too strong and slotted home from six-yards to give her side the lead.

Ellen Fenables

Five minutes later they doubled their lead to leave their guests shell shocked, a loose ball across the pitch just outside the box saw Kayleigh Harwood fire into the top corner giving keeper Kirsty Kay no chance. But Haddenham regrouped and didn’t let their heads drop, a ball played long upfield saw Athletic centre-half Emma Marshall try to head clear but only flick on into the path of Emily Holmes, she advanced towards goal but Marshall recovered brilliantly to push the striker out wide, hesitating to shoot she took too many touches which allowed the defender to eventually block and clear the danger.

Hawkins was then sent away on goal again shoulder to shoulder with an opponent, Kay came out to meet the pair but the Athletic leading scorer got her shot away, as it rolled towards the unguarded net a defender managed to get back and clear off the line, before a shot from Jordan Heron from the corner of the box stung the hands of Kay who had to gather at the second attempt. Haddenham got themselves back in the game on twenty minutes, a free kick into the Buckingham area saw Fenables come out to block but a shot from Taylor Shields nestled in the bottom corner despite the best attempts of a clearance off the line.

Harwood saw a dipping drive from distance fly wide ten minutes before the break, and at the other end a long ball over the Athletic defence saw them caught square, Katy Simms was in behind but taking the shot on early she only managed to drill straight into Fenables gloves. Katie Riordan then tried her luck from the corner of the Athletic penalty area but drove wide, and on the stroke of half time a throw to the home side saw the ball fed in to Hawkins on the penalty arc, with back to goal she shrugged off her marker before turning and firing inches wide of Kay’s left hand upright. H/T: 2-1

An early ball down the right channel for Heron to run onto saw her try a deft lob over Kay in the Haddenham goal but the ball dropped the wrong side of the crossbar, but two minutes later came the goal of the game. Hawkins saw a shot cleared from inside the box out to Baker-Hawes out on the right wing, she sent a spinning shot high back towards goal that eluded everyone, over Kay’s head and in.

Lauren Baker-Hawes scores

Again, Haddenham refused to give up and a ball into the Athletic area saw Holmes bear down on Fenables but the keeper came out and bravely dived at her feet to stop the attack and managed to smoother the ball to snuff out any further danger. Buckingham captain Kerry Stapleton tried her luck from long distance, but Kay was behind the shot all the way, before another attack from the hosts saw a defender try to clear but instead allowed the ball to bounce up off her knee, Dani Roberts took control and laid off to Jade Copas who blazed high over the top.

With fifteen minutes left Haddenham were given a lifeline when a trip on the edge of the box saw them win a penalty, Simms duly despatched and it was game on again. But as much as they huffed & puffed to try and get back on level terms it was the home side that created the better chances in the remaining minutes. Stapleton saw a free kick from twenty-two yards fly over the crossbar, whilst Heron burst free from her marker late on but could only scoop over the bar, and the final effort saw Heron again win the race to the ball but this time she fired straight into Kays gloves. F/T: 3-2

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After the game Sports Shots spoke to Athletic striker Evie Hawkins & goal scorer Lauren Baker-Hawes: 

For match photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmf3PyTt