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HLP; Saints go marching on but expect Tuff game this week-end

Saturday 13th October 2018

Brackley Town Saints v Tuffley Rovers

Hellenic League Premier Division

St James Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Brackley Town Saints host Tuffley Rovers on Saturday at St James Park looking to continue their recent fine league form that has seen them take ten points from their last twelve possible, and having beaten their guests in the reverse fixture at the beginning of September will be hoping to take maximum points to cement their aspirations of being in the promotion push. However Tuffley currently sit fifteenth in the table which doesn’t reflect their recent league form, they have not lost away in the league since mid-August, and have won three of their last five league fixtures so this may not be as easy as it looks on paper. Saints currently sit joint second in the Hellenic League Premier Division table, and a win will take them top as the teams around them are either not playing or are in cup action this week-end.

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with front men Chris Jordan & Ryan Knight to ask what the great start to the season has been down to, a weaker league or an improving squad, firstly Ryan:

I think the league is as strong as it’s always been, I just think that we have learned from the last couple of seasons and gained more experience, which has seen us perform more consistently to put the points on the board

Chris thinks both apply:

I think this season both those factors have come into play, the young group of players we have will develop with the more experience we gain. Some teams this season have not threatened us as much as they would have in previous years, and that’s credit to the team as we are a much tougher unit now

We asked Chris whether the targets for the season had changed at all:

As a team we said from the start we wanted promotion and with every game we play that target is becoming more & more doable, we know it’s a tough ask but our form is good and we are confident we can do something special this season if we can maintain this. A finish near the top would be a great achievement for us

Has Ryan seen his targets change since August?

I’m very happy with the start I’ve had personally, playing as striker which I played as for many years before joining Brackley, I just set small targets and then hope to keep beating them and then adjust again. Ten goals is my next target having scored six so far, and I’d like to achieve this soon so I can then move the target up again. I just make sure I put in one hundred percent every game and leave everything out on the pitch

Ryan Knight

How does Ryan think Chris has performed so far this term?

I think he’s had a good start to the season, scoring a few goals and contributing to the team well, he brings another dimension to the squad with his technical ability & strength and this shows out on the pitch

And Chris on Ryan:

I think most in our team will agree Knighty is a very fast & hardworking player, he chases everything and gets his foot in, this season he’s started adding goals to his game which is great to see and it’s really helped the team out, he’s started really well

Does Chris think Saints can keep the run going, and who are their main threats at the top?

We are confident in our ability and we have a strong squad this season, it’s early in the season but as long as we continue enjoying our football we are sure the results will follow. Ascot have started very well this season so it will be interesting to see how we do when we play each other, Wantage & Binfield are good sides and I’d expect them to be near the top

Ryan also thinks it’s possible:

I believe if we continue the hard work and keep the determination we have started with there is no reason why we can’t stay towards the top of the league, but I know we’ll take each game as it comes & not get carried away. Obviously Wantage are a very strong side, and will be there or thereabouts at the end

We asked Ryan how the national cup competitions went for Brackley this season:

I think we were a bit unlucky this year, taking Hadley back for a replay in the FA Cup when we were unlucky not to beat them in the first game as we were the better side throughout the game but just couldn’t get the goal to show it. The same applied with the FA Vase but we now move on and concentrate on the games coming up

Chris isn’t looking back too much either:

It’s difficult to say why we didn’t do well, we haven’t really dwelled too much on going out of the cup matches, possibly a lack of concentration with these matches as we conceded late on two occasions

Chris Jordan

We asked Chris what it’s like to play at St James Park, a National League North set up:

We are lucky to have such a great set up, the pitch is in excellent condition and it’s a pleasure to play on. It really does suit our style of play, we like to get the ball down as we have lots of technical players, playing with confidence on the pitch means no one is nervous receiving the ball and there’s a real opportunity to express yourself

Ryan likes a mid-week fixture:

We are very fortunate to have St James Park as our home ground, we all love playing there and all look forward to our home games, there is nothing better in this league than a game under lights on the carpet like pitch at Brackley

Another win on Tuesday this week at Shrivenham, how did Ryan see the game?

I thought Tuesday night was a very good professional performance, we looked comfortable even on a small bobbly pitch, two good finishes from Charlie (Kille) & we probably should have scored more than two!

Chris agreed:

It was a good win on a difficult pitch, we controlled the game from start to finish and did well not to let Shrivenham into the game at any point, and with a clean sheet which is always a bonus

Finally, looking ahead to Tuffley on Saturday how does Chris view the opposition?

We know we can’t take any game for granted in this league and we’ll have to be fully at it again to get what we want from the match. We have to go and earn the right to play by getting on the ball how we have been recently, right from the off. It won’t be an easy game, we know from a few weeks ago from the game at Tuffley that we could have easily lost that day, they opened us up on several occasions but we took our chances when we had them and it was enough, however we know we’ll have to be a tighter unit going into this game. I think it would be naïve for us to expect to beat any team in this league, we have to approach every game with the right mentality no matter where the opposition are in the table, as we will do this Saturday

Ryan echoed the sentiment of never taking a win for granted:

We’re expecting a tough game this week, we had a very tight game away this season against them where if they’d have taken their chances, we may have come away from there with nothing. But we’ve been performing well the last few games and are full of confidence so we’ll be looking to take this into Saturday. We don’t ever expect to beat anyone, this is a highly competitive league from top to bottom, and if we ever go into games expecting to win then we are playing a very dangerous game!

Sports Shots would like to thank both Chris & Ryan for their time this week

SSMFL; INANE RAMBLINGS FROM UP NORFF 11.10.2018 – South Midlands League update #19

THE INANE RAMBLINGS FROM UP NORFF

 ‘NOWT SO QUEER AS YORKSHIRE FOLK’

BY KAREN BROWNE

 

The Views Expressed Are Solely My Own, Are Written Tongue In Cheek

And Should Be Taken With A Pinch Of Salt

 

Midweek saw twelve of the remaining fifteen Divisional Cup Second Round matches played along with one Division One fixture and one County Cup fixture. This being the case several clubs followed the likes of the Premier League clubs and rested players and allowed fringe players much needed game time.

.

TUESDAY 9th OCTOBER/WEDNESDAY 10th OCTOBER

 

MIDWEEK HEADLINES

Dudley Latham Memorial (Premier Division) Cup holders Harpenden Town crashed out in the Second Round while Division One Cup holders London Lions eased into the Quarter Finals, both games producing a 4-1 scoreline. Leverstock Green, beaten 0-2 at London Colney, have to go back to the 1st September 2015 for their last win in the Dudley Latham Memorial (Premier Division) Cup. While Oxhey Jets recorded their first win in the competition since 6th October 2015.

 

9/10 October Stats: 14 games played of which 11 were home wins, 2 were away wins and 1 draws.

 

Highest Midweek Attendances: 87 Tring Athletic v Stotfold, 73 Winslow United v Harefield United and 59 Biggleswade United v Wembley.

 

DUDLEY LATHAM MEMORIAL (PREMIER DIVISION) CUP Second Round

(Sponsored by S & T Sales and Marketing)

It was second v bottom at The Grassroots Stadium and the biggest midweek crowd, 87, saw hosts Tring Athletic made to battle by the basement side Stotfold before eventually booking their quarter-final place with an odd goal in three victory. 90 minutes failed to separate London Tigers and Hadley and it was the roar of the Tigers who came out on top in the penalty shoot out to book a quarter final place for the first time since February 2016. Wembley were denied their third successive quarter-final of the competition as they found hosts Biggleswade United in ruthless form, the Bedfordshire side running out comfortable 3-0 winners. Oxhey Jets found their scoring boots again as the hit four to see off visiting Harpenden Town. Elsewhere there were wins for Cockfosters, Biggleswade FC and London Colney against North Greenford United FC, Crawley Green and Leverstock Green respectively. Full results and goalscorers (where known) are listed below.

3-0 Biggleswade United v Wembley (Hankin, McArdle, Parkinson) Attendance: 59

2-0 Cockfosters v North Greenford United FC (Aiba, Carroll) Attendance: 45

1-3 Crawley Green v Biggleswade FC (Silford) / (Cookman, A Marsh, Coles [pen]) Attendance: 53

2-0 London Colney v Leverstock Green (Price, Loren) Attendance: 41

1-1 [4-2 pens] London Tigers v Hadley (Unknown) / (Laird) Attendance: Unknown

4-1 Oxhey Jets v Harpenden Town (Kerley, Beaumont, Hobson, Giordmaina) / (McClelland) Attendance: 41

2-1 Tring Athletic v Stotfold (Busari, Campbell) / (Da Silva) Attendance: 87

 

DIVISION ONE

In the only midweek league action Enfield Borough suffered their third defeat in the last four games when narrowly going down by the odd goal in five at Bedford, the result sees the hosts leapfrog their opponents and move into fourth place. Full result and goalscorers are listed below.

3-2 Bedford v Enfield Borough (Cullen, Smith, Opponent Own Goal) / (Ennin [2]) Attendance: 30

 

 

DIVISION ONE CUP Second Round

Current League leaders went out of the Division One Cup when a long midweek trek to Winslow United saw them defeated 0-2 in front of second biggest crowd midweek, the defeat leaves them still looking for the first win in the competition since their relegation from the Premier Division in 2016. Another club who had a long midweek hike was Buckingham Athletic who travelled to Wodson Park but with Robbie Carter continuing his recent goalscoring form with a brace the journey was worth it as they returned home 4-2 winners. Elsewhere London Lions (the holders) and FC Broxbourne Borough booked their quarterfinal places with wins over Rayners Lane and Amersham Town respectively. Full results and goalscorers (where known) are listed below.

3-2 FC Broxbourne Borough v Amersham Town (Brandon, Daniel, Bowers) / (Unknown) Attendance: 28

2-0 Langford v Brimsdown (Osborne [2) Attendance: 40

2-0 Winslow United v Harefield United (Dalton, Cruse) Attendance: 73

2-4 Wodson Park v Buckingham Athletic (Todd [2]) / (Carter [2], Appleton, Bines) Attendance: Unknown

4-1 London Lions v Rayners Lane (Lipman [2], Arnold, Jackson) / (R Hastings [pen]) Attendance: 28

 

MIDDLESEX SENIOR CHARITY CUP First Round

Hillingdon Borough edged out Combined Counties League side in a seven goal thriller in the Middlesex Senior Charity Cup, becoming the first side to defeat them this season. Full result and goalscorers are listed below.

4-3 Hillingdon Borough v Bedfont & Feltham (Murphy [2], Peter, Herbert) / (Sarfo, Capon, Gairy) Attendance: 41

 

AND FINALLY

I was taken aback this week when on the Twittersphere I spotted an old childhood favourite of mine in action for Crawley Green against Biggleswade FC.

          Captain Haddock

Danny Watson

BBC 3 Counties Radio launch weekly non-league football show for Beds, Herts & Bucks

BBC three counties radio launched their brand new non-league football show on Monday evening, and in their first broadcast spoke with former Winslow United player Ayden Callaghan, and included a regular ‘ninety second quiz’ in which the weekly guest is asked questions on their relevant club.

As the radio station covers Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire & Buckinghamshire the show is open to all but three of the clubs we cover this season at Sports Shots.

To hear the whole of the first show from Monday, use the link here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/play/p06mdx3y

The show is live every Monday evening from 7.00pm – 8.00pm and is the perfect opportunity to catch up with our local non-league scene at all levels.

Both presenters of the show are on twitter, and to follow what’s coming up in the next show make sure you give them a follow, Ollie Bayliss is @Ollie_Bayliss and Luke Ashmead is @Ashmead72

BBFA CC; Buckingham Athletic U18 5-0 Moretonville U18

Buckingham Athletic U18 – 5

Moretonville U18 – 0

Buckingham Athletic Under 18’s put the ghosts of Thursday evenings FA Youth Cup exit to rest with a comfortable in the end win over local neighbours Moretonville, although it did take almost half an hour to find the net before the gates then opened and the hosts scored three in five minutes to kill off the tie. With squad rotation exercised to give everyone minutes, Athletic manager Dan Turney saw his side progress into the next round on a warm sunny morning at Stratford Fields, and with four different goal scorers a useful work out as the club continue to build with their new squad.

Early on Athletic full back Kyran O’Dell found some space to the left hand side of the Moretonville area but could only chip straight into Tom Amies gloves, whilst at the other end Tom Fielding had two runs down the right channel, his first effort straight at home custodian Conor Ross whilst he followed up by brushing the side netting. Just past the quarter hour mark a long ball upfield saw Ethan White away on goal, as Amies advanced the striker went for the lob but saw the ball land on top of the netting.

White was then denied by the legs of Amies shortly after, before connecting sweetly with a cross from the left but his volley was straight into waiting gloves again. An away attack was halted deep inside the Buckingham half and the ball played up to Elton Anning on halfway, he sent O’Dell away down the wing where he lost his marker and crossed where White again on the volley drove past the keepers left hand post, and a throw to the hosts found Emmanuel Ndlovu who curled inches wide from twenty yards.

Athletic continued to press looking the more likely to score, O’Dell again exploiting some freedom down the left and his cross was met inside the six-yard box by Nathan Bell who volleyed wide, before Buckingham finally got their goal on twenty-eight minutes, the ball fed out to White just outside the corner of the area where his perfectly executed shot dipped over Amies and inside the far post. Moments later White again caused chaos in the area having two shots saved by the keeper, the third rebound saw O’Dell sandwiched between two defenders and the referee point to the spot.

Moretonville pay the penalty!

O’Dell picked himself up to despatch into the bottom corner and just two minutes later it was game over when Anning burst forward with the ball and losing his marker he coolly despatched into the bottom right hand corner. A corner then from Jacob Williamson saw several bodies attack the ball but climbing highest Bell headed over, before another cross from the left saw White volley wide, and the final action of the half saw another corner headed wide by Bell. H/T: 3-0

An early corner after the break saw a Williamson shot blocked, the follow up then flashed wide by Bell ahead of some nice passing football down the Athletic left that saw Anning square the ball across to Jake Anderson-James who from eighteen yards crashed the ball back off the crossbar. On fifty-seven minutes the hosts won their second penalty of the day when a ball over the visitor’s defence saw Anning in again but he was nudged in the back and went down, picking himself up he saw his spot kick saved but followed up to slot past the stranded Amies.

Buckingham were now comfortable and knocking the ball around enjoying their game, a decent one-two saw Bell receive the ball back from Alagie Swarray Deen only to fire over the top, and another fine pass and move exercise culminated in Williamson curling just past the post. With five minutes remaining another corner to the home side again saw a mass of bodies go up and the ball fell nicely for Samy Aouati to sweep home. F/T: 5-0

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 Athletic manager Dan Turney to gather his thoughts on this game, and look back at the FA Youth Cup defeat at Welwyn last Thursday: 

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

SSMFL; INANE RAMBLINGS FROM UP NORFF 08.10.2018 – South Midlands League update #18

THE INANE RAMBLINGS FROM UP NORFF

 ‘NOWT SO QUEER AS YORKSHIRE FOLK’

BY KAREN BROWNE

 

The Views Expressed Are Solely My Own, Are Written Tongue In Cheek

And Should Be Taken With A Pinch Of Salt

 

On a wonderful sunny autumnal afternoon it was on with the flat cap and off to the ferret races “On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at“. Back in the land of the SSML I understand moisture was in the air in fact one game had to be postponed due to the weather conditions and this on a 3G pitch (whoever said the way forward was plastic).

 

SATURDAY’S HEADLINES

Biggleswade FC made it nine wins from their last nine league games while for Tring Athletic it is seven from seven. Stotfold remain winless in the league since May 2018, while Codicote have to go back further, April 2018, since their last league win. The 31 games seeing 122 goals (an average of 3.93 per game). Ashton Campbell (Tring Athletic), Alex Marsh (Biggleswade FC), Lee Armitt (North Greenford United FC), Harry Dalton (Winslow United), Luri Duarte (Berkhamsted Raiders) and Jamie Felts (Kempston Rovers Development) all weighed in with hat-tricks.

 

6 October Stats: 31 games played of which 16 were home wins, 13 were away wins and 2 draws.

 

0% league records to date: Clean Slate and Stotfold U25.

 

(Most League Wins – all Divisions): 10 Biggleswade FC, 9 Tring Athletic, 7 Bovingdon, Harefield United, Broadfields United, Hillingdon Borough, Enfield Borough.

(Most League Draws – all Divisions): 5 Leighton Town, 3 Colney Heath, Edgware Town, Cockfosters, Wembley, Stotfold, London Lions.

(Most League Defeats – all Divisions): 9 Hatfield Town, 8 Codicote, 7 Park View.

Unbeaten:

(Premier Division League): Tring Athletic.

(Division One League): Wodson Park, Harefield United, Broadfields United.

(Division Two League): Bovingdon.

(U25 Development Division League): Berkhamsted Development.

Without a Win:

(Premier Division League): Stotfold,

(Division One League): Codicote.

(Division Two League): Clean Slate.

(U25 Development Division League): Stotfold U25.

Most Goals Scored:

(Premier Division League): 35 Biggleswade FC.

(Division One League): 41 Enfield Borough.

(Division Two League): 30 Bovingdon.

(U25 Development Division League): 17 Kempston Rovers Development.

Most Goals Conceded:

(Premier Division League): 27 Oxhey Jets.

(Division One League): 39 Hatfield Town.

(Division Two League): 30 Clean Slate.

(U25 Development Division League): 18 Stotfold U25

Fewest Goals Conceded:

(Premier Division League): 7 Leverstock Green.

(Division One League): 7 Harefield United, Wodson Park.

(Division Two League): 5 Old Bradwell United.

(U25 Development Division League): 2 Holmer Green Development U25.

Fewest Goals Scored:

(Premier Division League): 3 Stotfold.

(Division One League): 11 Langford, Codicote.

(Division Two League): 4 Clean Slate.

(U25 Development Division League): 3 Holmer Green Development U25.

 

Saturday’s Highest Attendances: 87 Biggleswade FC v Edgware Town, 85 Arlesey Town v Tring Athletic and 77 Buckingham Athletic v Buckingham Town &  Risborough Rangers v Aston Clinton.

 

Season’s Highest Attendances to date (Premier Division Clubs): 211 Baldock Town v Arlesey Town, 203 Biggleswade FC v Biggleswade United and 202 Tring Athletic v Berkhamsted (FA Cup).

 

Season’s Highest Attendances to date (Division One Clubs): 351 Winslow United v Easington Sports (FA Cup), 257 Harefield United v Winslow United and 177 Buckingham Athletic v Winslow United.

 

Season’s Highest Attendances to date (Division Two Clubs): 101 Aston Clinton v Pitstone & Ivinghoe, 92 Bovingdon v Old Bradwell United and 90 Bovingdon v Sarratt.

 

Season’s Leading Goalscorers to date (Premier Division Clubs): 15 Jonathan Lacey (Leverstock Green) 11 Ashton Campbell (Tring Athletic) 10 Tom Coles (Biggleswade FC), Spencer Clarke-Mardel (Colney Heath) and Alex Marsh (Biggleswade FC).

 

Season’s Leading Goalscorers to date (Division One Clubs): 15 Tage Kennedy (Enfield Borough) 12 Leonard Farhall (Harefield United), Marcus Greenidge (Hillingdon Borough).

 

Season’s Leading Goalscorers to date (Division Two Clubs): 15 Nathan Skelton (Mursley United) 10 Luke Little (Unite MK) 9 Albie Hall (Pitstone & Ivinghoe).

 

Saturday 6th October

 

PREMIER DIVISION

It was third v second at New Lamb Meadow as Arlesey Town slipped to a 1-3 defeat against visiting Tring Athletic, the defeat leaves Arlesey Town ten points adrift of their Hertfordshire opponents in the chase for the title. Leaders Biggleswade FC maintained their one point lead over Tring with a solid 3-0 home win over Edgware Town. No change at the bottom as both Wembley and Stotfold failed to win. The former did pick up a useful point from their home game with Leighton Town while the latter were beaten at home by North Greenford United FC. The ‘Colney Derby’ was won 4-2 by hosts Colney Heath to move into fourth place while Crawley Green move up to fifth following a 2-1 home win over Harpenden Town. Leverstock Green were the Division’s top scorers with a 6-0 win at Pancake Lane against visiting Oxhey Jets. For Leverstock it was their best league result since defeating Hadley 8-1 back in October 2016. For Jets it was the second Saturday running they leaked in six goals. Full results and goalscorers (where known) are listed below.

 

1-3 Arlesey Town v Tring Athletic (Fuller [pen]) / (Campbell [3]) Attendance: 85

3-0 Biggleswade FC v Edgware Town (A Marsh [3] [1 pen]) Attendance: 87

0-2 Cockfosters v Baldock Town (A Barker [2]) Attendance: 45

4-2 Colney Heath v London Colney (Scott [2], Clarke-Mardel, Newton) / (Maxwell, Beevor) Attendance: 68

2-1 Crawley Green v Harpenden Town (Watson [2]) / (McClelland) Attendance: 51

2-1 Hadley v Biggleswade United (Camara [2]) / (Parkinson) Attendance: 22

6-0 Leverstock Green v Oxhey Jets (Lacey [2], Blunden, Condon, Smith, Witham) Attendance: 38

1-3 London Tigers v Potton United (Unknown) / (Burnside [2], Webb [pen]) Attendance: Unknown

1-5 Stotfold v North Greenford United FC (Roache) / (Armitt [3], McLeish [2]) Attendance: 35

1-1 Wembley v Leighton Town (Unknown) / (Dentice) Attendance: 43

 

DIVISION ONE

Leaders Harefield United remain at the top following a 3-2 home win over fellow title chasers FC Broxbourne Borough at Preston Park. Broadfields United, tenants at Preston Park, moved into second place with a 3-1 win at Ampthill Town while in another clash of top six saw Hillingdon Borough win 5-1 at Enfield Borough. At the other end of the table the bottom two Codicote and Hatfield Town suffered home defeats to Bedford and Park View respectively. Full results and goalscorers (where known) are listed below.

 

1-2 Amersham Town v London Lions (Parratt) / (Unknown) Attendance: 34

1-3 Ampthill Town v Broadfields United (Cerminara) / (Mfinda, Henley, Gardner) Attendance: 40

1-3 Codicote v Bedford (Unknown) / (Fisher, McGrath, Cullen) Attendance: 35

1-5 Enfield Borough v Hillingdon Borough (Opoku) / (Ballaid, Fredericks, Peter, Unknown, Unknown) Attendance: 22

3-2 Harefield United v FC Broxbourne Borough (Shaw, Willis, Opponent Own Goal) / (Fitzgerald [2]) Attendance: 40

1-4 Hatfield Town v Park View (Unknown) / (Gyimah, Opoku-Domfeh, Botchey, Klosi) Attendance: 22

3-0 Langford v Brimsdown (Worbey [2], Osborne) Attendance: 18

 

Berks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy

BERKS & BUCKS SENIOR TROPHY Second Round

Division Two side Aston Clinton provided one of the shocks of the day as they won 2-0 at Division One side Risborough Rangers watched by a healthy crowd of 77. It was an identical attendance for the ‘Buckingham Derby’ as Athletic overcame visiting Town by the odd goal in three. Another all SSML tie saw Old Bradwell United progress into the next round with a 3-0 home win over MK Gallacticos. Winslow United hit seven against North Bucks League side Great Horwood to move into the Third Round while Grendon Rangers exited the competition following a 1-2 home defeat against Hanslope. Full results and goalscorers (where known) listed below.

 

2-1 Buckingham Athletic v Buckingham Town (Carter [2]) / (Bearman) Attendance: 77

1-7 Great Horwood v Winslow United (Unknown) / (Dalton [3], King [2, Unknown, Unknown) Attendance: Unknown

1-2 Grendon Rangers v Hanslope (Ginger) / (Unknown) Attendance: 23

3-0 Old Bradwell United v MK Gallacticos (Deria, Green, Collins) Attendance: 22

0-2 Risborough Rangers v Aston Clinton (Mason-Williams, Mealor) Attendance: 77

 

DIVISION TWO

Unite MK followed up last weekend’s record win with another impressive performance, this time a 4-1 home win over The 61FC (Luton) to move into fifth place in the table. The day’s other league action saw Mursley United and Pitstone & Ivinghoe battle out a goalless draw. Full results and goalscorers listed below.

 

0-0 Mursley United v Pitstone & Ivinghoe Attendance: 45

4-1 Unite MK FC v The 61FC (Luton) (Little [2, Ainsley, Braham) / (Gouldbourne) Attendance: 15

 

HERTS SENIOR CENTENARY TROPHY First Round

A hat-trick from Luri Duarte was the difference between the sides as Berkhamsted Raiders saw off Herts County League Premier Division side Sandridge Rovers. Elsewhere it was SSML 0 Herts County League 2 as both Tring Corinthians AFC and Sarratt suffered away defeats, Tring soundly thrashed 1-9 at Bushey Sports Club where a couple of ex SSML players, Adem Ali and Bilal Butt both scored hat-tricks. While Sarratt were beaten 1-3 at Cuffley. Full results and goalscorers (where known) listed below.

 

3-0 Berkhamsted Raiders v Sandridge Rovers (Duarte [3]) Attendance: 35

9-1 Bushey Sports Club v Tring Corinthians AFC (Ali [3], Butt [3], Wallace, Muhemba, Ogboro) / (Unknown) Attendance: Unknown

3-1 Cuffley v Sarratt (Unknown) / (Loakes) Attendance: Unknown

 

UNDER 25 DEVELOPMENT DIVISION

New table toppers as Berkhamsted Development replaced Buckingham Athletic Development at the summit, Berkhamsted winning by the odd goal in three at Biggleswade United U23 and thus maintaining their unbeaten record. Buckingham tasting defeat for the first time when beaten 0-3 at Kempston Rovers Development. Life continues to be an uphill struggle for Stotfold U25, the bottom side losing 0-2 at AFC Dunstable U21 making it five defeats from five for the visitors. The day’s other league fixture saw Harpenden Town Development record a 3-1 home success against Leighton Town Development. Full results and goalscorers listed below.

 

2-0 AFC Dunstable U21 v Stotfold U25 (Fullerton, Nottage) Attendance: 10

1-2 Biggleswade United U23 v Berkhamsted Development (Spavins) / (Stevens, Kelly) Attendance: Unknown

3-1 Harpenden Town Development v Leighton Town Development (Champkins-Drein, Fonseca, Tizard / (McGlinchey) Attendance: Unknown

3-0 Kempston Rovers Development v Buckingham Athletic Development (Felts [3]) Attendance: 20

 

AND FINALLY

Taking advantage of the sun I grabbed my board and headed to the tinternet for a spot of surfing. This one caught my eye this week.

 

PLAYER FINES

As with most football clubs the Hitchin Town players run a fines system amongst themselves with the money collected being used to help to subsidise their end of season tour.

No flip flops – £2 per flip flop.

No towel – £2.

No shower – £2.

No cakes when it is your birthday -£10.

Worst trainer -£5.

Nutmegged in training or a match – £2.

Giving away a penalty – £5.

Scoring an own goal – £5.

Missing a game -£20 no excuses will be accepted.

Late to training -£5 with an increase of £5 every 10 minutes.

Losing by more than 3 goals in training -£2 per player.

Late to a game -£10 with an increase of £5 every 10 minutes.

Using phones after 13.30pm/18.30pm on match days -£5.

No tracksuit -£5 -must be worn into changing room.

Missing on curry night /after training pizza -£5.

Missing on a team night out -£40.

Worst dressed on a team night out as voted by the whole team -£10.

Leaving home games before 17.30pm -£5.

Not travelling on the coach to away games -£10 and £5 for not returning on the coach.

Arguing with the fines committee about fines or how they are doing their job -£4.

Caught going ‘’out’’ the night before a game -£20.

No shower gel -£2.

Dirty boots -£2.50 per boot.

Lending items -£2.

Forgetting or not wearing the ‘worst trainer’ kit -£5.

Incorrect training kit -£2 an item.

Missing a penalty -£5 including penalty shootouts.

Losing a home game -£4 per player.

Missing a training session -£5.

BBST; Great Horwood 1-7 Winslow United

Great Horwood – 1

Winslow United – 7

Great Horwood were torn apart by their higher level guests on Saturday in this Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy second round tie, in persistent rain the goals flowed early on for United as they powered into a three goal lead inside the opening ten minutes that left the home side floored and no answer to the relentless waves of attacks that Winslow threw at them, a change of shape at the break stemmed the flow, however the completion of a hatrick for Harry Dalton saw the end scoreline reflect what had been a fairly comfortable afternoon for the Ploughmen.

The visiting side took the lead in the third minute when a free kick on the edge of the penalty arc saw Alex Kedzierski drill low into the bottom corner despite Horwood keeper Colin Solomon getting a hand to it, just a minute later a clearance off the line from a King shot after good work from Grant Karwacinski saw Winslow win a corner. From the set piece the ball was rolled along the eighteen yard line where King had time to look up before driving into the top corner to open his account for the afternoon.

King then threaded a ball through the home defence for Jack Bowers to chase after, shoulder to shoulder with defender Dale Armitage the pair tussled into the area where the Ploughman went down but the referee waved away the appeals, but Bowers got his goal when a long range effort from Marcus Hussey saw Solomon go down to his left to save but quickest to react was Bowers who tapped into the unguarded net.

Alex Kedzierski opens the scoring

It took until the eighteenth minute before the hosts had their first effort at goal, a throw worked across the box to Adam Dixon who fired wide, whilst a free kick a yard outside the corner of the box was curled over by Kedzierski at the opposite end. Winslow bagged their fourth on twenty-two minutes when a King free kick just outside the area on the right was curled around everyone including the flailing hand of Solomon and inside the far post.

Winslow looked like scoring every time they broke forward, a move that released King down the right saw him collect & drive into the box and hammer the ball across the goal face and wide just as Bowers was sliding in, but with eleven minutes of the half left the home side grabbed a lifeline when a ball over the yellow backline saw Dixon slot into the bottom corner. Any thoughts of a comeback were soon dashed as just three minutes later Dalton was fed eighteen yards out and escaping the attention of Adam Armitage he fired low into the bottom corner.

Horwood were almost punished further when Solomon rolled out from the back to Ryan Tappin who tried to break but Kedzierski was on him in a flash, sliding in he took possession from the winger and went for goal only to shoot straight at Solomon, before Anthony Ball strode forward from his defensive duties and forced the home keeper down to his left to deny any further damage ahead of the break. H/T: 1-5

Harry Dalton scores first of his treble

A change of formation at the break saw a much better start for the home side after the break, although they had much more possession they still couldn’t break down the United defence, one attack did see a cross headed clear and from just inside the box Dale Armitage, who was always leaning back lifted over Owusu Boateng in the Winslow goal, before a twenty yard free kick saw skipper Sam Archer curl over the top.

The visitors weathered the storm and duly scored again on sixty-five minutes when Dalton was fed down the left channel where he fired across Solomon and in off the far post, and he completed his hatrick moments later when again fed inside the area his shot deflected off a defender to loop over Solomon and in. Bowers then had a run at the home defence from deep in midfield, evading several challenges he worked himself into the box but just as he seemed destined to score he dragged his shot wide.

Dixon received the ball out on the left late on and his cross found substitute Gary Ridgway in front of goal whose excellent first touch deserved more but he turned to fire into the waiting gloves of Boateng, before the same pairing worked well again but Ridgway sliced his effort wide. F/T: 1-7

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

After the match Sports Shots spoke to Horwood captain Sam Archer: 
And also former Winslow captain Nick Farrow: 
Finally we caught up with Winslow manager Paul Alleyne: 

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

FAYC; Welwyn Garden City U18s 9-0 Buckingham Athletic U18s

Welwyn Garden City U18 – 9

Buckingham Athletic U18 – 0

Buckingham Athletic U18’s were blown away on Thursday night by a rampant Welwyn Garden City side to end their journey in this season’s FA Youth Cup, in a fairly one sided game saw those in blue run ragged time after time and thoroughly demoralised within the opening fifteen minutes of the second half. Some substitutions stemmed the flow of attacks for the final stages of the game, but had it not been for some good saves, clearances off the line and the woodwork the scoreline would have been much greater. This City side could have a good run in this competition if they play like this in every round, some clearly talented lads in their group who are surely destined for long careers in the game.

An early free kick for the home side some twenty-five yards from goal saw Sam Willis step up and show his sides intentions of going for goal, his low effort forcing Athletic keeper Hayden Coombs down to his left to push away, moments later a similar scenario saw the same City defender curl around the post. The hosts continued to take the game to their guests and a break down their left with Gustavo Pereira saw him get away from his marker, advancing towards the area he went to cross to Kevin Maresi in the middle but Luke McEvaddy slid in to block for a corner just at the last minute.

Buckingham won a free kick on twenty minutes and a looping cross saw Cassius Brookes climb with two defenders on him, he got his head to the ball but could only help it wide for a goal kick. The home side then took the lead just two minutes later, gaining possession in midfield the ball was fed out to Billy Hodgkins who found Maresi in front of goal who could not miss. It was very soon two when a long lump upfield by the home keeper Lamin Bandura saw a flick on in midfield and racing away Hodgkins smashed into the top corner from distance.

Pereira then thought he had scored when beating Coombs to a through ball, his deft touch heading for goal until Shafat Huq covered across to thump away to safety, but on the stroke of half time the third goal did arrive when a cross was headed up into the dark skies by a Buckingham defender and Hodgkins pounced as it landed at his feet to sweep home. H/T: 3-0

Any thoughts of a comeback were firmly quashed within minutes of the restart, as Welwyn ran riot amongst the shell shocked masses of blue. Within seconds of the whistle skipper Tashae Andale-Gibbons slipped a perfect pass through the away backline for Pereira to attack but was denied by a quick thinking Coombs who dived bravely at his feet to smoother. They next attack saw the hosts score their fourth after Athletic surrendered possession in midfield & Jaden Philidene went on a mazy run, evading several challenges he smashed home despite Coombs getting a hand to the shot.

Athletic defence had a busy night

On fifty minutes it was five, Maresi turning provider this time from the right as he squared into the box and with two City shirts in the middle it was left to Pereira to get on the scoresheet. Coree Palfrey made it six soon after when a free kick seemed to be harmlessly rolling away but a City player got to the byline to retrieve and cross, Pereira got his head on it and the ball came back off the post and hesitation in the Buckingham defence allowed Palfrey to pick up and drive past Coombs.

By this point the visitors had surrendered and had no response to their dominant hosts, and Welwyn duly made it seven on the hour mark when again the Athletic defence lost the ball trying to play out from the back, Philidene pressured to take the ball away and skipped over several challenges before rounding Coombs and slotting into the empty net. Substitute Elton Anning had a rare chance when the home defence gave him the ball twenty yards out, his fierce drive pushed away by Bandura for a corner.

The respite was brief, straight up the opposite end Riyaadh Miah was booked for a challenge in his own box where a penalty was awarded to the home side, Andale-Gibbons tried to be clever with a chip from twelve yards but only managed to clear the crossbar. It wasn’t long however until the eighth goal did arrive, a free kick into the Athletic box saw an initial shot saved, a follow up blocked, a third shot saved again but with no one defending Willis drifted in to tuck home the rebound.

Maresi then went close when he walked through the Buckingham backline and his shot across goal bounced off the back post and no one up with him to capitalise, and another Willis free kick curled around the wall saw Coombs have to dive to his left to gather. Athletic gave the ball away in midfield and Maresi was away down the right channel with just four minutes left, his shot across the goal face saw a bobble take the ball onto the post again but this time it bounced back across the empty six-yard box but again no one on hand to tap home and the danger was eventually cleared.

Pereira then caused havoc again inside the away penalty area, his initial shot saved by Coombs inside the six-yard area, two further shots were blocked before a raised flag halted the attack, but on the stroke of time they did get another when Rahzir Smith-Jones cutting in from the right saw his shot saved by Coombs but following up Maresi tapped into the empty net. F/T: 9-0

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

Apologies for any incorrect spelling of names, information scarce!

For match photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmoGq6oo

BBFA ST; Defender hopes to sweep up whilst midfielder looks to Nick a win against former club

Saturday 6th October 2018

Great Horwood v Winslow United

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy 2nd Round

Castle Fields

K.O. 3.00pm

Great Horwood take a break from recent league action this week-end as they take on neighbours Winslow United in the Berks & Bucks senior trophy, and face the side that are two levels higher, have only lost one of their last eight games & have scored thirteen goals in their last three games! But as this year’s competition has already shown league status counts for nothing, and a local derby throws form and expectations out the window, therefore any result is possible.

Berks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy

This week Sports Shots caught up with Horwood defender Ben Thickbroom, and first of all recent signing & former Winslow United captain Nick Farrow to ask how his summer move came about:

It was all due to unfortunate circumstances with Winslow having to fold their development team, which was for the benefit of the club for this season. It was an extremely hard decision to leave Winslow after twelve years there, but all good things must come to an end I guess, and who knows what will happen in the future. I had a few options & offers at the beginning of the season but I’ve always admired Great Horwood and the quality they have in their side for such a small village, I knew a few players here already which obviously helps when moving clubs, and I’ve received a great welcome from everyone I’ve met so far so I am very happy to have come here to play

How does Ben think his side have started their season?

We had a difficult start to our season with some poor results, and a lack of squad numbers due to other commitments. Thankfully the results have improved of late with a more settled team which is a positive. The league position doesn’t lie however and we know that to compete in this division you need to have depth and consistency, so we will take each game as it comes and see where we finish come the end of the season

Nick agreed that the confidence is growing:

We had a difficult start similar to Winslow, with players missing it just took us a few games to find our feet. We have played some very attractive football and have gone four games unbeaten in all competitions so confidence is high amongst the squad. We have climbed the table after some decent wins recently and I’m sure I can speak for everyone when I say we are only looking to improve on this over the next few games and keep this winning run going

How has the season started for Ben Thickbroom, and where does he see his best position being?

It was a difficult start for me having come back from injury which meant I didn’t have a proper pre-season, although my form & fitness have picked up recently with more game time. My best position is where ever the gaffer puts me, which usually is either as a right back in a four man defence, or wing back if we play as a five

Nick Farrow scores during Winslow days

Nick also feels his start has been hampered:

I would have to say that I had a bit of a slow start, with a limited pre-season and not having played in any friendlies it has taken me a while to play at a level that I am happy with. But after getting some games under my belt I’m starting to feel I can run for more than ten minutes now! I’ve been playing in a new position so it has taken me a bit of time to adapt, but I’m starting to feel a lot happier with my contribution to the team, and finally got myself on the score sheet in my last game. I’m not sure if I have a best position to be honest, I’m happy to play wherever the gaffer tells me to and as long as we win it doesn’t bother me

We asked Ben how he feels the Horwood squad has shaped up this season:

We have managed to keep hold of the squad from last season and build on that with the return of Dale Armitage, the signing of Nick from Winslow and more recently Gary Ridgway who played most recently at Kempston Rovers, all of which provide a competitive edge and are good quality additions. On top of these Andrew Brunning has been coming back from a serious injury and will be a welcome addition when he is fully fit

With their recent success, what does Ben think the secret to success in the NBDL league is?

That’s a difficult question, typically the teams that have performed well in this league have been physical, and control games from start to finish. As a team Horwood have always played a passing style of football but have lacked physical strength, we have however tried to improve this in recent years with the player additions across the team

Which players have impressed Nick so far in his new club, and what differences are there compared to his former club?

Well first of all I’ve been impressed with the style of football Great Horwood want to play as a whole club, we are always being encouraged to play short & simple football which has been very pleasing to be a part of. From what I have seen so far, we play the best football in the league although I haven’t played against Duston yet, and we always try to play the game the right way! In terms of players that have impressed there are many, but I must say that Dale Armitage & Brandon Bowes have impressed with their energy and hard work out on the wings, they have both been pivotal in getting our season up and running

And what differences are there compared to the South Midlands League?

The North Bucks league is a whole different game compared to the South Midlands, as most teams in that league attempt to play football whilst the NBDL is more physical and direct. I think this will be a great game on Saturday as I know both teams will be getting the ball down and playing good football

Ben Thickbroom

We asked Ben how he feels his side can do against higher level Winslow this weekend?

We are in good form of late and are looking to keep that run going, so will look to play our football and give a good account of ourselves. In more recent years Horwood have had a love affair with the County Cup and love pulling off a giant killing or two against teams from, on paper, higher levels! The gaffer and his management team watched Winslow in their midweek hammering of Buckingham Town and will be looking to take his analysis of that game to formulate a game plan

If Horwood are to progress in the competition, where does he think they need to better than Winslow?

From speaking with the gaffer, Winslow play a quick & direct game, so to counter this we will need to reduce their ability to play direct and cut out their channel balls. As a team we like to play in a similar fashion, so on paper this game looks to be a good attacking game

Nick knows what his side need to do:

I think it’s key to be better than Winslow from front to back, side to side and all over the pitch for ninety plus minutes! We know the quality they have in their side, but we are certainly not lacking in our own players who can change things and win games. Horwood have previously knocked out Buckingham Athletic in this competition, so playing against a slightly better South Midlands team won’t be anything new to this squad. On paper we are underdogs going into the game, but I haven’t spoken to one player who is not confident of progressing into the next round

Does Nick see himself managing in future at senior level, and what would his dream job be?

I would have thought so. I had a brilliant time being player manager at Winslow last season, it was a great insight and learning curve for myself as I’ve only been coaching at junior level previously. It’s also made me realise how tough a job it is at non-league level & I have massive respect for anyone who is in charge of a team involved in non-league football. I’m thoroughly enjoying playing at Great Horwood and don’t have any plans to manage until I retire from playing. In terms of a dream job at this level, if you find it let me know where it is!

We asked Ben for his opinions on what Nick has brought to the club, and how he thinks the game will be against his former team mates:

Nick is a Winslow lad so I’m sure there will be a strange feel to the game for him, however he has settled in really well since joining and has slotted straight into the team. He is a box to box midfielder who gives one hundred percent and also has an eye for goal, I am sure he will be looking to put in a decent performance against his former club and help us to get to the next round

Rounding up with Ben, we asked if he has any friends there he would like to get one over:

No, I don’t really know any of the Winslow squad but I know the proximity of the two clubs will add spice to the game, hopefully it will be a competitive & good quality game which the spectators will enjoy. Everyone at Great Horwood FC would like to thank Sports Shots once again for the opportunity to preview our game & look forward to talking to you again soon, keep up the good work!

Finally, we asked Nick to predict who gets the first yellow card on Saturday:

The first name that comes into my head would by Kingy (Simon) for historical reasons! But he’s too busy banging in free kicks and thirty-yard screamers to worry about bookings, and I haven’t been booked yet this year so maybe I’m overdue? Lastly, I just want to say a massive thank you to Sports Shots for all the hard work you guys put into the local non-league football scene. It’s been great sitting back and seeing all the fantastic content you bring to the game

Sports Shots would like to thank both Ben & Nick for their time this week

BBFA ST; Winslow keeper confident his side have fully risen from the Ash-es

Saturday 6th October 2018

Great Horwood v Winslow United

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy 2nd Round

Castle Fields

K.O. 3.00pm

Winslow United are back in cup action this week with two games in four days in trophy competitions, beginning on Saturday with another local trip in the Berks & Bucks senior trophy as they visit Great Horwood in the second round. After winning at Mursley in the previous round, Paul Alleyne’s men face North Bucks & District League side Horwood who are second in their division and have won their last four league games, so again another tricky obstacle for last season’s semi-finalists awaits.

Sam Ashmead

This week Sports Shots caught up with United keeper Sam Ashmead to ask how he feels his side have started the season:

I feel after a shaky start we have now begun to show more of the good dominant football from last season, we are a very good footballing side with lots of ability. I personally believe it was just the confidence in the side that was the issue to start with, we had lost two players who over last season had scored over seventy goals between them, but spirit is up now and our performances are back up

How does Sam feel he has started the season?

In terms of my personal fitness I have lost over four stone since the end of last season and have put a lot of work into getting fit and up for this season. I feel I have had a good start with some good performances, making some crucial saves, I had a run of six games with clean sheets at the end of last season so it would be nice to start pulling some more from our performances

Just how much did the upheaval at the start of the season affect the squad, and are things more settled now?

As I mentioned earlier, the loss of two players who had scored so many goals last season disrupted us all, mixed with a couple of defeats at the start of the season our morale wasn’t great. But we’ve started scoring goals again, and some crucial players are back and performing, also the return of Peck (Sean Coles) will make a huge difference

We asked if there had been any stand out players so far this term:

Personally I wouldn’t say there has been any one stand out player, as a team we have all stepped up from the start of the season & pulled together. Alex (McGowan) has been a great addition to our back four, with Peck returning now and Tom (Brindley) back & scoring goals things are definitely looking up

How were the last two away games for Winslow which saw defeat in the FA Vase and a last gasp draw at Wodson Park?

The Bedfont game we didn’t show up collectively and with the chances they had I think we were lucky to come away with just a two goal defeat. The match then at Wodson was just bad game management, we have addressed the issues from those performances and corrected things as you can see from our last result

How was the game midweek at Buckingham Town?

We started very well with Peck scoring after about nineteen seconds and then going two up within five minutes or so. Once those goals went in it made the evening a lot easier for us as it took most of the fight out of them, they managed to claw a goal back which I was personally very disappointed with after a string of saves, but a very good performance managing this game as we reduced them to one shot on goal in the second half

How difficult will this week be against a side from a lower level?

These cup games are more difficult than any, we as a team know how we feel when we are playing levels above us, it put’s that extra buzz through you and the fight & determination seems to step up with that. So we will not be expecting an easy game as they will be looking for the scalp

Finally, does Sam have any former team mates to look forward to playing against?

Personally I don’t have any no, and even if I did that all goes away when the whistle goes at the start of the game, we look to get the job done regardless of who we are playing

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

BBFA ST; Rangers stalwart confident his team are on upward Slope

Saturday 6th October 2018

Grendon Rangers v Hanslope

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy 2nd Round

The Village Hall

K.O. 3.00pm

Grendon Rangers under somewhat of a revolution have a great opportunity on Saturday to progress in the Berks & Bucks senior trophy as they host North Bucks & District side Hanslope. Currently enjoying a three game unbeaten run, which includes their penalty shoot-out win at much fancied Pitstone & Ivinghoe in the previous round, Rangers now look ahead to facing a side from a level below and who are yet to win this season but this seasons competition has already thrown a few banana skins meaning Grendon must tread carefully.

Stuart Leonard

This week Sports Shots caught up with defender Stuart Leonard to ask if he feels the club has finally settled down since the new management took over in the summer:

It does, we have gone through a few tough times in recent seasons with managerial changes & player turnover, and managers playing whilst managing, which we did for much of last year which was not ideal! The committee here are great and they work tirelessly to ensure the club continues to move forward, Steve (Jackman) and Alan (Ostler) have come in and have a clear plan for what they want to achieve and already they have the ‘buy in’ from the players, which is half the battle. The players are reacting well and gaining a great deal from Steve’s experiences of higher level football & all of us are learning in training

How does the Grendon legend feel he has started the season?

The gaffer has come in and put his faith in quite a few of the players who have been here for a while, whilst bringing in some positive additions, so it’s nice to get the opportunity. I probably didn’t expect to still be playing at my age, but I still have a drive to improve and help the team, and really enjoy playing and working hard in training, & also helping the younger players if they need it, it seems a long time ago from signing for the club for Scott Reynolds, but it’s still very enjoyable.  We have a fairly settled back four at the moment & Jason Riddell & I have a good understanding, but we need to ensure that continues as competition for places is strong and you’re only as good as your last performance, which defensively against Pitstone was not as good as it should have been

The club suffered three heavy defeats in their first four games of the season, how does Stuart remember those games?

Realistically, like most other sides, early season results can be hit & miss given player availability, holidays and the cricket season. I didn’t play in the games against New Bradwell or Bovingdon, but we learnt a lot from these and have used them to help our recent results. The game against Amersham we went with a bare eleven & battled hard, which is all we could ask for on the night against higher level opponents. The win over Mursley showed us we can compete with good sides in the division and that we can do well this season

Since then the club are unbeaten including two eye catching wins at Pitstone, how were those games?

It was pleasing to go through on penalties in the first game & beating one of the higher placed teams in the division, which gave us confidence for the Tring game where we were well worth the win. Last time out, we went down to ten men on the hour mark and Pitstone scored almost immediately, so we illustrated our team spirit to come back and get the win, where we were under pressure for long periods. The pleasing things from the gaffer’s point of view is that we were able to adapt to the situation and produced quality in the final third of the pitch at the right time. Defensively we have generally been good, but we looked lacklustre at times against Pitstone, so we need to ensure we work hard on that

On to county cup matters this week against a side from a lower league, how dangerous is it to under estimate these fixtures:

All games are the same regardless of what league you’re in or where you are in that league. Hanslope beat a good New Bradwell team to get this far, so we approach the game as any other in terms of attitude & application

Does it feel like the squad is now more settled and the season is properly underway, or are there still areas of caution to be wary of?

Definitely more settled, availability is key to this which dictates the strength of the side and the bench. We have a clear way that Steve & Alan want us to play, and we work on this in each training session. There is much better competition for places this year which is a good thing to have, as this pushes players in both training & during matches to produce their best and not be complacent

Which players have stuck out for Stuart so far?

We have a stronger squad this season with additions from higher levels. Sol Janecki has shone in the centre midfield role so far, giving us added energy and goals, including a great hatrick against Pitstone. Mohammed Adam who was recommended to us by Scott Reynolds from Aylesbury FC is a real livewire with real pace, and with guidance & experience can become a really good goal scorer. Young Jack Bonson in his first introduction to senior football is also another good talented lad and has played well when his opportunities have come along. We have a lot more attacking threats this season with the quality we have brought in, so as defenders it’s down to us to do our basics well & give these boys their chance to shine in the final third

Finally, we asked how important is it to have that local feel to a lower level non-league football club?

It’s not necessarily the way these days and it’s not always essential, but in our case having Steve at the club where he started, and being a Grendon lad had had a hugely positive impact on everyone in and around the club. He has remained true to the ethos of the club and has brought in players who have made a positive impact, as opposed to flooding it with people who move around from club to club. We are a club who try to remain true to our roots of giving all local players the opportunity to play football and this is something that we will continue to do

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