Archive for Newport Pagnell Town Football Club

UCL P; Newport manager admits squad may leave him alone on that summer Beach

Saturday 16th March 2019
Holbeach United v Newport Pagnell Town
United Counties League Premier Division
Carters Park
K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town travel to Holbeach United on Saturday as they go into their last eight games of the season, a goalless draw at Willen Road back in October failed to separate these two sides and now just four places sit between hosts and guests although a gap of eighteen points tells a different story! Town can still finish fourth in the table if they win their remaining games and other results go their way, something that just a few weeks ago seemed a long way away, & a good run of form since Christmas has eradicated the memories of their early season form which was disappointing especially after last year’s success, but more importantly these last few fixtures can be used to gain some momentum heading into next season. Holbeach haven’t lost a league game this year meaning Darren Lynch’s squad will be in for yet another stern test, but since the Swans exited the FA Vase in early January they have only lost three of their eleven games since, and seven of their last nine games have seen four or more goals so entertainment is following Newport of late…..

Darren Lynch

This week Sports Shots caught up with Newport manager Darren Lynch to ask how he would describe the club’s season with just eight games left to play?

A bit of a failure if I’m honest, I think the season didn’t start the best and it carried on from there, us not being able to field the same team more than three times in row hasn’t helped

Looking back has it been an enjoyable season, or has there been too much pressure after last year’s close run?

It’s never enjoyable when you know you have a squad capable of so much more, but last season should have been a stepping stone so obviously I’m disappointed

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but is there anything the manager would change if he could go back?

There’s nothing you can do about injuries and obviously it’s part of the game, so like u say hindsight is a great thing but you can’t legislate for losing key players at key moments, but there’s one I wish I  could really change

How difficult was it to keep hold of players at the start of the season when things weren’t going so well?

Obviously when things aren’t going well morale isn’t the best and it’s about character and players willing to stick together through thick and thin, I must take my hat off to the lads because I’m sure there were a few who had other offers but they stayed loyal to us

Looking at the league table Daventry look favourite for the league, does Darren agree with that?

The league table never lies and Daventry deserve to be where they are because they’ve been the most consistent side week in week out

Have any targets been set for the remaining games?

To finish as high as we can and everyone knows a good run in this league can mean you jump a good few places!

Away at Holbeach this week, a goalless draw at Willen Road back October, they are on a run of ten games without defeat, how will Newport approach the game?

To be honest I think we deserved to win the home game that day, but since Danny has come in he has brought a new breath of life hence they’re on a great run, but we must go into the game without fear and stamp our authority on the match and play our game!

Finally we asked Darren who he thought from his squad would be the last person to volunteer to go on holiday with the gaffer?

I’d say they’d all hate to go with me! Hahaha

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

UCL P; Swans midfielder Roaring to face former team mates this weekend

Saturday 23rd February 2019

Newport Pagnell Town v Daventry Town

United Counties League Premier Division

Willen Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town face league leaders Daventry Town on Saturday at Willen Road, and host a side who are unbeaten in their last fourteen games in all competition so a tough test for Darren Lynch’s men who seem to have turned a corner in their season, they’ve won their last four games scoring sixteen goals along the way and have finally broken into the top half of the Future Lions United Counties Football League Premier Division table after a torturous first two-thirds of the season. Another victory twinned with a win or two in their games they have in hand on those above them and Town could be breathing down the neck of the top six places which just a few weeks ago seemed a very distant dream, just one defeat in their last ten league games has propelled the Swans up that league table thanks in main to eight goals in seven games from Dom Lawless, which sees the striker currently on twenty-three for the season and in red hot form looking to break the thirty barrier before the end of the season. But Daventry haven’t lost away from home yet this season in the league and with that boast the tightest away defensive record having conceded just seven goals, Newport have the fourth best home defence in the league, so something has to give!

Michael Lyon

This week Sports Shots caught up with Swans midfielder Michael Lyon to ask when & how he joined the club and how it’d been since signing:

I have been at Newport since the middle of last season, before then I was playing at Kempston but just wasn’t getting enough game time. Joining Newport was an easy decision as they were challenging for the league, I knew a few of the lads and it was closer to home. Settling in was no problem, I felt like I had been here all season

How does Michael feel his own season has been in terms of fitness & contribution?

Personally my season hasn’t been as good as I had hoped, I’ve picked up a couple of little injuries and had work commitments which has stitched me up. When I have been able to get a good run of games I think my performances have been good

We asked just how good the Newport squad is this season:

The squad has quite a good balance of young and old and on our day I feel we can compete with any team in our league. I don’t think there is a stand out player, the games that we win are due to the whole team working together and putting in one hundred percent

What does Michael feel his best position in the team is and what formation best suits his style of play?

My favoured position would be centre midfield because you are always involved in the game. The different systems don’t change the amount of effort you should put in so it makes no difference to me playing four-four-two or three-five-two. Since I’ve been at Newport I have probably played in every position apart from goalkeeper and as long as I’m on the pitch I’m happy!

This season has been in stark contrast to last in terms of league position, what has been the biggest thing the squad have learnt this season that they can take into next?

I think the biggest thing we have learnt over the last two seasons is that we need the same mentality for every game. Playing against the top teams in the league is easy to get motivated for,  but playing against the teams down the bottom on a bad pitch in the middle of the winter away on a Tuesday night is bit different but just as important

Four wins out of four for Town, how has this run been?

I wasn’t available for the Kirkby game but it’s good to get on a winning run, not only for the points on the board it also boosts everybody’s confidence and boosts the team spirit

Onto Daventry this week who need no introduction having beaten Newport twice already this season, what are the squad expecting this time round?

We will all be looking forward to the weekend, they may have beaten us twice but it will be good to have another go at them! Our old team mates Luke (Emery) and Taylor (Orosz) are dangerous players and we will have to be on our game to keep them quiet. If we are at our best we will have a good go at them

Finally, we asked if Michael could pick any team mate to go on any TV programme who & what would he choose?

I will have to say Sedge (Tom Liversedge) to go on You’ve Been Framed. His miss on Tuesday night is definitely worth £250!

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

UCL P; Newport winger feels his team can have a Stronge finish to their season

Saturday 2nd February 2019

Newport Pagnell Town v Desborough Town

United Counties League Premier Division

Willen Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town host Desborough Town on Saturday knowing victory would lift them above their guests who sit a place & two points above them going into the fixture, and potentially into the top ten places of the Future Lions United Counties Football League Premier Division which a just a few weeks ago seemed a long way away. The Town rise up the table has been thanks to a run that has seem them accumulate four wins and two draws in their last seven league outings, which has also helped eradicate the disappointment of going out of the FA Vase at the fourth round stage, and Darren Lynch’s men will be looking to keep this run going against the side who have lost their last two games without scoring a goal, whilst also looking to avenge their defeat by the odd goal in three at Desborough back in September. After this game Newport have three successive away trips, two of which are at sides below them in the table, the other at Leicester who are just a couple of places & seven points above, if Town can get a run of wins in this sequence going then by the time they next play at Willen Road, they could just be sitting comfortably in the higher echelons of that league table.

Jake Stronge

This week Sports Shots caught up with Newport winger Jake Stronge to ask how he joined the club and how it’s been since:

I joined Newport when my under sixteen team moved here from another club, I then made the step up to the reserves at sixteen and then was fortunate at seventeen to be selected for the first team. The lads have been great even though I am so young, they look out for me

How good a season does Jake feel he’s had, and what targets does he have?

So far I think my season hasn’t gone too badly. I did pick up what was thought to be a serious injury but thankfully that was not the case and I was only out for a couple of weeks. My target is to contribute as much as I can to the team and help us move back up the table for the remainder the season

How good is the Newport squad this year, and which players have impressed so far?

The squad this season is still a strong side and results really don’t show the talent we have. My stand out players would be Ollie (Wilkinson) as he has been my on the pitch mentor and an ever present in our defence, also Micky Lyons because he will run for the full ninety minutes and do everything to help the team out

What is Jake’s favoured position in the team and what formation best suits him?

My favoured position is on either wing and the formation that gets the best out of me would be four-three-three because it gives me the ability to get high & wide and to run at defenders

We asked Jake to detail his history in football prior to joining Newport:

I was at the Northampton Academy between the ages of nine and fourteen as a goalkeeper, but I wasn’t tall enough for a professional club so I moved out field as a winger. I was at Shenley Lions for a year before moving to Newport at under sixteen level

The last three games have seen a win, a draw and a defeat, how were these games from a Town point of view?

Wellingborough went ok as we won even though we played well below par but Oadby saw a few decisions that didn’t go our way which ultimately cost us. Against Cogenhoe we went down to ten men & to get a draw wasn’t great as we felt like we should have won. These results pretty much sum up our season this year

Onto Desborough this weekend, what does Jake remember of the defeat at their place earlier in the season?

The game against Desborough was one I remember, as looking back we should have won if not for a few errors. I feel this time we can get the three points

Finally we asked Jake if he could pick any team mate to go on any television programme, who and what would he choose any why?

It has to be Brownie (Lee Brown) our keeping coach, I’d get him on Ninja Warrior UK as I feel his cat like reflexes and nimbleness would benefit him greatly (love ya ons!)

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

FAV 4R; Canterbury City 3-2 Newport Pagnell Town

Canterbury City – 3

Newport Pagnell Town – 2


Newport Pagnell Town’s FA Vase run was brought to an end on Sunday by Canterbury City in a game where the Milton Keynes side failed to get going until they were two goals down, pulling one back with twenty minutes to go finally kicked them into life and they piled on the pressure looking for an equaliser, they conceded again with seven minutes remaining but a brilliant solo effort moments later from substitute Jake Stronge then set up a thrilling final five minutes where The Swan’s battered the City defence but they held strong to seal the win and progress into the fifth round. Played at Faversham this cup run for the hosts could prove crucial in their fight to remain in existence, as twelve years without their own ground since they re-formed could be resolved later this year as they await planning consent, a healthy crowd turned up on Sunday afternoon to enforce their claim for needing their own home, for Town they now have a league campaign to focus on and have half of their league games left to try and push on up the United Counties League Premier Division table.

A third minute free kick to the away side just inside their own half saw the ball sent long into the City box where Dom Lawless chested towards Josh Winters but from the angle he smashed over the top, at the other end Mobolaji Dawodu connected with a cross from the right but he could only chip into the waiting arms of Pagnell keeper Mark Osborn. Harry Stratton then floated in another set piece where a mass of bodies challenging saw Damon Herbert climb highest and his looping header had home custodian Jack Delo turning over from underneath his crossbar, but from that point the home side had a good spell of possession and won a number of corners in quick succession which saw the visitors under some heavy pressure.

Kyron Lightfoot scores opener

There was some momentary respite on twenty-eight minutes when Adam Moussi fed the ball up to Tom Liversedge inside the Canterbury box, with back to goal and a defender on his shoulder he managed to control and swivel to flash across the box and wide of the back post, within a minute their next attack broke down high up the pitch and seconds later they were behind. Driving forward after regaining possession, a foul in the centre circle was waved play on by the referee allowing the home side to proceed up to the Town box, Dean Grant saw his shot charged down but the ball rolled out to Kyron Lightfoot whose first time effort was heading wide until the merest of touches from a Newport head diverted its flight inside Osborn’s far post.

The onslaught to the Pagnell goal became more intense as the half wore on, anything the visitors slung at their hosts was repelled with some ease by the strong City back line, and just four minutes before the interval the score line was doubled from a simple routine, a free kick out on the left was curled into the box and timing his run perfectly in between the defence Dawodu headed home from six yards out. Newport’s half was summed up in the final minute when they won a corner and it failed to clear the first man who was able to launch downfield away from any danger. H/T: 2-0

Five minutes into the second half saw Lawless try his luck with his back to goal getting on the end of a cross but his overhead kick just looped up into the air allowing Delo to stand his ground and wait for it to fall into his hands, whilst a throw to the hosts found Adam Woollcott to the left but his shot way over the top. Canterbury then had a golden chance when a challenge in the middle of the pitch saw Town centre back Ollie Wilkinson flattened however play was waved on and Grant needed no second invitation to bear down on Osborn’s goal, inside the box his first shot came back off the keeper & straight back to him, he hit it again instinctively but could only steer wide.

Harry Stratton scores from free kick

Newport won a free kick some twenty yards out where Lawless took responsibility and curled around the wall but Delo was behind it all the way, then with twenty-five minutes left Town boss Darren Lynch introduced Stronge to the action and within six minutes they were back in the tie, a free kick awarded just outside the eighteen yard box saw Stratton step up, as the defensive wall jumped, Michael Lyon on the end of the line ducked and the ball flew over him and into the far bottom corner. This transformed Newport and they were lifted into action, Lawless from the flank squared into the box where Stratton got under it to lift over the top, and any chance they got the ball was inside the Canterbury box but again the defence repelled anything thrown at them. Then with eight minutes to go a Town attack broke down and they were hit on the counter, James Turner attacked the right channel and as he neared the penalty area a challenge from behind floored him & the referee awarded a free kick.

Woollcott stepped up and arrowed brilliantly past Osborn into the top corner for what the home support thought was enough to seal the game, however just ninety seconds later Stronge collected some twenty-five yards from goal and set on a diagonal run into the box, evading two or three challenges he tucked past Delo to set up a grandstand finish. The final five minutes saw the away side sling everything they had at their opponents, Stronge down the right fizzed a ball across the box which saw numerous bodies from both sides fling themselves trying to connect without success, from the other side of the pitch it was crossed back in where Delo then flung himself desperately trying to catch and eventually the danger cleared, as much as they tried the final whistle brought ultimate disappointment for the Swans. F/T: 3-2

Attendance: 259

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After the game Sports Shots caught up with Newport manager Darren Lynch: 

For match day photography please click here:

FAV; Swans duo determined to leave Canterbury with their Tails up

Sunday 6th January 2019

Canterbury City v Newport Pagnell Town

FA Vase 4th Round

Salters Lane

K.O. 2.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town travel to Faversham on Sunday to face fellow step five side Canterbury City for a place in the final sixteen of this season’s FA Vase and come up against a side that haven’t lost a game since they progressed in the previous round against Southall, an undefeated December saw them win four in a row beginning with that third round victory and draw their two league games since Christmas. City currently sit bang in middle position of the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division table, having won nine and drawing three of their nineteen league games to date, and whilst Newport have progressed this far in the competition, their league form hasn’t been what they were hoping since the season began. Two wins and a draw around the Christmas period see’s Darren Lynch’s men travel to Kent with some momentum behind them, and the lure of that fifth round place should lift both squads in to a pulsating cup tie.

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with defender Ollie Wilkinson and front man Harry Stratton and asked the former how long he’d been at the club and how he ended up there:

This is my third season at Newport, I knew Smeaths (Stuart Smeathers), Faze (Fazel Koriya) and Lingy (Greg Ling) from playing with them at Long Buckby where we won the UCL and also at Bedford. I played with Lynchy (Darren Lynch) at Corby as well as knowing a few of the others from playing against them so when I got a phone call about coming over it was all fairly straight forward. It was also a good changing room to get into, I knew we’d be competitive from the off

This is Harry’s second spell at the club:

I joined the club last season before having a short spell away and returning at the beginning of this season, both times I had no problem settling in as the bunch of lads here are great

Harry Stratton

How does Harry feel his season has been so far?

For me this season I’ve felt good, I was only out for a week with a small knock but other than that I’ve been available, performance wise I’ve managed to get a few goals and assists however I believe there’s still much more to come

Ollie looked back at the team’s fortunes:

This season has been a really strange one so far, I feel like we’ve not been playing badly at all but things haven’t gone our way in games and we’ve been punished. We’ve had our fair share of injuries as well which never helps, let’s just hope we’ve got them all out of the way now

Ollie Wilkinson

How good a squad does Ollie feel the club have this season & which players have impressed?

I feel like we’ve got a really good squad and everyone is just about coming back to full fitness so hopefully we’ll see our results picking up. There are plenty of lads that have been around for a few years and everyone knows the quality that they have but we’ve got a few younger lads coming through this year that are impressing. The two Jakes (Stronge & Watkinson) are very lively and have taken to the challenge & physicality in the first team well this year, and I’m sure they’ll be giving defenders headaches for years to come!

Harry believes the squad are now starting to show signs of putting a run together:

It’s no secret that we haven’t had the greatest of starts to the season for whatever reasons, however with the quality we have in the squad I feel we should be right up there, if I’m honest I think everyone will agree that none of us have been at our best this season. However, over the last month or so everyone has stepped up their game and have been different class, we are now starting to look like the Newport of last season

Where does Harry feel his best position is in the side & formation for the side?

I feel my best position is either out wide or behind the striker. I love to get on the ball to try and create opportunities for my team mates, as well as score a few goals myself. Systems and formations I really don’t mind, that’s up to the gaffer to decide, whatever instructions he gives me I try my best to execute on the pitch

Ollie is more defensive minded:

I don’t mind where I’m playing as long as I’m contributing positively to the side, I can play at centre back or right back but I think Lynchy & Gouldy likes to keep me at right back so they get at least forty-five minutes rest from me!

We asked Ollie how the three games over Christmas were:

The first half against Northampton ON’s and the Eynesbury game were exactly what we’ve been trying to get to all season, we looked dangerous going forward whilst solid at the back, there was a good intensity about us. The second half against ON’s we lacked any real intensity or quality on the ball but managed to dig in and stay organised to defend well and see the game out to the end. The Rothwell game definitely wasn’t a good spectacle for this league, with very little football being played on an awful pitch where it looked like Christmas had caught up with a few, myself very much included!

Harry thought they deserved all the points:

I feel in the last three games we should have really taken all nine points based upon our performances. We’ve been a lot better offensively and defensively producing probably our best performance of the season against Eynesbury

On to Canterbury this week in the FA Vase, what is Harry expecting?

If I’m perfectly honest and no disrespect to our opponents but I don’t know very much about them at all, I’m preparing the same way I do for any other game, to go out there and do my best to win the game, however regardless of how much I know about them it’s going to be a tough game, they wouldn’t be in this position otherwise

Ollie is similarly in the dark on their opponents:

I don’t know anything really about Canterbury other than that is it miles away! We’re training on Thursday so we might get fed a few bits then but I don’t think it will make too much difference to how we approach the game itself. It will be strange having to do it all on a Sunday but as long as we get ourselves at it and with the intensity we know we’ll need, there’s not much more we can do and the result will take care of itself. They’re obviously a decent side to have got this far in the competition, so we’ll have to be wary of them but also know what quality we have

Does Ollie find it hard to concentrate on league matters when this cup run is still ongoing?

I don’t think you can approach any game differently really because they’re all games of football and you never want to lose! Once the game starts anyway, any other game is gone completely from your mind and you just take each part of the current game you’re in as it comes. It’s no good telling yourself that you’re going to play differently in a game because as soon as the adrenaline kicks in it just won’t happen

Harry agrees it is simply one game at a time:

Concentrating on the league with the Vase in sight is not a problem whatsoever for me, I just take each game as it comes, and if I’m honest I haven’t even thought about this competition until after the last game we played

Rounding up we asked Harry how important it is to win on Sunday, will the season be over if Newport lose?

Of course it’s very important for us to progress in this cup, however that would be the same regardless of our league position, no matter what the result on Sunday we will always do our very best to climb up the league table to get as close to the top as possible. I won’t feel as though the season is over, I hate losing and will try to win every game no matter where we are

Ollie looks back at teams from last year to find encouragement:

Obviously we are all really disappointed with our current league position and its something that we all desperately want to improve on this year. The season is never over at Christmas, just look at what Wisbech & Yaxley managed to do after poor starts last season! I don’t think that will happen again any time soon but we’re only halfway through the season now, so even if we do lose on Sunday no one will be sacking off the rest of the campaign and just playing through to get to May. There are too many winners in our dressing room to allow that to happen, that being said we’d all love to win and progress further in the Vase. There are quite a few of us left from the run we had two years ago and we had a few great Saturday’s that year so it would be brilliant to replicate that again. You can’t play football forever, and the memories you make last the longer you can carry on playing. We’ll give it our best and hopefully that will be enough to keep us in the hat come Monday morning. Happy New Year!

Sports Shots would like to thank both Ollie and Harry for their time this week

UCL; Newport Pagnell Town 1-2 Rugby Town

Newport Pagnell Town – 1

Rugby Town – 2


Newport Pagnell were beaten at home on Saturday by the divisions second place side Rugby Town, but for forty seven minutes looked worth of getting something from the game, taking the lead shortly before half-time was no more than the hosts deserved on the balance of play and chances created, but that was all undone within ninety seconds of the restart when Swans keeper Mark Osborn was red carded for handling outside his area and Rugby went on to make their numerical advantage count, two goals from Lewis Rankin put them in front and a late dismissal for Josh Winters meant the Willen Road side ended the game with nine men. Both sides did well to play the game at all in weather conditions not seen for a while, freezing cold temperatures mixed with an ice cold wind and driving rain welcomed the sides onto the pitch, and did not relent for the ninety minutes, there was definitely a huge demand for the hot water taps after this game!

The opening ten minutes offered little to warm the generous crowd who had braved the conditions, the hosts saw a corner easily cleared, two long balls sail out for goal kicks and the visitors attacks were either comfortable for Osborn to collect or the flag denied. The first effort of note came on thirteen minutes when a cross from the Newport left looked harmless however Adam Moussi got ahead of everyone to get his shot away forcing Rugby keeper Matthew Hill away to his left to halt its flight towards the bottom corner, a further four minutes until the Northamptonshire side had their first sight when Danico Johnson curled wide from the edge of the area.

From the goal kick Osborn sent Winters racing away down the right wing and beating his marker with ease he pulled the ball back across the eighteen yard line where Harry Stratton fired low across goal and inches wide of Hill’s right hand post, back at the opposite end full back Charlie Evans found space to the left of goal but dragged his effort past the far upright. A ball down the middle of the pitch then saw an outstretched boot flick straight into the path of Dom Lawless and he was away on goal, Hill advanced but the Swans striker scuffed his effort past the keeper and with no real power and a heavy pitch there was never any danger to the stalemate being broken, Stratton then fed Lawless inside the box where his first effort was blocked but he followed up to force Hill diving away to pull off a brilliant save as it looked as though the ball would nestle in the top left hand corner.

Josh Winters opens scoring

A Rugby corner saw Liam Francis head up and seemingly over but as the ball dipped back down Osborn had to be alert and step back quickly to punch over his crossbar, Moussi at the other end was urged to shoot by his team mates from the edge of the box but he screwed wide, then three minutes before the break Winters did find the back of the net. A free kick in the middle of the pitch was simply floated downfield and Winters climbed highest to head into the bottom corner, a minute after the opener a low cross fizzed along the six-yard box but no green shirts were anywhere near to get the touch, and a free kick then out on their left saw Liam Smyth curl in and Hill had to gather with both hands right in front of his feet, again the conditions making life harder than he’d have wanted. H/T: 1-0

Seconds in to the second period Winters was away down the flank and he touched the ball inside to Lawless who had a clear run at goal but his drive was straight into the trees behind the goal, from there it all went horribly wrong for Newport, the goal kick took a bounce and looped over everyone towards the Pagnell penalty area, as Osborn came out he had the opportunity to kick but let the ball roll and then as a red shirt approached he fell to his knees and handled before kicking away. The referee consulted with his assistant ahead of brandishing a red card to the keeper, who handed his shirt to Smyth before leaving the field of play.

Simeon Tulloch got down the Rugby right and crossed into former Swan Fazal Koriya whose glancing header only helped the ball away for a goal kick, and as much as the visitors started to dominate the possession the hosts were always looking for a counter, one such saw Winters away down the wing and cutting in he curled his shot around the back post. With eighteen minutes left the away side equalised when Rankin was fed with his back to goal and managing to turn his first effort was saved by Smyth but he followed up to level. The away side now sensed they could win the game, a long range drive from Richard Blythe saw Smyth have to push away, from the corner Blyth volleyed straight into the keepers gloves.

Liam Smyth faces free kick after donning the gloves

The home side never gave up and a great run from Moussi saw him send a perfect cross into Winters who in front of goal could not get the ball out from under his feet, once he dug it out his shot was blocked and the chance was gone, whilst Rankin tried his luck again from eighteen yards where a wicked deflection almost wrong footed Smyth but he recovered to fling himself away to his left to save with both hands. With eight minutes remaining a ball over the Newport backline saw the entire defence call for offside, however the flag was kept down allowing Johnson to get a shot away that was blocked however Rankin was closest to rifle home the rebound.

Two minutes later a tackle on Winters in the Rugby half saw him floored but no whistle, as he lay waiting for his free kick the ball rolled to his offender, the red mist then appeared as he got up and lunged into the tackle sparking a twenty man brawl that ended with the Newport man being sent off. Despite the imbalance there was still time for a late chance to fall to Stratton as he received a pass inside the penalty arc, looking like he was going to hit it first time he took a touch before having to somewhat snatch at his shot that flew wide. F/T: 1-2

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After the match Sports Shots caught up with Newport Pagnell manager Darren Lynch: 

For match photography please click here:

UCLP; Swans duo hoping to go full bloom in FA Vase

Saturday 15th December 2018

Newport Pagnell Town v Rugby Town

United Counties League Premier Division

Willen Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town face second place Rugby Town on Saturday at Willen Road as they return to league action after last weekend’s success in the FA Vase at Hullbridge Sports, as they try and get their United Counties League Premier Division campaign back on track after a disappointing start to the season. Currently sitting in fifteenth place Town will be looking to avenge the four goals without reply defeat they suffered at the hands of their guests in the return fixture back in October, and will need to put any thoughts of FA competition to the back of their minds if they are to take anything from the side who have not lost in the league since the middle of September. Despite the Vase victory, the Swans have lost their last two league fixtures, and will be looking to build upon last week’s superb result as they head into a busy Christmas and New Year period.

Mark Osborn (image courtesy of NPTFC)

This week Sports Shots caught up with defender Yaw Ofosu and goalkeeper Mark Osborn, and asked the shot stopper when & how he joined the club, and for his opinion of the club in general:

I’ve had two spells here, the first under Terry Shrieves for nearly one season before I left to join Hemel Hempstead in 2011, then I retired but (Darren) Lynchy has been a friend of mine for a long time and he talked me into playing again three seasons ago, and I’ve enjoyed it ever since. There is a lot of effort that goes on that as players & supporters you don’t always get to see to keep a club like ours going, there’s a limited budget and we rely a lot on volunteers who do a great job. On the playing side the staff also give up so much of their own time to try and improve the team & equipment that we have, and Lynchy goes as far as roping his mum in to clean the kit after every game so we are probably the best smelling team in the UCL! The facilities are very limited at the club, but I know they are always trying to improve them with regards to ground grading and things like that, but our training facilities are not the kind that get you excited when you come in to training on a cold winter night!

Youngster Yaw also has a history at the club:

This is my second season with the first team, I played for the under eighteen’s for a year and then the reserves for two, becoming captain in the final year before leaving for university. Last pre-season I came down to train for the reserves after having a break, the gaffer (Darren Lynch) and Maff Childs who was my manager at the time when I was playing for the reserves, brought me in and gave me a chance, at that time the team didn’t have that many centre-backs so I was playing regularly which was great. The staff and the players have a real family relationship with each other that helps, we always have a laugh whether we win, lose or draw

How good a season does Yaw feel he is having?

Personally I haven’t reached my levels consistently this season because of some injuries, although the last two games we have been good performance wise, being unlucky against Oadby was hard to take but as a group we put that right at Hullbridge in the FA Vase

Mark has also suffered from injury this campaign:

I feel my personal performances have probably matched that of the team in being inconsistent, I’ve had some injuries and bits but have still had some good games like Cogenhoe away. I like to think that Darren knows when I play he is getting one hundred percent from me

With the inconsistent start to the league season, and the Vase run in full flight, what is Mark’s priority?

It’s been very frustrating this season when you look at the start, we have the same squad as last year so people expect you to do the same if not better, but football doesn’t always work like you want it to, so we have ended up at the wrong end of the table. Some personnel changes now, we will work our hardest to make sure we finish at the right end of the table, and with the Vase we can still make it a successful season. I think the league is still really important but for me I would love another Vase run, at my age I can still dream of playing at Wembley and we have a squad that can beat anyone our day so why not dream and make that our target now, something that we would never forget

Yaw Ofosu (image courtesy of NPTFC)

Yaw still views the league table as the priority:

Simply put, we haven’t been good enough defensively or offensively as a team, a Vase run is great for the club and the supporters but a strong finish in the league is still our priority

We asked Yaw how good he feels the current crop of players are, and which players have impressed so far:

I feel our squad has quality all over and when key players are fit, we are a really exciting team with a good mix of youth & experience. For me, we have some really good young players at Newport, Harry Stratton being one of them and also Adam Moussa who has recently come in and made a real impact. From the experienced players we have a strong core of six or seven who are important for us, for me I think Ozzy (Mark Osborn), Liam Smyth, Josh Winters & Dom Lawless stand-out

Mark also named three of those players in his list:

We have a good squad, I’m not going to say it’s the best but I think we are more of a team than we were at the start of the season, and like I said we have shown on our day we can beat any team at this level. Players that have stood out for me are the younger players coming through like Harry Stratton, but the one who has been consistent and is pretty much every season is Liam Smyth. Dom (Lawless) is starting to regain his sharpness and if we are to achieve things then he will be really important to us

Which sides does Mark see as being title contenders?

Rugby have been the team that are head and shoulders above everyone in terms of ability, they play good football and have players that can win games, and I think they will go on to win the title

Yaw hasn’t faced this week ends opponents as yet:

I wasn’t available against Rugby in the reverse fixture so this will be my first time facing them. Daventry are top and knocked us out of the cup so I’d have to say they’ve been the strongest team I’ve faced this season

How did Yaw see last week’s win in the Vase?

Last weekend was a great day for everyone involved and also for the club, together we defended as a unit and played some very good football on a difficult pitch. They are top of their league so to get a clean sheet was a real bonus

Mark again discusses the ability in the squad shown last week:

It was a good win but we went into the game knowing that if we played as well as we can then we could win the fixture. We were well organised and played the conditions well, and when we had our chances we took them and that’s what we haven’t been doing consistently in our league games

What is Mark expecting from Rugby on Saturday?

I only know what they are like from the game against them earlier in the season, and that they now have Fazel (Koriya) playing for them so we will have to be at our best again if we are to get the result we want. It will be interesting to see if they can play the conditions like we can, we’ve upset Pinchbeck at home when they were second so I see no reason why we can’t beat Rugby on Saturday

Yaw also believes his side are capable of pulling a result:

I feel to get a result against Rugby we have to play as we have been over the past couple of weeks, defend well as a team and be clinical in attack. They’re one of the top teams in our league so it will be a competitive match but I believe that suits a team like us

Rounding up, we asked Yaw if he’s always played in defence during his career:

Yes, always defence or centre midfield, I’m comfortable in both positions. I feel naturally I can play central midfield given my skill set and size, playing there for Kingston University last year was great fun and I was able to express myself, as you see the ball more often and learn the position more. For now I am happy with my role at centre-half, Dave Baker & I have built a good understanding together

And does Mark fancy anywhere else on the pitch?

Yes I have always played in goal, but if I could play anywhere then I’d play up front, they take all the glory and it can’t be that hard. I would take Dom’s place in our team just to give him the chance to moan at me when I miss a chance because we always seem to think we can do better!

Sports Shots would like to thank both Mark & Yaw for their time this week.

UCLP; Swans duo hoping to rebuild Bridge over troubled waters

Saturday 1st December 2018

Hullbridge Sports v Newport Pagnell Town

FA Vase 3rd Round

Lower Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town face a trip into Essex on Saturday in the third round of the FA Vase, Hullbridge Sports host the Swans with £1,125 at stake for the winners, in the competition that Darren Lynch’s men reached the quarter final stages of two years ago. A difficult season for the Swans has seen numerous false dawns with just four league wins in a campaign they had hoped to do well in after last year’s success but the FA Vase could yet prove to be instrumental in another good year for the club. A trip into the unknown for this third round tie takes them into Essex to face a side that have lost just once in their last eight games in all competition, and currently sit top of the Essex Senior League; this looks a tricky tie if they are to progress!

To view the Essex Senior League table click here:

Josh Winters

This week Sports Shots caught up with midfield duo Liam Smyth and Josh Winters, and asked Josh how his season has been so far and what position he prefers to play:

The season has been a bit disappointing so far to be honest, I felt fit off the back of pre-season and was looking forward to going one better than last year but it hasn’t quite worked out that way! During the last pre-season training session I pulled my groin and was out for the first five weeks of the campaign, and since returning in October things have been inconsistent to say the least. I have been playing either in central midfield or out on the right, I don’t really have a preference

Liam has been slightly happier with his form:

My season on a personal note so far hasn’t been that bad but as always it could be better. I play in central midfield and have contributed with a few assists, and have even scored a rare goal already, fitness has been good and I’ve only missed a few games due to a stomach injury

What does Liam think has contributed to the inconsistent start to the season?

It’s difficult to put my finger on it really as we started the season with pretty much the same squad as last year. I think we have just got ourselves into a bit of a rut and when you’re not winning its really hard to break out of, I also feel that we’ve been unlucky with injuries in key areas which also hasn’t helped

Josh agreed with the amount of injuries:

I think there a couple of reasons; our mentality hasn’t been right on a consistent enough basis but you can see from our results that when we do apply ourselves then we are still more than a match for anyone in this league. Secondly, our squad has been depleted with injuries, not just squad member but players that would start games, I think when we played Pinchbeck at home a couple of weeks ago I worked out that we had nine first teamers out which would damage anyone’s chances

Which players have impressed Josh so far this term?

I think the young lads who have come in have been a positive for us so far, Jake Stronge & Jake Watkinson have come up from the reserves & performed really well whilst scoring some really important goals for us at times. Young Harry Stratton has also re-joined us after a spell away & has caught the eye, I think all three players will be very important to Newport Pagnell Town in the future

Liam Smyth

Liam picked a couple of others, and admits they miss those who have left:

We’ve recently added a few new faces and brought some lads in from the reserves, of the new ones Adam Moussi has been a strong addition in midfield. With regards to the squad as a whole I think that Sedge (Tom Liversedge) has been very consistent and one of our better players, in terms of the lads that have left I think in their own way we miss them all but we can’t worry about them now, we need to concentrate on what we have and improving as a team

Two thumping wins were followed by defeat last weekend, how did Liam view the trio of games?

The previous games had gone our way and we had played some good football, we took our chances within those games then going into last Saturday at Harborough we looked good up until just before half time, after conceding two sloppy goals we just seemed to capitulate in the second period. It wasn’t good enough from us and we have to learn quickly so it doesn’t happen again

Josh agreed on the second half collapse:

It was one of the most frustrating games I’ve been a part of! We arrived at Harborough with five regular starters missing but our confidence was high coming off the back of two big wins, we started really well and were playing some really good football on the 4g surface. We took the lead on thirty-five minutes through Dommy (Dominic Lawless) and then had another good couple of chances to extend our lead but then they scored two soft goals on our part just before the break. We felt at halftime that we could get back in to the game if we started well, that didn’t happen and we never got going again and Harborough ran away with it, scoring another three soft goals in my opinion. A really disappointing performance and not what we wanted going into the biggest game of our season this Saturday

Josh Winters

We asked Josh to share his thoughts on what Liam Smyth brings to the team:

Liam is a top lad and one of the nicest guys you could meet, very calm on and off the pitch, he likes to get on the ball and make us play. He’s played well for us this season and scored a vital goal away in the first round of the Vase to get us back into that game

And Liam on Josh?

Wints is an important player for us as he gives us energy wherever he plays, lately playing out wide his direct approach has caused teams problems and he has been involved in creating and scoring a lot of goals. He is never one to hide and will put himself about, digs in even when we haven’t been at it

Did Liam start the season with any targets in mind and have they changed?

On a personal note I don’t really set targets, I just wanted to have an enjoyable season after a bit of a stop start one last year. It’s not been the most enjoyable results wise but hopefully we can change that and go on another good FA Vase run

Josh thinks the squad’s targets have changed:

I think the target for a club like Newport at the start of the season has to be either promotion or to win the league, however after the start to the season that we’ve had, I think you have to be realistic. I think now the target has to be to finish as high up the league as we can and to go as far in the FA Vase as we can. Newport had a great run in this competition the year before I joined & I know from the lads’ stories it included some great away trips, fingers crossed we can do something similar this time around

Where does Josh think Town can finish the season, and who is in the frame for the title?

I think it’s a two horse race between Rugby & Daventry for the title, but if we can go on a run then there is no reason we cannot finish somewhere between third and seventh. It’s going to be tough and a huge ask but if you get on a run and start building momentum then that is a powerful thing

Liam also believes his side can challenge at the top end of the division:

The target for the team was promotion especially after narrowly missing out last season, it obviously hasn’t gone to plan so far but there’s a long way to go and we have the players to definitely get into the top five, although I think even a top five finish would still be a disappointment on the whole after last year

Liam Smyth

Finally, we asked Liam for his thoughts on the Vase game this week:

The only thing I know about them is that they are doing quite well in their league, but we can only concentrate on ourselves and I know that on our day we can beat anyone. A couple of seasons back we knocked out some very good sides on our way to that quarter final and if we want to progress again then we have to be on it, focused and cut out the silly mistakes

Josh is looking forward to it:

I don’t really know too much about them in all fairness but you don’t get to the third round of this competition without being a decent side. I’m really looking forward to the game, it will be the biggest game of the season for us and we will be looking to put a few things right after our performance last Saturday. Hopefully we will have a few of our big players back and we can go there trying to get the win

Sports Shots would like to thank both Josh & Liam for their time this week

UCLP; Swans boss hoping for no more hic-Cups on march to FA Vase glory

Saturday 24th November 2018

Harborough Town v Newport Pagnell Town

United Counties League Premier Division

HTFC Community Ground

K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town travel to Harborough Town on Saturday on the back of two consecutive victories which has seen them score six goals in both matches and put back to back league victories together for the first time this season. With their hosts below them in the league table, a win would see The Swans within touching distance of the top half of the United Counties League Premier Division table, and more importantly a third straight win would be a welcome boost going into their FA Vase game at Hullbridge Sports next weekend where they attempt to make it into the last sixteen of the competition again. With just two defeats in their last eight games in all competition, which were both against league leaders Daventry Town, can Newport push on from here to enjoy another cup run, and climb that league table at the same time?

Darren Lynch

This week Sports Shots caught up with manager Darren Lynch to ask if both those victories signal a change of his team’s fortunes:

We’ve performed well, and both games against Daventry were lost in the first thirty minutes of each game. We have been unlucky with injuries this season but players are starting to come back now, plus the addition of new blood has really boosted our confidence, I’m hoping this is our turning point

With two wins, six points and twelve goals in the last two games, how does the manager reflect back on those games?

I recently said that the Pinchbeck result was one of my best results as a manager here, due to players being missing through injures & suspensions, and their record going into the game made the result even better & we carried that momentum into the Wellingborough game. With both of my strikers scoring ten of those twelve goals it has boosted their confidence as well, it’s not that we’ve played badly during our tough period, we just didn’t have much luck going our way

There seems to have been some player movement over the past few weeks, where is the squad now in terms of quality and depth?

We never really made a signing during pre-season due to my thinking that the squad that finished last season in third place would be more than capable of challenging again this season, but that never worked out the way I had hoped, and with players wanting to go on to pastures new it gave me the opportunity to bring in fresh faces. There will be more over the next couple of weeks hopefully!

The league table shows Newport are currently in twelfth position, does Darren think this is a fair reflection of his team so far?

They say the league table never lies so at the minute we are where we deserve to be but I’m confident that we’ll start to climb the table if we can go on a decent run, we need to remember that Yaxley started their title push this time last season so never say never

Newport are still in the FA Vase, what’s the priority from here on in?

The league is our bread & butter so that’s always our priority but as we all saw a couple of seasons ago, a decent Vase run can be an unforgettable experience and it’s always good for the club financially so we will give it our all next week in what will be a tough fixture but one I think we can win

Away to Harborough on Saturday, what are the squad expecting?

Harborough is always a tricky place to go and now they have a 4G pitch it’ll be a good test for the lads but one I’m sure they’ll be up for

And then the big cup game the following week?

I always enjoy the FA Vase and getting to the quarter finals two years ago really makes me want the lads to go those steps further

Finally, we asked Darren if he had a choice of either win the league or a Wembley cup final, what would he choose?

It always has to be promotion as becoming league champions is always the main aim but winning the FA Vase would be a once in a lifetime experience so I’ll be greedy and take both ha ha!

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

UCLP; Swans front man convinced his team can be Dom-inant force this season

Saturday 20th October 2018

Newport Pagnell Town v Deeping Rangers

United Counties League Premier Division

Willen Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town face Deeping Rangers in league action on Saturday at Willen Road looking to build on last week’s success in the FA Vase, and get some points on the board again and more importantly some confidence going as their next five league games see them play sides in the top nine of the current UCL Premier Division table. A couple of cup games break up that sequence, but the squad will be sternly tested over the next run of games which include hosting top of the league high flyers Daventry, but this week’s opponents Deeping have only played six league fixtures so far due to their involvement in various cup competitions, and if they won their games in hand would go level with Daventry at the top of the league!

Dom Lawless

This week Sports Shots caught up with front man Dominic Lawless to ask what he feels the Swans mixed start to the season has been down to:

In all honesty I have no idea, we pretty much have the same squad as last year which did so well. We have had key players out with injuries and holidays but that’s not an excuse because the squad we have are more than capable of beating any side in this division, when we have players missing those who come in are just as good replacements

With the club currently sitting fifteenth in the league and fourteen points off Daventry, does Dom feel they can still be caught?

We believe we can put a really good run together & winning becomes a habit, with the fixtures we have coming up against teams at the top end of the table; if we can take points off them just as you can already see everyone is beating anyone it could all change in a month or so. We seem to play better against the better teams in the division apart from Rugby which was a game to forget!

We asked how the team spirit is in the dressing room at this stage:

The team spirit is the best, ask most of the lads that have played for Newport and they will all tell you the same, we have a good mix of Milton Keynes & Northampton lads who have made us a better team for sure over the last couple of seasons. Yes the lads talk about the stop-start to the season, and the gaffer has called a few team meetings because it simply isn’t good enough, we know we are underachieving & letting ourselves down as well as the club and the manager, but it is a long old season

How was the Vase game last week?

A great result, we played some great football with five players missing who most would of started but others stepped up to the task. The team we played were lively and they had a few decent players that caused us problems getting in behind, it was their biggest game in the clubs history so they were bang up for it, but luckily enough we got what we deserved in the final minute of the  game

Does Dom think the FA Vase is a priority now for the team?

Of course, after having that run to the quarter-finals two seasons ago which was unbelievable and a great feeling, yes we would like to go that far again, but the league is your bread & butter so hopefully with the Vase win last Saturday that can kick us on now in both league and cup

Which players have impressed so far this term:

I would have to say Michael Lyons for me, the lads energy levels are ridiculous, he’s everywhere on the pitch giving one hundred percent week in week out. He can play in most positions and has scored a few goals this season too

How has the season been for Dom Lawless so far?

It’s been a really frustrating start for me this season, I picked up a nasty injury before pre-season where I aggravated the ligaments in my ankle which meant I missed the whole of pre-season going into the start of the campaign. When I was fit to play I was back for one game then went on holiday for ten days so then had to wait for my chance again, but I’m having my best run in the team this season now and game by game I’m feeling fitter & I’ll be back to my old self in no time. My targets always thirty plus goals and to play as many games as possible to help the team as much as I can

Finally, we asked with the league campaign warming up this month, how difficult will it be starting with Deeping this week?

Very difficult, they are all good sides up at the top so it will be very tough, but if we turn up and put a shift in from one to eleven, play for one another, then I’m confident we will be fine, there is too much quality in this squad. We just need our confidence back, hopefully the winning run starts against Deeping on Saturday! COYS

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