Archive for Newport Pagnell Town Football Club

2019/20 season non league steps 1-6 revealed

The non-league divisional structures have been revealed for next season’s step one to six clubs, which affects a number of the clubs covered by Sports Shots.

Step 3:

Banbury United continue in the Southern League Premier Division Central and welcome five new clubs to the division for the new campaign, Bromsgrove Sporting, Hednesford Town, Kings Langley, Nuneaton Borough & Peterborough Sports.

 

Step 4:

Aylesbury United & Thame United continue in the Southern League Division One Central and welcome six new clubs to the division for the new campaign, Bedworth United, Biggleswade FC, Daventry Town, Halesowen Town, St Neots Town & Wantage Town.

 

Step 5 (Hellenic):

Brackley Town Saints continue in the Hellenic Premier Division after narrowly missing out on promotion, they welcome Burnham, Chipping Sodbury Town, Easington Sports & Westfields for the forthcoming campaign.

 

Step 5 (South Midlands):

Newport Pagnell Town have been transferred from the Future Lions United Counties League over to the Spartan South Midlands where they join former Aylesbury FC under their new set up of Aylesbury Vale Dynamo’s after relegation from the Southern League.

 

Step 6:

Ampthill Town, Buckingham Athletic & Winslow United all remain in Spartan South Midlands League Division One where they welcome five new clubs in London Tigers, New Salamis, Shefford Town & Campton, St Panteleimon & Stotfold.

All clubs have seven days to appeal, steps seven and below are to follow in due course.

UCL P; Boston Town 1-2 Newport Pagnell Town

Boston Town – 1
Newport Pagnell Town – 2

20.04.2019

Newport Pagnell Town made it three wins on the bounce with a hard earned victory at Boston Town on Saturday, taking the game to their hosts early on they were two up within the opening thirteen minutes and looked comfortable until a second half goal for the home side saw them unleash some relentless long balls for the Swans defence to deal with but they stood strong to bring the three points back to Buckinghamshire. The hosts were consistently unhappy with some of the decisions the officials gave during the ninety minutes including the very early penalty given when Jake Strong was felled inside the area, Dominic Lawless put his side into the lead from the spot and once Harry Stratton doubled the lead with a neat finish Town saw the game out despite the second half pressure, afterwards manager Darren Lynch expressed his delight at his sides ability to manage the game to a conclusion.

Newport were awarded their penalty in the sixth minute when Stronge drove into the box from the right and as a defender came over to challenge he went down and the referee was on hand to point to the spot, Lawless tucking home with ease. Continuing to press the visitors went close when Dan Bendon dragged a shot across goal from eighteen yards and sliding in at the back post Josh Winters was inches from connecting, at the opposite end a deep corner swung in by Tiago Nassunculo found Danny Horton at the back stick however always reaching for it he could only nod wide, then with less than quarter of an hour played the away side doubled their lead.

Dom Lawless opens scoring from spot

A ball played into the corner saw Lawless do well to retrieve and cut back inside towards goal, he laid off to Stratton who despite having two defenders on him and looking unlikely to get anything on it somehow managed to roll across the face into the far bottom corner. A throw to the Swans saw Damon Herbert & Yaw Ofosu both competing to get a flick on that Boston custodian Travis Portas had to gather at his near post, Fraser Bayliss tried his luck from eighteen yards but only found the waiting gloves of Newport keeper Mark Osborne, Lawless then again showed his strength down the channel holding up well until he could lay off to Stronge whose first time effort had Portas having to push over single handedly.

Stratton collected a clearance before dinking into Bendon whose looping header had Portas back peddling to claim underneath his own crossbar, as the half wore down a late chance for the home side saw Nassunculo receive on the edge of the box, his first attempt blocked he swung a boot at it again which had Osborne having to stick out a hand to push over the top. H/T: 0-2

Boston pull goal back

A double substitution at the break saw Boston come out for the second half on the front foot and barely two minutes in Nassunculo won a tussle with Ofosu to advance towards goal but again Osborne stood tall and this time made a block with his feet, Bendon did well down the right channel for the visitor’s and got his cross inside to Winters who on the edge of the six yard box got a glancing header in that bounced across the face but wide of the back post, then on the hour mark the home side pulled a goal back.

Another long ball played up to Nassunculo saw him battle with the Town centre half again Ofosu once more, as they tangled into the Newport box Osborne came out to help but collided with the front man to see both fall to the floor, the ball rolled across to substitute Liam Tunstall who swept into the unguarded net, this time it was the yellows calling for some help from the official’s however the goal was given. A long lump downfield saw the blue backline head clear but only as far as Lawless, under encouragement from his team mates to shoot he curled away from the target, a long goal kick from Portas saw the yellow defence head clear but Bayliss collected out on the touchline, powering his way into the box he drilled into the side netting, but that was as close as they got to finding an equaliser. F/T: 1-2

Attendance: 70

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 Newport manager Darren Lynch:

For 2 pages of matchday photography (107 images) please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmxyMpDW

UCL P; Newport stalwart hoping to Pinch another three points this weekend

Saturday 6th April 2019
Pinchbeck United v Newport Pagnell Town
United Counties League Premier Division
Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field
K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town travel to Pinchbeck United on Saturday looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat at Sleaford Town, as the club head into their final five games of the season looking for as many points to put pressure on those top seven places in the Future Lions United Counties League Premier Division table. Town’s recent form has been much improved compared to earlier in the season, in their last eleven outings they’ve won seven and drawn one which has seen them steadily improve their league standing, and as many wins in these last few games would see them in good stead for next year, but in Pinchbeck they are up against a side that have lost just once in their last twenty-one league games and currently occupy fourth place in the league, having only been promoted from the division below last season. The return fixture at Willen Road back in November was a thriller, three each by half time with a further three for Newport by the end saw them victorious, Darren Lynch’s men are going to have their work cut out to repeat that feat this time.

Scott Mulkern

This week Sports Shots caught up with Newport utility man Scott Mulkern to find out how long he’s been at the club and how it’s been since joining:

I think I am probably now one of, if not the longest serving player at Newport, I have been here since I was sixteen playing in the under eighteens floodlit team and I played my first senior game for the first team when I was seventeen, fourteen years later and I am still here! Got to be honest I cannot remember in great detail my settling in period but I’m pretty sure it was quite easy, all the players at the time were very welcoming of me and the other youngsters and ever since then, even with players coming and going each season, the atmosphere within the squad and dressing room has been quality! I think players both past and present would definitely agree

How has his season been in terms of fitness, availability & contribution?

Fitness wise I have never really had an issue throughout my career and have luckily never picked up any major injuries which have kept me out for too long either. This season hasn’t really been any different other than the fact I think age is beginning to take its toll with the sore joints the following day, my availability has had to alter slightly since a change of job and my little boy was born roughly eighteen months ago. I now have to work most Saturday mornings which can cause some problems when it comes to some of the longer away trips, although I do still try to be readily available for either the firsts or reserves, but sometimes due to the above it has had to be the team that’s playing at home! As for my contribution I give my best every time I play, in whatever position the manager wants me to play which is a fair few over the course of the season, and I would like to think I do a pretty good job most of the time. With regards to the reserve team, I’d like to think I have supported some of the younger players to improve and progress

How good are the squads at Newport this year, and have any players impressed?

I would say both squads have been pretty good again this season although both have suffered from a patch of poor results which has seen them out of the respective title races, which both teams should have been more than capable of challenging in and instead are only pushing for roughly fifth, sixth or seventh in their respective tables. I believe both teams should have really achieved more with the overall squad of players at Newport but unfortunately that’s football for you. One of the main players to impress me this season has been young Jake Watkinson, I have had the opportunity to watch and play with him in both the firsts and reserves and he is a great talent, who has caused every defence he has played against all sorts of problems and he sure knows where the goal is, definitely one to watch over the coming years

What is Scott’s preferred position in the team, and what formations best suits?

As I mentioned, I’ve tended to be used in a number of positions, mainly defence and midfield, I’m not exactly known for my goal threat other than from the penalty spot or my goalkeeping abilities! I would say my preference is midfield although I’m pretty laid back and happy to play wherever as long as I’m playing really. I wouldn’t say there is a formation that gets the best out of me as it all depends on where the manager has decided to play me for that game. I have played a fair few though over the years though and would say that if you have the right personnel and can get the three at the back to work, three-four-three or three-five-two then I feel you are onto a winner with obvious numbers going forward

What has been the career path for Scott since junior football?

I’ve technically only played for three clubs in the twenty-six years I have been playing football, I started when I was five at a team called Lakeside and played there until I was fourteen when I was asked to join Scot Youth. I spent my three remaining years in youth football with them, winning three consecutive league titles, including the league & cup double one year. In my final year with Scot Youth playing Sunday youth football, I also played for the Newport under eighteens floodlit team which played on a Wednesday night and occasionally from there the Newport first team and reserves on a Saturday, three games of football a week was my idea of heaven back then!

We asked Scott to detail his last three games at the club, and explain what differences there are playing for the reserves and the first team:

I wasn’t available for the most recent game at Sleaford due to family commitments, therefore my last three games have been Wellingborough at home and both Holbeach & Deeping away, all three games have been very different, mainly due to weather and pitch conditions. Away at Deeping was probably the windiest day of the year and had a definitive impact on the match as to who could play those conditions better, on the day that turned out to be Deeping although it was very much a game of two halves with whichever team had the wind against them playing the better football and with two very good chances in the second half, including Dom Lawless hitting the bar, I thought we should have at least come away with a point. Onto Holbeach away which is probably the best team performance so far this year, again some tricky conditions with another windy day and a pretty terrible pitch but we, on this occasion, played both brilliantly and deservedly came away with a three-nil win and the three points having restricted Holbeach to one good opportunity all game, which did hit the post. Over the years Holbeach have always had a strong squad and therefore has been a tricky place to go, however we made it easier this time round due to our quality and work rate both on and off the ball. Finally Wellingborough at home was another solid performance from the team and a relatively straight forward two goal win. I don’t feel there is a massive difference between first team and reserves football, other than maybe a few more younger players in the reserves but this is how it probably should be, reserve teams should be there to help transition players from youth football into adult football with the aim of then introducing those players into the first teams when they are ready

This week Newport face Pinchbeck, what does Scott remember of the nine goal thriller back in November, and what does he expect this time from the game?

To be truthful I don’t remember the reverse fixture at all, to be fair that is something I have never been good at remembering matches. Some of the lads and the gaffer can remember everything about pretty much every match down to scores, players that played, goal scorers, certain things that happened, the lot! I honestly don’t know how they do it. I struggled with your previous question remembering back just three games and had to be assisted by the results page on the league website! As for the game this Saturday, Pinchbeck’s current league position and their recent run of form as you’ve mentioned will mean we are in for a tough game. However, we do tend to put in our better performances against the teams up the top of the table, and we have obviously proven we can beat them this season already, so we are quietly confident that if we turn up and play the way we can we can come away with the three points. But essentially it is a game that could go either way, just hopefully ours. Also not sure another nine goal thriller is on the cards but we shall wait and see…

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

It would be a toss-up between young H (Harry Stratton) on ANY quiz show or Damo (Herbert) on some kind of reality TV show, either way you would be guaranteed some laughs!!! H’s general knowledge is a bit like Pandora’s box, you have no idea and neither does he half the time, what is gonna come out of his mouth! And as for Damo……… the lad is just on another level. Everyone must look forward as much as I do to the stories he comes out with each week! That and his general outrageous behaviour ninety-nine percent of the time!

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

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

06.01.2019

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

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 Newport manager Darren Lynch: 

For match day photography please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmyPVoGz

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

15.12.2018

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: https://flic.kr/s/aHskKGpUvT

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.