Saturday 24th November 2018
Aylesbury v Thame United
Southern League Division One East
Aylesbury FC host near neighbours Thame United on Saturday looking to bounce back from two consecutive defeats, but face yet another stern test against the side that in the last seven days have beaten third placed Corby and drawn with league leaders Bromsgrove Sporting who only equalised in added time to deny the Oxon side all three points. Paul Bonham took charge of The Moles and got off to a flyer over seeing two victories in his first three games, but defeats against Bromsgrove and Berkhamsted since have come at the cost of shipping eight goals without reply, but the wins over Cambridge City & Peterborough Sports who both occupy play off positions shows the squad are more than capable of gaining results against the higher ranked sides.
This week Sports Shots caught up with defender Jordan Jenkins and first of all we asked midfielder Jordan Frederick how he’s settled in since signing earlier this season:
I have settled in extremely well and the club has been very welcoming, I knew a lot of the lads in the team before joining & I knew the previous manager and he was keen to bring me onboard
And how has the season started for JJ?
The first couple of months were a bit stop start for me with work commitments limiting my midweek availability, but I’ve been pleased with my personal performances overall and will hopefully surpass one hundred appearances for the club very soon. Defensively we are looking to get back to being a more solid unit which we were showing at the start of the season
How does the club captain view the managerial change that took place only a few weeks ago?
Scott (Reynolds) deserves a huge amount of credit for his work during his relatively short time here. As one of a handful of players who remained at the club, the difference from the season before was substantial in terms of professionalism and organisation, unfortunately as a collective we were unable to match that with our results on the pitch. Paul has fine tuned certain aspects without making wholesale changes which will hopefully come to fruition with the upcoming run of games against sides around us in the table
Frederick felt a change was needed:
Personally I think the managerial change needed to happen, since Paul became manager the whole team dynamic has changed for the better which has improved our performances and our results
And how does the midfielder feel his season has started in general?
The season started slowly however I feel I have worked my way into this team, my performance and fitness levels are improving with every game, I am always looking to improve and it would be nice to pick up the points moving into the Christmas period
What would JJ need to achieve by the end of the season for it to be a successful one, for both him and the club?
Survival is always a good start but I’d like to think we have the ability in the squad to push a little higher up that league table. The club has a great band of volunteers who have worked tirelessly to improve the club off the pitch over the last six months and they deserve to be rewarded with some improved results on it. For me personally, five goals would be the target and to concede as few as possible always helps
We asked JJ which members of the squad have impressed so far this season:
Retaining the services of Craig Carby was an important piece of business, he gives consistently good performances on a weekly basis and is an excellent role model to the younger lads in the squad. Keeping with the veterans, Nick Bennion has produced some inspired performances between the sticks, earning us some important points along the way. Off the pitch I must mention our kitman Phil Duffy, his work often goes under the radar but it’s a role that goes way beyond laying the kit out on a Saturday afternoon and certainly a level of dedication I’ve never come across before in non-league football
JF feels it’s a more collective input:
I feel since joining this club all the players have shown their talent & skills, I think Paul has a big part to play in motivating the players and focusing on individual talent
We asked JF how he felt the last three games were after a superb win at Cambridge:
I wasn’t expecting anything at Sporting, however I felt we could have played better against Berkhamsted, defensively as a team we didn’t play as well as we could have. We started extremely well against Cambridge, with the early goal and the sending off helping in our favour, we deserved the win
The skipper agrees:
Its certainly been a baptism of fire for Paul facing the top five sides in his first five games. We were good value for the win over Cambridge after an energetic performance so the result against Berko was a bit of a step back as they were quite simply more clinical in both boxes on the day. Bromsgrove away will be one of the more difficult fixtures for most sides this season! We were forced to travel with a depleted squad although I felt we were our own worst enemy at times and gifted them a couple of soft goal
How good is this league after the summer reshuffle in JJ’s eyes?
Its certainly the most competitive league I have experienced at step four. A fair few clubs have the resources to comfortably push on to the next level which are the sort of games you relish being involved in front of some big crowds. Any team seems capable of taking points off another, something that we have proved ourselves against a few of the so called bigger teams already this season
JF has picked two teams he fancies to do well:
I’ve played in this division for a good few years now so know every week it’s going to be a battle and that nothing is going to be given to us, but Bromsgrove & Corby both look very good outfits and appear to be the ones to beat
With AFC a solitary victory off mid-table or a defeat off relegation, back to back wins would push them close to the play-offs, how does JF see the squad achieving this?
The key to success in this league is momentum, it’s a long season and after a few consecutive wins I think we have a good chance of moving up the table
JJ thinks the club needs to concentrate on their form at Heywood Way:
Our home form has been disappointing over the last twelve months which has contributed to the inconsistency in our results. The play-offs would be a big ask at this stage but we have shown we are capable of producing results which could easily equate to mid table comfort. The key for us will be trying to get a settled squad on a weekly basis, something I am sure Paul is actively working on
Finally, we asked JJ for his thoughts on facing Thame this weekend, after they’ve taken four points off two of the top three sides:
They settled in to life at this level with some ease last season and have continued to progress, albeit like ourselves they will be looking for more consistent results. Four points from their last six against Corby and Bromsgrove is sure to see them in a buoyant mood come Saturday afternoon, particularly with the return of Lynton (Goss) and (Dan) West bolstering their attack. Both our fixtures against them last season were tough competitive games, so as a squad we need a big response after our last two results, and will hopefully be able to welcome a few faces back into the mix to take the three points
JF also expects a difficult afternoon:
I always expect a tough game week in week out, however I go into every game with a positive attitude. Thame United have played well and the last two games which will fill them with confidence, however I believe we can beat anyone on our day
Sports Shots would like to thank both Jordan’s for their time this week