Saturday 30th March 2019
Kidlington v Aylesbury United
Southern League Division One Central
Aylesbury United travel to Southern League Division One Central in form side Kidlington on Saturday who having spent months in the bottom two places have recently picked up thirteen out of a possible eighteen points which has propelled them up that league table, and in the process has transformed the look at the bottom of the division. Whilst North Leigh sit bottom and still eight points from safety, Aylesbury FC now occupy the other relegation position despite their recent run of good form, but from them up to four places above them is separated by just six points, Dunstable Town have now been dragged into that dreaded scrap to avoid relegation and it looks as though the season for those bottom five or six positions could go down to the wire. Whilst their hosts this weekend have only lost once in their last six outings, The Ducks are on a run of just one win and two draws in their last seven league fixtures, and barring an end of season collapse or one hundred percent record will be aiming to finish as high in their mid-table status as they can, but a win this week would be great for confidence as their next three games sees them face the top three sides in the division, meaning they have a huge shout in the end of season promotion & relegation battles.
This week Sports Shots caught up with United stalwart Greg Williams and first of all we asked striker Tre Mitford how long he’s been at the club & how it’s been since joining:
I first joined on loan from Staines Town in late 2016 for a short spell and then returned back there for the rest of the season. I joined here again in November this season and also for nine games last year before going to Beaconsfield Town. I joined initially because I needed some games and the connection was through Ryan Kinanne, we went to university together. I have enjoyed myself at Aylesbury, there are a good group of people around the club and they have always been welcoming, and a small set of fans that go to every game, home and away that love to sing, which is great
Greg is now an all-time legend at the club with over four hundred appearances for The Ducks:
I have been at the club now for twelve years over two spells. I was signed by ex-ducks manager at the time Cliff Hercules when he signed me from Thame United, I was a junior Ducks player and watched them at Buckingham Road and wanted to play for them & to play on the great pitch in front of the large fan base that they had at the time. My time at the club has at sometimes been a roller-coaster but in general it has been a really enjoyable and great place to play football. I have some great memories
How does Greg feel his season has been in terms of fitness and contribution?
I feel I have only had an average season this year, last year was good for me personally but although I have been available and a regular this year, I feel I have not achieved the standards I set myself to date. But you have seasons like that and although I have scored more goals this year I certainly hope I can remain giving one hundred percent to the team for the remainder of the season and win as many games as we can. My fitness is exactly where I need it, I feel strong and fit and am already planning for playing next season
Tre is also looking for more in the remaining games:
Overall I would say good, I feel I have contributed with goals and some good performances but I also feel I have not scored anywhere near as many as I should have and that I need to be more consistent in terms of my hold up play and looking after the ball. My fitness is good but I have been working full time and travelling a lot more for work this season, more than previous years. So I have struggled to work on areas of my fitness throughout the week sometimes, but I am match fit and available for every match
How good does the front man feel this Aylesbury squad is, and which players have impressed?
Yeah the team is strong this year, the majority of us are still quite young and have a lot to learn but there is some talent in the squad. Consistency as a team has been our biggest issue and I think a lot of that comes down to experience. Max (Hercules), (Anthony) Bally and Harry (Jones) have impressed me this season, if they keep progressing and learning they will all become very good players. (Jack) Woody and Sonny (French) have always stood out for me as players as well
Greg also singles out one of the younger players:
This season’s squad I feel is better than last year’s but we have let ourselves down at times, the gaffer has added some good talented young players and apart from me it is a fairly young squad. One thing I feel we do miss is a bit of experience and a few more voices, something you tend to lose with younger more inexperienced players but their growth in the game will only enhance that side of their play. All our younger players has been impressive but I have to say Harry Jones has improved and impressed me the most, seeing him develop over the last couple of seasons and improve in his ability to hold the ball up and drive past players is good to see and with that quick development I would see him playing at a higher level. He has a great attitude so I would imagine he could have a long career in the game
Greg mentioned his roller-coaster tenure at the club, how vital does he think it is to keep the club afloat?
To keep Aylesbury United FC running is so, so vital. You’ve only got to see how much it means to the fans when you see how many of them travel away with us and although we don’t play locally we still are getting better crowds than some teams that are based at their own grounds. I know that the board/committee are always working hard behind the scenes keeping the club running, we all strive to be back in the town and I think if you have that ambition to do that these guys will eventually make this possible
What is Tre’s preferred position in the side?
Striker, I don’t mind playing on my own when the number ten is near me to help out, but I think I prefer playing with two up top with this team. I think me and Aaron (Berry) play well together when we are able occupy the defence together with support from the midfield
The last three games have seen defeats to Bedford & North Leigh with a draw at AFC Dunstable in between, how were these games from Tre’s point of view?
The North Leigh game was one of our worst games since I’ve been here, on a difficult pitch. The AFC Dunstable game was a good result in tough conditions, I think we were the better team on the day but can’t complain at the result. As for Bedford we played well at times and should have scored more but we were the second best team on the day
Greg see’s those games as testimony to their season as a whole:
The last three games have summed up our season, completely awful against North Leigh under difficult weather conditions, versus AFC Dunstable we played really well, possibly should of won and against Bedford played well in bits but conceded freaky or unlucky goals
Onto Kidlington this week, United beat them earlier in the season, what does Greg remember of that game, and what does he expect this time?
The Kidlington game was probably just at the right time for us in respect that their old manager, Ady Fuller who I know from playing at Banbury with, left and they brought in the gaffer that was with them the previous season. He had literally changed a huge majority of Ady’s squad and brought back some of the old guard, I know a few of these players and they are decent footballers at this level so we knew it was not going to be easy. However recently they are on a good run so it’s not going to be easy and especially being away, their pitch is very challenging
Tre is sure of a dog fight this Saturday:
I don’t remember the game too well but I know we will have the beating of them if we play our game and defend well as a team. They have everything to play for so it will be a battle I am sure
What has been the front man’s route in football to end up in Aylesbury?
I grew up in Kent and played for Dover Athletic and Margate. I started playing men’s football at seventeen with Deal Town before moving to London, since then I’ve played for Redhill, Burnham, Staines Town, Leatherhead, Hayes & Yeading, Beaconsfield and Aylesbury
This time last year Greg told Sports Shots he would be carrying on for another season, are we hearing the same again?
The story for Greg Williams is to have another season next year! This possibly will be my last due to now being blessed with a beautiful little boy, who knows but at present it is my plan to be available next season and hopefully for the Ducks
Of all the leagues and divisions that Greg has played in with Aylesbury, where does this year compare in terms of competitiveness & travel?
Playing in my first spell with the Ducks at step two against the likes of Aldershot, Canvey Island and Bromley etc, the level of football was very good – it had to be as the next step up was the Conference. I have been surprised this season as there has been no easy game, and some very well drilled and technically good teams, but I must admit the travelling is ridiculous for step four and hopefully the FA will look at this over the close season and restructure sensibly
How has Tre viewed this division?
This league interesting as there are a lot of teams I had never heard of and some long journeys. The top three teams seem to have a large fan base and are good teams and should expect to be where they are in the league. We can compete in every game though, with more consistency I think we are good enough to be in the top third of the league
What targets did Tre set himself for this season, and has he had to readjust them as it’s worn on?
Personally I set myself a target of twenty goals in twenty-five plus games, I have fourteen or fifteen goals now and six games left to hit that target, so hopefully I will. As for the team I wanted to push for play offs but we are a little short of where I wanted us to be, with some tough teams still to play
We asked Greg if he could pick one team mate to go on any TV programme, who and what would he choose:
I would pick our skipper Jack Wood to go on Mastermind and have his chosen specialised subject as Tottenham Hotspur FC. Why, cos he hates Spurs so it would be interested hearing his answers
Tre picks his keeper to go looking for love:
I have absolutely no idea, maybe I’d have to choose Archie (Davis) to go on Love Island
Finally we asked Greg to pick his all-time one to eleven of Aylesbury United team mates:
1GK, Chris Day
2 Jack Wood
3 Zak Reynolds
4 Matt Haywood
5 Leon Barnett
6 Dean Cracknell
7 Scott Bridges
8 Greg Williams
9 Craig Maskell
10 Dwight Marshall
11 Roni Joe
Sports Shots would like to thank both Greg & Tre for their time this week