Saturday 16th February 2019
Aston Clinton v Sarratt
Spartan South Midlands League Division Two
Aston Clinton host second bottom Sarratt on Saturday looking to cement third place in the Spartan South Midlands Football League whilst putting pressure on Berkhamsted Rangers above them who have a six point lead but have played two more games than Neil Roberts’ side, if Aston were to win those games in hand they would go joint second, however Old Bradwell are just three points behind with four games in hand although they are yet to visit Aston Park this season so there is still plenty to aim for. This week’s visitors are in a poor run of form which has seen just a single win in their last eleven games in all competition, and they have already been beaten twice by their hosts this campaign in league and cup, Aston meanwhile have lost just three of their last twenty-one in all fixtures and are through to the Wycombe Senior Cup final and next week travel to Bovingdon in the semi-final of the Division Two cup, this week’s game may be the warm up required with that tough trip to the league leader’s next week in search of that second successive cup final place.
This week Sports Shots caught up with Clinton duo Alex Little and first of all Billy Harrison to ask him when he joined the club, and how it’s been since:
I signed for Aston back in early October as I wasn’t getting as much game time at Winslow as I was at the start of the season. With a lot of my mates already at Aston & having spoken to manager Neil Roberts about his ambitions for the team this season, it made sense for me to come back, having spent a couple of seasons elsewhere. It’s been very easy to settle in, knowing all of the boys already made a huge difference but also having been at the club previously, I was already familiar with many of the people behind the scenes
Alex has been at the club for both reserves & first team for a while now:
This is my fourth season with Aston now, the first two were with the reserve team playing the odd match for the first team when they needed me but have now been with the seniors permanently for the past two seasons. I joined when my mate asked me to come along a play with him for the reserve team and have never looked back enjoying every minute of my four seasons at the club for both teams
How does Alex feel his season has been so far?
I feel I have had an okay season so far, I’ve had some good games but also a few bad ones. I make sure I’m always available and I always feel fit to play, luckily I haven’t had any injuries this season so have been there for every game so far. I feel I contribute well to the team but would like to add a few more goals to my game and as a defender more clean-sheets
Billy feels he has helped the team since his return:
I would like to think I have made a positive contribution to the team since I came in, I am pretty sure we have only lost two games that I have been involved in since I returned back in October so that may be some kind of reflection. But I have even available for every game so far and luckily enough I haven’t sustained any injuries that may have put me in doubt for any games
How good does Billy feel this Aston squad is this season & have any players shone?
This squad is unbelievably strong for this league, we have plenty of strength in depth and have the luxury of being able to rotate players as much as possible which has been good for squad morale. Two players have really stood out for me so far, Elias Williams who just doesn’t ever seem to put a foot wrong and just oozes class. Also Ashley Clarke has been brilliant for us as well
Alex also picks out Ashley Clarke as an important player for the team:
This Aston squad is very strong, we have strength and depth in each position with three or four players who could easily do a good job for the team in each role. Even though we are currently third in the league I feel and I’m sure many others do that we are under achieving, we should be closer to Bovingdon and competing with them for the league title. Ashley Clarke is the player that stands out for me he has had some great performances this season always gives 100% week in week out and is also very consistent. Lamar is also starting to stand out ever since new year he’s hit the ground running with his goals and performances, hopefully his form continues for the rest of the season because he is a massive player for us
What is Alex’s preferred position and system when playing?
My favourite position is centre back but prefer it as a back three rather to a four because you have more of a chance of playing out from the back and also find yourself on the ball a lot more having more of an influence on the game
Billy also prefers that same position:
I prefer to play centre back. Whether that is in a back four or a three I don’t really mind if I’m honest. But I feel I am at my best when I’m playing in this position, and I feel I can help the team out more when I play there also
The last four games have seen wins at New Bradwell & Pitstone in the league, success on penalties at Risborough in the Wycombe cup, and a thumping win last week at home to Clean Slate, how were these games from Billy’s view point?
Four great results in the end but four completely different games and performances. The New Bradwell game wasn’t great in my opinion, and we should have been very easily out of the sight in the first half but a lot of missed chances made the score line very tight and tough for us towards the end. The Pitstone game was a very good one for us, especially with it being a local derby, we totally dominated once again and it could have been a lot more. The Risborough game has to be my highlight of the lot having been one down at half time and down to ten men, to turn that around and win on penalties was amazing, it was also nice to get one over a former club as well. Finally, the Clean Slate game, while the score line may look great, being involved in the game wasn’t. We were pretty poor throughout and again missed way too many chances in the game
Alex is really enjoying their current form:
The last four weeks have been great, four wins out of four, winning the local derby and into a cup final so yeah the boys are enjoying it at the moment and hopefully same again this week and continue it for the rest of the season
We asked Alex if playing Sarratt this week is must win in order to keep the confidence going?
No, nothing less than a win is acceptable this Saturday, we need to keep our confidence high like you say and carry on our run and get as close to Bovingdon as we can
Billy agrees especially with a tough semi-final next weekend:
I think we expect to win every game as a side and that comes down to the high expectations we have of each other. Both victories previously against Sarratt have been fairly tough games and I would imagine it would be the same again on Saturday. But yes given our league position, momentum and looking towards next week’s semi-final, we need to keep the run going
With Aston in one cup final already, a semi next week, and also Aylesbury Flooring in the County Cup final and on a good run in the FA Sunday Cup, does Billy believe his sides can go all the way?
In all honesty, I don’t see why we can’t win all four of these competitions. We have two very strong squads and constantly compete on all fronts, so I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t take all four cups home. Admittedly the Sunday FA cup is a very tough competition to win, but that doesn’t bother us at all, I believe on our day both teams are unstoppable. Where we are right now in the current league position, being so far behind Bovingdon in the league, I think maybe we should prioritise the cup competitions. Everyone loves a cup final and more importantly the celebrations after if you win!
Alex admits the league is priority but cups are high on the agenda too:
League position is always your main goal but I want to retain the Wycombe senior cup against Holmer Green. They will come into it as favourites being two leagues above but we did it last year against Flackwell Heath so there’s no doubting we can do it again. Also I want to win the B & B and Division Two cup as we were so close last year losing the final in extra time. Getting as far as Flooring can in the FA Sunday cup hopefully we can get through this round so we can play at a non-league ground in the next
How good does Alex feel both these sides are, and how high does he think they could compete in the football pyramid?
It’s great to be in both teams I feel that Flooring could compete easily at step six or even five but then Aston could also compete at the same level
Billy thinks they could climb even higher:
It’s great to be involved with so many good players in both a Saturday and a Sunday side. We don’t ever believe we are not going to win a game of football and that mentally is next to nothing when it comes down to it. If Flooring were to become a league team, I believe we would be able to climb up the football pyramid to at least the southern league. As we have become more successful over the years, our team has become a lot stronger, and I think that would be the case on a Saturday also
Finally, we asked Billy if he could pick any player from the squad to go on any television programme, who & what would he choose?
Tough question, I’m sure Sam Austin being a bit of a brain box, he could take on the chase and be quite successful
Alex choose a different player & programme:
I reckon Bill Harrison would fancy himself on Love Island, drinking and sunning himself for weeks whilst being surrounded by ladies! Thanks for your continued support of Aston & Flooring
Sports Shots would like to thank both Billy & Alex for their time this week