Archive for Aston Clinton Football Club

SSMFL D2; Clinton duo believe a Little success is definitely on the Bill

Saturday 16th February 2019

Aston Clinton v Sarratt

Spartan South Midlands League Division Two

Aston Park

K.O. 2.00pm

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.

Billy Harrison

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 Little

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

SSMFL D2; Clinton chairman admits he’s often caught in the Middle of two teams

Saturday 26th January 2019

Pitstone & Ivinghoe v Aston Clinton

Spartan South Midlands League Division Two

Pitstone Pavilion

K.O. 2.00pm

Aston Clinton travel to Pitstone & Ivinghoe on Saturday knowing three points will see them leap frog their hosts as they are level on points, with the added bonus that also have a game in hand on their opponents, and more importantly the win could potentially lift them up into joint third place in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table depending on other results on the day. With three league victories on the bounce Clinton go into the game high in confidence, although they did lose to their hosts by the odd goal in five back in August in the reverse fixture at Aston Park, Pitstone themselves beat Mursley last weekend by a solitary goal to end a three game losing streak and will be looking to build upon that, with a better goal difference of plus eight they will be hoping to avoid defeat to keep their guests below them come the final whistle.

Ian Middleton

This week Sports Shots caught up with Aston Clinton chairman Ian Middleton to ask when and how he got involved at Aston, and how it’s been since he took over:

I’m now in my second season at Aston having previously been involved at Hale Leys United. I was approached by Mike Dedman (vice chairman) the day after Hale Leys folded and asked to come down to have a look, it didn’t take long for me to realise that this was a well-run club, doing well with a great committee, with two good teams and it seemed to be a friendly place to be. The first season was about getting to know people & them getting to know me, this season is about starting to plan for the future but it’s early days to talk about that yet. I’m loving every minute of it so far!

How much stress is involved in being chairman and what does the job entail?

I don’t think it’s too stressful because of all the hard work that everyone else put’s in, it makes the chairman’s job easy if there is a good committee at the club. I do enjoy a bit of stress, whether it’s needing a goal with five minutes of a game left, or if there is a problem to sort out, it makes you feel alive. There is never a set amount of time each week that is set aside for the club, it just all depends on what’s happening, a great tool is WhatsApp as it keeps the management and the committee talking & dealing with things. So many problems occur in life through a lack of communication

How good is the current squad at the club and which players have stood out?

Wow there’s a question, we were fortunate to keep the majority of players from last season and have strengthened in certain areas with some class signings. Do I want to start naming individual players, no not really, we do have players that really impress me but it’s a team game and I believe in every single one of them. If you want names, then I’d have to pick all the players in both squads

Has Ian got a playing history & how did he end up getting involved behind the scenes?

Unfortunately my own playing days were really quite boring, I was in the army as a physical training instructor at a tank regiment, so with postings & deployments I didn’t get the chance to play week in week out. When I left I played a bit of ADL football but was getting to the age where five-a-side became more appealing and had a lot of success with cups and leagues. Told you it was boring! Getting involved in the running of a club was down to the current Winslow manager Paul Alleyne, he got me back into it when he was at Hale Leys, I started as a sponsor and it went from there

We asked Ian how he feels the season has gone considering the upheaval when Jordan King left as manager?

It was a difficult start to this season with Jordan deciding to leave so early on, most players and managers were settling down back at existing or new clubs which left us in a difficult position. I can’t believe how lucky we were to get Neil Roberts, Rob Goldney and Jack Seaton as our new management team, all three of them having great pedigree’s as players playing at a much higher level. These guys have been there, seen it & done it and command fantastic respect from the squad, they are real football people that love the game and that shows every week. With regard to the season so far, we are doing well and only three points off third place, and with a big match against Pitstone this weekend things are looking good

How good does the chairman believe this division is?

I think in most leagues you can always see a difference between the top & bottom, but generally our Division Two gives a good standard of enjoyable, entertaining football for both players & spectators

Clinton also have a development side in the Hellenic League, how difficult is it to see both teams, and how are they progressing?

When you have two teams at a club it is difficult to be at two matches at once & I always feel guilty that I have missed one game every week, but as soon as everyone is in the clubhouse the first question is always how did the other team do? Lee Harrison is the manager of the development side and has vast experience of local football with both his sons playing for Aston, he has done a great job with the team and doesn’t get enough credit for what he has achieved. I think it’s fair to say that when he took over we were struggling, now we are moving from strength to strength and I put that down to Lee

Finally, we asked Ian for a final message to his squad ahead of the trip to Pitstone:

What a great game this should be, we’re both on the same number of points and both fighting for a good finish to the season. They are a good team and it certainly won’t be an easy match, but I have full faith in our management and the players and I predict a two-one win for us. Up the Aston!

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

SSMFL D2; Pitstone assistant hoping for Matt finish to see off former club

Saturday 26th January 2019

Pitstone & Ivinghoe v Aston Clinton

Spartan South Midlands League Division Two

Pitstone Pavilion

K.O. 2.00pm

Pitstone & Ivinghoe host Aston Clinton on Saturday looking to build upon their win last weekend over Mursley which ended a three game losing streak and know anything but defeat will keep them above their guests in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table and victory could potentially lift them into the top three depending on other results. Pitstone are currently level on points with their guests and have played a game more so victory will be vital if they are to keep their current top five place, however Clinton arrive on the back of three successive league victories and will see this as the perfect opportunity to climb above their hosts as they look to push on going into the final third of the season.

Matt Day

This week Sports Shots took the unusual step of catching up with Matt Day, who spent two years at Aston Clinton as match secretary before leaving to become an assistant at Pitstone; we asked when and how he got involved at the club, what his roles are and how it’s been since he arrived:

I’ve been here since last summer, following an approach by the secretary Stuart Plenty to come and help out. My duties primarily include match day preparations, welcoming the match officials & our opponents to our club, paying the officials their match fees, and helping with the teas at half time. Prior to each Saturday I am tasked with sending out our team colours & ground directions to the necessary parties, then upon the completion of games I input the match details on the FA Full Time website. This is a proper village football club run by locals for the village, the club appointed Danny Greany as manager in the summer, which has stabilised the team. The chairman Paolo Aquila along with the experienced heads of Bob Beasley, Jay Adlem & Dave Hawkins have all been very supportive

We asked if the role involves any stress, and how much time it takes up?

Being at a SSMFL Division Two club isn’t bad, you have to be organised enough to make sure you action the league enquiries, check the WGS regularly for any suspensions, and make sure it runs smoothly every Saturday. I usually spend on average a few hours a week on football business, it’s more of a hobby than a chore

Did Matt play football himself in his younger days?

Unfortunately I was never good enough to play when I was younger, I ended up watching Aylesbury United for several years before becoming involved with their reserve side managed by Eddie Wright back in 2007. This was followed by spells at Bierton, Rivets, Aylesbury United reserves 2015, and Berkhamsted Development

Pitstone & Ivinghoe

How has the season been so far for the club?

I believe we are happy with our league position so far, on reflection there have been games where we could have won & didn’t, but that’s football

Up against Matt’s former club Aston Clinton this week, how strange will that be?

Obviously we welcome everyone connected to Aston Clinton here on Saturday, John Roberts, Neil Cousins, Robin Howlett, Sam Howard, Mike Dedman & Ian Middleton. I had some great times over the past two seasons there, I must say a huge thank you to the previous management team of Jordan King & Ken Hazell for those good times, and it is pleasing to see Neil Roberts doing such a good job since taking over. A draw would be a fair result, or even better a Pitstone win!!!! Games between these two sides have always been exciting, certainly the game at Aston this season, two-one down at half-time to go on to win three-two was one of those. As was the cup game here last season, I expect Saturday will be no different

Where does Matt see Pitstone finishing the season in the league?

I’d like to see Pitstone finish in third place and then see what happens from there, as the FA always change things around in the summer months

Finally, we asked Matt to name a one to eleven of best players he’s seen during his time in non-league football:

Chris Finch

Ricky Brown

Alec Bell

Jack Wood

Matt Hayward

Sean O’Donnell

Joey Leota

Phil Mason

Lewis Workman

Stacy Field

Kieran Gallagher


Michael Harper

Cliff Hercules

Liam Smith GK

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

SSMFL D2; Aston Clinton 3-1 Mursley United

Mursley United travelled to Aston Clinton on Saturday (5th January 2019) and were beaten 3-1.

The hosts went ahead after three minutes, when keeper Dan Willett was unable to hold a free-kick from twenty five yards and Joe Kittle was on hand to finish.


Joe Kittle

Mursley struggled to retain possession on a heavy pitch and a long ball out of defence eluded both Anthony Lands and skipper Nathan Hawkins and this left Lamar Mason-Williams through on goal and he drove the ball past Willett. Just before the break, Kevin Mealor managed to turn in the penalty area and found the far corner of the Mursley net.


Nathan Skelton

After half-time, Mursley improved and limited Aston Clinton to few efforts. They struggled to create their own chances, but were awarded a penalty with twenty minutes remaining, when player-manager Neil Roberts was adjudged to have handled. Nathan Skelton netted from the spot, but this failed to kick-start a Mursley comeback and the home side held on for the points.

Report supplied by Justin Daley

SSMFL D2; Clinton front man believes 2019 will be Taylor made for success

Saturday 5th January 2019

Aston Clinton v Mursley United

Spartan South Midlands Division Two

Aston Clinton Park

K.O. 2.00pm

Aston Clinton host Mursley United on Saturday looking for a win to distance themselves from their guests, as both clubs find themselves in a four club cluster all sitting on twenty-three points apiece and occupy joint fourth in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table. Clinton share the exact same league form as their opponents but sit below courtesy of goal difference, and a win for either side could push them into the top three depending on other results on the day, but Clinton are in a confident mood after five wins and a draw in their last seven games in all competition, the only defeat coming at Totternhoe before Christmas where they had three men sent off! The home side will be looking to continue this good form ahead of four consecutive away fixtures, two of which are cup competitions that the club are still involved in and did so well in last season.

Taylor Collins

This week Sports Shots caught up with front man Taylor Collins to ask how long he’s been at the club and how it all came about:

I only joined the club earlier this season, a few weeks after ‘wingers’ (Neil Roberts) took over, I came over as I play with a lot of the lads here on a Sunday plus my little brother Mitch was already here so that was another factor. Since joining I feel like I have settled in well and we have a good team spirit at the moment, we have a real winning mentality which has shown with our results against the top teams in this league

How has his own personal season been?

It started ok but I feel with every game I play I am getting closer to the match fitness I want to be at, performance wise it’s been a bit hit and miss to be honest and that is something I will be trying to work on in 2019

How good is this Aston squad, and which players have impressed?

We have a very good team at Aston this year and some of the players could easily play at a higher level, Elias (Williams) and Kev (Mealor) have impressed me the most this season. Elias is young and very good at changing defence into attack quickly, he drives forward well with the ball and that causes other teams a lot of problems which is a big asset for us. Kev offers us a lot when he’s in the side, he is vocal and a real handful for defenders because of his size! He also brings a wealth of experience with him

What is Taylor’s favoured position or formation in the team?

I haven’t really had one set position this year, I’ve played as a left wing back which was a new experience, and I have also played in the forward roles. I believe the best position for me is being part of a three up front, it gives me some freedom and I feel like I have a bigger impact on the game higher up the pitch

We asked Taylor how he feels the club is progressing under Neil’s leadership:

I feel it’s going in the right direction, I wasn’t here before Neil so I’m not too sure what it was like under Jordan, but the new manager has brought in some good players since he’s been here and has a good managerial team with him as well

A win, a loss and an abandonment in their last three, how were those games?

The game against Clean Slate was abandoned due to the weather which was totally out of our hands, the win over Unite MK was just what we needed after we’d lost to Totternhoe. That defeat was a frustrating one as we were down to ten men early on but were still the better team throughout the game, we should have had a penalty and we also hit the crossbar. Totternhoe I believe only had one shot on target from which they scored, it was a game of missed chances which is something we have spoken about, we need to be more ruthless in front of goal

Mursley on Saturday, the game earlier in the season saw plenty of bookings, are Aston confident they can win again?

Yes we are confident we can get another win over them, we have good strength and depth in our squad so another victory is what is expected of us as a team. There were a lot of yellow cards last time, I don’t think it was down to it being a nasty game more down to the referee being overly card happy in my opinion

Finally, we asked what the targets are for the remainder of the season:

I believe I should be scoring more goals and that is something I will look to add back into my game this year, in terms of the league we haven’t really set any goals, we are taking it each week as it comes but I am sure by the end of January we will start seeing a split between the top half and bottom half of the table

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

SSMFL D2C; Sarratt 1-4 Aston Clinton

Sarratt – 1

Aston Clinton – 4


Aston Clinton eased through their Spartan South Midlands League Division Two Cup Quarter-Final on Saturday at Sarratt, although it took two second half penalties for the visitors to seal their passage into the semi-final where they will face Bovingdon for a place in this season’s final. Two goals in a minute in the first half looked to have put Clinton in a dominant position but they conceded just sixty seconds later to set up an intriguing cup tie in which the hosts had two gilt edged opportunities to level before the break that were wasted; it took a rash tackle after the break to allow Taylor Collins the opportunity to bag his hatrick for the afternoon, and another spot kick wrapped up the scoring late on, as Neil Roberts side confirmed their cup pedigree by reaching the last four of a knockout competition for the second time in four days.

Just two minutes in saw a ball over the home defence for Kevin Mealor to latch onto and his first time effort saw Sarratt keeper Liam Studley have to pounce away to his left to gather with both hands, a long clearance from the away backline then saw Chris Stapleton away down the wing and his cross found Mealor in front of goal but he fired straight into the gloves of Studley. A free kick then saw Aston keeper Liam Smith loft the ball into the box where the home keeper, a defender and Stapleton all went up together to challenge, the ball came off one of them and rolled into the empty net but a raised flag denied the opener, but then on fourteen minutes Collins scored and this time it counted.

A corner floated in was too deep but Mealor retrieved and laid back to his striker partner who rifled home left footed inside the near post, the lead doubled just seconds later when Collins was played down the right channel where he got to the ball ahead of the advancing Studley to slot across the goal face into the far bottom corner. But before the side in blue had time to relax their hosts pulled one back immediately when hesitancy at the back allowed Bexley Andrew to turn and fire low into the bottom corner to give the home side some hope, they almost equalised soon after when a curling effort from Marcus Rivers from close range almost squirmed under the body of Smith but he gathered at the second attempt on his line.

Taylor Collins opens the scoring

Rivers then had another chance when he advanced down the right and beating his marker cut across the penalty area but from close range he powered his drive wildly over the crossbar, a poor corner at the other end saw Sarratt have ample time to clear but Elias Williams stole possession to head into the box and fire low towards the near post but another good save kept the scoreline intact. Another long ball down field then saw Stapleton in space down the right, he flashed his shot across goal and a yard or two wide of the upright, the striker then fed left back Ashley Clark down the wing where his cross flew through the six-yard box and despite numerous bodies trying to connect it rolled harmlessly away to safety. H/T: 2-1

It took almost ten minutes after the break for the first effort of note, Williams picking up a loose ball on the edge of the Sarratt box before crossing the white line to shoot which saw the home custodian having to block with his feet, Collins then released Clark down the wing where his cross was met in front of goal by the outstretched boot of a defender that could have gone anywhere but luckily looped over the top for a corner, followed closely by pull back across the eighteen yard line that Stapleton stepped over with Williams charging in behind but his stinging shot sailed over the top, the closest the home side came was a free kick out wide that was met by the head of John McGeachy but off balance he could only help it out for a goal kick.

The first penalty came on sixty-seven minutes when a long ball up to Mealor saw him brilliantly take the ball down and hold off two markers, he rolled the ball into the path of Clark who attacked the box until coming in from his right Lee Kelley bundled him off the ball giving the referee no option but to blow his whistle and point to the spot, Collins had no hesitation in taking responsibility and slotted home to complete his treble. Another cross into Mealor saw him again hold up well before laying off to Sam Austin who fired over the top, a free kick to the home side laid off to Luke Beaumont saw him try to lob over Smith but he only succeeded in chipping into his waiting gloves, then with twelve minutes left Clinton were awarded another penalty.

Joe Kittle converts penalty late on

A ball downfield to Mealor saw him turn his marker and advance towards goal, as he approached the six-yard box the home skipper Ian McIntosh & Studley attempted to block but the striker went down and Clinton had another spot kick, substitute Joe Kittle was handed the ball which he duly despatched to kill of the game. The woodwork then saved the hosts as Mealor again fed Clark down the flank and his cross heading for Stapleton at the back of the box hit McIntosh to wrong foot the keeper, the ball rebounded off the post and bounced across the open goal mouth before eventually being cleared. Mealor was then unlucky as he connected brilliantly with a pass over the top and his first time attempted lob over Studley looked as if it was in until from nowhere the keeper threw himself backwards and got a hand to it to push around his post.

Sarratt were denied a late consolation when Rivers got in behind the Clinton defence and as he shaped up to pull the trigger a brilliant last gasp sliding tackle from centre half Billy Harrison took the ball off his foot, in added time a free kick awarded to the home side right out on their left in the corner was curled into the box and went straight in, confusion then rained as the referee blew his whistle but after consulting his assistant it was ruled out as the free kick had been indirect and no one got a touch before it went over the line. F/T: 1-4

Attendance: 28

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After the match Sports Shots spoke to Clinton duo Chris Stapleton & Taylor Collins: 

For match photography, please click here:

SSMFL D2C; Clinton defender Austin hoping his side can Power through to league & cup success

Saturday 8th December 2018

Sarratt v Aston Clinton

Spartan South Midlands League Division Two Cup

King George V Playing Fields

K.O. 1.45pm

Aston Clinton travel to Sarratt on Saturday in the Spartan South Midlands Division Two cup, and are on the back of a six game spell that has seen five wins and a draw in all competition which includes a two-nil win at their hosts in early November. Still fighting strong in three cup competitions is testament to a side that didn’t start the season that well and endured a change of manager after just a few games; making progress midweek in the High Wycombe senior cup that they won last May lay prelude to this latest divisional cup tie in which Clinton lost the final of last year. Can they keep their cup dreams ticking over?

Sam Austin

This week Sports Shots caught up with defender Sam Austin to ask how things have started for the squad:

We didn’t have the best of starts, we played some tough opponents early on and we struggled to get any momentum going in terms of results and performances, with lots of new players to settle into the squad. We’ve regularly got fifteen players available now every game, meaning we have great options in matches, and the manager can pick game specific sides, rather than the team picking itself week in week out. Obviously, it was tough losing our previous manager and our captain so early on and also in quick succession, but it has brought us closer together as a team and made us all more motivated to help each other on the pitch to have another successful season. We’ve recently been getting some good results and our team spirit is very positive

How has the season started for Sam?

I had a knee injury fairly early on meaning it was a bit stop start for me, but once I got that sorted it was nice to get a good run of games and get back into the rhythm of playing, building relationships and confidence on the pitch. As a defender I judge my performances on clean sheets and we haven’t had as many as we’d have liked so far, particularly early on in the campaign, this has been particularly disappointing as we conceded the least amount of goals in the league last year. In recent weeks though we have looked much stronger defensively and have been keeping teams out more effectively. Personally I think my performances have been getting better as we’ve progressed and feel as though I am starting to contribute more defensively and vocally. Hopefully I can keep improving and help the team to keep as many clean sheets as possible

What is Sam’s favoured position in the side, and what is the best system for him?

I prefer to play as centre-back, I have played either that position or left back for the last few years but I do prefer being in the middle as it’s the position in which I can best help the team. We’ve played with two centre-backs in a back four, or three centre-backs in a five so far this season, with myself being on the left in both of those formations, I enjoy both but have particularly enjoyed when we play three at the back as it gives you a bit more time on the ball to pick a pass as well as having more passing options. I also feel that is the formation that best suits us as a team, we’ve got brilliant energy on the wings and great technicians in the middle who can control games of football

Which Clinton players have stood out so far?

Two players for me so far, Luke Russell and Adam Beckett. Luke is Mr. Consistent; he always works hard and puts in solid performances weeks after week regardless of the position he is playing, I have played alongside him a lot in defence so I get to see all the great work he does on and off the ball, he’s been an important player for us for the entirety of my time here. Becks has started brilliantly after re-joining midway through last season, he is strong & composed on the ball and is always willing to receive it. He has a great range of passing which has helped relieve the pressure off of us at the back when we have been under pressure, he’s also a huge threat from set pieces

We asked Sam to define the best game performance so far, and also the worst:

As a team, I would have to say our best performance was the two-one win at home to Bovingdon, as it’s the only game they have lost in the league so far. We took the lead twice in that game and defended well as a team to the death to protect the three points. Our worst performance by a mile was the nil-three home defeat to Totternhoe in our very first game, we were comfortably out worked and out performed and it was a big wake up call for all of us. For me personally I feel my best performance was in the two-nil win at Risborough, not only did we manage to keep a clean sheet, but it was one of my better games with the ball, managing to find my team mates and recycle the ball well

With five wins and a draw in their last six, how far can Aston now push on in the league and cup?

After the disappointing start we had it’s been hugely satisfying to get some good momentum going and to get some decent results whilst performing well too. There is still room for improvement though, despite improving in recent weeks we still need to be more clinical and ruthless in both boxes. If we manage to get that sorted then we are confident we are still in with a chance of winning the league, this division can be hard to predict and there have been some unusual results already this year, but if we can keep this momentum going then we will be right up there. Regarding cup competitions, we always seem to do well against teams above us so hopefully we can recreate last seasons efforts and get our hands on a trophy

Clinton beat this week’s opponents just a few weeks ago, how was the game and what did the team learn that day?

We beat them fairly comfortably last time we met them, although we could have made life easier for ourselves. They like to play out from the back which we counteracted well, creating some good chances and playing high up the pitch inside their half. Hopefully we can get another win and move into the next round

Finally, we asked Sam to predict the finalists of this years Division Two cup final with the winners of this game to meet Bovingdon in the semi, whilst Old Bradwell play MK Gallacticos in the other:

Any team in a semi-final of a cup are going to be a threat, we played Old Bradwell the other week and they are very organised and a tough team to play against. Gallacticos can be very tricky and are a huge threat on the attack, whilst Bovingdon are at the top of the league for a reason, so either one of those are in with a chance. Hopefully, it will be either Old Bradwell or Gallacticos playing us in the final!

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

BBFA ST; Aston striker on a Staple diet of goals, goals, and goals

Saturday 10th November 2018

Didcot Town Development v Aston Clinton

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy 3rd Round

Loop Meadow Stadium

K.O. 2.00pm

Aston Clinton travel to Hellenic League Division One East side Didcot Town Development on Saturday in Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy action, and whilst facing a side from a higher level Clinton know they are more than a match for anyone on their day following last seasons successes. Didcot will be a tough place to go despite their lowly league position, they’ve won their last four matches which were all cup fixtures, however Clinton have only lost once in their previous seven games in all competition and knocked out a step six side in the previous round when they beat Risborough Rangers from their own South Midlands league.

Chris Stapleton

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with recent new signing Chris Stapleton who joined from Buckingham Athletic just a few weeks ago, and asked how he’d settled into his new club:

Aston Clinton is where I played all my youth football and I’m familiar with the club as a whole, which has enabled me to settle in really quickly. The lads have been great and its nice to see some familiar faces

Was the move an easy choice & how did it all come about?

Leaving Buckingham was such a hard decision for me and not one I took lightly. After one of my best seasons last year being top goal scorer & receiving players player, I was looking to continue into the new season. After a good start to the campaign I went on a family holiday but when I came back, I struggled to get back into the team, I had many conversations with the manager and he was aware I was unhappy, but he also had three other strikers to keep happy which isn’t easy I know. I just needed to get back playing again, scoring goals and enjoying my football, I knew I would get this at Clinton so dropping down a division wasn’t the hardest part of the decision for me

Chris has been scoring since joining, how has he found the standard of football?

I’ve started well and getting a few goals always helps with the confidence, to be honest the standard of football is very similar. All the teams in this league are strong and they all have their own qualities

The club sit mid table and are still in a couple of cup competitions, how well can the club do this term?

It’s still early days yet, the table is very tight but if we can get on a winning run, we could be right up there by time the Christmas period comes around, and then we could push on for the rest of the season. It’s good to be involved in any cup competitions and I’d like to see us go all the way, with the quality we have in the team there is no reason we can’t

We asked Chris how good he thinks the squad is at Aston, and if they could play at a higher level:

All the lads are playing well at the moment and there is a real togetherness about us, I personally have played with and against several of the squad at higher levels which is why I know just what we could be capable of. We have depth in the squad with real quality all over the pitch

Does Chris ever think that a South Midlands Division Two side could ever reach the Berks & Bucks final?

Football is a funny game, with the luck of the draw you just never know. There’s a first time for everything so fingers crossed, we just need to take each game as it comes and make sure we stay focused to give ourselves any chance of progressing

How will the squad be preparing for the game on Saturday?

I personally don’t know much about them, I’m not too sure if any of the other lads do either but we have to approach this game like any other. I’m sure they will be a decent side so we just need to prepare ourselves, work hard and look to come away with the win

Finally, how important is the Berks & Bucks cup for Chris?

I’ve played in this cup many times for a few different teams, it’s one of my favourite competitions and it would be great to win it with Aston. Hopefully this will be our year!

Thank you to Sports Shots for all your support and coverage, you all do a great job!

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

BBC 3 Counties Radio launch weekly non-league football show for Beds, Herts & Bucks

BBC three counties radio launched their brand new non-league football show on Monday evening, and in their first broadcast spoke with former Winslow United player Ayden Callaghan, and included a regular ‘ninety second quiz’ in which the weekly guest is asked questions on their relevant club.

As the radio station covers Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire & Buckinghamshire the show is open to all but three of the clubs we cover this season at Sports Shots.

To hear the whole of the first show from Monday, use the link here:

The show is live every Monday evening from 7.00pm – 8.00pm and is the perfect opportunity to catch up with our local non-league scene at all levels.

Both presenters of the show are on twitter, and to follow what’s coming up in the next show make sure you give them a follow, Ollie Bayliss is @Ollie_Bayliss and Luke Ashmead is @Ashmead72

BBFA ST; Aston striker has former team in Range for cup shock

Saturday 6th October 2018

Risborough Rangers v Aston Clinton

Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy 2nd Round


K.O. 3.00pm

Aston Clinton travel the short distance to Risborough Rangers on Saturday in the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy, to face the side that are although a division above in terms of standings, have not actually won a game inside ninety minutes since the eighteenth of August. Rangers had to beat Division Two Amersham Town in the first round of this competition on penalties, which should give Clinton plenty of confidence even though their season hasn’t seen the smoothest of starts including a management change.

Vinny Greco

Ahead of the fixture, Sports Shots caught up with front man Vinny Greco to ask how he feels his side have started the season:

It’s obvious that we haven’t had a great start but we are finding a bit of form now, we hope to carry it forward and go on a run of wins. We want to win every game so anytime that we drop points we feel we should have done better!

And what about his own personal form?

I don’t think I’ve been as good as I can or could be. I have come up with a few goals and a few assists already but I always want to do better

After much upheaval over the past few months, how does Vinny think the team were affected then and now?

I feel like it did affect us a lot, we lost our manager and a captain but there is a real togetherness about us at the minute and I feel we are stronger than ever, and I am confident that the rest of the season will be good for us

Since the defeat at high-flyers Bovingdon four weeks ago Clinton have had two good wins since, how were those games?

Unfortunately I missed the away game at Bovingdon but was back for the Gallacticos and Mursley matches where we played really well and kept some good possession of the ball, we played in a positive way in both games and had plenty of chances to make both of them even more convincing than they were

What players have impressed Vinny so far this term?

For me Alex Little has been the stand out player this season, he can play full back, centre half or centre midfield and easily gives you a seven out of ten performance every time, each game I feel he gets better & better

Up against higher level opposition this week, how do Clinton approach the game?

They are a team I used to play for and know pretty well as do a few of our players. We have to go into the game not focused on them or what division they are in, we can beat them with our own style of play and we are confident in how we play and that we can get the result we want

Are there any ex-team mates at Risborough that the striker would like to get one over?

I have a few former team mates that I played with there as well as a few lads that I’ve played with at other clubs who are there, some good lads that I’m really looking forward to playing against. I’ve never won the Saturday county cup however I have won the Sunday version and that was a great experience! It’s going to be tough but I feel we are good enough to have a great run

Finally, what differences does Vinny expect to face from their higher level opponents on Saturday?

Floodlights and a stand, apart from that I feel that we can match them all over the pitch! We aren’t worried about them, we just have to play our game and I’m sure we’ll be fine

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