Archive for Aston Clinton Football Club

SSMFL D2; Aston Clinton v MK Gallacticos preview + manager Neil Robert’s thoughts on pre-season

Saturday 3rd August 2019
Aston Clinton v MK Gallacticos
Spartan South Midlands League Division Two
Aston Park
HP22 5HL
K.O. 3.00pm

Last season’s league standings:

South Midlands League Division Two

Aston Clinton 4th

MK Gallacticos 8th

This game last season:

15th September 2018

Aston Clinton 4 (Adam Beckett x 2 Lamar Mason-Williams x 2)

MK Gallacticos 1 (Demarlo Smith)

Last four games:

Aston Clinton:

W 1-0 v Holmer Green (Wycombe Senior Cup Final at Marlow FC) 7th May

L 0-2 home v Old Bradwell United 4th May SSMFL

D 5-5 away v Mursley United 20th April SSMFL

W 7-0 away v Clean Slate 13th April SSMFL

MK Gallacticos:

L 1-4 home v Old Bradwell United 13th April SSMFL

L 1-4 home v Bovingdon 30th March SSMFL

D 1-1 home v Aston Clinton 23rd March SSMFL

D 1-1 away v Old Bradwell United 16th March SSMFL

Neil Roberts

Ahead of the season opener Sports Shots caught up with Clinton manager Neil Roberts to ask how relaxing his summer has been:

In terms of relaxing away from the game yes, but on other fronts it’s been a hectic few months with work and moving to a new house etc, but all settled now and looking forward to the season ahead!!!

When did Aston commence their pre-season campaign, and how were the numbers in attendance early on?

Our pre-season started in late June, so we’ve had six weeks of hard graft as well as four or five positive friendlies. Numbers have never been an issue, we as a club run two teams at the same level, one in the South Midlands and one in the Hellenic so numbers wise we’ve always had twenty-two going up to thirty there each week for each session, so on that front it’s been good!

How has the summer been for signing players on for the club?

Signing players on hasn’t been a problem, the problems been other teams trying to tap our players up once they have signed on!!! But we’ve managed to keep a good close-knit group together which has been very positive & adding a few as well to replace those that have left!

How have the friendly games been in the lead up to the season?

Pre-season friendlies have been positive in the way we want to play, we’re like every other club in that it’s going to take three or four competitive games to properly get going but we’re ready for the challenge ahead

Is the squad now complete or are there any more to come?

No, our squad now is pretty settled, once holidays are finished etc we’ll have a core of seventeen or eighteen to choose from

Onto the game this weekend, has Neil looked much into the opposition?

I tend not to look at pre-season results from other clubs as holidays and people coming and going from various clubs means you never know what you’re up against, the league will settle out over six to seven games and we’ll go from there! On paper we’ve got a tough start, MK Gallacticos have always had good principles in the way they play football, they’ll be free flowing and technically very good, so i believe it will be an entertaining game

Any early targets for his team?

Like I said let’s get to October and see where we are then, I think the league will be stronger than ever this season, with teams ground sharing in the hope that they go up, teams have grounds ready to go in next year so it will be competitive which is what you want regardless of what level you play at! It will be a good test of our character and whether we have got the hunger to go on and compete at the right end of the table

Finally, are there any games that Neil is looking forward to?

I don’t care who we play in whatever competition, I personally have never worried who we’re playing, we as a team want to be the best we can be.

Thanks once again for your continued support to Aston Clinton fc and the non-league game!

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

SSMFL Division Two fixtures released for August & September

SPARTAN SOUTH MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIV 2

The Spartan South Midlands Football League have released the first two months of fixtures for Division Two teams, although at this stage these games are subject to change.

AUGUST FIXTURES

 

Saturday 3rd August – Kick Off 3.00pm

DIVISION TWO

Aston Clinton v MK Gallacticos

 

Saturday 10th August – Kick Off 3.00pm

DIVISION TWO

Aston Clinton v Old Bradwell United

Sarratt v New Bradwell St Peter

Totternhoe v Codicote

Tring Corinthians v MK Gallacticos

 

Saturday 17th August – Kick Off 3.00pm

DIVISION TWO

Sarratt v Berkhamsted Raiders

Tring Corinthians v Aston Clinton

Unite MK v Old Bradwell United

 

Tuesday 20th August – Kick Off 7.45pm unless stated

LEAGUE CHALLENGE TROPHY First Round

Aylesbury Vale Dynamos v Codicote

Colney Heath v Sarratt

Edgware Town v Pitstone & Ivinghoe

Leverstock Green v New Bradwell St Peter

 

Wednesday 21st August – Kick Off 7.45pm unless stated

LEAGUE CHALLENGE TROPHY First Round

New Salamis v Berkhamsted Raiders

Unite MK v Ampthill Town

 

Saturday 24th August – Kick Off 3.00pm

LEAGUE CHALLENGE TROPHY First Round

Mursley United v Park View

Tring Corinthians v Old Bradwell United

 

DIVISION TWO

Aston Clinton v New Bradwell St Peter

Bovingdon v Berkhamsted Raiders

Pitstone & Ivinghoe v Sarratt

The 61FC (Luton) v Codicote

Totternhoe v MK Gallacticos

 

Saturday 31st August – Kick Off 3.00pm

THE BUILDABASE FA VASE First Round Qualifying

Holyport v Unite MK

New Salamis v Codicote

 

DIVISION TWO

Mursley United v Totternhoe

Pitstone & Ivinghoe v New Bradwell St Peter

Sarratt v The 61FC (Luton)

Tring Corinthians v Berkhamsted Raiders

 

SEPTEMBER FIXTURES

(Note: Subject to change once County Cup draws are known)

 

Saturday 7th September – Kick Off 3.00pm

LEAGUE CHALLENGE TROPHY First Round

MK Gallacticos v Langford

 

DIVISION TWO

Bovingdon v Pitstone & Ivinghoe

Codicote v Aston Clinton

Old Bradwell United v The 61FC (Luton)

Sarratt v Buckingham United

Tring Corinthians v Grendon Rangers

Unite MK v New Bradwell St Peter

 

Tuesday 10th September – Kick Off 7.45pm unless stated

LEAGUE CHALLENGE TROPHY First Round

Amersham Town v Grendon Rangers (Kick Off 7.30pm)

Harefield United v Buckingham United

 

Saturday 14th September – Kick Off 3.00pm

THE BUILDABASE FA VASE Second Round Qualifying

New Salamis or Codicote v Tower Hamlets

Wellingborough Town or Wellingborough Whitworth v Holyport or Unite MK

 

PREMIER DIVISION

Biggleswade United v Tring Athletic

 

DIVISION TWO

Buckingham United v Codicote (Subject to FA Vase)

Grendon Rangers v Sarratt

MK Gallacticos v Old Bradwell United

Mursley United v Berkhamsted Raiders

New Bradwell St Peter v Tring Corinthians

Pitstone & Ivinghoe v Unite MK (Subject to FA Vase)

The 61FC (Luton) v Aston Clinton

Totternhoe v Bovingdon

 

Saturday 21st September – Kick Off 3.00pm

LEAGUE CHALLENGE TROPHY First Round

Aston Clinton v Bovingdon

 

DIVISION TWO

Berkhamsted Raiders v Grendon Rangers

Codicote v Unite MK

Sarratt v Totternhoe

Tring Corinthians v Buckingham United

WSC F; Holmer Green 0-1 Aston Clinton

Holmer Green – 0
Aston Clinton – 1

07.05.2019

Aston Clinton retained the trophy they won twelve months ago by beating Hellenic Football League Premier Division side Holmer Green on Tuesday night at the Alfred Davis Memorial Ground, home of Marlow FC; a first half corner that Taylor Collins curled over everyone into the far top corner was enough to see Neil Roberts men parade the silverware with victory over higher placed opposition for the second successive year. Holmer started the better but as the first half wore on Clinton found their feet and got the crucial goal which they had to defend for long periods of the second period, they had chances on the counter after the break to seal the game which were spurned but they held on to complete another successful season for the Spartan South Midlands Division Two side.

The team in green had the ball in the back of the net within ninety seconds of kick off when a corner was cleared as far as Curtis Stone who looped it back into Dan Wilson where from ten yards he headed home but quite clearly from an offside position, shortly after Adam Riley worked hard to get space down the left channel before turning his marker and curling an effort straight at Clinton keeper Liam Smith. Aston won a couple of quick succession corners which Taylor Collins curled right down the throat of Holmer custodian Aaron Brown, the first he had to tip over his own crossbar to avoid it going in, the second headed back out to the midfielder whose third attempt then revealed blue shirts in an offside position despite Mitchell Collins heading over.

Taylor Collins corner went straight in

Dave Brown received a pass wide right and cut inside the full back and from the edge of the area his shot took a slight deflection for a corner, a Mitchell Collins free kick from twenty-five yards dipped inches over the top, at the opposite end Pawel Kotwica lifted over from the left of goal. A deep cross into the Holmer box had Lamar Mason-Williams heading back to Taylor Collins whose over the shoulder attempt cannoned off a defender, the clearance sent long looked to be fairly safe but as a Clinton defender looked up for options Riley burst through to take possession and drive forward where Smith made himself big and had to push away to stop what looked a certain opener.

On twenty-nine minutes came the winner, corner taker Collins curled in from the right which eluded those at the front post and as Sam Austin approached to attack the keeper stuck his arm up to try and push over however the ball nestled inside the top corner. From the restart a long punt back up into the green half saw Mason-Williams released on goal with a Zach Crawford on his shoulder, the pair tussled to the eighteen yard line where the striker managed to shoot however the boot of his opponent took it out for a corner, Taylor Collins then chased a lost cause down in midfield to send Mason-Williams down the flank on his own, reaching the box he squared into Brown who pulled his drive wide. H/T: 0-1

An early second half move by Holmer broke down deep in the Aston half allowing Elias Williams to bring the ball away and a perfectly weighted pass with the outside of the boot sent Ash Clark through the heart of the defence where from the edge of the penalty arc he blazed over the bar, and from there it was a case of the Greens working hard to get back into the game but the blue back line repelling everything thrown at them, with the occasional foray into the opposition half.

Aaron Brown makes late save

Two goal mouth scrambles were cleared by the Aston defence before another move saw a clearance up to substitute Chris Stapleton on the halfway line, he turned to thread through the full back and centre half for Clark to race away again but upon reaching the box he unselfishly tried to square to Brown but a defender cleared whereas taking the shot on himself might have been the better option, some great defending at the opposite end saw a lob over the top for Kotwica to chase down but Austin positioned himself between the front man and the ball to shield out of play.

Another lightening quick move saw Stapleton released down the right wing where his pace took him past his marker and reaching the eighteen yard line he laid into the path of Taylor Collins whose low drive was brilliantly pushed away by Aaron Brown single handed, Stapleton slid in but could only poke the rebound wide, five minutes into added time with Clinton wasting time in the corner Holmer skipper Gary Lines slid in to bring down Stapleton to earn his second yellow and subsequent red card with the final whistle sounding just moments later. F/T: 0-1

Attendance: 134

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 Clinton manager Neil Roberts:

For 2 pages (124 images) of matchday photography please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmB85Ump

Sports Shots top three most viewed interviews for March 2019

The top three most popular post-match interviews (to date) for March on our You Tube page https://www.youtube.com/user/sportsshotsorguktv/videos were as follows:

No. 1: Winslow United v Hatfield Town match highlights 16.03.2019 (334)

 

No. 2: Aston Clinton assistant manager Jack Seaton v Grendon Rangers 09.03.2019 (321)

 

No. 3: Buckingham Athletic development v Leighton Town development match highlights 23.03.2019 (232)

(All viewing figures correct at the time of publish)

SSMFL D2C; Old Bradwell United 0-0 Aston Clinton (3-2 pens)

Old Bradwell United – 0
Aston Clinton – 0
(Old Bradwell United win 3-2 on penalties)

10.04.2019

Old Bradwell United had to play eighty minutes of this Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two cup final with ten men to take the game into a penalty shoot-out where they held their nerve as Aston Clinton missed three of their five spot kicks which ultimately took the silverware back to Milton Keynes. A dour first half saw little goal mouth action, the second forty-five did create scoring opportunities but neither keeper seriously tested, a good crowd of almost two hundred then congregated at the clubhouse end to witness both sides score their first & third penalty each, whilst both missed their second each Bradwell didn’t miss again and over the crossbar efforts from Vinny Greco & finally Taylor Collins saw the men in black & white go on to lift the cup and celebrate in the bitterly cold Leighton Buzzard temperatures.

The first half was one to forget, an early Ash Clarke attack down the Aston left had Bradwell keeper Liam Jahn down low to his near post to smoother whilst at the opposite end Scott Valentine delivered a free kick into the Clinton penalty area but their custodian Liam Smith rose above everyone to gather with both hands. Then just ten minutes in the referee spotted an incident to which he blew his whistle, spoke briefly to striker Darryl Smith before flashing the red card at the United man to leave most of the crowd scratching their heads as to what had happened, later confirmed as by the official as being for spitting at Taylor Collins.

For the rest of the half the imbalance simply saw Old Bradwell defend anything the men in blue slung at them, a couple of long range efforts went over or wide, whilst a couple of brief attacks at the opposite end saw Valentine whip a cross into the six-yard box where Smith had to stun with his boot before pouncing to collect, and a Jakk Pursey curler from the corner of the eighteen-yard area bounce the wrong side of the far upright the highlights. H/T: 0-0

Clinton manager Neil Roberts gave his side ten minutes at the start of the second period until changing things up, defender Alex Little was sacrificed to make way for striker Chris Stapleton and within a couple of moments he made a clever run along the blindside of the Bradwell defence to get his head to a free kick, Jahn having to dive to push away for a corner, another set piece awarded to the men in blue saw Adam Beckett size things up acting as a decoy before Taylor Collins curled inches over the crossbar.

Billy Harrison ventured forward to slip a ball through the United backline for Lamar Mason-Williams to chase after but his first time effort wide of the target, a punt downfield for Ben Green to latch onto then saw some brilliant defending by Aston full back Luke Russel who had to slide in and time his interception to perfection inside the area to bring the threat to an end, their next move saw the Bradwell frontman get away from his marker but from the edge of the six-yard box poke into the side netting.

Another Green cross from the wing curled away to safety with no black & white shirts far enough forward to connect, Pursey showed some promise a minute later but curled over the top from eighteen yards, the long kick from Smith saw a flick on in midfield to Stapleton on the edge of the box, with back to goal he tried the acrobatic over the head spectacular but it was straight at Jahn. In added time Pursey drove straight at Smith from distance, the final action saw United substitute Toby Cribb chase down a loose ball on the flank before cutting inside and curling a drive over Smith’s crossbar. F/T: 0-0

Penalties:

Aston Clinton: Chris Stapleton scores 1-0

Old Bradwell: Jamie Cox scores 1-1

Aston Clinton: Joe Kittle saved 1-1

Old Bradwell: Jakk Pursey saved 1-1

Aston Clinton: Adam Beckett scores 2-1

Old Bradwell: Dale Collins scores 2-2

Aston Clinton: Vinny Greco misses 2-2

Old Bradwell: Zach Ferris scores 2-3

Aston Clinton: Taylor Collins misses 2-3

 

Attendance: 180

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit sportsshots.org.uk

For matchday photography please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmCNHKDS

SSMFL D2: Brown goal helps Aston Clinton defeat Raiders as 3rd beat 2nd!

In the Spartan South Midlands League, Division 2 game of the day, third placed Aston Clinton defeated a Berkhamsted Raiders side who started the day in second position.

David Brown

The winning goal came from Clinton substitute David Brown.

SSMFL D2; Grendon Rangers 1-1 Aston Clinton

Grendon Rangers – 1
Aston Clinton – 1

The contrasting faces that came off the playing fields at Grendon on Saturday told two separate stories, the home side Rangers delighted to have held third placed & double cup finalists Aston Clinton to a draw whilst the visitors were left fuming after a second half that saw them denied what they saw as a perfectly good goal and two penalty decisions go against them that had assistant manager Jack Seaton in no doubt they should have won the game. A strong cross field wind made conditions difficult for both sides but Grendon took the lead through Sol Janecki and they were looking good to get to half time with that advantage, however a late first half free kick from Alex Smith caught the wind and eluded the reach of James Cox in the home nets to nestle inside the far post to level matters, after the break Clinton did everything but score despite being reduced to ten men, rattling the woodwork twinned with those decisions they felt the officials got wrong ultimately costing them two points.

The weather almost undid the home side just forty seconds into the game when a free kick to Clinton just inside their own half saw keeper Liam Smith loft into the box but it got caught in the swirling wind eluding everyone in the area, one bounce took it over Cox and also the crossbar to safety, Chris Stapleton cutting in from the left hand touchline across midfield then went for goal but could only fire wide of the post. Lamar Mason-Williams & Taylor Collins then almost undid the Rangers defence with a one-two which saw them lose control however the ball bounced dangerously towards the bottom corner forcing Cox to stick out a boot to turn away for a corner, the set piece curled in invitingly towards the edge of the six-yard box but then the weather took over carrying it out of play over the bar as if to show the spectators just how difficult it was to play.

Sol Janecki gets the ball over the line to open scoring

Joe Kittle found some space on the wing to cross but a glancing header from Mason-Williams was too close to the home custodian, Stapleton then drove into the area avoiding a couple of challenges but from close range he lifted over the top, then on twenty-nine minutes Rangers took the lead when a corner swung in from their left saw Janecki challenge with Sam Austin on his back just two yards in front of the goal, the ball bouncing down through both Ash Clark & Smith on the line and into the net. There was almost an immediate equaliser when Kittle found Elias Williams some ten yards out where his shot came back off the crossbar and was eventually cleared away, a free kick then saw a flick on to Smith on the corner of the eighteen yard box where he fired back across goal and wide of the far upright.

At the other end Mohammed Adam did well holding off the challenge of Luke Russel and also Kittle who came across to try & help out his colleague, the Grendon striker firing low towards the bottom corner but Smith stuck out a leg to divert away and as the loose ball rolled across goal no other amber shirts were close enough to take advantage, then just a minute before the interval Aston did draw themselves level. They won a free kick out on their left which Kittle stood over ready to take until the referee noticed he had an ear ring in and ordered him from the pitch to remove it, the midfielder was booked for his protests as he left the field of play towards his sides dug out, as he stood on the sidelines watching Smith took charge of the free kick which flew in over the outstretched gloves of Cox and into the far corner. H/T: 1-1

Alex Smith all smiles after scoring from free kick

The first chance of the second period saw Mason-Williams sprint down the flank to find Smith twelve yards out but his touch let him down and the bounce took it away allowing Grendon to clear, on five minutes a speculative shot from Stapleton from twenty yards had Cox peck peddling to catch with both hands under his crossbar, with his momentum taking him into the back of the net he dropped the ball which had the blues frontline screaming goal as they thought it had crossed the line, however play was waved on by the official. A left wing cross from Smith sailed over Cox and in behind Collins fought with Dan Ciuica but the defender did just enough to force the Clinton man to deflect wide with the empty goal gaping, and on sixty-four minutes the away side were up in arms again when a throw on their right saw them initially lose possession inside the Grendon box and as it bounced out to Stuart Leonard he appeared to handle before clearing, but again the man in the middle was having none of it.

A deep cross into the home area found Smith who had time to take a touch to compose himself but as he tried to curl around the keeper, Cox flung himself out to gather with both hands and they went even closer on the next move when Mason-Williams got ahead of his marker to head for goal but the ball bounced off the post and landed nicely for a Ranger to launch to safety. Aston piled on the pressure as the half wore on but they were almost undone when a pass down the middle of the pitch saw Leonard advance from defence and play Adam in behind the blue backline, away on goal he had more time than he realised and opted to hit it first time in an attempted lob over Smith but he could only steer wide of the target, then with sixteen minutes remaining a tackle from Kittle left Ciuica floored and the referee flashed a second yellow at the midfielder forcing him off for an early shower.

A Grendon free kick eluded everyone in the area including Smith who climbed to gather but missed, Stapleton to his relief was behind on the line to head away, at the opposite end a corner routine found Stapleton at the near post but he flicked his header over the top. A late free kick to the hosts saw Charlie West launch into the box but again the conditions took it straight into the waiting gloves of Smith, in added time a determined run from Stapleton saw him slip the ball through the home backline to Clark who drove towards goal until a challenge from substitute Louis Descrette saw him go down and the Clinton bench again were in uproar as the official originally looked as though he was going to blow his whistle, as the players asked what decision had been given a moment of confusion elapsed until he eventually indicated a throw in was the outcome. From the throw the hosts struggled to clear allowing Austin to shoot from the penalty arc narrowly wide, with hands on their heads indicating just how close it had been, the final whistle sounded. F/T: 1-1

Attendance: 33

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 Grendon manager Steven Jackman:
And also with Clinton assistant manager Jack Seaton:

For match photography (112 images) please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmBvnXvP

SSMFL D2; Clinton duo sure that success this season is in Range

Saturday 9th March 2019
Grendon Rangers v Aston Clinton
Spartan South Midlands League Division Two
Grendon Playing Fields
K.O. 3.00pm

Aston Clinton travel to Grendon Rangers on Saturday looking to emulate the win over their hosts they gained in the reverse fixture back in December, the three points would keep Neil Robert’s men in third place in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table as just two points separate third to sixth place and the danger being Old Bradwell who are trailing by those two points but have four games in hand on Clinton. With two cup finals to look forward to in the coming weeks, Aston must keep their focus on the league with just six games left as they look to finish as high as they can, however this week they come up against a team in form as Grendon have won three of their last four games scoring nine goals in their last two matches. Whilst Aston only have one fixture left against a team above them, at home to Berkhamsted Raiders who are second next weekend, they are scheduled to finish their campaign at home to Old Bradwell in May, the one team that could threaten them against a top three finish, so these games are critical for points, momentum and confidence.

Lamar Mason-Williams

This week Sports Shots caught up with Aston defender Ashley Clark & first of all we asked striker Lamar Mason-Williams how long he’s been at the club and how it’s been since:

This is my second stint here having been away from the club for two seasons, I was tempted back by the previous manager towards the back end of last season & I thought it was a no brainer. Aston had been competing for all the cups & the league for the last couple of seasons & I knew this season they would have a chance again & that I wanted to be a part of that. Thankfully we have got to two cup finals & we hope to finish as high as we can in the league. It has been great settling in, I knew most of the boys before I came anyway so they made it pretty comfortable for me to settle back in. The club is run by some great people & welcomed me back with no problem

Ashley hasn’t been here quite so long:

I signed for Aston in pre-season as a lot of the lads I’ve played with previously at Aylesbury Flooring and junior football play here, so settling in was easy as it’s a good bunch down here. But because of my old job I didn’t start playing until the end of September

How has the season been for the defender so far?

Personally I felt I had some catching up to do in terms of fitness as I hadn’t played properly for a good season and a half if not longer. At the start of the season I missed six or seven games but since wingers (Neil Roberts) has taken over I’ve been available almost every week. I’d like to think since playing regularly my performances have been consistent and I’ve made a positive contribution to the team

Lamar feels he is now over a long term injury:

I feel personally I am having an ok season, in terms of fitness I feel pretty good, I have had a niggling knee injury for the past couple of seasons but that seems to have eased off. I have pretty much been available every week which is good & being a striker I am trying to contribute as much as I possibly can with scoring goals. I definitely feel I could have scored more however I am fairly happy with the contribution I have made so far. Hopefully I can kick on towards the end of the season

How good is the Clinton squad this year, and which players have impressed Lamar?

I personally feel this Aston squad is one of the best around, most of the boys have played at a higher level & the boys that haven’t could comfortably make the step up. I would say Elias Williams & Ash Clark are the two that have impressed me. Elias controls the midfield so well, he can defend & also get forward & is a brilliant box to box midfielder. Ash has made the left back spot his own with his performances, based on consistency I would say he is well up there

Ashley Clark

Ash picks out two other team mates for praise:

I’d say the team is very good and on our day we’ve proven we can beat anyone in our league, comfortably as well, we’ve also picked up two results from Risborough who are a league above so we are confident every time we step out we will win. We’ve got a lot of quality players to pick just one so that’s a hard one, but firstly I’d say Liam Smith has been quality in goal as he commands his area, pulls off class save and loves stopping a penalty. Also Taylor Collins has been very good, he works hard for the team and has chipped in with quite a few goals

What is Ashley’s preferred position & formation?

As much as I enjoy playing as a wing back so I can get further forward as part of a five, I’d say my and also the team’s best performances are when we play with a flat back four with me at left back

Lamar plays at the opposite end of the pitch:

Playing as a striker I would say that is my favoured position, I feel I can help the team better by running in behind the defence. I am trying to work on my hold up play a lot more & that’s something that would certainly help the team. I don’t mind playing in a front two or as a lone striker

With two cup final places booked and just six league games left to play, we asked Lamer just how difficult is it to focus on the league and avoiding injury that could lead to cup final heartbreak?

In the league the target now is to finish as high as we can, we know Bovingdon are a great side & are several points ahead at the top. However, we have a couple of games in hand over second placed Berkhamsted Raiders & also have to play them still, with other teams below us attempting to do the same it will be tough but we will try to finish as strongly as we can. It can be difficult but I think the boys are focused enough & the management team will try to keep us on course to win as many games as we can. The league is always first priority, of course you have to try & keep yourself fit & you hope that nothing bad will happen in the upcoming games

Ash thinks the league games can help the squad ahead of those finals:

As a team we’re buzzing obviously buzzing for the two cup finals and are confident we can go on to win both trophies, so with the league games it’s all about keeping that winning mentality and confidence going for the finals. With such as strong squad I don’t think anyone can be worried about tackles and stuff because everyone is playing for their place in the starting line ups for those finals

With a home defeat to lowly Sarratt followed by wins at Bovingdon and 61FC, how has this run of games been from Ashley’s point of view?

Yeah the game against Sarratt probably the less said the better but it did act as a wake-up call to all of us and I think we showed that in our game against Bovingdon, as a team and individually it was our best performance of the season. We took the buzz of the comfortable four-nil win against Bovingdon and put in a good solid performance against 61FC winning three-nil which could’ve and should’ve been more

Lamar agrees that the Sarratt game helped spur the team on:

All three games were very different! Sarratt deserved their win, we didn’t play at the level we know we can reach & I think that was the kick we needed to show what we can do the following week. We knew we had to be at our best against Bovingdon because they are flying, there were a few moments in the first half where they could have scored but the defence & keeper were brilliant all game. Going one up at half time, we knew we could not rest on our laurels & had to kick on and we did so & to finish four-nil was thoroughly deserved, everyone stood out in that game & it was such a good win. Against 61FC, again we did not play at our best & in fairness we should have been out of sight, the score line looked comfortable but it should have been more. But a win is a win at the end of the day

Onto Grendon this weekend, what does Lamar remember of the game earlier in the season, and what are they expecting from their hosts?

I was actually on the bench the last time we played Grendon & didn’t get on! I remember we played well though & took our chances, however this game may be different this time round, they have hit a bit of form with a couple of wins and a good away win against MK Gallacticos the other week. So we know we have to be at our best, you never know with this league as shown when we played Sarratt

Ashley is looking for the same again this time:

Last time was a good comfy win but again we missed some good chances. So on Saturday hopefully it will be another comfortable win

Finally, we asked Ashley if he could nominate any team mate to go on any TV programme, who and what would he choose and why?

Dave Brown to go on Strictly as he loves a dance move & you can often find him in Niche showcasing his best moves, also Vinny (Greco) on Come Dine with Me, because he loves a meal!

Lamar has also chosen another food programme:

I have seen Joe Kittle’s social media & some of the stuff he cooks up, I think he might fancy himself on Masterchef! Thanks to Sports Shorts for your constant support & coverage!

Sports Shots would like to thank Lamar & Ashley for their time this week

SSMFL D2; Aston Clinton 2-3 Sarratt

Aston Clinton – 2
Sarratt – 3

16.02.2019

Aston Clinton fell to a surprise home defeat to Sarratt on Saturday and dropped to sixth as a result in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table. Falling behind early they levelled thanks to Chris Stapleton then took the lead through a Mitchell Collins free kick but a penalty drew the visitor’s level before the break, the second half couldn’t live up to the excitement of the first and a very late goal in added time gave the away side only their second win in twelve in all competition whilst leaving Clinton with the worst possible preparation ahead of their important Division Two cup semi-final at top of the league Bovingdon next weekend, & after the game Aston manager Neil Roberts admitted the visitors had been the better side on the day. A game played under grey skies was certainly a great advert for the league and saw both sides squander chances throughout the second half but it was the Hertfordshire side that stole it at the death to spark some huge celebrations in the away dressing room.

Liam Wyatt opens the scoring

Sarratt started brightly and took the game to their hosts, Liam Beaumont got down the right but his attempted cross screwed high over the top and on six minutes they won a corner which Nick Reilly curled in towards the front post where keeper Liam Smith had to punch over for a second successive set piece, Reilly trotted from one corner to the other to deliver again and arriving in the six yard box Liam Wyatt thumped his header home to give the away side the lead. Aston regrouped and started to look for openings themselves, a poor goal kick saw the ball headed over the amber & black defence for Mitchell Collins to chase after, from the eighteen yard line he first attempted to lay off to a team mate but a defender in the way simply headed straight back to him from where he went for goal on the volley but could only stroke wide.

Watch Mitchell Collin free kick to put Aston ahead

Vinny Greco warmed the hands of the Sarratt keeper Liam Studley with a drive from the edge of the penalty arc, at the opposite end a probing pass knocked up for Reon Thomas to chase saw him beat Smith to it and he knocked it over the keepers head towards the empty net but covering Alex Little thumped away to safety off the line, some patient build up play from the home side down their left saw the ball squared to Greco who tried to curl home but the keeper was behind it all the way. Just before the half hour mark the hosts won a free kick twenty-five yards out which Adam Beckett drilled low towards goal but never really troubled Studley, whilst a throw at the other end found Thomas who despite having a defender on his back managed to control on his chest to then turn and lift over the crossbar.

Chris Stapleton equalises for Clinton

Aston equalised on twenty-eight minutes when a foul in their own half saw Little floored, Greco picked the ball up and took the free kick quickly which released skipper Ashley Clark away down the left channel, despite the calls for offside play was waved on and as the keeper went to challenge he squared into Stapleton who despite a challenge from behind got enough of a touch to see the ball roll in. Within three minutes of the leveller Mitchell Collins put his side ahead with a free kick from twenty-two yards which he curled brilliantly into the far corner, and for a spell the hosts were dominant looking for more, a cross from the left was met on the volley by Greco but over his shoulder he could only loop over the top, then with ten minutes of the half remaining Sarratt were awarded a penalty.

Watch Liam Beaumont level matters after Liam Smith saves penalty

A hopeful punt knocked into the Aston box again for Thomas to chase down saw Clinton keeper Smith advance to try & clear but as he slid towards the ball he wiped out the striker giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot, Beaumont took responsibility but saw his spot kick saved however he was alert enough to follow up and knock home past the committed Smith. This time it was the visitors who were lifted and a cross found Thomas inside the area with his back to goal, he twisted one way and the other before firing wide, Reilly then tried an audacious lob over Smith from thirty yards however the Aston custodian was able to gather in mid-air. H/T: 2-2

An early throw to the hosts found the head of Stapleton just inside the box but he could only flick over the top, the visitors were then thwarted a great chance when a foul deep inside their own half was pulled back for a free kick despite the ball being sent downfield to Thomas who was in on goal and facing a one on one with Smith. The keeper then had to fall away to his right to save a free kick from Reilly, at the opposite end Stapleton outjumped two defenders to head over a great cross before a great run from defence by Little saw him play a one-two with Stapleton to collect on the edge of the eighteen yard box from where he drilled low past the near post.

Another Sarratt throw found Thomas again with his back to goal and nowhere to go but he managed to out fox his marker and his curling effort had Smith throwing himself away to his right to push to safety, Reilly then found Richard Vercesi but he screwed wide of the target. A long ball down field for Lamar Mason-Williams to sprint after almost saw Clinton in on goal however Studley was quick of his line and just about won the race to clear, a cross into Aston substitute Kevin Mealor then saw him off balance manage to get a shot away but wide of the front upright, play was then interrupted for a short while as the officials had to sort out a mini melee inside the Sarratt box which resulted in three yellow cards being brandished.

Sarratt celebrate late winner

Substitute Joseph Madeinlo then broke for the away side and despite Clark in close attendance he managed to get a shoot but curled over the bar, ahead of a passage of play that saw the home side move forward keeping possession with a series of close passes that ended with a pass across to Taylor Collins but he scuffed his shot just as it looked he would net, a Sarratt attack then broke down high up the pitch allowing a long downfield pass to send Mason-Williams into the box and as he lined up to shoot defender Craig Woollard threw himself at the ball to get the block to divert for a corner, earning applause from everyone in his sides dugout.

As time ticked by the visitors gave a brief glimpse of what was to come when Reilly splayed a pass across midfield to Chris White and from the corner of the box he forced Smith down low to his near post to smoother, hesitancy in the home defence than allowed White another sniff but from eighteen yards he lifted high over the top, Taylor Collins then did well in the corner to retain possession to lay off to Mason-Williams whose shot was claimed by Studley using both hands. Then two minutes into added time came the killer blow, White went on a run down the left and with no challenges coming in he made it to the penalty box where he cut inside before curling around Smith and into the far bottom corner. F/T: 2-3

Attendance: 25

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After the game Sports Shots spoke to Clinton manager Neil Roberts: 

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

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