Archive for Southern League

SLD1E; New manager begins ascent on Moles mountain to climb

Saturday 20th October 2018

Aylesbury v Peterborough Sports

Southern League Division One East

Heywood Way

K.O. 3.00pm

Aylesbury FC saw a managerial change this week as Scott Reynolds stepped down with Paul Bonham taking charge for the interim, and a baptism of fire awaits as his squad host third placed Peterborough Sports at Heywood Way on Saturday. Whilst the Moles look for the first win in eight, Sports are flying high with four wins and two draws in their opening six league games, although they have not won in their last four games in all competition & haven’t tasted league success since the first of September, however this will be a stern test for Aylesbury as they line up for the first time under the new manager.

Paul Bonham

This week Sports Shots caught up with Paul to ask how the last week has been:

It’s been a crazy week so far, getting over the disappointment of going out of the FA Trophy last weekend to then hear the sad news that Scott had stepped down. We’ve had a positive chat with the committee and a great training session on Tuesday night, we are now focusing on getting ready for a very tough fixture against Peterborough Sports

And is this a long term appointment for the new boss?

At this moment in time we have been appointed to settle the ship after the weekend, going forward any decisions will be made by the committee

For anyone who doesn’t know Paul Bonham, what is his footballing history?

So I’ve been involved with coaching & managing for the last four years now, three of those have been at Aylesbury FC. I started with the under eighteens development side & then assisted former managers Davis Haule & Danny Gordon in the first team set up, in between this I spent half a season with Tring Athletic which was a great experience. Last season I was coaching at the Oxford United academy for whom I am still doing a few sessions this year as well as being involved here. On the coaching side I am near completion of my UEFA B qualification

We asked Paul how good a job has Scott done in his time at the club:

Scott in my opinion did a very good job here, considering he started with three or four players from last year’s squad, it’s been a total rebuild which has been really challenging

So will there be any immediate changes to the squad?

Matt Moran & I have been working really hard to communicate with the players and we are really pleased that currently the squad has stuck together. With regard to bringing in new faces we have been speaking to some clubs regarding availability of certain players but nothing has been confirmed as yet. I’m really pleased that Phil Duffy, Lucy Hume & Phil Cave have also decided to stick around, all of these have been fantastic this season

So will there be any changes to training or playing methods?

Currently we will be keeping the same schedules from Scott’s reign, playing style and training methods will change but it has to be a slow process otherwise it might have a negative effect on the team and possibly results if we change things overnight

And what about Saturday’s opponents?

Very tough game for us this weekend but our best performances have come against the top sides this season. We have done our research on them & have a good idea on how they will approach the game so the management team & I have the job to make sure the team is fully prepared for the weekends match

Finally, we asked Paul how difficult he thinks it will be to get his side up the league table:

We are under no illusion that it will be a difficult task to climb up the league table as this has to be the most competitive league the club have been involved in for the last three years, but this squad is ready for the challenge ahead & I’m confident we can start picking up some points, it is very close and just one win could catapult us up the table by five or six places

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

SLP; Commercial director proud to have made his Mark on his boyhood club

Saturday 20th October 2018

Banbury United v Royston Town

Southern League Premier Division

Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United host Royston Town this Saturday at the Banbury Community Stadium and with no league win in their last four games will be looking to bounce back against the side they took four points off last season. However, Royston currently sit fifth in the Southern League Central Division table two places above their hosts, and have won five of their last six league games whilst the Puritans will be looking for their first league win in five. The eight league places from third down to tenth are separated by just four points, meaning wins at this stage are vital for those with play-off aspirations.

Mark Allitt

This week Sports Shots decided to catch up with a man whose work behind the scenes at Banbury United may go unnoticed to some but is a vital cog in the running of the club. We caught up with the nattiest of dressers on match day Mark Allitt, and welcoming him to Sports Shots first of all, we asked what exactly he is responsible for and how he got involved in the first place:

Well thank you for asking me for this interview! I’m the commercial director of the club and oversee all our sponsorship activity, commercial revenues and internal fund raising. I liaise with all our sponsors on a daily basis and I’m actively involved with the clubs ‘United in the Community’ project. I have also just started to look at the promotion of our ‘Spencer Clubhouse’ and how we can maximise income there.

I became a director back in August 2015 when the club became supporter owned, I’ve been a fan since I was a little boy coming down to see games with my uncle. I was secretary of the supporters club prior to the takeover and worked with Steve Barlow and James Mathie at Supporters Direct to get the process concluded

Is the role hard work, enjoyable or stressful?

I’m just proud to be part of the Banbury United revival, the club has been a sleeping giant since the heyday of the seventies & to see the club starting to develop is really satisfying for me as someone who has been a fan since a young age. We have a long way to go in terms of where we want to be but we’re on an upward trajectory and we are forming a really solid club. The enjoyment comes from seeing all that’s happening and most importantly seeing people happy & enthused about our club, the fans deserve some success as they’ve been through a lot prior to the supporter take over three years ago

How does today’s squad compare to those previously, and which players stand out?

We have some very talented & exciting players here, I’ve obviously seen so many players at Banbury over the years it’s difficult to compare, but the current team is pushing hard to get us close to the top five and to the next level; Banbury United haven’t done that for many years on a consistent basis and that’s the challenge the current squad has. Lee Henderson has shown his class since joining us from a level above, we have invested in the team & brought in Greg Kaziboni, Steve Diggin, Giorgio Rasulo and now John Mills in the attacking area’s so it is exciting times. Some of the current team have been with us since the takeover like Ricky (Johnson), George (Nash) & Jack (Harding), it’s important to form a nucleus of players and build around it

How does Mark feel the summer league reshuffle has worked out?

We just had to roll with the punch really, we had to deal with an awkward situation in the summer having been placed in the Southern section and then moved to the Central section late on. We had planned for the South, so to be moved so late in the day was frustrating, Mike (Ford) had to deal with the squad issues but primarily as a club we just had to get on with things and I wouldn’t say much has changed at all. The travel is less for us and I think it’s helped with our attendances

How far are the club away from promotion to the next level, and would the club be able to cope?

In my opinion the team has the talent to beat anyone on the day and we can certainly challenge the top five positions. This is our third season back at step three in the non-league pyramid, and personally I think Chippenham are a good bench mark for us, they built a solid club at this level and were always in the mix for the play-offs, they got stronger & stronger before making the step up and are currently doing very well in the regional National League level. This club has never played at step two and it would be a truly historic moment for the club and the town.

I think we would cope well because Banbury in the National League would be a big animal in my opinion, Banbury United v Stockport County for example would attract a crowd of well into four figures

Onto Royston this week, does Mark feel the club do better against familiar teams or those they nothing about?

I’m not sure it really matters to be honest, at non-league level team line ups can change so very quickly from match to match, let alone from season to season. Royston are a solid outfit and are carrying on from where they left off last season, I expect another tough game as they all are at this level. Our boys will need to be up for it, but are more than capable of getting the three points

We asked Mark to think back and pick his best eleven players to have played in his time:

Like I said I’ve been a fan since I was a young boy so this would be the team to span my time as a supporters and a director:

1 Keith Baker

2 Ady Fuller

3 Callum White

4 Pete Smith

5 Ian Bowyer

6 Terry Muckelberg

7 Donovan Gethfield

8 Zac McEachran

9 Andy Baird

10 Norman Sylla

11 Tommy Pearson

Finally, we asked if anyone has thought of getting involved at Banbury United FC, are there still opportunities for match day duties or sponsorship?

There are always avenues for people to get involved at this club. We have a fantastic loyal army of volunteers at BUFC, but we are always needing more help, especially as the club continues to grow. Steve Barlow is the best person to contact regarding volunteers but my number is 07503 162632 or email me at commercial@banburyunitedfc.co.uk

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

Scott Reynolds leaves Aylesbury FC

Aylesbury FC have this morning announced the departure of manager Scott Reynolds with the following statement:

It is with regret that the club is announcing that for personal reasons & with immediate effect Scott Reynolds has stepped down as First Team Manager.

Scott Reynolds

Scott joined the club in the summer with the objective of completely reorganising the playing structure and also to help rejuvinate things off the field, which with the help of his excellent back room staff, he has achieved and whilst on the pitch we have had a difficult start, Scott had the backing of everyone on the committee, as we endeavour to stabilise the club for the future.

Paul Bonham will step up to First Team Manager, Matt Moran remains as Assistant Manager as does both Phil Cave as Goalkeeping Coach and Phil Duffy who will continue as Kit Manager with Antonio Mendes and Lucy Hume also continuing in their positions. An announcement on a new Coach to strengthen the team will be announced in the next couple of days.

Once again we would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Scott for everything he has done this season in stabilising and helping to re build the foundations of Aylesbury Football Club.

Paul Bonham

SLD1; Aylesbury FC 0-1 Kidlington

Aylesbury – 0

Kidlington – 1

Aylesbury were beaten at home on Saturday in a turgid affair at Heywood Way that was settled by a ninth minute goal from Ben Willoughby to bring an end to their two game unbeaten run. Chances for either side were scarce during a ninety minutes played under warm autumn sunshine, Aylesbury rarely troubling the visiting defence in the first half but came out looking much better after the break, but a well organised Kidlington backline comfortably dealt with anything thrown at them to record their first points of the season. The bottom of the Southern League Division One Central table sits congested with just six points separating over half the table, proving how competitive this division is since the summer reshuffle.

An early attack for the away side saw Liam Talboys drive into the Aylesbury box but with Temi Oladejo shadowing he could only fire straight at Moles keeper Nick Bennion, but the break through did come on nine minutes when Willoughby latched onto a pass through the Moles defence to slot home. Two minutes after the goal Talboys found some space on the eighteen yard line but not realising the time he had, he lifted high over the crossbar.

The home side struggled to create any chances as they were well marshalled by the sea of green shirts every time they tried to push forward, their first effort of note coming on thirty-two minutes when Aaron King worked hard to create an opening on the edge of the area, evading a challenge his shot was blocked but the rebound fell to Lewis Strafford who lashed high over the top.

Lewis Strafford came closest in first half for Moles

As the half came towards an end, Kidlington should have had a second when Brad Singh got away down their left and slipped a ball inside the area to Willoughby but from twelve yards he fired wide, and with a minute left the hosts got their first shot on target when King got down the left wing, he pulled the ball back across midfield to Strafford whose shot from twenty-five yards had keeper Sam Warrell falling away to his left to push away. H/T: 0-1

The home side seemed a little more purposeful after the break, and ten minutes in Ryan Ware was fed in behind the away backline but took his shot on early and from quite a distance fired way wide of the target, whilst at the opposite end Jamie Calvin got away down the right and headed for goal, Carl Tappin faced him head on and forced him wide of goal where he desperately stuck out a boot to roll the ball across the goal face but with no team mates up with him it rolled away to safety.

A long Bennion goal kick was allowed to bounce in the Kidlington box which had a defender in all sorts of trouble, with King all over him a sliced clearance allowed the Moles striker a look at goal but the ball would not come down quick enough and he could only help the ball over the top. The visitor’s then missed the best chance of the half when a ball from their right found Willoughby inside the six-yard box in front of goal and somehow he flicked the ball over the top.

Joshua Williams had chance late on saved

A second goal was scored on seventy-two minutes after a free kick into the Moles box was headed back across goal where Calvin stabbed home but a raised flag halted the celebrations, Talboys then tried his luck again from twenty-five yards forcing Bennion to push away from inside his right hand post. Tappin then won control on the half-way line and splayed the ball into the corner for Oladejo to attack the full back, his cross found King who chested down and laid off to Tappin who had continued his run but again the ball bounced awkwardly and the shot lifted high over the bar.

As the game wore down Aylesbury desperately tried to feed some service to their front line, and pushed centre half Derek Feyi forward to add some muscle to the attack, with time running out he received the ball twenty yards out but his shot got the merest of deflections that saw it roll harmlessly back to Warrell, and the final attack saw Josh Williams cut in from the left and his low drive was pushed away by the away keeper for a corner. F/T: 0-1

Attendance: 82

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

After the game Sports Shots spoke with Aylesbury manager Scott Reynolds: 

For match photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskFuYooB

SLD1E; Easy three points, you must be Kid-ding claim Moles team mates

Saturday 29th September 2018

Aylesbury v Kidlington

Southern League Division One East

Heywood Way

K.O. 3.00pm

Aylesbury FC host Kidlington on Saturday and will be looking to build upon their impressive draw last week against league leaders Bromsgrove Sporting & stretch their unbeaten league run to three games. Kidlington arrive at Heywood Lane looking for their first points of their season, having suffered six straight league defeats and have a goal difference of minus twenty-nine, having only scored once in their opening sequence so Aylesbury will feel this is a game they have to win to add points to their tally, push away from the lower echelons of the league table and add some vital confidence going into October.

 

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with goalkeeper Nick Bennion & midfielder Carl Tappin and asked the double penalty save hero from last week-end how tough a start to the season it’s been in comparison to other years at other clubs:

It has been a tough start I agree but the club and the management have been working hard recruiting players, and that was always going to be a hard thing to do when the team was being built from scratch, but as people can see it’s taken us a little time to gel but our results are picking up and when we are at full strength we can beat anyone. To be honest I’ve found it hard as last year I was at Southall and we only lost three games all season, but I’ve adjusted and I’m enjoying playing for Aylesbury, there is so much quality in our squad with skilful players and people that will put their bodies on the line, that’s what you need in a team for it to work well

Carl has been at this stage before:

I’ve been a player who has played at many different clubs already despite my age, and often joined sides when they are re-building or starting again, so for me this is familiar territory. I understand it takes time for everyone to get used to each other and it’s evident now that it is starting to all come together

Carl Tappin

What players have shone for Aylesbury so far & how much quality is there in the squad in Carl’s opinion?

The squad is strong from back to front with good depth in most positions, many players have played levels above and this has been evident in spells. The stand out players for me have been Luke Cray & Josh Williams, Luke and his leadership is very important especially the way he ensures everyone in front of him is organised and doing the right thing. Josh has been brilliant and has torn so many players apart already and is a real threat going forward

Nick also mentioned Josh:

The players that have stood out for me have been Lewis Strafford just because of his energy and commitment in a game, Jordan Jenkins also as he just reminds me of a young John Terry, he never loses the ball in the air and is a die hard for the club in the fact that he just throws himself at everything, & finally young Josh for what he can do on the ball, he is amazing and still so young, he will go far in the game

Nick Bennion

We asked both players about each other, Nick recalls their time at a previous club:

I played with Carl at Ardley United a couple of seasons ago, he is what every team needs especially if you are playing a side that has a play maker you need to mark out of the game, he is that kind of player that’s like a fly that won’t go away, but he can also play and his quality is always needed

Carl also recalled their time together at Ardley:

He is a great keeper and you can always rely on him to make some game changing saves which earn vital points. I saw this happen at Ardley where we both played previously, and then again last Saturday. Him being vocal is also helpful and has been a big part of recent improvements in our defensive displays

We asked Carl if he’s been surprised at the quality in the league, and for the differences in the various levels he’s played at:

Honestly I don’t see a huge difference in the quality from many of the leagues I have played in, every now & then there may be a better individual, but team for team & pound for pound the difference in quality isn’t massive, we are yet to lose by more than two goals in any game which I think proves that. One huge difference is the travel, Southern League Premier was a lot of moving about the country where as in this league it’s never more than an hour or so really which isn’t too bad. I also notice that teams are better organised, the ability in players often isn’t dramatically different but teams are often very organised and have a way of playing that they stick to as the leagues get higher

Nick doesn’t see much difference either:

The league is & always will be competitive, there are some great clubs at this standard with large budgets, and they can play very good football. The difference between the levels is not a great deal to be honest, the higher you play the more time you get on the ball, also fitness is another difference but playing at this level is all about doing the easy things, defend & score, as the pitches we play on are not always going to be suitable for playing on the floor, unlike the higher levels where grounds are looked after every day and have the money to do that

Bennion at Buckingham Athletic

We asked Nick for his thoughts on last week’s dramatic goalless draw with the league leaders where he saved two penalties in the final five minutes to earn his side that point:

It was a very good result to hold the league favourites to a draw, we played some great football and should have scored a couple but that’s how football goes, at the end of the day we worked as a team, defended as a team and got the result that I think was fair. Bromsgrove were a good outfit, you could see that from the way they play, but I thought they were definitely better going forward than defending. It’s not every week you can save two penalties in the final five minutes but I’m very happy that I managed to because as a team we deserved something from the game, especially when the first wasn’t even a penalty but that’s football and refereeing decisions for you

Carl paid tribute to his keeper for saving the day:

You could tell they were a good side with some good players, however what helped us was the fact that we all stepped up our games. Perhaps in terms of individual quality they were better, but in terms of work rate & desire there wasn’t much in it at all. You can tell they have quality however our consistent efforts to close them down and shut them off paid off. The last five minutes were stressful and had it not been for Nick would have been devastating also, we worked so hard for that result that I’m glad we got something to show for it

Tappin at Leighton Town

So how does Carl expect it to be against Kidlington who are bottom?

As a side now we aren’t worried about how many points anyone has, we just have to focus on ourselves and what we need to do. We know if we work as hard as we can do and apply the tactics that we’ve been instructed to do, we can inflict damage upon anyone. We had chances against Bromsgrove which was a massive positive and we should take this into this next game, if we start to under estimate teams then we will come unstuck

Nick agrees with working hard:

Yes we face Kidlington but it’s just another game for us, they may be bottom but all teams in this league can be unpredictable and you never know what can happen on the day, so we’ve just got to go into the game like we did last Saturday against Bromsgrove, we’ve just got to work hard together and pull a result out

Rounding up we asked Nick where Aylesbury FC need to finish in the league this season to be classed as a successful season:

Well as any team would want to be top half of the table, and I think if we work hard together we can achieve that, even if it is our first season together as a whole squad. To achieve this we will need to stick together and die hard for the club and the supporters

Carl agrees:

I think with the quality we have we should be aiming for somewhere near the middle of the table. I could be unrealistic and say higher however I know due to the way the league is and the way football works this is unlikely to happen. We have far too much quality to be near the bottom of the table so a mid-table finish would be something I’d class as a good place to finish, considering the complete re-build that Scott and his team have conducted

Sports Shots would like to thank Nick & Carl for their time this week

SL; Ducks skipper Wood be quackers to leave best squad ever

Saturday 29th September 2018

Yaxley v Aylesbury United

Southern League Division One Central

In2itive Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Aylesbury United travel to Cambridgeshire on Saturday to face Southern League newcomers Yaxley who won the United Counties Premier Division title last season, and have won three of their opening seven league games to date, and sit a respectable ninth position in the table. United are still struggling to find their rhythm this time around, after winning on the opening day of the season the Ducks are yet to take any league points since and before the game sit in the dreaded bottom two relegation places, but so early in the season a vital three points would propel them away from danger.

Ahead of the match Sports Shots caught up with long serving United captain Jack Wood to ask if he feels his squad can compete in this league:

It’s not been the best of starts for us but we have had a tough opening to our season. You could look at the teams we’ve played and say they are all looking to be promoted or pushing for the play-offs. I have no doubt that we will start picking up points sooner rather than later

Is the league tougher this time around or has the quality of players just improved?

I think this year the league has definitely got tougher, also there are quite a few teams that we know nothing about and that hasn’t been the case over the past few seasons

Jack Wood

With a free Saturday last week the club organised a friendly at Chalfont, does Jack think that helped prepare the squad for games ahead?

Having a friendly during the season isn’t ideal but it allowed players to get more minutes under their belts which can only be a benefit

And a big midweek win over Newport Pagnell Town in the County Cup must have helped with confidence?

It was a comfortable win on Wednesday night, the lads played really well and it was good to not only win but win big, hopefully we can use this result to kick on and finally get our season up and running. Any game in any competition is important for the club, this competition is no different and it’s a good opportunity to win a trophy

We asked Jack of all the squads he has been involved in, where does this one rank in terms of quality & spirit:

Since my first season at Aylesbury United there has always been a really good team spirit, whatever squad we’ve had that’s never changed. The squad we have here is, I would say, the highest in quality since my time here and I’m sure the results will prove that very soon

United skipper Jack Wood

Trip to unknown Yaxley this week, any info on the game ahead?

It’s a team we know very little if anything about, but we will just be focusing on our own game and doing our best to get three much needed points

We asked Jack who the best team they have faced so far has been:

The best team so far for me has been Bromsgrove Sporting, we had a couple of chances to take the lead but after that we were second best for the rest of the game. I’m sure they will be champions come the end of the season

Finally, we asked Jack how long he thinks he can play for, and will he be a Duck for life?

I’ve still got some years left in me I hope! I just take it season by season as in football you just never know what’s going to happen next. I can’t predict the future but I have no plans to go anywhere else just yet

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

SL D1C; Moles defender believes squad is heading in right Derek-tion

Saturday 15th September 2018

Dunstable Town v Aylesbury FC

Southern League Division One Central

Creasey Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Aylesbury travel the short distance over to Creasey Park on Saturday where they face Dunstable Town with both sides looking for three crucial points to lift them away from the lower echelons of the Southern League Division One Central table. Aylesbury still seek their first win of the season, but Town sit just three points and four places above their guests in what is already looking a fiercely competitive league after the summer reshuffle of the non-league pyramid, shown by the top five clubs in the division having lost just one game between them in a collective twenty-one games.

Derek Feyi

This week Sports Shots caught up with Moles defender Derek Feyi to ask how life has been since he re-joined earlier in the season:

I’ve enjoyed it, its so different to last season and the mood around the club is optimistic. Add that to the fact that the management are hungry to do well and are working hard to implement all their idea’s

Having been at Aylesbury last term, was it an easy decision to go back?

Yes it was quite easy, for me it’s all about playing football at the moment so when the opportunity came I was more than happy to commit. Also with the type of fans here, the support has been great

After the league reshuffle in the summer, how difficult a division is it?

The level of competition has definitely increased with the likes of teams from in and around the midlands. I don’t think it’s a bad thing and rather improves the quality of step four football. It will make escaping from the division even more impressive!

How far away does Derek feel the first win is for the club?

I believe it’s very close, in football sometimes luck goes against you & that has been the case for us in the last few weeks, but the quality is there in the group so I believe our first three points will come sooner rather than later

We asked how tough the trip to Dunstable will be:

No game in this league will be easy, we’ll be going there focused and confident in our jobs, especially knowing that three points at this stage of the season can move you up three of four positions in the league table

Does Derek follow any pre match superstitions?

Not really any superstitions, I just usually like to spend a couple of minutes to myself before the kick-off and pray

Have any sides impressed the defender yet?

I’ll be honest and say I haven’t really been concerned with other teams as it is still so early days in the campaign

Finally, where does Derek believe Aylesbury can finish in the division?

April is a long way off yet, ask me again after December and I’ll have an answer for you then. But for now we have a strong squad that is building & taking each game as it comes.

I’d like to thank Sports Shots for this opportunity & keep up the great work!

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

SL; Scott hoping to Tame the Rovers for his new club

Saturday 15th September 2018

Thame United v Barton Rovers

Southern League Division One Central

ASM Stadium

K.O. 3.00pm

Thame United host Barton Rovers on Saturday at the ASM Stadium looking to continue their superb one hundred percent start to the Southern League Division One Central season. Currently one of three teams who sit at the summit of the league table United will be looking to bounce back after a midweek loss in the league cup at Didcot Town, in what turned out to be an eight goal thriller, whilst Rovers occupy a mid table position after two wins and two defeats in their opening four matches.

Harry Scott

This week Sports Shots caught up with recent new signing Harry Scott to find out how he’s been settling into his new surroundings:

I feel I’ve settled in pretty well to be honest, they are a good bunch of lads here and they were happy to have me on board

After leaving Aylesbury, were Thame they only option?

No not at all, there were a few teams that wanted to sign me and it came down to the travelling as Thame isn’t too far from where I live, and the facilities they have are one of the best in this league

Thame have started the season well, what does Harry put this down to, and how has his own form been?

Our success is down to hard work and constantly trying to improve on our previous performance. My own personal form hasn’t been the greatest really, but hopefully I can change that at the weekend

What do the management ask from Harry when he goes on the field of play?

They just ask that you put everything in whilst you’re on the pitch and they won’t settle for anything less, and also to express yourself when you do get the ball

Just how good does he think the squad is this from what he’s seen so far?

I think it’s a very good squad this season, there are a few very good individuals amongst them!

As one of our new clubs for this season, who are the players we should look out for?

I think Duran Martin & Liam Tack are two to look out for, they are two very good players

Finally, how was the game at Didcot on Tuesday?

It was a bit end to end really, they had the better of the first half but we changed formation at the break and were the better side for thirty minutes of the second half

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

SLP; Jack is very Self confident that Banbury are United in search for success

Saturday 1st September 2018

Hitchin Town v Banbury United

Southern League Premier Division

Fishponds Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Eighth place Banbury United travel to third bottom Hitchin Town on Saturday looking to continue their unbeaten start to their Southern Football League Premier Division Central campaign. United have two wins and two draws from their opening four games, whilst Town have one win, one draw and three defeats in five games to date, so Banbury will be looking to keep their morale high as they going into two cup matches in the next week.

Jack Self

This week Sports Shots caught up with Puritan midfielder Jack Self to ask just how good a start to the season it’s been:

It’s been important to get some early points on the board and I think as a group we’re actually a little disappointed we are not in double figures already. This league is very much unknown territory so to be unbeaten in the first four games gives us a platform from which we as a group can push on from

Are there any differences in the types of teams Banbury are playing yet?

The teams that we’ve played have offered very similar styles of play to each other over the first few games. Compared to last year, the opponents have played with a more direct style of play but for many in the squad it’s nothing new to face and we hold no fear

So how have all the new faces in the squad settled in so far?

I think they’ve settled in well, we’ve got some good quality players with plenty of higher level games under their belts and that experience will help the younger lads in the squad for definite

So how have the squad prepared for Saturday’s game?

We’ve had a few days to digest Monday’s performance and get it out of our system before planning for Hitchin in training, against a side we’ve had our ups and downs against in the past few seasons. They’ll want to get us back for our double over them last year, however we will be well equipped and going there with a plan to get the three points

We asked Jack what his own personal targets are for this season:

I always want to improve, I scored seven goals last year and received an award from the gaffer in recognition of my performances, so I’ll be aiming to emulate that with double figures and hopefully another award come the end of the season

How well does Jack see Banbury doing this season in their new division?

This part of the season is about accumulating as many points as possible, these points are just as valuable as those we gain later on in the season, but the fixture list can ultimately change almost instantly and all of a sudden your next three games are against sides who could be building some real momentum, so we will aim to win every game and will be realistic throughout, but there is no reason why we can’t finish in the upper echelons of the table

How does Jack travel to away games?

We are very fortunate at Banbury United to have great people working, volunteering and devoting their time & efforts into the club. Those great people provide us with a coach to every away game, so all the lads share plenty of laughs & time together travelling the roads

Finally, we asked Jack if there were any games in particular he was looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to the FA Cup game at Weymouth next week, it’s a special competition and it would be great to go deeper into the qualification stages and maybe even reach the first round proper!

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

SLD1E; Aylesbury FC pre-season + opener (v Coleshill Town) review with manager Scott Reynolds

Saturday 18th August 2018

Coleshill Town v Aylesbury

Southern League Division One East

Pack Meadow

K.O. 3.00pm

Aylesbury FC start their 2018/19 campaign on Saturday with the seventy-six mile trip to Coleshill Town, one of the many new teams The Moles will face this season after the non-league restructuring this summer. A much publicised ‘club in crisis’ towards the end of last season has seen many changes in the past few weeks, on & off the pitch, but now under new stewardship and management the club are hoping they can finally find some consistency & regularity to see the club through to better times.

This week Sports Shots caught up with new manager Scott Reynolds to see how life has been since accepting the job:

Hectic to say the least!! I took the job two days before my two week holiday in Florida and since then I have not had a day off, or five minutes to myself. I was well aware of the task ahead when accepting the job, but nobody could have predicted how the last few weeks would have gone. It would have taken a manager with a huge budget and a whole team to come in to solve the issues overnight, which for me is just not the case. We have only three players remaining at the football club from the sixty odd used at Aylesbury FC last season. That said, despite some up and down results in preseason, we are very pleased with the squad going into Saturday and will continue to work hard to add the right types of quality and personnel to the squad as the season takes shape. The door is always revolving in non-league football that’s for sure, added to that I am brutally honest, but I don’t burn my bridges with players too early, so who knows what may happen in the next few weeks and months!

So how have the pre-season fixtures been for the new look squad:

Up and down to be fair, we’ve played ten, including an in house training game, and won 4 but lost 6. Way too many games and way too many weeks of training and preparation in my opinion. The attitude and commitment, to my methods and ideas, from the majority has been superb, and despite some of what I am looking for being clearly the opposite to what players have experienced here in the past, we have now managed to identify a squad that we are happy to start the season with. Our best performance in pre-season was the 3-0 win against Oxford United U23. We matched them tactically, beat them physically and took our chances that night. Since then the team has changed, trialists have come and go, we picked up loads of injuries, had to put up with holidays, players coming and players going and only in the last ten days do we feel settled and united again. If we can perform to the levels we reached against Oxford Utd week in week out we will do well, of that I am certain!

Scott Reynolds

So where does Scott feel he is at in terms of his squad:

We are happy, for me it’s all about attitude and for now I am prepared to allow ability to come secondary. I want players who are prepared to work their nuts off in training and in games, you can have a bad game with the ball, but you cannot have a bad game without it!! For those who know me, I deal in facts. I want players who have achieved previously or played at this level or higher on a regular basis. I don’t need players who think the game owes them something, when in fact they have achieved very little to date. I have learnt a lot as a manager of the past year or two. Get the basics right, be honest and approachable and work hard. I expect the players to give me the same and would never ask for anything I, or my staff, are not prepared to give them back in return

So what is a realistic ambition for Scott this season?

To be competitive and proud every time we wear the shirt. We are under no illusions, there are teams with better players than us, bigger budgets than us and the task ahead is no easy one. That said I want work rate, passion, hard work and commitment. We need to be known as a difficult team to play against, hard to beat and a group that works hard for every point we earn. If someone could offer me a mid-table finish now, I would take it. However, we will set small and realistic targets each week / month and see where the season takes us

Jordan Jenkins has stayed at the club

So two really tough games to start the season with, what do Aylesbury expect?

I do my homework, I have had Coleshill watched and know that this game will be tough. Added to the quality of the opposition they are also at home, with the advantage of a 3G plastic pitch – not my preference, give me grass and mud any day. We then host AFC Dunstable who finished 4th last season on Tuesday night, and they will want to improve that finish this time around. Tough start as you say, but there are no freebie points at this level and every game will be difficult. I just want teams to be able to think the same about us when they look at their fixture lists

And finally, what games is Scott looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to managing in the FA Cup again, and on the back of a great FA Vase run last year, I look forward to a crack at the FA Trophy, however easy to say I am excited for all of them. We’re looking forward to getting some home games under our belt and proving to the people of Aylesbury and the supporters, or doubters, of me and the club that we are going to be much improved on previous seasons. I will let our results do the talking, and all though it may take time for our team to gel and for us to find our feet at this level, this is a marathon not a sprint.

Obviously, all our fans want us to beat and finish above Aylesbury Utd. They are on the back of a very successful end to last year and have an incredibly settled side. I am good friends with Ben Williams and look forward to that game. However, there are now a number of more local games and we have a lot of football to play prior, so one game at a time and let’s give it our best each week.

On behalf of my management staff, I must also put on record our thanks to Tony Masella, Steve McDonald, Mike Farquharson, Christine Martone, Rosanna Martone and all the club’s volunteers behind the scenes. The support and atmosphere behind the scenes has been incredibly refreshing for me personally. These people deserve to enjoy football again, and that is something we intend to sort out immediately with a fresh start and a new season on the horizon.

Come on you Moles !!

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