Archive for Southern League

SL D1C; Ducks defender hoping his side are back on the Ball this week at Welwyn

Saturday 19th January 2019

Welwyn Garden City v Aylesbury United

Southern League Division One Central

Herns Way

K.O. 3.00pm

Aylesbury United travel to Welwyn Garden City on Saturday unsure of what they’ll be facing after turmoil at the Hertfordshire club last week saw manager Adam Fisher resign just a couple of days before they were due to face Peterborough Sports, that resulted in the game being postponed when the squad walked away from the club; Dean Barker then took on the role and managed to assemble a side that drew on Tuesday night with Sutton Coldfield Town. Both sides are on twenty-six points for the season so far in the Southern Football League Division One Central table although Welwyn do have a game in hand, nine points off the relegation places and fourteen of the play-off places would suggest they are looking both up and down that table as the season nears its final third of games yet to play, a good run for either could see a dramatic end of season whilst a poor run could drag either into that dreaded fight at the bottom. Going into the game the visitors have won one in their previous seven games whilst their hosts haven’t tasted success in their previous eight games, both will be desperate for the three points to ensure they keep looking up!

Anthony Ball

This week Sports Shots caught up with United defender Anthony Ball to ask how he ended up at the club and how he’s enjoyed it so far:

I joined Aylesbury United on the twenty-eighth of December, myself & Ben had been in contact and he offered me the chance to come down. I’ve always seen United as a very strong and organised team that were always tough to play against, so to be involved in a side like this is great. Since I joined I have already experienced the highs of a derby win, the frustrations of draws at Barton & Kempston, and then also the lows with last weeks defeat at Didcot, however I am really enjoying the football I am playing at the moment, and the team morale is great

What has been Anthony’s career before signing on?

I started my senior career out at Aylesbury FC last season which provided me an in depth insight into the Southern League & the levels expected to be able to progress at this level. I then had a very short spell at Berkhamsted at the start of this season, I then played the rest of my football up until Christmas at Winslow United

So what position does Anthony play and does he have any favoured formation?

I prefer to play at right back, the reason for this is I really enjoy the defensive side of the position but also the way it allows you to have the creative side to your game as well when going forward. I enjoying playing in various systems as each has their own advantages

How does he feel his season has been so far?

I feel great fitness wise which subsequently has allowed me to be available for all of the games that I’ve been eligible for so far. I feel in myself that I have performed well in the games I’ve played, although I am slightly disappointed after last Saturday & not performing to the standards I’ve set in the three games prior to Didcot. I do feel I have contributed positively to the team since arriving

We asked Anthony if any players in the squad have stood out since he’s played with them?

Since joining Aylesbury United I have been impressed with everyone here, it’s hard to single players out like that when the whole team works so hard towards the same goals. Also the coaching is great, taking things we’ve been working on in training into games and also taking things from games we haven’t been good at into training

Onto Welwyn Garden City this weekend, with their recent upheaval what are the Ducks expecting?

Every game in this division is going to be a tough one regardless, and each of us have our own point to prove following last weeks disappointment. So we will all go out on Saturday and work our hardest to put right what went wrong last weekend

Since the turn of the year the club has seen a win, a draw and a loss, how were all those three games?

Nothing comes bigger for the players and supporters than a derby day win here at United so the buzz that gave everyone associated with the club was great. Barton was one of those games that could have gone either way and we are obviously frustrated it didn’t go our way on the day, missing out on those two extra points. Then last week’s disappointment was a hard one to take due to the standards we set in games previously

Finally, we asked if there was anyone in the world that Anthony could be for a day who would he pick and why?

Paul Scholes, just to know what it is really like to be a good footballer!

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

SL D1C; Moles defender detects a decent squad at Aylesbury as they battle season out

Saturday 19th January 2019

Aylesbury FC v Corby Town

Southern League Division One East

Heywood Way

K.O. 3.00pm

The fixture list for Aylesbury FC doesn’t get any easier as they battle to stay out of the bottom two places in the Southern League Division One Central table, this weekend they host third place Corby Town who have only lost once in their last nine games whilst the Haywood Way outfit haven’t tasted a victory in their last eight. Whilst the general consensus of the last two games for the home side has been that they played well and only lost by the odd goal against both Bedford Town and AFC Dunstable, they currently sit one place and one point above those relegation places and they have played more games than anyone else in the division, including the two sides below them who both have two games in hand meaning Aylesbury need points sooner rather than later. Corby beat their hosts back in October by five goals to two despite the Moles taking the lead in that match and sit five points off top of the league Peterborough Sports so will be looking for the win to increase the pressure at the opposite end of the league table that Aylesbury are concerned with, the form table suggests an away win however Aylesbury have already proved this season they can compete with the higher placed sides.

Dan Carr

This week Sports Shots caught up with Aylesbury defender Dan Carr to ask when & how he joined the club, and how it’s been so far:

I’ve been here about two months now playing five games, previously I was at Oxford United in the youth team and the manager Paul Bonham watched me a few times and showed interest once he found out I’d been released. What attracted me was the opportunity to play at a decent level week in week out and I was guaranteed to play, so it was a good opportunity to get minutes and to grow as a player. My time here has been very good since joining, the lads have been brilliant and welcomed me in very well, and I’ve been in the team most weeks & played a lot of football so I can’t complain

What was Dan’s career path previous to Aylesbury and how has he adapted to Southern League football?

I was at Wycombe Wanderers in their academy from junior levels under eight’s up until under twelves which was when they folded their academy. I then went to Aldershot & Crawley who also both folded within months, so I played local football for Caversham Trents and played a year above, we won the league there and then once I was in the under fifteens I was signed by Oxford United and spent two years in their academy before being offered a scholarship. I was there from under fifteens to under eighteens but didn’t get offered a professional contract at the end of it, so recently joined Aylesbury. I’d had no Southern League experience before apart from a few games I played at Bracknell Town at the start of this season in friendlies, but I feel I have adapted very well to the standard. I would say it’s a lot more physical than what I’ve been used to playing with academies but I have enjoyed it and feel I have done well

What does Dan think is his best position in the team, and what formation best suits?

My favoured position is at number ten but I have to be honest with myself as I know my best position is at full back, mainly on the right. I feel that four-three-three gets the best out of me as a free flowing team, I can then get forward a lot which is what I really like to do and link up with the players in front of me

How has the season gone so far since joining?

I feel that my time has been good so far, I feel I have coped very well with the change in football and I have been available most of the time. My fitness is always good and I feel I have contributed well but at the same time also feel I could have contributed a bit more on the assists front

We asked Dan which players have impressed him so far at Aylesbury:

All of the players here are decent, I wouldn’t say anyone in particular has stood out to impress me as they are all very good players in their own way, and good at what they do. I knew Ty Deacon before as he was at Wycombe & Oxford, I wouldn’t say he has impressed me in that way as he was always very good, but he has impressed me that he is still very good even at this level. The coaching has also been very good as they are all very qualified coaches and especially Paul who was a coach at Oxford United in the young age groups

Corby this week, a point off the bottom two, are the squad talking about relegation or just facing each game as it comes?

Obviously it’s clear to see that we are in the relegation fight but we are not dwelling on the situation at all, we are just focused on each game at it comes and don’t really worry too much about where we are, we just concentrate on getting three points week in and week out. This game is obviously going to be tough as they are a good team near the top of the table but I feel if we apply ourselves well, and work hard like we did against Dunstable in the second half last week, with a bit more concentration we stand a very good chance

The recent form hasn’t been great, but how were the recent losses to Dunstable and North Leigh?

They were obviously very hard defeats to take, the Dunstable game was especially hard to take, to lose in the last minute after a great second half where we came back from two-nil down, but we let ourselves down with lapses in concentration which cost us dearly in the end. The North Leigh game we simply weren’t at our best at all, we were off it that night everyone included, and when that happens at this level, whoever you are, you will get punished. But we look forward now to the Corby game and hopefully we can get a good result that we deserve

Finally, we asked Dan to pick a team mate who he could work with in any other job just for a day:

That’s a hard one, I would probably say being a detective or something like that along with Harry Scott as we get along well and have a very good link up on the pitch, so I feel we’d be able to work with each other very well, and know what each other are doing without even saying and we would obviously get the job done!

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

SL D1C; Moles facing uphill battle

Aylesbury FC last night released a statement confirming they will be relegated at the end of this season due to ground grading issues.

Following the latest committee meeting of Aylesbury FC the club would like to make the following announcement.

The football club were contacted earlier this season regarding ground grading requirements for next season. One of the main stipulations was regarding the changing areas, specifically the total floor area in each of the three changing rooms, whilst the home and away changing rooms are very close to the minimums needed the officials room would be considerably undersized. After consultations with a local building contractor and his surveyor we were advised that a major reconstruction would be needed to achieve the minimum requirements.

This project would need to be completed by March 31st, if not we would need to have planning/ finance/ and a guarantee from the contractor that these works would be carried out by an agreed date. We were informed that failure to achieve the ground grading would result in relegation.The club began the process of putting together a plan regarding the funding and management of the project to achieve the ground grading, but unfortunately very soon realised that the deadline was simply not achievable.

Earlier this week we were contacted by the league to discuss this situation and were assured that there would be no exceptions, the FA have made this very clear to them. The decision was taken to make this announcement as relegation is now unavoidable despite all of the hard work undertaken by the management, players and all the staff at the football club.

Although all the people involved with the club are obviously devastated by this situation we are even more committed now to ensuring the future of Aylesbury FC, taking a step backwards to once again move forward. Twenty years ago the club were playing local football and went on to spend a sustained period at Southern League level – and will do so again!

SL D1C; North Leigh 1-2 Thame United

NORTH LEIGH 1
(Seacole)
THAME UNITED 2
(Peake-Pijnen and Martin)

Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central
Saturday 12th January 2019 @ Eynsham Park
Attendance – 82
Weather – Dry and Cloudy, 10 Celsius

It is Saturday which can only mean more  football.Today’s big match saw Thame United FC (4th) travel to North Leigh (19th) to play in the scenic Eynsham area. Thame were on the hunt for a vital away win to remain in the playoff picture where as North Leigh were attempting back to back wins to fight off relegation. Today also saw the return of Thame number 1 Craig Hill between the posts.

*** Starting Line Ups ***
North Leigh FC – Eddie Cavanagh, Jordy Ngathe, Declan Peart, Rory Linford-Pill, Andy Gunn, Alfie Grant, Roger James, Harry Grant (Cpt), George Seacole, Henry Landers, Noah Alabi
Subs Used – Alfie Saunders, Kyreece Martic

Thame United FC – Craig Hill, Harry Mepham, Jamie Essex, Andy Gledhill, David Lynn, Tom Ashworth, Liam Tack, Lynton Goss, Ben Sturgess (Cpt), Dan West, Matthew Peake-Pijnen
Subs Used – Duran Martin, Jack Tutton

*** FIRST HALF ***  HT SCORE 0-0
North Leigh dominated the first half in possession, set pieces and shots on target. Thame went into half time fortunate to be 0-0.
Some of the key highlights included on 2 minutes Craig Hill having to make a save with his legs. There was a relentless number of runs/dribbles down the left by North Leigh’s Noah Alabi in the first 10 minutes to put the Thame defence under real pressure. North Leigh were also unfortunate to take an early lead when Seacole fired a shot straight at Hill which then fell back to the forward who did manage to contact the follow up but over the bar. Not long after this Thame created a chance against the run of play. Whereby Goss’ pressing led to him getting the ball in the box and poking it between the GK’s legs. The shot was cleared off the line by North Leigh’s centre back much to the crowd’s amazement. On 23 minutes Thame were awarded a free kick which was hit with power towards Gledhill he got up above the defender and hit a firm header which went wide of the goal. On 34 minutes Goss played a corner outward which caught North Leigh by surprise and the shot by Thame did not hit the target but went over the crossbar. A final chance this time fell to Peake-Pijnen in the box when he received a diagonal ball which was only stopped a tremendous last ditch tackle which stopped him from getting the shot away.

*** SECOND HALF ***  FT SCORE – 1 – 2
Following the half time break Thame showed an increase in tempo and work rate. Thame also began the half closing North Leigh down all over the pitch trying to force errors including a higher defensive line early on. The first real chance in the second half fell to Thame from a free kick which was hit over the bar by West.One of the greatest plays of the game was when Alabi was standing on the shoulder of Mepham and got behind him before dribbling 25 yards down the left wing and putting in a sublime cross for Seacole which he chested the ball towards goal resulting in Hill having to make a split second save to top it over the bar for a corner. North Leigh continued to push for a goal and it took a long diagonal ball towards Seacole which was headed firmly across goal given Hill at full stretch no chance. Thame manager Mark West made a double substitution late on in the second half bringing on Jack Tutton and Duran Martin. The two subs were crucial to Thame’s turnaround.
In the 82nd minute Thame were awared a free kick 28 yards out which was taken by left footed Peake-Pijnen. It was hit perfectly so much so that the GK in an attempt to save it could only parry it onto the post and in. this goal sparked a continued drive and desire by all players. As late in the 87 minute 5 Thame players were running towards North leigh’s goal and a ball from the middle was passed wife left to an unmarked Martin who on his weaker foot slotted the ball across goal onto the post and in. It was a nervy last few minutes but Thame were able to see the final spell of pressure off and manage the game by keeping the goal in North Leigh’s half. At the full time whilst the Thame players congratulated eachother before walking off the field.

*** KEY STATS ***
Shots on target –  North Leigh 7 – 5 Thame
Corners – North Leigh 6 – 5 Thame
Yellow Cards – North Leigh 0 – 0 Thame
Red Cards – North Leigh 0 – 0 Thame

*** MAN OF THE MATCH – Craig Hill (Thame United) ***
Thame’s comeback victory changed this decision. Craig made countless top draw saves from start to finish, yet again proving he is one of the elite goal keepers in the division.

Overall this was a thoroughly entertaining match. North Leigh will feel disappointed to not get anything from the game not to mention remain in 19th place. Credit must be given to the Thame coaching staff for making key substitutions and installing the belief in the players for yet another memorable comeback. Thame will leave Eynsham Park on cloud nine and no doubt relishing the big encounter against Didcot next Saturday.

*** NEXT GAME *** @ The ASM Stadium,  Thame
Saturday 19/1/2019
Kick Off 15:00 – Thame United V Didcot Town

*** Admission Prices *** @ The ASM Stadium
Adult £8
Concession £5
Child £1

There is ample free parking at the Stadium
Club has a fully licensed bar on site.

CLUB ADDRESS –
The ASM Stadium
Meadow View Park
Thame, Oxfordshire
OX9 3RN

Report: Carlos Liam Vieira

SL P; Puritan striker back to full fitness and hoping season doesn’t turn Stour

Saturday 12th January 2019

Stourbridge v Banbury United

Southern League Premier Division

War Memorial Athletic Ground

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United travel to Stourbridge on Saturday to face the side that currently sit top of the pile in the Southern Football League Premier Division Central table, although second place Kettering do sit two points behind with three games in hand, with this taken into consideration it is still a tough test for the Puritans as they look to build upon their one hundred percent start to the New Year. United themselves only sit three points adrift of the play-offs after wins this month over Alvechurch & Barwell which has seen them bag nine goals on aggregate, however they have played more games than those teams in close proximity both above and below them, a goalless draw against their hosts at the Community Stadium early in December with a hastily re-arranged side showed the character within the squad which was duly noted by the Stourbridge manager on the night, but can Mike Ford’s men do it all again on Saturday?

Ricky Johnson

This week Sports Shots caught up with United striker Ricky Johnson to find out how long he’s been at the club and how he’s found it during his time there:

I started as a youngster at Banbury growing up through the youth teams, I had a spell away to play regular senior football then returned under Ady Fuller when I felt the time was right. I left when Ady did and joined Leamington where I won the Southern League Premier and promotion to the Conference North, I then returned here three years later. When the gaffer took over we met up and he expressed his plans and what he thought we could achieve going forward, it didn’t take much persuading for me to come back and I looked forward to trying to get promotion back to this Premier Division which we achieved in the first season

How has the season been for Ricky so far?

It was a slow start to the season for me this year as I was injured towards the end of last season and throughout pre-season, I’ve only really been injury free now since November. I feel I’m now back to fitness and giving my all whenever the team meet up in either training or games

How good is the squad this time around?

I think since the start of the season everyone was excited with the new attacking players that we recruited in the summer, but it’s probably only been the last month or so that the players have completely understood each other’s movements & been on the same page with regards to passing and anticipation to create the chances and goals that we have recently. If we can stay solid at the back we have the attacking players to win us games

Two defeats followed by two wins since the turn of the year, how has this run been?

We were disappointed to lose at Stratford on Boxing Day when we looked like we may get the winner after getting back into the game, that in a way was harder to take than the loss at Halesowen. But with the two wins in the New Year it gets us back on track to kick on this year

Stourbridge this weekend after a goalless draw against them just a few weeks ago, how do Banbury approach it this time around?

I actually missed the game at our place, but from what was said at training we defended brilliantly and unlocked their defence on a number of occasions but we just couldn’t find that final touch. So I would say we do the same again but this time take our chances

How has the travelling involved in this new division affected the squad?

Most of the players we have understand that we are at a level where travelling long distances at times is part of the game, unless you are going to drop down a couple of leagues it is just part of non-league football now

How does Ricky see Banbury finishing the season?

The league this year has definitely been the most competitive that the Southern League has during my time, usually there would be three or four top sides that expect to win each week and three or four bottom sides that expect to lose week after week. This time out any team can beat any other and no result is that surprising. Our main aim must be to perform to the best of our ability week in week out, if we do that we will be in one of the top spots come April

Finally, we asked Ricky if he could spend a day in the life of someone else, who would it be:

Mark Allitt and Noel Gallagher, just to check if they are in fact the same person!!!

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

SL D1C; Aylesbury United 2-0 Aylesbury FC

Aylesbury United – 2

Aylesbury FC – 0

01.01.2019

The eagerly awaited ‘El Quackico’ on New Years Day saw the home side take the bragging rights with two quick fire goals early in the second half, after a lacklustre first period that created very little in terms of goal scoring opportunities, Aylesbury keeper Nick Bennion with a solitary save to make before the break. The breakthrough came on fifty-one minutes and the visitors then had a chance to level moments later which was spurned and that was to prove costly when Tre Mitford sealed the win driving low across goal into the far bottom corner. The win see’s the gap increase to eight points between the two clubs, United now look towards mid-table safety whilst their rivals still hover around the dreaded relegation spots, but after the game both managers were adamant the season still has a very long way to go.

Aylesbury had the first chance just three minutes into the contest when Ty Deacon got down the flank and pulled back to Ryan Young who lifted high over United keeper Archie Davis’ crossbar, the first shot of note for the home side saw a free kick from Jake Bewley just outside the eighteen yard box tipped over by Bennion. Mitford saw a run down the right wing create enough space for him to arrow a cross into Ben Seaton whose shot was brilliantly charged down by Carl Tappin sliding in, the corner swung in from Bewley saw Bennion claim in the air underneath his own bar despite under pressure from Ducks skipper Jack Wood.

Nick Bennion had to tip over early on

FC defender Craig Carby sent Deacon scurrying away down the left channel where he advanced into the area and as he shaped up to shoot Wood covered some distance to slide in and divert for a corner, at the opposite end a long ball down field found Mitford who managed to twist and turn but with the outside of his boot he spun the ball away from goal. Dan Carr and Harry Scott then combined well down the Aylesbury right resulting in a vicious drive over the bar, but as much as they tried neither side really tested either keeper; an FC free kick was flicked on by a green shirt & at the far post Luke Cray headed back into the mix but again a United head got to it and the danger cleared, whilst a half cleared Ducks corner found Mitford who lifted high over the top. H/T: 0-0

Any predictions the game was heading for stalemate on the first forty-five minutes showing were undone just six minutes after the restart when Horatio Hirst did well in midfield to set up Ollie Hogg who from just outside the penalty arc drilled low into the bottom corner. The scores should have been level just two minutes after the goal when a ball simply knocked into the home side’s half saw the green backline caught short & Young outpaced United full back Anthony Ball to face up to a one on one with Davis only to fire past the advancing keeper but wide of the post.

The next Moles attack broke down high up the pitch and very quickly the ball was moved to the opposite end where Seaton crossed over to Mitford who from the right of the box fired into the side netting. That was just a sight setter, as just less than sixty seconds later Mitford received the ball out on the right of midfield and escaping the attentions of Carby drove forward into the box to fire across Bennion into the far bottom corner to double his side’s advantage. The visitor’s as much as they tried to get a foot back in the game were then always subject to the counter attack, one such saw Hirst collect in midfield and drive into the heart of the Moles defensive area before firing wide.

United celebrate opener

A free kick awarded to the away side was taken quickly to release Scott down their right where he skipped a challenge and from the eighteen yard line he fired low across goal and the ball flew a yard wide of Davis’ post, hesitancy in the opposite defence then saw Hogg rob possession out on the touchline and head for goal, from the edge of the area and an acute angle he curled around Bennion but also around the back stick. With less than ten minutes left an FC corner into the six-yard box saw a host of bodies fling themselves trying to get anything on it, and whilst a shout of handball went up the loose ball fell to Deacon who fired into the ground but got his angle all wrong and pulled his effort wide.

The next Aylesbury corner was cleared out to the corner of the box where former Duck Bruno Brito who had come on as a substitute for Aylesbury fired over the shoulder but across the box and wide of the target, in the final minute a back pass from midfield towards Bennion saw Greg Williams chase it down and almost catch the keeper out, getting a touch the ball rolled loose but the keeper chased it out to the touchline before clearing, the retreating Williams given a huge round of applause by his supporters on his return down field. F/T: 2-0

Attendance: 232

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 United boss Ben Williams: 
And also with FC boss Paul Bonham: 

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

SL; Holy Quack-a-Moley – It’s El Quackico

Tuesday 1st January 2019

Aylesbury United v Aylesbury FC

Southern League Division One Central

The Meadow

K.O. 3.00pm

The Meadow

New Year’s Day see’s the first of the seasons ‘El Quackico’ encounters at The Meadow as the Ducks welcome the Moles to Chesham, and a chance for either the hosts to pull further away from their guests in the Southern League Division One Central League table, or for the Haywood Way side to close the gap on their hosts to just two points. United drew on Saturday at Kempston Rovers to end a three game losing streak, whilst FC also drew at home to Coleshill Town which leaves them three games without a win, and with both sides having completed half of their league fixtures for the campaign they will both be looking to start 2019 with the win to at least have the bragging rights over their deadly rivals, until Easter at least when the return fixture awaits!

Last season both sides enjoyed a win apiece at the cost of their enemy’s hospitality, if Ben William’s team claim all three points it could push them into the top half of the table, whilst Paul Bonham’s squad would relish the victory as it could open a nice gap between themselves and the dreaded bottom two places. All to play for in more ways than one, can the Ducks blind the Moles, or will the Moles pluck the Ducks?

This week Sports Shots caught up with United keeper Archie Davis and Aylesbury FC defender Craig Carby, and we asked the shot stopper how he ended up joining the club:

I came in about a year ago when Ben (Williams) was looking for cover in goal when his then keeper got injured and I came in as back up to Jack (Hopwood), I then signed on again this year after a positive pre-season. The squad here are a great bunch of lads and they made settling in very easy

Craig has taken his move even more seriously:

I joined Aylesbury due to my long term friendship with the previous management team of Davis and Brian Haule who called me last summer, and after seeing the squad they’d assembled I decided to sign up. I’ve settled in really well, and the players & coaches have been great helping me to settle in. I feel really at home here, so much so that I’ve recently moved to the area!

Craig Carby

How does Craig think his own season has been so far as well as his teams?

My season has been a little stop start so far, it didn’t help getting injured in the very first game of the season after working so hard to get fit during pre-season, and then with the management and player situation it’s been difficult to get properly settled in due to the amount of changes that have taken place so far during the campaign. However, the squad is finally starting to settle down and we’ve been able to name some strong squads the last few weeks which hopefully result in improved performances from the team. I believe I’ve done ok this season so far but there is still definitely room for improvement

Archie has enjoyed stepping up some levels since joining:

It’s been a big challenge this season as it’s my first full season at this level, it’s been a big step up from playing step six and seven football from last year, but it’s been enjoyable and I feel I’ve contributed well in the games I’ve played in, but would like to make more of a contribution on a more regular basis

Archie Davis

How has Archie found the supporters at United this season?

They have been great this year, travelling in numbers to home & away matches, and making themselves heard. I tend not to listen to what’s being said on the side lines during a game because I like to concentrate on the game and nothing else, but I always read their thoughts of the game on Twitter after the game

Craig admits he does hear the crowd during play:

The supporters here have always been good to me even if results haven’t always been great, they’ve always supported the team and will continue to do so. You occasionally hear mumbles from the crowd but I try to block it out and anyway it’s never been too bad, just frustration really which is just what us players feel sometimes too

FC have two draws and a defeat in their last three outings, how has Craig found this run?

Much like our season so far to be honest, in our last five games we’ve struggled to build upon our encouraging performances. There have been a few reasons for this, but with the squad settling down now I am confident that our performances will start to get more consistent now, on a personal level again I feel I’ve done ok recently, but I’m more focused on the team performing well and if I can help contribute to that then I’ll be very happy

United haven’t won in four but did get that late draw on Saturday, how has Archie viewed that run?

The four game run has been challenging as three out of the four games were against sides that are competing at the top and around the play-offs, so it was always going to be difficult, but the games against Peterborough & Thame could have gone either way with the key moments going against us. The draw at the weekend showed a lot of character as we were two-one down going into the final ten minutes, and we were unlucky not to score with the last kick to win three-two. Personally the run for me has been positive coming back into the team and I feel like I’ve contributed to the games, just not getting the results we desire

So onto the first Derby of the season, how is Archie looking forward to it?

I’ve never played in or been involved in this derby but it is one I am very excited about as there is a lot of personal pride and local pride for the fans at stake, so it’s a must win game not just for the three points but for local pride also. It will be my first New Year’s Day game and I’m looking forward to it, it should be a good crowd and a game that both teams want to win

It is also Craig’s first ever derby:

Strangely enough this will be my first ever ‘El Quackico’ having been suspended for one and missing another through injury so I’m really looking forward to playing in this one. I’m expecting it to be fiercely contested and a close game, I’m not really nervous but am excited that I’ll get to experience this game and hopefully get the result that our club deserves. I’m used to playing on New Year’s Day now having done so throughout my non-league career so it’s not an issue for me, but can imagine it being so for some of our younger lads

Does Craig view victory as important as avoiding defeat?

The points are vitally important to us considering our current league position, and closing the gap on our local rivals is also important so defeat isn’t really something we’re thinking about, we’ll be doing our best to make sure that doesn’t happen. Every point now is important, none more so than against our rivals

We asked Archie how important the win or disappointing a defeat would be?

The three points is crucial for us coming off a good draw in the circumstances, which will mean nothing if we don’t win on Tuesday, so it’s a must win game for us to get back heading in the right direction and towards where we want to be

Are there any players in the FC Archie is wary of ahead of the fixture?

I don’t know many of their players but like all games this season it’s going to be a challenging game, knowing what is at stake and being the local derby that it is

How many of the United squad is Craig aware of?

I know a few of their squad as some of them were here last season, Kierran Lataille and the recently signed Anthony Ball & Ash Jenkins, brother of our skipper Jordan. I’ve also played with their striker Aaron Berry at Beaconsfield, but I’m not at all concerned about any of them as I believe that if we perform to our abilities then we’ll get the result

Rounding up, we asked Craig what the most important from the game will be for his side:

The derby is all about bragging rights, not only for our supporters but us as players too, so we’ll all be giving one hundred and ten percent to make sure it’s us that has them, and hopefully use it as a springboard for our season too. An Aylesbury FC win will be the perfect way to start the New Year

And does Archie have any friends at Aylesbury he’d like to beat?

I used to go to Sports College with Harry Scott so it’d be good to get the win against him, but the three points is the priority and that’s all we’ll be concentrating on

Sports Shots would like to thank both Craig & Archie for their time this week

SLD1E; Aylesbury FC manager prepared for his side to battle North up league table

Saturday 22nd December 2018

North Leigh v Aylesbury

Southern League Division One East

Eynsham Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Aylesbury FC travel to bottom side North Leigh on Saturday looking for three points that would propel them away from those dreaded two positions in the Southern League Division One Central table, and more importantly put nine points between themselves and their hosts who are on the back of a four game losing run. The Moles started the month of December well, taking four from six available points with a good win and a draw at Yaxley & Barton Rovers respectively, but were undone last time out by Didcot Town who beat them at Heywood Way eleven days ago, a free weekend followed meaning the rest should see Aylesbury fired up and ready to take the game to their hosts this week, in a game they cannot afford to lose with just three points separating them from second bottom Kempston Rovers.

Paul Bonham

A win will be vital ahead of a home tie against Coleshill next week who are pushing for the play-off positions, a tough game again for the side who then travel to their nearest & dearest rivals for ‘El Quackico’, that game on New Year’s Day could well define in which direction both the Aylesbury sides go into 2019. A word of warning however, North Leigh last won a last league game back in November, at Aylesbury United, by scoring four goals that day and have scored twice in each of their last three defeats, so the Moles defence be warned!

This week Sports Shots caught up with Aylesbury manager Paul Bonham to ask if he is still enjoying the management role and all it brings:

Although it has been very challenging, I am loving life at Aylesbury FC, the committee have been fantastic in helping me to settle in and we have a clear expectation of what is expected for this season, which is a big help.  We are in a very tough division and its clear to all that there are no easy fixtures in this league, with all the teams around us bringing in new quality players we know that we need to perform week in and week out to get points on the table

Is the manager happy with his squad right now?

The squad is taking shape and is beginning to settle down, we have brought in a few players of late which have definitely strengthened the squad, and competition for places has certainly increased which I only see as a positive. We have had some very good individual performances but for me enjoyment is seeing the whole team click as one

Of the three games played in December, The Moles have a win, a draw and a defeat, is this a good return so far?

I set the squad a target of nine points from four games, so I am slightly disappointed that we can’t achieve this but we are in a position to secure seven from twelve, which I feel would be a very good return going into a very busy period of the season

Away at bottom side North Leigh this week, is this must win or must not lose?

We set the team up to win every fixture we play, so against North Leigh will be no different, there is added pressure as the game is against a side in the bottom two places and therefore seen as a six pointer, but we will make sure we are fully prepared and ready to go

We asked Paul we information he has on his hosts:

North Leigh have continued to add to the squad and have added some real quality, the Grant brothers are obvious dangers and the lad Seacole is a threat. We have had them watched a couple of times lately which gives us up-to-date information and I know Craig Dore will have his side fired up and ready for this game, I’m expecting a great game of football

With Kempston dropping into the bottom two places recently, how many sides does Paul think are scrapping it out against relegation?

I think it shows just how close this division is, Didcot recently won four games and are now just off the play-off positions. Kempston are a very good side who will not be in that position for very long. We are looking for that bit of consistency in results and I’m still confident that we can push up to mid-table safety

This is the last game before Christmas, before Aylesbury face Coleshill before El Quackico, how are they looking forward to these games?

We have a very difficult fixture schedule but we can’t wait to play these games, Coleshill are doing very well and have some talented players so we expect a tough game, and Aylesbury United under the leadership of Ben Williams will be an exciting test for us. On a personal note I love games over the Christmas period, I loved playing in them and even more so now being involved as a manager. I think it’s a great time for the supporters so I’m hoping we have some good numbers through the gates to cheer the boys on

Finally, we asked Paul for his Christmas message to the club and its supporters:

I want to wish all involved at Aylesbury FC a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! All your help is greatly appreciated by the team and we aim to repay you all with some great performances and more importantly points on the board!!!!!

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

SL; United manager is in no Sporting mood this Christmas

Saturday 22nd December 2018

Aylesbury United v Peterborough Sports

Southern League Division One Central

The Meadow

K.O. 3.00pm

Aylesbury United host Peterborough Sports on Saturday at The Meadow and whilst the prospect of playing the team that sit second in the Southern League Division One Central League table may be a daunting one, United can take some comfort that their guests have not won in their last two league matches. However, only one of those was a defeat, to the top side Bromsgrove Sporting, and that defeat was their first in the league since the 20th October, and with the meanest defence in the division to date who have only conceded thirteen league goals in their sixteen games played, The Ducks are in for a test this weekend.

Ben Williams

But United sit comfortably away from the dreaded relegation places after two wins in their last three games moved them eight points clear of the bottom two places, and just eight points off the play-off places. After Saturday they travel to Thame in another tough game, but then to Kempston Rovers who have slipped into the relegation places to face former manager Tony Joyce, before the New Year’s Day ‘El Quackico’, two games that The Ducks will surely see as ideal games to get more points on the board and separate themselves from those below them.

This week Sports Shots caught up with manager Ben Williams to ask if he is still enjoying the job, and what’s been the hardest thing so far this season:

Yes, I am still enjoying the season, the hardest part has been trying to get some sort of consistency & a run of results together but this has been what we’ve learnt about this division so far, every team is competitive, but if you can string just four wins together then you can shoot right up the league table

Are there any places in the squad that still need filling?

We are happy with our squad, we maybe need another defender and also a goalkeeper to add competition for places, unfortunately it looks like Jack Hopwood will be out for a long time again due to his recurring injury

Two wins and a defeat so far in December, how were those games for United?

Each of those games could have gone either way, we beat Kidlington but they have strengthened and will climb that table I’m sure. Cambridge are always a competitive side so we were delighted with both those wins, but Berko were sharper than us on the day and deserved the three points but even though we weren’t quite on it we did get it back to two-two and could have taken the lead almost immediately after, but a poor decision contributed to their third goal and from there we lost organisation and shape and were lucky only to concede once more

Another stern test this Saturday, what do United know about Peterborough?

I have been told they are a big, strong direct side, in terms of preparation we have to want to test ourselves against another top team, but we need nine or ten of our players to be fully on their games, not like the four or five we had against Berkhamsted!

With Kempston dropping into the relegation places, how many teams does Ben think are involved in that relegation scrap?

The league looks like it is developing a split right in the middle, I believe any team in the bottom half could find themselves in the bottom two with a string of poor results, that what makes this league so exciting this year, most are trying to strengthen and there doesn’t seem to be a team yet that are rooted to the bottom

We asked Ben how many points he feels his side need away from the relegation places to feel safe?

I am only looking up at this stage, we don’t tend to draw games so we approach this Kempston game looking for the win and nothing else, and with all the teams capable of beating each other I don’t think we will be free from the basement area of the league table

How does Ben view his Christmas fixture list?

We are looking forward to all three games, there are probably more local players playing for Thame so that could be more of a derby to us, but obviously everyone who follows the teams from Aylesbury will be looking for the Aylesbury result, so that is a must win game for us. I have watched them recently and Paul Bonham has got them well organised and fighting for each other so it could be a very frantic & exciting match

Finally, we asked Ben for his Christmas message to the club and its supporters:

Merry Christmas to everyone, the continued support we receive is amazing and those that keep the club running behind the scenes have my upmost respect especially at this time of year when we have so many games. I know we are involved in a lot of high scoring games which is entertaining at times, something I personally love, but I will take a one-nil win for us on New Year’s Day!

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

Latest BBC3CR non-league show features local news

This week’s BBC 3 Counties non-league show featured both the Moles & the Ducks in their final programme before Christmas, and an incredibly brave & moving interview with parent of the Bedgrove Dynamo’s fourteen year old who tragically lost his life playing football recently.

To listen to Luca Campanaro’s father tune in to 3m:45s on the timeline.

Aylesbury FC kitman Phil Duffy with his daughter Charlotte were live in the studio discussing their roles with both the Heywood Way club and the Luton Town Ladies, which can be heard sixteen and a half minutes into the audio.

And Aylesbury United stalwart Gregg Williams can be heard talking about playing football over the Christmas period from 48 minutes in.

To listen in follow this link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06rzt6s