Saturday 8th September 2018
Ampthill Town v Park View
Spartan South Midlands League Division One
Ampthill Town host divisional newcomers Park View on Saturday at Ampthill Park and will be looking to build upon a good start to the season with another three points. Currently sitting in sixth place in the Spartan South Midlands League Division One table, Town will be looking to keep the Park View winless streak going, although their visitors recorded a midweek cup win whilst Ampthill were heavily beaten at Hillingdon in the first division cup.
This week Sports Shots caught up with Town manager Paul Toms to ask how he feels his squad have started the season:
It’s been an inconsistent start all round, player availability has been the worst I’ve ever known in nine years of coaching & managing, and the lack of continuity has shown in our results. I’ve used twenty-six players already and only had six available for all our matches! We have a strong squad, a talented squad, but I am hoping the holiday season and stag do season will all die off now and that we can concentrate on putting a positive run together
We asked if Town have much info on their opponents for the weekend?
I’ll be honest and say we know very little about Park View, but we have to give them a lot of respect as they were champions of division two last year, and I imagine it will be a close game on Saturday
How good a game was it last time in the league at the Park against Amersham?
I always knew playing Amersham would be a tough test, as I know they are coached to play the right way. Going three up on the hour I was thinking we could go on to get five or six here. But sloppy defending and poor decision making brought Amersham back to three each, however credit where credit is due, we never stopped believing and scored in the final minute through a piece of brilliance from Brad Clarke to win four-three
Since then Ampthill have been beaten in two cup competitions by Edgware & Hillingdon, how were those games?
I watched Edgware twice and felt confident we could get a result against them, as I felt our style would counter their very direct way of playing. We took the lead, but missing players in key areas especially the goalkeeper cost us dearly. But no excuses as at two-one we went for it but got caught on the counter attack to concede again. As for Hillingdon, again no excuses but we had eleven players unavailable due to work, injuries & holidays and it went against us. That will be a tough place to go for anyone, but I look forward to going back with a full squad to choose from. I do wish both teams all the very best and hope they both go on long cup runs
We asked Paul how he feels his squad is shaping up this far in:
We have a very strong talented squad, unfortunately its very stretched at the moment, but week by week players are returning and we’ve also added some players this week too. For me the main focus is the league and to push as high as we can
Brad Clarke & Ash Higgins have scored seven goals between them so far, how good are they?
Where do I start with Brad, AKA ‘the little magician’! I’ve had some players in squads over the years but Brad simply oozes class. A talented skilful smart player & a match winner, someone I trust. As for Ash, he adds a lot to Ampthill having played at decent clubs before like Leighton Town and Chesham United, he adds that experience that is needed on and off the field. This is his second spell under me, he’s player we can look to, a player that creates, can hold up play but most important he is a finisher. I’m expecting a good tally come what may
Who has been the best side the manager has seen so far this term?
That’s a tough one, Enfield & Harefield are both great sides with different styles. For me Enfield just edge it because I love their style, they have a system of playing in a very positive way
Finally, we asked with two home games and a trip to bottom side Codicote in the next three, has Paul set any targets from these three games?
Although I do set goals for the team and individuals, every game is winnable in this division, but I’m looking no further forward than Park View on Saturday. A good performance & hopefully a good result!
This Saturday morning our coaches, players & I will be in town starting at Waitrose meeting the locals trying to promote what is a fantastic club and talk about the work we are doing from the youth all the way through to the veteran’s side. The local community is very important to us at Ampthill Town and as we grow we hope our fan base does too
Sports Shots would like to thank Paul for his time this week.