Archive for Ampthill Town Football Club

SSMFL D1; On the twelfth day of 2019 Ampthill keeper wants 3 x 5 gold rings

Saturday 12th January 2019

Ampthill Town v Hatfield Town

Spartan South Midlands League Division One

Ampthill Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Ampthill Town host Hatfield Town on Saturday looking to build on a very good draw last week at ever improving Risborough Rangers, and come up against a side that have only won one of their twenty-one league games to date, and currently prop up the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division One table, cast adrift by eleven points to second bottom place side Amersham. Ampthill will be expecting to win but football is never that easy, especially as Hatfield are under new management of late, but the three points could be crucial for the hosts as their games in hand could really help push them into the top half of the table and help banish the memories of the defeat at home to Bedford the last time they played at home. However, Hatfield only lost by the odd goal in five against sixth placed Langford last week after a creditable goalless draw at mid-table Rayners Lane the week before, an intriguing fixture lies ahead.

Josh Thompson

This week Sports Shots caught up with Amps keeper Josh Thompson to ask how long he’s been at the club and how it’s been since joining:

This is my first season at Ampthill, I came across with the manager Paul Toms from Berkhamsted. For the short time I’ve been here I have to say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, the whole set up and atmosphere around the club is brilliant, from the backroom staff to the facilities this is one of the best set ups I’ve been at. I’ve truly been made to feel like part of the furniture here

How good a season does the keeper feel it’s been so far?

I don’t think we have performed at our best consistently enough so far, looking around the club there is some serious talent here and only a few games this year has seen it all come together to reflect how capable a team we are. We have suffered from injuries, suspensions & availability as do most teams at this level, but huge credit to how our development team has supported us and is valued within the club, which gives us such squad depth to be able to cope

Has Josh always played in goal?

I have pretty much always played in goal since the age of about nine, I came from Berkhamsted last year to get more first team football and to start enjoying it again. Prior to that I was playing university football at Loughborough

How good is this Ampthill squad, and have any players caught the eye?

When we have our strongest eleven out, I truly believe we can beat anyone in this league. Individually I’d have to mention Mark Smith, he’s an experienced defender and he makes my job a lot easier by solidifying our defence. We play some exciting football going forward and the link up between Brad (Clarke) especially and our forwards is great to watch

Defeat to Bedford just prior to Christmas and a good draw at ever improving Risborough last week for the squad, how were these games?

The game against Bedford was not one of our finest performances, we were missing some key players and Bedford worked much harder than us & deserved the win. Risborough’s league position definitely does not reflect how strong a team they are, they will surprise a lot of higher level teams later on this season. After going a goal down, a positive team talk at half time gave us something to play for, a physical game that we were much more competitive in

So onto Hatfield this week, what does Josh know about them?

Being relatively new to this league I don’t know much about them at all, but I do know that there are no easy games in this league, they will be fighting for points and we will have to work hard to take anything from them

Of all the sides Ampthill have played so far, which have impressed the most?

There have been a couple of teams impress me so far, notably Broadfields, they have some decent players who could play higher, and they work hard off the ball. Its been a tough start this year, with some players still learning their trade and youngsters still getting to grips with the physicality of this league. As a team we aren’t far off at all, we are starting to click and things are starting to fall into place, if we can get on a good run and gain some momentum then we could finish high in this league

Finally, we asked Josh if he could be anyone in the world for twenty-four hours, who would he pick?

That’s a tough question, from our club I’d love to spend a day as our assistant coach ‘Pistol Pete’ (Peter Forssling) just to get a behind the scenes perspective on what goes on match days, and to be able to confidently wear fifteen gold rings on each hand! As for anyone in the world, it would probably have to be David De Gea just to see what it’s like to be playing for the best team in the Premier League

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

SSMFLD1; Ampthill boss hoping to put tough December run to Bed with victory

Saturday 22nd December 2018

Ampthill Town v Bedford

Spartan South Midlands League Division One

Ampthill Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Ampthill Town host near neighbours Bedford on Saturday and with the sides separated by just a single place and a single point in the Spartan South Midlands League Division One table, three points would be a welcome Christmas bonus for Paul Toms’ side especially as they do not play after the fixture until the first week end in January. Despite the Amps having games in hand on the majority of the sides above them, they see this enforced break over the Christmas period knowing that a win over Bedford would see them close the gap on the top half of the table, and with those extra games to play could well go into the second half of their season with plenty to play for, despite the month of December seeing them bow out of two cup competitions.

Paul Toms

With two new coaches at the club as revealed by the manager last week to Sports Shots, the Town squad will be looking to build upon their superb win over fourth placed Hillingdon in their last league outing at The Park, Bedford have lost their last seven matches in all competition and those games have seen a total of thirty-five goals scored, Ampthill Park could be a goal fest on Saturday afternoon!

This week Sports Shots caught up with the manager Paul to ask if he is still enjoying the job since he took over in the summer:

That’s a great question to start with, yes I am one hundred percent enjoying it at Ampthill Town, I think all managers would ask themselves the same question – why do we do this to ourselves, but we all love it with the challenges on and off the field! It’s never ending and is a thankless task but when you pick up three points on matchday it’s all worthwhile. I’ll be honest, I joined Ampthill with an open mind and knew it was going to be a massive challenge, I knew I’d have to win over and earn the respect of the players and of the board, but also knew that I’d have to change a lot of things, especially with the team finishing the last three seasons in fourteenth place in the table. Rome wasn’t built in a day and at the moment we are building the foundations for long term success, results and performances will be inconsistent for a while yet. Huge changes have happened with a high turn over of players and management team needed at the club, I have to say Gaz (Gary Maidment (Chairman)) has been amazing in his support of myself and all the football decisions I have made so far, I will give everything to repay his faith in me

How happy is he with his squad so far and have any players impressed of late?

I’m very happy with the squad we have here, we have some unbelievable talent from the development squad right through to the first team squad. My philosophy is to develop young & hungry players and bringing Paul Blackman on board adds strength to that philosophy and he sings from the same hymn book as I, we have no budget and let’s face it pretty much any manager can bring success with money! But we have nothing and being honest I am happy for that challenge, ninety percent of our squad are under twenty-five years old and we use development players when we can, this year is all about preparing for next, we had a poor pre-season due to the shake up and I’ve been using this season to learn and to build. I am not going to single any players out for praise, but what I will say is that the potential in this group is huge!

How were the two recent cup games, and how does the manager pick the players up from here?

Whilst our results in December have been tough, the bigger picture is very much positive. Away to Langford we were poor, our work rate when we didn’t have the ball was shocking whilst our decision making was terrible. But when we turned it on, we had better moments in the game and managed to score a ninety-fifth minute equaliser to take the tie into a penalty shoot-out, which unluckily we lost but that’s penalties for you. Against Colney Heath we went down to ten men after ten minutes through a lack of discipline but the squad re-grouped and if I’m honest we were the better team against a tough, hard working sixth placed premier division team. I’ll also add that we played four development players that night as well. It will not be difficult to pick the players up, far from it, these boys will be buzzing come Saturday, Colney was if possible, a good defeat

Local derby against Bedford this week, a point separate the teams, is this must win or must not lose?

I see every game as must win, but that’s me, I hate losing. But look, we have an opportunity to gain local bragging rights for our level and more importantly a chance to show in front of our support how much it cares to win. For me as a footballer I’d be buzzing all week for a big game and I’d want to perform, big performers generally turn up for the big games, so for me in this building season it will be great to find out who our big players are

How much are the squad looking forward to this derby game?

It’s a huge local derby on Saturday that we are all looking forward to, these are the games that you look out for when the fixtures come out. I’m not going to give anything away apart from we will give everything to try and win. Our form has been up and down all season but hopefully the taste of bragging rights will raise us to a good level. It was a good game against them back in August where we both had chances to win, I imagine it will be the same again this time, an open, physical fixture that will be played fairly

This is the Amps last match now until January, is this a welcome break or does it detract from what the manager is trying to achieve?

Personally I’d prefer games thick and fast, we had Hatfield called off the other week so why can’t we play that game over the festive period, sometimes the fixtures just don’t add up! But we will be training & keeping the camp together which is so important, it also shows me who the committed players are, training is never anyone’s favourite but it is a must. How you train is how you play!

With so much time off over Christmas, what does Paul expect of his players?

We have to be realistic as it’s always a tough period, the boys are not contracted or paid so it’s all down to their own self-motivation and my job is to give them that positive kick to want to work hard, and to promote the bigger picture, which is to tick over. Sometimes a break is good and freshens up the enthusiasm in some, but who knows, for me a good footballer has their own self-motivation to tick over away from the camp and to want to stay at there own good level and to not let themselves down

Finally, we asked Paul for any final messages ahead of Christmas for the club and its supporters:

I can’t say thank you enough to everyone involved at Ampthill Town FC. I’ve had such unbelievable support from everyone, the supporters are honest and loyal & I can see that they want success which I hope if all stay patient and understanding then we can achieve. We have so many volunteers that for me I cannot thank enough, and also a big thanks from me to Sports Shots for the great coverage and we are now looking forward to a great 2019

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

SSMFL D1; Ampthill Town increase back room staff

 

Paul Toms – Ampthill Town FC

Ampthill Town have this week appointed two new coaches to their first team set up, as manager Paul Toms explains:

I am pleased to announce that Paul Blackman has joined the club as my assistant manager & Anthony Christophi as head coach. Paul & Anthony together are a team I have held in high regard from my development days at AFC Dunstable Under Twenty-One’s, where they won absolutely everything, but more importantly share the same philosophy as me, the development of young local players.

Paul Blackman

Paul brings a calmness around the camp and is also a great judge of a player, he has great tactical knowledge of the game. Ever since I took on the Ampthill first team managers job in June, this is a position I’ve been looking to fill with the right person who shares the same goals & beliefs which is to build a long term team without a budget. Paul and I both know the huge task that will be involved in realising the goals that this club wants, which is Premier Division football, which both of us have signed up for, the long term project. We want to build a young and hungry squad and create a pathway for the club for long term success.

Anthony Christophi

Anthony who I’ve installed as first team coach is an up and coming level two qualified coach that now finishes a strong coaching set up for this level alongside John Phillips and Peter Forssling. Anthony brings lots of energy and great knowledge to training and matchdays, with his modern approach to the game and enthusiasm that I’m really looking forward to working with, and more importantly I think the players will enjoy.

I’d like to offer a huge thanks to Barry Leek for his assistance over the past couple of months, filling in and helping out.

Next Saturday we have a massive game and local derby when we host Bedford FC. We ask all the people of Ampthill to show their support and to come and cheer on their local team

SSMFL D1; Ash looking to stoke up smoking hot performance from last week

Saturday 1st December 2018

Hatfield Town v Ampthill Town

Spartan South Midlands League Division One

Cotlandswick Playing Fields

K.O. 3.00pm

Ampthill Town travel to Hatfield on Saturday for a league fixture they will be expected to gain points from as their hosts currently sit bottom of the Spartan South Midlands League Division One table with just a single victory from their opening seventeen league games to date, and Ampthill shook off a three game losing streak by beating third place Hillingdon Borough last weekend. Ampthill are just a couple of wins from pushing into the top five places, and their next four league fixtures are all against sides below them in the standings meaning this is an ideal opportunity to keep that winning momentum going and build up a head of steam going into the New Year!

Ash Higgins

This week Sports Shots caught up with striker Ash Higgins to ask how long he’s been at the club and how he’s enjoying it so far:

I joined this season, a good friend of mine was already playing over here and told me to come and have a look and I knew Paul (Toms) from playing for him over at Berkhamsted. I’m enjoying it here, it’s a good set up with a decent set of lads

How good does Ash think the squad is at Ampthill, and which players have impressed so far?

There is a decent squad here, as a striker I like to link up so would have to say that Brad Clarke aka The Magician has stood out for me so far, and also Jamie Cerminara but he’s always injured as he’s a bit of a wimp

Of all the games so far this season for Ampthill, which have been the best and the worst?

Probably both games were against Hillingdon, it was good to get back to winning ways last week and bag myself a couple of goals, then the worst has to be when we played them midweek with a makeshift side and we took a bit of a hammering on the night

We asked Ash what system works best to get the most out of him:

We’ve played a few different systems this season and at times I’ve been a bit isolated but I prefer having a strike partner to be honest, but as a side we have to have the right balance so I’m happy with what ever is best for the whole team

A great win last week over Hillingdon, how did Ash see the game and how did his goals come about?

Well we fell behind which we seem to do quite a bit, but we picked ourselves up and played probably the best we have all season for thirty minutes or so, we found ourselves three-one up before they started seeing a lot of the ball and they nicked a goal back but thankfully we saw the game out. My goals were just about making sure I was in the right place at the right times to get the rewards

Did the striker set himself any targets for the season?

No not really as I haven’t played Saturday football for a while but I would have hoped to be on a few more by now but there are still lots of games left yet to increase my tally, especially now as it seems we have a lot more of a settled squad

Away to Hatfield Town this week, a game that Ampthill will be expected to win, will there be any difference in approach to the game?

There is no easy game in this league really so we just have to play like we did against Hillingdon and hopefully notch up a few more goals

Finally, we asked Ash where he thinks Ampthill can finish the season in league and cup competitions:

We’ve played a lot of the top teams now and we know we can beat them so we should be finishing top six at least I would hope. As for the cup competitions we’ve beaten two teams in the league above so there is no reason why we can’t go on and win one of them!

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

SSMFL D1; Ampthill Town 0-2 Buckingham Town

Ampthill Town – 0

Buckingham Town – 2

10.11.2018

Ampthill Town succumbed to two first half strikes on Saturday as their guests took the points back to Milton Keynes on a wet and chilly afternoon at Ampthill Park, and despite creating numerous chances the hosts simply could not find a way past the vastly experienced Buckingham backline. Despite the club putting on an excellent show for Remembrance weekend, Ants manager Paul Toms admitted afterwards his sides performance was one to forget especially after a good showing midweek at Brimsdown, two goals from Jack Clarkson sealed the win and lifted his side away from the wrong end of the South Midlands League Division One table and to within a couple of points of their opponents.

The home side should have taken the lead in the third minute when a left wing cross from Tom Carter was flicked on in the middle by a red shirt straight into the path of the incoming Aaron Matthews but on the volley he screwed wide from twelve yards out, the away sides first chance fell to Drew Mitten whose low drive ricocheted off various boots before spiralling out for a corner. An Ampthill corner was half cleared out to Mark Smith who floated it back into the box where Carter headed back across keeper Bob White who had to dive to push around his post, the set piece wasn’t dealt with and from the penalty arc Ash Mead absolutely thumped over the crossbar.

A ball knocked over the yellow backline saw Gabrielius Judickas turn his marker before firing towards the bottom corner where it appeared Ampthill keeper Josh Thompson wouldn’t reach but covering across Smith cleared, from the corner the ball reached Alex Marius who over the shoulder fired high over the top. A cross from the Buckingham right then found Clarkson unmarked in the middle but without realising how much time he had he thumped his header high over the top, but on twenty-two minutes he did open the scoring when played down the middle he had the attention of two defenders however he managed to get his shot away that deflected up off the leg of Lee Neufville and looped over Thompson and in.

Minutes silence for Armistice 100

At the other end a rasping drive from Carter soared towards White’s net until Enoch Sare put his head in the way to deflect over, the home side were then nearly made to pay when a long ball upfield looked set to be cleared by Mead but he slipped allowing Judickas to strike first time but way over the bar, before Mitten again tried his luck from eighteen yards but lacking conviction it was a comfortable collection for Thompson. The Robins missed a guilt edged chance when Shane Uings played a good one-two with Judickas who fizzed his cross along the six yard box and running in at the back post Clarkson just couldn’t get on the end to convert.

Six minutes ahead of the interval Buckingham scored their second when Mitten out on the byline crossed into the middle where Clarkson slotted home, their hosts almost immediately responded when Matthews was sent scampering away towards goal and avoiding defender Sam Bearman he managed to get his shot away but White gathered with both hands down to his left. The home side were then denied a last minute goal back thanks to some bodies on the line defending, an initial shot from Brad Clarke was blocked and the ball rolled out to his fellow front man Ash Higgins who, with White committed to the first effort and out of the game, side footed towards the bottom corner but from nowhere Bearman threw himself in front of the shot to block. H/T: 0-2

The opening few minutes after the break saw the home side really struggle to make an impact on their visitors, the frontmen were having to drop deep to get on the ball meaning there was a lack of targets once they were on the front foot. A free kick some twenty-five yards out gave an opportunity for Carter to try and bend one around the wall but his effort was glanced away for a corner, Buckingham threatened again when Mitten crossed from the left and in front of goal Judickas accepted on his chest but to his dismay the power took it into the gloves of Thompson.

Sam Bearman in another goal saving block to deny

Ampthill midfielder Jack Mordecai was then equally disappointed when set away down the left channel after beating the offside trap, as the red shirts claimed he was off he simply rolled the ball towards White who gratefully smothered. The home side then went close when a throw found Clarke inside the area, he slipped a pass through for substitute Manny Obodo to attack the front post where he crossed into the middle and a shot from the incoming Matthews was gathered by White right on his goal line, a poor clearance allowed a cross back into the box where sandwiched between two red shirts Clarke got to the cross to firmly head down only to watch his effort bounce agonisingly wide of the back post.

Clarkson tried to seal his hatrick with a twenty-five yard low drive inside the near post which was inches wide, a minute later Marius tried a similar feat from the opposite side but he pulled his drive way wide of the target. With time running out the hosts suddenly burst into life, Obodo collecting the ball inside the own half he went on a mazy run that saw him evade four tackles and blocks and still he went on, as he neared the penalty area and with options either side he drove wildly past the post, their next attack saw a pass up to Higgins with his back to goal, he held up well but with options either side he tried to thread a pass through a crowded box which saw a block and long clearance and the chance was gone.

A throw then found the chest of Clarke inside the Robins area, he managed to control before turning his marker but then lifted over the crossbar, the final cross of the afternoon saw White lose track of the ball which found its way to Kieran Phillips who stabbed towards the unguarded net, but yet again Bearman was closest to throw himself in front of the shot to block and the danger was cleared. F/T: 0-2

Attendance: 65

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

After the match Sports Shots spoke with Ampthill manager Paul Toms: 

For 140 match day images, please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmqR5Yfy

SSMFLD1; Ants duo working hard to brings success to Town

Saturday 10th November 2018

Ampthill Town v Buckingham Town

Spartan South Midlands League Division One

Ampthill Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Free entry to all current and former servicemen & women #Armistice100

Ampthill Town host Buckingham Town on Saturday in Sports Shots first visit to Ampthill Park this season, and they will be looking to bounce back after their first defeat in five on Wednesday night down at Brimsdown. Having won their last two games at home, Town will be looking for three points that could bounce them up from eleventh place in the Spartan South Midlands Division One table as high as fifth place potentially.

Ampthill have seen many changes in personnel this season which has frustrated manager Paul Toms since his arrival in the summer, but his side are still in three cup competitions and a run of results would lift them high up the table going into the winter period, but Buckingham Town themselves need the points to ensure they are not dragged into a scrap at the wrong end of the table. Entry is free to any current or former servicemen & women in honour of remembrance weekend.

This week Sports Shots caught up with striker Brad Clarke and recent captain Glenn Cooksley ahead of the game to ask both how they ended up at Ampthill Town, their style of play and how the season has been so far, Brad replied:

I’ve been here for three seasons now and I live locally so after university I just wanted to play football and Ampthill were my closest team. I like playing in the number ten role as I like being able to turn and run at people, but the season has been inconsistent for me, I’ve had a few knocks which has limited my game time and performances

Glenn has also been there a while now:

Three years ago the then manager called me and I came over, I either play as a right wing back or a holding midfield role. I’m aggressive in a positive way, but this season I have been below my regular standard and I’m yet to reach match fitness as I started late into the season

How has the season been so far under the new manager, and what are Glenn’s targets for the remainder?

It’s been good, a positive atmosphere around the place, I like the manager as he has a long term plan for the club. I’m personally hoping for a top six finish so we can get into next season’s FA Cup

Brad is looking at silverware:

It’s been good so far, we’ve tried various formations, positions and players but we’ve got a settled team now and hopefully we can push on and finish as high as possible in the league, also hopefully we can win one of the cups we are still involved in

How has the striker found the standard of the league this year, and what is a realistic target for Ampthill?

The standard has been quite good, the top three teams have impressed me as they seem to be pulling away from the rest of the pack. If we can string some results together then the top six is a realistic aim

Glenn has one team above the rest:

It’s an up and down league with some very good teams but also some very average teams. Broadfields have been the best team I have played against so far this season

Glenn Cooksley

We asked Glenn how the cup competitions have been panning out for Ampthill:

They have been positive and shown that we can beat teams in the league above whilst also not getting caught out by lower opposition. I personally think we can go on from here and win some silverware

Brad also thinks his side can go a long way in these competitions:

The cup games have been enjoyable, it’s good to keep winning & progressing in each of the cups. If we play well there is no reason why we can’t go on and win at least one of them

Hosting new to South Midlands Buckingham Town on Saturday, what does Brad expect from the game?

I don’t actually know much about them other than by looking at their league results, but I’m sure they’ll be a good team who are capable of scoring goals, so we’ll need a positive performance to get the result against them

Glenn can also only go by the table:

All I can comment on is the fact that they are around us in the league table and that doesn’t lie. I’d assume it will be a close game

We then asked Glenn which of his team mates have impressed so far this term, and who he thinks could player at a higher level:

Brad Clarke has always been sharp with great feet & could easily go on to play higher level football, plus our keeper Josh Thompson in the past month has saved us points with some great saves

Brad echoed the sentiment on the Ants keeper:

Various players have performed well since the start of the season, Josh has been consistent and has often kept us in games with his saves. Also, new additions to the squad Dan Blackman & Ash Higgins have played well throughout the season

Brad Clarke

How has Brad found the travelling in the league so far?

It is difficult, especially after working all day and then having to rush home to then drive into places like North London. However, once you’re at the game ready to play, you forget about the travelling. Other teams in this league have to do the same journeys to us so over a season it all balances out

Glenn would like games to be arranged differently:

I think the fixtures could be arranged better, local midweek games with the long travel games being held on Saturday’s

Rounding up we asked Glenn how Wednesday’s defeat at Brimsdown was, and how his side get back on track:

Honestly, I didn’t think we deserved to lose, we had a lot of the ball and many chances but it just wasn’t our night in front of goal. We need to bounce back on Saturday, I always fancy our chances when we are at home

Brad see’s the defeat as just a hiccup:

Hopefully Wednesday was just a blip, we played well for large periods of the game but we just couldn’t score, we deserved something from the game. A positive performance on Saturday will get us back on track and then hopefully we can start stringing some results together again

Sports Shots would like to thank both Glenn & Brad for their time this week

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

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

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

To hear the whole of the first show from Monday, use the link here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/play/p06mdx3y

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

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

SSMFL D1; Ampthill Town promote graduate Dillon up to captain

Ampthill Town FC have this week named Louie Dillon as their new first team captain with Brad Clarke becoming vice-captain.

Town manager Paul Toms explained all this week to Sports Shots:

Since taking over as first team manger of Ampthill Town in June of this year, I knew there would be a settling in period. A new county, a different league and more importantly a new group of players, a lot to learn in a short time period. I knew that there would be lots of challenges in the short term, that would require decisions that I would not need to be afraid to make for the better of club, my philosophy is to develop youth players and build a foundation for long term success.

With Louie as my captain, I cannot see a better player here to work with on this journey, he is a strong leader on & off the field and has the respect of every player and the coaches alike. I’ve also named Brad as vice-captain, I feel it is very important to have the spine & core of the side as locally based lads that care for the club, and want to create a long term DNA identity

Paul Toms hands over the armband

Ampthill Town chairman Gary Maidment also spoke proudly on the new appointment:

It is a proud moment for me to announce Louie Dillon as the new captain at Ampthill Town Football Club. Louie has been with the club from an early age and played for me at under eighteen level and it was a proud moment when he was selected to play for our senior team aged just sixteen years & nine days old. He has gone on to make one hundred and sixty eight appearances for our senior team since 2014. He debuted as club captain last weekend in our away win at Codicote fc. I wish him all the best in the position and the future

Louie Dillon

Louie spoke on the challenge ahead:

Being captain is very important to me and is something I’ve had as my goal for the last few seasons, it’s a big responsibility that I look forward to taking on and working more closely with everyone at the club. I feel I can bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the team as captain and a positive attitude to every game, I’m excited to work closely with Paul on his philosophies and to help develop Ampthill Town in every way I possibly can.

This is a great club for bringing young players into the development side & first team, and already this season Paul has given many youth players a chance to prove themselves, I hope Paul and I can work together to keep getting young players involved and motivated to push towards first team football. I hope our run of wins can carry on and we can push on to a really successful season

SSMFLD1; Ampthill Town boss hoping some more magic is on View this Saturday

Saturday 8th September 2018

Ampthill Town v Park View

Spartan South Midlands League Division One

Ampthill Park

K.O. 3.00pm

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.

Paul Toms

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.

SSMFLD1; Keeper Brad Kirkwood talks life at Ampthill Town & trip to Rayners Lane this Saturday

Saturday 18th August 2018

Rayners Lane v Ampthill Town

Spartan South Midlands League Division One

Tithe Farm Sports Club

K.O. 3.00pm

Ampthill Town face the long trip down to Harrow on Saturday when they visit Rayners Lane in what will be the hosts first home game of the new season. Town will be looking to get back on track after a win & a draw in their opening two games were followed by two home defeats, whilst Rayners Lane have taken four points from their opening two Spartan South Midlands League Division One games.

This week Sports Shots caught up with Town keeper Brad Kirkwood and asked how life has been since he joined the club:

Yeah, it’s been good, I’ve enjoyed it. It’s always a bit daunting getting to know a completely new squad but I came over with a couple of other players from Leighton Town and we’ve all seemed to gel really quickly. The guys behind the scenes have all been very welcoming and you can tell how much they care about the club and its players which is always good to see

And how has pre-season been?

We were a bit inconsistent during pre-season, a couple of games were won quite comfortably where as we struggled in others. At this level you tend to see that sort of thing with fixtures, due to coming up against teams of different abilities & ambitions for the season ahead. In the very first training session that Paul took, he explained his plans for the season and went into details about the way he wanted us to play. Credit to him, JP & Pistol for putting on sessions that actually worked on this rather than just doing drills for the sake of being there

We asked Brad how good the squad is at Ampthill:

I feel confident in the team that we’ve started the season with. There have been a few players coming & going in a short space of time but we’ve got a decent squad with some older, more experienced players, but at the same time there are several young players who have loads of ability. Each game we’ve played so far has had a very different starting eleven & I’d personally put this down to people taking their chances when they come on to show Paul what they can actually bring to the team, so that just shows the sort of options & cover we have available in most areas of the pitch!

Brad Kirkwood came in from Leighton Town this summer

So what does Brad think of the start of the season for his new club?

The season couldn’t have started any better really, we came up against a strong Enfield side, were away from home and came under a lot of pressure in the first half, but we managed to keep them at bay and came out much better in the second half and I felt deservedly left there with a 1-0 win. The game at Bedford was very similar in the fact that most of the first forty-five was played in our half, but then we were much stronger in the second. The two home games that followed were much tougher, Harefield were a very good side and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw them in the top two come the end of the season. In the Enfield game on Tuesday I just think we lacked a bit of quality all over the pitch but we had a chat about it in the changing room after the game and we’re all confident we can bounce back strongly this weekend

Finally, another tough game at Rayners Lane this week-end, how does Brad view this game?

If I’m honest I don’t really know much about them. I would imagine it’ll be a tough game as all games in this league are, but if we play like we have done at times then I’m more than confident that the hard work will pay off & we can come away with the three points

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