Archive for Hellenic League

HLP; Defender confident his Saints will just go marching on to success

Saturday 12th January 2019

Brackley Town Saints v Tuffley Rovers

Bluefin Sports Supplementary Cup

St James Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Brackley Town Saints return to action for their first game since Boxing Day as they host Tuffley Rovers on Saturday in the Bluefin Sports Supplementary Cup, their first of two cup fixtures in four days and despite their long lay-off still remain top of the Hellenic Football League Premier Division table albeit having to share top spot with Ascot United level on points, but Saints do have five games in hand. Gordon Kille’s men still remain in pole position in the league, Wantage their nearest rivals having played the same amount of games are five points behind, there are teams closer but have all played more games than the men from St James’ Park. Brackley won their two games over Christmas including a ding-dong battle in their local derby at Ardley United, where a last gasp goal saw them emerge victorious by the odd goal in seven, and have done well against Tuffley in recent times having already completed the league double over the Gloucestershire side this season, so go into this fixture confident of progressing to the next round.

Ollie Goddard

This week Sports Shots caught up with Saints defender Olly Goddard to ask how long he’s been at the club and how it’s been so far:

I have been at the club since the beginning of this season, I was looking for a new challenge after getting back from America and playing locally for Middleton Cheney last year so it was refreshing to join such an exciting set up, the season has been going really well since I joined and I feel we have a great chance of going up this year

How good a season does Olly feel he’s had personally?

I think I’ve had a good season so far, obviously I have had a few injury set backs but we have good depth to the squad to cover when I’ve been injured or away, but in the games I’ve been involved in I generally feel I have brought a lot to the team’s performance

How good is this Saints squad this season, and which players have stood out?

The Brackley squad this season is very strong and we have lots of gifted players within it, Ali Worby and James Watts have stood out for me as they always put in great performances and have tremendous ability to go further in the game

With a break from action, does Olly feel this is of benefit to the squad or detrimental to what they want to achieve?

I think the time off has been needed as we had lots of football in the previous months, personally for me it’s been nice to take a step back and re-group ready for a second half of the season push! Overall I think it’s good to have some time off away from the game and then come back to it

Defeat to Bishops Cleeve followed by wins over Longlevens and Ardley in December, how were those games?

The Bishops game was a disappointment for us as a group however I was unavailable for that game, for me the Longlevens game was a formality as I felt we were the stronger side so I expected three points. The Ardley game was a massive statement I feel, to show we could grind out the result in a big local derby just after Christmas, it was pleasing to get the points

Nine out of the next ten Saints games are at home, seven are league games, how important could this be?

St James Park is a fantastic place and a real key to part of the way we want to play the game, so it’s a real positive we have so many games coming up at home, teams find it hard to come to us and match the style that we produce so it does give us a massive edge

We asked Olly how he feels the club would cope should they gain promotion?

I think if we went up as a group we could compete at the next level but to what extent I am unsure, I think we would need to add a goal scorer and a few other players just to give us a real chance

Tuffley this week, Saints have a good record against them this season, what is Olly expecting this time?

I am expecting to win if I’m honest, I know they have a few good results but I feel our squad being where it is right now will be too much for them

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

Lionel Messi for me, he is the greatest player to play the game, I’d love to understand how he sees the game and have the ability he has, and to pull on that Barca shirt

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

HLP; Saints manager enjoying success but admits it is a Long season

Saturday 22nd December 2018

Longlevens v Brackley Town Saints

Hellenic League Premier Division

Sawmills End

K.O. 3.00pm

Brackley Town Saints will be hoping for a better weekend of travelling this week as they head to Gloucester to face second bottom side Longlevens for their final game before Christmas, after last week travelling all the way to Lydney only for the game to be abandoned at half time due to the weather; with no points being added to their season total Ascot United took full advantage by beating Bishops Cleeve to leap frog Saints into top spot of the Hellenic Football League Premier Division table. Brackley beat Longlevens in the reverse fixture at St James Park back at the beginning of the season by the odd goal in five, thirty points now separate the two sides and Longlevens have just four league wins this season, the visitor’s will surely be favourites heading into the game.

Gordon Kille

However, Longlevens have won their last two games in league and cup, both away from home, including an impressive victory at third place Brimscombe & Thrupp ten days ago, whilst Brackley lost their momentum with defeat at home to Bishops Cleeve the last time they completed a ninety minutes, so this could be another banana skin in the waiting. But the defeat to Bishops was the first time the Saints had failed to score in any game since mid-September, and only their second defeat in thirteen league fixtures, their cup game on Wednesday also fell foul to the weather so the squad will be firing on all cylinders ahead of this fixture.

This week Sports Shots caught up with Brackley manager Gordon Kille to ask how he is enjoying the season so far, and what challenges have been throw up:

I’m really enjoying the role this term, I have a great bunch around me from the coaching staff to the players, which makes everything that much more enjoyable. The biggest challenges to date have been juggling the squad and managing the players expectations, keeping their feet on the ground. I keep telling them that being top only matters once the final whistle goes on the final day of the season, other than that does not matter. We have found that opposition teams are giving that extra ten to fifteen percent when they play us, so we have to focus that much more and dig a little deeper to get results and build some character

How is the squad looking going into the busy Christmas period, and which players have stood out?

We have quite a small squad but it is full of talent and is bolstered by the under eighteens squad but we do need more genuine competition for places. Some of the under eighteens coming through are competing well for those spots, but we have also been looking externally of late to add some depth. We have recently brought back Josh Bowden from Kidlington to give us greater options at the top end of the pitch but would ideally like another wide player for greater cover. Two of our outstanding players so far this season have been James Watts and James Hammond, they’re both a real handful whose control, movement and link up play is something to behold. I’m also really enjoying watching young Curtis Green develop of late, he’s one of the under eighteens but is getting a good stint with us recently. He is definitely one to look out for in the future!

How frustrating has December been with postponements, abandonments and a defeat?

It’s been a really frustrating month after such a great November, we won at Abingdon with a skeleton squad but the postponements have actually helped us as we’ve had so many players unavailable through either work or injury. The Bishops Cleeve game was definitely one to forget, we had six players missing, some shocking officiating and all against a team who were content in deliberately trying to kick lumps and limbs out of us, I am not an admirer of theirs! Lydney away on the other hand saw two teams desperately trying to get the game on but it just wasn’t to be, it was tough on them as they were winning at the time. Unless you were there you cannot grasp just how bad the conditions were, I’d be surprised if their pitch recovers this season as a result

Away at Longlevens this week, they are second bottom so is this must win or must not lose?

This is a game definitely not to lose, everyone is fit and available so if we’re serious about challenging at the top then we need to get something from the game

We asked Gordon just what he expects from their hosts on Saturday:

We cannot write Longlevens off just yet, they recently beat one of the title favourites in Brimscombe & Thrupp away from home! They are very well organised and their front pair are a right handful, we will be taking nothing for granted

Does the manager see his lads enjoying being at the top of the table or is there some pressure starting to build, and who does he see being their main title rivals?

The lads are loving it! There is such a buzz and intensity around them at every training session, there is something to hold on to as well. Although Ascot went top at the weekend by one point, we have three games in hand on them, so everything is in our own hands. We tell the boys every game that there is no pressure, as long as we play to our way and to our abilities then the results will follow, but there genuinely is no pressure from the coaches nor the club, we just go out to enjoy each game and see what happens. Our league is so open this year and there is a real opportunity for a handful of clubs to challenge for the top spot, ourselves, Ascot, Wantage, Brimscombe, Binfield and Bishops Cleeve, I feel the winner will come from this group of teams

Does the coaching staff place any restrictions on the squad over the festive period?

Boxing Day football is a great tradition and I really enjoy being part of it. We don’t place restrictions on the players, but we do have expectations about how they prepare for any game. To achieve anything in life there has to be sacrifices and those in the team that really care will prepare properly

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

A huge thanks from all the coaches and players to everyone connected to this club for all their continued support and encouragement, from the management and the board, to the youth section and the small army of volunteers who are all second to none and a big part of our match day routine. To the supporters, the job is only half done. Thank you for being alongside us so far this season, but we will need you with us for the remainder to hopefully get us over the line. We will continue to play exciting attractive football and give you value for money, and something to be proud of. Merry Christmas

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

HLP; Saints midfielder believes his side can keep all their eggs in one basket

Saturday 8th December 2018

Brackley Town Saints v Bishops Cleeve

Hellenic League Premier Division

St James Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Brackley Town Saints host Bishops Cleeve on Saturday looking to avenge the defeat that their guests inflicted on them back in September in the Challenge Cup by the odd goal in seven, since that day Saints have lost just once in thirteen games in all competition and go into the game top of the Hellenic League Premier Division and five points clear of their nearest rivals. Their top of the table clash at Wantage last weekend was washed out, this time they hope to keep their advantage intact against the side that are sixth in the table, and who also boast just one defeat in thirteen since they beat their hosts in that cup fixture.

Jordan Godfrey

This week Sports Shots caught up with midfielder Jordan Godfrey to ask how he joined the club and how he has settled in:

I played at university with Sam Hartley who’s involved with the club and he told me about the style of play, and that the quality of football being played was that good I decided it was my first choice for the season ahead. I’ve settled in well, it’s a nice group of lads and they made it easy. The club is very well organised

So where does Jordan prefer to play, and what formation best suits his style?

My preferred position is any of the central midfield spots, playing through the thirds gets the best out of me. The three-five-two we played at the start of the year or the four-one-four-one we’ve been playing of late suits me because the three central midfield positions in the formation help our possession based style of play

Did he ever imagine the club would be top at this stage of the campaign, and how have they maintained this amazing run?

Honestly yes, when I joined in preseason the message from the manager was that we wanted to win the league or a cup, and there has been belief within the squad from the start that we have the quality to do just that. We’ve maintained our start by working hard and showing our quality on match days, on our off days we showed good character to grind out the results we needed. We can keep this going!

How has the season been so far for Jordan?

It was a slow start for me in terms of being integrated into the team, but I’ve had a really good run of twelve or so starts so my fitness, performance & contribution to the squad have progressed a lot. The only targets I set myself are to keep fit and healthy

Which players have impressed so far in the Saints squad, and are they good enough to play that higher level?

All of our squad have been performing well, but to pick one I’d say (Alastair) Worby. He has made some really big saves in important games which has earned us some points. His distribution has also been key for us in how we play out from the back. I haven’t watched any of the football from the step above so I can’t really comment on how well equipped we’d be for it

After losing to Bishops Cleeve in that cup game, we asked Jordan how they need to improve this time around to beat their guests this Saturday:

They are a team with a lot of character and they just wanted the win more than us on that day. We just need to dig deeper this time around

Just how good a dressing room is it to be in at the moment, and do sides lift their games against you?

There is a really good buzz around the dressing room, everyone wants to beat the top of the table team so I would say so yes

Finally, we asked Jordan which teams have given Saints the toughest tests so far, who does he thinks will be their title challengers and which games does he feel he performed well in:

Ascot and Binfield were tough games for us, and Fairford who beat us. I think Ascot, Wantage Brimscombe & Bishops Cleeve will be around the top end of the table at the end of the season. My best games personally have been either Shrivenham or Abingdon, both away games

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

BSSC; Saints defender wants cup run to Supplement league success

Saturday 10th November 2018

Cirencester Town Development v Brackley Town Saints

Bluefin Sports Supplementary Cup

The Corinium Stadium

K.O. 3.00pm

Brackley Town Saints turn their attention this week to Supplementary Cup action as they travel to Hellenic League Division One West side Cirencester Town Development on Saturday to play their first round fixture. Brackley still sit top of the Hellenic Premier despite defeat last weekend at Fairford Town, a midweek win at Desborough in the Hillier Cup put the loss behind them and this fixture will see the Saints favourites to grab their second cup win within three days, especially as their hosts have shipped sixteen goals in their last three games. In fact, the goals for and against for the development side make interesting reading for the month of October, as they read F18 A19 and all in just five games!

Harry Brock

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with defender Harry Brock to ask if he’d imagined just how good a start to the season his new side would have when he joined this summer:

From day one the management & players believed this was going to be a good year for us, we had a very strong pre-season which did wonders for our confidence and built a strong foundation for the season start. The main factor for this success is our work rate, we have some really special players but all of us appreciate the importance of earning the right to play

How good a squad does Harry believe it is, and are they good enough to maintain their position?

Without being too biased, we have the strongest squad in the Hellenic this year, we’ve played seventeen games so far and we are deservedly top of the table. Anything less than winning the title would be really disappointing now

We asked Harry how he’s settled in and how he thinks the season has been so far:

Settling in to the team was never an issue, they’re a great bunch of lads who made it very easy for me to find my feet, our season so far has been brilliant but there is still plenty of room for improvement. We had a disappointing result at Fairford last week which was difficult to take, they worked hard for their win & deserved the three points but the result was an important learning curve for us, it’s made us aware that travelling away from home in the next couple of months will be difficult, we’re getting to that time in the year where pitches deteriorate & don’t suit our style of play. We are all aware that for us to have any success in the coming months, we must work hard first and then the quality we have will always come through

Which players have impressed so far this season?

I wouldn’t want to single out any individuals, especially with the whole squad performing so well. I will say that our midfield three of James Watts, James Hammond & Lewis Baldwin have been pivotal to our strong start, and I’m yet to come across anyone who has been able to contain them

Who does Harry see as being their biggest competitors at the top of the table:

I believe our main competition for the title this year will be Wantage, we won’t be playing them until the New Year but they have played five or so less games than us in the league and can go top if they win all of those games in hand. It could be difficult for them in the next few weeks though, being so far behind everyone elsewhere in the league could result in them having to play three times a week to catch up. From being in that situation myself a few years ago with Ardley United, playing catch up & cramming games in to an already packed schedule could work in our favour

How are the squad preparing for the game this week at Cirencester?

We are looking forward to the game, they’re a well run club with great facilities but it’s an opportunity to move forward in a cup competition. The gaffer is always very quick to squash any complacency from the lads, we’re expected to win and I do believe we will win, but we cannot take anything for granted. We had a good result at Desborough midweek and we need to build on the momentum for our important clash in Reading next week

Are cup games a happy distraction from league duties?

We’re very happy with our start in the league and hope our form can continue; that being said everyone loves a cup run! Regardless of what competition you are in, getting to a final is great for the club and everyone involved

Finally, we asked Harry is he has any favourite cup memories over his career?

I was lucky enough to be involved in a great squad at Ardley for several years at the start of my career, my best cup moment has to be when we beat Kidlington back in 2014 in the Oxford Senior Cup Final, a four-nil victory against local rivals. I’m also an Oxford United fan to being able to go behind the scenes at The Kassam was extra special.

Thank you for the opportunity to have a chat

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

HLP; Brackley Town Saints 4-1 Tuffley Rovers

Brackley Town Saints – 4

Tuffley Rovers – 1

Brackley Town Saints rose to the summit of the Hellenic League Premier Division table on Saturday with a convincing win over Gloucestershire side Tuffley Rovers at St James’ Park, to complete the league double over their opponents with goals from Charlie Kille, James Hammond and a brace from Ryan Knight. A very warm afternoon saw Saints take an early lead only to be pegged back on the half hour mark, but once they regained their lead before the break it seemed only a matter of time until they killed the game off, and in truth without some goal line clearances the margin could have been much greater for Gordon Kille and his ever improving team.

The hosts took the lead in the eighth minute when Hammond threaded a ball through the Rovers backline for Kille to run on to where he slotted home inside the near post, Rovers tried to fight back and won a corner which looked looked harmless but the Saints failed to clear, picking up the loose ball inside the area Kieran Alder turned but lifted high over the top. Moments later a free kick awarded on the edge of the eighteen yard line was curled around everyone and the far post by Mark Pritchett, but as much as Tuffley attacked their hosts were looking lively on the break, a ball swung in from the right was met on the volley in the middle by Knight, and his dipping drive saw the fingertips of Rovers custodian Luke Merchant push over his crossbar.

Ryan Knight who bagged a brace

Knight was again in the thick of the action when played through and in front of goal Merchant made a good block with his legs, the Saints striker tussled with a defender to try and regain the ball but running in Hammond took possession and drifting slightly away from goal saw his shot flash across the goal mouth and inches wide. The visitors equalised with fifteen minutes of the half left, a corner from their right saw home keeper Alastair Worby come to collect but with a mass of bodies all fighting for the ball he could not hold on, fighting then with the keeper and centre half Joe Ward, Brett James did well to stick out a boot and lift into the roof of the net. Brackley attacked from the restart winning a corner, curled into the back post Alex Stott went to sweep home only for a defender on the line to clear, but then just four minutes after the leveller Knight fired his side back ahead.

A Tuffley corner broke down and Jordan Godfrey from deep inside his own half sent the ball long down the right channel, Knight raced on to it and as Merchant met him on the edge of the area the front man flicked the ball past him towards the unguarded net, he rounded the keeper to give chase and with a defender in attendance they both slid in but Knight got the touch to regain his side the lead. Rovers again fought back, another great corner from Paul Carter found Jake Rhodes in the middle and his glancing header bounced just wide, before a Knight free kick at the opposite end was curled over the wall but straight at Merchant. A Kille cross from the left then saw substitute George Ball climb well at the back post but his header was over the top, and in the final minute a break away from the away side saw Sam Hill just outside the penalty arc clip his shot past the upright. H/T: 2-1

James Hammond scores fourth

Tuffley almost equalised again straight after the restart when James again got into the box and fired back across Worby forcing him down to his right to save one handed with Dan Middleton on hand to clear the danger. Some of the football played by Brackley at times had Rovers chasing shadows, one such move saw James Watts feed Knight who in turn drove forward and lay off to Godfrey whose low drive saw Merchant having to dive away to his left and push past his post for a corner, that swung in deep and headed back across goal to Hammond who smashed into the side netting from close range. Then on sixty-five minutes Brackley scored their third which virtually killed the game off as a contest.

A Rovers attack broke down on the half way line and the ball knocked down the left for Hammond to latch onto, cutting in towards goal he could have gone for glory himself but he unselfishly centred into Knight who volleyed home. Tuffley substitute Liam Gale then did well down the wing getting to the byline before beating his marker and flashing his effort right across the six yard box but with no one able to get near, it rolled harmlessly away for a goal kick. The game was then sealed with sixteen minutes left when a cross from Godfrey found Hammond totally unmarked to the left of goal where from twelve yards he lifted up into the roof of the net. Recently introduced to the action Levi Steele went close moments later when played through the middle his shot saved by the legs of Merchant, before another great cross found Kille at the back post where Merchant had to get down well again to block for a corner.

The cross was initially cleared but the ball swung back in found Chris Jordan who saw his side footed effort fly across the goal face and wide of the back post, there were then two late chances for the visitor’s that both fell to Henry Birkett, the first was an elaborate attempt to lob Worby from some forty yards however the keeper simply had to back pedal to claim on his line, the second a shot from inside the box that went wide. F/T: 4-1

Attendance: 65

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

After the game ports Shots caught up with Saints manager Gordon Kille: 
And also with the skipper Alastair Worby: 

For match photography please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskGgxx8R

HLP; Saints go marching on but expect Tuff game this week-end

Saturday 13th October 2018

Brackley Town Saints v Tuffley Rovers

Hellenic League Premier Division

St James Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Brackley Town Saints host Tuffley Rovers on Saturday at St James Park looking to continue their recent fine league form that has seen them take ten points from their last twelve possible, and having beaten their guests in the reverse fixture at the beginning of September will be hoping to take maximum points to cement their aspirations of being in the promotion push. However Tuffley currently sit fifteenth in the table which doesn’t reflect their recent league form, they have not lost away in the league since mid-August, and have won three of their last five league fixtures so this may not be as easy as it looks on paper. Saints currently sit joint second in the Hellenic League Premier Division table, and a win will take them top as the teams around them are either not playing or are in cup action this week-end.

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with front men Chris Jordan & Ryan Knight to ask what the great start to the season has been down to, a weaker league or an improving squad, firstly Ryan:

I think the league is as strong as it’s always been, I just think that we have learned from the last couple of seasons and gained more experience, which has seen us perform more consistently to put the points on the board

Chris thinks both apply:

I think this season both those factors have come into play, the young group of players we have will develop with the more experience we gain. Some teams this season have not threatened us as much as they would have in previous years, and that’s credit to the team as we are a much tougher unit now

We asked Chris whether the targets for the season had changed at all:

As a team we said from the start we wanted promotion and with every game we play that target is becoming more & more doable, we know it’s a tough ask but our form is good and we are confident we can do something special this season if we can maintain this. A finish near the top would be a great achievement for us

Has Ryan seen his targets change since August?

I’m very happy with the start I’ve had personally, playing as striker which I played as for many years before joining Brackley, I just set small targets and then hope to keep beating them and then adjust again. Ten goals is my next target having scored six so far, and I’d like to achieve this soon so I can then move the target up again. I just make sure I put in one hundred percent every game and leave everything out on the pitch

Ryan Knight

How does Ryan think Chris has performed so far this term?

I think he’s had a good start to the season, scoring a few goals and contributing to the team well, he brings another dimension to the squad with his technical ability & strength and this shows out on the pitch

And Chris on Ryan:

I think most in our team will agree Knighty is a very fast & hardworking player, he chases everything and gets his foot in, this season he’s started adding goals to his game which is great to see and it’s really helped the team out, he’s started really well

Does Chris think Saints can keep the run going, and who are their main threats at the top?

We are confident in our ability and we have a strong squad this season, it’s early in the season but as long as we continue enjoying our football we are sure the results will follow. Ascot have started very well this season so it will be interesting to see how we do when we play each other, Wantage & Binfield are good sides and I’d expect them to be near the top

Ryan also thinks it’s possible:

I believe if we continue the hard work and keep the determination we have started with there is no reason why we can’t stay towards the top of the league, but I know we’ll take each game as it comes & not get carried away. Obviously Wantage are a very strong side, and will be there or thereabouts at the end

We asked Ryan how the national cup competitions went for Brackley this season:

I think we were a bit unlucky this year, taking Hadley back for a replay in the FA Cup when we were unlucky not to beat them in the first game as we were the better side throughout the game but just couldn’t get the goal to show it. The same applied with the FA Vase but we now move on and concentrate on the games coming up

Chris isn’t looking back too much either:

It’s difficult to say why we didn’t do well, we haven’t really dwelled too much on going out of the cup matches, possibly a lack of concentration with these matches as we conceded late on two occasions

Chris Jordan

We asked Chris what it’s like to play at St James Park, a National League North set up:

We are lucky to have such a great set up, the pitch is in excellent condition and it’s a pleasure to play on. It really does suit our style of play, we like to get the ball down as we have lots of technical players, playing with confidence on the pitch means no one is nervous receiving the ball and there’s a real opportunity to express yourself

Ryan likes a mid-week fixture:

We are very fortunate to have St James Park as our home ground, we all love playing there and all look forward to our home games, there is nothing better in this league than a game under lights on the carpet like pitch at Brackley

Another win on Tuesday this week at Shrivenham, how did Ryan see the game?

I thought Tuesday night was a very good professional performance, we looked comfortable even on a small bobbly pitch, two good finishes from Charlie (Kille) & we probably should have scored more than two!

Chris agreed:

It was a good win on a difficult pitch, we controlled the game from start to finish and did well not to let Shrivenham into the game at any point, and with a clean sheet which is always a bonus

Finally, looking ahead to Tuffley on Saturday how does Chris view the opposition?

We know we can’t take any game for granted in this league and we’ll have to be fully at it again to get what we want from the match. We have to go and earn the right to play by getting on the ball how we have been recently, right from the off. It won’t be an easy game, we know from a few weeks ago from the game at Tuffley that we could have easily lost that day, they opened us up on several occasions but we took our chances when we had them and it was enough, however we know we’ll have to be a tighter unit going into this game. I think it would be naïve for us to expect to beat any team in this league, we have to approach every game with the right mentality no matter where the opposition are in the table, as we will do this Saturday

Ryan echoed the sentiment of never taking a win for granted:

We’re expecting a tough game this week, we had a very tight game away this season against them where if they’d have taken their chances, we may have come away from there with nothing. But we’ve been performing well the last few games and are full of confidence so we’ll be looking to take this into Saturday. We don’t ever expect to beat anyone, this is a highly competitive league from top to bottom, and if we ever go into games expecting to win then we are playing a very dangerous game!

Sports Shots would like to thank both Chris & Ryan for their time this week

HLP; Defender predicts All Sorts of success for Saints ahead of Bassett game

Saturday 22nd September 2018

Brackley Town Saints v Royal Wootton Bassett Town

Hellenic League Premier Division

St James Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Brackley Town Saints host Royal Wootton Bassett Town on Saturday at St James’ Park hoping to build upon their terrific start to the Hellenic League Premier Division campaign, which see’s them sitting in seventh place and with games in hand that could take them up to second at the very least. The table has a very unfamiliar look so far with Ascot United top of the league, and with Wootton Bassett in fourth place a difficult afternoon lies ahead for the Saints.

Charlie Kille

This week Sports Shots caught up with versatile defender Charlie Kille to ask what he thinks the good start to the season has been down to:

This season as a team we have changed a lot compared to last year, the coaches are working in a more professional way, helping all of us as a team and individually

Has being part of a young squad now started to reap its rewards?

100%. I’ve been playing with some of the lads for years now and when you are all around the same age everyone just clicks with each other. We all know each other inside out and it helps us on the pitch because of how close we are off the pitch!

Saints have played seven league games winning five and losing just two, what happened in the two losses?

I wasn’t at the Holmer Green game where we lost by a single goal but from what the lads have said there wasn’t enough energy from the start, we started slow and when you go a goal down its always a hard hill to climb to get back into it. Then our three-one loss to Binfield once again we started very slowly and they capitalised upon that. We didn’t work as a team in the first half!! But we have to dust ourselves down and move on

Does Charlie think the league is wide open this year?

The league this season is very open and for many teams. We will be up there at the end of the season likewise many others

What can Saints expect from Wootton Bassett on Saturday, and what did the games against them last year bring?

From previous experience they will be aggressive from the start, it will be a great game but with our pitch we will have the confidence to knock the ball around and do what we do best. Last year they were strong all over the pitch, they like to make the big challenges early on and make their opposition nervous

How has the season started for Charlie personally?

It’s started off okay for me so far, I have lots to work on but I’m grateful that the lads trust me wherever I play. I’ve got smaller targets this year like scoring four goals and to stay in the starting eleven all season long

Finally, we asked what Charlie would view as a successful season for the team:

A successful season for us will be to reach the targets we’ve been set by our coaches and get promoted. That would be a huge achievement!

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

HLP; Alastair is ‘keeping’ his hopes high for a successful season

Saturday 1st September 2018

Tuffley Rovers v Brackley Town Saints

Hellenic League Premier Division

Glevum Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Brackley Town Saints travel to Gloucester on Saturday to face Tuffley Rovers in what will be Saints eighth game of the 2018/19 season already. A superb start to the season for the squad of Gordon Kille has seen three wins and a defeat in four league games which has resulted in eighth place in the Hellenic League Premier Division, and an FA Cup run that was ended on Wednesday night with a single goal defeat at Hadley in the preliminary round replay.

Alastair Worby v Tuffley Rovers April 2018

This week Sports Shots caught up with goalkeeper Alastair Worby to reflect on the start they’ve had:

It’s been a good start; the lads came back from the break fired up and ready to get stuck into the new season – we’re all very excited about the prospects for the campaign ahead and want to make sure we go a few steps further than we did last year. However, it’s a long season, injuries and the like will play their part so we need to make sure we’re up for it and use the good start as momentum to keep it up

How difficult is it to concentrate on league games with the FA Cup in the background?

We have played three FA Cup games and four in the league so far, and it’s been a lot of games in a short space of time, but the FA Cup is one of the best cup competitions in the world so motivation & tiredness is not a factor. Unfortunately our run came to an end on Wednesday night against Hadley, so all focus now is back on the league, working hard to climb even higher in that table

How does Alastair feel his own personal form has been?

I’ve started the season strongly, with a number of clean sheets already, I’m feeling good and confidence is high. I work hard over the summer and in pre-season as I look to hit the ground running. Also the confidence both I and the team now get from the change in formation will make us harder to break down, and that will help to grow the confidence further throughout the team

Alastair finished last season on the bench at Wembley in the FA Trophy final where Brackley Town won on penalties, was a move in the summer never on the cards?

The reason to stay at Brackley was simple really, the direction the squad wants to take the club this season, and also my team mates. We all believe we can do something special this year and I want to play a part in that! Yes I had a few offers over the summer but I have enjoyed my time at Brackley and have no reason to want to leave

So how good is the squad this season?

I feel we have a strong squad to challenge this year. A combination of a few new players, Harry Brock, Oli Goddard & Luke Coleman to name just a few who have brought something different to the squad, and secondly keeping hold of key players from last season

How do Brackley travel to away games?

The players always gang up and we have a car school normally. But it is much harder for our mid-week matches as some people have to work

Having played Holmer Green in the league twice already, Saints beat them away but lost two weeks later at home, what happened?

It was a disappointing result, especially after the great start to the season. We were missing six key first team regulars due to holiday and injury which unsettled the side, but then that is what a squad is for. The boys who came in did well but unfortunately we were unable to break them down

We asked Alastair how was the FA Cup replay at Hadley on Wednesday?

On a small, narrow and bobbly pitch it really did not suit us, as we like to play a more fluent expansive game, it was very hard to get the ball down and play our game. But credit to them, they chased and battled for every ball throughout both he games against us. I believe we were much the better side in the first game, and should have seen them off on Bank Holiday Monday, but we wish them all the best in the next round

And finally, looking ahead to Saturday, how does the Saints keeper view the trip to Tuffley?

It is always a difficult place to play, just like Hadley they do not let you have time to play football. The result at the end of last season will give us confidence going into Saturday to take all three points and get our league campaign back on track. The FA Cup defeat will drive the squad on and will make sure we bounce back with victory

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

FAC; Brackley Town Saints v London Colney FA Cup preview with Lewis Baldwin

Saturday 11th August 2018

Brackley Town Saints (Step 5) v London Colney (Step 5)

FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round

Being played at Oxford City FC

K.O. 3.00pm

Brackley Town Saints host London Colney on Saturday in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup, in a game being played at the Oxford City Stadium due to the Brackley senior team having a home fixture in the National League North. Brackley’s season never got going last week-end as their supposed season opener at home to Lydney Town ended up being postponed, due to travel issues meaning Lydney never turned up!

In contrast, Hertfordshire based London Colney will be turning up to their fourth game of their new campaign, having already played in the Herts Senior Charity at the end of July, and have played two league games so far this term in the Spartan South Midlands Premier League. With the prize fund this season being at least doubled by the FA, a run in this competition will go down very well for the club coffers.

This week Sports Shots caught up with influential midfielder Lewis Baldwin, and asked how pre-season has been for the Saints:

It’s been a really positive one for all of us, we had a lot of new lads come in on trial and it was a really good atmosphere through the period in both training and during matches

So has the squad changed much from last season?

In terms of players leaving we’ve only lost a couple of lads elsewhere but we’ve had quite a few new lads come in and freshened things up a bit, through most areas of the pitch. This has brought us something extra not only on the pitch but also off it, the new boys are spot on and got involved straight from the offset

Lewis Baldwin

So with last Saturday’s opener postponed, what exactly happened?

It wasn’t ideal but you have to feel sorry for Lydney. Their team bus broke down so we originally postponed the game back to 5pm but they then contacted us again to say there was no way that they were getting to us. We were gutted but it must have been horrible for them being stuck in the middle of nowhere, especially in that heat!

We asked Lewis if they have much info on their FA Cup opponents:

I’m sure our coaches will have had a little look and will be letting us know bits, but personally I don’t know anything at all about them. All that we can do is do what we do well on the day, and hopefully get into the next round. I quite like the FA Cup games as they’re quite often not teams you’ve played against before so it’s always a nice change

Finally, any targets for the season ahead?

As a team we definitely want to be pushing for the top three and we also want some cup wins. We 100% have a squad good enough but in previous seasons we haven’t been able to keep the same squad for more than just a few games due to various reasons, unfortunately that’s how it is as this level when you have to work, study, have family commitments etc. We have a bigger squad this year so we hope this should help us

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

The FA have revealed the new prize fund payments ahead of the 2018/19 FA Cup competition as listed below:

Extra Preliminary Round winners (184 teams) £2,250

Extra Preliminary Round losers (184 teams) £750

Preliminary Round winners (160 teams) £2,890

Preliminary Round losers (160 teams) £960

First Round Qualifying winners (116 teams) £6,000

Second Round Qualifying winners (80 teams) £9,000

Third Round Qualifying winners (40 teams) £15,000

Fourth Round Qualifying winners (32 teams) £25,000

First Round Proper winners (40 teams) £36,000

Second Round Proper winners (20 teams) £54,000

Third Round Proper winners (32 teams) £135,000

Fourth Round Proper winners (16 teams) £180,000

Fifth Round Proper winners (8 teams) £360,000

Quarter Final winners (4 teams) £720,000

Semi Final losers (2 teams) £900,000

Semi Final winners (2 teams) £1,800,000

Final runners-up (1) £1,800,000

Final winners (1) £3,600,000

HLP; Brackley Town Saints v Lydney Town preview

With the football World Cup long forgotten from this summer, the new football season begins this week-end.

Brackley Town Saints begin their Hellenic League Premier Division campaign as they host Lydney Town on Saturday at St James Park.

Gordon Kille

After a very respectable twelfth place finish last season, Saints will be another year older as a squad and be looking to see how far they can improve, and this week Sports Shots caught up with manager Gordon Kille to find out how the summer has been:

Our pre-season has been very positive. We have a number of new coaches bringing a different skill set to the team. It’s allowed us to bed in a number of new players, work on fitness / sharpness but more importantly to work on a new system of play, mirroring the first team.

The squad have been working increasingly hard during pre-season. We started back a week early and have played one extra game than this time last year. Everyone is now itching to get going in the league and cup games.

Lydney are very well organised and will prove a stern test, defensively we will need to be sharp and organised. Having played them at the back end of last season we have a good idea how they are likely to set up and how they will try to stop us playing our game.

We have a big chunk of the squad away on holiday this Saturday. One of the disadvantages of such a such a young squad is many of them still holiday with parents, but we have a deeper squad the season with real quality throughout. They’ll be involvement for new signings Ollie Goddard, Harry Brock, Jordan Godfrey, Elliot Powell and Eddie Cox

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