Archive for Hellenic League

Brackley Town Saints appoint Chris Hurley as new manager, we have his first thoughts on the job

Brackley Town Saints have appointed vastly experienced Chris Hurley as their new manager to take over the reins from Gordon Kille who stepped down at the end of last season. Chris was part of Gordon’s coaching staff last season therefore needs no introduction to the squad or the club, having played & coached at numerous levels he brings a huge database of knowledge to the young team as they look to put the disappointment of missing out on promotion last term by just three points.

Chris Hurley

The club announced on twitter:

Brackley Town Saints are pleased to announce that Chris Hurley has been appointed manager of for the coming season. Chris will be assisted by Gary Courtney who was number two to Gordon Kille last season, we would like to wish both of them good luck for 2019/20

This week Sports Shots caught up with the new gaffer to ask his thoughts on getting the job:

It’s a great club going in the right direction so it’s a good opportunity to get back into management, create some success and develop players for the future of the club

Being part of the coaching team this season obviously helps; did Gordon mention the job to Chris when he decided to step down?

I have known Gords (Gordon) for a couple of years and we have kept in touch, when he heard I wasn’t happy at Didcot, he asked me to come and join him as my years of experience would help him and the young players. He mentioned that he could be stepping down and asked if I would be interested which I was, it helped joining the club when I did as it gave me an opportunity to get to know the club, how the club works and get to know the players, Gordon and Gary have been a great help

Gordon Kille stepped down as manager in April

So what is Chris’s football career to date?

Wow where do I start, I played professionally for three clubs as a youth up to twenty-five and played local football to now. I took my FA level one & two then UEFA B licence, & have managed and coached at Hellenic, Suburban, Isthmian, Ryman and Southern League levels. I have also been director of football at Witney Town and head of youth development at Oxford City looking after under eighteen’s, sixteen’s, and fifteen’s, as a manager I have won a number of cups and helped lead Oxford City to the Senior Cup final at the Kassam. I have been a manager/coach for near on eighteen years with some really good success in building & developing teams, and would really love to bring some success now to Brackley Town Saints

What is the immediate plan for the new gaffer for the summer?

My immediate plan is to secure as many of last season’s squad, as there are some really good players at Brackley, introduce some new faces to freshen up the group then liaise with our youth set up so see what younger players I can introduce as they are the future of the club, this is the busiest time for a manager, the actual football season is the fun part

What experience does Chris have of the Hellenic League, and what made him choose Brackley?

I have managed in the Hellenic League at Abingdon Town where we won the league Cup in the second season, Witney Town, Wantage Town, Bicester Town where I had to rebuild the club from basically no teams to five teams, and managed to get Bicester promoted in my first attempt, so going for the Brackley job was a no brainer, I had offers from three other clubs however Brackley was my first choice

What are the targets for next season?

Based on last season’s efforts where we came so close to promotion, the goal this year is to win the league and I will make sure the whole group knows the targets before we start the season

In terms of the squad, how many players can be retained from last season, and what new players can Chris bring in?

We have lost three, two were poached by Banbury and the third is going travelling, the rest of the group have already agreed to stay which gives me a good base to start with, in terms of bringing new players in I will bring in two or three to freshen up the group and give some competition for places, then push the youth management to give me the best from their set up to introduce them to men’s football

Are there plans to change things or just carry on from where Gordon left off?

It’s a little bit of both, my management style is different to Gordons so I will do things differently in terms of how we train, how we play and a few other things, however I will also take some of the things that Gordon did with the players that worked

Finally, does Chris have any messages for the supporters of Brackley?

My message to the people of Brackley Town Saints & its supporters is it’s an exciting time for the Saints, we will do things properly, appreciate your support, play good attacking football and push for honours. It will be a good time to support the Saints and the club

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

2019/20 season non league steps 1-6 revealed

The non-league divisional structures have been revealed for next season’s step one to six clubs, which affects a number of the clubs covered by Sports Shots.

Step 3:

Banbury United continue in the Southern League Premier Division Central and welcome five new clubs to the division for the new campaign, Bromsgrove Sporting, Hednesford Town, Kings Langley, Nuneaton Borough & Peterborough Sports.


Step 4:

Aylesbury United & Thame United continue in the Southern League Division One Central and welcome six new clubs to the division for the new campaign, Bedworth United, Biggleswade FC, Daventry Town, Halesowen Town, St Neots Town & Wantage Town.


Step 5 (Hellenic):

Brackley Town Saints continue in the Hellenic Premier Division after narrowly missing out on promotion, they welcome Burnham, Chipping Sodbury Town, Easington Sports & Westfields for the forthcoming campaign.


Step 5 (South Midlands):

Newport Pagnell Town have been transferred from the Future Lions United Counties League over to the Spartan South Midlands where they join former Aylesbury FC under their new set up of Aylesbury Vale Dynamo’s after relegation from the Southern League.


Step 6:

Ampthill Town, Buckingham Athletic & Winslow United all remain in Spartan South Midlands League Division One where they welcome five new clubs in London Tigers, New Salamis, Shefford Town & Campton, St Panteleimon & Stotfold.

All clubs have seven days to appeal, steps seven and below are to follow in due course.

HL; Brackley Town Saints 4-0 Lydney Town

Brackley Town Saints – 4
Lydney Town – 0


Brackley Town Saints rounded off their season with a thumping home win over Lydney Town to end their campaign in third place in the Hellenic Football League Premier Division, however the day belonged to manager Gordon Kille as he oversaw his final game in charge on an emotional day for all involved. His squad did him proud with not only the performance on the day but their season as a whole which he afterwards expressed had left him feeling extremely proud, narrowly missing out on the title by just three points with the top three sides all finishing with twenty-two wins for the season, those places were in the end defined by the amount of games each side lost. Gordon steps aside to face bigger battles that lie ahead personally, those who took in the warm Easter weekend sunshine gave a generous round of applause to the departing gaffer on fifty minutes denoting his age, and again at the end as he left the pitch surrounded by family and both sets of players, all showing their appreciation to the man who has taken a group of young football players and turned them into a title challenging squad.

The home side took the lead on four minutes when Ryan Knight latched onto a ball just to the right of goal and at the second attempt managed to roll across into the far bottom corner, a clearance from the Lydney defence fell to Olly Goddard who over the shoulder drove wide before Knight found space in the channel touching inside to strike partner James Hammond who tried to fizz along the six-yard area only for visiting keeper Freddie Lapworth to get down well and intercept. The visitor’s had their first effort of note on twenty-one minutes when a great cross from Lewis Halford found Ross Gabriel on the penalty spot but he could only loop off target, George Ball then warmed the hands of Lapworth from twenty-five yards forcing the shot stopper to his left to push away & a speculative attempt from Lewis Baldwin bounced the wrong side of the upright.

Ryan Knight bags his second

Goddard climbed highest to nod down on the edge of the box to Joe Ward who couldn’t quite get the touch needed allowing the ball to roll out towards Knight however some last gasp defending saw Liam Shephard slide in to take off his foot and somehow clear over his own crossbar, then on thirty-three minutes Saints did get their second when Ball did well down the right hand side to square to Knight totally unmarked who couldn’t miss from three yards out. Before the break Town had an appeal for a penalty waved away when Lewis Thompson got in behind the red backline and despite getting his shot in he was challenged from behind, despite the protests the referee was having none of it and play continued. H/T: 2-0

An early free kick to Lydney saw Matt Board lift high into the box making it easy for Worby to collect ahead of the minutes applause halted the game for the manager, from the restart Thompson escaped down the right to cut inside and his attempted curler around the keeper only found waiting gloves, a Saints corner curled in by Brock had Goddard heading over before they almost undid themselves at the back when Worby rolled out to Hammond whose touch was too heavy allowing the away side to regain possession, the ball played along the eighteen yard line invited their skipper Jordi Sheen to shoot however Brock did well to get across and get the deflection for a corner, that set piece met at the front post by Sam Elliott who headed over much to his own disgust.

Again the home side conceded possession close to their own penalty area allowing a cross into the danger zone where Worby went down to initially stun then jump on taking a challenge from Thompson in the process who was duly booked for his troubles, then on sixty-nine minutes the game was well & truly put to bed when Knight completed his hattrick, played in over the top for him to run on and slot past Lapworth into the far bottom corner, at the opposite end Saints captain Worby encouraged all his team mates to join the manager on the sidelines for a celebration involving everyone, from the kick off another member of the family Charlie Kille almost got in on the act when presented with a chance on the corner of the six-yard box however he miskicked and the chance was gone.

Minutes applause for the manager

A corner to the hosts was played short out to substitute Jordan Godfrey who picked out Goddard at the back post, he headed back across goal causing panic in the black & white backline but between Shephard and Elliott they managed to keep it safe from Knight & Ward who were lurking, Kille collected a throw to drive into the box & drill wide before George Ball made it four with fifteen minutes remaining when played diagonally into the area and going away from goal he managed to turn & fire through the legs of Tom Baldwin and over the despairing dive of Lapworth into the far bottom corner.

Lydney never gave up to their credit & Frankie Johnson slipped a pass into the penalty arc where Thompson drilled low past the post, back came the hosts with Knight who blasted wide from close range ahead of Kille who fired a low level cross-cum-shot in that Sam Ball was inches away from sliding in at the back stick. At the other end Worby ensured his clean sheet with a brilliant instinctive save from a Thompson header pushing over single handed for a corner, James Watts drove into the box before flashing wide, the last chance fell to the same midfielder again who blasted high over the bar from eighteen yards out, the scenes at the end on the pitch befitting for the team performance and the departing managers reign. F/T: 4-0

Attendance: 97

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

After the game Sports Shots spoke with Saints manager Gordon Kille:

For 2 pages (142 images) of matchday photography click here:

HL P; Brackley physio admits their squad are all Saints to work with

Saturday 16th March 2019
Brackley Town Saints v Ascot United
Hellenic League Premier Division
St James Park
K.O. 3.00pm

Back on Boxing Day Brackley Town Saints won at local rivals Ardley to cement their position at the top of the Hellenic Football League Premier Division, and with a run of home games scheduled in the New Year things looked good for Gordon Kille’s squad, but since then numerous cup games have interrupted their league run and from the turn of the year they have only played eight league fixtures, of which they have lost five taking just seven points from the twenty-four on offer, and with it have slipped down to third place in the league and face a real battle to finish in the top two positions in the race for promotion. They do yet have to play Wantage away and host Brimscombe at St James Park, both the two sides above them in the league, if they win those then Saints future could still be in their own hands, but they host Ascot United this Saturday and an away win would lift the visitor’s level with the Northamptonshire side, however United have drawn five & lost three of their last eight league fixtures, neither side in form so something has to give….

Anita Baldwin

This week Sports Shots caught up with Saints physio Anita Baldwin to ask what she does at the club, how long she’s been there & how it feels to be part of the club:

I am ‘physio’ for the Saints and the Academy, I got involved about twelve years ago when my eldest son was asked to join a new team that was being put together. I started to take an interest in sports injuries, went on various courses and am now in my fifth season with the Saints/Academy. The whole family plays a part at the club, we have made some great friends and lots of memorable moments

Does Anita have a day job similar to her role at Saints?

My day job is at a doctor’s surgery but no it doesn’t involve hands on treatment of sports injuries

What is a typical day in the role of a football club physio?

Training nights and match days see’s treatments prior to and during training or games. It’s all or nothing, there may be one person needing treatment one week but six people the following week

What have been the highlights for Anita since joining the club?

I have been very fortunate to be involved in so many. I would have to include going on tour to America, an amazing experience, Saints winning the Hillier Cup and also gaining promotion from Hellenic League Division One in their first season of men’s football. So many games since then for various reasons but far too many to list. The game against the first team a few weeks ago would also have to be high on the list, what a fantastic performance from the Saints

So what sort of season has it been from a physio point of view?

Probably about the same as previous years. It’s an intense game and training schedule so subsequently injuries tend to be from overuse or ‘questionable’ tackles during match play. All the players are keen to get back to playing as quickly as possible following injury so will do work away from training to ensure that happens

We asked Anita to describe the Saints season so far:

There have been so many outstanding performances. It’s great to get plenty of good results, some of which have been against teams we didn’t get the results from last season. To secure a good position in the league is testament to the work put in by the players and everyone involved, the players work extremely hard and give one hundred percent in every game, you can’t ask for more than that

Are there any players that see too much of the treatment table?

Yes but I can’t tell you who, it’s all about player confidentiality…….

Finally we asked Anita of all the first team squad and staff, is there anyone in particular she would never want to go on holiday with?

I can’t answer this one either 🙂

Sports Shots would like to thank Anita for her time this week

HL P; Saints midfielder lifts the Lyd on his time at new & former club

Saturday 23rd February 2019

Lydney Town v Brackley Town Saints

Hellenic League Premier Division

Lydney Recreation Ground

K.O. 3.00pm

Before Christmas Brackley Town Saints were top of the Hellenic Football League Premier Division by some distance and flying high in three cup competitions along the way, they won at Ardley on Boxing Day and after the New Year progressed further in two of those cup campaigns, things looked rosy for Gordon Kille’s squad. But just five weeks on and things have changed dramatically after six consecutive games without a win, five defeats in a row, down to fifth in the league being ten points off top spot and out of two of those three cup competitions, but there is still time to turn their fortunes around as three of the top five have three games in hand on current table toppers Brimscombe and only a point separates second to fifth place. Saints also have to host Ascot & Brimscombe in the run in and play Wantage home & away so their destiny is still very much in their own hands, if they can shake this bad spell off and return to winning ways, promotion is still on the cards starting this week as they travel the long distance to Lydney Town who themselves have only tasted victory in one of their last four games in all competitions.

Jack Carter

This week Sports Shots caught up with recent new signing Jack Carter to ask how long he’s been at the club and how it all came about:

I have been at the club for around four weeks and was contacted by Saints after playing in the Buckingham Athletic v Buckingham Town game just after Christmas. It wasn’t an easy decision as I had been at Athletic since I was sixteen, playing in the under eighteens and have played alongside a lot of the current team for years and enjoyed playing under Neil (Griffiths), Jamie (O’Hara) and Dave (Morgan) and I am very aware of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at the Athletic. I made the decision as it was a great opportunity to play at a higher level

How has it been settling in to Brackley since the move?

I felt I’d had a pretty good season at Ath, although it took me a while to get back into the team after injury but I secured my position. Now at Saints I have enjoyed playing with a new bunch of lads who have been very welcoming and it always takes a while to settle and get to know your team mates but Gordon (Kille) organises all sorts of sessions on and off the pitch. This week I had to sing for the first time an initiation song, I sang BONKERS by Dizzee Rascal

How has Jack progressed through football up to now?

I started playing at Moretonville at the age of six, Moretonville offers a great starting point for hundreds of kids in and around Buckingham, I then moved to Buckingham Athletic at sixteen and joined their under eighteen team and progressed to the reserves then the first team

How does Jack feel his fitness has been this season?

I would say I am probably at my fittest I have been for a long time but there is always space for improvement, playing in the position I am you are constantly moving and on the go

What is Jacks preferred position & formation on the pitch?

My favourite position is in central midfield and my favourite formation is four-four-two, but I also enjoy playing full back and felt that I had some really strong performances there playing for Buckingham

The recent poor run of form has seriously threatened to curtail Saints season, a long trip to Lydney Town this weekend, how does Jack look at this game?

The Saints squad is strong but we need to settle down and focus on each individual game rather than focusing on the league. This Saturday we make the long journey to Lydney and our focus is to come away with the three points, travelling doesn’t affect me & in fact it makes me more motivated to come away with a win, I’ve played in the South Midlands League now for three seasons so it’s nice to play at other grounds in the Hellenic League and test myself against teams that I’ve never played before

Rounding up we asked Jack to nominate some team mates he’d love to see on any television programme of his choice?

I haven’t been with the Saints long enough to know the real characters within the team so I would need to go on the squad I have played most the season with so:

Ash Farmer for Strictly Come Dancing as he feels he’s got some great moves on the dance floor.


I’d like to thank Sports Shots for all their local coverage of football in terms of photography & reports

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

HL P; Saints duo hoping to be at the races for visit of Ascot

This game has been postponed due to the weather

Saturday 2nd February 2019

Brackley Town Saints v Ascot United

Hellenic League Premier Division

St James Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Brackley Town Saints host Ascot United on Saturday at St James Park knowing nothing less than victory will do if their title challenge is to get back on track, they’ve dropped to third in the Hellenic Football League Premier Division table after just one point from six in their league games since the turn of the year and ahead of this game trail league leaders Brimscombe & Thrupp by four points. Brimscombe themselves did Saints a huge favour midweek by beating Wantage Town who were breathing down Gordon Kille’s sides neck, but now Saints have destiny back in their own hands as they have games in hand on most of the teams around them and if they win them all they will regain top spot, however Ascot this week are just a place and a point behind their hosts before Brackley then travel to Wantage next weekend in a period that see’s the two sides play each other twice in three weeks and those two games could well define the outcome of the league title. Saints drew at Ascot back in October and the visitor’s haven’t won in their last three league fixtures, with the home side looking for their first league success since Boxing Day, this is a vital game for both sides.

Joe Ward

This week Sports Shots caught up with midfielder James Watts and first of all defender Joe Ward to ask how long he’s been at the club & what made him join:

I’ve been with the club since the youth development days, I was a part of the original team during the transition into men’s football when the Saints started. The attraction for me was to try and play a fast paced possession style of football in a men’s league to see what we could achieve

James has also been here from his younger days:

I’ve been at the club for about three or four years, I got asked to trial for the under eighteens, went, enjoyed it, got asked to sign, then moved my way up to the Saints and have been there ever since! When I first joined I was very shy but then I got to know everyone and have a laugh with everyone so I’ve settled in well

How good a season does James feel he’s had so far?

I think so far this season I have been fine with my fitness, I did a lot of work in pre-season to prepare myself for the upcoming season, availability wise I think I have missed one game due to injury but haven’t missed a training session or any other games. I think I have been performing this season, & always give one hundred and ten percent in training and on match days, I feel I have had a similar start to last season which was a good season for me so I feel like I’m on the right track!

James Watts

Joe has suffered the aggravation of injury this term:

I feel that I started the season strongly, fitness was high and I had a good tempo to my game. When I’ve played consistently this has carried through, however I’ve had a couple of injuries this season which has been incredibly frustrating for me because as a player you want to be getting as much game time as possible. As an individual target I make sure I work as hard as I can every game and training session

How good a squad does Joe feel it is at Brackley this year, and which players have impressed?

As a whole the entire squad has been strong, both on and off the pitch. It’s hard to pick out a few players who have really impressed when the whole team has been playing well, however I’d have to say the consistently strong performances from Ali Worby (GK), Lewis Baldwin (CM) and Olly Goddard (CB) through the spine of the pitch has been class. Ali has made a few crucial saves for us over the season and his distribution is second to none in the league. Lewis solidifies the midfield when playing CM, he moves the ball well around the whole pitch and will rarely give away possession. Olly has been a great addition to the back four and is strong in the air

James can’t single anyone out for individual praise:

I think the Brackley squad this season is very strong, everyone has been doing their job, & everyone is working hard to get a good end result. Everyone has impressed me this season, the whole squad have been class!

What is James favoured position in the team & what formation does he prefer to play?

Favoured position would be centre-midfield as I love getting on the ball and beating my opponents! I think the best formation for me is four-two-three-one because I’m always involved with the play then, attaching and defending which is good for me because I like doing both

Joe also likes that formation:

My favoured position is centre-back, I’d say my most preferred formation is a four-two-three-one as it’s what I have mostly played. Although when we had a string of games at the beginning of the season playing 3-5-2 we had good success in games and it felt very comfortable to play in

We asked Joe how competitive this division is after being clear at the top to now being third, and which sides he feels will challenge for the title:

As we’re coming to the end of the season everything’s becoming tighter at the top, with three or four teams chasing the title, I think that goes to show how competitive the league has been this season. Although it’s tight at the top we’re focusing on each game as it comes, making sure that we prepare correctly. Biggest threats for us are Wantage and Bishop’s Cleeve due to matches played and points gained

James discusses the need to get a win to get back on track:

We have been playing very well this season but some results haven’t gone our way, I think we knew that it wasn’t going to be easy to keep a big lead but we are all battling to keep that top place. Our last two games haven’t been very good results for us so we need to get back to winning ways and cement that place at the top. I think our biggest threat is probably Bishops Cleave, they beat us in the cup and at home so haven’t won against them yet and they look like a danger side but I’m sure we can beat them away from home

The last couple of games haven’t gone to plan, how did James view those games?

I thought the Reading game was all about Brackley, we all stuck together from the first whistle, yes they did take the lead but we didn’t let our heads drop and we carried on working hard & came away with the victory. Going into the Flackwell game we all thought this is going to be a test, which it was! For the first twenty minutes they had most of the ball and pinned us in but when we got on the ball we looked good and sharp going forward and as always solid at the back. So I think getting a point was a good result in a tough game, the Windsor result was very poor in horrible weather conditions, we didn’t take our chances and it hurt us in the end!

Joe mirrored those thoughts:

The Reading cup game was a good opportunity for the lads to get game time, and it was a good result as well. The Flackwell game was a hard match with both teams putting everything into it, both teams had good opportunities to take the lead but never did and a point each was a fair reflection of the game. The Windsor game was frustrating but every team has a bad day at the office

Ascot at home this week whom the Saints drew with earlier this season, what does Joe remember from that game and what do they need to improve on to win?

I remember that it was a tough, physical game. Both teams played well and again both teams had good chances, the three points could have gone to either team. We need to prepare correctly for the game, start with good pace, energy and be clinical on the day. Their biggest threat on the day was the ball being fed to Nathan Minhas

James also appreciates the quality Ascot have in their ranks:

I think the Ascot game was a real test for us, we played very well and they have got some good players in their squad but we all battled and fought together from the first whistle, getting a point from that game was a good result in my eyes especially away from home!

Finally, we asked James to pick any television programme he could think of, and a team mate who he’d like to see on it, and the reason behind it?

I would have to choose Ali Worby and the programme would be Soccer AM because he is always on about it at football and he never stops watching it

Joe picked a different colleague:

I’d pick Olly Goddard to go on the Undateables; speaks for itself

Sports Shots would like to thank both Joe & James for their time this week

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