Saturday 30th March 2019
Mursley United Development v Marsh Gibbon
North Bucks & District League Intermediate Division
The Playing Field
Mursley United development host top of the league Marsh Gibbon on Saturday looking to bounce back from last week’s disappointment of exiting the North Bucks & District League Interdivisional Trophy quarter-final stages at Duston Dynamo’s, but in the Intermediate Division leaders face the side that beat them convincingly by four goals to one just two weeks previously. Three wins from four before this sequence had seen Mitch Toyer’s squad cement their mid-table status however having played just five league games since mid-December leaves them with games in hand on most teams in the division, a good run in the last few games could see them put the pressure on the top four which in their inaugural season would be a fine achievement, as well as build some momentum going into next season. But first they must overcome Gibbon who have only lost two league games all season, they put twelve past Clean Slate reserves two weeks ago (the second time they have reached double figures in a game this campaign!), but both of those defeats have been in March to Bletchley Park, so can Mursley inflict more pain or is it beware the wounded animal?
This week Sports Shots caught up with Mursley front man Ben Johnson to ask when he joined the club and how it all came about:
I joined in August 2018, I was playing for Lonely Town previously and as they folded I had nowhere to go so Mitch (Toyer) who was assistant manager down there brought me along to Mursley, yeah it was tough settling in at the start with some terrible results but since my PIC Sam Cartwright joined after his time off travelling it’s been a dream having a player of his quality playing alongside me
How has the season been in terms of performances & availability?
I think the seasons been great however it could always be better. We’re a brand spanking new team and you’d think the availability wouldn’t be the best but it’s the complete opposite, we have a few problems with people being the big age of nineteen and still not able to drive but we’re a team so we do what we can do to get everyone to games. We’re the youngest team around and all performances have been strong
How good is this squad and have any players stood out?
The development squad is very strong on and off the field, I’ve never known a bunch of lads in a football team to be so strongly knitted together, and the thing is we’re only going to get better as ninety nine percent of our team are below twenty-three, providing we stay together. As for what players have impressed, all of them! I think some weeks some players perform better than others but that’s how the story goes. Even if Nick Bevans sends the ball out for a throw in from a goal kick six times in a game, he still impresses me with some of his cat like saves
What is Ben’s preferred position in the side and what formation best suits?
I don’t have a favoured position, I listen to my manager and give one hundred and ten percent wherever I am put on the field, if I don’t listen to managers orders then Graham will eat me. However, I play most of my time in the number ten role just off the striker and I try to create as much as possible. We formally played a four-three-three wide with wingers and three midfielders but as you know one of our wingers, I won’t name names, is very old and going on twenty-seven! He can’t track back as much so we changed to a four-five-one with two wide midfielders to compact the midfield more and help defend
The last three games saw cup progression which was then halted last week by defeat at Duston, sandwiched by a big loss at Marsh Gibbon, how were these games?
What a beautiful cup run for us lads in our first season, hands up to Duston though who are a very good side but we didn’t give it away easily, two very scrappy goals. If I’m honest I don’t remember the Stoke Hammond game
Home to Marsh Gibbon this weekend, they beat United four-one recently, what do they need to do differently this time round to get something from the game?
We took a weakened side to Marsh Gibbon a few weeks ago, with players turning up including myself five minutes before kick-off. We were running the game and then conceded, I think a few heads fell & a few players went off injured and they took control. This time round we have a strengthened squad and we’re actually playing on a full size pitch this game so we can play our wide game
Does Ben have any personal targets for the rest of the season, and what have the squad been asked to achieve in their remaining games?
If I’m being honest I have no personal targets, I enjoy going out on a Friday night and coming to football & enjoying myself. I don’t give myself targets or expectations because if there’s no expectations there’s no disappointment right? The squad has been asked to try keep whiteboards and bins in the changing room in one piece as we have a few stroppy boys from time to time who like to break things. You can’t expect much from a new team, I think the real expectations are that we have enough players week in week out for the first season and we can build on what we have next season
Finally, we asked Ben if he could nominate any team mate to go on any TV programme, who and what would he choose?
I would choose Graham Anderson and choose him to go on Take Me Out as his love life is extremely DRY and it’s about time he lost his virginity and the island of Fernando’s would be lovely place for it
Sports Shots would like to thank Ben for his time this week