Grendon Rangers are up to seventh in the Spartan South Midlands League, Division 2 table.
Mohammed Adam’s strike gave Rangers a 1-0 win at Sarratt.
Grendon Rangers are up to seventh in the Spartan South Midlands League, Division 2 table.
Mohammed Adam’s strike gave Rangers a 1-0 win at Sarratt.
The contrasting faces that came off the playing fields at Grendon on Saturday told two separate stories, the home side Rangers delighted to have held third placed & double cup finalists Aston Clinton to a draw whilst the visitors were left fuming after a second half that saw them denied what they saw as a perfectly good goal and two penalty decisions go against them that had assistant manager Jack Seaton in no doubt they should have won the game. A strong cross field wind made conditions difficult for both sides but Grendon took the lead through Sol Janecki and they were looking good to get to half time with that advantage, however a late first half free kick from Alex Smith caught the wind and eluded the reach of James Cox in the home nets to nestle inside the far post to level matters, after the break Clinton did everything but score despite being reduced to ten men, rattling the woodwork twinned with those decisions they felt the officials got wrong ultimately costing them two points.
The weather almost undid the home side just forty seconds into the game when a free kick to Clinton just inside their own half saw keeper Liam Smith loft into the box but it got caught in the swirling wind eluding everyone in the area, one bounce took it over Cox and also the crossbar to safety, Chris Stapleton cutting in from the left hand touchline across midfield then went for goal but could only fire wide of the post. Lamar Mason-Williams & Taylor Collins then almost undid the Rangers defence with a one-two which saw them lose control however the ball bounced dangerously towards the bottom corner forcing Cox to stick out a boot to turn away for a corner, the set piece curled in invitingly towards the edge of the six-yard box but then the weather took over carrying it out of play over the bar as if to show the spectators just how difficult it was to play.
Joe Kittle found some space on the wing to cross but a glancing header from Mason-Williams was too close to the home custodian, Stapleton then drove into the area avoiding a couple of challenges but from close range he lifted over the top, then on twenty-nine minutes Rangers took the lead when a corner swung in from their left saw Janecki challenge with Sam Austin on his back just two yards in front of the goal, the ball bouncing down through both Ash Clark & Smith on the line and into the net. There was almost an immediate equaliser when Kittle found Elias Williams some ten yards out where his shot came back off the crossbar and was eventually cleared away, a free kick then saw a flick on to Smith on the corner of the eighteen yard box where he fired back across goal and wide of the far upright.
At the other end Mohammed Adam did well holding off the challenge of Luke Russel and also Kittle who came across to try & help out his colleague, the Grendon striker firing low towards the bottom corner but Smith stuck out a leg to divert away and as the loose ball rolled across goal no other amber shirts were close enough to take advantage, then just a minute before the interval Aston did draw themselves level. They won a free kick out on their left which Kittle stood over ready to take until the referee noticed he had an ear ring in and ordered him from the pitch to remove it, the midfielder was booked for his protests as he left the field of play towards his sides dug out, as he stood on the sidelines watching Smith took charge of the free kick which flew in over the outstretched gloves of Cox and into the far corner. H/T: 1-1
The first chance of the second period saw Mason-Williams sprint down the flank to find Smith twelve yards out but his touch let him down and the bounce took it away allowing Grendon to clear, on five minutes a speculative shot from Stapleton from twenty yards had Cox peck peddling to catch with both hands under his crossbar, with his momentum taking him into the back of the net he dropped the ball which had the blues frontline screaming goal as they thought it had crossed the line, however play was waved on by the official. A left wing cross from Smith sailed over Cox and in behind Collins fought with Dan Ciuica but the defender did just enough to force the Clinton man to deflect wide with the empty goal gaping, and on sixty-four minutes the away side were up in arms again when a throw on their right saw them initially lose possession inside the Grendon box and as it bounced out to Stuart Leonard he appeared to handle before clearing, but again the man in the middle was having none of it.
A deep cross into the home area found Smith who had time to take a touch to compose himself but as he tried to curl around the keeper, Cox flung himself out to gather with both hands and they went even closer on the next move when Mason-Williams got ahead of his marker to head for goal but the ball bounced off the post and landed nicely for a Ranger to launch to safety. Aston piled on the pressure as the half wore on but they were almost undone when a pass down the middle of the pitch saw Leonard advance from defence and play Adam in behind the blue backline, away on goal he had more time than he realised and opted to hit it first time in an attempted lob over Smith but he could only steer wide of the target, then with sixteen minutes remaining a tackle from Kittle left Ciuica floored and the referee flashed a second yellow at the midfielder forcing him off for an early shower.
A Grendon free kick eluded everyone in the area including Smith who climbed to gather but missed, Stapleton to his relief was behind on the line to head away, at the opposite end a corner routine found Stapleton at the near post but he flicked his header over the top. A late free kick to the hosts saw Charlie West launch into the box but again the conditions took it straight into the waiting gloves of Smith, in added time a determined run from Stapleton saw him slip the ball through the home backline to Clark who drove towards goal until a challenge from substitute Louis Descrette saw him go down and the Clinton bench again were in uproar as the official originally looked as though he was going to blow his whistle, as the players asked what decision had been given a moment of confusion elapsed until he eventually indicated a throw in was the outcome. From the throw the hosts struggled to clear allowing Austin to shoot from the penalty arc narrowly wide, with hands on their heads indicating just how close it had been, the final whistle sounded. F/T: 1-1
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Grendon Rangers host Aston Clinton this Saturday knowing victory could lift them into the dizzy heights of top half of the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table depending on other results obviously, but after a fine recent run that has seen Steve Jackman’s squad win three of their last four games they are comfortably away from the bottom end of that table as they go into their remaining five games of their season. With games in hand on Totternhoe, Rangers could go into eighth place which a few weeks ago seemed a distant dream, although their remaining league games are all tough as they face four sides who are currently above them and also travel to Sarratt who have won their last three games on the bounce. This week’s visitor’s Aston Clinton are in two cup finals already this season, and currently sit in third place in the league having lost just once in their last seven games in all competition, and have won their last two scoring seven without conceding a goal, a tough afternoon ahead for the Grendon squad….
This week Sports Shots caught up with Grendon duo Will Young and firstly we asked Mark O’Dell when he joined the club and how it all came about?
I have been signed on since December and played my first games in January. Andrew Hind (Haggis) dropped me a message originally to see if I fancied going training, and after the first session I got the buzz again and signed on the same night. Blocky’s (Steven Jackman) training sessions are well structured with a plan of how he wants the team to play, and most importantly enjoyable so I was keen to get involved. The lads have been awesome to be fair, and made me feel like I have been part of the club for years so it made it easy to fit in
Will Young has been involved with the club on and off for a while:
I have been with Grendon in and out since I was a kid and returned to the men’s squad this season. Grendon & I are like magnets, we are pulled together by force. Settling in has been no problem, it’s a great set up here
How does Will feel his season has been in terms of fitness & contribution?
Fitness was a bit of a struggle at the beginning being a smoky joe, however as the season progressed so did my fitness. Availability has been no problem as I only live fifteen & a half seconds away from the home ground. My performances have picked up and I’m happy with the way I am playing at the moment
Mark is slowly getting back to fitness after having time away from football for family:
I have played very few games the last three years since having my children, so my fitness has been a long way off however I am getting fitter the more games I get under my belt, and my aim is to take that into next season and hit the ground running for a good full season. Availability has been dependant on getting someone to have the kids as of late, but I am expecting to be available for the remaining six fixtures now. I have been pretty happy with my performances, and I am getting back to full sharpness. I am an older head in the changing room, so hopefully my experience along with Haggis, Andy Prescott and Stu Leonard will contribute to improving the squad
How good does Mark rate this current Grendon group, and have any players stood out?
The current squad is arguably one of the strongest since I have watched or played against Grendon in recent times, we have a good blend of youth and experience now and that should take us to a strong finish at the end of the season. I have probably been most impressed with Will Young and Andy Prescott so far . If you met Youngy before or after the ninety minutes you’d think he’s not quite the full ticket, but when that whistle goes he has been absolutely solid in all the games I have played in. I have known Andy for years, and although he has lost a little bit of his explosive pace, he has still caused the defenders he has faced a lot of issues by making his presence felt
Will is equally impressed by the squad:
I feel Grendon has improved a great deal since last year, and we keep on getting better. To be honest everyone has impressed me, they are a decent set of lads on the pitch and off
We asked Will what his favoured position & formation to play in is?
My favourite position would be centre back, I also don’t mind the bench with a pint in my hand! As for formation I think our best is three-five-two as its more attacking and direct
Mark has returned to a position he knows well:
I did enjoy a stint in defensive midfield on Saturday, but my favoured position is centre back. We have played three-four-one-two in most of the games I have been involved in, and it has been easy to form an understanding with the lads at the back. We have a good mix of pacey and physical defenders, so we seem to complement each other well
Three wins and a narrow defeat to high Berkhamsted in their last four, how has Mark seen these games from a Rangers viewpoint?
Clean Slate was very straight forward, we expected to win that one and we did the job well and killed the game off very early on, limiting them to very few chances and we could probably have had another couple. I missed the 61FC game, but I understand it was much of the same, I know the lads were disappointed to concede, but I hear it was a screamer so couldn’t be helped. Gallacticos was a very good win and we defended well as a unit, they are a good footballing side and we did well to limit them to long range efforts, and the lads up top were very clinical when we created chances. Strangely, Berko was probably the best we played overall, but we weren’t as clinical as other weeks and that’s why we somehow came away with nothing. The fact that their keeper got their man of the match speaks volumes, but this game showed us how much we are improving as a side and that we shouldn’t fear anyone in this league
Will believes the squad have more confidence of late:
In our last four games we have started to believe in ourselves, shown a lot more confidence and belief that we can get results
Onto Aston Clinton this week, what does Will remember from their encounter earlier in the season, and what do Grendon need to change this time round?
To be honest with you I can’t recall much from that game, I can’t remember three weeks ago let alone a couple of months. However Saturday we all are going to put in a shift and a half, and fight like warriors
As Mark wasn’t at the club then, we asked if he knows anyone at Aston, and what he expects from them on Saturday:
I recognise their manager from playing against him a few years back now, but none of their players. I expect them to be a good side going forward as their recent results have seen plenty of goals, but they are still conceding in games so hopefully we can create more than them and turn them over on the day. The league doesn’t lie, so we have to treat them with the same respect as Berko and Gallacticos and approach the game as we did against them
What targets do the club and Mark have for the run in?
The clubs targets are to win all of our remaining fixtures. We feel we have competed well enough against the top few sides over the last few weeks, and are confident enough to beat any of the sides that we have left to play. From a personal point of view, the aim is to keep as many clean sheets as possible and to pop up with a goal or two if I can as well. I have a bet with Haggis that I will score before he does, so it would be nice to rub it in
Will is keeping his cards close to this chest:
Can’t be telling you that kind of information, you don’t know who will be reading this comments this close to the end of the season. However I can tell you my targets which are to get some sort of result for the up and coming games
Rounding up, we asked Will if he could nominate any team mate to go on any TV programme, who & what would he chose?
That’s no problem, it would be Sol (Janecki) and he would go on the Undateables. I know he has already tried out for it and didn’t get to go on, so this would really mean a lot to him if he could go on that show!
Mark chose a team mate popular in choice of late:
I would have to say Youngy on Emmerdale, he works on the farm, and I think his crazy character would be a great addition to the Dingles!
Sports Shots would like to thank Will & Mark for their time this week
Saturday 23rd February 2019
Grendon Rangers v 61 FC (Luton)
Spartan South Midlands Division Two
The Village Hall
Grendon Rangers host 61 FC of Luton on Saturday as they look to put further distance between themselves and their guests, the gap ahead of the game is four points although Steve Jackman’s men do have three games in hand meaning victory on Saturday would make that gap seven points and the Bedfordshire side would then only have three games of their season left to play. Grendon currently sit tenth in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table, and realistically are playing to finish the season top of the bottom half of that league table with eight points separating them and seventh place, Rangers only have seven league games left to play and look to bounce back from last week-ends defeat at second placed Berkhamsted Raiders which had followed a superb win at MK Gallacticos the previous week, that itself ended a four game losing streak. Grendon need to make the most of their next two games against sides in the bottom three as from there the run in is tough!
This week Sports Shots caught up with Rangers keeper James Cox to ask how & when he joined the club and how it’s been since:
I joined the club back in October 2017, one of my former managers at another club had just taken over and asked me to come along for a cup game away at Daventry Town. I had also played for the club a few years before for the reserve side whilst Chris Mullis was in charge and Scott Reynolds was at the helm for the firsts. I’ve settled in really well having known a few of the lads from my first stint at the club and also those behind the scenes. They have all been very welcoming and a great laugh to be around
How good a season does James feel he’s had in terms of fitness, availability & performances?
Fitness in my opinion has never been a strong point for me, but I feel confident in my ability to cope with this. I’m a player who at this stage of my career is just happy to be part of this fantastic club and to still be able to play at this high standard of football. I make will always make myself available and hope my contributions and performances have been reflected in my commitment to my teammates and the gaffer
How good does the keeper feel the Rangers squad is this season?
In comparison to last season we have been much stronger in terms of squad and performances, credit goes to the gaffer and to the lads for their hard work in training. We’ve been unlucky in a few games this season which we could and maybe should have got more from but that’s football. All the lads have impressed me with their hard work and commitment for one another, we have a solid core of players that work hard
Has James always played in goal during his career?
No believe it or not, I started out as a striker but as I’ve got older and fitness has fallen I’ve slowly gone further back and here I am now as a keeper. My first game in goal was when I was playing for Syresham in the North Bucks & District League. I was playing for the reserves in central midfield and then one week the first team needed a keeper so I volunteered and we played away at Thornborough and won the game five-nil. So I’ve been stuck with it ever since really
We asked James what his career path has been since he started playing:
I’m a Brackley lad so I started off at Brackley Jaffa’s then when I hit under sixteen level I moved to Highfield in Bicester as a forward, where I remember my first game for them being a nine-nil win in which I scored the first five! Moving in to adult football I’ve been around a few clubs mainly in the North Bucks League with Brackley Sports, Westbury, Syresham, Padbury and Buckingham Town Development
With a heavy defeat at Bovingdon followed by a great win at MK Gallacticos, last week saw defeat at Berkhamsted for his side, how did James view these games?
Going to league leaders Bovingdon we knew would be a tough game, the gaffer and his team had a game plan which I think we executed well in the first half. They got a lucky break early in the second half winning a penalty and we dropped our heads a little and they finished the game the stronger. It was a fantastic performance at MK Gallacticos in which we defended well in difficult windy conditions and took our chances well. Last week-ends result at Berkhamsted was a little disappointing as I think we deserved to get at least a point from that game, we took the lead very early and played really well. Two mistakes for the two goals is all it took but we had our chances but lady luck just wasn’t on our side
Grendon host 61 FC this week who have just a single win in their last fourteen games, is this the ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways?
To be honest I don’t really look into other team’s stats or results, I believe you should always concentrate on your own game and go into it with a clear mind. If you go into any game with a mindset of thinking this is an easy three points then it just sets you up for a fall. But saying that, you always want to go away with the points and look forward to a night out to celebrate if you do
Finally, we asked James if he could pick and team mate to go on any TV programme who and what would he choose?
This is a tough one and I’ve had to get the help from a couple of the lads but I won’t say who lol. I’m going for Will Young to go on The Greatest Dancer. Simply because he is always dancing in the changing rooms before and after games but it’s pretty shocking to be fair
Sports Shots would like to thank James for his time this week
Saturday 2nd February 2019
Clean Slate v Grendon Rangers
Spartan South Midlands Division Two
Downs Barn Pavilion
Grendon Rangers travel to Milton Keynes on Saturday to face Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two bottom side Clean Slate, a team that have won just one of their sixteen league games so far this season and were beaten convincingly back in early December by four goals without reply in the reverse fixture at Grendon. After three wins from four games before Christmas, Rangers are looking to get back to winning ways after suffering five defeats in six since that run, and are currently on the back of four straight defeats but still find themselves with games in hand that could lift them to mid-table safety, this trip will be seen as the ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways as Slate have lost their last seven games in all competition, their solitary win came back in November and every other game they’ve played this season they have lost, and in each of their last six games they have conceded a minimum of three goals. Grendon will need to gain some confidence this weekend as their next two games sees them travel to third place and then second place respectively in the league!
This week Sports Shots caught up with front man Joe Walls to ask how he ended up at Grendon and how he’s found it since joining:
I first joined Grendon four seasons ago, I knew a couple of the lads who were here at the time so found it easy to settle in, there are some great lads in the changing room and the volunteers and committee are always very supportive of the team
How has his season been so far and what are the targets?
I re-joined Grendon in November after starting the season at Risborough, but since then I’ve played almost every game and on the whole I’m happy with how I’ve been playing. Personally I’d like to get into double figures for goals scored before the end of the season and I think for the team we should definitely be aiming for the clubs best ever finish in the division
How good is the squad this season, and have any players stood out?
I’d say this is definitely the strongest squad I’ve been a part of at Grendon. This season we’re more of a threat going forward and definitely more solid in defence, our results against Pitstone show that on our day we’re good enough to beat anyone in the division. Everyone has impressed me since I got back involved, the new lads especially have definitely added quality to the team all over the pitch
What is Joe’s favoured position in the side, and what formation best suits?
My preferred position would be either up front or just behind the striker in a four-two-three-one or four-three-three. Blocky (Steven Jackman) encourages us to always play forward which is obviously benefits me as an attacking player
What has been Joe’s history in the game prior to reaching men’s football and Grendon?
I played for Haddenham in junior football up until I joined Aylesbury FC under eighteens and then to Grendon, with a few brief spells elsewhere
The last four games have seen defeats to Old Bradwell, Unite MK, Bovingdon & MK Gallacticos, how have these games been in Joe’s view and what’s caused the recent slump in form:
We only seem to be able to play for forty-five minutes at the moment. Bradwell and Bovingdon are both good sides but we were nil-nil at half time against both of them, we arguably had the better chances against Bovingdon until they got their third which killed the game really. In both games against Unite MK we’ve let ourselves down massively, we’ve been two-one up in both games at half time, stopped doing the basics and then ended up losing both games. I myself missed the Gallacticos game and I’d say player availability in general is costing us at the moment
Onto Clean Slate this weekend, Rangers beat them convincingly not so long ago, what does Joe recall of that day, and can they repeat that feat?
I don’t remember much of that game to be honest apart from we’d pretty much won the game by half time. Clean Slate sides are usually physical and work hard, but as long as we do the basics well and play in the right areas I don’t see why we can’t beat them again this weekend
Finally, we asked Joe to pick a team mate to go on any television programme and explain his decision:
Any show with Will Young would definitely be interesting, hopefully his own show that he’s been working on ‘Lambing Live’ makes it onto TV one day!
Sports Shots would like to thank Joe for his time this week
Old Bradwell United – 3
Grendon Rangers – 0
Grendon Rangers held Old Bradwell United at bay for forty-five minutes at Abbey Road on Saturday but just three minutes after the break their resistance broke and from there the hosts took control to run out comfortable winners. United did in fact get the ball in the back of the Rangers net in the first half but it was disallowed, they dominated the game and the treble after the half-time oranges were no more than they deserved, Rangers manager Steven Jackman admitting afterwards his injury ravaged side were always going to be up against it against their high flying opponents, their win lifting them up to joint third place in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table. The away side were so short of players that Jackman drafted in two sixteen year olds for the fixture, one had to start the game whilst the other came on late in the game and both received glowing commendations from their manager after the game.
The game took a while to get going and it was eight minutes old before the first shot of note, a free kick to the home side was lofted up into the box and cleared but on the edge of the penalty arc Scott Valentine tried his luck but only got under the ball and lifted it high over James Cox in the Grendon goal. Their next move saw Ben Green fed behind the Rangers defensive line and his shot was tipped away by Cox who flung himself to his left to save despite a raised flag, Green then cut in from the left wing to evade a defender but could only drag his shot wide.
A Bradwell free kick curled into the back post saw a mass of bodies go up and as Stuart Leonard tried to clear, the ball cannoned off home defender Dan Smith allowing him to get a snap shot away but only up into the waiting gloves of Cox. The first chance for the visitor’s fell to centre half Mark O’Dell when a loose ball invited him to shoot from twenty yards but he could only drag wide, at the opposite end a knock over the top saw Ross Butler through on goal and his early effort saw a brilliant block by Cox using his feet and eventually cleared by a covering defender.
A sliced clearance then almost set United up for the opener, with players pushed up Jacob Hack was in behind but his attempted lob cleared the bar, then with eight minutes of the half left a free kick swung in saw a plethora of heads go up and as the ball nestled in the back of the net the assistant referee raised his flag for offside. The half ended with Grendon enjoying some possession, a free kick some twenty-five yards out saw Joe Walls drive over Liam Jahn in the home goal frame before a driving run from midfield by Will Young saw him aim for the bottom corner only for an out stretched boot to divert for a corner. H/T: 0-0
Before anyone had settled for the second half the hosts took the lead, good work down the left from Green saw the ball end up at the feet of Valentine just inside the box and his low drive took a deflection off a Grendon player to divert past Cox into the bottom corner, from here there was only one outcome. United sensed more goals and piled on the pressure, a cross from Aaron Bhasin out on the wing was met right in front of goal by Green but his glancing header didn’t have enough contact and bounced across the six-yard box and wide of the far post.
Another golden chance was spurned when Butler worked hard in the corner to pull back to Valentine who squared to Green in front of goal but he lifted over the top, a free kick floated in was attacked by another swarm of bodies but getting there first Jakk Pursey headed wide, the scoreline was finally doubled on sixty-six minutes when a set piece curled into the goal mouth eluded a number of players in front of goal and waiting his chance Dan Smith converted from close range.
It was three just four minutes later, a Bradwell attacked resulted in the ball going out and despite the protests from the home side the referee pointed for a goal kick, Cox sent long downfield but it was headed back and in behind Green was away from his marker to advance into the box and slot home. Grendon won a corner that Walls curled in and from underneath his own crossbar Jahn had to palm over to safety, at the other end a vicious drive from Darryl Smith from eighteen yards saw Cox having to leap in the air to push over, the corner cleared out to Pursey who thrashed over the bar, the last chance fell to Walls who tried to lob the keeper from twenty yards or so, but Jahn pedalled quickly enough to gather at full stretch. F/T: 3-0
Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit sportsshots.org.uk
Saturday 5th January 2019
Old Bradwell United v Grendon Rangers
Spartan South Midlands Division Two
Grendon Rangers travel to inform Old Bradwell United on Saturday to face the side that defeated them by a single goal the week-end prior to Christmas, apart from that loss Rangers have won three of their last four including impressive wins over Totternhoe & Pitstone again last week-end. This recent good form has seen them move to within a couple of wins of reaching the top half of the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table, something that seemed a long way away just a few weeks ago, their last two victories proving they can compete with the higher placed sides in the league and the possibility of a good finish to the season is more than just a dream. A stiff test then this week-end but having beaten third placed Pitstone last week a Grendon surprise is not out of the question.
This week Sports Shots caught up with defender Jason Riddell to ask how and when he joined the club:
This is my third season at Grendon after I joined from Buckingham Athletic in 2016 where I’d been for nine years, a long time but I fancied a new challenge; a few lads I knew were down here for pre-season so I came along and the rest is history. Its been a good experience for me since joining, the existing lads were very welcoming and made fitting in easy. My first full season was a success as I was made club captain after six months and the club recorded their highest ever points total in the South Midlands League. The second season wasn’t as good and at times it was very frustrating, we really struggled to field a side week in week out but the players & committee worked together and somehow we got through the season
How does Jason feel his season has been so far?
Fitness wise so far for me has been good, I’ve played every minute so touch wood that can continue, I was a little disappointed in my performances in the early games of the season but feel like I’ve been getting back to the standards I expect from myself more recently
How good is the squad this season?
In my opinion it is the best since I’ve been here, we have a lot more options that in previous years and there are a lot of players which have impressed me. The new lads coming in have brought a bit more quality and some of those who were already here have been more consistent and this all leads to us being a more competitive side
What position does Jason feel he is more suited to?
My best position is at centre half, I’ve played there since my youth football days and think it suits my ability the best. I’m a traditionalist so I love playing with four at the back, so our current formation suits me down to the ground
We asked Jason how far the club have progressed under the new management’s leadership:
I feel we have come on leaps and bounds under the guys and the fact that we’ve matched last season’s points total already shows just that. Steve (Jackman) coming in has helped everybody at the club due to his knowledge of the game, the fact he’s played at a very good level comes across in his idea’s and the way he speaks about the game. His ideas are sinking in with us lads now and we are seeing the rewards on the pitch, having Alan (Ostler) alongside Steve is a major help, he takes the warm ups and this lets Steve concentrate on getting the side ready on a match day. Its also a brilliant opportunity for him to learn about football at this level
Three wins from the last four, how has that run been for Rangers?
Against Clean Slate we came flying out of the traps and had the game won by half-time, the Totternhoe game was a brilliant result in possibly the worst weather I’ve ever witnessed whilst playing. We struggled first half & trailed at half time but kept in the game then took our chances after the break to take all three points, the Pitstone game was probably one of the best first half performances I have ever seen Grendon have, as we led by four goals to nil at half time! We struggled to get going in the second half and they pulled a couple of goals back but the lads stuck it out to gain our third win there this season, which is rare as we usually lose at their place
Rangers lost to Old Bradwell just before Christmas, what do they need to do this week to avoid the same again?
That was a tough game against a very good side, we were slightly disappointed to lose that day as we didn’t concede many chances and worked hard to stay in the game. I’m expecting much of the same this Saturday, they will be a strong side again but I feel if we do the basics and everyone works for each other then we can get something there. We can cause any side in this league problems on our day, so we will need to be at it from the off
Finally, we asked Jason what targets have been set for this year?
I played very single minute last season so I’m aiming to try and do the same again if fit and selected. Also, to help try and get as many points as we can this season, I usually look at it one game at a time in football, get a result then go again next week but I feel under the guidance of Steve and with the squad we have we could really surprise some people this year with our league position come May
Sports Shots would like to thank Jason for his time this week
Reported by Alex Gilder
Grendon Rangers put in a competent victory against Pitstone & Ivinghoe coming out 4-2 winners on the day. That being there third win out of three against Pitstone this season.
In the first five minutes Grendon had a chance with a long ball finding the head of Solly Janecki, as he flicked onto Mo Adam, who smashed the crossbar.
A good start from Grendon who looked threatening in the opening exchanges.
Pitstone’s Kieran Dought had a hopeful long effort but could only find the gloves of James Cox as Pitstone tried to wrestle some momentum into their favour.
The opening goal of the game came from a corner delivered in by Mo Adam that went through all the bodies in the box but there was Will Young to tap in from 3 yards out.
Only a few minutes later and Grendon found themselves 2-0 up as some shoddy defending from the Pitstone backline allowed Dan Ciucia to play in Joe Walls, who delightfully dinked over the goalkeeper.
However credit to Pitstone they didn’t let the 2-0 lead that Grendon possesed faze them because they went up the other end and nearly scored as Keiran Dought fired wide.
The reds continued their mini spell of pressure when Hall found some space but was smarty blocked by Jack Ronson.
Grendon still fortunate to still be 2-0 up this point.
Another hopeful effort by Pitstone but once again found the gloves of Cox.
Adam tricked his way past the Pitstone defender and completely leaves him for dead which allowed him to square to Joe Walls, who grabbed his second of the game. A quality move by the visitors. 3-0.
A spell of dominance by Grendon followed. Andrew Hinds picked up the ball from the resulting Pitstone corner and fired a wonderful pinpoint crossfield ball to Adam, who is in the thick of the action once again, as he fizzed a low ball across the Reds six yard box that found Dan Ciucia at the back post who slotted in to make it 4-0 to the Rangers.
The first half ended with Grendon 4-0 up and being deserved winners of the game so far with spells of complete domination and eye catching football. No doubt that Steve Jackman should be thrilled with his team’s performance.
A scrappy start to the second half with Pitstone having the early exchanges with a shot blazed over the bar by Aiden Donton.
A floated ball was lofted in from the flank with James Cox and Mitch Hamilton challenging in the air but Hamilton came out on top and all he had to do was square to the waiting Alfie Hall who placed in the bottom left corner. 4-1 but a lifeline for the reds.
Hall the Pitstone and Ivinghoe danger man weaved through a couple Grendon challenges and tried his luck as his shot is deflected, wrong footing Cox as it trickled in. 4-2 and Grendon now looked under pressure after their display in the first half. But all credit to Pitstone not being defeated at half time and coming out to play some cracking football.
Now it was the turn of the Grendon danger man Adam to show his talents, dancing past the reds backline but followed by a tame shot. A real shame as the run deserved the end product to go with. A corner in the last 10 minutes of the game was the changing point as Mitch Hamilton whipped in and a smashed shot from the six yard box prompted an unbelievable reflex save by Cox to keep the deficit at two goals. If that went in then it would have been a nervy ending for the yellows.
Late on and Pitstone get desperate to score, Kieran Dought was adjudged to have punched the ball into the back of the net with the goal being disallowed and resulting in a second yellow for the number nine.
With that being the last action of the game Grendon came out 4-2 winners in which was a gripping match and a fantastic spectacle. The second half was ultimately Pistone’s with them having the majority of chances and the ball but Grendon’s first half performance was too hot to handle for the hosts. All in all a game that had everything and did not fail to impress.
Report by Alex Gilder.
Old Bradwell maintained their unbeaten record as they beat a spirited Grendon Rangers side 1-0, as they are proving to be the team to beat in the Spartan South Midlands Division Two.
Bradwell had the early chances and started the better team as Toby Craig found himself through on goal but was halted by a good recovering challenge by Charlie West. Grendon were trying to get a foothold in the game, as Luke Tavener dinked a cheeky ball over the Bradwell backline but Joe Walls could not capitalise as the keeper made a routine save. However the visitors had been the dominant team in the first fifteen minutes looking dangerous and creating chances.
Charlie West was running down the line like a steam train, but his touch got the better of him as he flew into a challenge with Bradwell full back Aaron Bhasin, for which the Bradwell faithful were demanding a red card. Only a yellow was shown, and from the resulting free kick David Keene’s side nearly made the opportunity count as Toby Craig, the Bradwell danger man, crossed in the ball, which found the head of Danny Rooney, but could only find the gloves of James Cox.
Straight after the Cox save, Craig made a nuisance of himself as he created a chance for himself but he could only blaze it over the bar. He was proving hard to handle for the Rangers backline as he had another chance, but this time Grendon dealt with it. The yellows went up the other end, as Walls whipped a wicked ball into Dean Garrard but he could not stretch enough to get on the end of the cross. Grendon needed to capitalise on these chances as they were proving to be few a far between.
Bradwell made it 1-0 on the stroke of half time, as a ball in by Dan Smith was finished by Danny Rooney. Grendon failed to clear their lines as the visitors go in the happier at the break with the momentum now well and truly with them. HT 1-0.
Steven Jackman’s men started the second half brightly as a mix up between the Milton Keynes sides defender and goalkeeper allowed Dean Garrard through on goal, but he was denied by a spectacular last ditched challenge by the recovering Bradwell defender. Should have been 1-1 and an opportunity for Grendon to get back in the game.
Luke Tavener found himself with space on the flank as he floated a ball in, but Jason Riddell could not equal the score. Grendon came out the better team with them having a real go. Jackman must have given a cracking team talk. The black and whites of Bradwell wrestled some momentum back as Danny Rooney turned and shot in the box but it rocketed wide amid penalty shouts by the Bradwell faithful for handball.
David Keene’s team were now having the better of the chances as Jacob Wren delivered the ball which fell to the feet of Dale Collins who could only drag his shot wide of the goal. Bradwell were now well and truly on top again as Collins had another chance to make it 2-0 to Old Bradwell but was matched by the save of James Cox.
Substitute Mohammed Adam made an instant impact coming off the bench as he fizzed a cross into a dangerous area but was defended well by Bradwell back line, as they tried to hang on to their slim one goal lead. A couple minutes later, Ben Green made a bursting run beating Charlie West in the process and putting in a wicked cross to Toby Craig who blazed over the bar. A real chance to put the game to bed for the visitors.
In the final stages of the game the Bradwell number fourteen weaved through the yellows backline but could only manage to find the feet of Cox. In the last minute Grendon went for the equaliser as the corner was delivered but Adam could only head wide. The full time whistle sounds as Bradwell edge past their opponents with a 1-0 win.
Saturday 22nd December 2018
Grendon Rangers v Old Bradwell United
Spartan South Midlands Division Two
The Village Hall
Grendon Rangers face a stern test on Saturday as they host in form Old Bradwell United who have not lost since their opening game of the season and go into this fixture on the back of a sixteen game unbeaten run in all competition. But Grendon will be confident after securing two wins in their last one hundred and eighty minutes of football and scoring four goals in both games will be ideal for confidence as they host the side that can top the division if they win their games in hand, they still haven’t reached double figures in the games played column yet due to a successful season in all the cup competitions they’ve entered!
Grendon put four past bottom side Clean Slate as expected two weeks ago, but then scored another four in a fantastic win over seventh placed Totternhoe last week and with Old Bradwell being held by Mursley on the same day, Rangers will be hoping to keep their run going as three points could potentially lift them into the top half of the Spartan South Midlands League Division Two table, and still with games in hand on those above them an exciting 2019 could be in store.
This week Sports Shots caught up with Grendon manager Steven Jackman to ask how he feels the job is going so far since taking over in the summer:
When I first spoke to the club captain and the committee in the summer, I was more than slightly concerned that I would want too much from the players, I have never worked at this level, I know nothing about this level and I am not one to change my standards. These standards have never changed from when I have previously worked and operated as both a coach and as a player especially when it comes to the basics of the game; work rate, desire, organisation, commitment on the pitch and enthusiasm to defend. Sometimes I know I can be quite intense for my own good and it seems as though I can be a bit harsh on the lads but I want the players to keep on improving – every day is a school day! All the feedback I’m getting from players is positive so far, results will also tell you that
Are there any squad positions that need filling and have any players stood out recently?
Any manager is always looking to improve what they have at their disposal and I’m no different. I’m never one to single out players, it’s unfair on the individual. However, what I will say is there have been moments in games where individuals have made the difference in both six yard boxes. But, it’s always about what the team do and how they carry out the ‘basics’ or ‘non negotiables’ or ‘pre-requisites’ as they’re called in most of the changing rooms that I’ve ever been in. The lads are slowly learning that talent and ability starts with work rate and desire
Grendon have two wins and a defeat in December so far, how were those three games?
Aston – we were three down at halftime but early on we created chances and I felt we should have had a penalty at nil-nil, who knows what might have happened, Tom Marshall was too honest but fair play to Neil at Aston they were very good on the day and clinical at both ends, deserved winners and we shot ourselves in both feet in the first half with defending that is not to be associated with ourselves and we paid the price. Clean Slate was a good performance being three up at the break, they saw the game out in the second half with no real scares and a clean sheet is always nice to build upon. Totternhoe- was some of the worst weather conditions I have ever experienced in football and the three points were well earned against a strong side. The game had its moments but at 2-1 down and playing with a gale force wind and driving rain in our favour I knew if we did things right, we could make the most of the conditions. I think it was pretty horrific throughout the UK and fair play to the players as they maintained their standards throughout
A tough game this week against Old Bradwell, how far apart are the sides in this division?
It certainly is a challenge that I know my lot are looking forward to. At this level of football most of the challenge is getting a team out on the pitch and I’m no different, I’ve never played the same 11 from one game to the next through a variety of reasons. When we have a strong team out and players do the things that they have been successful at on a regular basis, we can be competitive against anyone
We asked Steve what he is expecting from Old Bradwell on Saturday, and how he will prepare his squad:
What I know about Old Bradwell could be written on the back of a postage stamp, obviously results will tell you they are one of the form teams in the league. I know they have a couple of lads who have played step five, one of them caused AFC Dunstable problems in an FA Cup tie two years ago. I believe from their current form and players experience that they have at their disposal not many, if at all any weak links, so it will be competitive and we will have to manage the game to the best of our abilities. Without being or sounding disrespectful towards anyone I prefer talking about my set of players and what they are capable of. When I first went into a coaching role after I had to stop playing, I always wanted to know everything about an opposition, I would take that into training and games. Then a good mate of mine who I played with who I have so much respect for and he is easily the best goalkeeper I played with told me I make an opposition sound unbeatable. He knew I was trying to get a few points across for the lads to benefit from, but at times this information was maybe too detailed to take on in a short space of time and boys being boys switch off. Since then I have slowly gone the other way. Having said that we were two-one up at Unite MK at the end of November and we threw that away in the second half, reflecting at halftime I think I went back to my old ways and made the interval talk too detailed and I take full responsibility for the result. To gain my players trust I need to do that with results and performances combined. Don’t get me wrong I know why manager’s watch other teams play but for now in particular I want to concentrate on my squad and their performance levels and the strengths we have as a group, so it will be training as normal
Where are Grendon in terms of targets for the season?
I have never been one to set any kind of targets for a season, either as a player, coach or manager. I have always taken things a game at a time and understand what it takes to win games. I didn’t know we were playing Pitstone until I heard your next question! I cannot express enough to you I just want the lads to be competitive in every game they play, make sure the opposition know they have been in a game win, lose or draw and not let themselves down as a group. The players probably say I’m like a broken old record telling them of the basics that I want them to achieve for 90 minutes. I think the players Sports Shots have interviewed this season have mentioned doing the basics well, so something is getting through, even if it is slowly
Pitstone next week, beaten them twice this season, how difficult a game is this going to be?
I expect it to be tough, Pitstone were a solid, strong and competitive team and I expect them to be in the mix come the business end of the season. But we concentrate on Old Bradwell first this week
Finally, we asked Steve for his Christmas messages for the club and its supporters:
Where would any club be without its army of volunteers and committee members, who are also volunteers!! They are the life blood of any non-league club. I’ve got a rather unique medical situation which forced me to retire from playing at 26, the clubs I have been at Bedford Town and AFC Dunstable respectively have always made adaptations for me wherever possible and I thank them for that. Grendon is probably quite a unique situation for me, as my dad is the chairman, so without going into it too much PJ already knows quite a lot about my situation. But, from myself, my staff and the players we wish them all the best. They make the players feel as comfortable, do so much for the players as much as they can, don’t get me wrong the players are volunteers and have to graft wherever possible for the club they represent. So thank you to all volunteers throughout non-league for all your efforts we wish you all the best of luck for the New Year, it is all greatly appreciated.
Keep up the great work at Sports Shots also.
Sports Shots would like to thank Steve for his time this week