Archive for Grendon Rangers Football Club

Grendon Rangers seek new first team manager

Grendon Rangers have confirmed the departure of first team manager Steve Jackman, and now invite applications for his successor to contact the club as soon as possible.

Leading the club to a seventh place finish last season in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two which ended with a season finale of one defeat in their last seven games leaves a firm platform for the club to push on, and all applicants are welcome to contact the chairman directly as their twitter feed explains:

We regret to announce that 1st team manager Steve Jackman has stepped down. Thanks to Steve for his hard work, dedication and knowledge which achieved our highest finish in SSML Div2 in 2019. We wish Steve and Bianca all the very best with the upcoming birth of their 1st child.

GRFC are inviting applicants for 1st team manager for the 19-20 season. Step 7 football, newly formed reserve team and thriving youth section. Excellent pitch/facilities, hospitality and committee. Please call chairman Paul Jackman to enquire on 07733276479 or DM this page

The Grendon Rangers twitter page can be found here: https://twitter.com/Grendon_Rangers

SSMFL D2; Mursley United 4-2 Grendon Rangers

Mursley United – 4
Grendon Rangers – 2

06.04.2019

Mursley United took the three points off local rivals Grendon Rangers on Saturday despite being reduced to ten men before half time when Jamie Green was booked twice for fouls on the same player, with the scores at the time level United took the game to their guests despite the imbalance & gained the lead ahead of the break, Tom Brazier then grabbed his second and his sides third late on, Rangers pulled a late goal back to give them hope however once their goalkeeper James Cox was dismissed for his second yellow of the afternoon for an alleged handball outside his area, a late clincher settled the game once and for all. For Grendon it brought an end to their recent fine run of form, this defeat their first in seven as their season came to an end, they now await both Mursley & MK Gallacticos to complete their final fixtures to learn their final Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two position.

The hosts took the lead in the fourth minute when a clearance came just perfect to Luke Williamson for him to hit first time on the volley and his left footed drive dipped over the reach of Cox into the far corner, in the tenth minute a promising attack for the visitor’s saw Mohammed Adam fly down the touchline until a challenge from Green brought him down earning him a yellow card in the process, the free kick headed back out to Adam whose thumping effort was charged down before being cleared to safety. Nathan Skelton was next to try his luck after collecting a pass in midfield and driving at goal, a great tussle with his marker ended with the striker lifting over the crossbar, at the opposite end a corner curled in got the faintest of glances off the head of Adam to sail wide.

Tom Marshall fires Grendon level in first half

Brazier got his boot warmed up with a drive from the edge of the penalty arc which Cox had to use both hands to push away, Grendon went close when Dan Ciuica curled inches wide from the angle, and a diagonal pass into the box from Brazier saw Austin Dickson threaten until some great defending from skipper Jason Riddell saw a last gasp flick out for a corner. With ten minutes of the half remaining the visitor’s equalised when a free kick deep in their own half was sent downfield by Cox, little danger appeared as home shot stopper Dan Willett came out to collect however the ball escaped his grip allowing Tom Marshall to nip in and tuck into the empty net, then just six minutes later it all looked rosy for the away side when a second foul on Adam by Green saw him receive his second caution of the contest and sent for an early shower.

Despite the numerical advantage it was the home side who looked the more dangerous when Skelton again got in behind the amber backline until Rangers stalwart Stuart Leonard came sliding in to take the ball off his feet, Brazier had a run into the box from out wide until he ran straight into Leonard who simply stood strong to gain possession & clear, then against the odds the hosts regained their lead when a free kick lifted into the area was flicked away by Ricky Brown but only as far as Brazier, as Cox had committed himself to the cross the midfielder simply fired into the unguarded net. H/T: 2-1

Brazier almost started the second period as he ended the first as he drove at the heart of the Grendon defence before firing high over the top, Skelton explored some space down the right but could only shoot straight at Cox and his next effort saw him with back to goal & Leonard for company but he managed to shirk off the defenders attention ahead of turning & thumping wide. Mursley extended their lead even further on seventy-four minutes when a ball between the away backline had that defence calling for offside which wasn’t given and Brazier skipped through to evade the oncoming Cox to slot home, the protests to the referee earning Leonard a booking on his final game for his club before hanging up his boots.

Tom Brazier scores to increase Mursley lead to 3-1

The away side huffed & puffed looking for a way back into the game, Joe Walls floated in a free kick that Andrew Hind managed to beat everyone to but he could only head over the top, a cross from the left for the home side then saw substitute Jack Bradford blaze high over the bar, then with six minutes to go Grendon did pull another goal back when a free kick into the area was deflected to Marshall on the edge of the six-yard box, he turned to fire inside the far post and again many protests for offside were waved away by the officials to set up a possible grand stand finish.

That optimism was somewhat squashed less than two minutes later when a long lump downfield by the home side saw Cox advance and the ball flicked up, the assistant on that far side called the referee over and after a quick consultation the Grendon custodian was shown a second yellow and subsequent red, Leonard donned the gloves as his replacement. Nathan Hawkins took the free kick that spiralled off the wall for a corner, but in the final minute the game was put to bed finally when a cross found Ryan Lee who from fifteen yards fired past the reach of Leonard albeit with a slight deflection off a defender. F/T: 4-2

Attendance: 44

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

After the game Sports Shots caught up with Mursley manager Jamie Lands:
And also Grendon boss Steven Jackman:

For 2 pages of matchday photography (142 images) please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskQketR8

SSMFL D2; Grendon duo hoping Hind sight can prove to be a Thorn in Mursley side

Saturday 6th April 2019
Mursley United v Grendon Rangers
Spartan South Midlands Division Two
The Playing Field
K.O. 3.00pm

Grendon Rangers complete their season on Saturday at Mursley United, although some in their camp would hope it continue as they arrive at their local rivals on a sequence of just one defeat in their last eight games, undefeated in six with just a single draw has propelled Steve Jackman’s men up the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table into sixth place, which just a few weeks ago seemed a long way away after weeks of flirting with the lower echelons of that division. Victory over Mursley would see Rangers finish in sixth place no matter what, a final day defeat could leave them prone to attack from both Mursley & MK Gallacticos, United haven’t won at home since the first day of December although they have only played twice since then, and Jamie Lands’ men will be looking for revenge for the odd goal in seven defeat they suffered at Grendon back in August.

Andrew Hind

This week Sports Shots caught up with Grendon defender Paul Thornton but first of all we asked Andrew Hind how long he’s been at the club and how it all came about:

I signed in the second half of last season and only played three or four matches. I was far from match fit though, I came over after a brief spell down the Ath (Buckingham Athletic) and Larry Woodward had given my details to PJ (Paul Jackman). I was ready to hang up the boots at the time and had work commitments so settling in to the football side of things was a bit rough. The lads are top notch though, so that side of things was pretty seamless

Paul has been at the club a while:

I have been at Grendon since the under fourteens on and off I think, it’s been a long time that’s for sure. So with regards to settling in and signing on that hasn’t really been relevant, it’s always felt like home

How does Paul feel he has contributed this season in terms of fitness and performances?

I’ve been lucky not to miss any games due to injury this season but my availability hasn’t been what I’d have liked, work and children have had to take priority unfortunately. Performances and contributions? You’ll have to ask Blocky

Andrew is confident he has benefited the side this season:

I’d like to think I’ve been pretty consistent this season, I worked hard in pre-season to get a good base fitness and from there I’ve let my performances do the talking. I changed jobs in June last year and my new role allowed me to be more committed so availability has been pretty good. Being one of the older heads in the team, I’d like to think I contribute a bit of experience to the team

How strong does Andrew feel the squad is now, and which players have impressed?

With a lot of new players added to the squad we started a bit shaky; we always knew we had quality so it was just a matter of time before the performances started to come. In particular I would say Tom Marshall has impressed, he’s always dangerous on the ball and is a game changer. Will Young has also been a revelation, both players could do the job at a higher level

Paul Thornton

Paul is very impressed with the current squad:

Since joining the South Mids I think it’s the strongest it’s ever been. It shows that with key players like Matt Ginger out long term the results have still been pretty good, especially of late. This is also down to management getting the best out of the players

Where does Paul see is best position in the side, and what formation best suits?

Steven did try me up front for a bit at the start of the season but I think he quickly realised playing me at the back is where I’m at my best. Formation wise I think we have shuffled numerous times this season, I don’t have a favourite one, if you’d have asked at the start of the season I was a four-four-two man but recently playing in a back three and getting results has changed my mind

Andrew has also been moving down the pitch as the season wore on:

If you’d asked me at the start of the season I would have said up top or out on the wing, but the years haven’t been kind to my pace. I’ve taken the role in CDM (central defensive midfield) and have really enjoyed it, Blocky gave me his expectations and I’d like to think I live up to them. I’m probably most effective when we play a diamond in midfield, I like tidying up for some of the more offensive minded players

We asked Andrew to try and explain how Rangers have turned their fortunes around in the past few weeks:

As I mentioned earlier, we always had the quality in the squad but as a lot of us hadn’t played together before we weren’t going to gel straight away. As the season has gone on, we’ve learned how each other play and really started working for each other, everyone is clear about what is expected from them and that always makes it easier to execute the system. Obviously having Blocky in charge and to have him keep drumming it in to our heads every week has helped, he was a major part of me continuing to play

Paul has only recently seen the new found confidence:

Our recent form has been pretty impressive lately but I have only been involved in the last two wins and from what I’ve seen there’s a new level of confidence and a bit more of a buzz. However, Steven, Scott and Alan are continually reiterating the fact there is still a vast amount of improvement required and for anyone to rest on their laurels would be a huge mistake. I think this sort of approach helps lads stay focused and not get carried away

How has Paul found playing this season under Steven Jackman and the coaching staff?

As I’ve said I’ve been in and out due to availability, the season as a whole has been fantastic though with this run at the end topping it off, there’s still one game left though so we need to finish it off with a win. From my perspective being with Grendon through those dark days of wining two games a year and being second from bottom all season, this has been the best season in a long while

Andrew puts the recent successes down to the manager:

I think the first half of the season was a bit frustrating as I knew we had the quality and some of the results didn’t reflect on us as a team. Blocky told us in January that we’d dropped fifteen points to teams below us which was a massive eye opener. The second half has been massively enjoyable and playing for someone with the experience Blocky has is what the team needed, I’ve known Blocky since my younger days, so I knew what to expect from him and it’s been really enjoyable. I looked at the recent form table the other day and it had us second behind Bovingdon, which goes to show what we can do as a team now that we’ve all bought in to Blocky’s system

Last game of the season this week at Mursley, what does Andrew remember of that seven goal thriller back in August, and what is he expecting this time round?

Against Mursley, from what I remember, we showcased what we can do going forward but defensively we lacked concentration and commitment. It was a fun match though and I think that was my first game at CDM. There are no easy games in football, so we go in to this weekend with the same mentality of work rate and discipline, if we work hard and execute the game plan then there’s no reason we can’t finish the season on an absolute high

Paul will be preparing the same as any other game:

I don’t know any of their players I don’t think. Preparations for the game will be just like any other game. The boss may come up with a light bulb moment on the day and switch something up but as of now I’m sure all preparations will be as normal

Finally, we asked Paul if he could pick any team mate to go on any TV programme, who & what would he choose?

I would choose Will Young; the bloke is a fruit loop and never ceases to make me laugh. He’s a genius too, he actually has his own massive online following, Lambing Live I think it’s called. Take a look!

Andrew would take his luck with Dan Ciuica:

I’d love to go on Hunted with Dani, a sneaky Romanian and a sneaky Asian escaping as fugitives from the UK makes for brilliant TV. There’s no way we’re getting caught!

Sports Shots would like to thank both Paul & Andrew for their time this week

SSMFL D2; Mursley defender rediscovering his mo-Jo after long footballing absence

Saturday 6th April 2019

Mursley United v Grendon Rangers

Spartan South Midlands Division Two

Station Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Mursley United host Grendon Rangers on Saturday in an intriguing fixture that see’s the hosts having to win if they are to finish the season higher in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table than their Buckinghamshire rivals, Rangers complete their campaign on Saturday on the back of a superb recent run of form which has seen them draw five and draw once in their last six games. If Mursley do not collect the three points on Saturday then they cannot catch their guests even with a further two games yet to play but will be buoyed after a good win last week at New Bradwell St Peter by four goals to nil where front man Nathan Skelton reached thirty goals for the season. Jamie Lands’ men haven’t won at home since the first day of December, albeit having only played twice since then, and will also be keen to revenge the defeat they suffered at Grendon back in August where they lost by the odd goal in seven, their remaining two games are also at home but against two of the top four sides in the league.

Michael Joseph

This week Sports Shots caught up with Mursley centre half Michael Joseph to ask how long he’s been at the club and how he’s found it since joining:

I joined the club at the start of the season through Nathan Skelton, we currently work together so after a kick about at work he asked me to come down to get me out of retirement. I came down to a pre-season friendly and liked the set-up of the club, the organisation from the chairman through to the physio was evident and easy to get involved in. I also liked the importance coaches were putting on the playing style of the club, encouraging free flowing pass & move football

How good a season does he feel he has had?

This season has been a bit of a tricky one only because it is my first season back in proper football for a good nine years. I am a very harsh critic of myself so comparing myself to all those years ago I always feel I can do and offer much more

How good is this current squad, and which players have impressed?

This season I think we have a decent squad; I always go into games believing we can harm the opposition and pose a real threat. Ryan (Lee) and top man (Nathan) Skelton have impressed me this season; Ryan’s ability to keep the ball in tight situations and Nathans eye for goal have helped the team in many games this season

What does Michael see as his best position in the side, and what formation best suits?

I’m a ball playing centre back so I like to play in a three at the back, however football has changed a lot since I used to play and a lot more teams are using the three-four-three formation. When that is the case I prefer to play four-four-two so I can shadow the number nine

Looking back over the season, how enjoyable has it been playing under Anthony and Jamie Lands?

Lot of ups and downs which is pretty much what a season is about. Both Ant and Jamie have always encouraged us to play football regardless of the situation, not changing the philosophy of the club and as a player that’s pretty much all you can ask for

We asked Michael how the last three games have been for Mursley:

We are upset with the results lately to be honest, the loss to Bovingdon hurt the most for me because I felt the first goal was preventable on my behalf. Totternhoe, we had a very dubious decision go against us just before half time which I believe would have changed the game. And New Bradwell was a bit of a bitter sweet moment because we only managed a draw at home, so beating them away for me was only balancing the negative from the away draw

Onto Grendon this week, what is the defender expecting?

This game will be an interesting one for me as I have never played against them. I know they are a physical and well organised side so we will also need to be organised and ready to adapt our game if necessary

Finally, we asked Michael if he could pick any team mate to go on any TV programme who & what would he choose?

It would have to be SAS Who Dares Wins on Channel Four with James Wardell. I would love to see how long he would last in the selection process lol

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

SSMFL D2: Adam strike takes Grendon Rangers up to seventh

Grendon Rangers are up to seventh in the Spartan South Midlands League, Division 2 table.

Mohammed Adam

Mohammed Adam’s strike gave Rangers a 1-0 win at Sarratt.

SSMFL D2; Grendon Rangers 1-1 Aston Clinton

Grendon Rangers – 1
Aston Clinton – 1

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.

Sol Janecki gets the ball over the line to open scoring

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

Alex Smith all smiles after scoring from free kick

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

Attendance: 33

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

After the game Sports Shots caught up with Grendon manager Steven Jackman:
And also with Clinton assistant manager Jack Seaton:

For match photography (112 images) please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmBvnXvP

SSMFL D2; Grendon duo enjoying being part of youth & Evergreen squad

Saturday 9th March 2019
Grendon Rangers v Aston Clinton
Spartan South Midlands League Division Two
Grendon Playing Fields
K.O. 3.00pm

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….

Mark O’Dell

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 Young

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

SSMFL D2; Grendon keeper maybe going backwards on the pitch but team moving forwards on it

Saturday 23rd February 2019

Grendon Rangers v 61 FC (Luton)

Spartan South Midlands Division Two

The Village Hall

K.O. 2.00pm

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!

James Cox

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

SSMFLD2; Grendon front man feels his side have hit a Wall of late

Saturday 2nd February 2019

Clean Slate v Grendon Rangers

Spartan South Midlands Division Two

Downs Barn Pavilion

K.O. 2.00pm

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!

Joe Walls

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

SSMFL D2; Old Bradwell United 3-0 Grendon Rangers

Old Bradwell United – 3

Grendon Rangers – 0

05.01.2019

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.

Stuart Leonard tries to clear danger

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.

Ben Green scores United third

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

Attendance: 35

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After the game Sports Shots caught up with Grendon manager Steven Jackman: 

For match day photography please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskQ8x2Es