Saturday 8th December 2018
Grendon Rangers v Clean Slate
Spartan South Midlands Division Two
The Village Hall
The Spartan South Midlands League Division Two bottom pair face off on Saturday as Grendon Rangers host Clean Slate, and for the home side it’s the chance to put some points on the board in their quest to pull away from the bottom of the league having played up to five league games less than some of the sides above them. The visitors have won just one of their opening fifteen games of the season in all competition, and although that single victory was just three weeks ago they have lost twice since, whilst Rangers are looking to put an end to a three game losing streak and gain some confidence going into some difficult fixtures over the Christmas period where they face three sides in the top half of the table.
This week Sports Shots caught up with defender Charlie West to ask how he feels his season has been so far:
For me personally I feel my performances haven’t been too bad, like everyone else you hope to be a ten out of ten every week, but realistically that’s not going to happen. I’m happy to play in any position to help the team out, and like everybody from the starting eleven to the substitutes, wherever we’re needed we give it our all
How does he feel the squad have done so far and how has it been under the new management?
I believe we haven’t done too badly since the start of the season, we have had some tough fixtures where we should have got more out of the games. The management have really settled us down as a squad where in previous years we haven’t had a settled side from one week to another, with Steve Jackman (Blocky) coming in, he brings a lot of football knowledge as he is a very experienced player and a very good coach / manager. Both he and Alan (Ostler) help everybody out massively, whether it be at training during a drill, or on a game day where you don’t understand something, they are more than happy to help. They expect so much of you during games & at training, which means the starting eleven is really competitive
Second bottom in the table, is this due to lack of games or a fair reflection of the team so far?
I believe it’s a mixture of both really, we have been really competitive in the majority of games we have played, but when we are in the lead, we have sometimes let it slip, or we haven’t started quick enough and teams have taken an early lead against us and we haven’t been able to recover as individuals or as a team. As a side we create a lot of chances, it’s just a matter of becoming clinical and taking them
How competitive is this division this year, and which sides have impressed so far?
This year the league is very competitive and there are some very good teams, like Bovingdon, Pitstone & Aston Clinton who all play very good football. Like every year, anybody can beat anybody on their day, which makes the league even more exciting to play in. As a team we just need to be competitive in each game and then who knows what will happen
With a more settled squad this term, which players have impressed Charlie so far?
This year, better than any other year really, we have a very good side, we have been able to pull some lads from Buckingham Athletic which have been great signings. Players like Solomon Janecki, Luke Tavener, Tom Marshall & Adam Mohammed are all very good technically, which is the main reason we create as many chances as we do in games, as a team we know if we work hard and can give the ball to these kind of players then we have a very good chance of winning any game
We asked Charlie how the last three games had been after defeats against Aston Clinton, Unite MK & Bovingdon:
Bovingdon was a very hard game for everyone involved with the club, we went two down within five minutes and that was then five by half-time. We just didn’t get started and our heads dropped very early on which made it a very hard task for us to try and find a way back into the game, especially considering they had only lost one game this season in the league.
Unite was a difficult game and a difficult day to take, we went two up early in the game and were doing all the basics very well, and then at half-time we just stopped which let them back into the game with them eventually winning three-two. We only did the basics for forty-five minutes and not the full ninety!
Clinton was again a very hard game, we know its not an easy place for any teams to visit but you’ve got to be at your best to get anything from them. We were missing the likes of Matt Ginger & Adam Mohammed through suspension, Joe Walls through injury & Luke Tavener through other commitments so we knew it was going to be a very tough game, although we had a very competitive match day squad. We didn’t start brightly enough and were four down by half-time, again we created enough chances to pull ourselves back into the game, but we need to become more clinical
What targets does the squad have, and also does Charlie have?
I believe a realistic expectation for us is to be comfortable within our league table, with the quality we have as a team, the basics we all know how to do very well, & a management team as strong as ours, it would be a disappointment for us to be any less than that. Myself personally, I just want to improve as a player, which means working hard both in training and on game days, listening to the coaches and taking on board what they say
Finally, we asked what Charlie expects from Clean Slate on Saturday:
Although they are bottom of the league, they will still be a very physical side and will be no push over. We will still have to be at our best to beat them, continuing again with the basics but putting recent form behind us and taking the positives from that. I don’t like to say it’s a must win game because that just adds pressure, but we go into the game with a point, and we’d like to leave with all three but then so will Clean Slate so it hopefully makes to be a good game
Sports Shots would like to thank Charlie for his time this week