Archive for United Counties Football League

Newport Pagnell Town manager Darren Lynch steps down

Darren Lynch has stepped down from his managerial role at Newport Pagnell Town with immediate effect.

Darren Lynch

Just a week after confirmation that the club will be competing in the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division after being transferred from the Future Lions United Counties League in the latest round of FA non-league revisions, Lynch has stepped down after a successful stint as manager, which included the memorable FA Vase quarter-final run two years ago, and narrowly missing out on promotion last season.

Announcing his decision on social media Lynch confirmed:

After 6 years in charge at Newport Pagnell Town I’ve decided to resign as manager, I want to thank all the players and coaches past & present for all their efforts and commitment during my time there and wish the club the best for the future!

It wasn’t the easiest decision as I’ve been associated with the club on & off for twenty-six years but I feel I’ve taken it as far as I can go and time for a well earned rest

Sports Shots has today spoken with Newport Pagnell Town FC head of football Ian Ford:

This mornings news from Darren has taken us a little by surprise if I am honest, but totally understand and support his decision – the poor lad has had twenty-six years of solid football, year in, year out – and now deserves a much-earned break.
What Darren has achieved over recent years at this club has been phenomenal – an FA Vase Quarter final and a ‘ninety point’ third place finish in back to back seasons on limited resources was a fantastic achievement. Darren has helped to create some life-long memories for this football club and will be sorely missed.
Darren goes with the very best wishes of the club along with special thanks for all he has done for us; from me personally, I wish Darren all the very best of luck and happiness in all that he does.
With regards to the future? We’ll need a couple of days to get aligned internally and think about where we go from here, but what I do know is that with the ground developments happening over the next twenty-four months and the Clubs future ambitions, it will be very exciting times here at Newport Pagnell Town Football Club in the coming seasons
In the meantime anyone wishing to apply for the role should contact Ian at: ian@nptfc.co.uk 
Sports Shots would like to thank Darren for all his time since covering the club.

UCL P; Boston Town 1-2 Newport Pagnell Town

Boston Town – 1
Newport Pagnell Town – 2

20.04.2019

Newport Pagnell Town made it three wins on the bounce with a hard earned victory at Boston Town on Saturday, taking the game to their hosts early on they were two up within the opening thirteen minutes and looked comfortable until a second half goal for the home side saw them unleash some relentless long balls for the Swans defence to deal with but they stood strong to bring the three points back to Buckinghamshire. The hosts were consistently unhappy with some of the decisions the officials gave during the ninety minutes including the very early penalty given when Jake Strong was felled inside the area, Dominic Lawless put his side into the lead from the spot and once Harry Stratton doubled the lead with a neat finish Town saw the game out despite the second half pressure, afterwards manager Darren Lynch expressed his delight at his sides ability to manage the game to a conclusion.

Newport were awarded their penalty in the sixth minute when Stronge drove into the box from the right and as a defender came over to challenge he went down and the referee was on hand to point to the spot, Lawless tucking home with ease. Continuing to press the visitors went close when Dan Bendon dragged a shot across goal from eighteen yards and sliding in at the back post Josh Winters was inches from connecting, at the opposite end a deep corner swung in by Tiago Nassunculo found Danny Horton at the back stick however always reaching for it he could only nod wide, then with less than quarter of an hour played the away side doubled their lead.

Dom Lawless opens scoring from spot

A ball played into the corner saw Lawless do well to retrieve and cut back inside towards goal, he laid off to Stratton who despite having two defenders on him and looking unlikely to get anything on it somehow managed to roll across the face into the far bottom corner. A throw to the Swans saw Damon Herbert & Yaw Ofosu both competing to get a flick on that Boston custodian Travis Portas had to gather at his near post, Fraser Bayliss tried his luck from eighteen yards but only found the waiting gloves of Newport keeper Mark Osborne, Lawless then again showed his strength down the channel holding up well until he could lay off to Stronge whose first time effort had Portas having to push over single handedly.

Stratton collected a clearance before dinking into Bendon whose looping header had Portas back peddling to claim underneath his own crossbar, as the half wore down a late chance for the home side saw Nassunculo receive on the edge of the box, his first attempt blocked he swung a boot at it again which had Osborne having to stick out a hand to push over the top. H/T: 0-2

Boston pull goal back

A double substitution at the break saw Boston come out for the second half on the front foot and barely two minutes in Nassunculo won a tussle with Ofosu to advance towards goal but again Osborne stood tall and this time made a block with his feet, Bendon did well down the right channel for the visitor’s and got his cross inside to Winters who on the edge of the six yard box got a glancing header in that bounced across the face but wide of the back post, then on the hour mark the home side pulled a goal back.

Another long ball played up to Nassunculo saw him battle with the Town centre half again Ofosu once more, as they tangled into the Newport box Osborne came out to help but collided with the front man to see both fall to the floor, the ball rolled across to substitute Liam Tunstall who swept into the unguarded net, this time it was the yellows calling for some help from the official’s however the goal was given. A long lump downfield saw the blue backline head clear but only as far as Lawless, under encouragement from his team mates to shoot he curled away from the target, a long goal kick from Portas saw the yellow defence head clear but Bayliss collected out on the touchline, powering his way into the box he drilled into the side netting, but that was as close as they got to finding an equaliser. F/T: 1-2

Attendance: 70

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 Newport manager Darren Lynch:

For 2 pages of matchday photography (107 images) please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmxyMpDW

UCL P; Newport stalwart hoping to Pinch another three points this weekend

Saturday 6th April 2019
Pinchbeck United v Newport Pagnell Town
United Counties League Premier Division
Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field
K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town travel to Pinchbeck United on Saturday looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat at Sleaford Town, as the club head into their final five games of the season looking for as many points to put pressure on those top seven places in the Future Lions United Counties League Premier Division table. Town’s recent form has been much improved compared to earlier in the season, in their last eleven outings they’ve won seven and drawn one which has seen them steadily improve their league standing, and as many wins in these last few games would see them in good stead for next year, but in Pinchbeck they are up against a side that have lost just once in their last twenty-one league games and currently occupy fourth place in the league, having only been promoted from the division below last season. The return fixture at Willen Road back in November was a thriller, three each by half time with a further three for Newport by the end saw them victorious, Darren Lynch’s men are going to have their work cut out to repeat that feat this time.

Scott Mulkern

This week Sports Shots caught up with Newport utility man Scott Mulkern to find out how long he’s been at the club and how it’s been since joining:

I think I am probably now one of, if not the longest serving player at Newport, I have been here since I was sixteen playing in the under eighteens floodlit team and I played my first senior game for the first team when I was seventeen, fourteen years later and I am still here! Got to be honest I cannot remember in great detail my settling in period but I’m pretty sure it was quite easy, all the players at the time were very welcoming of me and the other youngsters and ever since then, even with players coming and going each season, the atmosphere within the squad and dressing room has been quality! I think players both past and present would definitely agree

How has his season been in terms of fitness, availability & contribution?

Fitness wise I have never really had an issue throughout my career and have luckily never picked up any major injuries which have kept me out for too long either. This season hasn’t really been any different other than the fact I think age is beginning to take its toll with the sore joints the following day, my availability has had to alter slightly since a change of job and my little boy was born roughly eighteen months ago. I now have to work most Saturday mornings which can cause some problems when it comes to some of the longer away trips, although I do still try to be readily available for either the firsts or reserves, but sometimes due to the above it has had to be the team that’s playing at home! As for my contribution I give my best every time I play, in whatever position the manager wants me to play which is a fair few over the course of the season, and I would like to think I do a pretty good job most of the time. With regards to the reserve team, I’d like to think I have supported some of the younger players to improve and progress

How good are the squads at Newport this year, and have any players impressed?

I would say both squads have been pretty good again this season although both have suffered from a patch of poor results which has seen them out of the respective title races, which both teams should have been more than capable of challenging in and instead are only pushing for roughly fifth, sixth or seventh in their respective tables. I believe both teams should have really achieved more with the overall squad of players at Newport but unfortunately that’s football for you. One of the main players to impress me this season has been young Jake Watkinson, I have had the opportunity to watch and play with him in both the firsts and reserves and he is a great talent, who has caused every defence he has played against all sorts of problems and he sure knows where the goal is, definitely one to watch over the coming years

What is Scott’s preferred position in the team, and what formations best suits?

As I mentioned, I’ve tended to be used in a number of positions, mainly defence and midfield, I’m not exactly known for my goal threat other than from the penalty spot or my goalkeeping abilities! I would say my preference is midfield although I’m pretty laid back and happy to play wherever as long as I’m playing really. I wouldn’t say there is a formation that gets the best out of me as it all depends on where the manager has decided to play me for that game. I have played a fair few though over the years though and would say that if you have the right personnel and can get the three at the back to work, three-four-three or three-five-two then I feel you are onto a winner with obvious numbers going forward

What has been the career path for Scott since junior football?

I’ve technically only played for three clubs in the twenty-six years I have been playing football, I started when I was five at a team called Lakeside and played there until I was fourteen when I was asked to join Scot Youth. I spent my three remaining years in youth football with them, winning three consecutive league titles, including the league & cup double one year. In my final year with Scot Youth playing Sunday youth football, I also played for the Newport under eighteens floodlit team which played on a Wednesday night and occasionally from there the Newport first team and reserves on a Saturday, three games of football a week was my idea of heaven back then!

We asked Scott to detail his last three games at the club, and explain what differences there are playing for the reserves and the first team:

I wasn’t available for the most recent game at Sleaford due to family commitments, therefore my last three games have been Wellingborough at home and both Holbeach & Deeping away, all three games have been very different, mainly due to weather and pitch conditions. Away at Deeping was probably the windiest day of the year and had a definitive impact on the match as to who could play those conditions better, on the day that turned out to be Deeping although it was very much a game of two halves with whichever team had the wind against them playing the better football and with two very good chances in the second half, including Dom Lawless hitting the bar, I thought we should have at least come away with a point. Onto Holbeach away which is probably the best team performance so far this year, again some tricky conditions with another windy day and a pretty terrible pitch but we, on this occasion, played both brilliantly and deservedly came away with a three-nil win and the three points having restricted Holbeach to one good opportunity all game, which did hit the post. Over the years Holbeach have always had a strong squad and therefore has been a tricky place to go, however we made it easier this time round due to our quality and work rate both on and off the ball. Finally Wellingborough at home was another solid performance from the team and a relatively straight forward two goal win. I don’t feel there is a massive difference between first team and reserves football, other than maybe a few more younger players in the reserves but this is how it probably should be, reserve teams should be there to help transition players from youth football into adult football with the aim of then introducing those players into the first teams when they are ready

This week Newport face Pinchbeck, what does Scott remember of the nine goal thriller back in November, and what does he expect this time from the game?

To be truthful I don’t remember the reverse fixture at all, to be fair that is something I have never been good at remembering matches. Some of the lads and the gaffer can remember everything about pretty much every match down to scores, players that played, goal scorers, certain things that happened, the lot! I honestly don’t know how they do it. I struggled with your previous question remembering back just three games and had to be assisted by the results page on the league website! As for the game this Saturday, Pinchbeck’s current league position and their recent run of form as you’ve mentioned will mean we are in for a tough game. However, we do tend to put in our better performances against the teams up the top of the table, and we have obviously proven we can beat them this season already, so we are quietly confident that if we turn up and play the way we can we can come away with the three points. But essentially it is a game that could go either way, just hopefully ours. Also not sure another nine goal thriller is on the cards but we shall wait and see…

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

It would be a toss-up between young H (Harry Stratton) on ANY quiz show or Damo (Herbert) on some kind of reality TV show, either way you would be guaranteed some laughs!!! H’s general knowledge is a bit like Pandora’s box, you have no idea and neither does he half the time, what is gonna come out of his mouth! And as for Damo……… the lad is just on another level. Everyone must look forward as much as I do to the stories he comes out with each week! That and his general outrageous behaviour ninety-nine percent of the time!

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

UCL P; Newport manager admits squad may leave him alone on that summer Beach

Saturday 16th March 2019
Holbeach United v Newport Pagnell Town
United Counties League Premier Division
Carters Park
K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town travel to Holbeach United on Saturday as they go into their last eight games of the season, a goalless draw at Willen Road back in October failed to separate these two sides and now just four places sit between hosts and guests although a gap of eighteen points tells a different story! Town can still finish fourth in the table if they win their remaining games and other results go their way, something that just a few weeks ago seemed a long way away, & a good run of form since Christmas has eradicated the memories of their early season form which was disappointing especially after last year’s success, but more importantly these last few fixtures can be used to gain some momentum heading into next season. Holbeach haven’t lost a league game this year meaning Darren Lynch’s squad will be in for yet another stern test, but since the Swans exited the FA Vase in early January they have only lost three of their eleven games since, and seven of their last nine games have seen four or more goals so entertainment is following Newport of late…..

Darren Lynch

This week Sports Shots caught up with Newport manager Darren Lynch to ask how he would describe the club’s season with just eight games left to play?

A bit of a failure if I’m honest, I think the season didn’t start the best and it carried on from there, us not being able to field the same team more than three times in row hasn’t helped

Looking back has it been an enjoyable season, or has there been too much pressure after last year’s close run?

It’s never enjoyable when you know you have a squad capable of so much more, but last season should have been a stepping stone so obviously I’m disappointed

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but is there anything the manager would change if he could go back?

There’s nothing you can do about injuries and obviously it’s part of the game, so like u say hindsight is a great thing but you can’t legislate for losing key players at key moments, but there’s one I wish I  could really change

How difficult was it to keep hold of players at the start of the season when things weren’t going so well?

Obviously when things aren’t going well morale isn’t the best and it’s about character and players willing to stick together through thick and thin, I must take my hat off to the lads because I’m sure there were a few who had other offers but they stayed loyal to us

Looking at the league table Daventry look favourite for the league, does Darren agree with that?

The league table never lies and Daventry deserve to be where they are because they’ve been the most consistent side week in week out

Have any targets been set for the remaining games?

To finish as high as we can and everyone knows a good run in this league can mean you jump a good few places!

Away at Holbeach this week, a goalless draw at Willen Road back October, they are on a run of ten games without defeat, how will Newport approach the game?

To be honest I think we deserved to win the home game that day, but since Danny has come in he has brought a new breath of life hence they’re on a great run, but we must go into the game without fear and stamp our authority on the match and play our game!

Finally we asked Darren who he thought from his squad would be the last person to volunteer to go on holiday with the gaffer?

I’d say they’d all hate to go with me! Hahaha

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

UCL P; Swans midfielder Roaring to face former team mates this weekend

Saturday 23rd February 2019

Newport Pagnell Town v Daventry Town

United Counties League Premier Division

Willen Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town face league leaders Daventry Town on Saturday at Willen Road, and host a side who are unbeaten in their last fourteen games in all competition so a tough test for Darren Lynch’s men who seem to have turned a corner in their season, they’ve won their last four games scoring sixteen goals along the way and have finally broken into the top half of the Future Lions United Counties Football League Premier Division table after a torturous first two-thirds of the season. Another victory twinned with a win or two in their games they have in hand on those above them and Town could be breathing down the neck of the top six places which just a few weeks ago seemed a very distant dream, just one defeat in their last ten league games has propelled the Swans up that league table thanks in main to eight goals in seven games from Dom Lawless, which sees the striker currently on twenty-three for the season and in red hot form looking to break the thirty barrier before the end of the season. But Daventry haven’t lost away from home yet this season in the league and with that boast the tightest away defensive record having conceded just seven goals, Newport have the fourth best home defence in the league, so something has to give!

Michael Lyon

This week Sports Shots caught up with Swans midfielder Michael Lyon to ask when & how he joined the club and how it’d been since signing:

I have been at Newport since the middle of last season, before then I was playing at Kempston but just wasn’t getting enough game time. Joining Newport was an easy decision as they were challenging for the league, I knew a few of the lads and it was closer to home. Settling in was no problem, I felt like I had been here all season

How does Michael feel his own season has been in terms of fitness & contribution?

Personally my season hasn’t been as good as I had hoped, I’ve picked up a couple of little injuries and had work commitments which has stitched me up. When I have been able to get a good run of games I think my performances have been good

We asked just how good the Newport squad is this season:

The squad has quite a good balance of young and old and on our day I feel we can compete with any team in our league. I don’t think there is a stand out player, the games that we win are due to the whole team working together and putting in one hundred percent

What does Michael feel his best position in the team is and what formation best suits his style of play?

My favoured position would be centre midfield because you are always involved in the game. The different systems don’t change the amount of effort you should put in so it makes no difference to me playing four-four-two or three-five-two. Since I’ve been at Newport I have probably played in every position apart from goalkeeper and as long as I’m on the pitch I’m happy!

This season has been in stark contrast to last in terms of league position, what has been the biggest thing the squad have learnt this season that they can take into next?

I think the biggest thing we have learnt over the last two seasons is that we need the same mentality for every game. Playing against the top teams in the league is easy to get motivated for,  but playing against the teams down the bottom on a bad pitch in the middle of the winter away on a Tuesday night is bit different but just as important

Four wins out of four for Town, how has this run been?

I wasn’t available for the Kirkby game but it’s good to get on a winning run, not only for the points on the board it also boosts everybody’s confidence and boosts the team spirit

Onto Daventry this week who need no introduction having beaten Newport twice already this season, what are the squad expecting this time round?

We will all be looking forward to the weekend, they may have beaten us twice but it will be good to have another go at them! Our old team mates Luke (Emery) and Taylor (Orosz) are dangerous players and we will have to be on our game to keep them quiet. If we are at our best we will have a good go at them

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

I will have to say Sedge (Tom Liversedge) to go on You’ve Been Framed. His miss on Tuesday night is definitely worth £250!

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

UCL P; Newport winger feels his team can have a Stronge finish to their season

Saturday 2nd February 2019

Newport Pagnell Town v Desborough Town

United Counties League Premier Division

Willen Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town host Desborough Town on Saturday knowing victory would lift them above their guests who sit a place & two points above them going into the fixture, and potentially into the top ten places of the Future Lions United Counties Football League Premier Division which a just a few weeks ago seemed a long way away. The Town rise up the table has been thanks to a run that has seem them accumulate four wins and two draws in their last seven league outings, which has also helped eradicate the disappointment of going out of the FA Vase at the fourth round stage, and Darren Lynch’s men will be looking to keep this run going against the side who have lost their last two games without scoring a goal, whilst also looking to avenge their defeat by the odd goal in three at Desborough back in September. After this game Newport have three successive away trips, two of which are at sides below them in the table, the other at Leicester who are just a couple of places & seven points above, if Town can get a run of wins in this sequence going then by the time they next play at Willen Road, they could just be sitting comfortably in the higher echelons of that league table.

Jake Stronge

This week Sports Shots caught up with Newport winger Jake Stronge to ask how he joined the club and how it’s been since:

I joined Newport when my under sixteen team moved here from another club, I then made the step up to the reserves at sixteen and then was fortunate at seventeen to be selected for the first team. The lads have been great even though I am so young, they look out for me

How good a season does Jake feel he’s had, and what targets does he have?

So far I think my season hasn’t gone too badly. I did pick up what was thought to be a serious injury but thankfully that was not the case and I was only out for a couple of weeks. My target is to contribute as much as I can to the team and help us move back up the table for the remainder the season

How good is the Newport squad this year, and which players have impressed so far?

The squad this season is still a strong side and results really don’t show the talent we have. My stand out players would be Ollie (Wilkinson) as he has been my on the pitch mentor and an ever present in our defence, also Micky Lyons because he will run for the full ninety minutes and do everything to help the team out

What is Jake’s favoured position in the team and what formation best suits him?

My favoured position is on either wing and the formation that gets the best out of me would be four-three-three because it gives me the ability to get high & wide and to run at defenders

We asked Jake to detail his history in football prior to joining Newport:

I was at the Northampton Academy between the ages of nine and fourteen as a goalkeeper, but I wasn’t tall enough for a professional club so I moved out field as a winger. I was at Shenley Lions for a year before moving to Newport at under sixteen level

The last three games have seen a win, a draw and a defeat, how were these games from a Town point of view?

Wellingborough went ok as we won even though we played well below par but Oadby saw a few decisions that didn’t go our way which ultimately cost us. Against Cogenhoe we went down to ten men & to get a draw wasn’t great as we felt like we should have won. These results pretty much sum up our season this year

Onto Desborough this weekend, what does Jake remember of the defeat at their place earlier in the season?

The game against Desborough was one I remember, as looking back we should have won if not for a few errors. I feel this time we can get the three points

Finally we asked Jake if he could pick any team mate to go on any television programme, who and what would he choose any why?

It has to be Brownie (Lee Brown) our keeping coach, I’d get him on Ninja Warrior UK as I feel his cat like reflexes and nimbleness would benefit him greatly (love ya ons!)

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

UCL; Newport Pagnell Town 1-2 Rugby Town

Newport Pagnell Town – 1

Rugby Town – 2

15.12.2018

Newport Pagnell were beaten at home on Saturday by the divisions second place side Rugby Town, but for forty seven minutes looked worth of getting something from the game, taking the lead shortly before half-time was no more than the hosts deserved on the balance of play and chances created, but that was all undone within ninety seconds of the restart when Swans keeper Mark Osborn was red carded for handling outside his area and Rugby went on to make their numerical advantage count, two goals from Lewis Rankin put them in front and a late dismissal for Josh Winters meant the Willen Road side ended the game with nine men. Both sides did well to play the game at all in weather conditions not seen for a while, freezing cold temperatures mixed with an ice cold wind and driving rain welcomed the sides onto the pitch, and did not relent for the ninety minutes, there was definitely a huge demand for the hot water taps after this game!

The opening ten minutes offered little to warm the generous crowd who had braved the conditions, the hosts saw a corner easily cleared, two long balls sail out for goal kicks and the visitors attacks were either comfortable for Osborn to collect or the flag denied. The first effort of note came on thirteen minutes when a cross from the Newport left looked harmless however Adam Moussi got ahead of everyone to get his shot away forcing Rugby keeper Matthew Hill away to his left to halt its flight towards the bottom corner, a further four minutes until the Northamptonshire side had their first sight when Danico Johnson curled wide from the edge of the area.

From the goal kick Osborn sent Winters racing away down the right wing and beating his marker with ease he pulled the ball back across the eighteen yard line where Harry Stratton fired low across goal and inches wide of Hill’s right hand post, back at the opposite end full back Charlie Evans found space to the left of goal but dragged his effort past the far upright. A ball down the middle of the pitch then saw an outstretched boot flick straight into the path of Dom Lawless and he was away on goal, Hill advanced but the Swans striker scuffed his effort past the keeper and with no real power and a heavy pitch there was never any danger to the stalemate being broken, Stratton then fed Lawless inside the box where his first effort was blocked but he followed up to force Hill diving away to pull off a brilliant save as it looked as though the ball would nestle in the top left hand corner.

Josh Winters opens scoring

A Rugby corner saw Liam Francis head up and seemingly over but as the ball dipped back down Osborn had to be alert and step back quickly to punch over his crossbar, Moussi at the other end was urged to shoot by his team mates from the edge of the box but he screwed wide, then three minutes before the break Winters did find the back of the net. A free kick in the middle of the pitch was simply floated downfield and Winters climbed highest to head into the bottom corner, a minute after the opener a low cross fizzed along the six-yard box but no green shirts were anywhere near to get the touch, and a free kick then out on their left saw Liam Smyth curl in and Hill had to gather with both hands right in front of his feet, again the conditions making life harder than he’d have wanted. H/T: 1-0

Seconds in to the second period Winters was away down the flank and he touched the ball inside to Lawless who had a clear run at goal but his drive was straight into the trees behind the goal, from there it all went horribly wrong for Newport, the goal kick took a bounce and looped over everyone towards the Pagnell penalty area, as Osborn came out he had the opportunity to kick but let the ball roll and then as a red shirt approached he fell to his knees and handled before kicking away. The referee consulted with his assistant ahead of brandishing a red card to the keeper, who handed his shirt to Smyth before leaving the field of play.

Simeon Tulloch got down the Rugby right and crossed into former Swan Fazal Koriya whose glancing header only helped the ball away for a goal kick, and as much as the visitors started to dominate the possession the hosts were always looking for a counter, one such saw Winters away down the wing and cutting in he curled his shot around the back post. With eighteen minutes left the away side equalised when Rankin was fed with his back to goal and managing to turn his first effort was saved by Smyth but he followed up to level. The away side now sensed they could win the game, a long range drive from Richard Blythe saw Smyth have to push away, from the corner Blyth volleyed straight into the keepers gloves.

Liam Smyth faces free kick after donning the gloves

The home side never gave up and a great run from Moussi saw him send a perfect cross into Winters who in front of goal could not get the ball out from under his feet, once he dug it out his shot was blocked and the chance was gone, whilst Rankin tried his luck again from eighteen yards where a wicked deflection almost wrong footed Smyth but he recovered to fling himself away to his left to save with both hands. With eight minutes remaining a ball over the Newport backline saw the entire defence call for offside, however the flag was kept down allowing Johnson to get a shot away that was blocked however Rankin was closest to rifle home the rebound.

Two minutes later a tackle on Winters in the Rugby half saw him floored but no whistle, as he lay waiting for his free kick the ball rolled to his offender, the red mist then appeared as he got up and lunged into the tackle sparking a twenty man brawl that ended with the Newport man being sent off. Despite the imbalance there was still time for a late chance to fall to Stratton as he received a pass inside the penalty arc, looking like he was going to hit it first time he took a touch before having to somewhat snatch at his shot that flew wide. F/T: 1-2

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

After the match Sports Shots caught up with Newport Pagnell manager Darren Lynch: 

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

UCLP; Swans duo hoping to go full bloom in FA Vase

Saturday 15th December 2018

Newport Pagnell Town v Rugby Town

United Counties League Premier Division

Willen Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town face second place Rugby Town on Saturday at Willen Road as they return to league action after last weekend’s success in the FA Vase at Hullbridge Sports, as they try and get their United Counties League Premier Division campaign back on track after a disappointing start to the season. Currently sitting in fifteenth place Town will be looking to avenge the four goals without reply defeat they suffered at the hands of their guests in the return fixture back in October, and will need to put any thoughts of FA competition to the back of their minds if they are to take anything from the side who have not lost in the league since the middle of September. Despite the Vase victory, the Swans have lost their last two league fixtures, and will be looking to build upon last week’s superb result as they head into a busy Christmas and New Year period.

Mark Osborn (image courtesy of NPTFC)

This week Sports Shots caught up with defender Yaw Ofosu and goalkeeper Mark Osborn, and asked the shot stopper when & how he joined the club, and for his opinion of the club in general:

I’ve had two spells here, the first under Terry Shrieves for nearly one season before I left to join Hemel Hempstead in 2011, then I retired but (Darren) Lynchy has been a friend of mine for a long time and he talked me into playing again three seasons ago, and I’ve enjoyed it ever since. There is a lot of effort that goes on that as players & supporters you don’t always get to see to keep a club like ours going, there’s a limited budget and we rely a lot on volunteers who do a great job. On the playing side the staff also give up so much of their own time to try and improve the team & equipment that we have, and Lynchy goes as far as roping his mum in to clean the kit after every game so we are probably the best smelling team in the UCL! The facilities are very limited at the club, but I know they are always trying to improve them with regards to ground grading and things like that, but our training facilities are not the kind that get you excited when you come in to training on a cold winter night!

Youngster Yaw also has a history at the club:

This is my second season with the first team, I played for the under eighteen’s for a year and then the reserves for two, becoming captain in the final year before leaving for university. Last pre-season I came down to train for the reserves after having a break, the gaffer (Darren Lynch) and Maff Childs who was my manager at the time when I was playing for the reserves, brought me in and gave me a chance, at that time the team didn’t have that many centre-backs so I was playing regularly which was great. The staff and the players have a real family relationship with each other that helps, we always have a laugh whether we win, lose or draw

How good a season does Yaw feel he is having?

Personally I haven’t reached my levels consistently this season because of some injuries, although the last two games we have been good performance wise, being unlucky against Oadby was hard to take but as a group we put that right at Hullbridge in the FA Vase

Mark has also suffered from injury this campaign:

I feel my personal performances have probably matched that of the team in being inconsistent, I’ve had some injuries and bits but have still had some good games like Cogenhoe away. I like to think that Darren knows when I play he is getting one hundred percent from me

With the inconsistent start to the league season, and the Vase run in full flight, what is Mark’s priority?

It’s been very frustrating this season when you look at the start, we have the same squad as last year so people expect you to do the same if not better, but football doesn’t always work like you want it to, so we have ended up at the wrong end of the table. Some personnel changes now, we will work our hardest to make sure we finish at the right end of the table, and with the Vase we can still make it a successful season. I think the league is still really important but for me I would love another Vase run, at my age I can still dream of playing at Wembley and we have a squad that can beat anyone our day so why not dream and make that our target now, something that we would never forget

Yaw Ofosu (image courtesy of NPTFC)

Yaw still views the league table as the priority:

Simply put, we haven’t been good enough defensively or offensively as a team, a Vase run is great for the club and the supporters but a strong finish in the league is still our priority

We asked Yaw how good he feels the current crop of players are, and which players have impressed so far:

I feel our squad has quality all over and when key players are fit, we are a really exciting team with a good mix of youth & experience. For me, we have some really good young players at Newport, Harry Stratton being one of them and also Adam Moussa who has recently come in and made a real impact. From the experienced players we have a strong core of six or seven who are important for us, for me I think Ozzy (Mark Osborn), Liam Smyth, Josh Winters & Dom Lawless stand-out

Mark also named three of those players in his list:

We have a good squad, I’m not going to say it’s the best but I think we are more of a team than we were at the start of the season, and like I said we have shown on our day we can beat any team at this level. Players that have stood out for me are the younger players coming through like Harry Stratton, but the one who has been consistent and is pretty much every season is Liam Smyth. Dom (Lawless) is starting to regain his sharpness and if we are to achieve things then he will be really important to us

Which sides does Mark see as being title contenders?

Rugby have been the team that are head and shoulders above everyone in terms of ability, they play good football and have players that can win games, and I think they will go on to win the title

Yaw hasn’t faced this week ends opponents as yet:

I wasn’t available against Rugby in the reverse fixture so this will be my first time facing them. Daventry are top and knocked us out of the cup so I’d have to say they’ve been the strongest team I’ve faced this season

How did Yaw see last week’s win in the Vase?

Last weekend was a great day for everyone involved and also for the club, together we defended as a unit and played some very good football on a difficult pitch. They are top of their league so to get a clean sheet was a real bonus

Mark again discusses the ability in the squad shown last week:

It was a good win but we went into the game knowing that if we played as well as we can then we could win the fixture. We were well organised and played the conditions well, and when we had our chances we took them and that’s what we haven’t been doing consistently in our league games

What is Mark expecting from Rugby on Saturday?

I only know what they are like from the game against them earlier in the season, and that they now have Fazel (Koriya) playing for them so we will have to be at our best again if we are to get the result we want. It will be interesting to see if they can play the conditions like we can, we’ve upset Pinchbeck at home when they were second so I see no reason why we can’t beat Rugby on Saturday

Yaw also believes his side are capable of pulling a result:

I feel to get a result against Rugby we have to play as we have been over the past couple of weeks, defend well as a team and be clinical in attack. They’re one of the top teams in our league so it will be a competitive match but I believe that suits a team like us

Rounding up, we asked Yaw if he’s always played in defence during his career:

Yes, always defence or centre midfield, I’m comfortable in both positions. I feel naturally I can play central midfield given my skill set and size, playing there for Kingston University last year was great fun and I was able to express myself, as you see the ball more often and learn the position more. For now I am happy with my role at centre-half, Dave Baker & I have built a good understanding together

And does Mark fancy anywhere else on the pitch?

Yes I have always played in goal, but if I could play anywhere then I’d play up front, they take all the glory and it can’t be that hard. I would take Dom’s place in our team just to give him the chance to moan at me when I miss a chance because we always seem to think we can do better!

Sports Shots would like to thank both Mark & Yaw for their time this week.

UCLP; Swans boss hoping for no more hic-Cups on march to FA Vase glory

Saturday 24th November 2018

Harborough Town v Newport Pagnell Town

United Counties League Premier Division

HTFC Community Ground

K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town travel to Harborough Town on Saturday on the back of two consecutive victories which has seen them score six goals in both matches and put back to back league victories together for the first time this season. With their hosts below them in the league table, a win would see The Swans within touching distance of the top half of the United Counties League Premier Division table, and more importantly a third straight win would be a welcome boost going into their FA Vase game at Hullbridge Sports next weekend where they attempt to make it into the last sixteen of the competition again. With just two defeats in their last eight games in all competition, which were both against league leaders Daventry Town, can Newport push on from here to enjoy another cup run, and climb that league table at the same time?

Darren Lynch

This week Sports Shots caught up with manager Darren Lynch to ask if both those victories signal a change of his team’s fortunes:

We’ve performed well, and both games against Daventry were lost in the first thirty minutes of each game. We have been unlucky with injuries this season but players are starting to come back now, plus the addition of new blood has really boosted our confidence, I’m hoping this is our turning point

With two wins, six points and twelve goals in the last two games, how does the manager reflect back on those games?

I recently said that the Pinchbeck result was one of my best results as a manager here, due to players being missing through injures & suspensions, and their record going into the game made the result even better & we carried that momentum into the Wellingborough game. With both of my strikers scoring ten of those twelve goals it has boosted their confidence as well, it’s not that we’ve played badly during our tough period, we just didn’t have much luck going our way

There seems to have been some player movement over the past few weeks, where is the squad now in terms of quality and depth?

We never really made a signing during pre-season due to my thinking that the squad that finished last season in third place would be more than capable of challenging again this season, but that never worked out the way I had hoped, and with players wanting to go on to pastures new it gave me the opportunity to bring in fresh faces. There will be more over the next couple of weeks hopefully!

The league table shows Newport are currently in twelfth position, does Darren think this is a fair reflection of his team so far?

They say the league table never lies so at the minute we are where we deserve to be but I’m confident that we’ll start to climb the table if we can go on a decent run, we need to remember that Yaxley started their title push this time last season so never say never

Newport are still in the FA Vase, what’s the priority from here on in?

The league is our bread & butter so that’s always our priority but as we all saw a couple of seasons ago, a decent Vase run can be an unforgettable experience and it’s always good for the club financially so we will give it our all next week in what will be a tough fixture but one I think we can win

Away to Harborough on Saturday, what are the squad expecting?

Harborough is always a tricky place to go and now they have a 4G pitch it’ll be a good test for the lads but one I’m sure they’ll be up for

And then the big cup game the following week?

I always enjoy the FA Vase and getting to the quarter finals two years ago really makes me want the lads to go those steps further

Finally, we asked Darren if he had a choice of either win the league or a Wembley cup final, what would he choose?

It always has to be promotion as becoming league champions is always the main aim but winning the FA Vase would be a once in a lifetime experience so I’ll be greedy and take both ha ha!

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

UCLP; Swans front man convinced his team can be Dom-inant force this season

Saturday 20th October 2018

Newport Pagnell Town v Deeping Rangers

United Counties League Premier Division

Willen Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town face Deeping Rangers in league action on Saturday at Willen Road looking to build on last week’s success in the FA Vase, and get some points on the board again and more importantly some confidence going as their next five league games see them play sides in the top nine of the current UCL Premier Division table. A couple of cup games break up that sequence, but the squad will be sternly tested over the next run of games which include hosting top of the league high flyers Daventry, but this week’s opponents Deeping have only played six league fixtures so far due to their involvement in various cup competitions, and if they won their games in hand would go level with Daventry at the top of the league!

Dom Lawless

This week Sports Shots caught up with front man Dominic Lawless to ask what he feels the Swans mixed start to the season has been down to:

In all honesty I have no idea, we pretty much have the same squad as last year which did so well. We have had key players out with injuries and holidays but that’s not an excuse because the squad we have are more than capable of beating any side in this division, when we have players missing those who come in are just as good replacements

With the club currently sitting fifteenth in the league and fourteen points off Daventry, does Dom feel they can still be caught?

We believe we can put a really good run together & winning becomes a habit, with the fixtures we have coming up against teams at the top end of the table; if we can take points off them just as you can already see everyone is beating anyone it could all change in a month or so. We seem to play better against the better teams in the division apart from Rugby which was a game to forget!

We asked how the team spirit is in the dressing room at this stage:

The team spirit is the best, ask most of the lads that have played for Newport and they will all tell you the same, we have a good mix of Milton Keynes & Northampton lads who have made us a better team for sure over the last couple of seasons. Yes the lads talk about the stop-start to the season, and the gaffer has called a few team meetings because it simply isn’t good enough, we know we are underachieving & letting ourselves down as well as the club and the manager, but it is a long old season

How was the Vase game last week?

A great result, we played some great football with five players missing who most would of started but others stepped up to the task. The team we played were lively and they had a few decent players that caused us problems getting in behind, it was their biggest game in the clubs history so they were bang up for it, but luckily enough we got what we deserved in the final minute of the  game

Does Dom think the FA Vase is a priority now for the team?

Of course, after having that run to the quarter-finals two seasons ago which was unbelievable and a great feeling, yes we would like to go that far again, but the league is your bread & butter so hopefully with the Vase win last Saturday that can kick us on now in both league and cup

Which players have impressed so far this term:

I would have to say Michael Lyons for me, the lads energy levels are ridiculous, he’s everywhere on the pitch giving one hundred percent week in week out. He can play in most positions and has scored a few goals this season too

How has the season been for Dom Lawless so far?

It’s been a really frustrating start for me this season, I picked up a nasty injury before pre-season where I aggravated the ligaments in my ankle which meant I missed the whole of pre-season going into the start of the campaign. When I was fit to play I was back for one game then went on holiday for ten days so then had to wait for my chance again, but I’m having my best run in the team this season now and game by game I’m feeling fitter & I’ll be back to my old self in no time. My targets always thirty plus goals and to play as many games as possible to help the team as much as I can

Finally, we asked with the league campaign warming up this month, how difficult will it be starting with Deeping this week?

Very difficult, they are all good sides up at the top so it will be very tough, but if we turn up and put a shift in from one to eleven, play for one another, then I’m confident we will be fine, there is too much quality in this squad. We just need our confidence back, hopefully the winning run starts against Deeping on Saturday! COYS

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