Saturday 5th January 2019
Aston Clinton v Mursley United
Spartan South Midlands Division Two
Aston Clinton Park
Mursley United travel to Aston Clinton on Saturday looking for a win to distance themselves from their hosts, as both clubs find themselves in a four club cluster all sitting on twenty-three points apiece and occupy joint fourth in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division Two table. United share the exactly same league form as Clinton but sit higher courtesy of a better goal difference, a win for either side could push them into the top three depending on other results on the day, but Mursley travel on the back of a six-two mauling at league leaders Berkhamsted Raiders just before Christmas, although a creditable draw at in form Old Bradwell the week previous added to the two-week break they’ve now had since those games may be enough to travel to Aston Park to get a result.
This week Sports Shots caught up with defender Nathan Hawkins to ask how long he’s been at the club:
This is my second spell at the club, I was here a few years ago but I left to join Buckingham Athletic then re-joined here at the start of the season. The move came about as I missed nearly of all last season through injury and with the management changes at the Ath whilst I was unfit, I wasn’t in a place to fight for a place however I knew the gaffer & most of the lads down here so after working hard in pre-season to get fit again, it was an easy decision to re-join Mursley. The club have been great, it has a great community feel to it and they are trying to do everything the right way. The youth teams are all very well run & implementing the development side this season will be key to the success of the club, and where we all want to go as it brings the younger lads up into men’s football
How has Nathan’s season been so far?
I feel my form has been good, and I have only missed one game due to being on holiday so I am pleased that I haven’t picked up too many knocks this season as it is horrible when you can only watch the team rather than play. Being the captain for most of this season has been the responsibility I needed as it has kept my form up however if I was to summarise the season it would be ‘frustrating’ as we have dropped points where we shouldn’t have. Some performances have been fantastic whilst others have been very poor, a big problem has been playing one week then having a week off before playing another game, that has really hindered us in getting any sort of consistency. As with any team at this level, team consistency is a big problem, we can rarely get the same eleven together due to work commitments and other things, we have lost a few players along the way this season already which is never easy but we have added a few too
How good a squad is there at Mursley this time around?
Compared to my first stint with the club we have a much better team this time round, on our day we can beat anyone in this league comfortably, in the cups we have played a couple of higher level sides and ran them both very close, we have a lot of quality just not quite the consistency. Stand out players in my opinion have been Nathan Skelton who I have played with in a few different teams over the past ten years or so, his goals have been massive for us this season and I’m sure he will bag a lot more yet, whilst he is one of the older lads here, Jamie Green has the experience essential for what we want to achieve here. Tom Brazier also, he’s young but has a lot of potential, Big Mike (Joseph) is one of the calmest men on the ball you will see, sometimes too calm but a very good player
What position or team formation gets the best out of Nathan?
I’ve been used in a few different positions this season but I’m happy to play anywhere to help the team, whether that be at the back or holding in the middle. We haven’t changed our formation too much this season, as a club we are all trying to play in the same way including the development side, so when the young lads step up they know their role already which has already helped when we’ve used them
We asked Nathan how he feels the club are progressing on and off the pitch:
The club are making massive strides in getting us to where we want & need to be, we have a great team of people regularly discussing how to take the club forward and we are already seeing planning go into place to take Mursley on to the next level. I think the team on the field have moved forward from last season, as I said we have quality in the team but are still improving, we all want to achieve promotion so now we are striving for consistency in our performances
A win, a draw and a defeat in Mursley’s last three, how were those games?
The last three results have been a mixed bag due to having a week off before and after the 61 FC game, we played well against them and it could have been a bigger margin of goals, after that game we were confident going into the next game however a week off didn’t help us too much but against Old Bradwell we were really up for it on a day where the conditions were simply horrendous, but we knew we had to pick up points. We started well but couldn’t quite hold on for the three points, then we faced Berkhamsted but that’s a game we all want to forget! We were awful in the first half but managed to keep level by the break, we took the lead but then everything just fell apart, credit to them they’re a good side but we helped them along the way
On to Aston this week, lost to them in a cup game earlier in the season so where do United need to improve?
That cup game was very close & could’ve gone either way on the day, we were missing a few players which would have helped us however we know that they are a very good side and their run of results since we played them have been overall pretty good, so they have probably improved since then. We will just need to be organised and ready to battle against a good side, the points are crucial with us being so close in the table so it’s a game we will be up for, we’ll focus on ourselves and what we can do to make sure we have enough on the day to win the game. I look forward to battling it out with Chris Stapleton who I know from our time at Buckingham Athletic together
Finally, we asked Nathan what the targets are for the rest of the season:
2019 is a huge year for us, the club are making changes to get us ready to step up so we need to get ourselves in a position to earn the rewards of their hard work. The goal all season has been the same, we need to be finishing in the top three which is still achievable, the league is very competitive so we know we need to raise our performance levels and dig deep to reach our targets. I would like to finish by wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and thank Sports Shots for the excellent work you’ve done in raising the profile for football in our area
Sports Shots would like to thank Nathan for his time this week