SSMFL D1; Athletic duo hoping for KO at Ampthill in order to RT

Saturday 9th February 2019

Ampthill Town v Buckingham Athletic

Spartan South Midlands League Division One

Ampthill Park

K.O. 3.00pm

Buckingham Athletic travel to Ampthill Town on Saturday for the first meeting between the sides this season, and face a side under the guidance of new management after Paul Toms left the job just two weeks ago and replacement Paul Blackman has yet to take a game since due to the poor recent weather conditions. Ath will be looking to build on their win at Codicote fourteen days ago which stopped the rot of three successive defeats in all competitions, and go into this weekend in seventh place in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division One table but with two games in hand on the three teams above them, if they win those then they could go fourth. Neil Griffiths men currently boast the joint fourth best number of away wins in the league this campaign, the joint fourth least amount of goals conceded away from home, joint seventh best number of goals scored away from home, and have won four and drawn one of their last six away league games. Their hosts have won just once in their last seven in all competition, but coming up against teams under new managers isn’t always as comfortable as league form suggests!

Robert Tapp

This week Sports Shots caught up with Athletic due Kevin Owusu & Robert Tapp & asked the latter how long he’s been at the club, what attracted him and how he’s settled in?

It’s my first season down at Athletic, I joined in the summer when Griff (Neil Griffiths) took over as manager. I was with him last year at Olney so decided to stay with him this year as it seemed a good club with lots of young lads with bright futures and with a few faces from Olney aswell, everyone seemed friendly and I found it a good group that made it fine settling in

Kevin also followed from their previous club:

I’ve been at the club since the start of the season, I was with Neil at Olney Town & when he told me he was coming to Buckingham I knew a couple of players already here so it wasn’t a hard decision. Settling in has been easy, all the players have been welcoming and made me feel part of the team

We asked Kevin how he feels his season has been since joining:

In terms of fitness, availability and performances I think I’ve done well this season as I haven’t suffered from an injury for the whole season, so since pre-season I’ve felt good. I’m pretty much always available but because of work I am late quite a lot ha-ha, my performances have been up and down during the season so I’ve just got to find that consistency. If I can finish the season with 15 goals I’ll be happy

Kevin Owusu

Robert has also avoided any serious injury but has collected the odd suspension:

I’ve been available most the season so far, bar a few games suspended, but I was lucky enough to get straight back in considerng we have a good squad and plenty of competition for places. I’ve also been lucky with no injuries that could have kept me out, the target was to win a trophy but we’ve messed that up in the last few weeks, apart from the charity cup which we are in the semi-final of

How good does Rob think this current squad is, and have any players impressed so far?

We have a strong squad when everyone’s fit, but we’ve been struggling lately with a few illnesses and injury which has stretched us, but most are back and fit now. I have been impressed with Jack Mendy, Ryan Marsden and Robbie Carter, they’re all young and have very bright futures, also Josh McAdoo has been very good for us in goal making some vital saves

Kev also picked out the goalkeeper for impressing this term:

I think we have a strong group, it has shown from the start of the season where we had a lot of players and every week the team was different because everyone was making it difficult for the manager to pick who would play. Josh has been amazing in goal and has impressed me a lot, Sam Olawale has also with his pace & he’s managed to score loads of goals, some being very important. Also Ash Farmer who’s not playing in his preferred position but playing well week in week out, he is just so consistent

What is Kevin’s preferred position in the team and what formation best suits his style?

My favourite position is out wide but I also like playing the number ten role, but because we usually play in a four-four-two I’d be out on the wing, however if we play four-three-three then I do enjoy playing that number ten position. Either way I think both roles get the best out of me

Robert has to play where his body allows:

If I was to choose any position it would be centre midfield but I don’t think my legs can hack it anymore in there, so I’ll stick with centre back as it’s a lot less running.  I think when we have a full squad we’re best with four-four-two as everyone knows and understands it best, and with two forwards we can cause teams a lot of problems as most of our opponents aren’t used to facing two strikers these days

What has been Roberts’s path in football prior to joining The Ath?

I first started playing for my local village team Roade FC when I was about nine years old, I then went to play for Newport Pagnell youth for many years, after that I moved to MK City playing under eighteen and reserve team football at the Old Wolverton Park ground. I then took two years out before returning to Newport Pagnell and playing for them for thirteen seasons in a very good and successful team. I left there three years ago to go & play at Olney, before joining Buckingham last summer

Kevin has played football a little further afield:

I was born in France so I played for couple local clubs called Chelles, Champs and St Thibault, I then moved over to England and played for MK City before joining the MK Dons academy up until under eighteen level, I didn’t get a professional contract and ended up at Biggleswade United. From there I joined Kempston Rovers but that didn’t work out so went to Olney

The last four games have seen two cup exits, defeat at Langford before a much needed morale boosting win at Codicote last week, how has this period been for Kev?

It has been a tough couple of weeks, no one likes to lose semi-finals and with our squad and management wanting to win cups it was very disappointing. Langford was a kick in the teeth, I don’t think either team deserved to lose, and as we’re trying to finish as close as possible to the top it was a set-back but with a win at Codicote hopefully now we can kick on and give it a really push

The cup defeats linger in Robert’s memory:

The cup games were very disappointing for us, against Newbury we weren’t good enough at all, to be two goals up and lose was shocking from us. We then played Risborough in a very tight game which we were unlucky not to get anything from but one lapse in concentration cost us. The league game at Langford we should have won, we had so many chances but couldn’t seem to score then they got two break away goals very late on, the first a very good finish to be fair to the lad. We made hard work of a single goal victory against Codicote on a poor pitch with a scratch squad, again we had loads of chances but when it’s not going your way they don’t find the back of the net, but to grind it out with ten men for thirty minutes was a good win to get us back on track, with lads back from injury we can start pushing on again

What does Robert expect from Ampthill this week?

To be honest I know nothing at all about Ampthill, not even sure where they are in the league, I’m sure it will be another tough test for us

Kevin is equally unsure on their hosts:

No I don’t know anything about them or anyone there, but what I can expect is that they’ll make it difficult for us to win the game so we need to be at our best to try & keep going with our winning ways

Finally, we asked Kevin to pick anyone from the squad he would like to see on a television programme, and explain why?

Probably Robbie Carter to go on who wants to be a millionaire just because he doesn’t know anything except for scoring goals, so it’d be funny to watch him struggle on the first question!

Robert picks a collective of players:

I wouldn’t just pick one I’d pick a team to go on eggheads, because of their high IQ levels, the team would be Robbie Carter, Jack Mendy, Ryan Marsden and Ryan Kelsey, I don’t think this team would be beaten!

Also, thanks for what Sports Shots do for local football, really good reports and pictures of local games. Top work

Sports Shots would like to thank Kevin & Robert for their time this week

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