Saturday 16th March 2019
Aylesbury v Dunstable Town
Southern League Division One East
After a free week-end last week, Aylesbury FC host Dunstable Town this Saturday at Heywood Way looking to build on their recent turn around in form that has seen Paul Bonham’s men accumulate three successive wins before a notable draw at play-off chasing Didcot Town two weeks ago, and in Dunstable they face a side that are in a down turn of form which has seen them collect just a single point from their last fifteen available. In that five game run Town haven’t scored a single goal either, and find themselves just a place and five points ahead of their hosts going into this fixture, although an away win could propel the Bedfordshire side a couple of places up that table. With the bottom three places separated by just three points both sides will be keen to pick up valuable points, but with Aylesbury recently successful against both Didcot & Bedford who are in those play-off positions, and a cup final place already secured for the Buckingham Senior Charity Cup, confidence will be high in the home dressing room……
This week Sports Shots caught up with defender Ben Stevens who has recently re-joined the club after hanging up his boots last summer, and we asked how he has ended up back in football:
I have been back at the club now for about two months after nearly ten months out. I suppose it was a combination of the wife saying that I was always grumpy on Saturdays after I’d stopped playing and a few little cheeky chats with Paul Bonham who somehow managed to talk me round. As for settling back in it was like I had never been away, the club is full of very nice people so they make you feel welcome straight away
How does Ben feel his fitness has been since returning, and how have his performances shaped up?
In terms of fitness I would like to be a lot fitter but after nearly ten months of doing nothing I don’t feel too bad, bar a few aches and pains the next day after a game lol. Performance wise I have felt like I have done well in each game I have played in, I’m a battler and a leader and I feel that it’s having a good effect on the squad
How good is this Aylesbury squad and have any players stood out?
The squad seems much stronger now than when I signed two months ago and that’s mostly down to Paul Bonham and his assistant Paul Toms, they have got the team fighting for each other again. There have been a few players that have impressed me, the first being Ryan Young, his energy, pace and the way he runs with the ball at defences is scary. Also Ty Deacon, even though I’ve known Ty for a while he has really impressed me with the level of consistency he has brought to his game, and finally Jordan Jenkins aka JJ just for the sheer fact that for most of the early season he carried the team single handed
What is Ben’s preferred position in the team?
I’ve been a centre half for many years but my favoured position is in centre midfield, that’s where all the action is and where I feel I can contribute more. I’m still all for the standard four-four-two formation as I feel that everyone knows their position & jobs, and I’m not constantly having to tell them where they should be which allows me to focus one hundred percent on my game
A remarkable turn around of late in form for Aylesbury has seen wins over Bedford, Leighton & Cambridge along with a very creditable draw at Didcot, how has this run been?
Your right it has been a remarkable turn around and a well needed and deserved one! The wins against Bedford, Leighton and Cambridge were massive and have brought great confidence and belief to the squad and the club, in all fairness we should have beaten Didcot as well. Both Bedford and Didcot are fighting for playoffs so to take four points from those two games have shown how far we have come as a squad over the last month, let’s just hope we can keep it up
After a week off this week they face Dunstable Town who are in poor form of late, how dangerous would it be to assume an easy three points ahead?
No game is easy in this league as we have shown teams in the last month so this one will be no different. Dunstable Town is another massive game for us and we will treat them in the same way as the last four games, we know a win will bring us closer to them and drag them into a relegation battle which is a little dangerous as it gives them something to fight for but hopefully we can take advantage of our recent form and get the three points
With so few games of the season left, what are Ben’s and the clubs targets for the rest of this season, and into next year?
Both mine and the club’s targets are the same, to picks up as many points as we can to avoid finishing in the bottom two, as for my plans next year I’m not really sure yet as I’ve won both league and cup at the level below so I’m not sure I want to try and do that again. I’ve been coaching a Bedgrove Dynamos youth team this year so I might take that up full time next season, who knows anything can happen in that time. My main focus right now is to keep trying to win football games and keep the club out of the bottom two
Finally we asked Ben if he could choose any team mate to go on any TV programme, who and what would he choose?
I would probably choose Ty Deacon to go on Who Wants to be a Millionaire as I don’t think they have ever had anyone get the first question wrong, and as Ty is not the sharpest tool in the box it would be a great possibility so would make good viewing!
Sports Shots would like to thank Ben for his time this week