SSMFL D1; Athletic defender confident his side can show their steel against league leaders

Saturday 16th March 2019
Buckingham Athletic v Harefield United
Spartan South Midlands Division One
Stratford Fields
K.O. 3.00pm

Buckingham Athletic have had a tough run of games of late and it doesn’t get any easier this Saturday as they host champions elect Harefield United at Stratford Fields, United have drawn just two of their twenty-nine league games this season whilst winning the rest, a remarkable run of form in any league! Athletic have seen a mixed bag of results in their last four games, a goalless draw at bottom side Hatfield before an odd goal in three victory over local rivals Winslow in the first leg of the Buckingham Senior Charity Cup semi-final set them up nicely for a thumping and now infamous rout of Hillingdon Borough who turned up to the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong personal, as Neil Griffiths men dished out a fourteen goals to two hammering, this was then followed by a trip down to the side sitting in second place in the Spartan South Midlands Football League Division One table Broadfields United, where a three goal without reply brought the Swans back to earth with a bump. Harefield have won every league game they have played since the end of last August, the only points they have dropped this campaign were in the first month of the season, but not many teams like the famous Stratford bobble……

Stuart Ironmonger

This week Sports Shots caught up with Athletic defender Stuart Ironmonger to ask when he joined the club, how it all came about and how it’s been settling in?

I initially joined the club at under eighteen level a long time ago now, I then managed to play some first team football before I went to uni. Four years later Jake asked me if I wanted to start playing again for the development side at the end of last year and already knowing a lot of the lads from growing up in Buckingham it was an easy choice to start playing again and enjoying football

How does Stuart feel his season has been in terms of fitness and contribution?

I think my fitness is the best it has been, this season was the first pre-season I have had since the under eighteen’s days, so that helped massively. I think I had an eye opener early on against Potton in the cup where I struggled, but since then have been taking information on from Griff (Neil Griffiths) and Jamie (O’Grady) with my performances improving a lot, now I feel that I am performing at a good level consistently which I need to carry on

How good is the squad this season and have any players stood out?

I think you can see this season with the number of injuries we’ve had that the squad depth is immense, everyone stepping in is capable, players that have had a few weeks on the fringe of the first team squad or players stepping up from the Development. It’s hard to pick out any one player as I think we have a lot of youth with great potential in both sides. Robbie Carter goals when he is fit show his clinical edge, if I had to pick one out

What is Stuart’s preferred position in the team?

I think playing centre back at the start of the season was where I felt most comfortable, however now I think I have adapted to playing left back after having a good run of games there. Versatility is important and I think can play at the same level in whichever position is asked of me

The last three games has seen a narrow win over Winslow, a huge scoring win over Hillingdon followed by a resounding defeat last week at Broadfields, how has this run of games been?

Winslow was a good result with not the best of performances, but it is only half a job done, whilst Hillingdon was a test of our ability to be ruthless against not necessarily the best team we have faced but I think the score line showed that, in a result that I doubt will be seen in the league for a long time again. Broadfields was a different prospect and at crucial moments in the game we switched off and that in the end was what cost us in a reasonably close game, not that the score line suggests that

Harefield come to town this week, they haven’t lost in the league all season, how big a test is this?

To come this far in the league and be unbeaten is an unbelievable achievement, so we know it will be a difficult job. Our home form is very encouraging and they will be in a tough game, if we turn up with a good intensity I think we can push to get a good result and end their run

With that semi-final still to conclude, with just nine league games left what is the target for the squad for the rest of the campaign?

The aim is to try and create history and achieve FA cup football for the first time but I think we have to take it game by game and not look too far ahead. Then try and add a bit of silverware to close off a great season

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

I think I Ash Farmer in Britain’s got Talent as a DJ, he has some fantastic skills, or maybe Jack Menday on Takeshi’s Castle, for a few big wipe-outs. Lastly a big thank you to everyone at Sport Shots as always, great work, keep it up!

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

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