What the papers say

Rumours and gossip from local newspapers and the internet

Shrivenham boss hits back at Wootton Bassett jibe

Shrivenham boss Dave Turner hit back at Wootton Bassett Town boss Jeff Roberts suggestion players Craig Bowden and Liam Edmondson joined Shrivvy for ‘guaranteed’ first team football.

ThisIsWiltshire.co.uk reported on Friday following Bassett’s 2-1 victory that Turner said: “There’s one thing I would like to say, just to put the record straight,” said Turner. “Mr Roberts stated that two players came to me because they were guaranteed first-team football.

“I can assure you that’s not why they came to me. They’ve both been dropped by me before and if they don’t perform they’ll be dropped again.”

Read the full story here on ThisIsWiltshire.co.uk

Newbury secure vital win – Hellenic League round-up

Newbury secured a vital 5-2 victory at Abingdon United on Saturday to put them within touching distance of Holyport, and an escape route from the Hellenic Premier bottom three.

The result gives the Faraday Road side a three point gap over United, who had picked up six points over Christmas to increase the pressure at the bottom.

See the Hellenic Premier Division table here

Holyport remain in trouble after a 3-0 defeat at Highmoor-IBIS. The result keeps IBIS in the hunt at the top of the table but Wantage – themselves 3-0 winners at Thame, remain the champions elect with three games in hand over current leaders Ardley United.

Ardley dropped points at Kidlington, a game, given league positions, they would have expected to take all three from. Kidlington though should never be underestimated and have been improving all year.

Ascot United, challengers themselves had Jonny Denton to thank for an 85th minute equaliser at home to Brimscombe & Thrupp.

The Yellamen report said: “A frustrating game for the Yellamen. The game was on – just but the pitch was very sticky which didn’t suit the way Ascot play so it was a question of who adapted best.”

Bracknell’s decent 0-0 draw at Flackwell Heath moves the Robins up to 25 points, which was more than enough for survival last season – Reading Town finished third bottom on 23, and Witney Town finished on 29 the season before.

The challenge for Bracknell will be to build momentum and finish as high as possible going into 2014/15.

The final Premier Division game saw Wootton Bassett Town beat Shrivenham 2-1.

Rayners Lane manager mystified by Hellenic League fixtures

Mick Bradshaw, manager of Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East Rayners Lane says he is ‘mystified’ by the Hellenic League fixtures that see his side play just two games in January, according to GetWestLondon.

“It’s a strange league,” he said. “I came into men’s football three seasons ago in the Suburban League and there was 17 or 18 teams in that division, whereas in this one there’s only 14.

“I suppose the Hellenic League have loaded us up with home fixtures, where we’ve got floodlights, and away fixtures at places like Wokingham, where they don’t have any floodlights.”

Lane were champions of Division 1 East last season, but were unable to take the promotion that saw Bracknell Town return at the first attempt, albeit in fourth place.

Read the full story here: www.getwestlondon.co.uk

Hellenic League round-up – 28th December

Wantage Town’s hard fought 1-0 win at Bracknell Town on Saturday keeps them in touch at the top of the Hellenic Premier Division in third place, with three games in hand over Ardley United and Ascot United.

Wantage had to hold out a Robins onslaught toward the end of the game but they showed the class that means they remain favourites for the league title.

Hellenic Premier Division table here

Ardley of course will be hoping to win it themselves – Wantage and Ardley are the only two Hellenic sides to apply for promotion this year, and they did their chances no harm with a 3-0 win at home to Flackwell Heath.

Holyport were hit for six for the second game in a row, this time at Wootton Bassett Town, but they did at least manage to hit two in reply in a 6-2 defeat.

The unofficial Hellenic League reported seven red cards in Thame United’s 2-0 home defeat to Highworth Town. Reports suggest Thame were shown four and Highworth three.

Shrivenham’s position at the wrong end of the table was strengthened courtesy of a 2-1 win at home to fellow strugglers Newbury while Kidlington beat Reading Town 2-1 and Highmoor-IBIS beat Abingdon United 3-1, both at home.

Games off included Brimscombe & Thrupp vs. Binfield, Abingdon Town vs. Oxford City Nomads and Cheltenham Saracens vs. Ascot United.

Boxing Day Hellenic League round-up

To the suprise of many, a good number of Hellenic Premier Division games got going yesterday – not least the crowd at Larges Lane who had expected to find a flooded pitch and no play possible.

As it was, Bracknell’s chairman Chris Day had worked tirelessly through the morning to make the pitch playable, and was delighted when match referee Luke Scott deemed the ground suitable.

Unfortunately, the result against local rivals Binfield – a 2-0 defeat with goals from Jemel Johnson and Adam Cornell, went against the Robins.

Bracknell Town goalkeeper Dan Smith against Binfield FC - December 2013 - Photo Colin Byers

Bracknell Town goalkeeper Dan Smith against Binfield FC – December 2013 – Photo Colin Byers

It wasn’t all good news for clubs further afield. Games at Brimscombe & Thrupp, Reading Town and Flackwell Heath fell victim to the weather while Holyport arguably would have taken the same fate after their 6-0 drubbing at Ascot United.

Justin Clayton (2), Leon Yarnie. Jermaine Roche, Darryl McLean and Johnny Denton got the goals for the Yellamen on a productive day for United.

The all-Abingdon derby at United Stadium finished 2-0 to the home side Abingdon United. Kieran Cochrane and Josh Crooks scored for United.

The result did nothing for league positions though. United remain second bottom but in touch and level with Newbury on 15 points, while Town remain adrift with just 6 points.

Newbury avoided going second bottom courtesy of a 2-2 draw with Wootton Bassett Town while fellow strugglers Shrivenham were beaten 3-1 at Highworth Town.

Ardley United held on to top spot despite a 1-1 draw at Thame United and Oxford City Nomads won 4-1 at Kidlington.

Another East Berkshire Derby took place in Division 1 East, as Finchampstead hosted Wokingham & Emmbrook with the visitors taking a 3-2 victory at the Memorial Ground.

Guy Whittingham at Bracknell Town – is this true?

Portsmouth legend Guy Whittingham has just been appointed as first team coach at Crawley Town under new boss John Gregory.

This article on the Crawley Observer website suggests Whittingham ‘cut his teeth’ in management at Newport IOW, Eastleigh and Bracknell Town before joining the Pompey coaching staff in 2009.

I have heard Whittingham mentioned in conjunction with us before, but I cannot for the life of me recall any time he spent here – there is no mention on his Wikipedia page. As far as I know the closest he came to Berkshire was as manager of AFC Newbury before they went to the wall in 2006.

Does anybody remember Guy at Larges Lane? Or is this in fact a myth?

Photo borrowed from CrawleyObserver.co.uk

Reading Town strengthen with two loans from Hungerford

Reading Town boss Colin Millard has strengthened his squad with two loan signings from near neighbours Hungerford Town according to the Reading Post.

Full-back Mark Hughes and striker James Clark, who both played under Millard before, have returned to Scours Lane on loan from Calor League side Hungerford.

But there is no time limit and one or both could be recalled by Hungerford boss Bobby Wilkinson at any time.

Read the full article and interview with Millard here on getreading.co.uk

Cheltenham Saracens boss resigns again after defeat

Cheltenham Saracens boss Gerry Oldham has resigned for the second time this season just months after returning following a 5-0 defeat to Flackwell Heath.

The Gloucestershire Echo reports: “Thumped 5-0 at home by Flackwell Heath without Oldham present due to illness – the long-serving boss has decided to finally call it quits after a troubled season.

“Oldham had already been coaxed out of resigning by the Saracens playes in October after becoming frustrated at the lack of commitment to the cause.

“He returned to his post after a week but he missed Saturday’s game due to illness and following the defeat decided to quit for good after 10 years in the post.”

Read more: www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk

Two Hellenic League clubs apply for Step 4 promotion

The Football Association have announced that 73 step 5 clubs have applied for promotion to step 4 this season.

Of the FA list, only two Hellenic League sides have applied for promotion, with their likely destination the Calor Gas Southern League.

The two sides applying for promotion – Ardley United and Wantage Town, both have a good chance in terms of league position. At the time of writing, Ardley are top with 49 points from 21 games while Wantage are fourth with 44 points from 19.

See the current Hellenic Premier League table here

Any side wishing to earn promotion to step 4 must finish top of their respective step 5 league and have the required ground grading of D by 31st March the year following promotion.

Clubs should be aware that they will have to achieve Grade D no later than March 31st following promotion to Step 4. It may prove more cost effective to include these additional requirements in any ground development programme for the E Grade. www.thefa.com

More details on ground grading can be found here (PDF) and here on the FA website (PDF).

A Football Stadia Improvement Fund article earlier this year suggested a grant to Ardley of £25,111 to get themselves a Grade F.

This award will enable Ardley United FC to complete ground grading requirements, to meet with the FA criteria of the “F” grade. Spectators will have extra seated and covered standing accommodation, whilst players will be able to enjoy the luxury of new team shelters. This generous grant will also help in encompassing the ground with new fencing, and provide up to date kitchen facilities. - www.fsif.co.uk

Alfredian Park - photo borrowed from www.PyramidPassion.co.uk

Wantage Town are currently hold a Grade E for Alfredian Park granted after the last round of inspections in the first quarter of 2013. Details on that award can be found here.

Equally close to home, the Combined Counties League has seven applicants:

  • Camberley Town FC
  • Epsom & Ewell FC
  • Hanworth Villa FC
  • Molesey FC
  • South Park FC
  • Wembley FC
  • Windsor FC

Download the full list of step 4 promotion applicants here.

Hellenic League and FA Vase round-up

It was a busy Saturday in the Uhlsport Hellenic League, despite the lack of match action for Bracknell Town, while there were also three Hellenic sides in FA Vase action.

League leaders Ardley United increased their lead at the top of the Premier Division to four points with a 3-2 victory at home to Shrivenham. The Oxfordshire side are early title favourites with three games in hand over Reading Town.

Title rivals Wantage Town dropped points at improving Newbury, held to a 1-1 draw at Faraday Road while Highmoor-IBIS did their chances of being in the mix at the end of the season no harm with a 1-0 win at home to fancied Brimscombe & Thrupp.

Oxford City Nomads notched up an impressive 4-1 win at home to Highworth Town while strugglers Abingdon Town were beaten 3-0 at Thame United and Cheltenham Saracens fell to a 5-0 defeat at home to Flackwell Heath.

Hellenic League representation in the FA Carlsberg Vase is over, after all three remaining sides were beaten at home.

Binfield went down to a solitary goal on the hour as Toolstation Western Premier League leaders Larkhall Athletic advanced to the fourth round, while Kidlington were beaten 3-2 by Bodmin Town and Reading Town suffered a 4-1 defeat to Sholing.

In Division 1 East a Berkshire derby took place at Lowther Road between Wokingham & Emmbrook and Finchampstead, with the Satsuma’s coming away 4-1 winners.

And finally, in Division 2 East, our Reserves title challenge was given a boost after second placed Thame United Reserves were beaten 2-1 at Penn & Tylers Green Reserves, increasing the gap to five points with two games in hand for the Robins.