3 Points = 3 Places? - 10th April
Fairford Town could climb three places up the Premier Division table by completing a double over Marlow United at Wilks Park.
John Paget's side have already picked up a point at that ground this season when they drew 2-2 with Flackwell Heath, who share Marlow's base.
Fairford beat last season's Division One East runners-up Marlow 4-0 in November and the Buckinghamshire club, who have won once on their last six, are struggling in the bottom four.
Paget believes his side’s stubborn defence can prove the difference when his side travel to Marlow . “Defensively we’re very strong and we haven’t been conceding many” states Paget, whose side have the fifth best defensive record in the league.
The return of experienced Slovakian goalkeeper Roman Roncinsky will no doubt boost Fairford’s defensive credentials which will also see a call-up for young defender Colin Kirk after impressing in the reserves. Lee Clark should also feature but Jack Williams is ruled out.
If Fairford win they will reach a welcome milestone of 50 points.
|Hunt Them Down - 3rd April
Fairford Town face a stern test when they host runaway league leaders Hungerford Town in the FTL Futbol Hellenic League Premier Division, writes Sam Morshead in The Swindon Advertiser.
John Paget’s side ground out a much-deserved 3-3 draw with second-placed Shortwood Town on Tuesday night and the Fairford boss claims that the result has given the team added confidence ahead of tomorrow’s clash.
“It was a good team performance against Shortwood. The work rate was fantastic,” he said. “They really came at us but we were well worth the result and we even had an opportunity to nick it at the end. We need more of the same this weekend, work rate is the key. We’ll go out there and hunt Hungerford down in twos. If they’re going to beat us they’ll have to earn it.”
Earlier in the season Fairford held their guests for over an hour before eventually succumbing 2-0 and Paget believes his side have all the attributes to pull off a result this time round. “It would be a big effort to get something out of the game,” he said. “The guys are young which means they are learning all the time, but it also means that they have no fear. They have genuinely over-achieved as a team this season.”
Fairford will be without Sam Walker for the first time this campaign but Paget has no other selection worries.
Out For Revenge - 20th March
FTL Futbol Hellenic League Premier Division, Fairford Town, are out for revenge against bottom but one Milton United at The Heights tomorrow.
Mid-table Fairford lost 1-0 at home to Milton in October and John Paget's men will want to put things right tomorrow.
Milton also had the upper hand over Fairford in 90/91 when they pipped them to the Hellenic League title on goal difference.
Set Of Three? - 27th February
John Paget is targeting a season hat-trick over local rivals Shrivenham as Fairford set their sights on a respectable mid-table finish to the Hellenic League Premier Division campaign.
Both sides enjoyed impressive midweek results, Shrivenham putting the horror of conceding 13 goals in two previous games behind them to gallantly hold title-chasing Shortwood to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday.
But 24 hours earlier, Fairford were in rampant form, smashing six past relegation-haunted Bicester at Cinder Lane.
Paget admits he hasn’t quite stopped looking over his own shoulder yet, but believes at least two more wins should be enough to consign any threat of relegation to history.
The Fairford boss, who has recently brought in Luke Clennell from tomorrow’s opponents, as well as Delroy Fallon from Cirencester United, said: “If we can finish in mid-table, I think we’ll be happy. Somewhere around about the 40 point mark should see us safe and we’re on 34 points at the moment.’’
The two sides have met three times already this campaign, Fairford winning the first league meeting and FA Cup tie and Shrivenham claiming the Hellenic Floodlit Cup success.
Paget said: “I watched Shrivenham on Wednesday and I thought they deserved their draw. Possibly, Shortwood went in thinking it was going to an easy one, but Shrivenham played well.
Fairford's Hathaway Dies - 5th February
It is with great sadness that Fairford Town secretary Bill Beach advises the untimely passing of former player John Hathaway. From information given, John died this morning from a heart attack. He was 40, married with 3 children. His football career took him to Coventry City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Swindon Town, before coming back 'home' to Fairford Town. He played regularly for Fairford from the late 80's through to early in the new century.
A thoroughly good guy, John was enthusiastic about his football and loved coaching youngsters, glad to put something back into the game.This was a role he had with Swindon Town, as well as being Fairford's first team coach this season, a role he greatly loved and enjoyed. Everyone who knew John will have their own memory of him and will mourn his passing.The club wish to pass on their deepest condolences to John's family at this tragic time.
As soon as funeral arrangements are known these will be advised.
Hard On The Gas - 2nd January
John Paget insists his side won’t take their foot off the pedal as they travel to Pegasus Juniors in first round of the SoccerKits Plus Supplementary Cup.
Paget has used the other cup competitions this season to give youngsters and fringe players some much-needed game time, but the boss will stick out his strongest line-up against Pegasus, believing his troops have what it takes to progress.
“It’s the last cup competition we are in, so I will field the same team that I would for a league game,” said Paget. “In some of the cups we haven’t put out our strongest team, but certainly in this one we will. We’re on a decent run of form and want to keep that going."
“Although the league is always our number one priority, if we could go far in this one it would be a really big boost for everyone. But this will be a tough game, they are a similar club to ourselves, who have made a good start to the season and are just above us in the league. We’ll be looking to build on a very good result at Almondsbury last Saturday, and we’re confident of going through to the next round.”
Alex Rudd (knee) and Steve Bennett (calf) remain sidelined, so John Magani and Ali Mayo keep their places in the Fairford squad.
Fairford Bank Holiday Double? - 27th December
Fairford will probably meet an Almondsbury side out for revenge when they travel to Oakland Park today.
John Paget's men surprisingly inflicted a first defeat of the season on last year's Premier Division runners-up when the sides clashed at Cinder Lane in August.
The Almonds, who only missed out on promotion to the Southern League on goal difference, have lost just three times in 18 games this season and the Fairford setback still hurts. The Bristol based club are up to fifth after last week's 6-0 win over Marlow and no one in the Premier Division has scored more goals on home soil in the 2008-09 campaign, Almondsbury have scored 34 in 11 home fixtures. They have won four successive games and scored 20 goals in the process, with former Cinderford Town striker Richard Kear netting two hat-tricks.
Fairford, who until their last game had been on an excellent run, will be aiming to bounce back from a 6-0 drubbing last week by Highworth, who gained their revenge for a 6-1 defeat just 18 days earlier in some style. It was a 2 goal win for Fairford when the two teams met on the last Bank Holiday weekend and they will be doing all they can to complete the league double over the Almonds
Cloud Nine - 5th December
Fairford could leapfrog local rivals Highworth in the table tomorrow if they beat Abingdon at Culham Road and their rivals slip up.
John Paget and his players will be on cloud nine after their stunning victory at Cinder Lane on Tuesday, and will be confident of collecting a fourth win in five matches.
When Fairford last played Abingdon, brothers Sam and Peter Walker grabbed a goal each in the 2-1 home win on October 28. The two sides finished in the relegation zone last season but both were reprieved from relegation.
This season The Abbots are back in the bottom three again after losing their last six games and have conceded 10 in the last two. Fairford are in the top half of the table after stretching their unbeaten run to four games with a 6-1 win over Highworth Town on Tuesday.
Huge Success - 28th November
John Paget has hailed his club’s link up with neighbours Real Fairford a “huge success,” as he looks to put the Gloucestershire town back on the footballing map.
The Cinder Lane chief has had a pool of over 40 players to choose from this season, with the two Fairford squads combining during training sessions. Spared the indignity of relegation by league restructuring last year, Paget’s men are enjoying a renaissance in the Hellenic League Premier Division, and the manager knows exactly where the praise should lie.
Paget, pictured,said: “It was a brilliant idea to forge a link between the two clubs and my assistant Steve Bennett should take a lot of credit for that. He coached Real Fairford last season, and he played a big role in getting the two clubs together. Now we have four sides, two in the Hellenic League and two in the Cirencester League, and all the teams are performing well.
We had over 40 at training on Wednesday, and that was not including the first team. The competition has definitely had a bearing on results, and we are now seeing some of the Real Fairford players pushing through. My two wingers Matty Reynolds and Duncan Scrivens were both playing in the Ciren League last year and they have made the step up. Things are looking very bright.”
Fairford host Winterbourne United in the SoccerkitsPlus Supplementary Cup tomorrow, but Paget admits his attention lies elsewhere. With the big derby with rivals Highworth less than a week away, the Fairford chief is already rubbing his hands in anticipation. He said: “The Highworth game is the biggest of the season for us, and me personally, so I can’t wait for it to come round. If results go for us at the weekend, we could actually leapfrog Highworth if we beat them, now that would be a story. But we have Winterbourne to deal with first. I don’t know too much about them, so I’ll probably give (Wootton Bassett boss) Dave Turner a call, as his side beat them on Tuesday.
We are full of confidence at the moment, so even though the league is our priority we will be looking for a positive result.”
Defender Steve Bennett (calf) will be rested ahead of the Highworth game, with Pete Griffiths set to take his place at centre back.
|Happy Chappy - 24th November
John Paget was a happy man after watching his side pick up a point from a Sam Walker (left) goal in a 1-1 draw at Old Woodstock Town.
James Keeble gave Old Woodstock a first half lead when Fairford failed to clear a corner, but Paget’s side responded two minutes into the second half as Sam Walker headed home.
The manager said: “It was a game of two halves, they had most of the first half and we had most of the second, so a draw was probably a fair result."
"You’ve got to be happy with getting a point away from home, the result is a decent one and if we can keep getting draws away from home for the rest of the season I would be more than happy.”
On A League Roll? - 21st November
Fairford Town will be aiming to build on their biggest league success of the season when they go to Old Woodstock Town tomorrow.
John Paget's side thrashed Wantage Town 6-1 last week with Alex Rudd scoring four times and Matt Boucher and Duncan Scrivens adding singles. The result moved Town up into the Premier Division mid-table, whilst one win in 11 has seen opponents Woodstock slip into the bottom three.
Fairford went out of the GFA Trophy when they lost 2-0 to Longwell Green Sports on Tuesday but Paget is harking back to the last league game for inspiration. "It was superb, probably the best we've played all season," he said. "We've been threatening it for a long time. Our approach play has been good all year, but on Saturday we took our chances as well which maybe we haven't done enough in past games."
Paget admits he has some sympathy for tomorrow’s opponents Old Woodstock Town. The teams meet for the second time this season and Fairford will be favourites with the home side struggling at the wrong end of the table with just three league wins to their name. Paget’s team were in a similar scenario last year and were granted a repreive from relegation, but they have gone on to surprise many people with a surge into midtable security this time round.
The boss said: “We played them earlier this season and drew 1-1, and they’re not an easy team to break down. They may be struggling a little bit but it will be a hard game for us and there’s no easy games in this league. It’s a game that we would like to go and win, but you’ve got to earn the right to win - you can’t just turn up and expect it.
“Old Woodstock are a fairly young team who got promoted last season and are finding life hard in this league. I know what they’re going through because we were in that same situation last year, but it looks like we’re coming out the right side of it, and hopefully they can too.”
Keeper Roman Roncinsky returns to the Fairford squad having missed the last couple of games but, that aside, Paget will name a full-strength line-up.
|Waiting To Happen - 17th November
Wantage Town took the thrashing which the young Fairford side had been threatening to hand out all season, after they recorded a 6-1 hammering of their mid-table rivals in the Hellenic League Premier Division.
Alex Rudd (left) struck four times, including two penalties, while Matt Boucher and Duncan Scrivens were also on the scoresheet as Fairford cut loose from the off to climb into 12th spot in the table.
John Paget was full of praise for his young team, admitting: “It was superb, probably the best we’ve played all season. We’ve been threatening it for a long time. Our approach play has been good all year, but on Saturday we took our chances as well which maybe we haven’t done enough in past games. We were first to all the second balls, our workrate was excellent and we wanted it much more than they did."
“Ruddy played very well,he’s putting the chances away, but it’s a team game and him and Pete Walker are forming a superb partnership up there.”
Learn From The Top - 14th November
John Paget is urging his Fairford Town players to learn from the FTL Futbol Hellenic League Premier Division’s top sides as they edge closer to becoming the finished article.
Fairford go into tomorrow’s home game against Wantage Town at Cinder Lane on the back of successive defeats against Witney United and Hungerford Town, who lie second and first respectively in the table.
The Swindon Advertiser writes the boss is tipping his young troops to bounce back to winning ways this weekend, having taken on board some tips from the top. Paget said: “We’ve played the top two and run them both fairly close, but just haven’t got the results to go with it. We weren’t expecting much from the games but there were a lot of positives to take out of them."
“I’m confident that we are getting there and we’re not too far off the level of the better teams in our division. It’s important that the players learn from those type of games against the better sides and take it forward into the matches that follow. At the moment the vital thing is the team work, we’ve been stressing to the players that it’s not about individuals, it’s all about grafting together and putting in the effort as a team. That’s what will get us results."
Alex Rudd and Lee Clarke are major doubts after picking up knocks during Tuesday night’s defeat at Hungerford and the pair will face late fitness tests ahead of tomorrow’s match.
Robbery? - 10th November
John Paget felt robbed after his Fairford team went down 3-2 against Witney on Saturday, with the opposition scoring both goals in added time.
Paget’s men roared into a deserved 2-0 lead through Alex Rudd and Matt Boucher, opponents Witney pulled on back on 77 minutes but Fairford looked like holding firm going into stoppage time. But with 92 minutes on the clock Witney levelled and, much to Paget’s disgust, Witney went on to grab a winner nine minutes into the 11 that were added on.
“To say we were robbed is an understatement. I’m not sure where he got two minutes from let alone 11. I’ve made my feelings known to him after the game but I have to be careful what I say or I’ll be in hot water. What I will say is Witney even had 12 men on the pitch at one stage when they made a substitution for a player that was injured and the injured player stayed on. It was ridiculous but now I just have to pick the boys up again after this.”
"Over Achievers" To Visit Heathens - 24th October
Fairford Town are aiming to continue their "over achieving" tomorrow as they travel to ‘unknown quantity’ Flackwell Heath.
John Paget admits their opponents’ form has left him scratching his head, but is tipping his side to pick up all three points. “It’s quite a big game for us. Flackwell are one place and one point below us in the league so it’s a real six-pointer. And there’s the added incentive that a win could push us into the top half of the division. Flackwell have had a few funny results – they’ve won some games heavily but also lost a few by quite a bit. So they will be an unknown quantity. But I’m confident that we can go there and get a result.”
HPL Foodlit Cup - 22nd October
For the second time in seven days local rivals Shrivenham and Fairford Town face each other tonight at the Recreation Ground, with the hosts hoping to avenge a 3-0 drubbing last week.
Mark Love’s side were comprehensively beaten in league action by Fairford last Wednesday, and will be out for revenge as the sides face each other again in the first round of the HPL Hellenic League Floodlit Cup.
Fairford have been one of the Premier Division’s surprise package so far this season, but boss John Paget will make changes as he looks to keep his young side fresh for their assault on the division’s upper reaches.
Returning to the squad is striker Alex Rudd, who missed their weekend game, while Lee Clatworthy, Ian Probert and Duncan Scrivens also come in.
Paget said: “It’s been a hard start to the season for the players with the games coming thick and fast, so although it’s a local derby we’re using it to rest a few of the lads.
“It was a very good win against Shrivenham last week and probably the best we’ve played so far this season. They’ll be determined to get one back on us and it should be a good game - I’m looking forward to it.”
|Craft And Confidence - 17th October
John Paget hopes a little craft and a huge dollop of confidence can overcome the brute force of Milton United tomorrow.
The Fairford Town boss orchestrated one of the club’s best wins in recent seasons on Wednesday night, a 3-0 derby romp on Shrivenham soil. It was Fairford’s third win on the spin, and a fourth at Cinder Lane this weekend should move them into the top half of the Hellenic Premier with games in hand.
Fairford start the game as favourites, but Paget knows the opposition could take some breaking down. He said: “It was an absolutely smashing result for us on Wednesday night. Shrivenham have been on a bit of a run themselves recently so to win like that was fantastic, especially against your local rivals. It wasn’t a one off either, we’ve won our last three and we are showing what we are capable of."
“Milton will be a different test for us. They are lower midtable like ourselves so we’re expecting a tight game but it’s a real clash of styles. They are always a big, tough, physical side and we will have to try and play our way through them. But we will go into the game very confident after Wednesday night.”
Key man Ian Probert (left) is available again after missing the derby win through work commitments, but Paget is unlikely to tinker with the winning formula. The manager said: “Ian is available but we have a policy of not changing the team after a good performance so Ian will come back into the 14 but we’ll be going into the game with an unchanged side.”
All To Play For - 3rd October
Fairford Town can stretch their unbeaten run in the FTL Futbol Hellenic Premier Division to five games when Ardley United visit Cinder Lane tomorrow.
Town showed determination to secure a 1-1 draw with Old Woodstock Town in midweek when a goal from in form striker Pete Walker was enough for a point.
Manager John Paget handed a debut to young goalkeeper Sam Davis, following an injury to back-up goalkeeper Lee Clatworthy, and he could feature again.
Fairford have lost once in seven league games so far, and that was at leaders Chalfont Wasps, while Ardley are in the table's top six.
|Keeper Injured But 3 Points Won - 29th September
Matt Boucher scored the only goal of the game as Fairford Town continue to defy the sceptics by winning their FTL Futbol Hellenic League Premier Division fixture away against Kidlington.
The midfielder scored a screamer in the seventh minute, firing home from 25 yards, to see off the challenge of Kidlington and lift Fairford comfortably into mid-table. It means last season’s whipping boys have only lost once in league action so far this time, and manager John Paget was full of praise for his young side. He said: “It was an excellent win and we could have added to the score as we pushed on to try and make sure of it. It was a real midfield battle and Ben Snook and Matt Boucher were superb in there and never let them settle. Some of the teams we’ve come up against so far this season have underestimated us, but I guess people will be starting to sit up and take notice of us now. Our work rate is phenomenal and what we may lack a little bit in ability, we more than make up for in work rate and team spirit. Everyone works so hard for each other and we just don’t stop running.”
Fairford’s joy was tempered by the loss of keeper Lee Clatworthy (pictured right), who was taken to hospital with a broken collar bone, and had to be replaced between the sticks by striker Alex Rudd.
It was the second shot-stopper Fairford have lost in a month after new signing Paul Thompson suffered ligament damage, and Paget admitted: “It’s just our luck to have lost another keeper. But Alex Rudd went in goal for the last 20 minutes and he actually did very well. He was punching everything and looked decent in there. I’m delighted for the boys - we’re playing well and everyone is buzzing at the moment.”
In their six league games so far this season Fairford have lost only one game.
Time To Bounce Back - 26th September
Fairford Town are aiming to bounce back from their midweek FA Vase disappointment when they go to Kidlington in the FTL Futbol Hellenic Premier tomorrow.
John Paget's side were defeated by Hook Norton 3-1 in a replay to end their interest in the competition for this season.
Fairford were already three goals down when Alex Rudd scored on 71 minutes and Paget will be looking for an improved performance at Yarnton Road.
Kidlington are just one point off the top six while Fairford are in the bottom four but they have played less games than anyone else due to their impressive form in the knockout competitions.
Last Minute Decision Denies Fairford - 15th September
Boucher scores, but a controversial injury-time winner sent Gosport Borough into the next round of the FA Cup and left Fairford Town boss John Paget fuming.
Matty Boucher (right) had given Fairford an early first-half lead with a stunning strike from Ben Snook’s lay-off. Gosport finally woke up, and they levelled on the half-hour through Nathan Lynch’s close-range finish.
Justin Bennett’s last-ditch effort for Gosport thundered off the Fairford crossbar before it was hacked clear by the home defence, only for the linesman to flag for a goal. Fairford’s vocal protests fell on deaf ears however, and as the final whistle blew Paget made his feelings perfectly clear, as the Swindon Advertiser reports.
“I’m very, very disappointed,” he said. “To lose in the 89th minute to such a dubious goal is very hard for my players to take. The linesman said the ball crossed the line, but he was about 10 yards behind the play. My assistant boss Steve Bennett is one of the most honest men in football. He was playing sweeper and he is adamant the ball did not cross the line.
“I think the linesman was trying to make a name for himself. With the goal coming so late there was just no way we could come back from it.”
“I was gutted for the players because they worked their socks off. They all played out of their skins,” said Paget afterwards. “Even the Gosport manager admitted we didn’t deserve to lose. It’s a steep learning curve for us but I was proud of what the players achieved. They can hold their heads up high
|FAirford CUP Fever - 12th September
FA Cup fever has gripped the town of Fairford as the local football team face their biggest match in their history tomorrow.
Hundreds of people are expected to descend on Cinder Lane for Fairford Town’s FA Cup first round qualifying tie against Southern League outfit Gosport Borough.
While Fairford’s normal home gate can stretch to around 50 locals, four times that amount are expected to be in attendance for what boss John Paget (pictured) describes as a “huge” game - both in stature and finance.
“It’s a massive game for us,” he admitted. “The financial rewards are huge - £3,000 for the winner of one game - so that’s what it’s all about. It’s our biggest game and everyone is up for it. Not just the club and the players, but everyone in the town - the whole place is buzzing. Walking around Fairford you can hear people talking about it. It’s great to hear and we’re expecting a big crowd.”
Matt Boucher (calf), Ben Snook (ankle) and Adam Snook (ankle) are all expected to shake off knocks, while Steve Bennett faces a fitness test today on his troublesome groin injury. Goalkeeper Paul Thompson is cup-tied so Rob Paget will take his place between the sticks for Fairford.
The manager knows that his side are in for a tough test tomorrow afternoon, but having come this far there is no way they’ll go out without a fight. Paget said: “We’re the underdogs, there’s no doubt about that, but the lads will be right up for it. Gosport are a Southern League side and are expected to beat us, but if you think of it as a boxing match we’ve got to punch above our weight. We’ll have lots of support there and we’ll be in their faces from the first whistle. If you sit off a side like Gosport they will murder you, so our work rate has to be phenomenal. We’ll just have to go out there, give it our best shot and see what happens.”
Form To Continue - 5th September
FTL Futbol Hellenic Premier Fairford Town will be hoping to continue their impressive cup form when they go to Division One West Lydney Town in the FA Vase ,sponsored by EON.
Fairford have only won once in five league games but that was against last season's runner-up Almondsbury when Taylor Gill and Adam Snook scored in a 2-0 win.
But they have struck gold in the FA Cup, following a 4-1 success against league rivals Shrivenham with a 6-0 away win at Westbury United.
New signing, keeper, Paul Thompson is not restricted from The FA Vase and could make his debut at Lydney tomorrow.
Fairford Style - 29th August
Fairford Town will travel in style to their FA Cup tie at Westbury as manager John Paget looks to make the most of their cup success.
Having seen off local rivals Shrivenham in the last round, Fairford have organised a coach for the team and supporters to travel in, and Paget makes the journey in confident mood. He said: “Everyone’s looking forward to it. There’s a coach going down there so we’ll take a few supporters with us. We normally just travel in cars to games but we’ll fill the coach and it will be a nice change because normally we don’t take many fans away from home. The bottom line is, if we can win it’s worth about £1,500, which is a lot of money for little old Fairford.”
Strategic Alliance - 7th July
FTL Futbol Hellenic Premier Division Fairford Town have agreed a strategic alliance with Cirencester & District League side Real Fairford which will see players available to compete for both clubs next season.
The agreement is intended to provide a conduit for local talent to progress from the Cirencester League through to FTL Futbol Hellenic League Reserve team football, and beyond that into the Premier Division.
The Gloucestershire club hope the move will encourage more support from the surrounding area in terms of spectators and financing from local businesses. With no playing budget for the 2008/9 season, manager John Paget is committed to providing opportunities for local players to move up through the ranks under a totally integrated system.
Fairford Up And Running - 4th July
Fairford Town commenced training at Cinder Lane on Tuesday 1st July and will continue with training on every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7pm through to the start of the new season.
The Club, who were escaped relegation from the Premier Division of the FTL Futbol Hellenic League will be pleased to welcome new players who are keen to progress into Hellenic Premier football.
The Club’s Management team of John Paget, together with Assistant Manager Steve Bennett and Club Coach, Gary Probert, are looking forward to the coming season and have agreed a strategic alliance with Real Fairford which will mean all players being available for both clubs. This will provide an excellent conduit for local talent to progress from the Cirencester & District League through to Hellenic Reserve team football, to hopefully the Hellenic Premier Division.
With John Paget, unlike near neighbours Highworth Town or Shrivenham, having no playing budget the Club is now totally committed to providing opportunities for local players to move through the ranks under a totally integrated system. It is hoped this local focus will engender more support from the surrounding areas both in terms of spectators and financing from local businesses.
Pre-Season friendlies have been arranged with Pershore Town and Swindon Supermarine, together with the likes of Wootton Bassett, Trowbridge Town and Marlborough Town.