|Green Hangs Up His Gloves -5th May
Hungerford Town goalkeeper Dominic Green has vowed that this time he will hang up his gloves after helping the club win the FTL Futbol Hellenic Premier Division. The 26-year-old had insisted that 2007/08 would be his last as a stand-in goalkeeper for Hungerford, only to answer the call once again from manager Alan Clark to fill the vacancy between the sticks after Paul Thompson’s departure at the start of the season.
When Clark brought in Andy Bayliss from Newbury AFC in February, it looked like Green had played his last game for the club but an injury to Bayliss during last week’s title run-in saw him handed the gloves again. However, Green (pictured) admitted that there will be no turning back this time after deciding to go out on a high by clinching the title this year. “I have helped them out this year and don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed it,” he said, “but Hungerford are going up to a higher level now so I think they need to look for a goalkeeper who has more experience at that level. I first went in goal when I was a trainee at Reading for a match against Portsmouth when the goalkeeper got lost on the road. I filled in and they were happy with me, they asked me to go training as a goalkeeper but I did not enjoy it and I missed playing centre back. The same thing has happened to me at Hungerford really, but I am done with goalkeeping now and I think I will burn the gloves when I get back home. If I go anywhere else then I will play centre back.”
But his stint between the sticks has provided his best football achievement after helping the club win the title. “It is probably the best moment since I started playing football, it is the top for me as to win a league championship is brilliant,” he added. “I am happy as I have enjoyed every minute of it at Hungerford and it is great for all the people who help out around the club.”
The Reading Chronicle reports Town were left with a bitter taste in their mouth after the Hellenic League failed to present them with the Premier Division trophy after they secured the title with a late draw at Hook Norton at the last game of the season.
Town clinched the title on the last day of a thrilling season but won’t receive the Championship Shield until 22nd May at the club’s presentation evening. And Hungerford boss Alan Clark admitted he felt disappointed at not receiving the trophy after the final whistle. He said: “It was a sickener for everyone at the club that we didn’t get presented with it after the game. We wouldn’t have minded hanging around for half an hour after the game to get the trophy and take it back to our club, but we’re not really sure when it will be presented now and it will feel a bit anti-climatic. It’s unfortunate but I’m sure the league will get around to handing it over when it’s convenient for them.”
Hellenic League general manager Brian King responded: “The logistics of having two potential champions on the final Saturday, who were playing at the same time, and over 60 miles apart meant it was not feasible to be able to make a presentation of the championship trophy and both Hungerford and Shortwood United’s club secretary’s had been made aware of the logistic nightmare that presented itself. Unfortunately this information does not seem to have been passed on to Clark whose Hungerford team scored the goal that gave them a point and the title at Hook Norton in the 72nd minute – at that time Shortwood were leading 3-1 in their match, eventually winning 4-1” King continued; “I have not made any trophy presentations this season so my whereabouts on Saturday was immaterial to events. I can however, advise that League Chairman Bob Dalling will represent the Hellenic League to present the Championship Shield on 22nd May at the club’s presentation evening.”
|Changes Could Ring - 10th April
Alan Clark has threatened to ring the changes as his stuttering Hungerford side prepare for their biggest game of the season tomorrow.
Table-topping Town travel to second-placed Shortwood in what is being seen as a potential title decider in the Premier Division..
In Tuesday night's game at home to Abingdon, Hungerford scraped a 1-0 win through an Ian Concannon penalty, and go into the top of the table showdown against their closest rivals in poor form.
Town were held to a 1-1 draw at Fairford Town last Saturday, their fifth straight game without a win, while they also went down 3-2 after extra-time against Marlow United in the final of the HPL Hellenic Floodlit Cup last week.
With his previously invincible side struggling for form, Clark admitted he might have to wield the axe to stop his side’s promotion dream slipping away in the closing weeks of the season. He said: “This could be the defining week of our season but everyone needs to give a little bit more at the moment and I might have to swap things around to shake everyone up. Things aren’t going our way at the moment as we’ve gone slightly off the boil but we just have to stick at it. A couple of the players just aren’t producing what I expect from them but we all need to take a good look at ourselves. It could be a title decider this weekend but at the moment we’re still in control of our destiny and it’s in our hands. It’s still all to play for and if we win this weekend then we really are in the box seat.”
Hungerford follow up the trip to Shortwood with another tricky away test at Kidlington next Tuesday as Town face three games in eight days.
|Favourites Will Not Choke - 26th March
Hungerford Town assistant manager Kevin Moloney is confident that his stuttering title favourites will not choke during the FTL Futbol Hellenic Premier League run-in after Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at home to Witney United.
That result left league leaders Hungerford without a victory in three matches and they needed a last-gasp double goal-line clearance from Mark McMeeking to preserve a point at Bulpit Lane against their nearest challengers.
Moloney’s side travel to high-flyers Ardley United on Saturday with the pressure now on in the title race as third-placed Shortwood United could cut their lead at the top to just three points if they won their two games in hand.
However, Moloney (pictured) said: “We have to battle for the points now to stay at the top of the pack and we showed bottle against a decent side,” he said. “We would like to have won, but when you are 1-0 down and not playing particularly well, then we will take a point against one of the top teams in the league. We have been talking to the boys and telling them that we have tough games coming up. We need to take points from the next few games and we have Shortwood coming up again. There is a strong squad here with everyone competing for places and we will not let the players ease up, we have to keep going.”
Town will have the chance to clinch silverware on home soil on Tuesday night when they face Marlow United in the final of the Floodlit Cup at Bulpit Lane (7.30pm start).
|Jack Hopes To Make Debut - 20th March
Hungerford will hand new signing Matty Jack his debut for the trip to one of his previous clubs, Highworth Town, on Saturday if the former Didcot Town midfielder recovers from a shin injury.
The FTL Fubol Hellenic Premier League "champions-elect" increased their contingent of former Didcot Town players last week as midfielder Jack joins his former Didcot Town team-mates Graham Edney, Ian Concannon, Scott Davis and Paul Bedwell at Bulpit Lane.
The new signing was Southern League Didcot's Players Player last season, having moved to the Railwaymen from Highworth Town in 2004. Manager Alan Clark was delighted to complete his capture and will pitch Jack straight in for the club’s title bid if he has shrugged off injury. “Matty has a bang on his shin and is doubtful for his debut,” admitted Clark. “But he is a massive signing for us, he will fit in with what we have got and give us the push that we need.”
Town are eight points clear at the top with 11 matches to play and even Clark admits that the title is now Hungerford’s to lose.
Lift Side For Showdown - 12th March
After the midweek penalty shoot out defeat, to Almondsbury Town in the Challenge Cup, Hungerford boss Alan Clark now has to lift his side for Saturday’s league showdown with Shortwood United, the side placed second to Hungerford in the Premier Division table.
Shortwood have suffered a recent downturn, and now trail Hungerford by nine points, although they have a game in hand.
“But we can take nothing for granted,” said Clark. “I watched Shortwood on Tuesday night and they didn’t really deserve to lose. They are still a very good side, and they have been hit by injuries recently. We have got to be careful and not let our standards slip at all. We have still got to play some tough games against Shortwood, Reading Town, Ardley (who drew with Hungerford at Bulpit Lane in the first game of the season), Highworth and others, and one slip-up can lead to others.”
Clark is hoping to add midfielder Matt Jack to his ranks if the player agrees to switch from Southern League Didcot Town.
Hope For More Title Contenders - 6th March
Hungerford Town boss Alan Clark hopes to land two more new recruits despite completing the signing of James Lewis from Shrivenham this week.
Clark completed the deal to bring 18-year-old Lewis to Bulpit Lane earlier this week but is refusing to rest on his laurels as table-topping Town step up their pursuit of the Hellenic League Premier Division title. While refusing to reveal names, Clark is confident of landing another defender by the end of the week – and has also put in a seven-day approach for a Southern League forward/midfielder.
The Town boss was delighted to land Lewis after a long pursuit as he believes the young midfielder has a bright future in the game. He said: “James is one for the future and we’ll blend him into our set-up in the last few games of this season and then hopefully he’ll be a big player for us in the years to come. But we’ll keep pushing for new players. We’re in a good position but we haven’t won anything yet and we’ll keep looking to bring in quality players if they’re available.”
All the new recruits will face a battle to force their way into a powerful Hungerford side who maintained their impressive recent form with back-to-back victories last week against Almondsbury (1-0) and Hook Norton (2-1).
Hungerford’s busy schedule continues with a tough away trip to Marlow tomorrow being followed by an equally tricky journey to Almondsbury in the quarter finals of the SBJ Insurance Challenge Cup on Wednesday.
Clark will have to juggle his resources for the games following a rash of suspensions. John Cant and Blackford are both banned for the Marlow clash, while Blackford, Mark McMeeking and Richie Saunders all miss the quarter-final and new signing Lewis is cup-tied.
Bid To Strengthen - 20th February
Premier Division leaders Hungerford Town are bidding to strengthen their squad for the title run-in by signing midfielder James Lewis from Shrivenham.
With Town’s squad ravaged by a growing suspension list after the dismissals of John Cant, Chris Blackford and Richie Saunders in the games against Lowestoft and Highworth, manager Alan Clark intends to ensure that his side’s title claims do not fall by the wayside.
A seven day approach has been submitted to Hellenic Premier rivals Shrivenham and that may be just the start as Clark knows he must strengthen to achieve the club’s main priority of gaining promotion this season.
“The suspensions will catch up with us, but I will sign a few more boys on,” he said. “We looked a bit leg weary against Highworth on Tuesday, but hopefully the FA Vase game is now out of our system.”
The Crusaders face two vital home games in four days with Almondsbury Town visiting Bulpit Lane on Tuesday night after Milton United on Saturday and Clark will tell his players that their season starts now following the FA Vase disappointment at Lowestoft.
New goalkeeper Adam Bayliss retains his spot between the sticks for Saturday after saving three spot kicks in Hungerford’s Floodlit Cup shoot-out victory over Highworth, and with Dominic Green suspended.
|FA Vase 6th Round Draw - 9th February
A win against Lowestoft on February 14th will see Hungerford Town play at home in the 6th Round of the FA Carlsberg Vase.
The revised date for the 5th round against Lowestoft is next Saturday, a successful journey will see Hungerford against Western League Bideford on February 28th.
Create History - 6th February
Alan Clark has urged his Hungerford Town side to create a bit of history in this Saturday’s fifth round FA Vase clash at Lowestoft Town.
Weather conditions permitting "The Crusdaders" face a tough trip to Suffolk this weekend as they take on a formidable Lowestoft outfit who are aiming to go one better this season after going down 2-1 against Kirkham & Wesham in last year’s Vase final at Wembley.
Lowestoft are also flying high at the top of the Ridgeons Football League, with 19 wins in their first 24 games, and will be roared on by an expected 1,000 strong crowd this weekend. However, Clark, who watched his opponents win 3-1 at Wisbech last week, remains confident that his side can cause an upset and keep alive their own hopes of a showpiece day out at Wembley.
He said: “These are the sort of games that we’re in football for. They’ve obviously got a lot more experience of playing in front of big crowds, including at Wembley, but our whole club is buzzing and the boys can’t wait for the game. I watched them last week and they’re a decent side. They’ve got two real ‘footballing’ full-backs, are very strong across the whole of their midfield and have two big lads up front. They’re well-organised but it’s all about who performs on the day and we’re certainly going to have a real go at them. We’re certainly not going there to be defensive. They’ll obviously start as favourites but I’m more concerned with what we do. If we play like we can then we’re more than capable of winning it on the day.
We shouldn’t be scared of anyone. We’re scoring goals and playing well at the moment so the players have a real chance to make a name for themselves and the club.”
All Out Attack - 15th January
All out attack is the formula for Hungerford Town when they bid to dump co-favourites Leiston out of the FA Vase in Saturday’s fourth round tie at Bulpit Lane.
Tagged as “massive underdogs” by their own manager Alan Clark, 25-1 outsiders Hungerford tackle the 8-1 shots from the Ridgeons Eastern League with Clark aiming to unleash the full power of his strike force.
Leiston have lost only once in 16 league games this season, and they already reached the first round proper of the FA Cup before bowing out to Fleetwood, having disposed of Blue Square Premier League side Lewes and Ryman Premier Division Carshalton Athletic along the way.
“We are massive underdogs,” said Clark. “We will look to make chances and get some luck on the day, but if we get ourselves right then we are a match for anyone. We may have to throw the kitchen sink at them at some point.”
Hungerford go into the tie on the back of their first defeat since September 23rd, a 2-1 loss at home to Newport Pagnell Town which ended Hungerford’s interest in the Berks and Bucks Senior Trophy. Ian Concannon’s goal was countered by a Robert Tapp effort and a late winner from Darren Lynch.
Key Title Fixture - 9th January
Hungerford Town will be bidding to knock rivals Witney United out of the title race on Saturday if the top of the table clash at Bulpit Lane is not waylaid by the weather.
Leaders Hungerford are 11 points clear of the third placed Oxfordshire outfit and Town manager Alan Clark knows that defeat for Andy Lyne’s men will knock them out of the title equation.
Both of Hungerford’s scheduled home matches in the past week have been postponed due to frozen pitches, but Clark hopes the match will beat the big freeze and his side can turn the heat up on their title rivals.
“They have got to beat us to get themselves back in it,” Clark said. “If the result goes our way then they are out of it completely. They were one of the favourites at the start of the season and when they beat us 3-0, their supporters were saying we would be in the bottom four but we have picked up a lot since then.”
Clark has boosted his defensive options ahead of a crucial spell of matches that includes an FA Vase last-32 tie at home to Leiston on Saturday week by re-signing Nick McCrae and he is set to come in for the suspended Paul Bedwell against Witney.
|Hungerford Target McCrae - 24th December
Hungerford are hoping to stay out in front at the top of the FTL Futbol Hellenic Premier League by bringing former defensive talisman Nick McCrae back to the club.
The runaway league leaders want to bolster their options at the back with a return move for the Highworth Town skipper (pictured) , who was a regular for Hungerford last season before moving to the Wiltshire club in the summer.
With Hungerford still fighting on three fronts in the New Year due to their involvement in the FA Vase and the SBJ Hellenic Challenge Cup, along with their renewed title chase, manager Alan Clark will not turn down the chance to re-sign McCrae with the defender said to be keen on a Bulpit Lane return.
Hungerford travel to Milton United on Saturday with Clark warning his players against complacency. “It will be a hard game as they took points off Witney recently and that shows that they can get up for these matches,” Clark said. “We know quite a few of their players and they know us so it will be a feisty game, but if we approach it properly then we will be alright. We sorted a few things out earlier in the season and we are further up the table than I expected us to be, but there is never a bad time to be top of the table.”
|Pressure Handled - 19th December
Alan Clark is confident his Hungerford side can handle the pressure of leading the table, eight points clear at the top of the FTL Futbol Hellenic League Premier Division.
Town extended their advantage to 11 points after they recorded their ninth straight win last weekend with a battling 2-1 victory at home to Highworth Town, although Witney narrowed the gap to eight points again when they won on Tuesday night.
In recent seasons, Town have often been in the chasing group trying to reel in the runaway leaders so Clark admits it is exciting to be setting the pace for once. He said: “Everyone wants a piece of us at the moment but the lads are reacting really to that challenge. It’s a different type of pressure at the top to when you are chasing but we’re enjoying it."
“We’ve been 10 points off the lead with games in hand in previous years but when you’re chasing the leaders, you’re under real pressure to keep winning. I think I prefer having the points on the board and as long as we keep the points ticking over then it keeps the pressure on the teams below us. I thought we’d be up at the top of the table this season as we’ve got a good side but I didn’t expect us to be leading by 8 points going into the Christmas period.”
Town maintained their remarkable recent run last Saturday after first half goals from Paul Bedwell and Ian Concannon gave them a hard fought victory against Highworth. It was one of only two Premier Division games to take place last Saturday but Town took full advantage to stretch their lead at the top of the table.
Bedwell (18) and Concannon (27) fired Hungerford into a 2-0 lead and they had several fine chances to wrap the game before the break. The only bit of bad news last weekend saw John Cant suffer a broken nose which will rule him out for a couple of weeks.
“We wanted the game on as we’re flying high and the pitch was in good condition at kick-off,” admitted Clark. “We were well worth the win in the first half but we sat back after the break. We dominated the first half and should have been out of sight so I was a bit worried we hadn’t killed them off. They kept the ball a lot better after the break but never really looked like scoring until right at the death when we were just trying to see time out and gave away a sloppy goal.”
Hungerford will look to extend their winning run tomorrow when they travel to Flackwell Heath.
|Cant Out For Xmas Period - 18th December
Hungerford Town travel to Flackwell Heath on Saturday looking to maintain their advantage at the top of the Hellenic Premier League, but with left back John Cant (pictured) ruled out for the festive period.
Cant suffered a broken nose in the 2-1 victory over Highworth and will miss the trip to Buckinghamshire when Hungerford will be looking to avenge their 5-4 defeat at Bulpit Lane earlier this season.
|Wessex League Visit For Crusaders - 5th December
Hungerford return to the FA Carlsberg Vase trail on Saturday when they go to Wessex League Hamworthy United in the third round.
Hungerford, who beat Almondsbury Town away in the previous round, reached the quarter finals last season before bowing out to Whitley Bay.
Alan Clark commented: “I think if we do our jobs then there is no reason why we cannot have a good run in the competition again this year.”
Clark has a full squad available to him for the tie. Twenty three goal marksman Ian Concannon was left on the bench for Tuesday night’s 5-0 league win at Bicester Town, but is likely to return for the on loan Vinnie Rusher.
Gosling Back At Bulpit Lane - 20th November
Town’s hopes of going all the way to Wembley in the FA Vase have been boosted by the signing of Jamie Gosling and the 26 year old midfield playmaker is set to start his second spell at Bulpit Lane when Hungerford entertain Pegasus Juniors on Saturday.
Town will visit The County Ground in Hamworthy for the first time ever to face the Wessex Premier League side on December 6th with Alan Clark’s men aiming to come through the tricky Vase tie and repeat last season’s success in the national competition when they reached the last eight.
Clark, who was happy to avoid some of the competition’s big names in the FA Vase, is delighted to have Gosling back on board.
“We signed Jamie on Wednesday morning,” confirmed Clark. “It is a big signing for us, he will be in the squad for Saturday. He gives us more quality. Our side has been more hard-working this season without him, and if they can continue to do that, then we will have a lot more going forward.”
Clark admitted that competition for places will now be fierce and none more so that up front with new signings Gosling and former Milton United striker Vinnie Rusher competing for places with 23 goal top league scorer Ian Concannon and Pete Macklin.
|Gosling To Return? - 14th November
The Newbury Weekly News reports League leaders Hungerford are hoping to strike a deal to bring former favourite Jamie Gosling (pictured) back to the club.
Gosling left Bulpit Lane for Blue Square Conference South Bath City in the summer, but he has found himself out of favour with new manager Adie Britton and has been transfer listed.
Hungerford manager Alan Clark has also confirmed his interest in veteran striker Vinnie Rusher, who is currently at Southern League Gosport Borough.
Hungerford bid to follow up last season’s FA Vase run when they enter the competition tomorrow away to fellow Hellenic Leaguer title chasers Almondsbury Town.
|Rusher For Hungerford? - 7th November
"The Crusaders" defend their top of the table spot against fellow Hellenic League contenders Chalfont Wasps tomorrow with manager Alan Clark hoping to tempt veteran marksman Vinnie Rusher to join the club.
Clark fancies Rusher to team up with Ian Concannon to give his side another boost after they hit top spot with Tuesday night’s 2-0 win at Abingdon Town.
Rusher, who inherited Concannons' Hellenic League Golden Boot mantle during his time at Milton United, played BGB Southern League clubs Thatcham Town and Didcot Town last season, and recently left Southern League Andover for counterparts Gosport Borough,
“We have got to get something out of Saturday,” said Clark in advance of the Wasps game. “It is must win for both sides.”
Hungerford will have midfielder Luke Brewer back in contention for tomorrow's fixture.
Green Has Been Good For Us - 23rd October
Alan Clark has bolstered his title-chasing squad ahead of Saturday’s trip to Old Woodstock Town with two new signings including former Bath City forward Warren Allison.
Allison was released by the Blue Square South side last year, but Clark believes he can boost Town’s Hellenic Premier League challenge, while Jamaican Ricardo Kerr has also been signed on and he made his debut in Wedneday night’s 1-0 victory over Pewsey Vale.
Town progressed to the second round of the HPL Floodlit Cup with that slender win at the Division One West club thanks to a 20th minute goal from Mark McMeeking with midfielder Kerr making his club bow.
McMeeking got on the end of Luke Brewer’s cross after Ian Concannon’s dummy to side-foot the first-half winner for Town.
Town travel to lowly Old Woodstock Town with injury concerns as striker Pete Macklin was rested on Wednesday night after picking up a knock, while Richie Saunders came off at half time with a groin injury.
However, goalkeeper Dan Holdcroft’s availability again is unlikely to result in a starting spot for Saturday with Clark set to keep faith with Dominic Green (pictured). “I am keeping Dominic in goal, he has been very good for us and has kept two clean sheets so I cannot bomb him out for that,” said Clark.
|Prince Of Hungerford? - 10th October
Manager Alan Clark is still hoping that midfielder Luke Prince will opt to join the Premier Division League title chasers.
27 year old Prince has appeared twice in friendly matches for Hungerford, but has yet to make a decision on joining the club. Prince began his career with Coventry City, and has also been on the books of Aston Villa, Forest Green Rovers, where he was part of their FA Trophy final team, Redditch United, Gloucester City and Team Bath, before a successful period with Blue Square Conference Salisbury City. Salisbury released Prince at the end of last season.
Manager Clark remains hopeful, however, and said: “He said that he liked it here in the two games he has played. I am quietly confident, but you never know until a deal is completed.”
Hungerford entertain Kidlington on Saturday, and on Wednesday travel to Almondsbury Town, their opponents for the second round of the FA Vase in November.
Luke Brewer is unavailable and Toby Clark suspended,while left-back John Cant is unlikely to shake off a groin injury in time.
Abysmal Defending - 2nd October
Alan Clark has described his side’s defending as ‘abysmal’ after they shipped seven goals in their last two games.
Town briefly led the Hellenic League Premier Division table last week but a shock 5-4 midweek defeat at home to Flackwell Heath and a 2-2 draw at rock bottom Harrow Hill last Saturday saw Clark’s side knocked off top spot. Town are without a game this weekend but return to league action next Wednesday (October 8) with a trip to Almondsbury Town which gives Clark a few days to try and sort out some of his defensive problems.
Clark arranged a home friendly against Abingdon United last night to help him resolve his defensive frailties. And he explained: “We defended abysmally against Heath and then carried on in the same vein against Harrow. We’d only conceded seven goals in eight games and then suddenly we conceded seven in two. Some of our decision-making has been really poor in recent games. Against Pegasus we had lots of time and space but decided to play it long while we had no time or space against Heath but tried to play too much football at the back.
“I give all my players a licence to play and encourage them but you have to choose when to play and when to put your foot through it. It’s most unlike us but we’re just making the wrong decisions at the moment. We looked better when we went to three at the back against Hill so we might stick with that and it’s certainly something I’ll consider.
“We’ve dropped five points in two games now but I’m hoping it’s just a wobble. We just have to draw a line under a bad week and move on but we’re still right up there as everyone seems to be dropping points at the moment.”
While Town struggled in both games last week, goal machine Ian Concannon maintained his remarkable scoring record as he found the net another four times.
Clark might have to draft in a loan keeper for next Wednesday’s clash against Almondsbury as new signing Danny Holdcroft is unavailable for the game against his former club.
|Not Good Enough - 25th September
Alan Clark has threatened to wield the axe for Saturday’s trip to Harrow Hill after branding Tuesday night's 5-4 Hellenic League home defeat at the hands of Flackwell Heath as "our worst defensive display in two and a half years”.
Clark exempted only John Cant from defensive criticism as Hungerford produced a shambolic display that left the manager fuming. "They have been told in no uncertain terms that it was just not good enough,” he said. "It was shocking defending and our worst defensive display in two and a half years."
The team will be looking to make amends this weekend against Harrow Hill who have yet to register a FTL Futbol Hellenic League Premier Division win this season. Though The Hill upset Ardley in The FA Vase last Saturday, with an unexpected 3-2 victory at the Oxfordshire sides ground.
Hungerford’s attack will be boosted by the return of wide-man Edney.
Keeper Signed - 21st September
Hungerford have transferred in Dan Holdcroft from Almondsbury to finally end their search for a new number one keeper.
Holdcroft, who mage 31 League appearances last season with title runners-up Almondsbury, was signed in time for yesterdays trip to Pegasus Juniors.
Alan Clark highlighted Holdcroft as a first team choice keeper, after Ben John replaced the player as number one at Oaklands Park this season. Holdcroft had not made a league appearance Almondsbury this season.
Dominic Green has been between the sticks for Hungerford since Paul Thompson’s departure, but Clark says that he will be happy to step aside for Holdcroft. “Dan is a top goalkeeper,” said Clark. “He will be our regular number one as he is a very good goalkeeper, though he will miss some weeks due to his work, and Dominic can fill in for us then. Dominic told me that he did not want to play every game, but he is happy to help us out.”
Holdcroft kept a clean sheet in his debut at Pegasus Juniors yesterday and six goals were netted at the other end, including a Pete Macklin (pictured) hat-trick. Earning the Berkshire side top spot in the FTL Futbol Hellenic League.
|Delighted With Dividends - 18th September
Hungerford Town boss Alan Clark (left) is delighted that his side’s change in style is finally starting to pay dividends.
Hungerford got off to a slow start in their Hellenic League Premier Division campaign but have clicked into gear in the last couple of weeks, with successive victories against Reading Town (1-0) and Marlow United (3-0) lifting them up to third in the table.
Hotshot Ian Concannon (right) bagged the winner against Reading and then grabbed a brace in the comfortable victory against Marlow, but it was the successive clean sheets that really pleased Clark after he tinkered with his side’s approach.
He said: “We’ve changed our style a bit and become more compact but we’re still a threat going forward. We used to throw caution to the wind at times and leave ourselves a bit open but we’ve tightened things up and become more balanced. We had a great pre-season but when the season started we lost our way a bit. We’re now doing our jobs better individually and are playing better collectively and in the last four or five games we’ve just got stronger and stronger. We’ve still got room for improvement but we’re getting better, keeping clean sheets and winning breeds confidence. Despite our poor start we’re still amongst it at the top.”
Town will look to extend their winning run at Pegasus Juniors this Saturday. Clark added: “Pegasus is always a tricky game as although they’ve had some funny results so far this season they are always competitive and play decent football. But everyone’s taking points off everyone else at the moment and things will only settle down once everyone has played 10 games.”
Clark hopes to recruit a new goalkeeper this week after having discussions with two new stoppers. Dominic Green has been deputising between the sticks following the departure of Paul Thompson but Clark is keen to sign a new keeper in time for the trip to Pegasus.
Back To Square One - 13th September
Hungerford Town boss Alan Clark is back to square one in his attempts to recruit a new goalkeeper after number one target Sam Warrell decided to play for Abingdon United.
Hungerford were forced to try and recruit a new keeper after Paul Thompson walked out of the club last week following a bust up with Clark. The Town boss had hoped to land former Old Woodstock Town keeper Warrell but Southern League Abingdon United drafted him into their first team last weekend for the 2-2 draw against Cirencester.
Clark conceded that he might have to look elsewhere for a new stopper now, although he can still call on the experienced Dominic Green to fill in between the sticks in the short term.
Town have another goalkeeping target in mind whilst thankfully, at the other end of the field, they have found their scoring boots since August Bank Holiday Monday as they blasted 19 goals in five games.
Clark felt his side has looked far more balanced with new signing Chris Copp, who arrived from Wantage earlier this month, slotting in superbly at full back and Paul Bedwell bringing some much needed stability on his return.
Hungerford should be at full strength today when they entertain Marlow United at Bulpit Lane in an FTL Futbol Hellenic League Premier Division fixture. Though they could be expecting a tough match after the Bucks side took them to penalties to settle the FA Cup fixture between the two teams in August.
|Veteran Released? - 4th September
Hungerford Town are reported to have released veteran goalkeeper Paul Thompson following Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Shrivenham.
However the Wiltshire Times reports that that the former Devizes Town player-manager has made a return to his old club six months after quitting the top job as manager of the team, after signing on Monday he featured in the 2-1 league defeat to Calne Town the following day. The paper further adds "Thompson, who is also signed on at Fairford Town (as printed), will play in mid-week games if Hare is unavailable."
The Newbury Weekely News state in their Hungerford Town piece that ". . after “clear the air talks” this week, Clark decided to release the player and will turn to Dominic Green to go between the sticks while he searches for a permanent replacement."
"Thompson’s second spell at Bulpit Lane lasted less than six months since he rejoined the club after leaving his position as manager of Toolstation Western Premier Division side Devizes Town."
Green kept a clean sheet in Wednesday night’s 7-0 win at Clanfield in the HPL Floodlit Cup, while Clark has also re-signed full back Chris Copp and has made a bid to sign midfielder Ritchie Saunders from Shrivenham.
Club skipper Paul Bedwell is expected to make his first league start of the season at Carterton on Saturday after returning from suspension.
League General manager,Brian King, comments that as far as the FTL Futbol Hellenic League records are concerned, Thompson is still registered with the Hellenic League as a Hungerford Town player, and no paper work has been received to cancel his registration with Hungerford, or conversley no transfer or registration documentation has been received in respect of Fairford signing the player. Though King did confirm that the transfer of Saunders was completed in time to allow the player to be available for selection against Clanfield on Tuesday evening.
Following the report yesterday it is confirmed that Paul Thompson has signed for Fairford Town - The club provided Briam King with the transfer documentation at an Hellenic meeting held at the Fairford last night.
Hungerford Hijack Thatcham Town Move For Striker - 8th July
The Newbury Weekly News report that Hungerford Town have hijacked Southern League near neighbours Thatcham Town's move for striker Marc Green by completing his signing last week.
Thatcham Town had announced two weeks ago that their former favourite was returning to the club after agreeing terms for next season and coming to a verbal agreement with manager Gary Ackling to play for him in season 2008-2009.
However, it appears Green has now made a dramatic U-turn and signed FTL Futbol Hellenic League Registration forms for Hungerford Town, with manager Alan Cark also signing his former Thatcham and Tadley Calleva team-mate Chris Blackford.
Hellenic League General Manager Brian King was unable to confirm the signing as, at this time, Hungerford Town have not submitted any Player Registration Forms for the coming season.
It was also reported in the Newbury Weekly News that Gary Ackling, former manager of Milton United, held Thatcham's first pre-season training session on Saturday morning but his squad did not include Green and he said he was "disappointed" that the striker had decided to join Hungerford after originally agreeing to a return to Waterside Park.
Gosling Returns To Twerton Park - 29th June
Hungerford have lost the race for Jamie Gosling's signature for the coming season, the player has chosen an opportunity to return to Blue Square Confernece football.
Bath City announced on their website that Gosling has signed for them. "Former City midfielder Jamie Gosling has made a surprise return to Twerton Park. The 26-year old spent 2 and a half seasons with City in the early 2000's before joining Yeovil Town for a four-figure fee in May 2003. One of City's most talented players, he is mainly remembered for the injury he sustained in August 2002 when a perimeter wall at Chippenham Town's Hardenhuish Park collasped on him whilst he was celebrating a goal. After leaving Yeovil he had spells with Aldershot Town, Weymouth, Torquay United, Woking and Forest Green Rovers, before playing the last two seasons at Hellenic League side Hungerford Town."
|50/50 Gosling Stays At Hungerford - 20th June
Hungerford Town boss Alan Clark hopes to persuade star player Jamie Gosling to stay at Bulpit Lane with the attacking midfielder emerging as a target for his old club Bath City.
Clark confirmed that Gosling has been the subject of “two or three offers” with Blue Square South side City and Southern League outfit Didcot Town said to be the clubs interested in signing the attacking midfielder.
That has led to Clark concluding that there is only a 50/50 chance that he will stay at Hungerford Town for a third season. However, Clark desperately wants him to be a part of Town’s promotion bid for the 2008/09 campaign and will speak to him this week to try and convince him to stay.
“He has had a couple of teams in for him,” said Clark. “There have been two or three offers for him and we always knew that would happen. But hopefully he will remain here and play with us. He has enjoyed it here and in our team he has a lot of freedom which he may not get at a higher level.”
Gosling took up the option of an extra year on the contract that he originally signed in 2006 but that has now come to an end and it was thought that he may want to try his luck at a higher level again.
One player unlikely to be in Hungerford’s squad for next season is young striker Charlie Austin as Clark admitted that he is expecting him to leave the club.
Clark announced that he will be talking to four new players in the coming weeks, including Gosling’s cousin Joe Macklin from Lydney Town, and he will also make another attempt to convince former skipper Bradley Ward to re-join the club.