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A Step Forward For College - 13 April

New College Academy Director Ian Howell was disappointed with the end of the season run but said his side had taken another step forward this season with a mid-table finish.

“I think it was probably a fair result,” he said folloing their goal less home game against Letcombe. “They (Letcombe) are a much improved side and their league position probably doesn’t give you a clear idea of where they are as a side. We probably had the majority share of possession, as we do in a lot of the games we play, but again we had that lack of cutting edge in the final third, which has kind of been the story of the season. We didn’t get any clear-cut opportunities, we probably had a couple of chances at the start of the first half which we didn’t take and then in the second half they were quite resolute defensively and we struggled to break them down. “It wasn’t for the lack of effort, but probably more down to a bit of quality and composure. That stopped us going to a nine-game beaten run, which from anyone’s standpoint is a horrendous run of form. It was disappointing for us not to end the season in the way that we wanted but it is another point on the board.”

The One West season may have only just ended for New College, with only a handful of under 18 games remaining, but Howell already has his sights set on next year and is excited by the young players that have broken into the team this year. “It was our last game of the season from a Hellenic point of view, we still have about seven games for the under 18s and a cup final and a semi-final to compete in,” he added. “For the older players that is their season finished. It is all about that continued evolution as a side for us, we’re looking at the players coming in as first years next year. We’ve got a number coming in and hopefully the first years can step up and compete and well continue pushing in the Hellenic League. The big bonus for us this season is that we probably had six or seven first years that stepped up to the team, which is a bit unusual from our programme, we usually wait until they are second years. But they have been a big success from our part and next year we can bolster the side with a few players who will stay in the team for a while.”


Finish As Started - 10 April

New College Academy director Ian Howell would love to see his team end their campaign how they started it.

College got up and running with a 3-1 victory at Letcombe on August 9 and in their final fixture, they renew hostilities with the basement boys at the Webb’s Wood Stadium tomorrow.

Howell regards his students’ season-opening display against the Brooksiders as one of College’s finest of season and is hoping that they can end a disappointing second half of this term on a high note by shattering their eight-match losing run. Howell said: “We had a good start to the season. We did well against stronger opposition in the FA Vase and progressed in cup competitions. But the second phase of the season has been a bit of a disappointment. The boys have lost a bit of confidence and we’ve also struggled with injuries to some of more experienced players. But we want to try and finish on a positive and a lot of the lads that are coming to the end of their tenure in the programme will want that too. We’ve still got games left in the South West Counties League and Wiltshire U18s league, so there are still matches to play.’’


Goal Deficit - 23 March

Ian Howell admits the shortage of goals had seen the New College Academy students fall short of his ambitions, not least in Saturday’s defeat.

“It was quite tight,” said Howell. “They (Hook Norton) scored from a mistake from one our lads at the back, a misplaced back pass that gifted the ball to their centre forward. We got into the game a little and had a couple of opportunities. Jordy Wilkins hit the bar after a good little move to get him in on goal just before half time. In the second half we competed well, defended a bit better and got ourselves into the game. We just lacked a little bit creatively in the final third. Some of our lads, who have been out injured, came back into the fray. Christy Miller and Jack Payne started, but weren’t able to last the 90 minutes. “They’re quite influential players and as they came off we knew we were going to be a little bit up against it. It was a bit of a lack of creativity and bit of a lack of confidence as well. A draw would have been a fair reflection of the game. We definitely didn’t do enough to win, but they didn’t create too much to win the game. We defended well and looked quite solid, unfortunately we’re lacking a bit up front and that’s been the story for the second half of the season.”

With just two games left the remainder of their season in Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West, the Students’ focus switches to preparing for the next term. On Saturday, a number of the New College’s younger first teamers were fielded with their under 18s to get them used to each other’s company.

Howell is still hoping for a strong end to the campaign and build again in the off-season. “Hopefully we’ll be able to build a more attacking side with some of the under 18s. We’ve got some good young players coming through the programme. We hope we can finish the season well and build a bit of a platform to go again in the summer.”


Wasted Opportunites - 26 January

New College were left to rue a number of wasted opportunities as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Carterton in Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West.

The students created a number of chances in Oxfordshire to at least earn a share of the spoils according to academy director Ian Howell. “Sometimes that is what you get with young lads,”said Howell talking to Michael Reeves in the Swindon Advertiser . “ We have really missed Christy Millar. He been pretty much out since October through suspension and injury and you can see that it is an area we have been lacking.”

Despite the result at Kilkenny Lane, Howell feels that his youngsters equipped themselves well. Carterton are a big physical strong side, but they did get the ball down and tried to play football,” Howell added. “From our point of view the goals that they scored were sloppy, but we did put some nice stuff together. Our goal came from a great cross from Jordan Wilkins and they turned it into their own net.”

Howell feels that the students are getting stronger as the season progresses. “The third years are upping their performances and that is good to see,” he said. “We were quite low on second years, but the first years that have come in are looking good so we have a strong nucleus for the Hellenic side.”


Looking To Put Things Right - 28 November

New College Academy director Ian Howell believes Saturday’s visit of Cirencester Town Development will give his side an indication of where they are this term.

Having beaten second-placed Lydney Town on Wednesday night, the students face the team sitting directly below the side they defeated.

“It was a good performance on Wednesday night but Cirencester will be a truer test for our boys,” Howell said. “We played them earlier in the season at their place and it was a bad day for us - this time we will be looking to put things right.”


Strong Character - 10 November

New College coach Matt Cosnett was delighted with the character that young side showed when they came from behind to defeat Carterton.

Trailing 2-1 to the Oxfordshire visitors, the students hit back to win 3-2 and record only their third win in Hellenic League Division One West this term. Whilst the youngsters have been on the wrong end of some heavy defeats in recent weeks, the majority have come in cup matches from teams in the Premier Division, Cosnett was pleased with the performance.

“It was a very good win, we have set the boys a points target for November and this is the first win of that target. The atmosphere we have in the squad this year has been fantastic,” Cosnett said. “We have got a number of first years who have really fitted in well with the Hellenic squad. On the whole they are dealing well with the physicality of the game, but they do at times need to stamp their authority on matches, move the ball a little quicker. But overall we pleased with the players that we have.”


Draw Was A Fair Result - 27 October

New College earned themselves a hard fought 0-0 draw away to Wantage Town Reserves on Saturday.

“It wasn’t a bad result, we created a number of chances but unfortunately just couldn’t finish them,” said manager Mark Teasdale. “Fair play to Wantage they did shut up shop fairly well and I suppose in the end a draw was a fair result. It is just a little bit unfortunate, when we do get those opportunities in front of goal we don’t take them. We changed the formation this week. Rather than having a 3-5-2 we went to a 4-3-3 just to try and stop conceding and it worked really well and for a change we weren’t sloppy at the back and made the right decisions when to clear the ball and when to play. For me it is constant learning for the boys and as long as they are learning each week from the game, the good things and the bad things and they can work on the positives and eliminate the negatives then that is good and what we are aiming for. The games now come thick and fast. We’re at Longlevens next Saturday which will be another tough test for us but hopefully we can build on what we did today and go and give Longlevens a game as well.”


In A Sulk - 20 October

The Swindon Advertiser reports, New College manager Mark Teasdale was left sulking on Saturday night after he watched his side fall to a 3-2 defeat at Tytherington Rocks.

College put in a spirited display after finding themselves three goals down in the first half but could not quite do enough to clinch a point from the game. The hosts took the lead inside the first five minutes and extended their lead before half-time to leave New College a mountain to climb in the second half. It started well after the break for the visitors when Christy Millar scored, however, College could not find a second until right at the death through David Kinuthia, but it was too little too late for the young side.

“I said to the players that we write off the first half, that just wasn’t a performance that we wanted, the second half was a lot better,” said Teasdale. “We haven’t got a game now until next week, so can we go out and perform how we finished today and start against Wantage this week. We talked about trying to keep a clean sheet and we gave a goal away after about five minutes. We gave them two other goals as well which they didn’t have to work hard for but the second half we came out a little bit better, a little bit brighter and got at them. We scored after about 10 minutes in the second half but unfortunately we couldn’t get any more. The keeper made a couple of good saves and then we nicked one towards the end and it was a bit frustrating. The boys train really well but it is just trying to apply what they learn in the week in a match situation. I think the College have played a lot of games and we have had a few injuries and suspensions it is just difficult stepping up to the level. The older boys may have let themselves down and not done as well as they could have been and some of the first years have come in really well, so it is just trying to find that balance.”


College Football Lessons - 13 October

Players at New College are experiencing a big lesson in football as they progress through a season of ups and downs.

For parts of the Wiltshire Cup game it looked like men against boys as their Highworth Town opponents tried to get stuck into the college side and rattle the young side. A hat-trick from debutant Dan Drewitt and goals from TJ Bohane and Ryan King secured the win for the hosts.

Academy Director Ian Howell oversaw the defeat and admits his team have a difficult task without having the experience older players provide but that has not stopped him from demanding a certain level from his young side. “We come into these games expecting to win from my perspective and maybe I set too many high standards to go and perform against a team from a higher level but that is the level they are aspiring to and the sooner they get up to speed the easier it is for them,” he said. “We had a number of first years out there who are still sixteen, Ryan Morgan, I thought it was another good positive performance from him, he’s only 16 and yet again he is coping well. We’ve had Antonio and Alex Fenton starting for the first time so it is a big challenge for them and a big learning curve for them and it is what this programme is about, but by the same token we need to get that bit of winning mentality into them. We’ll get them in on Monday morning training and start a fresh and try and assemble a squad that is going to go down there and win. We need to start winning a few league games, I think the scoreline against Shorewood when we won 6-1 gives them a little bit of false reality around the intensity they need to perform at. With young players they are very inconsistent in their play and one thing we lack is experienced players in the side to settle it down when a couple of them are having a funny period. Our oldest player is 20 so coming and competing against a men’s team is difficult but that is the reality of it, they need to come and step up and manage the expectations that is put on their shoulders.”


Vase Exit For College - 6 October

New College manager Mark Teasdale was disappointed to see his youngsters fail to live up to the big occasion as their first-ever FA Vase run came to an end at the hands of Thame United on Saturday.

The student side, playing in the Vase for the first time, were unable to hit the heights of their 6-1 league win against Shortwood United Reserves seven days previous as they were thrashed 4-0 at the Webb’s Wood Stadium.

Boss Teasdale would love to see College continue to be involved the country’s top competitions in future seasons but conceded that his academy players failed to produce a proper account of themselves against Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division Thame.

“Yes it was going to be a tough one but maybe I was just being a little bit hopeful from last week’s performance that we’d actually come out and give them a game and unfortunately, it never quite happened,” said Teasdale ta`lking to the Swindon Advertiser. “We weren’t at the races and it was maybe the side from a couple of weeks ago and didn’t do themselves any justice in front of a big crowd. It’s an ideal stage to show everybody what the college is about and how we play football - we did that in patches. I’m hoping the boys are gutted because it feels like they let themselves down. This year, we’re striving to finish as high as we can to get in the FA Cup. The league looks at wins and points and things, and we probably were slightly off last year. This year, the way we are, in the bottom half of the table, it makes life difficult to get in that top eight. It’s just trying to find that consistency.”

New Territory For College - 3 October

New College Swindon will be looking to create even more club history tomorrow when they entertain Thame United in the FA Vase.

The students booked their place in the second qualifying round with a 4-2 replay success over Fleet Spurs - their first win in the national competition. They will go into tomorrow’s match at the Webb’s Wood Stadium full of confidence after putting six on Shortwood United Reserves in Hellenic League Division One West.
And while Thame ply their trade in the Premier Division, academy director Ian Howell is hopeful that the players can relax and enjoy their football. “There is no pressure on them,” Howell said. “We are classed as the underdogs playing against Thame United, it is a match that the boys can go and enjoy. But it is also a game we can go into with a bit of confidence too, after the win last weekend. With a young side you never know one minute to the next what sort of frame of mind the boys are in, we are just trying to find the right balance.”

Howell is hopeful of having defender Ben Wells for the Vase match after he injured his shoulder in a “behind closed doors” training match with landlords Swindon Supermarine. However, Jack Paine has been rated as 50-50 due to a hamstring problem.

We do have an under-18s match against Bath City on the Saturday morning but we could move a few of the first years out of that game into the Hellenic side,” Howell said.


mark teasdale new college swindonWinning Way's? - 26 September

Mark Teasdale is hoping that New College can bounce back to winning ways this weekend and go into one of the biggest matches in their history in fine fettle.

The student side are in the midst of their first-ever FA Vase campaign and after battling past Fleet Spurs earlier this month, Teasdale’s men host Thame United in the second qualifying round on October 4. But before that, College face a Hellenic League Division One West clash with Shortwood United Reserves and after suffering back-to-back 4-0 defeats in their last two outings, at the hands of league leaders Longlevens and rivals Cirencester Town Development, Teasdale is hoping that three points are on the menu on Saturday.

“We’ve been building up the FA Vase game against Thame quite a lot because it’s such a big match for us but it would be nice to go into it off the back of a win,” said Teasdale. “It’s alright to concentrate on it but it’s also important that we get back to winning ways in the league as soon as we can. We’ve obviously got a young side that can be a bit naive at times and don’t concentrate on defending properly. Longlevens didn’t to have to push too hard last weekend because we gave away goals with a few sloppy mistakes but apart from that, we were still pretty pleased with how we played. The College is doing their best to field competitive sides for all of our different games and we’ll continue to do that. I know that Shortwood’s first team are in the FA Cup so hopefully they won’t be at full-strength on Saturday and that gives us more chance of getting three points.”

New College helped put landlord's Swindon Supermarine through their paces in a training match in midweek, Christy Millar on target as Marine ran out 4-1 winners. Teasdale added: “Supermarine wanted the chance to play a few trialists and a few of their guys that are coming back from injury, so we played a little friendly against them. We lost 4-1 and that was again down to a few little mistakes but we did quite well overall against some very good players.”

Defender Ben Wells returns to the College squad for the Shortwood game.

Positive Aspects - 22 September

New College Academy fell to a 4-0 defeat to Hellenic League Division One West newcomers and leaders Longlevens on Saturday.

College director Ian Howell says, in the Swindon Advertsier, that there always positives for the side to take from a match. Whilst New College have only won once this term, Howell feels that the youngsters showed signs of improvements from last weekend’s 4-1 defeat at Cirencester town development.

“The performance was much better, it was more down to individual errors rather than a bad display,” Howell said. “We as a management and coaching staff are always upbeat and we always look to find the positives for the boys. We will be back in training on Monday and it is the positives that we have picked out that we want them to work on.”

Howell says that some of the players in the New College set-up are beginning to taste what defeat is like for the first team. “Some of the boys come to us from the North Wilts league where they are used to winning everything and now knowing what it is like to lose a match,” he said. “This is all part of their learning curve and development.”

With the college set-up also featuring a team in the Youth Alliance league on the Saturday morning, Howell says that the squad was stretched pretty thin at the weekend. “We had a number of injuries that meant that we had to be careful with who played in what match,” Howell comments. “We have got our first-ever FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night against Gloucester City so we had to think about that match as well. But overall against Longlevens, the performance was much better and there is a lot of positives that we can take into training this week.”


College Derby - 12 September

Following their mid week FA Vase victory, a first for the college, Mark Teasdale is hoping that his New College Academy youngsters will have an extra spring in their step when they take on rival academy outfit Cirencester Town Development this weekend.

“This Saturday is our local derby against Cirencester and it’s a big one for us." comments Teasdale. "But we’re going to need to put out two sides this weekend because the South West Counties season gets started and we’ve got a side going down to Weymouth – a few players may drop down but we’ll have to see what’s available to us.”

Central defender Ben Wells returns for Saturday’s trip to rivals Cirencester after missing Tuesday’s Vase victory through work commitments.

New College History - 11 September

For some, the fact New College beat Fleet Spurs 4-2 after extra-time last night would have meant very little. In reality, the academy’s students were writing their own little piece of history.

Sam Morshead on Link Sport writes, two goals apiece from Max Slinn and Christy Millar propelled New College through the qualifying round of the FA Vase for the first time ever, setting up a meeting with Thame United in the next stage and helping the club achieve one of its targets which, half a decade ago, might have seemed that little bit grand.

For a team competing at (Uhlsport) Hellenic League level, the college are – perhaps obviously – incredibly inexperienced collectively. With no member of the squad over the age of 20, they are paired against sides who can boast dozens of seasons of non-league know-how amongst their ranks.

However, under the direction of Ian Howell and his coaching staff, the club have grown from strength to strength and now, with last night’s success, they can strike another notch on their belt – progression in a senior FA competition. No wonder, then, that their players couldn’t get enough of their achievements on social media on Tuesday evening.

For Howell, it was a proud moment and an important next step in the college’s blueprint for the future. He told Link Sport: “We’ve had a big development plan over the last four or five years to try to take us towards being able, as a football club but under the College entity gain entry into the senior competitions through the FA. Getting into the FA Vase is one of the first targets we set out from a College perspective. We had a tough game last year and didn’t get through the first qualifying round but we’ve gone past that this year. We equipped ourselves unbelievably well against a big, strong, physical side and for their own personal development hopefully they can look back on setting themselves a little bit of history. Hopefully we can progress now and have a good game in the next round against Thame United and maybe even go one step further. I don’t think there are many academy or college teams who have progressed in the national tiers of these competitions. I know Team Bath and Loughborough have progressed in the FA Cup but they’re more senior students, from 19 to 25, in those clubs. We had 16-year-olds playing last night.”

Having been held to a draw in the original tie at home on Saturday, Howell conceded that he thought his team’s chances of progression might have gone when they made the trip to Fleet on Tuesday. “It’s some achievement. I thought Saturday might have been our opportunity – at home, on a decent pitch – but it was a tight game in the end. We had to play the last 20 minutes of extra time with 10 men but came through that,” he said. “It was a tough place to go in midweek with physical players but we scored some really good goals at important times.”

The club’s latest success can be considered a success not only for New College but for football in the town (Swindon) in general. The thriving set-up plays in three separate league competitions on Saturdays, as well as cups and Wednesday afternoon under 18 and under 20 structures, with a squad of more than 50 members.

However, they pick up the best of the talent from junior clubs locally and develop them further, rather than relying on the offshoots of local pro sides, as Howell explained: “The pleasing part about our programme is we don’t get a huge intake from Swindon Town or Oxford United. Occasionally we might have some players who have been released from the Centre of Excellence at 14 or 15 and they’ve gone back into local football and played in the North Wilts League.

“It shows our recruitment comes from the local clubs – Stratton Juniors, Ferndale, Supermarine. Across the whole town it’s great they can see a pathway or progression and a number of our lads come out of the programme and go to America or go ply their trade at a more senior non-league level and make some money out of the game. It shows that you don’t always have to be at a professional club to break into a programme and move onto a good level.”


Welcome Back Boss - 1 September

rob hopkins new college academyRob Hopkins is hoping that he can welcome boss Mark Teasdale back to the New College dugout having secured some cup progress for the student side.

The Swindon Advertiser reports, Hopkins stepped down as College chief in March due to his work commitments, taking over the running of the club’s U18 side, but has found himself back in the managerial hotseat in recent weeks. With Teasdale away on holiday and assistant Matt Cosnett currently waylaid following surgery, Hopkins is set to take charge of College’s Floodlit Cup clash with Burnham Reserves on Wednesday and next weekend’s FA Vase meeting with Fleet Spurs.

“The U18 league hasn’t started yet, so they needed me to come in and look after the team whilst Mark was away getting a sun tan,” said Hopkins (pictured) . “We’ve got some important cup games coming up and I’m going to be in charge for those, so hopefully I can welcome back Mark and tell him that we’ve had some good results and performances – he comes back halfway through the FA Vase match and I imagine that he’ll pop along during it. We were in the FA Vase for the first time last year and I think it was a bit of a shock to us but we know what to expect this time around.”

College suffered a 3-1 defeat at Tuffley Rovers in the Hellenic League Division One West last Saturday, despite Christy Millar giving the visitors an early lead. Alex Baker was sent off for bringing down an opponent in the area, with Rovers netting the equaliser from the penalty spot, which put the hosts on their way to taking all three points.

But Hopkins was delighted with his youngsters’ second half efforts with ten men. “Unfortunately, Alex’s sending off was a red card. They scored the penalty, then got two more before half-time,” he said. “But after that, the players worked their proverbial socks off. They ran themselves into the ground and the Tuffley management said to us after the game that they couldn’t believe that we’d done that with ten men. Hopefully the lads can take heart from that and take it into the next game.”


FA Competitions Target - 8 August

ian howell hellenic footballNew College Academy director Ian Howell has set his sights on the One West side qualifying for the FA Cup next season.

The student side missed out on getting into the world’s most famous domestic knock-out cup competition this term. When the new campaign gets underway tomorrow, Howell wants the youngsters, who will be managed by Mark Teasdale this term, to make a push for a finish in the top eight of Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West.

“This is going to be a big year for us at the college,” Howell said. “We have got three sides running and for the boys in the Hellenic side, we have set them a few targets. Obviously we want to improve on last year, get a few more points on the board, and hopefully that will be enough to qualify for the FA Cup next season. It is a big deal to be in the FA Youth Cup, but now we want to establish ourselves in the FA Cup and the FA Vase. The points target to get into the competition changes each year but I think that if we can finish in the top eight then that should be enough - that is the challenge that the boys have.”

With New College fielding students, Howell admits that the players are going to have to deal with the severe physical demands of the Hellenic League as they make the transition from youth to senior football. “If the boys are confident in what they are doing then we will be fine,” Howell said. “If we can start the season well and play with confidence then we can do well. We shouldn’t have any problems with the fitness side of things and if we can manage the boys properly, we should have a good balance. Of course there are going to be sides that it is going to be tough against - teams like Purton have put together a strong squad.”

Howell admits that the challenge for his team of New College coaches begins when the under 17 and under 18 sides get under way sometime in September. “At the moment we have got a big squad and we’ve been back training since July,” he said. “Our recruitment this summer has been good. The Hellenic team will be made up mainly of third years - it will be up to the rest to try and force their way into the side.”


College Squad Developing - 24 July

New College coach Matt Cosnett says in the Swindon Advertiser that he has been pleased with how his new look squad is developing this summer.

The South Martson-based side have been back in for pre-season training for a week now and the Uhlsport Hellenic League squad have already claimed their first friendly win against Longwell Green, who play in the Western League Premier Division, with Josh Croucher’s strike the only goal of the game. While the majority of the players that featured were from the college’s third year set-up, several members - Ryan Morgan, Ollie Hunt, Kai Robinson and Antonio Gerrish - from the Under 18s side also featured.

“The first year players that we have got this year are doing really well,” Cosnett (pictured) said. “They have been back a week now and we are already stepping it up. Four of the lads, who are just 16, played in the Hellenic League side’s friendly against Longwell Green and did well. Longwell are basically last season’s Tytherington Rocks (who won Hellenic League Division One West) as the manager and a lot of the players have moved across. So it was a very good performance and we are happy with how it all went.”

New College are also preparing their Under 18s for their first venture into the FA Youth Cup. The side, who playing the South West Counties League, will travel to either Bristol Rovers or Gloucester City on the week commencing September 22. “It is great that we are in the FA Youth Cup, but it is a very tough tie for us,” Cosnett said.

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