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Quick Start - 4 April

Ian Howell will be urging New College to come racing out of the blocks when they host local rivals Malmesbury Victoria tomorrow afternoon.

The two sides lock horns in Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West just three weeks after they last did battle in a 1-1 draw at Vics’ Flying Monk Ground. Howell believes the side who starts the brightest will be the one who will be victorious tomorrow. “We need to make sure that we are positive from the start,” he said. “We can’t scrape through the first-half and then wait for us to get the players going again. We need our intensity to be up there, be bright and perhaps change a couple of things from the first time we played them.”

With both teams having young squads, Howell knows that his players will want to be the one with the bragging rights come the final whistle. “The lads enjoy playing against Malmesbury, our squads are around a similar age, but as we are at home we want to press home our advantage,” he added.

New College, who are looking to bounce back from Saturday’s 5-1 defeat at North Leigh United, will give defender Ben Wells a late fitness test after he limped off last weekend with a hamstring problem.


Up For The Cup! - 28 March

New College Academy director Ian Howell said his side will be prepared as if they’re playing in a cup final for their Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West match with North Leigh.

Howell said the students are always prepared in the same way for their games at an intensity level that they would want if they were preparing for a big game.

The New College students have competed well in Division One this season and are comfortably clear of the bottom of the table. An impressive achievement given the side’s relative inexperience compared to the other teams in the division.

Howell, speaking ahead of the Students’ trip to Eynsham Park, said his side would be sent out having been prepared to his and the other coaches usual high standards.

“They knew their performance last week perhaps didn’t deserve a win but definitely deserved a draw, all in all they’ve been bright in training and have been positive going into it,” said Howell “From our part we’ll prepare the same way and getting our lads to concentrate on what we want them to do, we’d prepare the same way whether it was we’re playing a friendly or a cup final.” Howell thinks his group of youngsters have been improving their game know-how this season, learning from their coaches and the more experienced sides they line up against.

“I think that the group we’ve got now are getting that game experience you get from adult football. They played together at under-18s and they’re slowly getting grips with the difference from Hellenic league to under-18s football.

“It’s when they go against the principals we try and teach them of playing attacking football and playing from the back, that we find it hard, as much as you can try and influence the game from the dugout you can’t always do it. “The challenge is when we have to balance off our principals and when we have to mix it, to try and stretch teams and control the games in different ways.”


Good Value Despite Loss - 24 March

New College Academy director Ian Howell insisted his side were good value for a point despite slumping to a 2-1 defeat at home to Shortwood United Reserves.

Sam Lofts struck to level things up for the students after the visitors had taken the lead, but they couldn’t hold on as a deflected shot beat keeper Alex Swatridge with less than 10 minutes left in the contest.

While Howell admitted his side were not at their attacking best he does believe they should have come away with something from the contest. “It was quite an even start to the game but they soon had a couple of near misses and we had a few half chances too,” he said. “They then went ahead but we came back with a good header and then had the better of the latter exchanges of the half. I think it was an even game to be honest and I think a draw would have been a fair reflection of it. We had the majority of the possession and limited their opportunities to half chances, with neither team having anything clear-cut. But with eight minutes to go we switched off a little and were guilty of ball watching and they scored from a bit of a deflection which went over Alex Swatridge in goal. It wasn’t an amazing strike or a well-worked move, more of a scrappy goal which earned them the points. We didn’t really get into our attacking rhythm at all throughout the game and if you don’t look like scoring you probably aren’t going to win games.”


Win Bouys College - 21 March

New College will be looking to build on their 3-1 midweek win over Clanfield when they entertain second placed Shortwood United.

The two sides met at the start of the month at Shortwood with the Meadowbank team running out 3-1 winners.

But New College has gone through a managerial change, with Mark Teasdale at the helm in place of Rob Hopkins, and will hope that they can gain revenge at the Webb's Wood Stadium.


Confidence Booster - 14 March

New College go into the local One East derby at Malmesbury Victoria on the back of a hard-fought draw with division high flyers Fairford Town.

With manager Rob Hopkins stepping down from his role with the Hellenic side last week, former boss Mark Teasdale is back in charge. But New College Academy director Ian Howell, who will also help out with the running of the side, believes that the players should have a stable coaching environment now.

“We have had to juggle a few things around, but I think we should have a stable group of coaches for the three sides that we run,” Howell said. “Teaser has come back to take charge of the Hellenic side on Saturdays and he will working alongside Gary Clarke and Matt Cosnett.”

New College have no injury concerns ahead of tomorrow’s derby, but with the academy Under 18s side in action against Cirencester academy in morning, Howell is calling on the older players to step up to the plate. And he has been pleased with how the team have been performing in recent outings. “We will be trying to play the fact that this is a derby down,” Howell said. “We had a tough game against Fairford on Tuesday and the performance there was fantastic. If we can keep performing like that week in, week out then I’m sure that we will be picking up points.”


rob hopkins hellenic league footballHopkins Stands Down At College - 10 March

The Swindon Advertiser reports Rob Hopkins has stepped aside from running New College’s Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West side due to work commitments.

Having left his teaching position at the college before Christmas, Hopkins went self-employed doing personal training for a variety of groups. However, with that taking off and the time he had left for the Hellenic team dwindling, Hopkins felt that it was only right that he should step aside.

Though not confirmed by the League Office, former manager Mark Teasdale has taken charge of the team until the end of the campaign and oversaw Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Carterton, while Hopkins will continue to work with the club’s under 18s side.

“Because most of the people I’m now working with are only free in the evenings and weekends it meant that I couldn’t dedicate the time needed for the Hellenic boys,” Hopkins said. “So in that respect it was an easy decision to step aside, because the lads need continuity. I’m still going to be involved with the Under 18s and it is great that I’m able to do that.”

Teasdale said that it was like he had never been away from the club after being in charge of his first game as he answered the club’s SOS call. Following on from 3-1 and 5-1 losses at Shortwood United and Lydney Town respectively, New College battled hard to secure a 1-1 draw. Josh Croucher gave the hosts the lead when he got the last touch from a goalmouth scramble following a New College corner. However, Carterton managed to hit back as they capitalised on a lapse in the New College defence.

“It was like I’d never been away,” Teasdale said. “I was stood on the touchline, the sun was shining and I was there giving orders and encouragement from the touchline. I really enjoyed it. I’m here until the end of the season, see how it goes and then we’ll take it from there. If I’m honest, I didn’t really miss it while I was away as I’ve been involved in football one way or another all my life. I think that my wife had got used to having me around on a Saturday afternoon so it was probably more of a shock to her. I’m not sure what she will be doing now, hopefully she will come to the home games on the Saturday.”

Having come in on the back of two heavy losses, Teasdale said that he was pleased with how the players responded to him being in charge. “The performance was very good, it was just a lapse in defence for 30 seconds that cost us two points,” he said.


Reverse Of Fortunes Required - 7 March

New College will be looking to bounce back from a couple of heavy defeats in Gloucestershire when they return to their South Marston base.

Last Saturday’s 3-1 reverse at Shortwood was followed by Wednesday night’s 5-1 thrashing at Lydney Town.

Tomorrow they entertain third from bottom Carterton and Rob Hopkins’ men will be keen to get back to winning ways.


Not Disappointed With Performance - 3 March

Rob Hopkins believes that his side can take plenty of positives out of their 3-1 defeat at Shortwood United.

Kevin Slack fired the hosts into the lead at Meadowbank before Joe Hiscock buried Callum Shewry’s cross to level matters for the young side. However, despite the numerous chances Hopkins’ side had, Shortwood sealed the points in the second-half through Nick Humphries and a soft Craig Mills penalty.

“Despite the result I was really pleased with the performance,” insisted Hopkins. “I thought that the result wasn’t a fair reflection of how we played and we deserved at least a point. I suppose if I am being hyper-critical then maybe we should have had the game done and dusted by half-time and been three-up. The penalty was very soft as well. There manager said that too, if referees are going to be giving penalties like that then there are going to giving 20 a match. But the game just shows how we are developing as a team.”

As the campaign moves into the final two months, Hopkins is hoping that New College can replicate the Shortwood performance. Sitting in 11th place in Division One West and with several games in hand on most of the teams above them in table, the New College boss feels that they will get their rewards if they can keep going like this. “It was a good all-round team performance,” Hopkins said. “It shows just how the players have developed, not just from this season, but last year too. We gave the man-of-the-match award to Josh Croucher as he had a solid game in the centre of defence. He’s only 18/19 and he growing all the time and he is going to be a really good player. But if we can play like that for the remaining 11 games of the season then we will get more points than we will lose. So although I’m disappointed with the result, I can’t be disappointed with the performance.”


Lead Squandered - 24 February

New College returned to action for the first time in eight weeks on Saturday but squandered a two-goal lead to crash out of the Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup following a 3-2 defeat at Carterton.

Lee Toomey and Joe Hiscock had given the students the advantage early on but they couldn’t see the job through and ultimately left Oxfordshire with nothing to show for their efforts. College were without boss Rob Hopkins due to work commitments but while the absent boss was pleased to get a rare game on knows the areas his young players need to work on.

“The fact we played is good although to lose like that from being 2-0 up isn’t so good,” he said. “Now we can see where we are at having had eight weeks off so now we can make some alterations which is a good thing before we get back into a proper routine of training to get ourselves ready for games. Now it’s going to be a hectic run towards the end of the season and it’s going to be all action from here. It will mean the intensity and focus in training will be different and that’s probably a good thing. The one thing we will take from this weekend is that if you don’t play for a long period of time then you lose your ability to put into practice the things you would have done week in week out. If we had asked them to launch the ball and run after it we might have been more successful but that isn’t how we like to do things.”

Despite the loss, boss Hopkins knows he’s in a unique situation when it comes to motivating his players after a defeat. “Generally the young lads sulk for two hours after a game and it’s all doom and gloom but then after that it’s all about looking forward to training and they can’t wait to play again,” he said. “That’s the great thing about it for us because they can recover quite quickly and our job is to make them see every game is a learning curve for them. We have to help them maintain the things they have done well and then work on and improve the areas in which they haven’t done so well, that’s our job over the years they are with us.”

College return to action on Wednesday night against local rivals Purton.


bluefin insurersHopkins Cup Supplement - 21 February

New College boss Rob Hopkins is hoping the wet weather will bring about a resurgence for the Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup.

Hopkins and his students take on Clanfield in the second round of the competition tomorrow in what will be only their second game since the middle of December due to the wet weather and the continual downpours in and around Swindon.

Hopkins now expects other teams to start taking the competition more seriously due to the recent dearth in action. “It seems like we haven’t played for 20,000 weeks so we are just looking forward to getting a game in after training quite well this week,” he said. “The guys are screaming for a game. I would quite happily have a load more cup competitions and a load more games because it allows us to put the lads through a proper games programme which is what they really need for their development. “I’m probably in the extreme minority because a lot of managers around here don’t enjoy the competition but I like the cup and it’s good for what we’re trying to do. I would think most teams who are left in it would take it seriously because they haven’t played. I would be surprised if they don’t because it’s a great chance to get a game in for once and a good chance to take a cup seriously.”


Better Placed Than Most - 14 February

Rob Hopkins feels his New College Swindon side is better placed than most to deal with a backlog of fixtures in the final few months of the season.

The students are scheduled to play rock-bottom Letcombe in Uhlsport Hellenic Division One West tomorrow but Hopkins is fully expecting another postponement, with the pitches at Supermarine struggling to cope with the weight of recent rainfall. College haven’t played a home match since beating Old Woodstock Town on December 14 - fully two months ago - and, having taken a peek at the Met Office forecasts, manager Hopkins isn’t anticipating playing on familiar soil until at least the middle of March. That will lead to his team having to play a manic game of catch-up in the last 10 weeks of the season but Hopkins is unconcerned, citing his players’ youthfulness as the main reason.

“It’s been so long since we’ve played at home and looking at the long-term forecast they reckon we’ve got another three weeks of it, which would mean we’d get into the middle of March before we’re playing,” he said commenting in the Swindon Advertiser. “For us that’s probably not that much of an issue because we’ve got such a big squad with the under 18s and the lads in the Hellenic. We get to rotate the players around and we wouldn’t get much burnout because we’ve got that many players we can use. The issue will be, because we groundshare with Supermarine, we’re going to have a lot of games in a short space of time. That might be an issue. It’s a question of how you fit everything in. I know that the guys at Supermarine spent an awful lot of money in the summer getting the drainage right and if we’d had a normal winter it probably would have coped with it but we’ve had something like six months of rain in two weeks. I don’t think any pitch would cope with that. We haven’t played an under 18 game since the end of December as well so we’ve got a backlog of fixtures in the two under 18 sides plus the Hellenic. Because we’ve got a squad of 50-odd it doesn’t affect us as much as I imagine it would other sides. They love games, games, games. They like that more than training. We’d just move things around. We might have a little bit of an advantage over other teams who might have older players, work commitments, smaller squads. They might struggle a little bit but we’re a little more flexible in what we can do.”


Chance Of Game Next Saturday Slim - 3 February

Rob Hopkins is already bracing himself for another postponement after this weekend’s New College clash with Clanfield was called off.

Like the majority of the Uhlsport Hellenic League sides, College were again unable to kick a ball in anger this week due to the wet weather.

Hopkins saw the condition of the pitch at the Swindon Supermarine ground, College's home base, on Friday and knew it would not be playable. He is convinced next weekend’s clash at Fairford should also be in doubt due to the levels of saturation in the area. “When I went up there on Friday it was very wet and was probably the worst I have ever seen it,” he said. “The groundsman was there doing his best to try and fork it and make it playable but I would say 75 per cent of it had standing water on it so I always knew we were likely to be off. I know it’s only the weekend and we aren’t expecting more rain for a bit but, with more rain forecast for the end of the week, I would be surprised if we played next week either. That would be a pain because our under 18s haven’t played since December and we’ve only played one Hellenic game in seven weeks, so there we go. Even our training pitches are saturated so that’s getting frustrating too.”


bluefin insurersHopes For Game At Last ? - 24 January

New College are in Bluefin Sport Supplementary Challenge Cup action away at Carterton tomorrow, Rob Hopkins is just hoping his youngster can get a game in after a raft of postponements in recent weeks.

“We haven’t played a game for quite some time so, although the weather forecast doesn’t look great, it would be nice to just play some football,” he said. “We don’t put this cup down, like some local managers seem to, so we won’t be resting any players and will be giving everything we can to win.”


The More The Merrier - 10 January

Rob Hopkins expects to have plenty of players at his disposal if New College’s Division One West trip to Tuffley gets the go-ahead.

The students have not played competitively since December 14 but inaction for the academy’s under 18s this weekend means that boss Hopkins willl have a full squad. “The under 18s game against Amesbury (on Thursday) was called off because their pitch is basically a swimming pool,” he said. “Their game on Saturday is off as well, so we shouldn’t have any worries. Injuries don’t really matter to us because of the amount of players we can call on. With clubs who have small squads it might be an issue, but it isn’t for us.”


rob hopkins hellenic league footballCollege Target - 23 December

Rob Hopkins has set New College a two-tier target for the remainder of the season as he aims to push the students on to greater things.

College have accrued 15 points so far in 2013/14 and are 11th out of 15 teams in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West table. That is just four points less than the 19 points they managed in the whole of last season but some way off the 40 they totalled in 2011/12.

Hopkins, who has now finished teaching at New College but is still coaching at the Academy, is positive on his team’s prospects for 2013. “It’s been an inconsistent year so far but that’s what we do. It’s always going to be that way with lads moving on and coming in,” said Hopkins. “We had a good start which surprised us as we thought it would take seven or eight games to get into our stride, then we had a lull in September and October before picking up over the last couple of weeks. We’re in a better position now than we were last season, so hopefully we can push on to where we should be in midtable by the end of the season. If we remain competitive then hopefully we’ll beat last year’s target and the next thing is to see if we can get close to the points we got in our first year in the Hellenic. “We know we aren’t going to challenge for the top two or three because of the changing nature of the side and as long as we’re not in the bottom three we tend to be happy. We should be looking to finish midtable and anything higher than that would be overachieving. The lads are really working hard in training now, we had a couple of lulls in mid-season where they probably weren’t applying themselves, but we reminded them of what they needed to do and they upped their work rate and effort. They are always looking forward to games and that’s a good thing.”

College are scheduled to take on Purton at the Webb’s Wood Stadium tonight but the match could be in doubt due to the weather. Swindon Supermarine - who College groundshare with - had their home game against Didcot Town called off on Saturday and the weather forecast is not favourable for today Hopkins said: “Looking at the weather that has come in and the forecast for Monday, I’d say that there’s probably no chance. We will prepare for the game as if it is on but I know the pitch was very waterlogged on Saturday so it’s unlikely to go ahead.”


matt cosnett hellenic league footballCosnett Impressed With Performance - 16 December

With New College manager Rob Hopkins away, coach Matt Cosnett took charge of Saturday's game against Old Woodstock Town and was impressed with what he saw.

Speaking with Andy Warren of the Swindon Advertiser, he said. “We got the lads into a bit of a better mindset to work hard off the ball, and to keep in the game as long as possible because the opposition had a new manager and were going to come out flying. The lads worked hard off the ball and when they lost it they worked hard to win it back and we couldn’t have asked for anything more from them really. They came off knackered at the end which showed they did what we asked of them and kept the game close all the way through. We’ve had a bit of a tough run of results recently so it was great to get a win against a good team. Last year was hard for us because with the technical players we have we should have done better but we’ve turned a little bit of a corner and the team spirit is a lot better.”

Cosnett (pictured) was particularly impressed with 17-year-old Hellenic League debutant Alex Baker who picked up the man of the match award. “Alex Baker, a second year, came in at right back and did really well and got man of the match and that was great to see on his Hellenic League debut,” he said. “He kept things simple and played the way we asked them too and we were really pleased with what they produced. Jordan Ball is only 16 and scored the second and that’s great for his development.”

grant white hellenic footballCollege's White Out For Season - 13 December

New College will face Old Woodstock Town tomorrow fresh off the back of the bad news that Grant White will miss the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.

The central midfielder (pictured) has sustained ACL and MCL damage and will hope to make his return to football some time in the 2014/15 campaign. College boss Rob Hopkins said: “Grant won’t play again until next season, but hopefully he will be alright for August or September. The younger you are the better it is because the body tends to recover a bit quicker. Doctors tend to give you the worst-case scenario when they give you a time scale, so we’ll see what happens.”

College have no other injury concerns for the home clash with Woodstock, who have just named Jason Ludlow as their new manager after Clint Ross quit.


Better Performance - 2 December

Rob Hopkins declared in the Swindon Advertiser New College’s performance ‘five million times better’ than last time out despite defeat at Easington.

A goal from Craig Pearman 11 minutes after the break secured Sports three points in Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West meeting. However, boss Hopkins felt he could not be disappointed as College were much-improved on the display they gave in the 8-1 thrashing by Pewsey Vale in the Wiltshire Senior Cup second round.

“It was about five million times better than Wednesday, the performance was a lot better and we got a good reaction from the players,” he said. “On Wednesday we looked like a team that had never played before so that was where that five million ratio came from. The only disappointing thing was the outcome because we created enough chances to win about five games, but we were just wasteful in front of goal. Easington had one chance which they scored from and we had 14, but there were a lot of positives to take.”


Not Dwelt Upon - 29 November

Rob Hopkins is confident his players will not dwell on midweek disappointment when New College take on Easington at home tomorrow.

The students were thumped 8-1 by Pewsey Vale in the Wiltshire Senior Cup on Wednesday and must regroup for the weekend’s Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One West clash.

Hopkins believes his squad will bounce back swiftly from their cup mauling, speaking to the Swindon Advertiser he said. “They are young lads and are always happy to have another game so that’s a positive for us. We need to draw a line under Wednesday and move on,” he said. “I think it’s probably easier for us to do that than it is for other teams because we have a younger squad with a bit more enthusiasm in there. Maybe the experienced players would dwell on it a bit more but that doesn’t seem to be the case for the young lads. The lads are down because we didn’t perform but after a bit of a sulk their heads will be back up again and buzzing for Saturday. Getting them motivated is not the hard part, it’s working on the things we are doing wrong which takes the time.”


Well Beaten By Rocks - 25 November

New College boss Rob Hopkins was left to rue the mistakes which he felt handed victory to One West title hopefuls Tytherington on Saturday .

“Tytherington have got some good players, so we always knew it was going to be a challenge," he said. “The key word for us was ‘concentration’ in terms of taking care defensively and in the final third, but through our own lack of concentration, we’ve gifted them three goals. We played Tytherington earlier in the season and they were miles better than us. The difference today was in the final third. They had a good degree of possession as did we, but they defended their third better than we did and finished their chances.”

In the lead-up to Saturday’s clash, Tytherington’s form had taken a relative dip as the South Gloucestershire side had conceded seven goals in their three previous league matches. Though Hopkins believes the Rocks can make top spot their own. “Put it this way, if you finish above them you’ll be winning the league,” he said. “I think it’s going to be between them and Shortwood reserves, although Clanfield might run them close. Tytherington deserve to be top, they’re not there by accident.”


rob hopkins hellenic league footballPraise For Cup Performance - 11 November

Rob Hopkins lavished praise on his New College players despite their exit from the Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup at the hands of Rayners Lane.

The students were sunk 3-1 at the Webb’s Wood Stadium with Harvey Scholes’ goal proving only a consolation. Hopkins admitted that had his team taken their opportunities, the result would have been different.

“We played really well, we pretty much dominated possession in the defensive and and middle third but we just lacked a clinical touch in the final third,” he said in the Swindon Advertiser. “They had five shots and scored three goals and we had nine and scored one. The surface was in teremendous nick considering the weather we’ve had so credit to the guys at Supermarine for that and it was a really good game to watch. The difference between the two sides was that they were a little bit more experienced and had some good, clinical touches in the final third, and we didn’t have that. But we played miles better yesterday than some of the games we’ve picked up points in recently. If we can take that kind of performance and determination forward we’ll win a lot more games as we go through the season. There’s a lot of positives to take.”

As a result of Saturday’s defeat, College now travel to Carterton or Abingdon United in the second round of the Supplementary Cup. “Obviously we’re disappointed to go out of the Challenge Cup but we have the opportunity to play to play another game,” continued Hopkins. “We’ve got the Wiltshire Senior Cup coming up and we hope to progress in that as well. That’s what we’re about, giving lads games.”

Cup, Trophy Or Even A Bowl Welcomed - 8 November

New College could negotiate a route around the Hellenic League Supplementary Cup this weekend but boss Rob Hopkins isn’t bothered either way.

A victory for the students at home to Rayners Lane in the second round of the Challenge Cup would mean that they would avoid the Supplementary tournament.

That competition is not looked on favourably by some Hellenic managers but Hopkins says that win or lose on Saturday, he will be content. “We view the cups as extra games for the lads,” said Hopkins. I know a lot of local managers don’t want to be in it but whether it’s the cup, the trophy, or a bowl, we don’t care. Even if we lose on Saturday we know we have another game anyway, so we’re quite happy with that.”

Hopkins is without unavailable duo Tim Ogu and Dave Kinuthia while central-midfielder Grant White looks set for a lengthy period on the sidelines. “He picked it up in the Ludgershall game but I don’t think he realised how serious it was until afterwards,” added Hopkins. “It looks like cartilage and ligament damage, but we’ll have to wait and see.”


alex swatridge hellenic league footballNew College's "Motty" - 21 October

College got their first ever Uhlsport Hellenic League victory in the month of October after coming from behind to defeat Hook Norton 3-1.

Goals from Lee Toomey, Jack Payne and Dave Kinuthia propelled the students up to ninth in the Division One West table and took their run to three unbeaten in all competitions.

College boss Rob Hopkins said: “Our stats man Al Swatridge (keeper, captain and New College's "John Motson." ) says this is the first time we've won a game in the Hellenic in October, so we're quite happy with that. He's into his stats and he had obviously done a bit of research, and outside of the cups it was our first league win in October according to Statto Swatridge. "

Hooky took the lead in the opening minutes when they broke swiftly from a corner and Jason Tillcock converted. However, College hit back strongly and John Rees pulled back from the by-line for Toomey to slot home. Moments later a cross-cum-shot free kick from Payne was left by both defender and goalkeeper and the ball dropped in at the far post. Kinuthia added the third in the closing moments of the second period following good work from Rees and Max Slinn.

Hopkins continued: “They were quite complimentary at the end of the game and had we won it by a little bit more it wouldn't have been flattering. “If I was going to be hyper-critical I was disappointed not to score more goals but to win and score three away from home I'm quite happy with. Apart from the first 10 minutes we were the better side all through the game. The 20 minutes after we conceded was probably the best we've played all season,we scored two great goals and could have had two or three more. They put us under pressure at the start of the second half and we hit them on the break and could have had a couple more then as well.”

Conceded Three - Scored Three - 7 October

New College came from behind three times to draw 3-3 at Easington in Uhlsport Hellenic Division One West.

“It was a good performance in the sense that we scored three goals and looked quite positive going forward,” said boss Rob Hopkins. “The goals we scored came from stuff we had worked on during the week, so that was nice. It’s disappointing to score three goals away from home and not win, so that’s something we need to work on. I didn’t think we defended with the same intelligence or purpose that our attacking play had.”


Learning Game - 4 October

New College boss Rob Hopkins is expecting to learn a lot about his players by the end of their game tomorrow..

The youngsters travel to Easington Sports in Division One West, with boss Hopkins expecting a physical battle from the off against the team immediately above them in the table. Hopkins knows exactly what to expect from their hosts, and is also sure he will know plenty more about his players by the end of the game.

“From what we gather they are a big physical side with some big tall trees to deal with, and I spoke to a couple of people who have played them already this season and was told they are very direct and play for set pieces,” he said. “We have to deal with the challenge so it will be interesting, and I think I will learn a lot about where we are by 5pm on Saturday. We’ve worked this week on shape and the roles we need to do as a team so we are planning for them, and that’s gone well and the boys have done well.”

College go into the game on the back of a defeat to Letcombe last weekend but Hopkins has been impressed with how well his players have put it out their minds. “They have been lively and bright in training this week, like they always are, and it’s just a case of making sure they learn the lessons that we need to take on,” he said. “We can’t get too down because there’s always another game to put it right, and that’s helpful because we have lots of youth and enthusiasm who will go out in the next game and put it right. They don’t dwell on things too much and that’s what’s great about this group.”


rob hopkins hellenic league footballCould Not Be Faulted - 23 September

Rob Hopkins insisted he couldn’t fault his young New College team in any way despite their 2-0 FA Carlsberg Vase defeat to Staines Lammas.

College had the better of the opening 20 minutes of the second qualifying round tie before slipping behind after allowing a free header from a corner, and the Staines lead was doubled soon after following a good finish. The students ran themselves into the ground and dominated much of the second period, and although they eventually fell to a defeat in what was their debut in the competition, Hopkins was pleased.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to enter the Vase, and hopefully next year we can enter the FA Cup and FA Youth Cup too, and that’s a chance to play in good competitions which is great for the boys,” he said in the Swindon Press. “I can’t imagine there are any other teams out there with an average age of 18 and an oldest player at only 19, and a number of 16-year-olds playing against a very good side. But we gave it a good go and competed for the whole 90 minutes so there’s a lot of credit which has to go to the boys because they were outstanding. We probably lacked a bit of quality at the back for their goals and in attack for a few chances which went missing, but their effort and the way they played was superb and they need to take a lot of praise. We were disappointed not to win but not with the performance, although we lacked a little bit of quality, and it’s hard to fault the players at all.”

Hopkins was expecting a physical encounter going into the match but was impressed with the way the visitors got the ball down and played. “I was sure they would be direct but they played the game really well with plenty of older and experienced players, and what we lacked in experience we made up for in youthful enthusiasm and what they lacked in youthful enthusiasm they made up for in experience,” he said. “They used their strengths well and played the ball round a fair bit, and it wasn’t the long ball fest I was expecting which was a good challenge for us. We play sides who like to get it down but a lot are direct, and maybe that’s because they try to counter the way we play, and it was good the players had the challenge of playing these good experienced players who were quite technical.”


fa carlsberg vase

Vase Freshmen - 20 September

New College venture into unknown territory tomorrow when they compete in the FA Carlsberg Vase for the first time.

The students entertain Combined Counties side Staines Lammas in the second qualifying round at the Webb’s Wood Stadium, with boss Rob Hopkins hoping his team’s debut will result in further eligibility for national competitions next term.

“It’s the first time we’ve been in the FA Vase, but hopefully next year we’ll be in the FA Cup and the FA Youth Cup as well,” he said. “We applied to go in all three for this season but because we hadn’t been in any before, they said we could only go in the FA Vase. But hopefully we’ll be able to offer a really good national cup package in future as well as the various ancillary cups and leagues we play in. There’s not many academy sides that can offer the chance to play in three FA competitions, so that would be great for us.”

Staines are currently second in Combined Counties Division One and Hopkins, whose side received a bye in the first qualifying round, admits to limited knowledge of the visitors. He said: “They are second in their league so they are going to be a challenge. The one positive is they won’t know what we’re like, but then we won’t have a clue about them either. In terms of the way they play I would expect them to be a typical Combined Counties side - big, physical and strong - but whether they get it down and play, I don’t know. We’ll prepare for it as we prepare for another game and it’s just a question of who turns up. If it’s the team that played Malmesbury and Tytherington it’s going to be a long day, but if it’s the team that played Tuffley and North Leigh then we might get a positive result.”


Tough One Awaits - 13 September

Another tough fixture awaits New College this weekend when the students face Division One West high flyers Tytherington in South Gloucestershire.

College have played Clanfield and Lydney in recent times and tomorrow’s visit to the Rocks will be the third top-four side they have faced in a fortnight. The difficult run of fixtures shows no sign of abating but College boss Rob Hopkins is convinced that his players should welcome the challenges being thrown their way.

He said: “We’ve got Tytherington this weekend and then we’re in the FA Vase against Staines who are top of their league, and after that we’ve got (Division One West leaders) Shortwood reserves. They are three good teams and it will be a nice challenge for us so that we can see where the lads are in terms of their development. It will be a great little gauge to see how far we’ve come, which is especially important in a learning environment like we’ve got. We’ll be saying to the players that this is why we play football, to challenge ourselves.”

College are a quarter of the way through the Hellenic League season and Hopkins believes that despite the tricky games that have been thrown their way of late, his team are well on track. “We’ve got eight points from seven games and if you compare that to last season, we didn’t get eight points until March,” he said. “We’re in a lot better state than we were last year and it’s going to give us an a lot better base for the rest of this season. It’s a start. We’re seven games in and there’s 21 to go, so if we replicate that form we’ll end up with about 30 points and in midtable.”

Grant White is unavailable for the trip to Tytherington this weekend but College have no new injury worries for the trip west.

Hopkins’ fledglings will be looking to bounce from their 4-0 Floodlit Cup first-round exit on Tuesday at the hands of local rivals Malmesbury. “Tuesday was a massively bad day at the office,” said Hopkins. “I don’t know whether the lads were tired because they had been at college all day, but it was one of those days where everything went wrong. We’ll be looking to give Tytherington a better game than we gave Malmesbury.”

rob hopkins hellenic league footballSecond Best - 9 September

Rob Hopkins admitted his young team were not at their best in the 2-0 defeat to Lydney at the Webb’s Wood Stadium.

The students were sunk by a goal in each half from Richard Kear and James Morse, with Joey Hiscock coming closest to a College goal when he hit the woodwork with a first-half free kick. From the outset it had the makings of a huge task given that Lydney had already racked up four Hellenic League Division One West wins out of five, and Hopkins conceded that his side had never troubled the Gloucestershire outfit.

“Other than when we hit the post we didn’t look like we were going to score at all,” he said. “They were better than us in the final third and the defensive third, and we lacked a bit of quality in key areas all-round. They are a good side with some experienced players and although we had the better of midfield in terms of possession, they were the better side in front of goal and defensively. I don’t think we really tested them. The fact we weren’t really happy meant they didn’t have to play as well as they can to beat us. It was a shame we didn’t play better because it could have been a lot closer."

Hopkins coninued.“I’d imagine that Lydney, Tytherington, Fairford and Shortwood reserves are going to be the top four teams in the league. We’ve got Tytherington next weekend so we’ll be tested again and we’re going to end up playing what could be the top four by the end of October.”


alex swatridge hellenic league footballWind-Up's Not 'Armbandond' - 30 August

Manager Rob Hopkins is more than happy for wind-ups to continue at New College if it means a healthy team spirit is maintained.

The boss stole the captain’s armband off new skipper Alex Swatridge (pictured) last week and spent several days asking the keeper why he had lost it. Eventually Swatridge’s conscience was cleared before College’s 3-0 defeat to Fairford on Saturday when Hopkins admitted to the high jinks.

“We noticed he kept putting the armband in his bag rather than in the main kitbag where it should be, so we nicked it,” explained Hopkins. “We told him we could be fined £25 by the league if we didn’t have the right armband and said he needed to get one from Don Rogers Sports. He left training on Friday and sprinted down there, only to be told they didn’t have one. When we saw him at the Fairford game I took my tracksuit top off and had the armband round my arm, so then the penny dropped. That kind of sums up the crack we’re having at the moment, there’s a great team spirit here and it’s good that we have that. I’m fully expecting a bit of banter back from him at some point.”

New College travel to Clanfield in Uhlsport Hellenic League Division West this weekend and welcome back centre-midfielder Max Slinn, who has returned from holiday.


Good Progress - 23 August

Should New College defeat Fairford tomorrow, the students will be more than half way to beating their points total from the last Uhslport Hellenic League season.

In a difficult 2012/13 campaign, the students managed just 19 points in 30 Division One West fixtures, but this time round they have taken seven points from the opening four games. Their latest triumph was a 2-1 victory over North Leigh reserves in which Joey Hiscock and Dave Kinuthia struck the all-important goals.

College were due to lose their captain Ben Wells to Shrivenham last night, but Rob Hopkins’ side have proved of late that they are far from a one-man team. Nevertheless, boss Hopkins has warned his team that the league season is in its infancy and that a good first few weeks do not equal a strong campaign. “It’s a good start but we’re not getting carried away, it’s a question of a week at a time,” said Hopkins. “Yes, we are happy with our start, but I don’t take much notice of the league table after four games. The lads are buzzing at the fact that they are playing well and what we’ve done in the four games we’ve played so far. But it’s definitely a case of keeping them as grounded as possible, it’s still a learning experience.”

With Wells last night due to exit, keeper Alex Swatridge has been given the captain’s armband. Dual signed with Swindon Supermarine, Swatridge was previously vice-captain, but Tim Ogu has now taken that role. “Al is the older statesman of the side at 19 and is one of the more experienced players,” said Hopkins. “He’s developed as a goalkeeper and is a lot more vocal than when he first came here. It’s a natural progression for him".

College entertain a Fairford side tomorrow that are yet to fulfil their full potential having lost two of their opening three games. However, Hopkins, who is missing Christy Millar (leg) and Max Slinn (unavailable), expects the Gloucestershire outfit to start racking up the wins soon. “I think Fairford were most people’s picks to win the league or at least to finish in the top two,” said Hopkins. “They have strengthened their squad and kept a lot of players from last year. Paul Braithwaite is a great manager and they are going to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.”


josh croucher hellenic league footballCroucher Out For Woodstock Fixture - 16 August

New College will be without centre-back Josh Croucher this weekend after he suffered a badly bruised leg in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Tuffley.

A late challenge resulted in Croucher being taken to hospital by ambulance with around 10 minutes to go of the Division One West clash. There were initial fears that the defender had sustained a fracture and he was yesterday awaiting a verdict on whether ligament damage had been done. College boss Rob Hopkins said: “Josh cleared the ball and the lad caught him. I don’t want to say there was malice involved, I think it was a genuine accident. It was the other end of the pitch to where I was standing, but it looked nasty.”

The students travel to Old Woodstock in the Uhlsport Hellenic League tomorrow hoping to build on their Tuffley victory. “It was hard getting some of them focused for the game on Wednesday,” admitted Hopkins, referring to pre-exam result nerves. “But there was a lot more grit in the way we defended and especially in the last 10 minutes when we were down to 10 men. It’s a hard thing to do when you are that age, but they showed great maturity and if we get a similar result on Saturday that would be great. Old Woodstock will be decent. They are always strong and competitive and I know they have had a change of management, but as for the playing staff I don’t know. They are an unknown entity.”

In addition to the sidelined Croucher, skipper Ben Wells is unavailable due to work commitments.


ben wells hellenic league footballMissing Captain - 9 August

New College will be without captain Ben Wells for tomorrow’s Uhlsport Hellenic One West away clash with Carterton.

Wells (pictured) is unavailable due to work commitments while Lee Toomey was due to undergo a late fitness test on a thigh strain.

College player-coach Matt Cosnett said: “We’ve had some good performances in pre-season without getting the results we deserve. Fitness levels have been good and we’ve been moving the ball round sharply, so hopefully we can have a good season.”


Street AthleticsNew College Support Street Games - 7 June

New College Academy will be actively supporting Swindon Street games for the first time when it arrives in Swindon on Friday June 28th.

New College Academy will be supporting the event and using the Street Athletics as part of its pre season training programme for the forthcoming season.

Linford Christie will be at the event in Swindon which encourages youths aged between 14-24 to participate in co-ordinated activities and training.

The Academy are hopeful that all of the players aged 16-19 will attend the event and participate.

All information on Street Athletic events can be found on www.streetathletics.co.uk



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