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john fishers last highworth gameFish’s Finalé! - 20 April

So, the curtain has finally come down on John Fisher’s tenure as Manager of Highworth Town, who along with assistant, Kevin Moloney, has decided to step down as First Team Manager.

John has been associated with the Hellenic League for many years, playing for Clanfield in the late 70s and also for Vickers and Supermarine. He has managed Supermarine, Swindon Athletic, Wollen Sports and also Highworth in two separate spells.

His success as a manager includes three Hellenic League titles with three different clubs, various cup competitions and he also guided Highworth to the FA Vase semi-finals where they lost over two legs to the eventual winners, North Shields.

It was very gracious of the Ardley United lads to form a guard of honour for Fish and Moey before their final game at the helm and we would also like to thank Norman Stacey, Chairman of Ardley United and Uhlsport Hellenic League Vice Chairman, for providing a most welcome gift as a parting gesture and a very entertaining impromptu speech in the clubhouse after the game.

 

Tribute To Manager - 11 March

When the curtain comes down on Highworth Town’s season next month, the club will pay tribute to the years of dedication put in by their outgoing manager.

On Saturday, April 16, the Worthians are set to finish their campaign and then, from 7pm, every member of the side John Fisher guided to the 2004-05 Hellenic League Premier Division title will be at The Elms to celebrate the career of their long-serving boss.

That 2005 triumph, current Purton chief Justin Miller top-scored with 18 league goals as Highworth won the title, provided Fisher’s crowning moment and just a season after leading the Worthians to within one game of a Wembley final in the FA Vase, as well as winning the Wiltshire Senior Cup, the former Swindon Supermarine and Shrivenham chief is set to step away from management.

Highworth chairman Rohan Haines said in the Swindon Advertiser that Fisher is a friend to everyone at his club but that perhaps there was nobody that had a softer spot for the Worthians stalwart than his late father and former chairman Rodney. “My dad, who died in 2008, always said to Fish that as long as he was chairman, he wouldn’t have to worry about anything and he’s always been superb with me too,” said Haines. “Fish in infectious. He’s got time for everybody at the club and you’ll always find him having a chat to one of the old couples that come to watch us and things like that. He’s a good friend and myself and my brother, Fraser, will be going to his daughter Kimberley’s wedding soon. Everyone that played for Fish the year that we won the league in 2005 will be there and we’ve even got Andy Wollen, who was his assistant that year, coming over from Holland. I’m sure that there’ll be people who he’s played with or managed at other clubs that will want to come along too. It will be tough for us to replace him but we hope that he’ll stay on in a senior capacity.”

Fisher’s first spell as Highworth manager lasted from 2002 to 2008 and he returned to The Elms for his second tenure in 2011.

 

Play For Highest Position - 4 March

Following their midweek loss Highworth Town have a trip to second-placed Flackwell Heath tomorrow and play for pride for the remainder of the campaign.

The Worthians lost at home to Thame United 0-2 on Tuesday. “After midweek games, whether we win or lose, the lads usually shoot off pretty quickly,” said John Fisher. “On Tuesday, they all stayed around having a chat, and that was pretty unusual. They were all pretty disappointed. I wasn’t very happy because we didn’t play well and I told them that they’d not just let me down, but they’d let themselves down too. I think that loss has done it now for us – I wanted to win the title in my last season ,but oh well. Kidlington and Flackwell have still got to play each other twice but I really think that the title is Thatcham’s to lose now. For us, we’ve got to try and restore a bit of credibility. The teams below us have picked up a few points and they’re getting closer to us, so if we’re not careful, they could catch us. After the start to the season we had, we have to finish in the top four. If we finish higher than that, then great, but we have to finish in that top four.”

 

Nine From Three - 19 February

With three home games in succession Highworth have targeted a nine-point haul if they are to have any chance of getting back into the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division title race.

The Worthians were 2-1 winners over Brackley Town Saints last weekend and have two more home games in succession, starting against Milton United tomorrow. Fisher’s side are 12 points off top spot in fifth but do have two games in hand on leaders Flackwell Heath. Although they remain the outsiders in the pack, Fisher thinks any hopes of mounting a challenge will rest on the next fortnight.

“We had Brackley, now we have Milton and then we have Highmoor after that. We have three home games in a row,” said Fisher in the Wiltshire press“We have got to win on Saturday. There’s no disrespect to anyone but when sides are in the bottom half of the table, if you have got any aspirations of doing anything, you have got to beat them. You let the top-half teams take care of themselves, it’s when you go to the bottom 10 sides, that’s where your season is won and lost. It’s another must-win because we can’t afford to drop points. We have to hope we keep picking up points and that the other teams drop them. Looking back, three points against Thame (a 3-2 loss on February 6) would have put us right back in the mix because it would have closed us up.”

 

john fisher left hellenic chairman bob dalling right Worthy Worthians - 15 February

John Fisher accepts an award on behalf of Highworth Town from Uhlsport Hellenic League chairman Bob Dalling, who honoured the club for their heroic run to the FA Vase semi-finals last year.

Bob has instituted a new achievement award this season, the Hellenic League Chairman's Trophy, for outstanding performances by Hellenic League clubs and the Worthians are the inaugural winners. The award was presented, prior to the game against Brackley Town Saints, along with the Uhlsport Team of the Month award for going unbeaten for the whole of August.

Following the presentation Highworth kept their slim league ambitions alive with a less than glamorous 2-1 home win over Brackley Town Saints.

In difficult conditions, the visitors took the lead in the 35th minute when Henry Jackson played in Matt Hammond to finish low into the corner. In the second half Richie Saunders set up TJ Bohane to pull the hosts back level. A controversial penalty sealed the game for Highworth when Callum Parsons was brought down and Bohane completed the honours from the spot.

While Fisher ruled out the side’s chances of claiming the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division, Flackwell Heath’s win over leaders Thatcham Town has left the door slightly ajar. “We have got Flackwell to come so it is still back in the mix but we have got to rely on other sides,” added The Elms boss. “The pressure is off us and we’re not expected to do anything now."

 

Best To Come - 12 February

John Fisher hopes to see the best of his Highworth Town players now the burden of a title bid is over.

Fisher all but admitted defeat in his team’s quest to be crowned Premier Division champions in the wake of last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Thame United. Although Highworth have two games in hand on leaders Thatcham Town, they are still 14 points adrift.

With the pressure now off his players, Fisher hopes to see the Worthians reach their full potential. “I think we shot ourselves in the foot last week. There is a long way to go but we are relying on other teams to get beat. The best we can aim for is second or third,” said Fisher. “The players know I say it like it is and they have just got to get on with it. Maybe the fact the pressure is off us now will help them. I was just disappointed with how we lost – we beat ourselves. When we lost to Thatcham before Christmas that was fair enough, they battered us, but we lost the game ourselves against Thame.”

Highworth are at home to 14th-placed Brackley Town Saints on Saturday and Fisher says nothing less than a win will do at the Elms. “We’ve got Brackley and Milton in the next two games and if we lost to them, then that’s dropped points,” added Fisher. “That’s no disrespect to them but that would be unacceptable. They are in the bottom half for a reason.”

 

john fisher hellenic league footballTitle Too Far Away Now - 8 February

John Fisher has conceded that the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division title is out of his Highworth Town’s reach after their 3-2 defeat away to Thame United.

Highworth now sit 14 points behind league leaders Thatcham Town with just two games in hand. “I think that is us done now. I don’t think Thatcham can be caught,” said Fisher. “We can’t catch them unless they lose three games and they aren’t going to lose three games. We’re fighting now for second and if we can get that then, that is brilliant. Fair play to them - if they win the league they are the best team.”

“The league is the league and I was hoping to do well, being my last season. The frustrating thing is getting knocked out of the Challenge Cup early on and getting knocked out of the Wiltshire Cup. The league; we are doing really well and if we come in the top two or three, then that is great. I think what lost us the league was early on when we lost three games on the trot to Kidlington, Flackwell and Thatcham - we had to get something from one of those games but we didn’t. The league was always going to be a tall order but it is the two cups I am disappointed with and I can’t change that now, and it isn’t going to happen next season, that’s for sure. I’m not going to say it is not over until the fat lady sings because I am realistic and call it as it is. I’ve had great times in football and I will walk away and I’ll look back and I’ll think ‘great’.”

On the loss at Thame, Fisher commented. “It’s disappointing and we gave three bad goals away. You can’t legislate for that. If players make mistakes, then they make mistakes. They don’t mean to but that is what happens. The first two goals were mistakes. I told TJ Bohane to take the wind with you so we had the wind with us in the first half and we have gone two goals down. Then we got back and it was two-each at half-time and I thought second half, against the wind, we showed we could play. It was a bad third goal as well and on the day, it was a bad all-round performance.”

 

tj bohane hellenic highworth footballFitness Concerns For Club Marksman - 5 February

Highworth Town are sweating over the fitness of skipper and top scorer TJ Bohane (pictured) for tomorrow’s trip to Thame United.

The Worthians hotshot, who has been on target 21 times this season so far, was helped off the pitch in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Ascot United after a blow to his ankle.

However, should Bohane fail to recover, boss John Fisher can call on new signing Levi Cox after he came off the bench last Saturday to score on his debut after joining from Western League side Corsham Town. “I've liked Levi for years, but every time I've gone in for him, he has stayed where he was,” Fisher said. “We were speaking to Ashley Edenborough but couldn’t agree terms, so I went back for Levi. He wanted to give it a go for the 16 games, he knows we have a chance of winning something. He is a nice lad; he works all the time and can score.’’

 

Missed Penalty - 1 February

Highworth Town had a chance to snatch all three points when they were awarded a controversial penalty three minutes from the end after Grace had been adjudged to have brought down Nathan Blackford, but TJ Bohane meekly fired the ball straight at the Ascot stopper.

“On the balance of play maybe a draw was fair result, but when you get a penalty with five minutes to go, the man you expect to score – TJ – didn’t take it well, that is disappointing for me,” manager John Fisher said. “Twice we were losing in this game and then I was thinking that I’d take a point, then I got greedy and I wanted all three. We always have tight games against Ascot, they are decent side, we are finished with them now, they have still got Kidlington, Thatcham and Flackwell to play - hopefully they can take points off them. If we had dropped points against a bottom 10 side then I would have been really disappointed.”

The veteran boss also heaped praise on his diminutive striker Parsons after he played a major role in both of Highworth’s goals. “Callum is a special player,” Fisher said. “He never stops working. He is not only a fantastic player - his work ethic is brilliant. He never knows a lost cause. He could go a lot higher, whether he wants to is another thing. It is a bit like what we have signed with Levi. Ash (Edenborough) is dead in the water; that (deal) is not going to happen. Levi works hard and scores goals. He came on scored and that is great. It is a great to have another acquisition to the team. TJ was disappointing today. That wasn’t his normal performance, but now we have to see how bad the injury is.”

 

Closing Ground On Leaders - 18 January

Highworth Town, who have only lost once in their last eight away games, were able to close ground on league leaders Thatcham Town and Ascot United, who are one place above them in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division, after the two sides played out a 2-2 draw, while manage John Fisher is just concerned about picking up the wins.

“It’s another win and I think that is 11 out of our 13 away games we have won now,” he said in The Swindon Advertiser. “We were very rusty, obviously, because we haven’t played for a while. They were a very young team and, fair play, they were a decent side and I like the way they move and play for young lads. For the first half an hour we had quite a lot of possession and scored, and we could have scored a couple. In the second half it was quite even and they were quite capable of nicking a goal and then we got a penalty in the fourth minute of added time so, in the end, it was another three points. It is not about how you play now it is about getting three points and winning as many matches as you can. Especially when Thatcham drew and Kidlington were in the vase - fair play to them they are in the last 16 now and that is going to tie them down.”
Central defender Tom Cole picked up a groin injury in only his second game back for the club in what was the only blemish of the afternoon.

However, Highworth will have to wait for their next outing as they now have two weeks without a game before hosting Ascot United on Saturday, January 30. “We haven’t got a game next Saturday which I think is a bit pathetic,” added Fisher. “The league knew we didn’t have a game three weeks ago so I don’t know why they didn’t try and arrange something, it is quite baffling to me*. It is disappointing because we need to be playing to keep our fitness levels up.”

* Not baffling or pathetic at all, it's all quite simple really, be proactive. Why is it down to the League? If club’s wish to fill an empty league date then get your club fixtures secretary to do something about it.

If you have free date and a club you are waiting to play also has a free date, contact that club to see if they are will agree to bringing the game forward. If you are both in agreement the home side contacts the League and the date can be re-arranged, as long as you allow at least 7 days notice to organise match officials. If the club’s you are waiting to play do not have a convenient free date, then there is nothing either the club or the League can do about it.

Club's that achieve promotion to Step 4 will find out that a fixtures list is provided at the start of the season, and that is it. Any league fixtures that are subject to change, through weather, cup games or whatever, then the home side has 42 days from the original scheduled date to make sure the league game has been fulfilled, not the League. If it is not re-arranged to played within 42 days, without good reason, then the home side will receive a financial penalty that would make you wince.

 

Highworth's Hopes For Edenborough - 15 January

tj bohane hellenic highworth footballHighworth Town are hoping that Ashley Edenborough opts to join his side after leaving Evo-Stik Division One side Swindon Supermarine last week.

The 29-year-old hot shot was released by the Webb’s Wood Stadium outfit after feeling he could not commit to Marine’s ambitions of playing in the Southern League Premier Division. With the Swindon-based striker available, Fisher says that the Elms side have spoken to the player and are now awaiting his decision. “When someone like Ash comes available you have to speak to him,” manager John Fisher said. “The meeting went well and he said that he would get back to us this week. “But he is speaking to other clubs and I’m sure that he will decide what is best for him. If Ash did come here, to have him and TJ (Bohane) we would have a formidable strike force. We already have a good one with TJ, Callum Parsons and Dan Drewitt, but getting Ash would be fantastic.”

While Fisher awaits a decision from the striker, who scored 104 goals in 207 appearances in three spells at Marine, he must get his side together for tomorrow’s trip to Abingdon United. The Worthians chief is expecting his side, whose last game was the 8-0 drubbing of Royal Wootton Bassett at the end of December, to return home from Oxfordshire with three points. “We have to be beating these sides in the bottom half of the table,” Fisher said. “We have to treat them with the respect they deserve – they did beat Flackwell Heath 3-2 at home – but we have to beat them. When we have played the teams in the bottom half, we have been professional and got the win and that has to continue. Hopefully, we will get a game on, their pitch is pretty decent. The boys have been great when we haven’t been playing. When the game (against Highmoor-Ibis) got called off last week they took themselves to Dorcan Academy to play a bit of football. Then on Tuesday night we went to the new facility at Supermarine (Swindome), but there is nothing like getting a game on.”

 

Derby Day At The Elms - 28 December

With Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division leaders Flackwell Heath winning on Boxing Day, the Worthians are 10 points off the pace but have four games in hand on the current table-toppers, starting with today’s lunchtime clash with Paul Braithwaite’s Bassett at the Elms (12pm).

Highworth have lost their last three matches in all competitions and boss Fisher has challenged his players to roll up their sleeves and get back on an upward trajectory. “When we won six or seven on the trot, people were saying ‘well done’ to the players and nothing about the manager but now we’ve lost three in a row, it’s ‘why has the manager made this decision?’,” said the Worthians chief. “You can’t dictate their lives but if we want to go for the title, it’s up to the players to stay committed for the rest of the season. The teams above us won on Boxing Day, so we have to win against Bassett. But derby games can go either way. They’ll want to make it four losses in a row for us, and so they should.”

 

Humbled Manager Seeks Revenge - 18 December

John Fisher is out for revenge in the Wiltshire Senior Cup but getting his team back on track this weekend remains the Elms chief’s primary concern.

The Worthians were humbled 5-1 by county giants Salisbury in the third round proper of the FA Vase last Saturday and the two could be on course to meet again, with both teams in the last eight of the county cup. However, Fisher’s reigning cup champions have lost their last three matches in all competitions and ahead of their quarter-final clash with Western League Corsham Town, the Highworth manager is desperate for his players to haul themselves back to winning ways.

“What I would love to do is to win, get to the final, and then draw Salisbury and show them what we can do,” said Fisher. “We have just got to re-group now and push it all out of the way and make sure we get back to winning ways quicker than not. I’ve been in this game so long and you can go on a winning run, and that is great, but you can go on a losing run as well just as quickly, and it is harder to get out of the thing. We’ve had two poor performances. It was different on Tuesday (a 2-0 loss to Thatcham Town on December 8). I felt they were much more physical and I don’t blame anybody for that because that isn’t our game plan but on Saturday, there were no excuses – they outplayed us. That is a disappointment because that is what we like to do but we’ll take it on the chin and knuckle down. We must now get back on track, starting with Corsham on Saturday.”

Fisher added: “No disrespect to Corsham, but they are not going to be the same level as Salisbury. “They are in division one of the Western League and we have got to be expected to win. We have got to be looking to beat Corsham and we have got to be favourites - if we weren’t favourites, there would be something wrong.”

 

fa vaseHappy To Write Us Off - 11 December

John Fisher says in the Swindon Advertiser, he is more than happy for every man and his dog to write off Highworth Town’s chances of toppling one of the most high-profile non-league clubs in the South West this weekend.

The Worthians are back in action in the FA Vase on Saturday and have been tasked with hosting Wessex League leaders Salisbury, the phoenix club created after the downfall of National League outfit Salisbury City, in the third round proper. The Whites, who are managed by former Leicester City striker and current BBC pundit Steve Claridge, are rated at 1/2 to triumph at the Elms by bookmakers BetVictor, with Highworth given odds of 4/1 to reach the last 32.

But manager Fisher says that he and his troops will be tapping in to a near-limitless font of inspiration following their heroics in the Vase last season, where they beat Tadcaster Albion in a quarter-final replay in front of more than 1,300 fans before falling just short of reaching Wembley as they were beaten by eventual champions North Shields in the semis.

“Everybody’s writing us off and saying that we’re going to lose because we’ve got Salisbury but that’s fine,” said Fisher, whose team were unbeaten in seven matches before last Tuesday’s loss to Thatcham Town. It’s going to be a challenge on Saturday and if you’re going to go far, you’re going to have to beat the best teams, so we might as well try to do it early. They’re going to be a good side but I don’t think that this is as tough as going to Tadcaster, like we did last season, and winning there. All the players are up for this one because of how well we did in the Vase last year. If Salisbury are the favourites, then that’s fair enough. I prefer this kind of challenge, taking on a team like Salisbury in front of 300 or 400 people, rather than travelling somewhere to play in front of 50 people. We’re looking forward to it and we’ll see what we can get.”

Salisbury are no strangers to the Elms, having travelled to Highworth’s ground to take on Wroughton in the first round of the Wiltshire Senior Cup back in October, with that tie moved to accommodate a swathe of travelling supporters. Fisher reckons that the Elms pitch could prove a leveller. He said: “They’ve already seen our pitch after playing Wroughton there, so they’ll know what to expect. They know that our pitch is nowhere near the same as theirs, which is Conference standard, and it’s going to suit our game a lot more than it’s going to suit theirs.”

john fisher hellenic league footballBah Humbug - 4 December

John Fisher is looking to adopt the role of Scrooge in the build up to Christmas as he looks to give nothing away.

Highworth Town have trips to Binfield and Thatcham United in the league followed by home ties against Salisbury in the FA Vase and Corsham Town in the Wiltshire Senior Cup, the Elms boss knows how pivotal the build up to the festive period could be. Fisher has his eyes firmly on claiming the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division title in this, his last season at the club, and two wins in the next five days.

However, he will not be taking Saturday’s opponents lightly after suffering a 3-2 defeat at home back in October. “Our destiny for how the season is going to pan out is in the next four games,” said Fisher. “They will be very season defining as to where we are going to be, come the end of the season. We have four Christmas presents under the tree and we’ve got to make sure we don’t give them away too early. Binfield beat us at home 3-2, well they didn’t beat us we beat ourselves by giving away three bad goals. They are difficult and they will always be well organised. The league is my priority this season and we will be full on to do well in that.” With the recent wet weather, the last thing Fisher wants is the game to be called off as that would not only add another game into an already congested fixture list but would also mean a Monday night trip to Berkshire for the Worthians. It is forecast rain and their pitch isn’t great at draining what lands on it,” added Fisher. If it is called off then we will have to go there on a Monday night some time which is a disaster for me. I hate that. I don’t think anybody should be playing on Monday night unless it is on the telly.”

 

Three Points Fancied - 27 November

The Worthians have triumphed five times on the bounce in a sequence dating back to mid-October, and should fancy their chances of bagging another three points against Premier Division strugglers Abingdon United on Saturday.

However, with Abingdon having downed high-flying Flackwell Heath just a fortnight ago, Fisher has urged caution ahead of the clash at The Elms. “It’s going well at the moment. Abingdon are another one of those sides where if you have got any serious ambitions of winning the league, you have to beat,” said Fisher. “If we play like we have been playing recently we will be OK. We need to keep the momentum going, winning becomes a habit. These are the sort sides who can be banana skins and if you take them lightly you can get beat. Abingdon beat Flackwell not too long ago and Flackwell probably went there thinking it was a forgone conclusion, so it just shows that you have to be wary. It’s the bottom half you need to worry about and in the four games against Wokingham, Tuffley, Milton and Longlevens recently, we’ve won them all. This is another one we have to get three points from. After this game we have got three massive games against Binfield and Thatcham in the league and Salisbury in the FA Vase, which isn’t a bad one is it? But then if you want to win the league, they are all massive games, I suppose.”

Highworth will be without the services of Johnny Aitkenhead again this weekend, and Fisher fears he could be missing for some time. It is a week too soon for Richie Saunders to make his comeback from a shoulder injury, while Nathan Gambling is away. Fisher said: “We are worried about Johnny. If it’s his cartilage in his knee he could be out long-term. He is a big player for us and can play full-back or centre back. He’s one player but gives us three options as he can play anywhere across the back four. We don’t need to be picking up injuries but there’s nothing we can do to avoid it, we just have to keep our fingers crossed.”

 

Salisbury Next In Vase - 24 November

Highworth Town Boss John Fisher has hailed his side’s display against Odd Down in the FA Vase on Saturday and is now relishing the chance to pit his wits against Steve Claridge and Salisbury in the next round. 

The Worthians were 2-1 victors over the Premier Division high-flyers in the second round, goals from Aaron Maximen and TJ Bohane sealing their passage in the competition.

Town reached the semi-finals of the FA Vase last season and will hope to go one better this time around, and Fisher was left purring by his side’s impressive display on Saturday. “We played really well and it was as good as we’ve played for a long time,” Fisher told FLIC SPORT. They (Odd Down) were under a lot pressure but I felt we stopped playing after our second goal, we eased back and that was disappointing. Their manager wasn’t happy because there was some controversy with our penalty, TJ slipped and hit it onto his other foot which is illegal, and it has gone in. But I felt over the 90 minutes we were the better side. It is a different atmosphere at the club when it is a Vase game because of what we’ve achieved.”

Highworth’s reward for their victory on Saturday is a home tie against Salisbury in the fourth round on December 12, and Fisher is relishing the chance to pit his wits against Whites’ Boss Steve Claridge. “You could not have wished for a better tie,” added the Worthians’ Chief. “I’m looking forward to it and I’m looking forward to pitting my wits against Mr. Claridge to see how it goes. It is a challenge for me now, I’m managing against someone who has been in professional football. I’ve never managed against somebody who has come from that level of football, so it is a fantastic draw and I’m looking forward to it. I don’t think they will be looking forward to it. He (Claridge) didn’t mind the draw but he didn’t like the fact that he’s got to come here, I know that for a fact.”

 

fa vaseFA Vase Dreams - 20 November

Highworth Town will reignite their love affair with the FA Vase tomorrow, with dreams that they can go one better this year.

The Worthians reached the semi-finals of the competition last season before being beaten by eventual winners North Shields. As Highworth, who received a bye to the second round proper following their achievement last season, prepare to welcome Toolstation League Premier Division high-flyers Odd Down, veteran boss John Fisher is relishing the tie.

“Last year was great,” Fisher said in the Swindon Advertiser. “When you set out in the Vase, every manager says that this is their only chance to get to Wembley – and we nearly did. If we can go one better that would be fantastic, but I’ve already said to the chairman (Rohan Haines) we will need a miracle to repeat what we did.”

When you walk into the clubhouse at the Elms there is a big collage of Highworth’s FA Vase journey last season and Fisher is hoping that will help serve as a reminder of what they can achieve. With the majority of last season’s squad still plying their trade for the Worthians, they face an Odd Down side who have not lost in their last six outings, while Highworth have won their last four matches.

“We went pretty close last season, so it shows what they are capable of,” Fisher said. “It was immense. But they will be looking at us as a scalp. They will see that we reached the semi-finals last year and they will think if they can beat us then they might be able to go close. We have home advantage, that is a good thing, but it is an incredibly tough draw for us. Odd Down are second in their league and have only lost once all season. We didn’t have it easy last year, but I don’t think they will be as good as Tadcaster Albion, who Highworth beat in a quarter-final replay in West Yorkshire.”

The Worthians have no injury concerns fresh injury concerns ahead of tomorrow clash with Sam Wadieh still in America, but they have strengthened the squad with the signing of left-back Tom Butler, from Wantage Town.

 

Performance Not As Good As Goals - 26 October

John Fisher may have been delighted with Highworth Town’s goals but he was less than impressed with the performance as they defeated Longlevens 3-1.

The Worthians were never in danger of losing this Premier Division clash at the Elms this afternoon, but the veteran manager felt that his side laboured to the win. “We didn’t play that well, we didn’t keep the ball like we usually do but we scored three cracking goals,” Fisher said. “We have gone in 2-0 up at half-time and most probably worthy winning. In the second half, we defended poorly for their goal - it should never have got to a corner. Fair play to Longlevens I have never seen a side chuck five people forward when they go forward, they didn’t give up and they caused us some problems. I think we just had that quality in the right areas, and the three goals you won’t see many better. I’d rather play bad and get three points than play well and get no points.”

If you were to beat the bottom half of the table twice, you will win the league,” Fisher added. “The sides at the top take points of each other. We have got to get the mentality right against these teams and they have.”

Fisher was also pleased to see his star striker TJ Bohane come off the bench after he has missed the last few games with an ankle injury. While Bohane never made any meaningful impact, the Worthians chief believes that the striker’s return we give his side a boost. “He looked ring rusty and looked nowhere the TJ that we know,” the Highworth manager said.“He says that his ankle is fine which is great for the team and the club, but bad for the league as they know that TJ is back.”

 

Cannot Afford Slip Up's - 23 October

Highworth Town must beat the likes of Longlevens if they are to have a realistic chance of winning the Premier Division title, according to John Fisher.

The Elms chief is looking to end his time in football by finishing top of the pile in the Uhslport Hellenic League this year. After their blistering start to the campaign, the Worthians went off the boil by surrendering their unbeaten run and have now slipped to fifth in the table. And while Highworth are only seven points behind leaders and reigning champions Flackwell Heath, their veteran manager, who is retiring at the end of the campaign, says that they cannot afford to slip up against James French’s side at the weekend.

“No disrespect to the likes of Milton United, who we played on Tuesday night - Longlevens and Tuffley Rovers, who we visit next week; we have to beat them we want to have aspirations of winning the league,” Fisher said in the Swindon Advertiser. “We played really well on Tuesday night at Milton after losing last weekend (to Binfield) and we have to build on that result. We have suffered a bit with inconsistency of late, but we can’t blame anyone for that.”

Fisher is hoping to welcome back star striker and skipper TJ Bohane from an ankle injury, however, he has lost left-back Johnny Aitkenhead. “It looks like Johnny has done his knee ligaments,” Fisher said. “First Chris Jackson (broken ankle) and now Johnny – it is the curse of the left-backs. He went for an X-ray but they couldn’t do it as it was too swollen. He sent me a text the other day to say that it was his ligaments, but didn’t say whether it was medial or cruciate.”

Lee Beale is likely to step into the void in defence while Fisher is hoping to speak to Fairford attacking midfielder Jason Milhench next week after putting in a seven-day notice of approach.

Mistakes Cost Three Points - 19 October

John Fisher was once more left to rue silly mistakes from his Highworth Town team as they twice surrendered the lead before losing 3-2 to Binfield at the Elms.

Callum Parsons and then Sam Wadieh gave the Worthians the lead, with Jemel Johnson and Brad Brown taking it in turns to peg back their hosts from defensive errors. James Knight scored the winner with another goal Fisher thought was avoidable, leaving Highworth with just two wins and two draws from their last eight games. After their blistering start to the season, Fisher’s side have now slipped to seventh and seven points behind first place Flackwell, albeit with a game in-hand.

Commenting in the Swindon Advertiser, he actually thought his team’s performance was good, but is concerned that repeated mistakes are going to see his side’s attempt to give him a successful final season in charge fall short. “We played quite well actually. The first 25 minutes we were really at it and looking good and we just give two bad goals away again. It’s two bad defensive mistakes and it’s cost us. We were 1-0 up and then there’s a mistake at the back and they equalised. We go 2-1 up and another mistake at the back and they equalise again. “The third goal was a bad goal as well, they shouldn’t have got into the area they got into. I can’t moan about the way we played, but it’s two silly mistakes cost us.

“It’s been happening for a while and we’ve got to cut out because if we don’t watch it we’ll be out of contention soon. It’s decision making, players making the wrong choices at the wrong times. People say ‘sorry Fish’. Well they didn’t mean to did they? It’s just bad decisions they made. Going forward we looked good. If you score two goals at home you expect to win.”

Despite the disappointment of the defeat Fisher is not too discouraged, but knows his side must turn around quickly. “I spoke to their manager after and said to him that a draw would have been a fairer result,” Fisher added. “Callum Parsons was outstanding. He scored the first and caused them all sorts of problems. He’s a fantastic little player. Watching him play gives you some sort of encouragement. We’ve got to get back to winning ways. I’ve just looked the table and we’ve got to watch it with Thatcham and that, if they win their game in-hand they’ll be nine points clear of us. I knew we’d have a rough patch. It’s not the be all and end all at the moment at the moment, but we’ve got to stop conceding silly goals.”

 

john fisher hellenic league footballDefensive Revival - 16 October

John Fisher hopes a sturdier looking defence will help maintain Highworth Town’s revival.

Despite a sticky September,the Worthians are only four points off Premier Division leaders Flackwell Heath and have a game in hand. Conceding goals has been a big stumbling block for Highworth and last Saturday’s 4-0 win at Ardley United was their first clean sheet since late August.

Fisher believes his defensive issues have been fixed as he goes in search of three more points at home to Binfield on Saturday. “Last season, the back four was the same each week but this season, we’ve had to chop and change,” said Fisher to Harry Abbott of the Swindon Advertiser. "I think the back four on Saturday had only played together once before but they did well, hopefully we can build on that clean sheet. We’re only four points off Flackwell and we have a game in hand, so we’re still right in there. Binfield look decent, so we will have to be at our best. They always seems to have well-organised sides, so it will be a tough game. But we’re confident and I know if we play as well as we can, we will win. When we get our game going, we are formidable."

Fisher will have to do without the services of Chris Jackson amid fears he has played his final game of the season after suffering a broken ankle playing Sunday League football. Richie Saunders is also struggling with a shoulder injury but Highworth otherwise have a full-strength squad to pick from.

“Chris had been out for about six weeks and wanted to see how he was and had a run out,” said Fisher. “He came off the bench and after about 10, minutes he got two-footed. It’s broken badly and that’s him out for the season now. It’s a shame but you can’t do anything about it. It’s just him and Richie missing, so we’re looking at having a full five on the bench on Saturday, which is a rarity.”

 

Title Challenge Still Possible - 9 October

John Fisher believes Highworth Town are still capable of challenging for the Premier Division title, but only if he gets unconditional commitment from his players.

The Worthians won their opening six league games of the campaign before Fisher departed on his annual early-season holiday. However, Highworth slipped to three straight defeats as assistant boss Kevin Moloney took charge, with Fisher’s number two not helped by injuries and unavailabilities.

Although things have picked up again, with Town collecting four points from their last two league games, they are seven points adrift of leaders Flackwell Heath. Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Ardley United, Fisher has called for his players to get behind Highworth’s cause in the hope of restarting a title bid.

“It wasn’t Kev’s fault. He did a great job and even if I was there, those players would still have been unavailable,” said Fisher in The Swindon Advertiser. “We had three big games and I thought we might win one of them but that’s the way it goes. You can’t do anything about injuries. It proved a point, though. We didn’t have everyone available and we lost by the odd goal to what I think are the three best teams. So when we have everyone available, we will not be far away. We had a good chat and if they have got aspirations of winning the league, they have to be available every week. Everyone has holidays, I just had one myself, but it’s the odd weekend off that needs to stop. If they are prepared to show that commitment, we have a great chance. We are capable of winning it but it can’t come from me or Kev. It’s down to them.”

Fisher will not be able to pick from a full squad this weekend though, as Lee Bowen is away, Jonny Aitkenhead is suspended and Chris Jackson is injured.

 

Winning Return Sought - 21 September

Kev Moloney is adamant that Highworth Town need to return to winning ways on Wednesday night to avoid slipping out of the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division title race.

The Worthians suffered late heartbreak as they slipped to their third straight defeat to top-of-the-table rivals on Saturday, with Highworth going down 1-0 at Kidlington courtesy of an injury-time goal. That defeat follows up losses to Thatcham Town and Flackwell Heath, and Moloney says that whilst winning games against teams in the lower half of the table is ultimately more key to Highworth’s fortunes, having nothing to show from their last three outings leaves a sour taste in the mouth. “Winning games against the teams around you isn’t the most important thing. It’s the matches against those sides lower in the table that are important,” said Moloney in the Swindon Advertiser. “But it’s still frustrating to not get anything from any of those three games. We didn’t deserve what happened against Kidlington. The goal was in the 94th minute and from the way we’d played, a draw would have probably been a fair result. We need to try and bounce back on Wednesday. We need three points from that game because we need to make sure that we don’t get too far behind the teams at the top. “Confidence has taken a bit of a battering but myself and Fish (John Fisher, manager) have faith in this squad. We’ll also have a full squad on Wednesday, so that should help us too.”

Midfielder Richie Saunders and Toby Clarke return to the Highworth squad for Wednesday’s trip to Brackley Town Saints but manager John Fisher doesn’t return from holiday in time to lead his side.

 

kev moloney hellenic league footballGoals Count - 11 September

Highworth Town assistant boss Kev Moloney has saluted his side’s ability to keep goals out, but admits they need to start hitting the net themselves more regularly to realise their Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division ambitions.

Moloney will take charge of the Worthians for tomorrow’s visit of early leaders Flackwell Heath with manager John Fisher away, and a potentially telling seven days in the offing for the Elms men. Third-placed Thatcham arrive in Wiltshire on Tuesday evening followed by a trip to Kidlington next week, all sides Moloney believes will be involved in the battle for honours this season.

Town have a perfect six from six record in the league so far this term and have yet to concede a goal at home - something that is likely to come under intense scrutiny over the next week. Moloney said in the Swindon Advertiser : “We’ve had a good run and we’re pretty confident. Defensively, we’ve been pretty good this season, although they (Flackwell) have scored a lot of goals themselves. We had a good defensive record last season and we’ve carried that on into this season, but we do need to be scoring more goals if we want to be up there challenging. We’ve had six wins out of six and you cannot ask for any more, but Flackwell are the reigning champions and won the league well last year so it would be a difficult game for us, home or away.’’

 

Early Form Is Key - 4 September

John Fisher is banking on his side’s early-season momentum to drag them through this weekend’s testing trip to Highmoor-Ibis as Highworth Town travel to Reading without three key players.

Highworth have made a storming start to the new Premier Division campaign and winning their opening five matches sees them sat second in the table, level on points with three other sides at the league’s summit. However, for their away assignment at last year’s runners-up Highmoor, they’ll be without injured top-scorer TJ Bohane while midfielders Callum Parsons and Richie Saunders are unavailable. Worthians manager Fisher is hopeful of bringing in a new frontman to fill Bohane’s boots ahead of tomorrow’s clash but says that at least two members of his current squad will have the opportunity to stake their respective claims for a starting spot at Highmoor.

“They’re three important players but we’ve got a big squad and it’s a chance for the lads that come in to show what they can do. We’ve had a brilliant start and the lads are so confident. But we were confident going in to the FA Cup game (a 4-2 loss to Farnham last Saturday) and we got beat there. Highmoor are a good side. They’ll finish in the top six this season but we’ve won five from five and if we can go there and get another three points, that would be great.”

 

Significant Birthday - 1 September

rohan haines highworth town hellenic leagueHighworth Town chairman Rohan Haines continued his 50th birthday celebrations by watching his side maintain their 100 per cent Hellenic League Premier Division record with a 2-0 win at Royal Wootton Bassett Town.

The Elms supremo (pictured) was in buoyant Bank Holiday Monday mood as the Worthians bounced back from their FA Cup exit to Farnham Town and returned to the summit of the Premier Division. The win over Paul Braithwaite’s men, coupled with Flackwell Heath’s 3-2 defeat to third-placed Thatcham Town, means that Highworth lead the way by superior goal difference. “The celebrations keep on going,” said Haines, who had his party on the Saturday night. “It was a great performance. The lads have been brilliant this year. It went a little flat after the FA Vase semi-final (last season) but the response this season has been great. It was 2-0 against Bassett but I felt it could have been quite easily been four or five. We have now won five out of five in the league and have only conceded one – as a chairman you can’t ask for more.”

Highworth took the lead at the Gerrard Buxton Sports Ground on 26 minutes when TJ Bohane lofted the ball over Bassett stopper Lukr Kuczynski. The Worthians skipper grabbed his and his team’s second shortly after the interval.

Highworth are hopeful that they can bring in support for their hotshot striker “That is eight for TJ now,” Haines added. “But Fish is talking to a Southern League striker right now. He came and watched the game on Saturday and Fish was talking to him on Monday following the match. All I can say at the moment is that we are hopeful of getting deal done.”

 

Down With A Bump - 31 August

Highworth Town were brought back down to earth with a bump as they crashed out of the FA Cup with a 3-1 defeat to Farnham Town.

Highworth actually got off to the perfect start, when Toby Clark caught the ball sweetly from 30 yards out in the opening minutes of the game, but that was as good as it got for John Fisher’s men. The Combined Counties Premier League side were back on level terms in the 11th minute through England beach soccer international Mark Corbett. The hosts then went ahead after 19 minutes when Steve Ramsden struck, before Corbett got his second of the game on the half-hour mark to secure their passage to the next round.

“Obviously we are disappointed but I think it might have brought us down to earth a little bit,” said Fisher. “I think we got a little bit too confident and that is down to me and down to the players as well. It’s just the nature of the beast in people. I thought that we were the better side without a shadow of a doubt and if it was a boxing match then they would have thrown the towel in. As much as I have praised that back five, they were absolutely awful and it is the worst they have played all season. The lads are disappointed, so they should be, but I think if they are going to lose games then the FA Cup isn’t the worse thing, we are never going to win it and at least it wasn’t the league.”

Fisher will be looking for an immediate response when they travel to local rivals Royal Wootton Bassett for their Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division this afternoon. “We’ve got Bassett so I think it might bring us back to reality,” added Fisher. “It is how you respond now and I want to see what characters we have got in this changing room. Bassett had a great result at Ascot on Saturday. Fair play to them to go there and win 4-1 that is an unbelievable result. They are looking forward to playing us and we are looking forward to playing them, because we want to bounce back immediately. It should be a really enthralling encounter.”

Possible Trip To The Coast - 28 August

The Worthians head to Combined Counties Football League Premier Division outfit Farnham Town tomorrow in the preliminary round of the FA Cup. And the reward for winning this tie, apart the £1,925 prize money, is a trip to the Kent coast in the first qualifying round.

Although the manager John Fisher struggles to see how the draw has been regionalised, he knows that maintaining their winning run is a priority. Fisher has also praised his back-line for how they have begun the campaign.

Highworth, in the five matches played, have only conceded two goals - one in the league and one in the cup. “Before every match I tell the back five to just concentrate on defending - don’t worry about anything else,” the Worthians boss said. “If you keep clean sheets then you have got a good start and that is what we have been doing. Now we just have to worry about scoring goals. We have got TJ (Bohane) and he will always get you goals.”

With no availability or injury concerns for tomorrow’s trip Hampshire, Fisher is hoping that he will be able to bring in a new striker next week. “We are looking to get TJ some help,” the Highworth manager said. “I’ve spoken to a centre forward who has been in the Southern League and is proven at our level. He is going to let me know next week.”

Maintain Perfection - 21 August

john fisher hellenic league footballJohn Fisher has urged his Highworth troops to keep up their perfect start for as long as possible in order to send a message to the rest of the division.

The Worthians have collected six points from their two league games so far and were also triumphant in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup at the weekend. Fisher (pictured) does not want his team to take their foot off the pedal as they look to extend that winning sequence away at Ascot United on Saturday.

“I can’t ask for any more than that they have given me so far. It’s been very good,” said Fisher in The Swindon Advertiser. “We kept on at them that they had to start well to make a point and fair play to them, that’s what they have done. I am confident and so are the boys. Once you get into that winning mentality it’s important you try and keep it going as long as you can.”

Fisher does not expect another three points to come easy though, and reckons Highworth face a fierce battle this weekend. Although Ascot have had an indifferent start to the year, with two wins and two defeats, Fisher thinks anyone who faces the Worthians has added extra motivation considering his side’s FA Vase heroics last season.

“They have not had the best of starts and have been knocked out of the FA Cup as well but they will still be up there come the end of the season,” said Fisher. “They are bound to be in the top five, they always are. They are a good side. I am sure they will be looking forward to playing us as everyone will see us as a bit of scalp this season. It’s going to be tough. It will be our first real test, the other games I expected us to win, no disrespect to them. With the rain we’ve had their pitch will be gorgeous, which suits our style down to the ground so we are looking forward to it.”

Highworth have just one injury concern ahead of their trip to Berkshire, with defender Chris Jackson definitely out.

 

Highworth Form - 17 August

kevin moloney hellenic league footballAssistant boss Kev Maloney is thrilled with the Worthians’ exceptional early-season form and admits confidence is flowing through the camp.

“You can’t ask for any more than that at the start of the season but it was harder than it looked on Saturday and they really did cause us a few problems,” said Maloney. “We got off to a really good start and scored after about 20 seconds through Bradley Clark. I don’t know if that is some sort of record but if it isn’t then it must be pretty close. They then got back into it as the half went on but Richie Saunders got a goal to put us back ahead just before half-time. We really needed that and it made it a lot easier going into the break ahead. After that we were much the better side in the second half and could have scored a few more goals than the other one Nathan Blackford got. They sort of dropped off a bit and our game really shone through. We were deserving winners by the end of it."

He continued. “You can never knock the money side of things that the cup can bring in but the most important thing for the team at this stage of the season is that we’ve got another win. Every club needs money and that’ll be a help to us but we’ll just look forward to who we get in the next round and see if we can get another win there too. We lost a couple of players over the summer but were able to bring a few experienced ones back who have played for us before. We have started well and we will just look to keep this form going as long as we can.”

 

Cards Marked? - 7 August

John Fisher thinks his Highworth Town troops will be marked men this season due to their FA Vase heroics.

The Worthians were within touching distance of a dream trip to Wembley last term only to be beaten by North Shields over a two-legged semi-final. This season will be Fisher’s last in charge at the Elms after confirming he will retire next summer.

Although he wants to sign off as Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division champions, Fisher admits there will be plenty of stiff challenges ahead for his side. “You always want to win the league. That has to be the aim,” said Fisher. “But it’s going to be hard for us this season as everyone is going to see us as a scalp with how we did in the Vase. People will know we are a good side and they will want to beat us. The players have to be prepared for that and I think they might be in for a bit of shock in the first few games but there’s two changing rooms at each match and I know which one I’d rather be in. “It’ll be the same people up there, Flackwell Heath, Ascot, Kiddlington, Thatcham and Highmoor Ibis. “This will be the last one for me. There’s no turning back now. It’d be great if we can win the league but what will be will be.”

tj bohane hellenic highworth footballPlayers Back At The Elms - 3 July

Highworth Town started pre-season training last night. Twelve of last season's squad have re-signed including the captain and prolific goal scorer T J Bohane.

Successful Tournament For Highworth - 23 June

The 23rd Summer Boys and Girls 6-A-Side tournament took place at Highworth Town over the weekend 12 - 14 June.

Fraser Haines explains. "We had a record 222 teams enter from Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and even as far as Scotland! This resulted in over 1850 boys and girls playing football. I wish to thank all our committee members and helpers who once again pulled together to help over a very busy weekend. Our tournament next year will be over the weekend 10-12 June 2016, running age groups from Under 6's through to Under 16's."

 

A Few Places Remaining - 4 June

Highworth Town have just a few places remaining in their Boys and Girls Summer Tournament being staged over the weekend 12th to 14th June.
 
They have 218 teams entered with teams coming from as far afield as London , Birmingham and even as far as Wales. At present the only spaces remaining are one team at Under 8's,  three teams at Under 9's and three at Under 15's. 

If you would like to enter teams at any of these age groups please contact club secretary Fraser Haines on his mobile 07939032451 or email fraserhaines@btinternet.com

 

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