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jack smith brimscombe hellenic leagueKey Part - 6 October

After scoring in the last two matches, Brimscombe and Thrupp manager Sam Prior has described striker Jack Smith as 'a key part' to what his side are doing this season, writes Johnny Morton in the Gloucestershire Echo.

Smith (pictured) scored 25 goals last season for the Lilywhites, and has returned from holiday to net goals against Brackley Town Saints and Lydney Town. Prior also has Karl Nash at his disposal, and says as long as they keep scoring goals, then he will be happy.

"Jack's been top drawer," said Prior. "The boy got 25 goals last year, and if he's really critical, it could have been over 30. He's always in there. It doesn't matter if he misses one, he's always ready to put himself back in position and go again. He's a key part to what we have. He's got competition from Karl as well. They both play a similar sort of role, and it's great to have the pair of them. If one of them keeps scoring, then we will be happy."

Brimscombe are now three unbeaten in the league - a spell which sees them sit seventh in the league table, and a win against Oxford City Nomads on Saturday would see them enter the top six. They were five without a win from the start of September until they ended it with a 7-2 win against Fairford Town, and Prior says they have gone back to basics, and the results are showing that it has worked.

"I know we've gone three unbeaten, but it's only been a week," he added. "A week is a long time in Hellenic football and if you lose all three, then everyone is down in the dumps. If you win all three then they come into training with a spring in their step. It rolls into Saturday. You can play every day when you're winning games. We have started to get back to basics a little. We are working a little bit harder, defending in the right areas and we are creating chances and taking a couple of them. Once you start doing that, it becomes a little bit easier for everyone. Hopefully with a bit of hard work and desire, it continues."

Sam Blackie is likely to miss Saturday's game with a groin injury, but with most of his squad now available, Prior is hoping they can make it four in a row against Nomads this weekend. "They are very similar to Brackley," he said.


Keep It Clean - 29 September

After keeping their first clean sheet in over a month against Longlevens on Tuesday night, Brimscombe & Thrupp manager Sam Prior is hoping his side can continue in the same vein in their Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division clash with Brackley Town Saints on Saturday, writes Johnny Morton, in the Gloucestershire Echo.

Prior had called on his side to show a positive response from their 3-1 loss to Highmoor Ibis last weekend in a performance he described as 'dreadful', and he got what he was looking for in a 1-0 win over Levens.

"The boys knew they had let themselves down last Saturday," said Prior.”Sometimes you get a game like that in a season, and it was just a one-off for us. We turned up on Tuesday night and had a chat about what we thought we needed to improve on, and they went out there and were much better. We worked harder, showed more quality on the ball, defended much better and did the basics right. We got lucky with the goal with the lad putting it into his own net. There is never much between us and Longlevens.

Their defence will once again be tested when Josh Bowden arrives at The Meadow this weekend. The Brackley striker has netted 15 league goals in nine league appearances, and only Highworth Town, Flackwell Heath and Bracknell Town can better the tally of 26 scored so far this season by the Saints.

Prior is expecting a tough test against what has proven to be a 'bogey' team for his side over the years. "For some reason they have been a bit of a bogey side for us," he added. "We scored six against them last season, but they were a completely different side to what we were used to. Before that, they've always had the upper hand against us. They have a young side that play football and keep possession, make you work and are coached the right way. They have the top goal scorer in the league in Josh Bowden, so there's an obvious danger there that we will have to get to grips with. It's always a tough game against them, and whatever we get from the game, we will have to work hard for. I said to the boys that we will have to be patient and wait for what we get on Saturday, and hopefully we can make a good game of it. We have to find consistency in our performances and then I'm sure the results will start following."

Sam Blackie will miss the game with a groin injury, while defender Kyle Pitts is suspended after picking up a red card against Highmoor last weekend.


tim wilkins hellenic leagueFortunes To Turn - 15 September

Despite a run of four games without a win, Brimscombe & Thrupp coach Tim Wilkins doesn't feel his side are far away from turning their fortunes around.

The Lilywhites are coming off the back of a 3-1 league loss to Wantage Town on Tuesday evening, but Wilkins (right) believes stability will start to bring better results.

"We are definitely getting there," said Wilkins in the Gloucestershire Echo. "We have had a few changes, and now everything should be fairly stable for this weekend. They have been difficult games as well. There have been a couple of them that we could have done a little better."Against Windsor we felt we should have taken all the points, but with two down with 10 minutes to go we were pleased to get a point from that one. Overall, we are definitely moving in the right direction and we have too good of a squad not to pull out of it. It's almost getting a bit familiar that we have a bit of a bad run, and then hit October and go on a big run of victories. Fingers crossed the same happens this season!"

Brimscombe welcome Bracknell Town to The Meadow this weekend in the Hellenic Premier Division, and it will mark the return of manager Sam Prior to the dugout. Prior has missed the last three games while on honeymoon in San Francisco, and Wilkins says it will be a boost to have him back. "We kept communication lines quite open during his honeymoon," he added. "He has been having a say in everything that has been going on and has been involved in team selection."

Bracknell are currently unbeaten and sit in third position in the table, but Wilkins is confident his side can get something from the game if they turn up. “They have an extremely strong squad all round," he said. "It'll be a difficult game. Once again, if we play the football we know we are capable of, then we will give them a good game and good competition for them. It's a tough ask, especially after the run of results we have had, but I am confident the boys can get something out of the game, which would be great."


sam prior hellenic leagueWedding First Priority - 25 August

Brimscombe and Thrupp manager Sam Prior has a very busy few days ahead of him, with marriage vows taking the prime position.

He will take charge of his side in two local games against Lydney Town on Saturday and Tuffley Rovers on Monday, but before all that, he will tie the knot with fiancée Charlotte this afternoon.

A day that has been almost two years in the making he said talking to Johnny Morton of the Gloucestershire Echo. "I'm really looking forward to it, it's been 18-20 months in the planning, and it gets to the stage were we are just ready to go and just ticking things off the list.”

Prior says six points from the two games and a great event this afternoon would be the most perfect scenario. "We have rehearsals tonight, then play Lydney on Saturday and Tuffley on Monday and off on Tuesday," he added. "The ideal situation is beautiful weather, have a great day, then three points at Lydney and at Tuffley, but life doesn't always work like that!"

Prior will be missing for the matches against Windsor, Leighton Town and Wantage Town as he flies off to San Francisco for the honeymoon. He says the squad have no excuses while he is away due to his exceptional backroom staff. "Without them we would be struggling at this moment in time," he said. "I'm only missing three games against Windsor, Leighton and Wantage, so it shouldn't be too detrimental to the side. I'm going to be there Saturday and Monday which is excellent. The guys will take charge of those three games and I'll be back for the Bracknell game. There are no excuses for them to not do well when I'm away."


Pitts On Form - 18 August

Ahead of Saturday's Emirates FA Cup Preliminary round qualifying match with Hayes and Yeading United, Brimscombe and Thrupp manager Sam Prior has praised the all-round game of defender Kyle Pitts, writes Johnny Morton in the Gloucester Echo.

kyle pitts hellenic leagueA second half Pitts header was enough to secure a 1-0 league win over Wantage Town on Tuesday evening, marking The Lilywhites first Hellenic Premier Division success of the season.

Prior says that Pitts (pictured right) has grown as a player during his time at The Meadow. "He's good in the opposition box," said Prior. "First and foremost he is a defender and we want him to do the right things our end of the pitch, but he seems to be a bit of a ball magnet in the opposition box. He reads it well and times his runs well, and he probably should have scored more than he did last season because he finds himself on the end of chances. He's a good player for us and he has grown over the past couple of years he's been with us. Along with the other defenders, he is a vital part to our squad at that end of the pitch."

richard joyce hellenic leagueBrimscombe have added former Forest Green Rovers man Richard Joyce (left) to their backroom staff, and Prior is hoping his match analysis will add an extra dimension of professionalism to the club. "We were made aware that Joycey was leaving Forest Green a few weeks back, and I phoned him because I've known him for quite a while just to see what his plans were," he added."I know he had offers from various other clubs, but he got a new job and he decided he wants to come on board. For us, it makes it more professional. We can get more match analysis and hopefully record more games now with him around. If we can look at us during matches and also the opposition. On Saturday with Hayes and Yeading, hopefully it can provide us with more information and see what we can do going forward into games. Off the pitch it will hopefully make us more professional, and on the pitch hopefully it helps with player input. He's a top bloke and I'm delighted to have him around."

Prior's side will be looking to replicate their cup heroics of last season, where they won four matches in the competition before losing to Weymouth. It will be a step up against a Hayes and Yeading side that were relegated from the Southern Premier League last season, and they will have to do it without Edd Major, Karl Nash and Ben Snook who are all missing.

"We got lucky last year in terms of the draw," he said."We played four step five teams, which is the same level as us. On our day, I would back us to beat anyone at our level. Hayes and Yeading are a step up, so it will be extremely difficult going there. We will have to go with a game plan in mind and deal with their dangers and threats, as we know they've got good players, with some ex-league players in their ranks. Hopefully we will be up for it and be aware of their dangers, but we will go ask questions ourselves. Coming off the back of Tuesday night with a win will hopefully give us more confidence and we have nothing to lose. I would expect we would be underdogs, so we will have a go and what happens, happens."

Nash Suspended - 11 August

Brimscombe & Thrupp will be without Karl Nash when they host Thatcham Town in the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division tomorrow, writes Johnny Morton in the Gloucestershire Echo.

Nash will serve a three match ban after being sent off in the Lilywhites' 4-0 win over Sun Sports in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup last weekend. Which will also rule him out for the Emirates FA Cup Preliminary Round game next Saturday against Hayes & Yeading.

Brimscombe will be hoping to go on another cup run after winning four games in the prestigious tournament last season, and manager Sam Prior was delighted with his sides dominant performance."We started really well and kept on the front foot and put them under so much pressure," said Prior. "It was fantastic to score four and for Ollie to get four, but the all-round team performance was outstanding for the first 45 minutes, and in fairness, 4-0 flattered them in the end. We could have been five or six up at half-time we were that good. The sending off straight into the second half was disappointing and meant we had to play 40 minutes with 10 men, but the boys worked hard and it is credit to us that we created the better chances a man down. It was a dominant performance. We will play better sides without a doubt, but we can only beat what is in front of us and we did that comfortably."

Striker Ollie Pitt netted four first half goals, and after scoring 26 goals last season, Prior says Pitt will continue to be a key man for his side during this campaign. "He's going to be very important this season," he added. "His goal-scoring is not a problem for him. He proved last year when he got 26 that he can find the back of the net, and is a really key player for us. It is important for us that he continues to score goals and the others create chances for him. There's 10 other players who have to work hard for him to get those opportunities, and luckily for us on Saturday everything he hit seemed to go in the back of the net."The boys are working hard creating the chances for him, and it's not just about Ollie but the team as well, and if we all play well and he continues to score goals then I'll be happy, he will be happy and we will be going in the right direction."


Good Memories - 4 August

The FA Cup brings back good memories for Brimscombe & Thrupp after they reached the third qualifying round of the tournament last year, writes Johnny Morton in the Gloucestershire Echo.

The Lilywhites recorded victories over Henley Town, Highmoor Ibis, Peacehaven and Telscombe and Brislington before their cup run was brought to an end by Southern League Premier side Weymouth.

Saturday brings another opportunity for Sam Prior's side to create more cup magic for themselves when they host Sun Sports. "We know from last season how good a vibe you can get going around the club from a really good cup run," said Prior. "We won four games and went through five rounds culminating in the Weymouth game. It's good for the club because financially it can be of massive benefit, and it's good for the players to play in a competition as prestigious as the FA Cup.”

"The boys will be much better for having played a game mid week, and I think it will stand us in good stead and we can bring that into Saturday and try and go to Hayes and Yeading and enjoy that day."

Sun Sports compete in the Spartan South Midlands League, and Prior is expecting a stern test at The Meadow this weekend. "I'm expecting a very tough game," he added. "They are quite a strong side, and quite a big side. As far as I'm aware they had a cup run last season which was like ours, a record for them. It'll be what they are like on the day, and it'll be the same for them as well. We will be doing everything we can do to make sure we don't have to go to Watford on a Tuesday night for a replay!"

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