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FA Vase Might Assist Promotion Quest - 9 February

Highworth Town may have exited the Buildbase FA Vase back in October, but the national competition could still have a major bearing on their ambitions for the current campaign, writes the Swindon Advertiser.

Last Saturday’s victory over Fairford lifted the Worthians back to the top of the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division table with nine games to go. The two teams also involved in what appears to be a three-horse race, Thatcham and Bracknell, have Vase quarter-final ties to look forward to this month – as do tomorrow’s mid-table hosts Windsor. Although mindful that his team must replicate the sort of form that saw them open up a huge advantage at the summit earlier in the season regardless of what happens elsewhere, Highworth boss Jeff Roberts is hoping the lure of a possible trip to Wembley will sidetrack their rivals.

lewis waldon hellenic league football“If you look at Windsor and where they are in the league then their priority is possibly the FA Vase,” said Roberts. “At our level, the chance to go to play at Wembley is every player’s dream and the longer you stay in it then the more focus is on that. But whatever happens it is still in our own hands as we have the sides around us still to play and we just need to keep winning. There are nine games left and we’ll take them one at a time – it doesn’t matter if the wins we need are gritty or achieved through nice football.”

Highworth, who fielded a largely second-string side in Wednesday’s 2-1 Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup third-round defeat at home to their local rivals Royal Wootton Bassett, will be without Ash Edenborough for tomorrow’s potentially-tricky trip to Windsor as he starts a three-match suspension. Nick Stanley is available again after the birth of his baby, while Lewis Waldon (pictured) – the cousin of new signing Conor – is set for his debut after making the switch from Bassett.

“Lewis can play wide or up top and has looked lively when we’ve played Bassett,” said Roberts. “He knows where the net is and wants to play as high as he can and hopefully having a few experienced heads around him will help him do that.”

 

Worthians Look To Reclaim Top Spot - 2 February

Highworth Town side look to reclaim their long-held position at the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division summit tomorrow.

Highworth boasted a double-digit lead over the chasing pack before Christmas but picked up just a solitary point – and that from a draw with rock-bottom Burnham – during a weather-hit January. Meanwhile, chief title rivals Thatcham Town have moved above Highworth on goal difference taken their winning run in all competitions to 18 matches, their most recent success coming at a Fairford Town side who are the visitors to The Elms tomorrow.

With Thatcham involved in the Buildbase FA Vase this weekend, a win against Fairford for the Worthians will see them regain top spot. “We’ve been top for most of the season so if we throw it away now then it will be disheartening,” admitted the Worthians boss. “But if you’d said at the start of the season we’d finish second then I’d have jumped at the chance, so we’re still in a very good position with two definitely going up this year. We’ve got 10 big games to go and have Thatcham and (fifth-placed) Bracknell to play. Thatcham are looking lively but on our day, we can beat most sides. If we can win all 10 then we’ll win the league.”

Roberts was left frustrated by the departure of leading scorer Callum Parsons for Swindon Supermarine in midweek but hopes the recent addition of Connor Waldon – poised for his debut tomorrow – will help fill the void. “Callum had an offer he couldn’t refuse,” said Roberts. “It’s a shame to see him go but money talks. We move on and I believe we still have a good enough squad.”

 

Vital Game For Premier Division Leaders - 26 January

Highworth Town will look to get their Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division title push back on track when they entertain fourth-placed Flackwell Heath tomorrow.

Jeff Roberts’ men boasted a double-digit advantage at the summit before Christmas but have picked up just one point from the two matches they have played during 2018 so far and are now only three clear of an in-form Thatcham Town side who also have a game in hand.

Highworth added former Swindon Town and Supermarine striker Connor Waldon to their ranks this week.

 

Rediscover Control Touch - 29 December

Highworth manager Jeff Roberts wants his men to rediscover the touch that has put them firmly in control of the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division title race when Bracknell Town visit the Elms tomorrow.

The Worthians emerged from their two matches over Christmas with an eight-point lead over nearest rivals Thatcham Town at the summit. Bracknell sit 16 points behind but have four games in hand on Highworth and will arrive in Wiltshire having not conceded a single goal in their last five league matches – a run stretching back to October 28. Should the playing surface survive the rain forecast to fall overnight, Highworth will have the opportunity to take another big step towards the championship against a team Roberts rates as a serious threat.

“It’s a massive game,” he said in the Swindon Advertiser. “We have the points in the bag and so they will have to come to us and be attack-minded. There are a lot of clubs who would like to be in our position. Bracknell are a very well-organised team but on our day we can beat anyone.”

A very early goal from Keiron Gleed proved enough to sink Royal Wootton Bassett Town on Boxing Day, but not even a fifth victory in their last six league matches could quell Roberts’ lingering fears about Highworth’s recent form. He said: “The best part of the game was the first 45 seconds. We’re not playing well at the moment. Okay, we’re picking up wins and they say that’s a sign of a good side, but too many are playing as individuals. I’ve had a chat with those players because they’re not giving us their full potential. If it’s down to complacency then that’s something that might bite us on Saturday.”

In the wake of Aysa Corrick’s exit for Evesham United and with Ash Edenborough sidelined by injury, Roberts is hopeful of adding further attacking options to his ranks over the next week. A seven-day approach has been made to Bassett for a target man, although Highworth are unable to speak to the player in question until after tomorrow’s game, while Roberts says he is also looking to bring in a new forward from Marlow.

 

jeff roberts hellenic leagueRamp Up Pressure - 1 December

Highworth Town manager Jeff Roberts wants to ramp up the pressure on those teams chasing his side at the top of the Hellenic Premier Division table with a win at home to Woodley United this weekend.

The Worthians have dropped just seven points from 20 league games this term and are currently 10 points clear of second-placed Thatcham Town, and a further two ahead of both Bracknell Town and Wantage Town. Thatcham and Bracknell are both without league fixtures on Saturday as they instead focus their attentions on the FA Vase and Roberts (pictured) is therefore keen to further turn the screw by beating fifth-from-bottom Woodley.

“Woodley are struggling a little bit and with Thatcham and Bracknell both in Vase action on Saturday, it is a massive game for us to try to pick up three points and keep opening that gap up so that they have got to keep chasing us,” said Roberts in the Swindon Advertiser. “I think Bracknell are our biggest contenders with the budget and resources they have and it’s about trying to keep that cushion ahead of them. We have got to play them over the Christmas period and they are still in the Vase, so they will have games to pick up so the pressure is on them. They have to get the points, whereas we have the points. We can’t look too far ahead, though, and we have to keep doing our job. If someone had said to me at the start of the season that we would be top of the table by 10 points going into December, I would have most probably have laughed at them, but it’s down to the players and the hard work they have put in.”

After back-to-back draws in the league, Roberts saw his side make a welcome return to winning ways on Tuesday night in a last-gasp 3-2 success away at Oxford City Nomads, with the Worthians chief believing better application was the catalyst for the result. “I just wanted a reaction from last Saturday’s draw against Abingdon as I was disappointed with our display. I didn’t think we worked hard enough then and over the last few games, I thought we had got a bit lazy,” said Roberts. “It was a case of getting back on track to where we were and concentrating on the job and I thought that commitment was there from all the players. We have got the quality but the work-rate has to come with it and we saw that on Tuesday.”

Ashley Edenborough and Ryan O’Hara are both suspended for the Worthians this weekend, Jon Davoile and Aysa Corrick are unavailable and Tom Cole is out injured but Chris Taylor and Jason Milhench are available for selection again.

 

Lucky Charm Not Required - 13 October

Jeff Roberts won’t be reaching for his four-leaf clover or lucky rabbit’s foot when he takes his Highworth Town side to local rivals Fairford Town tomorrow. Reports the Swindon Advertiser.

The table-topping Worthians head to Cinder Lane with an unblemished record in the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division, having won all 12 of their opening matches. While Roberts knows that every side will be gunning to become the first team to beat them in the league, he says that he is not paying attention to any superstitions attached to the number 13.

“I don’t worry about things like that,” Roberts said. “We have had a good start and won 12 from 12, but we just have to keep concentrating on ourselves. There are a few things that we need to work on – we need to be more clinical in front of goal as we could have won the Thatcham game four or 5-1 (Highworth won that match 2-1). We’ve just been focussing on ourselves and we will keep on going.”

“Fairford will be like any other team that we have played this season – they will want to be the first team that beats us. I know that they have had a tough start, but it is a bit like when I took over here last season, it was always going to take Jody (Bevan) a bit of time to get the team gelling.”

Highworth should go into the match at Fairford tomorrow feeling full refreshed after Roberts rested nine of the 11 players that started at Thatcham for their Challenge Cup 4-1 win over Division One West cellar-dwellers Tytherington Rocks last weekend.

 

buildbase fa vase logoTargets!! - 22 September

Jeff Roberts has warned his Highworth players that they are there to be shot at following their perfect start to the season.

The Worthians made it nine wins from nine Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division matches on Wednesday night with a 6-1 thrashing of Longlevens. But while promotion to the Southern League is the aim at The Elms this season, Highworth will also be keen on a run in the Buildbase FA Vase and host Premier Division cellar-dwellers Burnham in the second qualifying round tomorrow.

“Wednesday night was probably the best we have played all season,” Roberts said. “Everything just seem to click. The boys, even though we were 6-1 up, were still chasing balls until the final whistle and that is pleasing. But what we have to be wary of is that every team will want to be the first team to beat us. Burnham will be no different on Saturday. I know that they have got a few players in from Slough so it is not going to be easy. All we can do is keep working, stay focussed and hopefully that should see us through.”

Three seasons ago, Highworth reached the semi-final of the Vase and hopes are high of another good run this term. “The club had a great run a couple of seasons ago under John Fisher – he did a great job for the club,” Roberts said. “But we can’t dwell on the past, we have to focus on what we do and try to do the best we can. It would be nice if we could put a run together, I know the chairman (Rohan Haines) is keen for a nice run in the Vase.”

 

Squad Shuffle - 11 August

Jeff Roberts will utilise Highworth’s squad ahead of their Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division clash with Burnham on Saturday.

Roberts was able to successfully navigate his troops through Tuesday’s FA Cup tie with London Colney, at the second time of asking. Following the extra fixture, Roberts thinks it would be wise to shuffle the pack ahead of the weekend. Going into the game, Roberts will also be boosted by the return of Aysa Corrick, Ross Adams and Kias Bonner-Shea, who will all be in contention.

“I watched Burnham last week at Flackwell Heath and they are a totally different side compared to last year,” said Roberts in the Swindon Advertiser. “I’ve been told they have a few players on loan from Marlow, so they should be a little bit stronger. We are going for three points and with the squad we’ve got we can rotate a little bit because some players are tired from the two cup games. We can afford to rest a couple if need be. Ideally we would have won the cup game at home, we made it harder work than what we needed to.”

After claiming victory in their first league game of the season, Roberts thinks it is paramount his side collect as many points as possible in the early stages of the campaign, if they are to challenge in the higher reaches of the division. “It’s important that we pick up the points now,” he added. “With the playing surfaces at the moment it suits us, the only down side is I think we are conceding sloppy goals so we need to look at that. We are scoring goals, we have had two away games and we’ve scored eight goals so that is okay. We have the structure right in central midfield and at the top, we just need to have a look at the back too.”

 

Ian "Middy" Midwinter - 14 June

On Sunday evening, shortly after Higworth Town’s 25th Annual 6 a side competition had ended and as club members relaxed in the bar with a drink or two the devastating news reached us that Middy had passed away suddenly at home shortly after finishing his shift behind the bar that afternoon.

Middy had been associated with Highworth Town FC for many years. As well as being a supporter of the club he had been Bar Manager some years ago and returned to help out again when the Club took back the Bar operation two years ago. His help and advice was invaluable at that time and continued to be so.

Middy loved Highworth Town and always popped in a couple of mornings a week to make sure "his" beer pipes were cleaned, the brewery order was done and everything thing else was in order as well as carrying out shifts behind he bar.

Middy really was a great " Club Man ". He was highly thought of by everyone who knew him, even those whose association with the Club is relatively short.

A huge Tottenham fan he was always " up the club " when his team were on TV at weekends with a pint in his hand and having a bit of a "chat" with others to whom Spurs were not so important, or he simply sat in his chair putting the world to rights with his mates.

Out sincere condolences are with Pauline and all of the family and friends

WE REALLY WILL MISS YOU MIDDY.

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