*BS*With the league season going into the final two months, the promotion and relegation fights are hotting up in Skrill South. Here’s the latest news from around the division:*BF*
*BS*FEBRUARY SKRILL SOUTH AWARDS*BF*
Paul Doswell from Sutton United is The Skrill South ‘Manager of the Month’ for February. Doswell follows up his January award as Sutton remained unbeaten in 2014. Paul watched his side take 8 points from a possible 12 during the period as they went up to third in the table. The highlight of the month a 1-0 away win at Dover.
Gosport Borough striker Tim Sills has been named The Skrill South ‘Player of the Month’ for February. Sills fired his side to Wembley with four goals in their FA Trophy ties during the month as they set up a showpiece final with Cambridge United in March. His haul includes a brace in the second-leg of their semi-final against local rivals Havant & Waterlooville.
*IS*Source: Football Conference*IF*
*BS*BASINGSTOKE FACING HECTIC TWO MONTHS*BF*
After seeing two more games postponed this week, Skrill South club Basingstoke Town are facing a frantic final two months of the season.
Last Saturday’s home game against Chelmsford City and Tuesday evening’s trip to Farnborough both fell foul of the wet weather, leaving Town with eighteen league games and a Hampshire Cup semi-final to play between now and the end of April.
In the 56 days between March 1st and April 26th – the final day of the Conference South season – Jason Bristow’s men must play eighteen games – an average of one every three days.
They have already agreed to play Hayes & Yeading United on a Thursday, April 3rd, while the postponement of Tuesday’s trip to Farnborough means that they must play four times in the space of seven days on at least one occasion.
It’s going to be an energy-sapping final few weeks of the campaign – and Town manager Bristow says his side must put together a decent run of results as soon as possible if they are to close the nine-point gap to the play-off places.
*IS*Source: Basingstoke Gazette*IF*
*BS*MAIDENHEAD HOLD CLEAR THE AIR TALKS*BF*
A clear the air meeting between the Maidenhead United players, management staff and chairman appears to be the reason behind the Magpies’ improved displays at Chelmsford City and Eastleigh.
Chairman Peter Griffin sat down with the players and management after United’s 2-0 defeat to Dover Athletic two weeks ago, and manager Johnson Hippolyte says the crunch two-hour meeting allowed the players to get things off their chests.
“It wasn’t a meeting where we had a go at anyone, we just sat down and talked for two hours. It was a chance for the players to talk to us and get a few things off their chests. It’s helped clear the air, and we haven’t done something like that at Maidenhead for nearly two years.
“After that some of the players came up to me and said, I can see you’re right now, and it felt like everyone was together. From then on I couldn’t wait for our next game which happened to be Saturday’s win at Chelmsford, where we were really excellent.”
The manager doesn’t think that the form they’ve showed in the past two games will be pricked by Ben Stevens’ last-minute winner in Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat at Eastleigh.
“The mood in the changing room after the game was still quite upbeat. They understand they put in a good performance all round, and the Eastleigh boss said that a draw would have been the fairest result. So they weren’t too down on the way back or after they’d had their showers. They know they’ve just gone toe-to-toe with one of the best sides in the league. They had some periods, and we had some periods, and I’m sure we can keep that kind of form going.”
*IS*Source: Dan Darlington, Maidenhead Advertiser*IF*
*BS*ASSISTANT BOSS TO LEAD GOSPORT OUT AT WEMBLEY*BF*
Assistant-manager Mick Catlin will lead out Skrill South club Gosport Borough in the FA Carlsberg Trophy Final after Alex Pike handed the honour to him.
Pike, who lead out Wimborne Town 22 years ago at the old Wembley Stadium, has decided that his assistant should receive the honour on the big day in March.
Speaking after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Havant & Waterlooville, Pike confirmed the decision he had made some weeks ago to hand the honour to Catlin.
“I made the decision before the semi-final and told him to go out and buy a suit because he will be leading us out at Wembley. I’ve done that. I’ve had that experience and he’s been the most loyal friend and manager that I’ve ever had in my career.
“He knows his football inside and out and as far as I’m concerned he is not my assistant-manager but my co-manager and he will be leading Gosport out at Wembley and he deserves it.”
Pike’s return to Wembley gives the manager the chance of a unique double as no manager has to date won both the FA Trophy and FA Vase.
However, at the moment Pike is still revelling in the fact that he has once again taken a club he has a huge connection with to the home of English football.
“It was tremendous that when I took Wimborne to Wembley as I was living in Wimborne and now this [Gosport] is my home-town club. I was born here, I had my first job here and my family live here and to take them to Wembley is something special. It’s always nice to take your club to Wembley but to take your home-town club to Wembley it’s just that little bit extra.”
*IS*Source: Football Conference*IF*
*BS*FARNBOROUGH JOIN FORCES WITH READING*BF*
Skrill South club Farnborough and Sky Bet Championship side Reading have announced that a long-term joint venture has been signed.
In the first instance Reading Ladies will play their league fixtures at Paddy Power Park starting in May with the visit of both Chelsea and Arsenal. Before that they will play their first match at the ground and face Blackburn in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday, 16th March.
Reading will be pushing hard for promotion and both clubs will be working together to drive support for this new partnership and Reading have an exclusive option on bringing other teams to Paddy Power Park in the near future.
Commenting on the partnership, manager Spencer Day explained: “We’re delighted with this major partnership. Reading have agreed to make major improvements and maintenance to our pitch as well as other financial considerations. With attendances in ladies football on the rise this link up will bring substantial new supporters into Paddy Power Park with all the additional revenues that will bring.
“With the imminent re-launch of our bar and new commercial kitchen the timing of this deal is perfect. We have also agreed a joint initiative regarding sponsorship and advertising and working together in the long term will be a major benefit for the area after a tough few months – it’s a great start to 2014 and I’m sure everyone will welcome everyone from Reading here and wish them every success on the pitch. This agreement will help our long-term target of sustainability.”
*IS*Source: Farnborough FC*IF*