View from the Heights
On behalf of everyone at Milton United FC, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Flackwell Heath and their supporters. It’s been just over two years since the last time today’s teams met in the 2nd preliminary round of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup in 2021. At the time Milton were plying their trade in Division One of the Hellenic League, whilst Flackwell were competing in the Spartan South Midlands League. The result that evening ended 3-1 in favour of Flackwell, only for them to lose on penalties a few weeks later at home to Sandhurst Town. Seven players from that evenings squad still wear the Claret & Blue, so I am sure they will be looking to avenge that loss. Today’s teams are currently separated by three points, with the Heathens sitting one place above Milton in second place. Both clubs fell afoul of the weather last weekend, however a 1-1 draw away at Holyport on Tuesday night and a 0-0 result a fortnight ago at home to Greenford has seen Flackwell draw their last two league games. In comparison, Milton beat the same opponents 2-1 and 3-1, so I predict we are going to be in for a very competitive game this afternoon.
My last article was written prior to our match versus Edgware & Kingsbury and as I have said before, no team in this league can be taken lightly and table position does not necessarily reflect how well a team can perform. Like the Egham game, we found ourselves going behind to a very early goal, although I am sure it should have been an in-direct freekick and the strike that went under our wall shouldn’t have counted! The 53rd minute seems to be our lucky number, as like against Egham, that’s when Dan West ‘bundled’ over our equaliser. Poor defending resulted in the ‘Wares’ regaining the lead, only for Brad Rowbotham to pull us level again on the 83rd minute and his first goal for the Miltonians. Not our best performance and possibly the 2-2 result was fair over the course of the 90 minutes.
Move forward three days and we travelled the short distance to Wantage Town FC, to face them in the 2nd round of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup. Christian and Tatty took the opportunity to rotate the squad and made 6 changes from the eleven that started on Saturday. It was also a chance to try out a changed formation, with the aim to play narrower and be quicker in possession. Apart from a couple half chances for the ‘Freds’ we dominated the first 45 minutes, but only led by a solitary goal from Louis Joyce at the halfway point. For those of use that braved the weather, didn’t the 2nd half end up being the opposite of the first, as Milton ran riot. Free flowing football at its best and with the strength coming off the bench, the final 8-1 result was a fair reflection of the game. Joycey, having come back from his one game suspension bagged a hattrick. Cam Mills can’t stop scoring and is proving a valuable asset in the squad. Oggy started the 2nd half rout on the 47th minute and Harry Thomas finished it on the 90th. Although Joycey received the MoM award and rightly so after a hat trick and an assist, its worth noting that he just pipped Ciaran Keaney, who not only ran hard for 90 minutes, but also showed those watching what a quality player he is. Having progressed through the 2nd round we will now face Aylesbury United at home on the 28th of November, after they requested the fixture be reversed and played at The Heights. The ‘Ducks’ currently sit fourth from bottom of the Southern League Div One Central, so a 4th tier scalp could be there for the taking!
Today’s match is the third of five home league games on the bounce and an opportunity to continue improving our home form. However, I feel the challenge of keeping our pitch playable will be just as difficult as our forthcoming home fixtures. The grass may have stopped growing, but the weather is against us and it’s proving a challenge to repair all the scars left after each game. That also includes Westy’s knee slide after his equaliser against Edgware, who I’ll be giving a lesson in divot repairing if he does it again.
As ever, a big thank you to all our Club and Team Sponsors, our Volunteers, and today’s supporters.
All the best and enjoy the game.
UP THE MILTONIANS
Chairman Milton United FC