Article taken from Kidderminster Shuttle 06/12/12
Christmas games will be crucial – Reynolds
CHAIRMAN Chris Reynolds believes Stourport Swifts’ Christmas fixtures could go a long way to determining their promotion hopes in the Midlands Alliance.
After Saturday’s 4-2 win at Heather St John’s, the Walshes Meadow outfit remain second in the table.
However, they face some tough tests in December.
Swifts entertain Coventry Sphinx on Saturday (3pm ko), go to Ellesmere Rangers on December 15, before a trip to strugglers Coleshill Town a week later.
But it is the festive fixtures which will be key. Swifts entertain Westfields on Boxing Day and then tackle leaders Stratford, who currently boast a nine-point advantage at the top, on Saturday, December 29.
Reynolds said: “We’re in good shape going into Christmas but we’ve got some very big games coming up.
“The matches against Westfields and Stratford could have a big say on how we do.”
With plans for the Southern League to be expanded yet to be confirmed, Swifts are battling for one automatic promotion spot but the number of places could increase.
On Saturday, they kept the pressure on the leaders by out gunning Heather St John’s.
Mark Benbow opened the scoring when he drilled home from a corner.
Lewis Pountney doubled the lead on 21 minutes with a far- post header, but the home side pulled one back from the spot after an innocuous challenge from Mark Smith.
Daryl Jones restored their two-goal cushion on 67 minutes when his cross from the left sailed over the home keeper and nestled in the far corner.
Heather rallied again with a free-kick which caught out keeper Dan Platt but Joe Adams capped a fine display as he applied the finish to a sweeping Swifts move.
Reynolds admitted the club is still struggling to generate funds.
Relegation to the more local Midland Alliance last season and the team’s good form has increased attendances but with the economy stalling, sponsors are hard to find.
He said: “It’s tough out there at the moment. Companies are struggling, so they are not as willing to sponsor us. Crowds have gone up but not as much as we had hoped, hopefully if the weather improves we’ll get a few more through the turnstyles.”
Brown : Heavy pitches not for us
ROD Brown blamed Bridgnorth Town’s pitch after watching his Stourport Swifts side slump to their second successive defeat in the Midland Alliance this term.
Having gone 11 games without defeat, second placed Swifts responded to their setback at Gornal Athletic with a 2-0 reverse at Bridgnorth.
Brown, pictured, said: “I’ve got some very skillful youngsters who are top of the ground players. But when the pitches get heavier, then we don’t move the ball around so well.
“We didn’t adapt to the playing conditions against Bridgnorth, who worked harder than us, so I’ve got no complaints about the result.
“When you’ve got a number of youngsters in the side, you don’t always get the consistency.
“But we’re back at home this Saturday against Heath Hayes, where the pitch will suit us and we’ll play properly”.
Swifts will be boosted by the fact they’ve already beaten Heath Hayes 3-1 this season, but the downside could see both defender Mark Benbow and striker Kevin Spencer ruled out through injury.
Brown has brought back former Swifts goalkeeper Danny Platt who was previously at Blue Square Bet North club Oxford City.
The Swifts boss added: “Danny hasn’t played this season after falling out with Oxford and instead was playing cricket until the end of the season.
“He hasn’t done a pre-season at all, but he’s a quality keeper and will get better.”
Brown has also abandoned his pursuit of much travelled striker Nav Arshad, who has since joined Halesowen Town.
Article taken from Kidderminster Shuttle 25/10/12
Rod calm after loss
STOURPORT Swifts boss Rod Brown was in philosophical mood after watching his side suffer their first Midland Alliance defeat of the campaign.
The Walshes Meadow side were edged out 1-0 by Gornal Athletic but had enough chances to win the game.
Midfielder Joe Adams also saw a penalty saved as Swifts piled the pressure on a resolute Black Country side.
“I am not disappointed with the performance, just the result,” said Brown.
“We were OK in the first-half but then conceded a sloppy goal but we battered them in the second.
“We must have had seven or eight good chances and missed a penalty, so my only regret is we didn’t score.
“There were still a lot of positives to take out of the performance.”
Gornal’s winner came about when keeper Haydn Whitcombe collided with striker Marvin Nisbett, who was alert enough to roll the ball into the back of the net after it broke loose.
But Brown felt the goal was unlucky rather than a foul on his custodian.
Despite the defeat, Swifts are still second in the table after an impressive start to the season.
They will be looking to bounce back at Bridgnorth Town, who have lost just twice.
The manager added: “We’ve a young squad, I think the average age is about 22 or 23 and the range goes from 17 and upwards.
“We could do with one or two more experienced players.
“But if someone had told me at this stage of the season we would be second with just one league loss, I would have taken it.”
Brown hopes to sign keeper Dan Platt tonight in a bid to create competition for Whitcombe. He is also still planning to bring in an experienced striker.
Article taken from Kidderminster Shuttle 17/10/12
Swifts anger Brown
FURIOUS Swifts boss Rod Brown admitted he had to apply shock tactics after Sunday’s poor display in the FA Vase.
Stourport produced their poorest display of the season at the War Memorial Stadium as they crashed to a 2-0 loss to Midland Alliance rivals Causeway United.
As a result, Brown admitted he sat down and told several first team regulars they would be dropped.
But he got the response he wanted in the league on Tuesday night as Swifts hammered struggling Highgate 7-0.
Brown said: “It was a woeful display on Sunday, we showed no passion and no fight.
“We disrespected Causeway, the players thought because they were struggling a bit it would be easy.
“Only Jamie Willetts and Lewis Pountney came out with any credit from that game and you can’t win matches if nine players aren’t performing.
“We have had quite a settled side in the league, we’ve only changed things for cup games, but I sat down and told the players I was going to shake it up for Highgate.
“Games like Causeway can be a turning point and unless you do something you can fall away.
“I told the players they are good enough to challenge at the top-of-the-table but I also thought I needed to use shock tactics.
“I got the response I was looking for, we looked like a team and showed plenty of desire and passion on Tuesday and we could have scored more goals.”
Against Highgate, John Griffin bagged a hat-trick, while Mark Benbow, Gary Walker, Pountney and Louis Bridges also found the back of the net.
That win means second-placed Swifts are five points behind leaders Stratford with a game in hand.
Another positive was an encouraging 45 minute display by Ryan Mahon, back after surgery on his knee and an injury, described by Brown as ‘fantastic’.
Brown is also talking to goalkeeper Dan Platt about signing for Swifts.
The manager is keen to bring in competition for first choice Haydn Whitcombe and would ideally like to bring back Platt, who is a free agent after a spells at Evesham United and Oxford City.
The Swifts boss also admitted he is looking at a potential new signing in training over the next week and that one or players may leave as a result.
Swifts now face a tough Gornal Athletic side at home on Saturday (3pm ko).
The manager added: “Gornal will be very tough, they’re still in the Vase and have had a good run in the FA Cup.
“They’re a very solid outfit and we will need to show the same effort and desire as Tuesday, if we do that we can get a result but if we fall short we will lose.”
Article taken from Kidderminster Shuttle 11/10/12
Swifts ready for Vase test
MANAGER Rod Brown wants Stourport Swifts to kick-off a run in the FA Vase when they take on Causeway United in the first round on Sunday (3pm ko).
The Walshes Meadow outfit take on their Midland Alliance rivals at the War Memorial Ground in good spirits after a strong start to the campaign.
To give the clash extra spice, Causeway are managed by ex-Swifts boss Richard Colwell, who was dismissed at the end of the 2010-11 season.
Brown said: “Apart from the FA Cup, the Vase is a very important competition, it has a lot more kudos that some of the others.
“We’d love to progress because of the prize money and what it would mean to the club but Causeway will be a test.
“There won’t be one factor that decides the game but if we play to our best then we are capable of progressing.
“I also hope there’s big crowd for the game because it’s on a Sunday.”
The manager will welcome back a host of first-team regulars after he watched a team containing squad members lose 2-1 to Alvechurch in the Worcestershire Senior Urn on Tuesday night.
Jordan Jones bagged the goal and despite defeat, Brown was pleased with the performances of his fringe players.
“Last week I was very disappointed with the squad players because I felt they didn’t perform against Highate,” Brown said.
“But it was a much better performance by the lads on Tuesday and I told them I feel like we’ve got competition for places now.
“I was also impressed by Alvechurch, they’ve got some good young players and if they had had this team at the start of the season they would be higher up the table.”
Swifts kept the pressure on league leaders Stratford on Saturday with a 3-0 win over Kirby Muxloe, with Jones, Kevin Spencer and John Griffin on target.
The second-placed outfit have a game in hand on Brown’s former side and trail by just five points.
The manager added: “Kirby were a good side, they were team of the month for September but we had our strongest team out and had too much for them.”
Article taken from Kidderminster Shuttle 02/08/12
Brown after a Swifts start to a new season
ROD Brown has promised Stourport Swifts will hit the ground running in the Midlands Alliance but admits his squad is a few weeks away from their full sharpness.
Swifts will be hoping to make a winning start to the campaign when they entertain Heather St John on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
After relegation from the Southern League last season, a win would deliver Brown’s boys the confidence boost they need.
The Walshes Meadow chief is confident Swifts are stronger than in the previous campaign, where they finished bottom of the Division One South and West, but believes it may take two or three weeks before they the squad achieves full fitness.
Brown said: “It has been a mixed pre-season. “Don’t get me wrong, the players have worked hard and have shown a good attitude but in terms of fitness I think we are two or three weeks away from where we’d like to be.
“Saying that, I want to hit the ground running. The pitch is looking great and we will be a test for anyone in our own back yard.
“I don’t think it’s a case of getting a win so we can shake off the effects of last season’s relegation. We’ve dealt with that and have been very positive all summer.
“I genuinely believe we’ve got a better squad of players than we did a year ago, who are more together and will give a good account of ourselves.
“It’s just my 20 years experience as a manager tells me there is more to come.”
Swifts head into Saturday’s season opener missing several key players. Midfielder Ryan Mahon will have an operation to clean out his injured knee and will be out for a month, while Kevin Spencer and Louis Bridges miss the Heather match and Tuesday’s trip to Alvechurch (7.45pm kick-off) because they are attending a mutual family wedding abroad.
Brown has also not given up on bolstering his playing staff and will be keen to bring in several new defenders.
He said: “I am always on the lookout for players and I want to bring in a couple of defenders, hopefully before the start of the season.
“We’ve looked a bit soft at the back and I would like to strengthen.
“It’s not easy though, we’re starting very early compared to some clubs who have another two weeks of pre-season. “That makes it hard to get lads in because clubs leave it late to decide on players.”
Article taken from Kidderminster Shuttle 26/07/12
Swifts snap up Hurrell
SWIFTS manager Rod Brown has bolstered his midfield options with the capture of former Kidderminster Harriers young gun Paul Hurrell.
Brown has snapped up the teenager after his time at the Aggborough outfit came to an end.
Hurrell was the captain of Harriers’ Youth Academy last season but has found he’s too old for the junior set-up but not quite ready to step up to the rigours of the Conference Premier.
However, Brown is sure the young midfield man will get better.
He said: “I’ve liked Paul for a while and I’m really pleased to get him.
“He was too old to play for the Academy side and Harriers and not quite ready for the first team squad at the moment, but I am sure he will only progress playing regularly for us.
“I am still looking for players and I would like to add a striker and maybe bolster the defence but I am not prepared to bring in just anyone.”
Hurrell’s arrival will bolster Swifts options in the middle of the park as the influential Ryan Mahon will have surgery on August 5 to deal with a knee problem.
The Walshes Meadow outfit will also be without defender Kevin Spencer and striker Louis Bridges for two weeks as the related duo have familly committments.
Meanwhile, Swifts pre-season continued with mixed friendly results.
They were edged out at home 1-0 by a Harriers youth side last Thursday and then lost 1-0 against Bromsgrove Sporting on Tuesday night.
Swifts complete their pre-season programme at home to Stourbridge tonight (7.45pm kick-off) and at Frickley Athletic on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
“At this stage it’s not about results but performance and I was quite happy with the display against Harriers because I thought we controlled the ball and looked solid.
“It was different against Sporting, they worked incredibly hard and I am quite upset we didn’t match them.”
Article taken from Kidderminster Shuttle 19/07/12
Reynolds eyes a swift start
SWIFTS chairman Chris Reynolds is hoping the team can set the tone for the 2012-13 season with a strong start in the Midland Alliance.
The Walshes Meadow outfit intend to shake off any effects of their relegation from the Southern League.
Their cause may be helped with a relatively easy start to the new season.
Swifts kick-off their first campaign at this level for over a decade at home to Heather St Johns, on Saturday, August 4 (3pm ko).
This is followed-up by a Worcestershire derby at Alvechurch three days later (7.45pm kick-off).
After a break from the league because of the FA Cup extra-preliminary round clash at Eccleshall FC on Saturday, August 11, Swifts resume the league at home Tipton Town on the following Tuesday (7.45pm ko).
“It doesn’t matter who you play, it’s important to get off to a good start,” said Reynolds. “If we could win our first 10 games of the season then the rest of the campaign would look after itself.”
Swifts’ preparations for the season suffered a setback last week when experience midfielder Ryan Mahon picked up a knee injury which could see him out of action for up to six weeks.
Mahon, who joined from Stourbridge last season, is one of the spine of players manager Rod Brown is pinning his hopes on for a successful campaign.
Meanwhile, their friendly programme started on Tuesday night with a 3-1 win at Wellington, with Louis Bridges bagging a hat-trick.
Swifts face stiffer opposition tonight when they take on a Kidderminster Harriers XI at home (7.45pm ko).
Brown’s troops then entertain Bromsgrove Sporting next Tuesday and Stourbridge on the Thursday (both 7.45pm ko).
Article taken from Kidderminster Shuttle 29/05/12
Reynolds - Swifts will be going for Alliance Title
CHAIRMAN Chris Reynolds has challenged Stourport Swifts to bounce back from their relegation to the Midlands Alliance by winning the league.
The Walshes Meadow outfit’s fate was sealed this week when the Southern League confirmed they had not been handed a reprieve for the 2012-13 campaign, ending their 11-year spell in the fourth tier of non-league football.
Manager Rod Brown had been hopeful Swifts, despite finishing bottom of the Division One South and West, could avoid going down.
However, with Cirencester, Swindon Supermarine and Evesham United relegated from the Premier Division, as well as Wessex League winners Winchester City and Merthry Town coming up from the Western League, there was no place for Swifts.
Reynolds weighed-up the positives and negatives of a drop down to the Alliance, which will see Swifts taking on a hosts of sides from the Midlands instead of teams from the West Country and Southampton.
He said: “It’s never good to be relegated and one of the problems we could have is attracting players.
“Obviously players want to play at the highest level possible but Rod [Brown] is 80 per cent sure he’s close to getting the players he wants.
“On the other hand, the travelling in the Division One West and South was very expensive.
“We had something like eight or 10 coaches and it cost us between £8,000 and £10,000 which is a lot for a club of our size.
“I don’t think the crowds will go up much but there will be a few games which will draw a lot of interest.”
Reynolds believes Swifts can only have one aim next campaign, to replicate the 2000-01 campaign, when Rod Brown guided them to the Alliance title and took them into the Southern League for the first time.
He added: “I think we must be going to try and win the title and make an immediate return to the Southern League.
“We spent 11 years in the league and we’d like to get back there as quick as we can, so that’s the challenge for everyone at the club.”