Cheshunt-ing For Trophies

FM_TNSSO

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Chapter 1: Cheshunt

I've not given up with my Lyon save, but just put it on the back burner for a bit. After overcoming PSG in my 3rd season, I have now played on to mid way through the 4th season (updates to be posted on here) and things are going OK, although no progress has really been made. I've started to lose a bit of interest and may come back to it at some point.

But for now, I am starting a new save that should keep me engaged for a longer period of time as there is a much bigger ladder to climb. We begin our journey as manager of Cheshunt who currently play in the Vanarama National League South (the 6th tier of English football). It's only their first season up at that level, so naturally we are expected to struggle in year 1.

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At least the board are realistic in their expectations and simply avoiding relegation would be seen as sufficient.

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The fan's completely agree. The stature of the club is reflected in the fact we have just 80 season ticket holders and less than 800 followers on social media.

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The squad I have inherited is not blessed with tremendous quality. We have a lack of numbers in defence and only one recognised keeper. There are, however, an abundance of strikers at my disposal.

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So it makes sense for me to play a tactic which is striker heavy and this is what I have come up with. The poacher should hover in and around the box to get on the end of crosses and rebounds etc, whilst the advanced forwards are encouraged to get wide and work the channels due to the absence of wingers. The wing backs will have to work hard to get up and down the pitch, whilst the middle of the park is where most of the creativity should come from, via the deep lying playmaker playing passes forward and the attacking midfielder providing outlets for the three strikers.

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Chapter 2: First Pre Season

Loan Signing - Luke Chadwick
Joins from Chesterfield on season long loan


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I wasted no time bringing in a new keeper to at least give me two options between the sticks this season. With no transfer budget available, I turned to the loan market and Luke Chadwick comes in from Chesterfield. He is good enough to challenge for a starting place too, so should prove important for us this year.

Loan Signing - Joao Rangel
Joins from King's Lynn on season long loan

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Joao Rangel becomes my second loan signing for the upcoming season. He certainly doesn't look good enough to set the world alight, but will provide essential cover in that attacking midfield role where I only had one player that can play there before his arrival.

Our pre season campaign went well, with 4 wins over lower league opposition and our only defeat coming at the hands of National League side, Woking, but we still gave them a tough game.

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On the form of our friendlies, our biggest attacking threat this season could be Reece Beckles-Richards who scored 7 goals in 5 games.

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Whilst centre mid, Will Seager is the man I have opted to make my captain!

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Having been recently promoted last year, the bookies don't fancy us to stay up and we're predicted to finish only above Hemel Hempstead this season. However, at 50/1, we are not at ridiculous odds to win the whole division which shows just how competitive it is down here.

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If we are going to stay up then the performances of Isaac Pitblado from left back will need to be on point. He is identified as our best player which isn't surprising considering he's here on loan from QPR!

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Although at home for the opening day of the season, we are not favourites to pick up a result as our visitors Worthing are tipped for a top half finish this year. Could we open the campaign with a shock result?

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Chapter 3: A Solid Start

National League South - Matchday 1

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Up until the hour mark, we had only managed a single shot at goal. At that point I switched us to an attacking style and we started to dominate, turning the game on it's head to ****** the 3 points.

National League South - Matchday 2

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We put up a brave effort in our first away game of the season and probably deserved a point! The sending off of Isaac Pitblado just after the half hour mark was always going to make it difficult for us, but we still managed to take the lead shortly after. However, the numerical advantage showed in the second half for the home side.

National League South - Matchday 3

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I didn't muck about here and with our improvement on matchday 1 when we moved to an attacking mentality, I decided to start this game with the attacking setting rather than balanced! And boy did it work, as we completely blew away our opponents! Joao Rangel was handed his first start for the club and it's fair to say he took his opportunity, bagging a brace on his way to a man of the match performance.

National League South - Matchday 4

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Welling came into this game with just a single point from their opening three games, so we had every reason to feel confident we could get a result. At 2-0 up we looked like we were cruising, but two goals in 5 minutes saw Welling pull level and a kick up the backside was required. It spurred the lads on and it looked like we had nicked the winner in the 86th minute only for Zenon Stylianides's close range effort to be ruled out for offside.

National League South - Matchday 5

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A goal in either half was enough for us to make it 3 wins out of 3 at home so far this season.

Team Watch

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In the early stages of the season, only Farnborough have scored more goals than us.

Player Watch

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It's been a good start to the season for Reece as he has 2 goals and 2 assists already.

National League South

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Not a bad start for a team supposedly destined for relegation!
 
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Chapter 4: A Dip In Form After A Good Start

National League South - Matchday 6

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Like us, Taunton are new to the league this year and like us they have made an impressive start to life in the 6th tier, sitting 7th at kick off. We shared the spoils after an incredible late fight back from my lads saw us come back from 3-1 down with just 10 men! A very good point under the circumstances.

National League South - Matchday 7

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This was the first game of the season that we lost where I really didn't think we deserved to. We edged position and had more than double the amount of shots than Bath. But our strikers had a bad day in front of goal, where as they scored with both their only shots on target.

National League South - Matchday 8

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Concord Rangers came into this game in 23rd place in the league having drawn 4 and lost 3 so far this season. After another draw here with us, they will quickly be getting a reputation as the league's draw specialists.

National League South - Matchday 9

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Ebbsfleet are the favourites to win this division, so there is no shame in this defeat. We gave them a good game and were probably unlucky to come away with nothing.

National League South - Matchday 10

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Again we can count ourselves unlucky against one of the division's better sides.

FA Cup - 2nd Qualifying Round

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We scrape through against lower league opposition, but the scoreline should have been much bigger. We are struggling defensively and this is the area of the team I feel we desperately need to improve.

National League South - Matchday 11

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After 5 league games without a win, we finally get a victory back on the board against Dover. It was well deserved as well, with us being in control for majority of the game.

Team Watch

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Considering we don't play with wingers, you can't say we don't get the ball out wide and create opportunities from there, as we have recorded the most crosses in the division so far this season.

Player Watch

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With 2 goals in his last 2 games, Ken Charles now has 5 for the season as he emerges as our top goalscorer.

National League South

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So we are bang in mid table after 11 matches. 3 points off the playoffs and 5 points from relegation, so a few results either way could see us climb significantly or drop dramatically.
 
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Chapter 4: A Dip In Form After A Good Start

National League South - Matchday 6

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Like us, Taunton are new to the league this year and like us they have made an impressive start to life in the 6th tier, sitting 7th at kick off. We shared the spoils after an incredible late fight back from my lads saw us come back from 3-1 down with just 10 men! A very good point under the circumstances.

National League South - Matchday 7

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This was the first game of the season that we lost where I really didn't think we deserved to. We edged position and had more than double the amount of shots than Bath. But our strikers had a bad day in front of goal, where as they scored with both their only shots on target.

National League South - Matchday 8

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Concord Rangers came into this game in 23rd place in the league having drawn 4 and lost 3 so far this season. After another draw here with us, they will quickly be getting a reputation as the league's draw specialists.

National League South - Matchday 9

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Ebbsfleet are the favourites to win this division, so there is no shame in this defeat. We gave them a good game and were probably unlucky to come away with nothing.

National League South - Matchday 10

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Again we can count ourselves unlucky against one of the division's better sides.

FA Cup - 2nd Qualifying Round

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We scrape through against lower league opposition, but the scoreline should have been much bigger. We are struggling defensively and this is the area of the team I feel we desperately need to improve.

National League South - Matchday 11

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After 5 league games without a win, we finally get a victory back on the board against Dover. It was well deserved as well, with us being in control for majority of the game.

Team Watch

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Considering we don't play with wingers, you can't say we don't get the ball out wide and create opportunities from there, as we have recorded the most crosses in the division so far this season.

Player Watch

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With 2 goals in his last 2 games, Ken Charles now has 5 for the season as he emerges as our top goalscorer.

National League South

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So we are bang in mid table after 11 matches. 3 points off the playoffs and 5 points from relegation, so a few results either way could see us climb significantly or drop dramatically.
Keep up the good work
 
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Chapter 5: Strengthening The Defence

My only out and out right back at the club was Ola Williams and it's fair to say he is nowhere near good enough to be playing week in, week out. So I needed to make a new signing.

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New Signing - Ziyad Al-Oyouni
Signed on a free transfer

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Ziyad will come in as the new number 1 for the right back spot and should represent a significant upgrade on Williams in that position. Any signing that strengthens us down at this level is massive.

National League South - Matchday 12

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New right back, Ziyad, got himself an assist on our way to a good away day victory here.

FA Cup - 3rd Qualifying Round

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Our FA Cup run comes to an end in the very early stages against a Chippenham side that do sit above us in our own division, so it's not exactly a surprise result. Matt McClure was on fire for them and we simply couldn't handle him.

National League South - Matchday 13

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Back in the league we again ran into an in form striker that we couldn't cope with, in Simeon Jackson. We were really poor here!

We are conceding a lot of goals at the moment so it was time to bring in a new defender to try and help with that.

New Signing - Matt Richardson
Signed on a free transfer

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Hopefully Richardson can be the one to sure things up at the back a little bit.

National League South - Matchday 14

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Even I have no idea where on earth this came from! We were well beaten by Chippenham in the cup only a couple of games ago, but this was a completely different story this time round as we absolutely battered them in the league!

National League South - Matchday 15

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It's madness really that we can go from beating a team above us 6-0 to following that up just days later with a 2-0 defeat against a team below us. I don't know if it highlights incredible inconsistency from us, or the competitive nature of this division!

National League South - Matchday 16

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Immediately back to winning ways against a Havant side that were in the playoff spots pre kick off. Good to see Brandon Adams netting the winner after he has come under recent criticism in the media for poor performances.

Team Watch


Our tactic definitely seems to focus on getting the ball from the back up to the front men as quickly as possible without passing the ball around needlessly too much. This is backed up by the fact we sit 18th on passes completed and have made just over half the amount of passes as Worthing.

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Player Watch

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On loan centre back Billy Cracknell didn't start the season in great form and I was a bit concerned about him despite my assistant giving him a 4 star rating as one of the best players in the squad. However, he seems to be finding his feet now, recording a 7.06 rating from his last 5 appearances.

Manager Watch

Despite being pre season favourites to win the league, Ebbsfleet sat bottom of the table after 11 matches, so moved to sack Dennis Kutrieb from his position.

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National League South

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Nicely inside the top half of the table and just a couple of points off the playoff spots. That would be a dream come true this season should we achieve it!
 
look's like a good start to the season if you can keep it up hopefully you pull off a shock and get into the Play offs.
 
look's like a good start to the season if you can keep it up hopefully you pull off a shock and get into the Play offs.

It would be amazing if we could, but my honest opinion is that the crop of players I currently have are not good enough to get us there yet. However, I think if we can finish mid table this year then it gives us something to build on and maybe playoffs could be a season 2 target.
 
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Chapter 6: Highest Goalscorers

National League South - Matchday 17

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Gutting to lose this game. It was really close and then they went down to ten men and we only ever looked like the team that would go on and net the winner. However, Omar Rowe had other ideas and there was nothing we could do about his absolute worldie in the 95th minute which stole the win for the home side.

National League South - Matchday 18

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St Albans are performing above expectations and sit firmly in the playoff places, despite being tipped for mid table obscurity this season. But they couldn't find a way past us and a single strike from Zenon Stylianides was enough for us to take the 3 points and record a massive win!

National League South - Matchday 19

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Tonbridge are overachieving even more than St Albans are. Predicted to finish 15th, they came into this match in 5th place, so we knew we'd be up against it. But again we defied the odds to get another big win on the board!

FA Trophy - 2nd Round

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I didn't expect Hashtag to cause us too many problems and I'm pleased to report that they didn't. Brandon Adams enjoyed his day out against lower league opposition, bagging himself a hat trick.

National League South - Matchday 20

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We were awful! Nothing else to say!

National League South - Matchday 21

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What a comeback! Two late goals ensure we come home from the south coast with a point! Ken Charles with the definitive equalizer in the final minute of the game when he tucked home neatly after finding himself one on one with the Eastbourne keeper.

Manager Watch

The St Albans game saw me through my 20th game in charge as Cheshunt manager and generally the media are singing my praises.

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Paul Barnes has been sacked by Dulwich Hamlet for poor performance...apparently! Have to say it seems pretty harsh considering they sit 15th and their media prediction was to finish 14th!

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Team Watch

Our attacking formation is working wonders in the attacking phase of the game and that is backed up by the fact we are performing well above the league average in virtually every area of the team attacking stats.

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Player Watch

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Zack Newton hasn't exactly been setting the world alight this season, scoring just once in the league. But his injury for the next 4-5 months does leave us short of strikers and it means I am now wasting £300 per week wages on a player that can't even play.

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National League South

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We are approaching the half way point of the season and continue to massively overachieve. It's fair to say our defending at times leaves plenty to be desired, but our attacking play is keeping us in the top half of the table for now - in fact no team has scored more than us this season!
 
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Chapter 7: From Scoring For Fun To Not Being Able To Score

National League South - Matchday 22

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Weymouth are top of the league and came into this fixture off the back of 4 straight wins. They made it 5 but my lads provided a stern test for the league leaders and we can be proud of our efforts.

National League South - Matchday 23

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We simply weren't good enough to compete with The Darts and the defeat extends our winless run to 4 games.

FA Trophy - 3rd Round

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In the poor run of form we are in, I didn't expect us to beat National League opposition here and we were no match and easily beaten!

National League South - Matchday 24

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Jamie Reynolds sending off in the 81st minute proved to be the deciding factor and just 4 minutes later, Worthing got the goal to seal the points.

That's now 5 games without a win in the league and we've gone from being the league's top scorers to not finding the net in 4 of our last 5!!

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Loan Signing - Billy Osborn
Signed on season long loan from Watford

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With us struggling for goals of late, hopefully Billy can bring that creativity from midfield to help! He'll stay with us on loan for the rest of the season.

National League South - Matchday 25

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We finally found our shooting boots again and in a thrilling game we record a massive win over Hampton & Richmond. Twice we had a 2 goal lead in this game, so I'd have been bitterly disappointed if we'd not gone on to win.

National League South - Matchday 26

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Yes our shooting boots are well and truly back on...unfortunately our defending is shocking! What a game of football though and a last minute penalty in stoppage time from Jamie Reynolds ensures we take a point from it.

Player Watch

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We concede a lot of goals and one of the reasons for that is Luke Chadwick's awful performances between the sticks and he is averaging 2 goals a game conceded in the league. He really hasn't been the signing I hoped he would be this season.

Competition Watch

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It was World Cup glory for England out in Qatar as they thrash Denmark in the final of the competition. England did well, beating Holland, France and Portugal on the way to the final!

National League South

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We have slipped down the league a bit to 13th, but it's such a tight division that we are just 5 points from the playoffs but equally we are just 8 from relegation! With 20 games to go, this season could still swing either way!
 
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Chapter 8: Ooooh...Clean Sheets

National League South - Matchday 27

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A rare clean sheet as we thump Welling at home! Ken Charles was in sensational form as he took his goal tally to 14 in all competitions. He should have had the hat trick as well, but his goal in the 90th minute was ruled out for the tightest of offsides.

National League South - Matchday 28

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Taunton are propping up the division, so my pre match team talk was to very assertively tell the lads to go out and get the win. They duly obliged and it was pretty easy going too.

It's nice to get back to back victories again and we've looked a bit more assured in defence too. I did make a couple of tweaks to the tactic before the Welling game which might have contributed to this. I changed our defensive line from higher to standard, as the lack of pace at the back was seeing us get caught out by the high line. I also changed the centre backs to no nonsence centre backs...they don't have the technical or passing ability to play the ball out, so I wanted them to focus on their limited ability to simply win the ball and get rid. Finally, with us playing a deeper line, I changed my keeper from a sweeper keeper to just a standard goalkeeper role.

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National League South - Matchday 29

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We were cruising at 3-0 but in the end found ourselves hanging on for dear lives. We did just about and take another excellent 3 points to make it 3 wins in a row.

National League South - Matchday 30

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Bath beat us 2-0 at our place earlier in the season and came into this one on a 9 game unbeaten run. They extend that run to 10, but we get ourselves a very good point away from home in what was our first every 0-0 draw under my management.

Ultimately, January has been a very good month for us taking 11 points from a possible 15.

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Player Sold - Raul da Silva
Sold to Hamrun S. on a free transfer

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Raul was our highest paid player at the club earning £450 per week, which is a lot at this level. However, his performances this year did not warrant his payslip and he had to go. He only recorded an average rating for us of 6.54 and clearly wasn't settling into my style of play.

Player Sold - Christopher Mandela John
Sold to Flint Town on a free transfer

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Christopher also follows Raul out of the club as he joins Welsh side, Flint Town, on a freebie. I didn't necessarily want to lose him, but he was on a pay as you play deal and I couldn't convince him to stay.

National League South - Matchday 31

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I am livid! We were 2-0 up and cruising at half time, only to throw it away in the 2nd half and lose the game! Fair to say that boots were kicked, bottles were thrown and there was plenty of swearing in the changing room at full time!

Player Watch

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Emmanuel Maja is one of those players that seems to have gotten better and better as the season has gone on. His most recent performances have seen the central midfielder pick up the Player of the Month award for January.

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National League South

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We still sit in and around mid table with 15 games to go. We have a game in hand over a few teams above us and if we win that, we would move into the top half. Still continuing to punch above our weight and with the wages which were recently free'd up we might be able to strengthen with one or two new players over the coming couple of weeks.
 
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