[INSERT WITTY TITLE HERE] - A Journeyman Save

TheLuckDuck

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This is my first FM17 story following my FM16 story on this website http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/football-manager-2016-manager-stories/357686-my-little-pick-shovel-cardiff-city-story.html (Cheeky plug). This will be a journeyman save, I don't do these often so this will probably end badly.
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I re-read the letter for what felt like the 1,000th time. This was the second time I'd attempted to get into this **** university and this was the second time I'd been rejected. At least I'm consistent.

I sat down, grabbed a beer and opened my laptop, for me there's only one tonic for rejection, and that is Football Manager. I played until the sky grew dark and I ran out of beer before closing my favourite game

I looked away the screen to wipe my eyes and looked around the room and then my eyes found it, a certificate with my name on it, featured prominently above he words "FAW C Licence", my eyes made my way over to the next picture frame, a picture of me playing semi-pro football.

Football Manager is my favourite game, but does it always have to be a game? Having closed FM I opened a new tab, I'd failed to study law to become a lawyer, so maybe a new career path is on the agenda?


 

TheLuckDuck

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To my surprise, when you walk into a job centre and ask for a job as a football manager you aren't laughed out of the building (well, not after you display you have the relevant qualifications that is). Fortunately they sat me down, talked me through my options and pointed me in the direction of a great database full of potential destinations

I went home, downloaded the database and looked at the potential jobs, a few stood out as interesting and realistic for a man(ager?) such as myself. Cardiff Met Uni, local for me, Loughgall in Northern Ireland (not so local) and a few teams in Iceland

I grabbed my laptop and fired off numerous E-Mails, applying for many jobs from Wales to Iceland before calling it a night


 

TheLuckDuck

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I woke up and grabbed my laptop, more in hope than anticipation, these were football clubs, PROPER football clubs and they had more important things to do than answer some 20 year old (degree-less) Welshman in search of a job

Well, like at the job centre, I came away surprised, not only did I receive responses, I also received (a few) interview offers, with Cardiff Met Uni (Wales), Loughgall (Northern Ireland) and Grindavik (Iceland) all offering me job interviews!

That FAW "C" Licence went a lot further than I thought it would, and I'd gotten a lot further than I thought I would. I'd assumed I'd get laughed off, these are PROPER football clubs remember, not some local Under 10s team, but it turns out there are some desperate football chairmen, who knew?

Now then, a few of these interviews would definitely have to happen over Skype (Flights to Iceland and Northern Ireland ain't cheap), but the Cardiff Met interview would happen in person

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TheLuckDuck

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I arrived at the university campus around 11.00 am, my mind full of possible answers to the tough questions I was about to be asked. As I was called into the office my mind stopped answering potential questions and ended up asking one of me "How ironic would it be if my first job was at a university?"

I sat down, exchanged some pleasantries and then it was on to business

CMU-We have some reservations regarding your managerial experience and would like you to address that

MH-Well, I'm only 20 and haven't been in the industry long enough to garner experience

CMU-You're in the running for multiple jobs, why's that?

MH-I simply want to maximise my potential destinations to begin my managerial career

CMU-We're an amateur club and our aim is to simply survive the coming season, will you be able to do that

MH-I feel confident in my ability to avoid relegation and keep this club where it belongs

CMU-Thank you for your time
MH-Thank you.

And that was that. I walked out of my first job interview since I was 16 and wanted a part-time job at a football centre feeling, well, ok. It hadn't gone horribly and it hadn't gone insanely well, it just went ok. Now onto Skype and my meetings with Grindavik and Loughgall.
 

TheLuckDuck

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A week had passed since my round of interviews and I found myself staring at my email inbox every ten minutes. So far I'd only received one email from any one of Grindavik, Loughgall and Cardiff Met Uni and that was from Grindavik, who had to "Regretfully inform me..." and all that. Basically I didn't get the job and wouldn't be moving to Iceland, which was a shame as I looked forward to this.
Unfortunately, I wouldn't be experiencing any of that and I am now instead hoping for a job in either the Welsh Premier League or the Northern Irish Championship, well, we all have to start somewhere.

I refreshed my page once again, seeing a new email, I got excited and then saw it, spam, again! I really ought to deal with that...

I refreshed again, and again, and again. No luck. What's that saying? A watched kettle never boils? With that in mind I got up and made a cup of tea, job applications can wait, for about five minutes

I made my tea and returned to my laptop and found an email, this one not spam, this one from Cardiff Met Uni, I was shaking as I opened it...
View attachment 113231

I returned to my inbox and found another email, again not spam, but this one from Loughgall, I was shaking again...

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TheLuckDuck

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Well then, I've got 2 more offers than I ever thought I'd get and that leaves me at a crossroads. Both jobs have pros and cons but its great to have options!

There's an obvious pro to the Cardiff Met Uni job, location. I live just 6 miles from Cyncoed Campus, the home of Cardiff Metropolitan University FC, a 15 minute drive from my house in West Cardiff. Loughgall, on the other hand, is a small village in Northern Ireland and is 387 miles from my home, this job would require a huge commute or a huge commitment and I'm not sure if I'm up for that.

But, on the other hand, there is a huge pro to the Loughgall job. I'd actually get paid! Cardiff Met are an amateur team and as such I would be receiving nothing in return for hours of work, sure it adds to the CV but I want/need money. Loughgall, on the other hand, are offering me £190 per week that is £9,880 per year people! (Roughly what university would have cost)

This left me torn. Do I take the easy route and stay in Cardiff? Take on an amateur team, probably get relegated, earn no money and find myself in the same situation this time next year? Pondering another rejection from Bristol (let's face it, I'm still going to try) but having had a year of failure? Or do I go for it? Do I go to Northern Ireland and try to make a name for myself? Nervously I wrote an email of acceptance to one team and, ironically a rejection to a university...

 

TheLuckDuck

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I'd made my decision and soon found myself packing my bags for what could turn out to be the start of a long career in football management. Sure, I'm going to take over Loughgall, the football team that represented a village of 282 people, but there'll be a lot more than 282 people there when I lift the Champions League (Not with Loughgall).

Before any of that though, I had to get to Loughgall, I'd either have to get a car and drive 386 miles, stopping at Holyhead to get a ferry to Dublin before driving into Northern Ireland from there. Or I could take the sane option of a bus down to Bristol before flying to Belfast and making my way down to Loughgall. I'm taking the sane option and have dipped into my savings from my two years as a semi pro footballer, forking out £66 for the flight to Belfast

My next problem was accommodation. I had no friends or family in Northern Ireland that I could stay with, I'd had a quick look online for housing in the Loughgall area and there were houses for £175,000. More than my savings. Hopefully the club could set me up with somewhere to stay, otherwise I'll be sleeping in the office.

The flight to Belfast gave me some time to look into Loughgall as a club and fortunately I found an email full of information in my inbox.


"Founded in 1967, Loughgall FC are a semi-professional Northern Irish club currently playing in the NIFL Championship. Loughgall narrowly avoided relegation from the NIFL Championship last season.

The club play their home games at Lakeview Park and possess fairly basic training facilities and basic youth facilities. The club also has fairly basic junior coaching and fairly basic youth recruitment. The club retains a fierce rivalry with Armagh City FC, Glenavon FC and Portadown FC

Loughgall have a history they can be proud of, winning 22 competitions. Loughgall have won the Mid-Ulster Cup on two occasions, won the NIFL Championship three times and the Irish Intermediate Cup twice."


Seems a decent club to begin my managerial voyage at. I had to laugh at the fact they boast a 3,000 capacity stadium and a population of 282. Anyway the plane is landing and I'm about to set foot in Northern Ireland for the first time in my life. Here we go.

 

TheLuckDuck

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Well, I'm in Loughgall, and I've got to say its pretty decent. A nice little village, and soon to be home of a Danske Bank Premiership club (I hope). I made my way around town and soon found the stadium, with chairman John McCann and the entire first team squad there to meet me.

McCann invited me into what he said would be my office (Result!) and explained what he wanted of me. He expected me to finish in a Playoff position in the NIFL Championship and explained that we would be competing in 4 (FOUR!!!) cup competitions this season, the Mid-Ulster Cup, IFA Challenge Cup, Northern Ireland League Cup and the Irish Intermediate Cup. I said I wanted to win them all, he doesn't expect anything.


He then explained the league rules to me. There are 12 teams, the top team wins promotion into the Danske Bank Premiership, 2nd and 3rd qualify for a playoff, the league splits in two after 22 games, with 5 more games to round off the season, bottom team goes down and 11th go into a relegation playoff. He then told me I have no money to spend and that the season starts in six days. He left soon after that.
That took me aback, six days! Not even a week in Northern Ireland and then I'm thrown into a competitive game. Ah well, I'm going to have to get my ideas across very quickly. I meet the players, tell them a bit about myself. It was essentially a speed date, but in Northern Ireland, with 20 odd tough semi professional footballers and with only one person talking.
I explained to them I wanted to play attacking football, then got on with training, taking mental and literal notes on each player's capabilities. The session ended and we all headed home, except me, I went back to the office and crafted the tactic to end all tactics, or end my employment.
 

TheLuckDuck

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ARMAGH CITY v LOUGHGALL FC
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Less than a week into my managerial career I take part in a local derby! We take the short trip to Armagh City territory as we look to kick off the season with a bang. Armagh have gone with a 4-4-2 while I go with a 4-3-1-2, bringing a whole new tactic to the NIFL Championship

Five minutes in and we were under the cosh and Armagh capitalised, winning a corner and taking the lead through a header from Eoin Toal. 1-0. The worst possible start for both me and the team as we attempt to come to grips with the season. We picked ourselves and went again, playing some decent stuff and not allowing Armagh a touch, now that's more like it! A great passing move ended with Warner Mullen equalising for us with only eight minutes on the clock! 1-1.

The game remained scrappy, with both sides making mistakes, but ours on twenty seven minutes proved costly as we gave the ball away in our own half, allowing Armagh to break and retake the lead through Paul Carville. 2-1. We showed a lot of character the first time we went a goal down and I was hoping we'd do the same thing, we got the ball and passed it around well once again, keeping the ball and working it into an attack, which ended with Warner Mullen tapping in Nathan Beacom's excellent cross! 2-2. Mullen almost got his hat trick just seconds later with his long drive testing the Armagh keeper, who then smashed the ball down field, playing through Campbell after Alderdice went AWOL, luckily Campbell hit the post, not the back of the net.

We kept pushing and finally found the breakthrough on 37 minutes, when a wonderful passing move was finished by Anto Burns, with his striker partner Mullen once again involved, setting up the young striker for his first! 2-3. Another long ball just three minutes later allowed Campbell through again, and he hit the same post, off the hook once again!

HALF-TIME
Armagh City 2-3 Loughgall FC

Armagh have changed things to go for a 4-3-3, we change nothing.

The second half was incredibly boring until the 87th minute when an Armagh breakaway resulted in a Philip Donnelly equaliser. We had nothing left after that

FULL-TIME
Armagh City 3-3 Loughgall

Gutting.


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TheLuckDuck

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We played fairly well in the 3-3 draw with Armagh and would have been good value for the win had we held on, so I was pretty pleased on that front. We also hadn't brought anyone new in as I'd only come in 6 days previously, however there were a few deals in the pipeline and they came through in the coming days.

The first player I brought in was Kevin Bradley, who's come in for nothing from Larne to offer backup to Nigel Beacom, I don't expect him to play much, but he's adding much needed number to this village's population


My second signing is a lot more exciting, 34 year old striker Marty Verner. Marty has been brought in to play in the first team and replace Burns, sure he scored against Armagh, but he's not much older than me, and we need hardened professionals if we are to go up this season


The third player signed in my quest to double Loughgall's population was 40-year-old Graham McDonagh, this guy is 11 years younger than my dad and I expect him to play week in, week out in a tough, physical league. He can do it, he's surprisingly quick and fit for a 40-year-old, ever since he's come in he's started out-runing some of the younger players in training. It embarrasses them, bless their cotton socks


Anyway, with these three all in the van (There's not enough room for them in the village), we host Harland and Wolff Welders at home. There was a lot of expectation and pressure on me as the majority of the village came out to watch, we dominated play, played some good football, but fell behind through a worldie from McLelland. A few changes were made and one of those changes, made a huge impact, as substitute Marty Verner scored on his debut, we continued to dominated but couldn't score until one last chance fell to Gary Henderson...
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! My first win under my belt, I couldn't be happier and me and the squad went on a night out in Belfast to celebrate, all except McDonagh that is, he went home for a cup of tea and Match of the Day in front of the fire

 

TheLuckDuck

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Following the departure of star striker Warner "The Snake" Mullen to Newry City we needed a striker. And fast. We'd already brought in Marty Verner, but Mullen going meant I lacked a big bruising target man up top. I immediately started scouring the Northern Irish leagues, asked my two scouts to go looking for a target man and we found one.
Sure Paul isn't the youngest, but he can do a job up front and that's all that matters. He's strong, determined and can head the ball, he's the Northern Irish Andy Carroll.

Another guy turned up at the same time as Paul Brown and said that he too had been signed, turns out he's a midfielder and is good enough for our first team, still don't know where he came from but I'm glad he did

Anyway, away from the transfer front for a minute, we had a game. The team along with the fans would have to be on our best behaviour for this one as we welcomed the Police Service of Northern Ireland to Lakeview Park. I thought they'd come looking for the money from a recent bank robbery THAT WE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ;). Turns out, they play in our league and this was a routine fixture (or so they said). With that in mind we grabbed our shinpads, boots and truncheons and made our way out onto the pitch to produce the greatest performance that this corner of Northern Ireland had ever seen

A very comfortable victory over the police force and that makes me very happy. This performance was enough to convince young Marc McAnallen (I say young, he's three years younger than me) to leave our sworn rivals Armagh City and join us. We've lacked a proper attacking midfielder this season and I hope he's the answer to our woes in that position

McAnallen's first game was a disappointing 0-0 draw with bottom Larne, but that's still enough to see us end August top of the tree ahead of our big cup match at home to Dungannon Swifts
 

TheLuckDuck

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View attachment 113153
LOUGHGALL FC v DUNGANNON SWIFTS

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A huge game greets me less than a month into my managerial career as the tiny village of Loughgall host our far more illustrious rivals Dungannon Swifts of the Danske Bank Premiership. According to the Dungannon fans, we are a "Fierce rival" of theirs. Our only advantage is that we're at home.

Its a huge game under the floodlights on a Tuesday night, can we pull of an upset?

Early signs suggest not as Dungannon win the ball straight from kick off and force a good save from Gareth Buchanan in our goal. We went close ourselves soon after, with the returning Stuart Glasgow finding McDonagh who's effort hit the frame of the goal, with the keeper beaten, narrowly missing. Everything points to an exciting game.

We dominated the ball but were open to the counter and that happened sixteen minutes in, with a long ball finding their winger who's cross was pinpoint to Curtis Dempster, who finished with aplomb. 0-1. Frustrating. Our heads didn't drop however, and the ball soon found itself in the Dungannon net, with Marty Verner converting a Nigel Beacom cross, a goal straight from kick-off! 1-1.

Dungannon started attacking and showed their quality soon after, with Glackn's searching cross finding Paul McElroy at the back post, who headed home. 1-2. We continued to dominate up until half-time but just couldn't find the net. Frustrating.

HALF-TIME
Loughgall 1-2 Dungannon Swifts

The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, we were brilliant, we won almost every ball, and if we didn't win that we were definitely the second ball and our pressure soon told, with Beacom and Verner combining once more for our second, with Verner heading home in the 48th minute. 2-2.

Misfortune soon struck however, as an unmarked Jamie Glackin found the net, with his deflected shot beating Buchanan all ends up. 2-3. We pushed and pushed but Dungannon defended resolutely, with Verner going close to his hat-trick, only to be denied by the Dungannon keeper. We threw everything at Dungannon, only for substitute Gary Henderson to concede a late penalty which Sean McCashin converted. 2-4.

FULL-TIME
Loughgall 2-4 Dungannon Swifts

Defeated, but proud.

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Seano

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Loving this so far! I don't live too far from Armagh, i'm not from the north, nor do i pay much attention to the league but it's always fun to see a lower league story involving Ireland/Northern Ireland :p
 

TheLuckDuck

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The press wanted my feelings following the Dungannon loss and all they heard was that we could now "focus on the league". Its a cliche, but it is true, this loss meant that the league would be our sole priority for a while and there'd be no midweek games for the foreseeable future, besides, this league has 4 cup competitions, there'll be a chance for a cup run later in the season

To take our mind off of the Dungannon game, the squad and I all went to Belfast to watch the Ireland v Wales World Cup Qualifier that would be taking place just over the border in Dublin, as you'd expect, the entirely Northern Irish squad wanted a Wales victory. The game ended 1-1 but was just the background to some old fashioned "Squad Bonding" which went on into the early hours, we'd need all the togetherness we could get as we would be visiting new league leaders Lurgan Celtic in the next game.

It would be a tough game away but we played pretty well, staying solid and the league leaders didn't look like scoring until a penalty gave Lurgan Celtic the lead, fortunately, this team like a comeback and within minutes Anto Burns had equalised. 1-1.

A good result, and I'm confident that we could win the return game at our place later in the season. What followed this game would be another away game, this one away to free-scoring Dergview.

Unfortunately, we were dreadful, conceding a first half penalty and then conceding a sloppy goal just before half-time to finish the first half 2-0 down. Strong words were needed at half-time and I failed to provide them, but somehow, we scored against the run of play 16 minutes into the second half to drag ourselves back into the game through McAnallen's first goal. We then bundled home an equaliser with 15 minutes to play to grab an undeserved point.

Our comeback filled us with confidence as we prepared ourselves for our only home game of the month, against recently relegated Warrenpoint Town. On paper, this would be the toughest game of the month, but it turned out to be the opposite as we scored 2 goals in the first 18 minutes before spending the rest of the game on auto-pilot, cruising to a well-deserved and overdue victory
We'd end the month with ANOTHER away game, as we make our way from Loughgall to Annagh United, where we missed a penalty but scored a free kick to grab a nervy three points to put us third at the end of September
 

TheLuckDuck

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Two months into this football management and I'm not going to lie, I'm enjoying it. The team are playing well, we're getting points on the bard (more on that later) and I can see myself taking this cub into the Premiership.

The only downside to all this is, well, I'm living in a tiny office in a tiny stadium in a tiny village in Northern Ireland, there's nothing wrong with living in a village in Northern Ireland, it's leafy, there's loads of fields, its great, but for a city boy such as myself its all so.. dull! Anyway, onto the football...

We kicked off the month with a home game against Ballyclare Comrades, whom I can only assume read the Communist Manifesto before and after games, before training on the distribution of goals. Anyway, we started like a house on fire and soon forced the initiative, with Marty Verner scoring with just five minutes on the clock, we soon doubled the lead, with Wesley Boyle scoring a screamer on 15 minutes, 2 became three through Marc McAnallen and it was all plain sailing as we went in to half-time 3-0 up. Unfortunately, Ballyclare scored straight from kick-off and actually started playing, grabbing another in the 83rd minute to set up a tense final few minutes...


*Wipes brow* phew! That was a close one! Fortunately we held strong, and before we knew it we were on the road, visiting lowly Knockbreda, we played liquid football and dominated play, surely we would win?

Nope! Despite absolutely battering Knockbreda we just couldn't find the net, they on the other hand, were clinical and put us to the sword. Not the best warm up for a huge game against pre-season favourites Institute.

That Knockbreda game seemed to have affected us hugely as we were a shadow of our usual selves against Institute, barely stringing any passes together and allowing our opponents all over us, it was a wonder we went in at half-time at 0-0. A few words of wisdom were needed but I failed to provide them as the second half continued in the same vein as the first, with us barely hanging on until the 84th minute when the deadlock was broken.... by MARTY VERNER!!! Verner converted our only shot on target of the game to grab a vital three points for us


Following this win we were all looking forward to the visit of rivals Armagh City...

Ah, this might become a problem later in the season

No bother, we'd just take this attitude into the next game, this one against the Police Service of Northern Ireland. We continued our liquid football and soon found ourselves ahead through McAnallen, we contnued to push but couldn't find the net until after the interval when Marty Verner found the net, Wesley Boyle then sealed the victory with less than 15 minutes to play


We were full of confidence and couldn't wait for our next match which would be against... Police Service of Northern Ireland? Turns out, Northern Ireland's numerous cup competitions had reared their colective head and decided we'd play "PSNI" in the First Round of the Irish Intermediate Cup, we played liquid football once again, but this time we were met by an uber defensive PSNI, who forced us to penalties before they were sent out, and we escaped being sent down for our flying tackles


An eventful and successful month, don't you think?

 

TheLuckDuck

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Turns out, there are snakes everywhere in Northern Ireland. Gareth Buchanan, who'm I'd considered a top bloke has only gone and left for ****** Dergview! Dergview! They're *****! No bother, we'll just have to scour Northern Ireland for a replacement, fortunately we found three

The only one who will properly play for us is Wayne Drummond, whom we brought in from East Belfast. He's quite young, quite good and, most importantly, cheap. We're paying him nothing, he fancies himself a bit of a Manuel Neuer in training, I like that


The next two keepers brought in weren't signed for, um, how you say, footballing reasons. We've signed both of our title rival's (Lurgan Celtic) goalkeepers in a bid to force them down the league. I'm nothing if not sneaky.


Anyway, on with the football. Our first game of the wonderful month of November was a re-arranged one, coming at home to Armagh City. We absolutely battered our rivals and soon found ourselves ahead through Ulton Lennon, who's that? I hear you ask, he's their centre back and he scored an own goal, top stuff. The match continued in the same vein but we couldn't find the net, going in at 1-0. Unfortunately, soon after the restart Armagh finally found themselves in our half and managed to score an entirely undeserved equaliser, the bastards. Fortunately we rallied and only 4 minutes later regained our lead through a screamer from 40 year old Graham McDonagh, you show those youngsters how it's done, Graham.


Following our irresistible display of footballing genius we were full of confidence as we went away to Harland & Wolff Welders, should be a routine victory, right?

WRONG! For only the second time in my managerial career, we were absolutely battered by the opposition and were lucky to go in at half time only 1-0 down, unfortunately it became 2 shortly after the restart and we had a fight on to salvage anything from this game. Marty Verner pulled one back in the 77th minute but it proved to little to late as Josh Cahoon finished the match with a screamer in the 89th minute. Poor.


Next up, however, we had the perfect opportunity to get ourselves back on track as we visited amateur side Newtowne in the Irish Intermediate Cup and, from the get-go, you could see which way this game was going as we tore into the amateurs, wanting to get back on the right track, we soon found the net with Marty Verner converting from ex-Newtowne player Paul Browne's through ball. We soon doubled the lead through Marty Verner, who wanted blood, he's a vampire, in case you were wondering, fortunately we don't get much sun up in Northern Ireland. We went in at 2-0 and just going after the restart, with youungster Marc McAnallen making 3 before two late goals from substitute Wesley Boyle added a cherry to a massive cake


That game was both the perfect tonic to our disappointing defeat to Harland & Wolff and also was the perfect setup for our upcoming top of the table clash against Lurgan Celtic. A win would us top in what surely be a free-flowing game between 2 attacking sides

WRONG AGAIN! This game was dreadful with the only action coming 3 minutes into the game when Marty Verner gave us the lead. 1-0, we're top, happy days

View attachment 112890

We are top of the league, say we are top of the league

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TheLuckDuck

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Christmas has arrived and I'm not going to lie, I am feeling a bit homesick. I'm not hugely into Christmas, however its been a while since I've been home and the weekend-to-weekend schedule with no breaks makes it almost impossible for me to find time to go back to Wales, so this is how I'll be spending Christmas: On my own, in an office, with a six pack of beer, the way it should be.

The great thing about Northern Ireland is there are four cup competitions. Yes FOUR. Which means if youg et knocked out of one, you'll get another chance later in the season. That throws up strange scenarios like the one we find ourselves in this month. Four matches, four different competitions, ooohhh exciting

We have Strabane Athletic in the Irish Cup, Glenavon in the Mid-Ulster Cup, Larne in the league and Shankill in the Irish Intermediate Cup

First up, away to Strabane, this should have been a walk in the park and a good confidence booster before we travel to Glenavon... NOPE! We dominated but couldn't find the net which meant.... EXTRA TIME!! Fortunately we managed to grab a penalty, convert it and make our way into the next round.. just


Next up, the big one. Danske Bank Premiership leaders Glenavon away in the Mid-Ulster Cup, this is the stuff dreams are made of people, and we don't have a chance

We face the impossible, we should be grateful Glenavon are even letting us play on their pitch, we shouldn't even bother travelling, well that's what they think

We went to Glenavon, a team I'd actually heard of before coming to Northern Ireland and played our game and defended and hung on... just. We went into half-time 0-0, we still face the impossible, they said, its only a matter of time....

Well nobody told Jonathan Courtney that! An early Glenavon attack was broken up and we sent the ball forward, playing around their midfield before slipping through the killer ball for Courtney. 1-0 to Loughgall. We held on.. for five minutes, Glenavon cruelly equalising against the run of play, that's it, they said, the floodgates will open. But the floodgates remained shut, for 8 minutes, when Marty Verner powered Nigel beacom's cross into the back of the Glenavon net. 2-1, and that's how it stayed. Mission impossible? Completed it mate.

Next up, struggling Larne in the league, surely a formality for giant killers such as ourselves? NOPE

A poor defeat that should be rectified when we go to Shankill, and boy it was! A solid 4-1 victory where we found ourselves 4-0 up 20 minutes in, with Marty Verner bagging a hat-trick and new boy Rhys Grainger scoring on his debut


Doing ok in the league and some new, exciting signings, what's not to love?

 
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