The Terras - Weymouth FC

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It’s here…it’s finally here! After twiddling my thumbs and trying my hardest to keep motivation with last year’s game, I can’t express how happy I am that FM24 has finally landed. I’ll be starting my save on the BETA and carrying it into the full version of the game and the side I am taking over is Weymouth in the Vanarama National League South.

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Nicknamed The Terras due to their terracotta kit, the Dorset based football club have a history stretching back to 1890! However, that history isn’t hugely rich and most of their time has been spent in the lower regional divisions of the English football pyramid. The 1980’s were a decent decade for the club as they managed to hold down a position in the National League for 10 straight seasons, finishing as high as 5th​ on two occasions. Since then, only 5 seasons have been spent as high up as that division, most recently in the 2021/22 season when they were relegated following a campaign that saw them notch up only 6 league wins all season!

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The Bob Lucas Stadium plays home to The Terras, with a capacity of just 6,600. For now though, that is more than enough, with the club pulling in average attendances in the region of around 1,100 per home fixture. The stadium was previously named The Wessex Stadium and played host to speedway and greyhound racing too, although nowadays it is predominantly football that graces the venue. The stadium was renamed after club legend Bob Lucas, following his death in 2010. Lucas was associated with the club for more than half a century, both as a player during the club’s most successful years and then as a physio for more than 30 years before becoming club President in his later life.

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The long term target as I take over as manager is naturally to bring as much success to this football club as possible, hopefully one day gracing the dizzy heights of the Premier League. However, in the short term, the board have virtually no ambitions of getting anywhere near that level and simply staying put in the National League South would be seen as an achievement.

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The supporters are in line with the board and as long as we stay in the division, there won’t be too much abuse fired my way from the stands. The Weymouth faithful is 250 season ticket holders strong, but with a social media following of more than 10,000 there is potential here for crowds to come flocking to see us if the football proves to be of a decent enough standard.

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On my first day in the job, I’m introduced to my squad. I was left standing around waiting for half of them to turn up, when after about 15 minutes, my assistant manager gave me a nudge to say ‘this is it’.

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One of the things I do love about this year’s version of FM though is the ability to choose to start your career with transfers that have been made being already scheduled in (the real life option)…therefore we do have a whole host of players lined up to sign for the club over the next couple of months so numbers will increase.

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Talking of my assistant manager, Mike Percival is the man that will be by my side for the first season at least. He was here before I came and with me being new to the job, I’m happy to keep him here to at keep some level of continuity for the current crop of players for now.

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In the next update, I’ll introduce you to some of the players and take a look at some basic tactic principles based on who I have available.
 
Last edited:
31st​ July 2023

Immediate attention has to be turned to the squad and it’s essential I get this right before the league campaign kicks off in about 5 weeks time. Now at first glance, I have two glaring issues at either end of the pitch. The first is a lack of quality between the sticks. We’ve got only one keeper and Gerard Benfield is of a pretty poor standard!

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We do have Harry Dillon joining the club on a free in four days time, but he doesn’t look much better!

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At the other end of the pitch in the forward department, I’ve got a **** load of strikers. In a squad of 18, you don’t really want 4 who all play the same position, especially when I have a tendency to favour a 1 striker tactical approach.

However, I might just have to rethink my tactics and work out a formation with 2 up front as Brandon Goodship and Dan Roberts are two of the best players at the football club and it would certainly be beneficial to find a way to fit both of them into the starting lineup!

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Looking at the other end of the pitch in defence, Charlie Rowan is a player I must keep here at all costs. There is no doubt he is the best player at the club by a country mile and at just 25 years old, he could play for us for the next few seasons and would be good enough to play at least the next level up in the National League.

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One real kick in the teeth is that we have a really good right back in Max Hemmings (who can also play several other roles on the pitch), but he’s out injured for over a year with damaged cruciate ligaments.

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The midfielders we have here at the moment aren’t going to set the world alight, but they aren’t the worst bunch either. The best word to describe them at this stage is probably ‘workable’. However, we do have every reason to be excited about the imminent arrival of Elliott Bolton who is joining the club on a free transfer on 5th​ September. He looks like a tasty player for this level and will be keen to prove a point to AFC Wimbledon where he spent the last 5 years without making a single appearance.

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After meeting the lads and taking a look at them during my first training session at the club, it was time to lay down the law nice and early as I finalised the code of conduct. I won’t stand for players going AWOL from training and the strictest fines will be in place, with the threat of demotion from the first team if it becomes a regular occurrence. Everything else is pretty standard here though I think.

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And at this stage, I realised that after introducing you to my squad, I never actually introduced you to myself. Starting as Weymouth boss, the stats for my managerial makeup were taken from what was suggested for a club of this size. I have a National A License coaching badge and previous playing experience at only Sunday League level. I’m known more for my coaching ability in the core aspects of the game – defending and attacking, but most of my attributes leave plenty to be desired at this early stage of my career.

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Back on the transfer scene, I made my first move as manager and brought new number 1 goalkeeper, Kai Mckenzie-Lyle to the club. The Guyanese international is a major upgrade between the sticks for us and joins us on a free transfer after being released by Welling at the end of last season!

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One of my first major decisions as manager is to pick my first captain for the club. There was no other man for the job in my eyes than main centre back Charlie Rowan!

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Pre season has now come to an end too and we are ready to begin the competitive stuff! Five friendlies resulted in four wins and even the defeat to Swansea was impressive from our perspective, so preparation has certainly gone as well as could be expected. You’ll notice I’ve been playing a 4-4-2 and we’ll go into that in more detail in my next update.

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Last edited:
Friday 18th​ August 2023

So here it is…the tactic that has done the business for me in pre season and will hopefully carry us into the new campaign. I simply worked with what I had at my disposal to put something together that I thought could work for us…it’s a basic 4-4-2 with player roles designed and tailored around each individual player we have available. You’ll notice that each player has personalised instructions to suit their strengths and weaknesses too.

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It focuses on a counter press and counter attack style but without pushing our defence too high up the pitch to enable them to be caught out by faster strikers and wingers at the back. Naturally, players positional awareness down at this level isn’t really good enough to play an effective offside trap so playing the team with a slightly deeper back line should hopefully limit the amount of chances we give away to the opposition – baring in mind I am quite happy for players to be shooting from distance as again, the ability to score a high number of long range strikes should be vacant down at this level. I’ve also deliberately got the team set to press more often, rather than much more often (even though we play the counter press) as again work rate and stamina attributes down at this level won’t allow for such a high level of intensity.

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Whilst we are in possession of the football, I have us set up to be more disciplined – mainly because in a flat 4-4-2 we don’t have anyone linking between the lines, which allows for less cover or players who move out of position. I want to keep the structure and shape and attack as a unit and have combined this with more direct passing to encourage players to stick to their back 4, middle 4, front 2 lines and pass the ball between those phases in a more direct manner which should reduce the amount of times we give the ball away. In terms of the tempo, I have lowered this…mainly because I want us to use as few passes to get the ball from front to back, but I don’t want us to rush this process and give the ball away unnecessarily. Instead, I want the players to receive the ball, look up and take their time to pick the most sensible pass forward – again, accuracy is the key here and not speed. With the attacking right full back, I naturally have the overlap on right flank option on too.

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In terms of individual player instructions, as mentioned above, it very much depends on the player and their capabilities rather than the formation and roles staying entirely the same. For example, take Tom Bearwish in the central midfield role. I have set him to cross less often (as he’s rubbish at crossing), shoot less often (as he’s rubbish at shooting), but get further forward and tackle harder too. The tackle harder is predominantly because I like my centre mids sticking the boot in and being forceful in the tackle (so that’s a personal preference). I have him set to get further forward because he is a decent passer of the ball and combined with good vision too, I feel he can impact the play in the final third, but I haven’t set him to take more risks as his attributes in this area are still too low to have him looking for a killer pass all the time.

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I also have everyone set to their own roles and instructions as it means that when I make a substitution, I’m bringing someone on who can offer something different to our setup and style of play. If you’re not winning the game and the team doesn’t seem to be having much impact, then I personally don’t see the point in bringing on a player and asking him to do exactly the same thing that the previous guy was doing.

So that’s the tactic. If you have anymore questions on my approach or how I come to certain decisions when setting things up, feel free to comment or DM me. In terms of the league campaign being about to start, the bookies clearly don’t fancy us for a good season at all and we are firmly expected to be involved in the relegation battle. Overall though, it’s a very open competition and could be won by any number of clubs.

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Just a few days before the first game of the season, one of pre-arranged signings joined the club. There’s a lot of excitement around young striker, Nahum Melvin-Lambert who came through the system at Reading and the 20 year old is a welcome addition to my squad as he can play both a pressing striker or target man role (that I currently have us set up with).

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There was a debate as to whether the first game of the season would come too early for Melvin-Lambert, but he will indeed be thrown straight into the starting lineup as Dan Roberts starts the season with a suspension.

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Vanarama National League South
Matchday 1


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Not only did Melvin-Lambert grab himself a debut goal, he also bagged the man of the match as well and our new striker has made an instant impact. Weston-Super-Mare may be a newly promoted side, but they are still expected to finish mid table this year, so this was a good win for us to kick off the season.

Vanarama National League South

Matchday 2

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Two headed efforts from Brandon Goodship saw him grab a brace and lead us to back to back wins! However a special mention has to go to left back Leo Hamblin who’s interception just inside his own half before an excellent run which saw him beat 3 Worthing players was key in setting up the winning goal.

Vanarama National League South
Matchday 3


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A really tightly contested game, but one that does end in our first defeat of the season, at the hands of Chelmsford. Unfortunately, the game was one of few decent chances and after they’d got their noses in front, we didn’t manage to create anything clear cut enough to add a finishing touch and get an equalizer from.

Vanarama National League South
League Table


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For a club that is expected to battle relegation, it’s been an impressive start for us, but it is still very, very early days!
 
Saturday 9th​ September 2023

Vanarama National League South
Matchday 4


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Going into this game, the general consensus amongst the media, bookies and even commentators was that nobody could see past St Albans for this game. So to go there and get a draw is a very credible result for us!

Vanarama National League South
Matchday 5


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The first half of this game saw both sides muster up only 2 shots a piece in what was looking like a very dull game of football for the fans. However, the red card took it’s toll on Taunton in the second half and Brandon Goodship ran absolutely riot, scoring 5 in the game as we romped to an easy win in the end.

Vanarama National League South
Matchday 6


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After a massive win and a sending off for our opponent in the last game, it was our turn to go down to ten men and get a pasting this time round. A poor performance all round and we must do better!

Vanarama National League South
Matchday 7


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I needed a reaction after the Maidstone game and told the boys I expected to see much better from them in our pre match team talk. It fired them up and within just quarter of an hour, we were 2 in front! However, Bath finished the match as well as we started it and a quickfire double in the dying minutes of the game ensured they left with a point. Gutting to have to settle for a draw in that manner, but on the face of it, not the worst result considering Bath came into the game 2nd​ in the table and haven’t yet lost this season.

Vanarama National League South
Matchday 8


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This game came just 2 days after the Bath one and it may well have come too soon for us with a small squad and the inability to rotate as much as I’d have liked. Despite that, we only have ourselves to blame for not getting the result as we did have 18 shots on goal, but were unable to score more than once – hopefully just an off day for the front men.

My post match team talk did see the side come in for some criticism, especially for the strikers who were bang average. Striker Nahum Melvin-Lambert seems to have taken some offence to it and after a personal conversation with him, our relationship has taken a turn for the worse and it’s likely I’ll be dropping him for at least the next game to ensure he knows who’s boss!


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Three new pre-arranged signings have now joined the club though, which will help with squad depth for sure. Elliott Bolton is the one I highlighted in an earlier post as a player I am excited to see join the ranks!

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Vanarama National League South
Matchday 9


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We fought really hard to stay in this game against 3rd​ placed Dartford and our resilience was rewarded when we scored an 88th​ minute penalty to earn ourselves a really good point against one of the sides expected to be battling it out for promotion.

Vanarama National League South
League Table


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Holding down a mid table position after the opening 9 games of the season, but we are just as close to the bottom 4 as we are to the top 7 and a few good/bad results over the next few games could shape our season.
 
Sunday 8th​ October 2023

FA Cup
Second Qualifying Round


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A disappointing result against lower league opposition and no real excuses as I had my best team out!

FA Cup
Second Qualifying Round Replay


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We made no mistake in the replay, but it’s still a shame we had to play an additional match that we really could have done without. However, we are through and that’s the main thing! Good to see Ezio Touray score his first goal for the club.

We’ll now face off against more lower league opposition in the next round and I’d fully expect us to progress to the final qualifying stage.

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Back in the league, our next game would be against Havant & Waterlooville…a match we had to see as a must win, with them being down in 22nd​ place after a poor start to the season. However, we knew our biggest challenge would be to get past their central defender who looks like a good player for this level….Kurt Zouma’s brother.

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Vanarama National League South
Matchday 10


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Well, I wasn’t expecting that! Zouma’s little bro had an absolute nightmare and none of their defence could cope with us going forward. Brandon Goodship turned in a 10/10 performance as he bagged another hat trick!

There’s no denying that Goodship has had a sensational start to the season for us and now has 13 goals in 12 appearances in all competitions!

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We know he has it in him as he had two seasons in the lower divisions where he scored 37 league goals in back to back years. However, he has never performed to that standard up at this level…until now 😊

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Vanarama National League South
Matchday 11


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Torquay were renowned for their patient, passing style, so I switched our mentality up to a cautious one for this game as I felt we could let them have the ball to a certain extent and as long as we remained tight and compact at the back, I was confident we could hit them on the break and create chances of our own. And the game panned out pretty much exactly as I’d hoped it would, with my tactical tweaks. Torquay dominated the possession but we defended really well to ensure they didn’t create too many clear cut chances (worth noting that their pen was a soft one too), then we caught them on the break and was clinical with our own efforts…Joel Rollinson’s winning goal was a peach as he cut inside from the left wing, beat 2 men and then hammered a shot into the roof of the net. Just a shame he saw a second yellow and was sent off late on or he probably would have lifted the MOTM award.

FA Cup
Third Qualifying Round


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Not good enough and again we are taken to a replay in the FA Cup by a team from the lower divisions. With such a busy schedule and so many games to play down at this level already, these extra replays won’t do us any favours at all!

FA Cup
Third Qualifying Round Replay


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The only thing I can blame this terrible result on is complacency. We created the chances to win the game but were pretty awful in front of goal and in defence too! No real FA Cup run for us this year.

And to make things even worse, one of my key players, Joel Rollinson, will now miss 3 months of action after tearing his hamstring in the replay against Cray. Rollinson has been key for us this year, with 5 assists and 3 goals already and he will be sorely missed!

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Vanarama National League South
Matchday 12


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We weren’t really at the races here and can actually count ourselves pretty lucky to come away with a point.

Vanarama National League South
League Table


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Twelve games into the season now and we sit just 2 points outside the playoff places, which is a fantastic start considering we were entirely expected to be struggling at the complete other end of the table.
 
Saturday 4th​ November 2023

We have a new signing at the club. With the injury to Joel Rollinson, it was essential I replaced our left winger for at least the 3 months he will be out for, and I am delighted to bring in 19 year old Jack Endacott on loan from Plymouth! On paper, he could be even better than Rollinson and I can’t wait to see the youngster in action!

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Then we had a bit of business surrounding the goalkeeper. Gerard Benfield has been unhappy ever since the arrival of Kai Mckenzie-Lyle so I was keen to offload him and he joins Cheshunt on a free transfer. To replace him, I turned to Millwall’s Ethan Wady who comes in on loan for the remainder of the season to act as our backup keeper.

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Our next game was going to be a real tough one as Eastbourne Borough sit 2nd​ in the league and have only lost twice all season. They also come into the game off the back of a solid victory over National League side Southend in the FA Cup and we would have to be on our A game to take anything from the fixture.

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Both new signings went straight into the starting lineup. Endacott was always going to start, but Wady is a forced change between the sticks as Mckenzie-Lyle is away on international duty with Guyana.

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Vanarama National League South
Matchday 13


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Massive performance…gutting result! We dominated from start to finish and the only criticism I can have of the players is that they didn’t put another chance away to put the game to bed, before Jack Clarke scored a wonder goal for Eastbourne to earn them a completely undeserved point!

Vanarama National League South
Matchday 14


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I felt strongly that if we could replicate our performance against Eastbourne here against Farnborough then we would come away with the points. We weren’t as dominant, but we did in fact get the job done. Harvey Slade was handed his first goal on a plate from the penalty spot, but his second was a beautifully curled effort from about 16 yards out into the bottom corner. Elliott Bolton then capped off the win in injury time with a header at the back post from a corner.

It was a win that moved us into the playoff places!!

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And to celebrate, I moved to bring in a new signing and possibly our most exciting since I joined the club. We have our very own Super Serb in the form of 20 year old creative midfielder, Goran Babic. He came through at Southampton but they released him without a single senior appearance, but for down at this level he looks like a real talent. A great first touch and impressive decision making should help him receive the ball and pick out the passes to unlock the opposition defence.

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Vanarama National League South
Matchday 15


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And just like that we were back outside the top 7 again after a disappointing result against the side at the bottom of the league. The sending off of Leo Hamblin in the first half when we were 2-1 up ultimately cost us the game and we couldn’t cope with 10 men. We actually ended up finishing the game with 9 men too as Mckenzie-Lyle went off injured in the 79th​ minute and having made all my subs, I had to put right winger Keelan O’Connell in goal for the last 11+ minutes.

Kai Mckenzie-Lyle will now miss up to 6 weeks of action with that injury too and losing your number 1 keeper at any stage of the season really isn’t ideal!

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Vanarama National League South
Matchday 16


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Twice we went ahead in this game and were pecked back by Dover and then just as the game looked to be finishing in a draw, Keelan O’Connell brought the ball down from a deep cross from the left side and hammered in a powerful shot into the bottom corner to seal all three points! Boom!

Vanarama National League South
League Table


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The win over Dover moved us back into 7th​ position again as we continue to overachieve approaching the half way stage of the season. I am in no doubt that it will be really tough to keep this up for the whole year, but we’ll enjoy the good times while they last!

I’m certainly making a name for myself in the early stages of my career that’s for sure! 8 wins from my opening 20 games in charge is more than was expected.

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Tuesday 12th​ December 2023

Vanarama National League South
Matchday 17


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An excellent point gained after being 2-0 and 3-1 down in this game and the equalizer couldn’t have come any later!

Vanarama National League South
Matchday 18


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There is no denying that Welling were the better side and created the better chances here, so we have to be happy to have taken a point from the game even though our opponents are much further down the league than we are.

Vanarama National League South
Matchday 19

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When Harvey Slade missed a penalty in the 54th​ minute, after trying a ridiculous attempt at a Panenka, I wondered if we might go on to throw away this win. Luckily, Dan Roberts made no mistake on 68 mins when he fired in from close range to ensure we did in fact take all 3 points against the bottom side.

FA Trophy
Second Round


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We definitely seem to suffer with a little complacency against lower league sides and again here we just about scrape through to the next round via a penalty shootout.

We did have an unbeaten November, but with our second choice keeper between the sticks we conceded a lot of goals and if we were to continue that trend then we won’t keep pulling results out of the bag as we have done this month.

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Our first game in December was going to pit us against Yeovil Town…one of the strongest sides in the division. Luckily, Kai Mckenzie-Lyle was back from the injury that’s kept him out for a month and having my first choice keeper back in would be a massive boost to our chances of getting a result.

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It would be especially important as Yeovil Town are our fiercest rivals, so in the minds of our supporters this will be the most important game of the season!

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Vanarama National League South
Matchday 20


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We started the game strongly and took the lead inside 10 minutes when Elliott Bolton’s free kick was parried by the Yeovil keeper straight to the feet of Dylan Ross who had an easy tap in for his first goal in senior football. We held on to that lead in the first half, limiting our rival’s chances to a minimum. Then, in a 14 minute period just after the hour mark, we went 2-0 up only to be pegged back to 2-2 relatively quickly. It looked like the momentum might be with Yeovil and I was worried for us if I’m honest, but Dan Roberts had other ideas and a quickfire double in the space of 2 minutes ensured he put the game to bed and earned us all 3 points and the bragging rights for our fans!

Vanarama National League South
Matchday 21


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Tonbridge are having a decent season so far and sit above us in the table, so this has to be seen as a decent point away from home.

Without a doubt, our star man so far this season has been right winger Keelan O’Connell. The 24 year old has contributed with 9 assists and 6 goals in the league so far already and keeping him fit for the rest of the season could be key to any continued success we have.

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And we get a further boost to our wide options as Joel Rollinson is ready to return to action following his hamstring injury that has kept him out for the past 2 months!

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Vanarama National League South
Matchday 22


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An easy win, although disappointed in the lapse in concentration towards the end to concede two needless goals that could have been avoided. However, with the job already done at that point, I can’t be too ****** with the lads. Brandon Goodship had been out of sorts in front of goal recently (not scoring in his last 4 games) so it was good to see him back on the scoresheet. Meanwhile, his strike partner Dan Roberts has been in great form and his brace makes it 5 goals from his last 5.

Vanarama National League South
League Table

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We’re up to 6th​ in the table and this incredible journey continues. The most impressive thing about our season so far is the fact that only league leaders Bath City have lost less games than us, whilst nobody in the league has outscored us!
 
This has been fun as a litle Beta save. It was one I was planning to continue, but bugs with goalkeeper injuries, players unhappiness being unresolved for months at a time and a whole host of long term injury problems have encourage me to start something new now that the full game has been released and hopefully all of these issues have been resolved.
 
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