Welcome back to The Journey, my rise from zero to hero, local unemployed manager to world-class, most famous American manager to live! We’re still not quite there yet, but we’re making some good progress! I said in the last post that I’d wrap up the season and then do a new post, but with seven matches to go, things are looking hot right now, and it seemed like a good point to stop and write a blog post.
Strap in and get ready for the next update! I’m really starting to like these smaller updates instead of doing just end-of-season updates that end up glossing over stuff because there is too much to cover.
Youth intake came in, and there’s nothing to share. All of the players are below average in current ability, and potential ability is never going to get past being good or decent at the division I’m currently in, and I am, as the past updates and this title suggest, in the process of attempting to challenge to leave this division with Faversham. I went ahead and added some of the better youth players (not that that is saying much) to the team as an emergency addition to some positions that I’ve not been able to add depth to, but they will be turned over for better talent sooner, rather than later.
I do want to share this one image, though. One of the youth players got a several month injury on his evaluation day! Bad luck for him, attempting to get into a proper football side only to be crippled with injury and end up rejected because long-term injury makes him not worth my time or the staff’s. Forgive the bright white, I wanted to give the alternate skin a shot for a bit, but I ended up not liking the brightness.
This is the first of three matches I’m going to put specific attention to. Away against Whyteleafe, we drew 1-1. We dominated the match as far as possession and shots go, but as usual struggled to finish it, needing to rely on an end-of-the-match equalising goal from a defender to get points on the board.
With 35 matches played, we’re now 3 points short of 2nd place Hastings United and 7 points behind Burgess Hill, who were predicted to finish 7th and also considered to be overachieving this year.
Two matches later, a boring and disappointing match against Whitestable, who were lower in the division, ended up giving us a single point to equalise for points with Hastings United, putting us in second place on goal difference. We’re now in an automatic promotion spot, so now we need to aim for pulling away from them and trying to close the gap on Burgess Hill, who happen to be coming up next as a match to highlight.
Now, on to the Burgess Hill match…
This was actually a nervy match for us. We had to win this so that we could at least stay level with Hastings United and hold our second place goal difference position or ideally see them lose or draw to put us ahead on points, and we needed to get as many points as possible against them to try and close the gap between first and second.
Burgess Hill had more shots and better possession than we did, and they came ahead with a brilliant goal from Aaron Scott, their striker. Eisa equalised for us ten minutes later, and we went into half-time with the score 1-1. At the 52nd minute, Eisa put us into the lead for a spell before Scott equalised once again, giving Burgess Hill their second goal. Our second of three strikers, Luke Coleman, put us in the lead at the 88th minute, and we successfully took all three points at home against first place Burgess Hill!
At the end of this match, it’s now a three way battle for the title with seven matches to go! Burgess Hill hold the lead with 75 points, Faversham holds second with 74 points and a +31 goal difference to break the tie against third place’s 74 points and +22 goal difference.
As we approach the last many matches, literally anything can happen, so if we want to take a promotion spot — or ideally the title — we have to be on top of our game for the last two months, which shouldn’t be too unreasonable to ask, considering the schedule is against lower-placed teams and we’re on an unbeaten run that has gone on since my signing to the team, with the only loss being in the cup.
That does it for this update, and I’ll be back soon with an update for the end of the season! Will we make promotion? Hell, will we win the title? Let’s find out and see!