#FM15: To The Top! 2.3 – Steady As She Goes!

Time for another update on my progress with AFC Bolnore in my quest to take this little village town from their community recreation center to the Premier League.

Right now there isn’t anything particularly dramatic going on in the save that I can spin into creative writing for an introduction and “theme” to the post as a whole, so we’ll just quickly get into recapping what’s been going on since we last left off.

When I left you all at the end of the last post, we were about to kick-off against Crawley United in the Tester Challenge First Round. We’ll pick up here with that result.

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It was a very convincing 1-7 win away that thoroughly demonstrated that our side is superior to their’s  when we meet on the pitch. CM Aaron Wesley took the Man of the Match award with three goals under his belt and a 9.6 average rating.

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In the match against Crawley United my veteran striker Mark Watson broke his foot, and he’s going to be sidelined until well after the new year. It’s a shame, really, because despite his advanced age, he was capable of offering quite a bit to the team, and now he’s going to spend a massive chunk of his final season before retirement in the stands on a pair of crutches.

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He’s considering quitting right now, though as of early November he’s not committed to doing so yet.

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We received our draw for the second round of the Tester Challenge Cup, and it was against Division Nine side Furngate, who we happened to meet last year and beat in the Brian Hall Challenge Cup semifinal. We beat them once, I don’t see why we can’t do it again.

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Our next league match was against Burgess Hill Athletic, and it was a 0-2 away win with Terry Rymer, my replacement signing for Watson getting in a goal on his debut.

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I received some interesting news not long later. Shane Elworthy, a Fulham reject that I picked up to be a right wide-midfielder has been called up to the Ireland U19 squad. It speaks to his talent on the pitch for us, but if he’s still on Ireland’s radar after dropping to the 23rd level of English Football, then he’s probably almost guaranteed to eventually be a goner. Still, it’s a noteworthy thing to share. AFC Bolnore just received its first international call-up!

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These are his stats. He could be better in a couple of areas, but he’s still a very capable winger and a key part of our setup here.

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I got in my National B license in early October. I tried to ask for a new coaching course from the chairman since we’re still making a steady profit that’s kept us in the black, but I got the “need you on the training pitch” schpiel, despite my being able to get my last badges when it was just me and Oli. Now it’s me, Oli, and a couple of other dudes! We’ve got a proper staff now, so why can’t I train, Tony?

I’ll try asking again after the new year…

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Our next match was a 4-2 home victory against Sporting Elite II in the Mid-Sussex Junior Cup, where once again Oak Mapson proved to me that he can’t catch a ball on his head and drop it to his feet to save his life, which lead to the opposition forward grabbing the ball, getting it by him, and getting a goal.

I’m sure the fans will protest his departure, but I’m really going to look for a better option when the season ends, because while he’s a serviceable defender, there are far too many highlights where a mistake from him specifically is what leads to a goal, and I really think that for all the good he can do, he’s the weakest link in our quite capable squad.

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Our third round draw in the Junior Cup will be against Division Six side AFC Hurstpierpoint. Was their space bar broken when they wrote up their name for league registration or something?

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Next up is a league match against Cuckfield Development, where we continue our dominance of the league with a 4-1 victory at home, with new signing Terry Rymer getting two goals, an assist, and the Man of the Match award. I’m really starting to like this guy, and he’s definitely a more than solid striker. Might be some tough selection issues when some of the injured strikers come back to fitness!

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Our performance in the Brian Hall Challenge Cup last year meant we had a bye to the second round, and when we drew, we were put up against none other than Crawley United, once again. I’m really starting to want to claim them as a local rival, considering our matches last season, them following us into the league, and now we’re confirmed for four matches this season alone against them of all the teams we could have drawn between our two league matches and now our second cup match.

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Striker Francis Pallen and CM Craig Loxton came back from long-term injuries and now that our squad is just about back to full fitness after losing six or so to injury ages ago, we went in and put in a commanding 0-5 away win in the league to further solidify our place in the league.

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As you can see, we’ve had a remarkable season so far. With our ninth league match down, we’re officially enter the second half of our 18 match season, and we’ve been unbeaten so far. We’re also doing quite comfortably in the cup competitions as well, being well on course to meet our expectations of winning everything.

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With nine wins and no draws or losses, we have 27 points in the league, with Crawley United down ten points and sitting in second on goal difference against Cuckfield Development.

We’ve been attracting quality players to our team this season, and it’s showing with us doing a better than we were at this point last season in Division Eleven, so I have no reason to not be optimistic.

I’ll be back soon to provide an update on the state of the save. As usual, if you want to follow me on social networking sites for updates on the save or just general nonsense, links are to the side.

P.S. You’ll notice the AFC Bolnore menu on the bar, yeah? I just added that not long ago, with links that will sort each season by category, as well as show a history of the AFC Bolnore kits under my tenure, which as I said previously would be updated each time we got a new sponsorship deal.

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