You ever have one of those sessions where you want to chuck your laptop across the room knowing you can’t replace it? Well, the end of 2016 has been giving me that feeling. In fact, this gif of Klopp throwing a bottle at the ground is summing up my mood perfectly.
We’re sitting second and consistently challenging for the title, but as my old man used to say, second place is the first loser, and even if it’s an automatic promotion, I still don’t want to accept second best if I’m capable of challenging for first.
Let’s quit moaning and get to covering the results.
Our first match was that Parsons Cup Second Round match against Pilgrims, and we took the lead in a match that, despite our superior possession rating had come out quite equal as far as shots go. I’m disappointed we conceded so much in the second half when we went into the break with a comfortable lead, though.
Our Quarterfinal match will be against Copthorne IV, who are in Division Seven, at the start of December. A bit over a month away.
Our next match was a 2-4 loss to Crawley in what was an absolutely abysmal result as far as I care. We’ve been historically good against Crawley, but we failed to capitalise on our chances and defensively we could have been better… We are still holding down first place, but only by a point.
In a bit of bad news, our incredible goalscorer and team talisman has taken an injury that will put him on the bench for a very long time. With us turning a minor profit fairly consistently, we’ve got $20k in the bank and paying out that money to see a specialist for a faster recovery was very helpful, but he’s still looking like he’ll be out until almost the end of the season.
I have youngster Jamie Baxter in Rymer’s place at the moment since he’s appearing likely as a fit for his place, but it’s definitely going to be a problem with him being gone.
In our next match we welcome Marle Place Rhinos to our home for a 2-0 league victory. We still hold our one point lead in the league, though this result was acceptable enough as far as performances go.
In the next match, we took on Stones II in the Tester Challenge Cup second round, and in a very commanding 5-0 win, we advance to the next round in our attempt to defend this trophy.
Our Quarterfinal draw for the Tester Challenge Cup will be in late January and will see us travel to Buxted III, who we played against in Division Ten last season.
Our next match was ab absolutely abysmal performance against Ridgewood in the Mid-Sussex Junior Cup Third Round, where we lost 4-3 in extra time at Ridgewood. We had control of the match, but our players just couldn’t beat their keeper, while our youngster who had to fill in for goalie Leigh Overton just couldn’t keep up with experienced strikers. Luckily, Overton only had food poisoning, so he missed a cup match, but was quickly back in action.
Next up we went into our Copthorne IV match in the Parsons Cup Quarterfinal, and we took it in an uncomfortably tight 2-3 win to advance to the semifinal.
The semifinal draw will be away to Hartfield from Division Seven in February.
The next match was in the league against Cuckfield Rangers III, where we could only secure a 2-2 draw. We’re two points ahead of Ridgewood still, but they have a game in hand, so we could still lose our position on the table.
The last match of the year, on 31 December, was a 3-2 defeat to Scaynes Hill in the lead, in a match that we should have taken a win in, and we’re now two points down from first going into the new year.
Here’s our schedule and results going into 2017. Overall, things could have gone better. We’re in second in the league, which is well and good, but we’re definitely in a rocky patch right now, starting to slip in our performances.
Going into the new year, I’ve got a few goals in mind. First, I’ve decided that I’m in need of some serious transfers. This team started strong, but for whatever reason it’s not working out as well as it ought to. With Rymer gone injured for the forseeable future, I’ve decided I need another quality striker to place him, because Francis Pallen, now in his third season with us, is clearly over his head and Jamie Baxter has failed to impress me.
I also plan to replace fullback Shawn Lamb. He started off incredibly strong for us at the start of the season, but we’ve seen 5 matches in a row where he’s had a 6.5 or lower average rating, with him generally below. He’s disappointing me with mistakes that inevitably lead to our concession of goals, and it’s time to question his position in my team.
Midfield needs to be bolstered as well, with Aaron Wesley no longer being the best fit for the job.
So, with 18 days before the next match and plenty of scout reports, I want to locate and sign two new strikers, a new fullback, find a new midfielder to replace Wesley, and find a backup goalkeeper, since our usual reserve Aiden Webb has left us.
For review, we’re two points down from first in second, with third hot on our tail. In February we go into the semifinal for the Parsons Challenge Cup, and in late January we go into the quarterfinal for the Tester Challenge Cup.
Failure to promote to Division Eight is, as far as I care, completely unacceptable, so if he have to fight for promotion, we’re fighting to the last minute of the season for second, but ideally my eye is on getting one over Ridgewood when we meet them for the second half of the league, and then get our shit together for some good results in general in a bid to secure the title.
P.S. Want to find some more Football Manager blogs, video series, or story-telling or want to share your own? Check out the new subreddit The Manager’s Corner, a subreddit spun off from the main FM subreddit and dedicated to such content.