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FM21 - Amateur Dramatics


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I've often wondered just how far you can go as an Amateur side. There is of course a rather famous example or two of an Amateur side - Queens Park were for many years, the go too for the Challenge as they were "Always Amateur" - a change in their constitution has put paid to that one and it's possibly rather cliche to go down that route (i've never been brave enough at least)

Corinthian-Casuals are perhaps the highest graded example of an Amateur side in the English Pyramid but they start fairly high up and I always want to start as low as I possibly can, so i've popped into the editor and picked Newent Town and ticked that check box to make them "Always Amateur".

My mission is simple - take them as HIGH as I can.

The beginning will be easy - the vast majority of sides at Step 11 where Newent begin (Hellenic League Div One West) will rely on Non Contract players so it's an even keel. The challenge becomes when we start to hit the higher levels of the Non League Pyramid when we hit Semi Pro and Professional clubs. Thats long before we even mention the Football League.

I have 1 recruitment rule: All signings must be Unattached. So no loans, no "signing" from other clubs. They must be fun loving and fancy free. 


The original squad is a mix of 2 or 3 real life players and the rest regenerated kids who are miles behind the standard of free's that exist. So I am recruiting. HARD

Luca Carter-Henry and Kieren Finglas are two examples of what was available and has been bought on board.



Pre Season has been enjoyable. Gloucester and Hereford were tests to see just how far we are behind the non-league elite. A long way


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August to October

Original plan was monthly updates but got a bit invested in playing last night so catching up now.


Things have gone very well.

Unbeaten in the league and only a penalty shoot out defeat in one of the cups as blot on our copy book. We've also been able to keep hold of everyone which is pleasing.



Better updates to follow now we are up to speed!!

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November 2020

Games are few and far between at this level. 

2 in October, we feel blessed that November will offer us a minimum of 3, 2 league ones and a cup tie.

Wokingham & Emmbrook sit 4th in the East version of the Hellenic Division One and one of the few players we inherited (and one of the few that has played League football) got us off to a great start. Tyler Weir started out professionally with Hereford United and has moved around the non league circuit locally ever since. Very versatile and can also take a penalty. Which he showed in this one.  He's wanted by a few, but they are not local clubs so I am fairly confident he'll be around a while.


Two additions prior to the Wellington game, both 22 and both good enough to play higher. Harry Pickering, a keeper who counts Forest Green and Port Vale as former clubs, and Harry Goode, a full back who came through at Derby County before spells in Staffordshire Non-League, 30 odd games at a higher level.

Luke Shorthouse took his record to 7 in 9 with a match ball winning performance.

The squad players are starting to get a bit angry that they are not getting game time. A few stern words have been said and we've agreed to disagree.

Finished the month with another 3pts, this time against Saracens. We are 10pts clear now.



Edited by KibworthBull
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December 2020

A 18 day wait from the Saras game before we were able to taste action again. A trip to Nailsworth in Gloucestershire and a game against a fallen giant (well ex-Southern League side) - Shortwood United. A fantastically quick start was enough to bring back the three points. It was top v bottom and you can see why.

A tougher test just 4 days later, Tytherington Rocks, which I think is one of the cooler names in the world. We needed Liam Head to use his erm... foot... to secure the victory in the dying embers. His 10th league goal of the season.

Our first depature due to not getting game time - ironically he has turned down a few other clubs since I arrived. One of the OGs


Cup action next up - Royal Wootton Bassett Town - they are doing pretty well in the step above so a good test to where we are. AND.... we've gotten our first pasting of the save. They should have scored more than they actually did.

Boxing Day gave us a trip to the Worcestershire Hills and an away tie against Malvern Town - a lovely little ground too. Joe Blackham certainly enjoyed it, a former pro with Tranmere Rovers, Joe has settled in fantastically well in the centre of midfield. 4 goals, 9 assists in 16 games.


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January 2021

A corker to start the month. 1st v 2nd, Newent Town v Hereford Pegasus.

Before the game we are "rocked" by the departure of Charlie Medway - a British Virgin Islands international (yes really), has gotten frustrated about the lack of games and has decided to move on, 7 games for us, 6 games for the Islands in his few months with the club. 

As for the Peggy game, we saved our best display for the biggest game. Clinical.

We might have to call January, Clinical-ary as Clanfield were hit for 6. Thornbury were hit for 3 (squeaky bum tie as we nearly threw away a 3 nil lead). The biggest shock was the Bourton Rovers match, we were terrible and very lucky to escape with a point.


19pts clear, 12 games left. It's fair to say I am planning for the Hellenic League Premier Division now.


Bigger challenges ahead.

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February 2021

It's not often we are able to get a genuine quality player on the books. Released by Chester a few weeks ago, Stuart Crilly is on board. 8s to 10s in all the attributes. Head and Shoulders better than the rest of my midfield. And they haven't exactly done badly either!


After the draw at the end of last month, we kicked off February with another draw - but at least this was against the side 3rd in the table so didn't have any negative impact on our lead. Normal service was remused at Malmesbury and Stonehouse. Just 6 points needed for promotion and it will be secured in March.


Not celebrating is Ollie Luto, only signed in January, his career is probably over with us after only 5 games.


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March 2021

Let's win the title. 6pts from here wins us promotion, 8 wins us the title. March brings us 4 games.

We start in the Cotswolds, at Moreton-in-Marsh, without midfielder Sam Williams who has decided to join Sidmouth Town, 6 rather unremarkable matches for one of our first recruits - we simply found better options.

Very nice of Moreton to roll over and get their belly rubbed - a Barry Cogan (hand in all the goals) inspired victory, and a defeat for Hereford Pegasus means we only need 1pt to get us over that line.

That point came in the very next game - a lifeless 0-0 draw at home to Wellington. We will be playing Step 9 Football next year.


The inveitable title was secured 7 days later with a trip into Cheltenham and skipper McFarlane getting the decisive goal to secure that one. Icing very much on the cake.

4 consecutive clean sheets prior to the Shortwood game, so of course the defence goes missing - a 3-1 lead is blown but we are not too worried by that


4 games to go. Looks like the Lads will be joining us next season.



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April 2021

Chris Kellman has had quite a good few weeks, firstly he signed for us, then he got promoted as champions and he has made his Guyana debut - making him the 2nd international we've been able to field this season. He's extremely highly rated by the staff, he got released by Boston United before we snapped him up.


5 of our players are talking to other clubs as we kicked off the first game of the month, and we played as if we were unsure as to where to go next, crashing to our first league defeat of the save. The form since we won the league is 1 win in 4. BANG goes the unbeaten season.

Normal service was resumed against Malvern. We also had many a good news that none of the interested players have decided to move on.

It's a good job that the results don't matter at this stage of the season as Hereford Pegasus tear us to shreds - they are 3rd but can't get promoted and took their anger out on us. Youth Intake boy Tom Oliver made his debut and became the youngest ever player at 16yrs and 122 days.

Max Borland decides to swap Gloucestershire with Cornwall and moves immediately 1 goal in 9 games for the Left Winger. He wasn't up to the grade.

Chris Kellman got his first career goal against struggling Clanfield and thats a wrap on the season.



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2020/2021 Retrospective

  • Hellenic League Division One West - Champions
  • Banbury Litho Floodlit Challenge Cup - 1st Round
  • Bluefin Sports (UHL) Challenge Cup - 3rd Round


A case of always improving as the season went on. Jim Town started it off, Harry Pickering replaced him and Elliott Taylor finished it off. Nobody let anyone down but it's a ruthless business at times. Both Taylor and Pickering will be in the mix next year but suspect I might find a better No.1 for next season.

Released: Jim Town, Jordan Neal, Dylan Morgan



We were very settled in the middle. Kieren Finglas, Ben Fraser and Choz Charlesworth played most of the season with Fraser being the pick. All 3 are good enough for the higher level and young enough to improve a little bit more. On the Right side was Harry Goode and he was okay, the left was less static, Tyler Weir started and ended it (and indeed played Midfield on occassions as well), Ollie Lutto came in and broke his ankle and Alex Lingard finished the season, although he is possibly a better left winger than full back.

Released: Arif Omar, Lewis Soraf, Brett Callow, Denzil Adebiyi, Ian Roberts, Ali Okafor, Paul McNeil, Kyle Tucker.



At the start of the season I called out Luca Carter-Henry as one of the star players and he started the season quite well, but never really kicked on, he'll be around to start with next season but Lingard might be ahead of him in the pecking order. Jamal Lawrence came in on the right midway through the season and has just about made the position his own. Barry Cogan offers experience and versatility, and is also U18s manager. Joe Blackham and Tyrell McFarlane were generally the central pairing at the start, and Stuart Crilly replaced McFarlane around Christmas. Crilly has flattered to deliver consistantly for a player of his ability, but at 18 is young enough to keep coming. Tom Oliver came through the intake and suggests he might be okay.

Released: Tyrell McFarlane, Andy Rudd, Jack Walker, Elliott Smith, Jason Unsworth, Dorien Ulett, Luke Harvey, Jordon Connor



Fairly obvious if you look at the numbers to see who my key strikers were. Renew started it off but faded a little, whereas Head was key all year and got 19. Kellman was a late addition but hasn't exactly started well. Young enough to keep trying with though. Shorthouse did a decent enough job but I will be able to find better.

Released: Luke Shorthouse, Moussa Diouf, Tyrell Housley, Callum Williams


A big number of departures, but the bulk of these were the U18s that generated when I started the save so will not be a big loss. A good number of the ones we are choosing to keep are wanted by other sides in the pyramid so it's likely there will be more departures.

My plan will be to hit the Football League retained list at the end of June and that will be the basis of my squad for next season. We've got more games in the Hellenic Prem, the FA Cup and FA Vase so lots more opportunity for progression.

I hope to be challenging for the title next season. Most sides will be amateur at this level still. So we should be good for another title.

Until July...

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July 2021

A very hectic couple of months, a lot of football played and quite a few additions made to the squad.

Firstly the new blood. It's a little scary how many really good young kids were willing to chat with us, the majority went higher up but at least they were willing to have a conversation.

Barry Cogan decided to retire and move onto Ramsbottom United as U18 manager, so he needed to be replaced and Jared Hodgkiss comes in as Captain, U23 Manager, and first choice either Right or Left Back. 34 years old and can count on 16 minutes of Premier League football from his West Brom days. He was released by Hereford in the summer.

Behind him is two keepers - Elias Rouse from Birmingham City and Filip Marschall from Aston Villa, both are very similiar, both teenagers and there is a battle there to be No.1.

Courtney Wildin is an Antiguan and Barbuda international Left Wing Back, who had a break from the game after leaving Coalville in 2019, another who started their career at Villa Park. On the right hand side is Jarvis Cleal, from Plymouth Argyle, he seems perfect for either the Right Back or Right Wing spot so rather excited by this one. Kade Craig was a teammate of Rouse at Birmingham, and is a typical No-nonsense Centre Back, he's brave, he can head, tackle and mark, but little creative.

We are light in the centre of midfield I feel, Darnel Baxter-Alleyne was with Huddersfield

Up top, is an Aussie and an Englishman - Charlie Dixon from Shrewsbury, and Jay Bird from the MK Dons. Both should be key members of the side and will hopefully score plenty of goals.

We've been installed as massive favourites for the league now, so hopefully the additions can bring us the glory.



Lots of pre-season games, beating Leamington, Hereford and Bristol City U18s were massively pleasing as they are much higher up the food chain as ourselves. Also it gave me a chance to scout some potential future players.


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August 2021

A big squad of players, which got a little bit bigger just after the first match of the season - new player/coach in Johnny Herd - 30 odd games in the EFL for Southend United at the start of his career, a career that spent large amounts of time in the National League North and South.

We started the season at home to Abingdon and Chris Kellman got a double to give us both a clean sheet and 3pts. 104 paying fans as well, a record for my time at the club in competitive football. 

It took Herd 16 minutes of his debut to get off the mark for the club, winning and scoring a penalty at Brimscombe and Thrupp.

I made reference to the fact that Kellman made a slow start in the review (or at least meant to...) clearly he has read it as he brought up his 7th of the season with 4 in the mauling at Wantage. A club record and a league record to boot for both scoreline and Kellman's 4.

Clearly we are in the scoring and conceding goals for fun stage of the season - 8 more at Ardley, split in our favour. Bird got his first start AND hattrick of his career. 6 goals in 4 days for Bird once the Flackwell Heath match finished, which meant we were 5 from 5 and sitting pretty at the top.

The biggest game of the month though was the Woodley United game, they are the level below AND a chance for us to get some much needed prize money. A very nervy first 40 minutes became very easy with a brace just before the interval. Bird ONLY got 2 so thats 8 in 7 days.

Our reward - Steyning Town from the Southern Combination League Premier Division. Same Level.

A gorgeous green month



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September 2021

A month of home comforts. 4 of the 5 games are from Newent. We take our first steps in the Vase and continue our journey in the FA Cup and the League. Another vintage player joins, 32 year old Matt Thornhill has played as high as the Championship for Notts Forest, but most recently has been with Basford in the Northern Premier League. A Central Midfielder.

A new month, a continuation of the Jay Bird experience - 3 more goals against Kidlington, 2 more against Fairford, another in the FA Cup.

Could we claim the draw against the Jersey Bulls means we get a European fixture? Probably not, but they are absolutely flying at the top of their league. 

They battered us, but the Bird in the attack is worth two in the net. Another brace. Surely scouts might want to check out this goalmachine who is available for anyone!

A trip to Staffordshire is our reward - Newcastle Town. Neither Jack Renew or Ollie Luto will be making that trip, neither have been happy with their lack of match action so have both decided to move on. Neither figured this season.

The Vase campaign brings us £550 for winning the first qualifying round tie.

Bird has the frankly ridiculous record of 18 goals from 9(3) games. In less than two months he has already become a favoured personnel of the club.


3 unbeaten sides in the league still. We go to Bishop's Cleeve at the end of October.


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October 2021

Can the month peak on Day 2? Or will it just be the beginning of something much better?

Newcastle Town, Away, they are the tier above.

It took Jay Bird less than a minute to trouble the scorers, and he had his usual hattrick by the half hour. A 4th secured just before the end of the game. £5k into the bank account and we are in profit for the first time in the save.

A rare league match against Hereford Lads Club, they are having a harder time than we are currently. Bird, etc... 

Elliot Taylor decided to move on, Sholing at the level above being his preferred location. A perfect example of being replaced by a better and younger model. Meeting Elliot in the departure lounge is Kieren Finglas who goes to Belper. Kieren was fantastic in the first season and a squad player since. I was kinda hoping he would stick around, but he left after the Radford match.

All change for the Thame Rangers match - the lowest priority cup, so last seasons squad played and everyone else was rested for the cup match. Liam Head getting on the scoresheet with someone called Bird. Less than a few days later, Head came to me saying he wanted more games and a mutual parting of the ways was agreed.

5 more games in the month and they are all away. Plenty of miles in the tank for the boys.

Scarborough was a hectic trip to the seaside, a classic end to end encounter. The cliche is that we have our defence to thank and Bird of course. It's also 18 wins in a row.

The next challenge was Atherton Colleries and this was all that prevented us from a 1st Round Proper Tie - exciting times. We were without Jared Hodgkiss as he was suspended, which wasn't the end of the world as he has been less than impressive so far.

It's a definitive changing of the guards as Joe Blackham and Harry Pickering becomes the latest former regulars to move on. Blackham is replaced by Billy Clifford, who started at Chelsea and has had a succession of 1 season moves at a number of different clubs, ever lower down the pyramid - so he'll fit in nicely with the project and move on in about a year.


The 4th Quali Round of the FA Cup provided quite a shock - Jay Bird was not the top scoring striker, he could only manage 1, Kellman getting 2. We are looking very strong and hoping for a bumper home draw in the 1st Round Proper. Which we didn't get... At least it's winnable.


Binfield came within seconds of being the first side to take points off us this season before Choz Charlesworth popped in a winner. A very long and hectic month was finished off by a trip to Broadbridge Heath in the Vase, more progression and Bird has 30 by the end of October.


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November 2021

Baldrick, this is a crisis...

A draw and 2 defeats start the month.

Milton United see us drop some points, before falling at the first (round proper) hurdle in the FA Cup - my word it was a winnable tie, although we are 40k richer thanks to the run we've had, and then away to 3rd in the table and they doink us rotten.

The FA Cup money has been well spent - a few coaches have got a training course kicked off and we've been able to upgrade both the Youth Recruitment and the Junior Coaching, so they are now at least not *****.

To help navigate through the crisis, some fresh blood has been recruited. Joel Davidson was with Everton up until the summer and can play anywhere along the right hand side. George Elokobi is our new Coach for the U23s and a more than useful defensive option - 50 odd Premier League games on his CV, he did a fair job in the National League South last year.


Did the new signing help?

Nope, 2-0 down after 5 minutes and we crash out of another cup!

Bishop's Cleeve go straight on the Naughty November list by taking Choz Charlesworth off us. For those keeping count, that's 3pts and a defender they've had off us in the past couple of weeks.

Thank Goodness for Slimbridge, 18th and struggling, Chris Kellman returns from international duty with a bang and we get back on track.

Danny Elliott started his career with Nottingham Forest and arrives via the US, Dominican Republic and a few stints in the National League, signed on the morning of his debut in the cup, it took him 28 seconds to open his account. It's Bishop's Cleeve's 1st defeat in 30 games. He was the 1st new signing of the week, Josh Clackstone, a Right Back with good experience in the National League North with Alfreton being the other. To make way (not that there is a budget, Matt Thornhill has been shown the door after a fairly awful 10 appearances.

Both new boys enjoyed a good league debut in the final game of the month.

It's been bruising but we've got through it.




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December 2021

It's Turkey Season!

And if you don't fancy your meat meaty... Quorn.. At home. FA Vase time.

North Leicestershire if your interested. 

A fairly comfy victory but we lost Josh Clackstone to an ankle injury for 6 weeks or so that was far from ideal.

Below is the main reason for the save.. Taking someone rejected from on higher, recycling them and throwing them back up the pyramid. Of Course Chris could say no.


And God Love him... he turned them both down..

The youth intake preview suggested that there might be a DM from Scotland to keep an eye out for, not holding out too much hope there.

The league continues to tick by - Lydney disposed of, before Widnes in the Vase.

Returning after nearly 2 months out was Jarvis Cleal and it was lovely to see him laying the ball on a plate for Jay Bird in the opening minutes. Bird seems back in form after a barren October.

We ended what seemed a fairly game free month with our game in hand. Shrivenham are 3rd, but perhaps exposing the game between the top two and the rest. Bird ticks over into 40 for the season.

A good month, travelling expenses were kept low!


It's us or Bishop's Cleeve for the title. So the County is getting glory. In fact 3 of the top 4 are Gloucestershire based teams.


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January 2022

The interest in Kellman continues into the new year. 

Derby day for New Year's Day but it's a poor result for us. Joel Davidson gets sent off giving away a 92nd minute penalty.

The month ends with Bishop's Cleeve at home - winner gets promoted is the call i'm making already.

I really should record a smart key for the phrase "Jay Bird scores X"  - 4 more at Easington Sports, the third time this season he's got 4 in a game.

3 more in the Vase.

Seriously scouts from higher graded clubs... HELLLO!!!! He's available on a FREE TRANSFER


This month is just about jostling and being ready for the Cleeve game - Kellman and Bird are firing and we are playing well so it's a positive mood building. 

Full rotation for the Banbury Litho Floodlit Challenge Cup. 10 changes against a side struggling in the league below. The third striker Charlie Dixon has a chance to shine. 9 in 17 is a good record but pails in comparison to you know who.

It's fair to say that ourselves and Cleeve are very evenly matched, but we have our hero

Every stat but the one that mattered was close.

It's a 7pt lead but they do have a game in hand. Slight advantage us.




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February 2022

What do you recruit when you have a striker on 54 goals, and another on 27?

Another Striker who is better on paper.

Welcome Mitch - Stafford Rangers last season, but has Walsall pedigree and also a loan spell at Blackburn Rovers.


His debut was the first game of the month, away at 3rd.  He fails to get on the scoresheet but when you've got Bird..

I thought our FA Vase run was done, or at the very least we would get an undeserved replay but George Elokobi had other thoughts and burried two headers from corners in the last 5 minutes and we await our QF draw - Bishop's Cleeve are still in the competition so it's written in the stars somewhere..

But that will have to wait for another day as we got the 2nd biggest team in Walsall... Walsall Wood

We may be amateur but there is an expectation that players at least turn up for training...


He's been moody that i've strengthened the right back spot after signing him. I like him as a player but he's walking the release tight rope right now. The next game he damaged his foot and will miss most of the rest of the season.

At the start of the season we had 4 keepers, we now only have 1 as back up Filip Marschall has decided to move down South to AFC Portchester. He did a good job when required. In comes Jake Kean, 100 EFL games to his credit. Also out is Alex Lingard, back up left back - by back up, i mean he had his back up that he wasn't playing every week..

4 wins out of 4 in the league for both us and Bishop's Cleeve - the gap is 4pts. Bird has 64



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March 2022

8 leagues left, 4 in March, plus an FA Vase QF.

The objective is simple - just do better than Bishop's Cleeve.

An easy objective in the Vase as they were knocked out in a replay last round, Mitch Candlin got his first goal in 18 hours of football (well before he joined us) to help steer us through to the Semi's.

Cleeve played in the league and won.

The next game was epic - Candlin has lit the torch papaer and got 4 in a half. Bishop's Cleeve went to third place Lydney and blinked.


Danny Elliot has had a case of the Clackstones


Talking of blinking... Of course it was their only shot on target. The classic Champing. What damage it causes will have to be waited for.


The end of the month saw the Vase.. and k Sarah Sarah...


4 games left



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April 2022

In all the excitement of the Semi.. we had youth intake.. it was dreadful and none were signed.

We didn't need this either.. fair play to the lad he has been fantastic and goes to the National League North, but darn it Kade.. couldn't you have waited a month.


The wheels are very much getting wobbly..

Ardley needed this.. Cleeve won as well. Gap is a point


A few days later Cleeve beat Ardley to take them top by 2 but we now have a game in hand.

I've gotten desperate and bought in Keith Lowe, Centre Back or Midfielder who started at Wolves, played (poorly) for Hereford but well for Kidderminster and Cheltenham.  He's 36 and will sit on the bench for the last few games. He replaces Luca Carter-Henry, one of the OGs who has decided to find regular football elsewhere after 55 games (6 goals) from the left wing. Mostly a sub this season.

Flackwell Heath (15th) took the lead, but Bird did Bird, and we got to 3-1 before hanging on to take a much needed 3pts. We did this last season, the big difference was it didn't matter then. Cleeve didn't play as they are in a League Cup.

Full rotation for the Cup Final (it's only a league cup so Priority 3) 


Easington have 2 dissallowed and should be 3-0 up before we score thrice in three. Cleeve win so it goes to the final day.


2 nil up and bleeding cruising...


We blink the ultimate blink..


Hats off the Cleeve - it took a special team to outdo us.

But what about the Vase final?

Well technically that fell into May...

But what the heck. In front of 532..


£30k in the bank AND we get a chance to retain our trophy next season now...

Goodnight... Retained List tomorow!

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2021/22 Review

  • Hellenic League Premier Division - 2nd. Led for most the season but just missed out on the title by 1pt to Bishop's Cleeve
  • FA Cup - 1st Round. Club record, knocked out a few higher graded sides (Newcastle Town, Scarborough Athletic) before a frustrating exit to Needham Market
  • FA Vase - Winners. The perfect tonic to the league disapointment. 
  • Banbury Litho Floodlit Challenge Cup - Winners. One of the league cups. Our reserves bought the glory
  • Bluefin Sports (UHL) Challenge Cup - 1st Round. Another league cup. We barely noticed our 2nd round defeat to Ardley.


A number of back up keepers left during the season. Elias Rouse was the number 1 and will remain in situ next year unless I can find a better version. 17 clean sheets was the 2nd best in the league.



The Centre Backs were a fairly settled affair. Kade Craig, who went to Brackley late on, rotated around Ben Fraser who overachieved and George Elokobi who delivered the experience. Josh Martin covered suspensions and Keith Lowe had 10 minutes at Wembley. Both Joel Davidson and Jared Hodgkiss filled in at Left Back, Johnny Herd was mainly a left midfielder but also played in that area. We need a solid Left Back for next season. Herd was sensational, 26 assists. A magic number. Hodgkiss only remains as he is a coach. I'm keeping both Elokobi and Lowe although if both retired in the summer, no eyebrows will be raised. Another Craig will be fantastic.

Right Back... Shudder... We tried many and so many didn't quite work. Hodgkiss started it but flattered to decieve, Harry Goode and Josh Clackstone both did little. Clackstone missed training and was generally a pain in the backside, complaining on behalf of his teammates whenever a wrong was wrongded. A good strong Right Back is a must for next year.

Released: Harry Goode, Josh Clackstone, Courtney Wildin



The Central Midfielder role was something of a mistry. Whenever I signed an experienced head, it didn't work. Matt Thornhill came and went, Billy Clifford was next and never really delivered anything. All the while Darnel Baxter-Alleyne just carried on in the other role, doing the business. He's got a lot of suitors so may well move up the pyramid, a success story is Darnel. Luke Nock was a later signing and did a decent job, Stuart Crilly has been around a while and has run hot and cold. Right Wing was Jarvis Cleal but he went down hill as the season came to a close but is young enough to come again, his cover was Jamal Lawrence who actually did quite well overall but needs a fresh challenge. I've mentioned Herd already and he had strong competition in the new year from Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong who has settled in very nicely. We need strong depth in all areas here.

Released: Billy Clifford, Jamal Lawrence and Tom Oliver



Where to start... Jay Bird... 69 goals is a total I've never had on FM, I've had a few regens hit 50-60 before, but never an original DB player. Apart from October where he only scored 1 goal, he smashed them in all season. He's now got a few admiring glances from the levels above so chances of him being here next year are slimish. Chris Kellman has turned down a few bigger clubs to remains and 35 goals is very impressive. Especially playing second fiddle. Charlie Dixon is Mr Unlucky - better on paper than both Kellman and Bird but started 3rd choice and never really got a look in. Never complained about it. Mitch Candlin is a star player and will score plenty. Danny Elliott complained, missed training, got injured and then complained more.

Released: Danny Elliott and Calum Barnes


Only 8 players being released, but overall across the season we saw 23 players move on. 12 players came in during the season.

Next year we will be favourites for the title and it will all come down to who comes into the league from above. Both the sides relegated from the Southern League Division One South (the natural place for our region) are very much obscure for the Hellenic. Thatcham Town look the most likely, based near Reading so would be on the edge with the likes of Windsor and Royal Wootton Bassett Town.

We bought in nearly £70k prize money so were able to improve the coaching and recruitment of the youngsters so if we can have good runs in both the cups again then that should help us to keep improving the finances. Things like wage budgets will never be a consideration as we are "always amateur"

My recruitment strategy will be the same - hit all of the professional Midlands/South West/Wales released lists and offer all of them deals. It worked this year.

I can't really do much until the end of June so until then.

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A quick story whilst I prepare the full update..

Fabian Mrozek is released by Liverpool on the 30th June 2022, we sign him on the 8th July, on the 23rd July he goes to Lech Poznan..

We didn't need a keeper but one who was Championship potential would have been handy in step 9...


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July 2022

It's been a busy summer.

16 players have come in, 3 have departed. Although 1 player came and went (see post above..)

The Outs..

Joining the seriously talented pole were Keith Lowe who decided that 10 minutes at Wembley were the perfect send off to his career and he is now looking for coaching opportunities. Aussie Striker Charlie Dixon has moved up 2 levels to join Letherhead on £140 a week, and a 1 year deal. Lots of bids for others but as of the eve of the first game, they have all been turned down by the boys.


Deep Breath...

One of the promises I made to the Polish keeper was that I would find him a friend - and I did.. They said hello and then he left.. Bartłomiej Otuszewski comes in from AFC Wimbledon and is an 18yr old keeper who will be 3rd choice.

Alex Penny and Jack Jones can play in either full back positions, both have National League North experience, Penny with Kidderminster and Jones with Gloucester City. Jones is also a Malta international. Penny is also a fairly decent option at Centre Back. In the middle, Ben Gerring is an experienced defender who can count on Woking, Truro City and Weymouth as former clubs. Jamie Bradley-Green is the classic academy graduate (Southampton and Chelsea) who has yet to nail down a place in a lower league senior side - spells at Bromley and Dagenham & Redbridge produced 5 games. He's 22 now and needs games.

The Welsh dragon is strong in the midfield. Kyle John came through at Everton and had a gameless spell at Blackburn Rovers and can play anywhere down the right hand side and is probably our 2nd best player at the club. The best is Joshua Edwards, a current Wales U19 international, and still only 18, he was released by Swansea in the summer and his performances in their reserve sides produced an average rating over 7 across 40 odd games. Paul Lewis came through at Macclesfield, played lots of games, went to Cambridge United and Tranmere before having a year out of the game and before Edwards arrival was expected to play a lot. Now he'll be a squad player. Jacson Coppack, firstly has a great name, and secondly gives us an attacking midfield option - 18 years old and a Northern Ireland U19 international, Burnley were his last employer. 

Despite having 2 strikers who between them scored 100 goals, the squad said we didn't have enough striking options so I've gone a bit overkill. Kieran Wakefield (Birmingham), Tyler Roberts (Wolves) and Mario Hearne (Bournemouth) are all teenagers that can be classed as young but with good potential - the hope is that one of them comes off. Ben Guy turned us down 12 months ago to join Braintree (1 goal in 25) but has similar attributes to Jay Bird so who knows. Lewis White can also play as a winger on either flank and has spent the past 2 season in Wrexham's Reserves, he'll either smash 30 goals or be gone by Christmas - at 23 he's at the hotel/motel stage of his career. Probably the best option for striker is our 2nd signing from Liverpool (and the only one still here) Oakley Cannonier has a fantastic name and we hope he can make a name for himself and fire us to glory.



Edited by KibworthBull
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August 2022

We don't do Pre-Season by halves..


Lots of players to look at and get match fit.

I did say Lewis White will either get 30 goals or be gone by Christmas - he might do both.. 4 on debut and Ardley United nicely dispatched. 9 debutants in the game.

Another 3 for White puts Fairfield to the sword, which puts him 1 goals ahead of where Bird was 12 months ago. 7 in 180 minutes of football. 

I started both White and Bird up top against Kidlington and it scared the oppo so much that they never bothered marking Kyle John who got his first goals and hattrick for the club. After being dominant last season and not going up we needed a fast start and that is exactly what we've had. Only us and Wantage are 100% after 3.

Our first home nation International Call Up of the Save (it's a thing...) came when Jacson Coppack got called but by Northern Ireland U19s. Jack James will travel with Malta to San Marino and Andorra in early September.

We beat Royal Wotton despite playing the whole second half with 9 men. Both centre backs seeing red in the first half.

The FA Cup gave us our first major challenge - away to the side 2nd in our league. A fantastic crowd of 464 saw an epic tie. Lewis White hit double figures for the season and a successful first month of the campaign is in the bag.


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September 2022

Not many sides in the 9th tier have issues with international call ups but we do. 4 of our squad are away for the trip to Binfield. And maybe for 29 minutes its a concern but.. well we've got a bit more depth this season. 8 of the best and we go 6 from 6.

The only fly in the ointment is an injury to Kyle John and he'll miss the rest of the month.

Wantage were unbeaten before we played them and Jay Bird had been fairly quiet.. a 4 minute hattrick just before half time, and 7 of the best in total.

We've broken the 500 barrier - that's half of the ground filled. It wont happen against Shildon in the next round as it's a nearly 400 miles round trip.. Those who made the effort saw a heck of a game - we went from winning it, to losing it, to safely through. Not one for the faint hearted. It's also 50 home games unbeaten.


It's a Green Month. Ascot were second before the game kicked off and gave us a good game



We've also massively upskilled the recruitment team

From this...


To this..


The standard of player now being found by the squad has also gone up a notch.


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October 2022

You'd be silly to turn down the Welsh Champions, considering we don't pay people a penny. The positive is that he is ours till January. He's far too good for Step 9... So are we...


Further progress in the FA Cup - against Barton Rovers. 2-1 down in the 89th minute, we sneaked through in Extra Time. The Cup is a fundraiser and more than happy to continue in the competition. Ebbesfleet United will prove a huge test. National League South.

I'm not overly bothered by the Vase now we've won it. The board want us to retain it, I'll care about it as long as the games don't impact our league run. Thats the focus. Fairfield Villa who are a step below, don't possess any threat, with new boy Reggie Lambe scoring the first. Lambe is a Bermuda international and is John's replacement. 31 and very experienced EFL player.

One of the league cups saw 10 changes with only Lambe playing for fitness before the long trek down to Kent. Oakley Cannonier our hero as he rescued us from 1-0 down to turn it around in the second half. He's had a fairly slow start but is dipping in and out.

We've defeated the South, now we get the North. A battle in York. And my word did we nearly screw it up. 2-0, 3-1 and cruising before a late goal and some very nervous looks before sneaking over the line.


It's the other HUFC.

A big tie, not an EFL opponent sadly but still big.


More progress in the Vase against Alton - Chris Kellman finally getting a chance (he complained a bit) and Kieran Wakefield bagging a hattrick - all of our strikers seem to be scoring for fun.

As for the league.. well last year was the year that the wheels came off a bit (we lost and drew..), 3 league games this month and 3 victories. We are starting to create a gap - 7pts clear and a game in hand. 2nd place Milton United first up next month though.


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November 2022

A big first 5 days of the month.

Away to 2nd

Away to Hartlepool in the FA Cup.

Milton United is a real test of our squad as 3 regulars sit out due to suspension. We go old school with 2 of last seasons squad with the goals.


It means that 3 regulars get a rest before the long trip North.

And for 3 minutes it was ON.. Lewis White's early goal got everyone excited before Hartlepool showed their strength and they progressed. For the 2nd year running we've reached the 1st round.

The mid month League Cup game was a great chance to give some of the outsiders some minutes - both Ben Guy and Tyler Roberts can talk about a double goal salvo on debuts. 

Victory over Lydney (2nd) meant we opened a 10pt gap - we have a game in hand as well. If we don't go up from here then.. well... it will be some implosion.

The trend at the moment is to start games quickly. Over the month 3 goals were scored in the 12th minute, 7 scored in the opening 20.

There isn't really much you can say about the league. We should have gone up last season but got pipped by the other really strong side. There isn't another strong side this year.



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December 2022

Well hello young man, what is on your List?

Hello person dressed in a red suit with a fake beard.. can I get a new Centre Half and a new goalkeeper please?

Not a discussion with Santa, but with Dave Tarpey my Chief Scout. I don't need either of these positions but if I can get someone in then it will be fantastic. There's been lots of good free agents found but as soon as we show any interest then much bigger clubs come in and offer them actual money and we are blown out of the water.

In the Vase i've not seen that many shots on target before. 20 on target as well, somewhat disapointing that we only scored 4.


Darnel Baxter-Alleyne has decided to make a sidewards step and joined Bridgwater - they are 4th in the Western League at the same level. We may meet again if they join us in the Southern League next year. We'd had a barney the day before as he wanted more football. 

Jay Bird got the captaincy for the Shrivenham match and celebrated with the match ball. He's having a more subdued season compared to the last one but the wealth is being shared a lot more and we have several scoring for fun.

The board are refusing to improve the Junior Coaching and it's reflected in the intake preview. "This is a very poor crop of players.." like a dagger through the heart


More Vase success in the North - Bridlington gave us a reward against what used to be a National League side - we travel to N-N-N-Northwich in the New Year.

We were within seconds of losing the 100% record away at Abingdon before Lewis White bundled a 90th minute winner. It wasn't deserved but I wont be complaining about that much. It was a record breaking 18th straight league win. The match was also the last for Kyle John before he moved to TNS.

Another green month, only 2 games in the league but the gap is still sizeable.





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January 2023

It's a New Year..

Let's keep things the same.

Before we get to the games..

We got our man.. Our 2nd Edwards, our 1st English variety, Liam came through a Stoke when they were in the Premier League and left as they got relegated, went to Bolton in the Championship and left when they were in League Two..



The Cursed Edwards didn't affect the first game, although technically it was our equal worst performance, a 1-0 win.

N-N-Northwich n-n-n-next up for N-n-n-Newent and it's a tie postponed and then finally played a few days later in front of 34 people!! Even for a Tuesday night you'd expect three figures. We got 3 goals though and progressed.

Computer Error...


Could have been worse as well. We were Ardley in the game.

10 goals over the next 2 games proved the ideal response. We got a chance to go again on Ardley too. They are a bit of a bogey side as we had a draw against them last season which gave Bishop's Cleeve an advantage over us. We got our revenge.

Tyler Roberts had only played 2 cup matches (scoring 4 goals) before he got a league chance - hattrick against Milton United. He may well get a run in the side to see how many he can get.

On the last day of the month we had our first move into the EFL - Joel Davidson moves to Walsall in League One. It's only a 6 month deal so will keep an eye on him in the summer. He did okay for a squad player. A versatile Right/Left Back who can also play Centre Mid.

A very dull last game of the month. 5-1 up at half time.



19pts clear, 33 points left on the table. We play 2nd and 3rd next month, beat them both and we might be champions in February. We will be Champions in March.

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February 2023

The quadruple is ON...

The title will happen, it's a matter of time for that one. By the month end we should be nearly but not quiet champions and also into a cup final.

But first the FA Vase. 

Banstead Athletic had a long drive from Surrey for this one, and an even longer trip back after discovering Oakley Cannonier in top form - his 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st goals of the season. He's only 18 and was released by Liverpool last year, shirley he'll be back in full time football soon.

Our 3 league games this month are against 2nd, 3rd and 4th. All can mathematically catch us at this point. 81pts is the magic number.


The Hellenic League version of Match of the Day will be salivating right now.

Newent v Lydney AND Ascot v Wantage on the same day.. In both games the away side took the lead but the home side won eventually. The perfect scenario for us.

11 changes for the "No-one Cares Cup v1" - or the league cup thingie.. An April final against Lydney is the reward. We'll be back from the beach by then.

The going at Ascot was good to goals. 4 of them. Another Cannonier treble. In the process we scored our 100th goal of the league season. 

If we beat Wantage and results go our way then the fat lady can sing her tune. 2-0 up after 12 minutes all phones turned to twitter to check the other scores. Lydney drew but Wellington were postponed - they can still get 77pts so we need 1pt from the remaining 8 matches. We play the side bottom of the table next.


I've mentioned Cannonier a couple of times, but Mitch Candlin deserves some special praise - 5 goals this month and he hasn't started a game.


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March 2023

Binfield have 9pts - 1 win, 6 draws. We need a point to claim the title.

To be fair to them, they kept us out for 33% of the game.


We can look forward to trips to Cinderford, Bristol Manor Farm, Yate and Plymouth Parkway next year. Maybe Bishop's Cleeve if they falter in their play-off push. Unless we randomly get put in the Central Divsion. 

To celebrate the promotion i've treated myself to another Centre Half. His sister Lisa will be happy that he's getting some football again. Former Arsenal Youth.


More Vase success - we've actually never lost a match in the competition in the club's history - okay we've only been in it 2 seasons but it's a good boast. Lewis White inches closer to 40 for the season with a hattrick.

The promotion means we can add more faces to the backroom staff. Another former Hereford player/manager comes on board. Possibly an awkward conversation with one of his superiors - U23 Assistant Manager Jared Hodgkiss - got released by Gowling.. It's not personal they say..


Jay Bird's double against Woodley took him to 90 goals for the club - he may not be good enough for the next tier so #Project100 is on

The night ends with a semi.. the Vase, against Sandbach. Bird got his goal early doors, they pulled one back with seconds to spare and then Mitch came on and did his thing.

Ashington in the final. They are from the North - a traditional strong hold for the Vase, and they also can boast Steve Harmison as a former player (along with his many brothers).



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April and May 2023

A min of 7 games left.

3 cups still to play for.

4 meaningless league games - the only thing to play for is to add +10 to our Goal Difference to bring that to a century.

2 routine victories in the league progressed to to a +94 goal difference with two to play.

The monthly Centre Back signing was Louie Annesley, a Gibraltan International who has had a number of spells in English football without playing much - Chelsea, Barnet and Blackburn.


Semi Final Victory over Wantage in the "No-One Cares Cup v2" saw Jay Bird move onto 98 goals for the club. He's got 5 more games to get the couple of goals needed. At this rate he might hit 110. Both No-One Cares Cup's have Lydney finals. The first is at ours, and it would be a case of retaining our trophy from last season.

To be fair it's been a while since we had a proper Champing.. We will get our revenge in a few weeks.


Plenty of grumbles from the Defensive coaches after the Royal Wootton Bassett Town game - 5 goals to the good at half time. 3 goals conceded in the 2nd half. +96 goal difference. Bird 99*

1 goal breaks the long standing league record for number of goals. We have 133.

It's like 1000 spoons when all you need is a knife.. +99 goal difference thanks to a 92nd minute goal. BUT, Jay Bird gets his hundred - only taken 81 games. We finish the season unbeaten and set a new record for most goals. We also hit 100 points.


Lydney... Your getting our strongest XI


Not quite as much of a Champing as before but we were the better team. Have we discovered our Kryptonite? Good job we wont be in the same league next year.

This also means we can't win every competition we've ever entered.

Oakley Cannonier ensured that we retained our FA Vase. The quadruple became the double.


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2022/23 Review

  • Hellenic League Premier Division - 1st. Last season we finished a point behind Bishop's Cleeve and miles ahead of everyone else. This season the league was weaker. Unbeaten. We finished 28 points ahead of the nearest challenger. Goodbye Hellenic
  • FA Cup - 1st Round. Same as last year - went from Extra Preliminary to Round 1, knocking out Ebbesfleet and York City before Hartlepool United proved too strong
  • FA Vase - Winners. Retained the trophy without much alarm. We drop this one now for the FA Trophy.
  • Banbury Litho Floodlit Challenge Cup - Runner Up - smashed it until the final where Lydney beat us on spot kicks. Another trophy we say goodbye to.
  • Bluefin Sports (UHL) Challenge Cup - Runner Up - Lydney AGAIN. This time in normal time. We never won this one and never will*

*unless we get relegated


On the whole Elias Rouse was the main man, whether he is good enough for the next level is debatable but there is a little bit more potential to come from him. I'm confident in the recruitment strategy that we will be talking to a number of better options in the summer. Jake Kean has the look of a serial No.2, never came close to getting past Rouse. Bartłomiej Otuszewski was signed to keep the Polish keeper who left us after 18 odd days happy.

Released: Jake Kean



It's very difficult for Full Backs to get an average rating over 7 if they play a whole season - which shows just how effective Johnny Herd was - 33 assists probably helped. Both Alex Penny and Jack James did what they were expected to do - Improve us and be consistent. Both showed flexibility by playing in a number of positions over the season. Both Liam Edwards and Louie Annesley showed their class after arriving, but Tom Stansfield was a little subdued. We changed our Centre Back 1st XI during the campaign from Jamie Bradley-Green, Ben Gerring, and George Elokobi to the above trio (eventually) and they were all better. Elokobi is a coach, as is Jared Hodgkiss and Herd, so all 3 have different expectations. They'll be kept until they retire. Ben Fraser has done 3 seasons and has been very good when playing - always a 7 out of 10 player, we've simply got too good for him. 

Released: Ben Gerring, Josh Martin, Ben Fraser, Jamie Bradley-Green

Retired: George Elokobi, Jared Hodgkiss



An area we massively upgraded. The centre was dominated by Joshua Edwards and Jacson Coppack both stepped down from Premier League Academies to play senior football for the first time. Coppack started stronger and slightly fell away towards the end, Edwards started slow and ended on fire. Both have their fans at higher levels and if we keep them next year will be more than good enough for the Southern League. Paul Lewis was supposed to be my star addition and if the above two didn't come in then he may have been, he did okay without pulling up many tree, Luke Nock and Stuart Crilly did the young person role, Nock has a lot more potential so featured a lot more, whereas Crilly has been here a while and is another, like Ben Fraser, who hasn't kept up with our rise. Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong has made the Left Wing role his own and was superb - his ability suggests he's one of the weaker members of the squad, but the stats don't lie. On the right Reggie Lambe came in from January and did a great job. Jarvis Cleal was 2nd fiddle to Kyle John before his move, and Lambe after it - we've moved on. I'll be focusing on a couple of young wingers in the summer.

Released: Jarvis Cleal, Paul Lewis, Mario Hearne, Stuart Crilly



The hardest section. We scored a ton of goals. 4 got more than 20 goals. Most averaged at least a goal a game.

Lewis White and Oakley Cannonier would be the seniot front two - the ones we put in for the biggies. Mitch Candlin probably falls between a number of levels, not quite first choice, not the fans favourites and probably too old to not get replaced by younger models from the academies next year. Everything is harsh on Tyler Roberts and Kieran Wakefield, when they played they scored but so did everyone ahead of them.

Last seasons review waxed lyrical about Jay Bird and Chris Kellman, this year it may well be both of their epitaphs (at the club - nothing more sinister I promise you!) Bird got games and scored his 100th for the club but I can't see him playing much next year, and Kellman didn't really do much when he had the chance. His GPG ratio is dreadful in comparison.

I know that there is better options out there for all the above.

Released: Ben Guy, Tyler Roberts, Chris Kellman 


12 released and 2 retiree's and probably a few more that might slip away quietly early next season when the additions arrive.

Former Player Highlights - We were Step 9.

  • Danny Elliott got 17 goals at Downton (9)
  • Charlie Dixon got 8 goals at Leatherhead (7)
  • Jack Renew got 8 goals at Brixham (10)
  • Luca Carter-Henry had the best AvR with 7.06 in 45 games with Tavistock (9) - no one else got over 7, or played more games
  • Elliott Taylor played 44 games in goal for Sholing (8)
  • Joe Blackham spent the season on loan at Erith & Belvedere (9) from Frome Town (8) - 11 assists
  • Joel Davidson is contracted at the highest level in England - Walsall (4) - he didn't make an appearance but they have just extended his contract until the end of next season
  • Kade Craig made 4 appearances at Brackley Town (6) - the highest level in England for someone who played
  • Overseas, both Kyle John (TNS - Wales) and Fabian Mrozek (Lech Poznan - Poland) are playing in their top flights. Mrozek was 1st choice keeper with an AvR of 5.92
  • 37 former players are still active within the game - 25 if you exclude the ones we've just set free.

Newent Best 11:


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Pre-Season 2023/24

The first major bit of news is that we are considered the overwhelming favourites for the league and the board want the title. So no being eased into the higher level gently.

It's been an incredibly hectic time - lots of approaches to players but I don't feel like i've signed any worldies (obvs. for the level), I've still been very busy but it's more squad depth than anything.

Firstly the bad news.

The National League has tempted away two key players from last season - Jacson Coppack is now at Bromley, and Oakley Cannonier has gone to Chorley. Both have got the full time football their ability warrants. As you will have read, Jared Hodgkiss retired and he has moved onto his first managerial role at Oakwood in the Southern Combination League Premier Division (9), which means we need a new gaffer for the U23s. Saturday Musa steps up from the U18s to take control.

And finally... Reggie Lambe has done his Cruciate Ligaments and will miss the entire season, at 32 he is contemplating retirement.

The Good News...

Goalkeepers, we've signed plenty but sadly not Chris Mackenzie.. new No.1 is Corey Addai a 25yr old whose has considerable bench warming experience with Coventry and Barnsley in the EFL but has had a few small loans at higher levels to us. Brad Kelly (Rochdale) and Shay Carson (Brighton) are both teenagers who are battling for the 2nd choice spot along with the long standing Elias Rouse.

Only the 1 defensive addition (i've spoken to 40 or 50 options) but only Luther Williams has agreed to come on board - very much a basics Centre Half, what he does, he does well, what he doesn't do isn't worth mentioning, Sheffield United released him after 3 years in their U23s/U18s. He'll be in the mix for both Centre Half and Right Back.

The most work has been done in the middle of the pitch, 18yr old Rob Campbell (Leeds United), Sam Bowen (22 yrs old from Cardiff), and Malcolm Boxall (17, another ex Blade) will all try and fill Coppack's shoes. Based on pre-season Boxall is in the Box seat, but possibly more because of injuries to Campbell and Bowen. Campbell can also do a job at Right Back. Bowen maybe the one that falls by the wayside. Curtis McDonald, an 18yr old Welsh Left Winger from Newport County has already looked promising in pre-season. Colin Woolley, an 18yr old Right Winger from Millwall comes as a direct Lambe replacement and is probably our most talented looking signing.

Up top, we've raided Liverpool and bought 2 of their released kids - Jack Bassett and Ash Joel,  both will probably do alright without pulling up any trees. I've still got plenty of goals from last season's boys, but none of them shine a candle compared to the departed Cannonier. Also from Merseyside is Lewis Shead, who joins from Tranmere's academy.


We played less football in pre-season but against a higher standard of opponent.


Edited by KibworthBull
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August 2023

I'm a little nervous that we are expected to be so dominant again. I'm not a fan of the pressure of success. I prefer to under promise and over deliver. Rather than just deliver what is expected. It was okay last season as I knew the level. The last time I managed at this level, I got relegated..


We start against a country. Well an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy that is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a British Crown Dependency. The largest one as well.

Guernsey. Injuries to the midfielders meant the middle of the side felt a little under cooked, but a nice debut goal for Jack Bassett and a double for Lewis White gave us three points and we are off and running. 6 debutants.

Bassett appears to be good enough for the level with another double, but it was right winger Colin Woolley that's taking the plaudits against Wimborne, setting up all of the goals with some accurate passing.

I'd written the bigging up of Woolley prior to his hattrick against Yate but signs are already looking positive. It's true that none of our opponents are expected to do greatly and that they've not started well but 3 from 3 when you've been promoted is nothing but a good sign.

It's been like a duck to water


Which is nice..

Top, but bigger challenges ahead.

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September 2023

Hamworthy have started the season well. Unbeaten and sit 4th. They didn't turn up. Mitch Candlin did and it was very one sided.

Heartbreaking for Reg but if your Cruciate goes when your 32 it's almost impossible to come back from. He did a very solid job for us last season. Was here for 9 months, 8 goals and 12 assists from 33 matches.


Being at a higher level means we get we avoid the Extra round of the FA Cup and started at the Preliminary round at an extremely northern sounding club - Pontefract Collieries. We enjoyed the trip and Lewis White would have enjoyed his goal bonus, but he doesn't get one. 

September is a cup month as everything get's started - one of those months that if it goes badly then it's a long season ahead with no distractions. 

Talked about both White and Candlin.. both of them are on fire and Cinderford were terrified of them by the end of the mauling.

What's the right thing to do when your playing well? Strengthen of course. Marlon Fossey is another great name and someone who has been with a few clubs without every really getting much football. Fulham, Burton Albion and Exeter City have given him 7 games in total.


Popular You-Tuber (maybe) Tom Scott joins the club as well. This version started with Man City (no games) and then had a spell at Port Vale (1 game) and is now looking to kick on with his career.


Both were thrown straight into the Maltby Main cup tie. Jack Bassett went from hero (two goals) to villian (missing the key penalty) as we crashed out of the FA Cup remarkadbly early for us. 

There were plenty of changes for the Barwell match - Southern League Cup - expectations are that we win it. Despite being in the lower tier. Jay Bird got his first minutes of the season, alongside debutant Ash Joel which I think is a first for both strikers to have a (3,4) set up on their names. Joel scored in normal time as it went to penalties, then he missed one (sound familiar??) before Tom Scott saved a couple and we progressed.

Our first venture into the FA Trophy was a fairly routine trip into Greater London and the victory was secured with a minimum of fuss.




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October 2023

Bottom hosting Top to start the month. Larkhall. It took us into the 2nd half before we were able to stamp our authority on it. But we did eventually. Mitch Candlin get's his traditional mention for goals this year.

The Highworth victory equalled the league record for consecutive victorys and the Dorchester one broke the record. We did at least make the Dorchester one more interesting by conceeding twice in the last 5 minutes. Candlin and Lewis White trading doubles as we set the lead up in the league.

I will admit that I was expecting more of a step up from the Hellenic League Prem but even a side like Swindon Supermarine who are in and around the play-offs didn't offer us much threat. Candlin getting his goal late on in a game we dominated.

Off the pitch a few of our staff are being touted as managers - that's about exciting as things are right now. A lull with bigger challenges ahead.

As we are in a regional league we haven't yet had a long travel fixture (we play Guernsey later in the season), but that particular cherry was popped as we travelled all the way down to play Plymouth's 2nd biggest side. Another 5 goals, all of them in the 2nd half. Perhaps we don't enjoy the long travel.

In the Trophy, Bromsgrove Sporting are managed by Darren Eadie - yes, of Norwich fame. Not sure how I can tie that fact into a seamless link to talk about a game where the usual two scored and we won. We are not a one man team.. we are a two man operation.

A local derby in the 3rd Qual round for the Trophy. A huge tie. Our traditional pre-season opponents. First competitive fixture and the side I support.


We play Merthyr plenty in pre-season as well and I organised the game this season without realising we play them in the league as well... Usual suspects after Liam Edwards put us ahead early doors. 

We can end the month with a chance for our second string to get some football, at Salisbury in the League Cup. Jay Bird can dust off the dust and get some minutes. He even got a goal as we saw off the higher graded side.

Alex Penny's nose was out of joint the moment we bought in the right back, Marlon Fossey (who has struggled majorly btw). Penny, Penny, Penny takes a sidewards step for more regular football. 51 games, 3 goals, 5 assists, 9 yellows, 1 red.


Unbeaten month, there is growing gap developing.



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November 2023

Nowt bigger than Hereford. Hoping for a big crowd. 443 crammed in and Jack Bassett found the net and we are into the 1st Round Proper for the first time. 


Sholing bring a return of an old friend. But the feeling is apparently not mutual. I played him.. and then replaced him..

It wont be the main game on the Highlights package. Parkway 3-0 up, 4-2 up, 5-3 up, 6-4 up. Drew. That's a Larkhall side without a win all season.


For 45 minutes against Melksham it was ON... 2 goals down and staring at our first league defeat in over a year. Jack Bassett comes on and in a blistering 6 minute spell completely changes the match and we return with the 3 points. 

We travelled to Buckland Athletic without Jack James, because he was playing against Italy for Malta - how many step 8 players can say that.  Louie Annesley can't say it.. he was playing the Netherlands. Neither enjoyed it too much.


Behind the scene's a coach moves back into management - if he's still around next season we may well play him.


Both were back for the battle of the top 2 - Cirencester Town look to be the one that's going to get closest to us. They never got close to Mitch Candlin who took his tally to 22 for the season, but we did lose Lewis White to injury for the next 6 weeks or so. The chasing pack are now 13 behind and there is a further 11 points for the play-off pack to haul back.


The results just got better through the month




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December 2023

Ah Bishop's Cleeve, we've been expecting you...

Obviously we have as they are our opponents but you get what I mean. This one is about revenge. These guys delayed our amateur juggernaut by 12 months. We will rip them a new one, We will pulverise them, we will make them rue the day.. we will... sneak past them thanks to a Liam Edwards goal.

Someone might need to tell his agent we are amateur... he got a new deal and improved his playing time to "Important" - he pretty much plays every week but the agent is happy. I wonder what his cut of the deal was?


If anyone was wondering if our second string could progress far in the League Cup.. then the answer is not too far. Stourbridge 1s proved too strong for Newent 2s. All cricket fans know the feeling..

Another old friend meets us down in Bridgwater - Darnell Baxter-Alleyne has been a regular for them since making the move last season. He looks well. He played well as well, but we return with the posts - our second straight 1-0

Some very small positives from the intake preview. Overall it suggests it's another poor one, but 2 players called out.


I dont seem to keep keepers around too long - Tom Scott threw his toys out the pram because i decided to play someone else for a few games so he has moved on. The keepers we've got are more than good enough for this level so it's no real loss.

We've yet to concede a goal in the FA Trophy, December is becoming 1-0 month, all 4 games have ended that scoreline. Progression against Mertsham meant we had to cancel the pre Christmas trip to Guernsey. We travel down on the 27th instead - not the best one for the fan.

We finally concede in the Trophy at Cray, and throw away at 2 goal lead to fall out the competition on penalties. 2 cup defeats this month, both are underachievments as well. 


All the fans that made the trip over sea to Guernsey were rewarded with a thriller - no goals, a booking a piece. The first dropped points of the season.

A much shorter trip away ended the month - Yate and back to the binary results.




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January 2024

The transfer window is OPEN and Carlisle of League Two fancy half our squad.

Whether they make some moves or not is more exciting than the league currently. We are miles clear and the Southern League Premier is surely in our future. There is also no cup competitions for us now so it's all about the thing that's nearly sown up..

Only 1 team has conceded more than Bideford and no one has scored more than us.. so the smarter money was on a 0-0 draw. Not an 8-4 end to end thriller. Mitch Candlin gets his first mention of the month with a hattrick. He's currently in negotiations with Maidenhead United but as he has turned them down 3 times since the start of the season I am feeling okay about the chances of keeping our top scorer.

Good lad..


Wimborne are looking down, we are looking up (up up up).. All the way up (up up up)

We score 5 they don't. Colin Woolley brings his goal contributions to 20 for the seaon - 8 goals, 12 assists.

Hamworthy United provided on paper, a much sterner test. 2nd v 1st. 

Mitch didn't believe it was a sterner test. Another 3 goals.

Carlisle still haven't made any movement towards any sort of takeover of our squad. I'm starting to think they prefer to just watch.

Fleetwood have moved for one of ours, and Lisa will be happy - Tom Stansfield joins their U23s. 28 games for the Centre Back for us - he did okay, but at 5'9 is maybe not Central Defender material. Especially with a 7 for Heading. But at least he's getting paid.

We need another 8pts to secure our play off spot.




Edited by KibworthBull
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February 2024

Cinders and Ashes... 

Away to Cinderford Town, 20th in the table. A rotated side came away with an undeserved draw. Ash Joel partnered Lewis Shead up top and 3rd choice keeper Brad Kelly made his debut.

Rob Campbell was never happy at the club - signed as a star player, he never got enough games and has decided on a sidewards move to Nuneaton - they are, right now, a higher grade, but wont be in a few months. He played 18 games (8+10)

We got back to winning ways against Larkhall, means we just need a win against Plymouth Parkway to secure a play-off spot. 

The last 3 departures have all been defenders, so the scouts were tasked to find someone to come in and well, they did find someone. A short term fix is Jack Bainbridge, coming from Southport. Sadly there doesn't appear to be much out there right now.


Jack Bassett has had to wait for his chance in the side for a few weeks - then comes in and grabs 4 goals. Play-Offs secured. 


Another new addition before the month ended, Ash Kigbu, a Nigerian Left Back/Centre Half comes in. He started his career with Man City, before a spell in Austria, and then Mansfield. At 25 he needs to be playing lots of games.

We are bringing it home...


Didn't see that one on the immediate horizon.


9 games to go


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March 2024

It's very tight behind us. 6th and 2nd are separated by 3pts. 1st and 2nd are separated by nearly 30..

We host Dorchester Town, who started the day in 2nd, and they ended it in 5th.

Routine victories over Merthyr Town (where we equalled the league record for most goals in a season - 109) and Sholing where Mitch Candlin got a 4 and secured the record.

We had our intake and it was poor. The nature of this save makes it unlikely that players will be able to come through unless they are really special. Lloyd Bailey is the best of the bunch. Yeah i know.. My Director of Football wants to sign all of them... I'll be signing none of them.


A rare dropped stitch at home to Swindon Supermarine. Our 4th choice keeper, Shay Carson made his debut.

The month started 1st v 2nd and that's how it ended. Melksham Town. The loser dropped to 3rd.

Missing are both our internationals. Louie Annesley brings up his 50th cap for Gibraltar. Jack James played 90 minutes against Cyprus.

Not the most news worthy of months..



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April 2024

You wouldn't want to travel to Cirencester (4th) with 4 games to go if you needed something from the season. As it is, we can enjoy the April sunshine as we canter to our 32nd win of the campaign.

99 points and 94 goal difference, would like to ensure we get the 100 up for both in the final 3 games.

It would be nice if we can do both of them against the old nemesis, the Bishop's of Cleeve. 

We got the points, and moved close to the GD

Just like last season we had the GD before a late slip. We are on 98 with 1 game left.


In the end we did bring one of the academy players in. Bryn Wright doesn't look wonderful but we haven't really had (or found) a decent option on the left this season so he could be in with a shot.


The equation was simple for Bridgwater, score 2 more goals than them and we get the +100 GD. When Jack Bassett had 2 disallowed in the first twenty minutes it felt like one of those days. But.. we had enough.


Maximum points for the month.


Back to back invincible seasons


I'm hoping it becomes harder next season. It's been a little too easy this year.


Cleeve miss out on the final day... i know how they feel.

We are expected to win the league again next season.


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2023/2024 Season Review

  • Southern League Division One South - 1st, second successive unbeaten season
  • FA Cup - First Qualifying Round, a poor showing, lost on penalties to Malty Main
  • FA Trophy - Second Round Proper, knocked out a couple of local rivals in Bromsgrove Sporting and Hereford, before losing away at Cray Wanderers
  • Southern League Cup - Third Round, never really took it seriously, lost to Stourbridge


A 50k loss - our main outgoing is the scouting but we are still in a strong position. It helps we dont pay wages/bonuses.



A changing of the guard between the sticks. Elias Rouse has had two seasons as number No.1 but got usurped by Tom Scott (who left) and Corey Addai who did very well. Both Brad Kelly and Shay Carson shared the responsibilities of the U23s friendlies. Addai should be fine as No.1 keeper next season and Kelly will either be second choice or 3rd, depending on what becomes available in the summer.

Released: Elias Rouse and Shay Carson



It was only when compiling this review I realised how little things were rotated throughout the season.  On the left hand side Jack James proved to be a more than useful option, still a regular for Malta as well. He's as good as he will be and might struggle with the step up, but he has come from higher up so should be okay. I'll need to strengthen as Johnny Herd is going to retire. On the right, Marlon Fossey started badly but once Alex Penney departed/threw his toys out of the pram, then he got better and ended the season well, I'll need another option on the right next year.

In the middle Liam Edwards should be higher up the pyramid and was immense all year, both Louie Annesley and Luther Williams supported him in a very solid defensive unit. Both Ash Kigbu and Jack Bainbridge came in to provide cover late in the season.

Released: Johnny Herd (Retired), Ash Kigbu, and Jack Bainbridge



An area of the pitch we upskilled during the last summer. Only Joshua Edwards was in the side the previous year and he had another fine season, mainly alongside fellow dragon Sam Bowen, Bowen arrived injured and was solid all year. Only 1 booking for him as well which is impressive for a side with poor discipline. Malcolm Boxall started the season well in the side but faded to become the option on the bench, he's only 18 so can still improve. At Right Wing, Colin Woolley came in when Reggie Lambe did his cruciate and was fantastic, 15 assists, 9 goals (including a hattrick), we didn't really have any option in reserve. The left side never performed, which was a shame as they were superb last season. Jacob Berkley-Agyepong really dropped off from previous years, 3 assists compared to 14 in the lower tier, Curtis McDonald hasn't quite found his feet, but is another that is young enough to come again.

Released: Jacon Berkley-Agyepong, Luck Nock



I was hoping to continue the Jay Bird is amazing narrative for another year. Sadly it wasn't to be, he just couldn't force himself into the side, and when he did get gametime he couldn't take advantage, still 103 goals in 88 games is a very impressive performance. Mitch Candlin finally became 1st choice option and helped himself to 42 goals (78 total for the club), he seemed to have most of the National League South asking him to join him but always said no. At 23 he might be entering his final chance to get back into the pro game. Lewis White proved he can score goals at this level, as did Jack Bassett. Bassett will most likely have some pro teams asking him questions in the summer, but there is normally quite a few options out there to find similar options.

Released: Jay Bird, Lewis White and Kieran Wakefield


9 departures but most of them are no longer regulars, or never were. Lewis White will probably do a very good job next year but there is Ash Joel and Louis Shead plus un-named others waiting in the wings that are a few years younger and have more potential. It's a tough world Lewis..

Ex Players:

  • 34 former players (excluding the 9 latest) are still in the game
  • Ben Fraser made the most appearances, 49 at Litherland REMYCA (Step 9)
  • Mario Hearne hit 20 goals for Hallam (9) and got the highest average rating 7.28 and assists 10 - a fine season.
  • Kyle John had a very good season with The New Saints (Wales Step 1), 5 goals, 7 assists in 30 games, he also featured in Europe
  • Jacson Coppack played 5 times at National League level (5) with Bromley before moving to Crusaders (Northern Ireland Step 2)
  • Tom Stansfield and Joel Davidson are the only 2 contracted to Football League sides - Fleetwood (3) and Walsall (3) respectively. Neither featured.
  • Tom Scott, Jamie Bradley-Green and Joel Davidson (loan) were regulars in the National League South (6)
  • Chris Kellman continues to appear for Guyana, he got 8 in 30 at Rugby Town (9)
  • Jared Hodgkiss got relegated in his first managerial role, but he is still employed with Oakwood.
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July 2024

All change please, all change...

This was a bit more of what I expected from this challenge. A summer of our cream being cropped by other clubs. That's right... George Elokobi has moved onto manage Billericay.

Stockport County have taken Colin Woolley and Jack Bassett, Eastleigh have taken Marlon Fossey and Curtis McDonald believes that Weymouth is a better place to play. All but Weymouth (National League South) are in the National League, and all of them are now earning some money for their football. That's our entire right hand side removed, and one of our attackers and half the left side.

Oh and we had a takeover.. not that it made a diffence.

The able bodied replacements..

Sam Packham is a Right Back/Centre Midfield who was with Crewe last season, he's played 2 games in the EFL, more than likely a squad player but has a degree of versatility in his game. Our best Right Back and Right Winger is Rodney Lie A Kwie, one of those fantastically named players, he was a Leeds United Youth and also a Netherlands U19 capped player. He's 18 and will be a strong player for us.


Capable of playing on either the right winger slot or up front is Ben Morris who looks really good for someone who has hardly played at the clubs he's been at. At 25 he's been employed and released by: Ipswich Town and Crawley Town and numerous loan spells down the pyramid. He sits alongside Dylan Asonganyi, a striker who started at the MK Dons (Jay Bird, Lewis White) and has scored goals at the top level (of non league football), he scored 14 for Cheltenham as they returned to the EFL last season. Both Asonganyi and Morris should have no trouble finding the net. And if they do we can offer up, Jay Turner-Cooke, a 20 year old who lists both Newcastle United and Sunderland as former clubs, he topped scored for Rossington Main (15 in 22) before having 12 months out of the game. He might fade without a trace, he might score buckets.

On the left hand side Harry Boyes has a bit of pedigree. Capable of either Left Back or Left Midfield, he's been with Man City, Sheffield United and Reading. Granted he has never made any of thier first teams but he'll do for us. At 22, this is his time. Michael Norris will give us cover for Boyes and Jack James, he's had a couple of seasons in Blackpools U18s and will be there when we need him. Bailey Whitehead provides cover for Boyes on the Left Winger slot, his first touch, dribbling and crossing are strong for the level, he's just neither quick or strong. He's had a few loan spells at the level below us and did very well so let's not rule him out just yet.

We've had good success from Welsh Academies so far, Ashley Cook probably wont be another.. he was an early addition before the above players came in so has faded a bit. He's capable of playing anywhere across the middle and is only 17. Keegan Halliwell is an 18yr old Striker, another Welsh lad, who none of the coaches rate highly but I think he can contribute. 



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August 2024

5 games in 14 days in August. We don't start until the middle of the month and then overload.

FC Romania is our first game at the level.

Before the game, we were rocked by Ash Joel deciding to go up a level and join Kingstonian. I doubt he will be the last as Stockport are sniffing around a few.

4 of the 5 goals in the FC Romania match happened after the 77th minute, Dylan Asonganyi scored twice in a minute and we have started with a W.

Mitch Candlin got off the mark for the season in game week 2, and also became our leading goalscorer in league football.


My 200th game in charge came against AFC Totton in a 2nd v 3rd matchup, prior though it was a case of 1 in and 1 out, the departure was Joshua Edwards to AFC Telford - 88 games, 10 goals, 50 assists. They've got a hell of a player, and no one is happy with it.


The player in was Charlie Hughes, a Central Defender who was with Wigan Athletic last season - 20 years old and will be a rotational option.

You can probably get away with describing the Totton game as franetic. A 4-1 lead became 4-4 before Mitch did Mitch like things in time added and gave us another W.


There was a bit of a subdued atmosphere around Chippenham as Telford continue to try and cherry pick our players, they have targetted Liam Edwards now, decision pending. The first dropped points of the year, but we are still unbeaten.

Normal service resumed against Bracknell.



The only concern about the month is that players seem to be moving on far more rapidly now than they were before. Since the 1st June we have lost 6 regulars to good contracts at the top of the non league pyramid. This was how I thought it would have been from the off!


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September 2024

We've gone local in the FA Cup - okay, local for where I am currently writing this and not local to Newent, but it serves as an introducion. Corby Town away. Just over the border. Can be home by 5.30pm..

But that's in 14 days time.

Firstly it's Harrow. Very much NOT a local derby for anyone involved. Not that Liam Edwards is bothered, he's moved to AFC Telford.

Edwards' replacement Luther Williams scores in the 3-1 win.

Replacements are forthcoming. Firstly Louie Clarkson, he was on trial in the summer but since he's been gone there have been a lot of changes so it's a welcome return for the ex Rochdale trainee.


We are swimming in fast moving water right now with the transfers, lots of movement either way. So it's ironic our next match was against Poole. Honours Even. Mitch Candlin at the double.

Jake Hackett has been employed by the Daggers of Redbridge for the past 2 seasons, a Left Winger/Centre Midfielder. Strong option and a welcome addition.

The Scouts are looking for defenders, especially with Louie Annesley in talks with clubs higher.

Only 1 side were "a bit Casual" down in Walton. Mitch doing great things, another 4 to the tally. 101 career goals (86 for us).

But can Candlin do it on a balmy late summer afternoon in Corby? Yes he can. So can everyone else as well, especially Dylan Asonganyi who notched a first hattrick.

More new blood - Centre Half Anthony Cheshire, released by Swindon in the summer joins. A few loans at this level and 100 senior games at only 22. He has decent pedigree. A debut was made against Wingate AND Finchley.

Last year we had a poor FA Cup run after 2 fantastic years, and this year I really want to get past that first round. 

I did not see this one coming..


A record win.

8 changes and extra time are needed to see off AFC Dunstable in the League Cup.

A long month came to an end in Middlesex. Dylan getting another treble.





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