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JohanAlluvi92

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  1. On 3rd Aug at the recommendation of Marcus Browning, assistant manager, we signed a left midfielder Andy Williams who had spent the last 5 years at amateur level previously playing for Bath City from 2001-2006 and Swindon Town in the 2000-01 season. He had made two caps for Wales in the late 90s and I felt he could bring a lot of drive to the team if he could gel well with Tosh or Warburton (CMs) primarily. -Pre-Season Fixtures- H - Bedfont Town 3-3 scorers: Roberts, Tosh, Moses A - S&L Corby 2-1 scorers: Clegg (2) A - Egham Town 0-3 H - Stratford on Avon Town 1-3 scorers: Giddings H - Taffs Well 0-0 H - Bideford Town 2-2 scorers: Giddings (2) Pre-Season didn't fill me with great optimism, I felt we were quite jaded early on in games and couldn't exercise any control of situations, seemingly with the opposition trying to cap a conquest over us slightly more than the reverse. I was pleased with the versatility of the backline, playing Dawson (CB) at LB, Arthur (CB) and Tomkins (CB) at RB for the last knockings of July. Clegg (AMC) was the performer of the pre-season with Davies (LB) a decent youngster coming into the side and making a name for himself. He would carry his squad entry into the first few games of the league season for his efforts. The make up of the squad could be deduced a little like this: We had drawn Pegasus Juniors of Herefordshire in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase, to be played over two legs with the first match at Leisure Centre, Hereford on 18 August. We then faced Willand Rovers of south Somerset in the Wessex Senior Cup on 21 August. The majority of the other squads in the Wessex Premier B group were made up of youths on short-term deals. A few sides including Lymington, Wellington and New Milton had a crop of fledged players who would have a point to prove if we, Shortwood, weren't going to rip up the league from the get-go. A few players of interest and deliberation were: For the opening fixture of the league campaign we faced minor opposition in Blackfield & Langley who had been in the Wessex Premier for a good few seasons. I was asked in the Friday press conference if I was excited for the climax of the first game and my response was that whatever I felt about the contest was irrelevant, the 11 players put out would have to get full sharpness and a cohesion once more as soon as they could if we were to avoid banana skins in the opening rounds. I was asked if pre-season went well enough to be able to adopt a straight forward 4-4-2 and go and chase the game without fear of being left exposed to which I said the intention to outscore all teams at home was still in my mind our best motivation and that I would ask key players to prove that we were league heavyweights and I was just looking for fitness and performance from today's game, if we were to win 1-0 it would be job done. I took the limelight from Tom Roberts who was singled out as our most important player but I said it would be up to all the playing staff to find their A game come the tougher periods. It was then put up for discussion whether we were title favourites - to which I said we were - by a margin of a striker's off the ball instincts combined with consistency and avoiding injuries over most other dispositions. It was possible that we could draw games in which we should have won and lose ground on higher teams but I was comfortable that enough could be gained through careful coaxing of certain players to avoid any de-railing (that was not overly evident last season by and large). I was asked who would be champions of our conference taking into account all three competitions we would enter this season but I fumbled for an answer and just uttered "the league season will be defined by the team who gains most momentum through a cup run or taking of a league lead before the turn of the year to my mind". 8 Aug (WSX) Shortwood 1 - 1 Blackfield & Langley ------------------------------------------------------ 18 Aug (FA Vase Qual. round 1st leg) Pegasus Jrs 2 - 1 Shortwood On a warm day we faced Pegasus of the Wessex Premier C Conference in the 1st leg of the FA Vase. We named a changed lineup with Evans (LM) coming in for Stannard, Bridge (RM) in for Moses and Atkinson (ST) in for Davis, who although had scored 3 from 3 in the league up to this point, was at 85% fitness and perhaps wasn't required this evening. I said to a journalist that if we took for granted our demolition of Brislington 4-1 in the game prior it could be disastrous and this was a cup game with lower stakes and the factor of a two legged tie, we had to be patient with this seemingly inferior opposition. I also told the journos the pretence of playing away first could decide the tie by the slimmest margin rather than focusing all our intent after a few more league games, if we were to grab a late goal or two and swing momentum it would please me entirely. As it turned out Pegasus were worthy winners on the night, though both teams had 2 clear cut chances we couldn't penetrate enough and much to my contentment Atkinson bagged a late consolation for us to shore up the tie at 1-2 to the home side. 25 Aug (WSX) Alton 3 - 3 Shortwood In a goal feast of a game we came away having snatched a draw away from defeat in the 87th minute through clever wing play from G.Green (LM), Atkinson (ST) and Warburton (CM) to tap home. Alton scored 2 very good goals after their first and we were pricked by a plucky side who belied my low-league estimation of them. I was asked if it was a relief to get something from the game and I replied that it was justly fair and that I was pleased to get a point. I was asked if I stressed over the haphazard centre field battles to which I replied I was and that it was a great game for the neutrals and best to have these days in moderation for the goalkeeper's sake if for nobody else. 31 Aug (FA Vase Qual. round 2nd leg) Shortwood 6 - 3 Pegasus Jrs ( 7 - 5 on aggregate ) Shortwood through We welcomed Pegasus to Meadow Bank after a 2-1 defeat against Devizes at home in between the Alton game and this. I was asked if the importance of the away goal we gained at Leisure Centre made us favourites to ensure progress here and I told journos I felt it certainly did. I muttered that to dwell on an early season banana skin against a team that could have mixed fortunes at any point was a negative poise and that the 1-2 match was an unnecessary distraction rather than a deploration..... During the game we went a further goal down to trail 1-3 but immediately hit back through Williams (LM) on debut to make it 2-3. We saw J.Davies (LB) pick up two yellow cards on 16 mins and faced a struggle if we couldn't take any chances. Contradictory to the script we grabbed another goal through a headed corner kick and went in level at 2-2 at half-time (3-4). Then a roused display from all of the lads saw us take Pegasus by the scruff. We led 4-2 and then 6-3 with two goals from Davis (ST) a goal each from Rutter (RB) and Tosh (CM) alongside Atkinson (ST) the architect of the turn-around picking up MoTM and we were truly through to the First round with £1500 prize moneys pocketed. I told the press that we played magnificently after half-time and were rewards were exemplified, we didn't let going a goal down dent our prospects even though I conceded it might well have done and thus we fought valiantly with Williams (LM) on debut, standing out impeccably, he gained my praise to his great credit after the game. We were though to the next round and would face Beaconsfield over two legs. We were in 5th place in the league after 5 games. Lymington had assumed 1st place after matchday 4.
  2. SEASON 2012-13 The Wood broke even at the end of the season after more investment by the chairman and I was given an extra leg to stand on after a boardroom consensus. The consensus was that I was fullfiling squad melding ambitions and we were playing well-to-good for most of the second half of the season, not suffering from any hyper tension or staleness within the ranks given the previous relegation but they felt I needed to work more on the fortunes of Clegg (AMC) to become a fledged Advanced playmaker and with more feedback between him and Davis (ST) who I felt was coming into the zenith of his career. We could look back on half decent results against Lymington Town and good results right at the last against Thatcham and Fareham at home. But the chairman felt there wasn't enough ambition or nous from our better players and many games ground to a halt when we seemed to be doing more than just plugging gaps, particularly in October. He encouraged me to find a value for money left side attacking midfielder with experience in the Southern or Isthmian leagues who could 'turret' the wing from inside opposition half, saving himself for the later stages of games whilst providing competition with the aging Evans (LM) (39) and bringing on G.Green (AMR/L) (16) if all else failed. Almost immediately, he was on the phone to a business associate in the Window trade, not a mastic man but a composite window salesman by the name of Marcus Browning. Browning had made 5 caps for his country, Wales, in the late 90s. The chairman apparently told him that he would be duty free every Wednesday to commute back to Cardiff to give him extra time to support any errant obligations with the proceeds of his commission and come back to us with eyes wide open in the days leading up to matchday (often Wed/Sun). To that proposal Browning replied "Yes I would be more than pleased to work for Shortwood in the county leagues, on a 20hour contract at £150 p/w, I'll see you when I see you, hopefully on the 8th Juls. I won't forget those proceeds". The fitness of the squad was pleasing on the whole with my preferred first 11 almost being sure of a day's pay before any analysis was done. The young mixed with the old with all but; E.Tomkins (CB) M.Bridge (MR/L) and C.Tosh (CM) getting a run of games. The fact that we never challenged the top two gave me cause for concern although we were rarely played off the park except against Sholing (H+A), Dawlish (A) and Christchurch (A) only we were found wanting the easier route too often when we were technically good on the ball and should have showed less fear particularly against Fawley and Romsey Town. New contracts were given to Roberts (CB) at £20p/g and Stannard (LM) at £20 p/g for a further year and to Atkinson (ST) £20 p/g, Clegg (CM) £40 p/g, Green (AMR/L) £15 p/g, Scott (CM) £35 p/g and Tomkins (CB) £20 p/g for a further two years. Waghorn (L/CB) and Baldwin (R/CB) returned to Forest Green and their composure and temperament would be missed but would there be an avenue to explore to find any replacement ? Two strikers C.Fower and J.Wood also of Forest Green returned to The New Lawn after short term loans with us where they contributed 2 goals in 9 games together. We would let go : Donaldson (Ass. man) I felt his input was important on matchdays and many a time he'd be the first to say we should have a goal hanger here, we should take a break here as well as bringing a workman-like ethic to proceedings and making us look par for the course with his well cropped beard and straight lace demeanour well understood. But he desired a job in the Northern Leagues nearer West Yorkshire preferably on lighter pitches so we decided to part ways with him at season's end. His paltry wage of £50p/w was a good reflection of his endeavour and I was careful to seek the next right man to take us forward. Davis and Atkinson were amicable with his departure and not too discontented with the Don's robust figure off for a change of scene. Bevan (ST) was less than impressed as he had taken to the Don's firing range routine over the season, he told the club he had no interest in renewing his contract and would try to find another club to match his journeyman ambitions. I felt Bevan was a key member of the squad and a replacement would be in 1 in 100 to find in pre-season but if he wanted to go then his £80 wage wouldn't go amiss. So we would be say adieu to Big Bevan's 5 goal haul from the season just gone and his 15 in 2010-11. Ainsley (Physio) and Edwards (Scout) in favour of new recruits. Kane Clay (CB) --> Free Transfer Chris Yates (CM) --> Yate (£500) In their place would see the Chairman's recommendation, Marcus Browning, a multi-disciplined fitness coach who fancied 4-4-2 over 4-2-3-1 to which we would stick to and allay for next season. Moreover, Marco was clearly a people person and kept in touch with his lighter side by bringing his late 80s soft-top Ford Sierra along to Meadow Bank halls for his resumé exam. He cited Marcus Stewart (ex-Ipswich Town) and Steve Fletcher (ex-Bournemouth) as his two most accomplished teammates and how Bobby Gould once called him 'Frothy cofffee' upon being substituted while in his maiden few games for Wales. I asked him if he would pay some extra attention to spirit level training during season, which would see players loaded up with various yokes of kit and loadouts to complete sections of Mendips country running and the losers of the most kit would be last to pack up. On 26th July we signed Tony Berry as a scout on £5o p/w On 29th July we signed up Skidmore as physio on £5o p/w On July 9th we took Kerry Giddings (ST) who had returned to step 9 football after 10 years in the amateur leagues. On 20th July on Marcus Browning's recommendation we took welshman Andy Williams (LM) on trial. -------------------------------------------- For the coming season the league structure was changed so that county level would feature 5 regional divisions made up of 18-60 teams split into 3 conferences with 6 teams being promoted (top two) from each region to make way to Southern, Isthmian and Northern First Divisions (5 divs). Each team would play another 4 times. The step 8 first divisions would comprise 45 teams split into 3 conferences with 6 promotion places (top two) to the Premier Conferences and 3 relegation places in each grouping to the County leagues. The potential windfall for winning promotion from the Wessex county league was in excess of £3000. A third place finish would pocket £1000. The board had come to the conclusion that I was leading the club in this way.. And that competition expectations were to be.. In July we faced: Bedfont Town (H) S&L Corby (A) Egham (A) Stratford on Avon Town (H) Taffs Well (H) and Bideford (H) We would continue to focus on neat, slow build up 4-4-2 keeping an automatic shape and 'leisured' backline whilst on the ball with two centre backs being regulation CBs and offering only swift passes. The full backs would be automatics too focusing mainly on man marking and keeping shape, venturing only a hair's breath over the halfway line both at home and away. Davis would act as Target man, roaming in holes and taking possession of attacks with the ball on the ground. Two CMs would need to forge a working partnership of progressive cohesion consistently before a playmaker was designated. I allowed the supporting man an element of creative freedom but the ball carrier would be fairly stark in terms of creativity and flair. Two wingers would try to meld into attacking transitions, one would cross often and from deep and then lose his man whilst the other would act as a faux-raumdeuter seeking space and time to play one twos between the target man or Atkinson, the semi-false 9. We would revert to playing wide, slow 4-5-1 against more robust teams, teams playing 3-5-2 or teams with extra wide pitches with less pressing and balanced fluidity taking pot shots at any time and holding shape when key moments were accomplished. A third tactic, the 4-4-1-1 would be in effect if we came up against 4-1-2-1-2 and the opposition were largely on top of possession. Our conference consisted of: Alton, Blackfield & Langley, Brislington, Devizes, Hamble, Hartley Wintney, Lymington, Moneyfields, New Milton, Romsey Town, Shortwood and Wellington to which I was sure we would be promotion favourites and Lymington and Wellington closely behind with the rest of the pack trailing. Our first few games of the season were against: 8/8 (Wessex Premier) Blackfield & Langley (H) - Meadow Bank [2-0 Expected] 11/8 (WSX) Hartley Wintney (A) - Memorial Playing Fields [1-0 Expected] 15/8 (WSX) Brislington (H) - Meadow Bank [3-0 Expected] 18/8 (FA Vase Qualifying Round 1st leg) Pegasus Jrs (A) - Leisure Centre [2-1 Expected]
  3. What do the ermine skinned board royals make to your forays ?
  4. I have just had a third crash dump on the 26th may effecting the UCL final and post - season. I don't have a way to rectify this and can only adjust season proceedings via another edit. I am aware it may be down to trophies / awards being resurrected and not being compatible. failing that it could be 'next season division' terminal issues which after 1 or 2 edit saves cannot be fixed its just the way the editor processes it. If anyone can help, my game has corrupted twice on 26th may , i cant be sure why. This will be renewed one way or another , pants or no pants every week. I read other stories fleetingly but a lot are so morose, and the closer to 20 or 21 they are, the weaker they get.. remember it is how you predict your ascent not just reflect and gain..
  5. 5 Dec (WSX) Brockenhurst 1—3 Shortwood A comfortable win here 12 Dec (WSX) Shortwood 1—0 Barnstaple We dominated Barnstaple for large parts of the game and 1—0 didn’t do us justice only we were lacklustre in front of goal and if any team were likely to nick a goal it was Barnstaple. 3 points are 3 points and we have to pleased. We gave minutes to new signings Fower and Wood (ST) (as a sub) and we hope they hit the ground running. 15 Dec (WSX) Hamworthy 1—2 Shortwood A match we could do without owing to fitness concerns, we couldn’t be at our best today, hopefully the weather would work in our favour. Our match preparation hadn’t change from low attacking movement work. Hamworthy had lost 1 in 6 whilst we were 1 loss in 5. We scored a great goal from a 35 yard free-kick by Casey (RM). We were then awarded a penalty from a dubious decision and made it 2-0 through Yates (CM). We ground out a result in treacherous conditions and if this is the sign of things to come I am optimistic. We are still 9 points short of third place albeit making progress. 19 Dec (WSX) Shortwood 0 –2 Hamble A really poor results here against timid opposition. Our build up play was route 1 when I asked us to run with the ball, our strikers weren’t at the races again and it was a painful watch as Hamble scored two cheaky goals. We are now 12 points behind third place and another home defeat will derail our season for sure. 22 Dec (WSX) Fawley 2—1 Shortwood Didn’t turn up for the game.. 26 Dec (WSX) Shortwood 2—3 New Milton 0-3 down after 20 minutes, no way of getting back. 6 Jan The board decided it was in their interest to sell Pugh (LM/CM) even though he was one of our more experience heads and not on too high a wage for us to break even. I was disappointed as I was sure we wouldn’t find a replacement anytime soon and was frustrated by the up and down form of Yates (CM) and Tosh (CM). Was the ship sinking? I wasn’t sure. We were effectively out of the promotion running which disappointed me greatly, I felt the squad had let us down. Not the Defence or by much the goalkeeper but the Attacking midfield, the attackers saving Atkinson (ST) and lesserly the wingmen. But everyone was culpable because it had been a one way season, either up or down. Sure we had beaten Hamble, Brading and New Milton but there wasn’t much else to show for our efforts. Roll on next season—If I’m still in a job! I gave training a laid back feel and let the boys get on with it. Conework and dribbling practice was the thrust of the sessions. Gym work would continue as well as the odd squaddie run. I left the match preparation to Donaldson (Ass. Man) to see if he was fit and proper for the job. His contract was running out and we would meet up in March to discuss if we would remain together. It had been a foolscap month, no noteworthy encounters only just-adequate performances against teams we were technically stronger than. I had surmised after the 0-2 loss to Hamble that we wouldn’t be able to sustain a promotion push and it was disappointing. I was dreading the press that was coming our way. Jan Results Shortwood (9th) 2—2 Laverstock & Ford (3rd) Lymington Town (4th) 0—0 Shortwood (8th) Sholing (7th) 3—0 Shortwood (11th) Shortwood (11th) 1—0 Moneyfields (24th) Shortwood (11th) 1—1 Bournemouth Poppie (10th) (Shortwood) player of the month … Dave Hook (GK) WSX Premier Manager of the month … Steve Rye (Totton & Eling) [ rest of season fixtures ] Training since December still saw the 22 man squad split into 3 groups with 9, notably Rutter (RB) Scott (CM) and Bevan (ST) into a general category working fairly lightly in all depts I wanted them to focus on holding up the ball inner field and picking a forward pass at the earliest opportunity. Two teams would split with two central players more on each opposing team for each practice for every switch of play. Another 9 of the squad, notably Casey (RM) and Atkinson (FC) would face a relaxed schedule with attacking combination work and set—piece delivery over fitness for the most part, defending corners and shooting would be introduced on Thursday. and all would have a day off on a Friday before Saturday. This had been the scheduling between October and February until the workload was to be increased from February till the end of season in April when in would revert back. There would be no specific match preparation work for matches I’d expect to get a good result from and against teams in the top seven we would work on defending set pieces. On reflection of the training performances there was good signs coming from Waghorn (LB) and Hook (GK) who had taken the lead in training sessions and given professional displays. Finding a replacement for on loan Waghorn will be difficult next season but we hope he gives a good recommendation of the club and facilities when he leaves. At the other end, Casey (RM) in particular, Bridge (R/LM) and Green (AMR/L/C) had failed to meet the standards required and were not improving in any area at any stage of season. Casey had had game time and while he had been injured for 2 months of the season he’d been a burden for so much of it. Bridge and Green had rarely featured and were 25 minute men as far as I could deduce but we wouldn’t risk releasing them or loaning them due to having a tight budget in a lesser league from the get-go. Luke Scott (CM) had been our go-to man in training and his 6.93 high avg rating reflected the team performance. 4 Feb We signed Dale Warburton (CM) who had been out of contract for two years to add to centre midfield after Pugh had left and relieved us of his £75 wages. Feb Results 4 Mar (WSX) Shortwood (11th) 1—0 Ilfracombe (22nd) We’d had a 37 day rest since facing Ilfracombe and next went south to face Totton & Eling who were the league’s top scorers with 76 goals from 39 games. They had league’s top scorer with 19 goals, C Sheridan. It was with a jotter and trepidation that I entered the Friday press conference to tackle the task of boosting some chances. It opened with talks of the previous game to which I had no comment to make before the journalists foray took a quick turn. I was asked if being defeated 0-2 to Totton & E last time out would have any bearing on us mentally to which I soundly told them it would be an unnecessary distraction. I was then asked if we would be backs to the wall against them to which I said ‘we will be cautious somewhat and man mark better than Totton. I fended off any complementing of opposition players telling the journalists to look at the figures. Then came a disturbing question relating to Ross Casey (RM). I was made aware that an unknown had let on that his contract could well be terminated in the near future and I was asked if I had any plans for him to which I denied the rumour and implored him as I would with any other, to work hard to earn his place in the team, then alluding to a decline he’d had for most of the season. He had scored just 1 free kick season and this was his department I told them. I was then boldly asked if I had lost the dressing room given that Pugh had been sold, Casey out of the side (albeit injured) and demotion of status to Davis (ST) who was considering his options I was well aware of. I told them that Davis had the perfect foil in Atkinson (FC) to work with and his performances were slipshod of late - accepting that I had thought we would be closer to the promotion pack than we were and relied on Davis’ goals a good deal. But I firmly denied any rifts and said given the break we’d had and board confidence behind me we could work it out. I told them that nobody regarding the club would be criticised from here on in and that it was my responsibility for us not to finish in the bottom half of the table at seasons end. My demeanour throughout was one of confidence, nonchalance, determination and non-agreeability which I think I carried off to my credit although I was expecting more to be made and discerned of our prospects given that we had higher league experience more than most and a possible 8th place finish (which was our highest possible finish) being below-par. 16 Mar (WSX) Totton & Eling 0—2 Shortwood We lined up against Totton and I expected a mammoth task given Totton had won 3-0 and 7-0 in previous games. I had not information on those matches due to our scout picking up campylobacterisis and sickness in March. The match rolled along with us taking advantage of Totton’s inability to score from 4-5 chances. Our defence did very well and Sheridan (ST) was wasteful down to us. We took the lead through a penalty on 52 mins (our 15th of the season) after Atkinson (ST) was fouled. We then had the better of the second half and sealed a very satisfactory win on 88 mins through man of the match Roberts (CB). We showed we are capable of beating strong teams in this division and I told them not to play like this every week, but moreso after a 5 week rest! 20 Mar (WSX) Malmesbury 0 - 1 Shortwood We lined up with same eleven as the Totton game with all men keeping shape to 89-90% fully fit, I was pleased to lead the team out and knew there were hearts in the side. The game turned out to be a fremantle encounter. Malmesbury didn’t know how to counter well enough and the chances we made were convincing. Davis’ ‘70 minute strike (a la Anelka) won it for us and while they ran 2 more kms than us they were in deficit by 6-1 in shots on goal and we took the win with little effort. Casey (RM) who came on at half-time for Greene (AMR/L/C) took a 34yd free-kick on ‘80 mins which could easily have gone either side of the keeper and in but not to be. A win but hardly anything to flatter. Considering we have just came off the back of a long break followed by a convincing win against 4th place this is glaringly obvious what we can do and that we need occupants to occupy insofaras that stingrays might sting. 30 Mar (WSX) Shortwood 2—0 Dawlish 3 Apr (WSX) Romsey Town 2—2 Shortwood We had beaten Romsey 4-0 in the reverse fixture and I fancied us to win this one given we were unbeaten in 6. I negated the pre-match team talk as I felt we were in good enough shape and as long as we saw out the first half an hour where they were statistically most threatening we would triumph even more so after learning that Romsey’s form man Miller (ST) was on the bench. It turned out that their fill-in forward took the game away from us with his 3rd and fourth goals on 17 and 57 mins. Bevan (ST) came on at half-time with Davis (ST) having a quiet game after 3 goals from his last two apps. Bevan had two one-on-one chances for us both way off target. He has 5 goals from 18 appearances and may well have to take a pay cut if he is to remain with us next season. It took a header from a corner and a penalty on 61 mins to salvage us a draw and we remain in 8th place 3 points ahead of 9th. The referee came away with a 9 rating. 6 Apr (WSX) Shortwood 5—2 Thatcham I told a reporter not to judge us on this game because we were massive underdogs in this one with Thatcham surely on the way to promotion and winning when they wanted. We stood very little chance of a win but would make a contest of it The match started off badly when Thatcham took a 2nd minute lead through a precise header. It didn’t dispel any predictions but what was to come next certainly did. We weren’t to be unnerved on the ball and passed with purpose. Yates (CM) scored a scorcher from 25 yards to equalise on 18mins and then a 3 minute salvo from Davis via a penalty after Warburton (CM) had sidestepped his marker (on his first appearance for us) then to be hacked down. Atkinson (ST) then struck another with the assist coming from keeper Hook with a glorious first time pass for Atkinson who could not fail to miss and we took a convincing 3-1 lead into half time. Thatcham also had a CB sent off on the stroke of half time for a last man foul. I told the players I was pleased but warned them to keep concentration and force Thatcham into mistakes. The second half went exactly to plan and every man save for Rutter (RB) gave a standout performance. Davis added a second penalty on 55 mins after Evans (LM) was caught from behind slightly. Fortuitous yes but he did touch the ball andwas caught. Just how many could we get? Atkinson then took possession from 29 yards and showed a clean pair of heels to two defenders before smashing one home on 64 mins. Thatcham then replied with a penalty from a foul on 67 mins. Dawson (CB) felt hard-done by and their attacker was already on the way down prior to contact. Nevertheless, I felt sure we had done enough by that time and wanted all starters to remain on the pitch to enjoy their efforts. It looked as if we were miles fitter than Thatcham and this was by a good distance our best display of the season. We came away with a 7.44 avg rating over Thatcham’s 6.10. We had 12 shots to their 5, having 5 clear cut chances to their 1. Tom Atkinson took MotM with 8.8. 17 Apr (WSX) Alton 1—2 Shortwood We continued our impressive form here without too much effort. I was effusive in the pre-match press conference and had the press stumbling for alternatives to see where the land lay with the club saddled in 8th place though showing promotion effecting form for a good while. I had to tell them it was all down to the players’ hunger rather than point scoring over one another. I was asked if Alton had an advantage being at home to which I casually stated we had looked to this game as a priority to win and wouldn’t settle for a point. I said we were extra-prepared to hurt Alton and that a 10 day break had been a hindrance. Davis (ST) was singled out for praise but I was surprised by this and asked them to check his goalscoring history as this was his least productive season with 13 goals from 27 starts. His intelligence on the ball could do with progressing but he has does have a striker’s instinct, he was also one of the first to welcome me on joining the club and I had not a bad word to say of him personally. Alton had the better of the first half and we were slow but responded after going a goal down with more determination than them. We were awarded a 19th penalty of the season on 60 mins which was gratefully received and then once more Atkinson (ST) sidestepped the keeper to slot home for 2-1. We held our nerve and we would take this! We were now 1 defeat in 12 going into the final round of league matches. 20 Apr (WSX) Shortwood 1—0 Fareham The final game of the season and it was to be already sealed champions, Fareham of South Hampshire to try and bring us back down to earth having sealed promotion some weeks previously. Fareham had beaten us 3-2 back in November with a 90+6mins winner and I coaxed the side not to be outdone again with new contract reviews to take place post-match to be in light of their showing for this upcoming game. Fareham, who had been clearly the best outfit in the Wessex Premier, having lost just 4 in 45 and only twice to anybody in the top half lined up with a second string eleven. When the fun and games were over we managed to take a very early lead through Davis (ST) with a powerful shot from the edge of the box. Fareham put some threatening crosses our way but were wasteful and 1 goal was enough to put a blot on Fareham’s record though we won’t rest on the win for long. End of Season appraisal We can look back on the season as an experience. We were not fancied by the bookies to go up and it can be difficult to find motivation with average crowd numbers being a lot lower than last season. We had found an identity this season and were hard to beat for large parts of the season. However being catchy doesn’t always give a team a dynamic edge and for a good while since mid-season I am certain I must evaluate our budget and sideline anyone who doesn’t give the value for sickles. We enjoyed a terrific run in the last 13 matches and took to the training levels very well. We were injury free nearly all season. Dave Hook (GK) at 40 years old played in next to every match to a high standard. The defence was admirable, I can’t single out any player over the other but all impressed even youngsters Arthur and Tomkins (CB) with 6.80 avg showings from 8 or more showings. We’ll have a job to replace Waghorn (LB) and Baldwin (utility man) who return to FGR soon but with neither player having big egos we will look for players of the same dependable ilk. Scott and Yates (CM) forged a very good partnership and were rarely outplayed. Squad rotation men, Green and Evans (RM/LM) showed capability whilst being at the end and beginning of their careers respectively. Bridge (MR/L) however was surplus to requirements from early on. Had Bevan and to a lesser extent Davis (ST) come up with more goals and turned a few more draws into wins; notably against Malmesbury (H) 1-1 and Ilfracombe (A) 0-0 in October and Brockenhurst and Barnstaple at the start of September we could have pushed 3rd place. Atkinson (FC) at 16 years old defied his age and was terrific all season. In saying that, it had been a very competitive league season seeing the top 5 all take 87 or more points from 46 games. Fareham were the standout performers having gone on a 32 games unbeaten after the first 4 games. Brockenhurst had had a rough season with a strong side. Totton & Eling were the top scorers and could be title contenders next season if they hold onto Sheridan (ST) and Moon (CB) - who was the league’s player of the season. With us ending on a 10 match unbeaten run I asked the boys to look after themselves in close season, I had a feeling they would and this made me a lot more at ease before meeting with the board at the end of May. (Shortwood) player of the season … Tom Atkinson (ST) WSX Premier Manager of the Season … Danny Hunter (Fareham) Barclays Premier League Player of the Season ... Sergio Aguero (AMC) ( Man City ) Barclays Premier League Manager of the Season ... Manuel Pellegrini (Man City) (champions) FA Cup final ... QPR 2 - 1 Man City UCL Final ... Bayern Munich 2 - 0 Valencia Copa Libertadores semi final ... Boca v Libertad Internacional v Flamengo
  6. Good reading this, maybe try a total goals scored bet at an interval. its good that only a couple of matches are picked tho.
  7. 3 Nov (WSX) Shortwood 1 - 1 Romsey Town Romsey stood every chance of gaining something from this match even when I expected us to pull through our bad patch. It seemed the fans weren’t on our side when we needed them. We had only recorded 1 satisfying home win thus far which showed our lack in quality. The press kept talking up the match performances over 1 showing and I was loath to put more praise the way of my players’ fluctuating performances., namely Davis (ST), Bevan (ST) and invariably Pugh (LM) who I was unhappy with this season. At least it was quoted true though not enough praise was being dealt for our backline who were keeping us afloat. I said we would go out and attack Romsey and I also brushed off their potential threat saying I was not worried. The scouts had continued to do their research. As per usual, Romsey struggled against teams of similar reputation, were weaker against narrow, slow play though they did favour opposition of 4-4-2. There were calls from some our squad to lessen the intensity of training but I chose not to hear them, we were doing the basics right and frankly they needed to show more in games for my liking. During the game we were indifferent as usual. Evans (LM) and Stannard (CM) were poor and we created little. We scored from a regular cross and header but were pegged back immediately. We had 5 clear cut chances in the match to Romsey’s two but the stats don’t lie and we came out with a 6.77 rating to Romsey’s 6.81. An important game loomed next against Thatcham which we could not think of playing poorly in. 7 Nov (WSX) Thatcham 1 - 1 Shortwood We went a goal down routinely in a tense, poor first half. We were snatching at chances and couldn’t make spaces work. We were playing rigid, disciplined, long ball football to nullify Thatcham’s in form midfield. Their defence didn’t impress me and on our day this could be a win from a likely draw. A draw wasn’t the worst result but I felt we had recruited better than Thatcham and would finish higher than them in the end. We were snatching at chances throughout the game. It took a lucky penalty decision after Atkinson (ST) was brought down by their CB to get us back into the game and it was anybody’s to win from there. It ended a draw. We are down to 10th with 10 draws from 21 and Thatcham remain in 2nd, 5 points clear of 4th. 10 Nov (WSX) Shortwood 3 - 0 Alton With the cup competitions out of the way for most teams in our league the games took on more significance and concentration would be all important. I had a job on my hands to harness our squad and tailor match instructions one step ahead of the game. I hoped. The league was starting to take shape now, with the top 3 teams going up and the top 3 a fair way ahead of the rest of us, a false dawn I thought. I hoped. We faced Alton of Hampshire and a much needed 3 points was up for grabs. We took it with both hands today, Alton never troubled and we scored a few nice goals, straight from the training ground! 14 Nov (WSX) Fareham 3 - 2 Shortwood Prior to the game there was praise from the press for recent signing Craig Evans (LM) to which I nonchalantly mused that it didn’t matter whether he played well as long as he contributed something to keep Pugh out of the team he would get more match time. In addition I said I hoped to sign Tom Waghorn (LB) to a full deal if he was unwanted by Forest Green though it was not up for discussion at this time. Dawson (LB/CB) also got a mention for his recent form and he has matched Baldwin with fine form over the past 2 months that has kept us so solid on the left side of the pitch and doubtless won us points. We were lucky to have him (on loan)! Prior to the match I haphazardly threw out a statement to the media that I doubted Fareham would mount a promotion assault this season but perhaps they would prove me wrong. Given that they were on a 12 match winning run it was a dangerous route to take but I had not even heard of them before we joined the Wessex league and it grated on me that they were top of the league where we should be. But you have to be in it to win it and that’s what Fareham were doing better than any other side, having lost just once in 21 games. I played down talk of us well beating ‘the Creeksiders’ just to hang in there and give them what for. Our scout reported that they had a tendency to concede early in the first half but grew stronger as games wore on. It was also said they did well against 4-4-2 and hearing this I flinched and decided to play 4-5-1 with Davis (ST) being injured and Bevan unreliable. The lineup would be fit around the system of rigid counter-attacking after the first ten minutes and to play out from the back into feet. We didn’t disappoint in this game they were just more than a match for us. We were lucky to level the game at 2-2 with 15 mins to go but they broke well after we pressured a little and on another day they might have skied their chance but no 3-2 was how it ended. They are 19 points ahead of us and I tip them to get promotion from now onwards. League Position: 10th 21 Nov (WSX) Christchurch 2 - 0 Shortwood Having comfortably beaten Christchurch at Meadow Bank it came as a great shock to be dominated from start to finish by seemingly inferior opposition here. Christchurch were very good value for their win today and their league position of higher than us and we don’t want to face them again anytime soon. League Position: 11th 24 Nov (WSX) Shortwood 3 - 1 Newport IoW Newport gifted us two early goals and it was easy as you like for us today. Man of the Match: Matt Bridge (RM) (8.9) 28 Nov (WSX) Shortwood 2 - 0 Melksham A home fixture against 14th place Melksham. We were wasteful in this one, especially from free-kicks. We even missed a penalty and the importance of Baldwin’s (CB) header on 24 minutes was vital. It took a standout performance from Atkinson (ST) to get us over the line. He is showing great maturity for a 16 year old and we will sit down with him before the new year to try and sign him to part-time terms. (Shortwood) Player of the month … Luke Scott (CM) WSX Premier Manager of the Month … Stuart Hussey (Lymington Town) 1 Dec (WSX) Brading Town 0 - 0 Shortwood An easy win was predicted for us here. I told the press we would attack from the kick off and outscore Brading simply put. I forewarned the team that the previous win had no bearing on this game and to watch for complacency with eagle eyes. We had beaten Brading 3-0 on opening day and I expected more of the same. James Baldwin was praised to which I agreed with reporter and I set him a challenge to go one better and be the driving force here. A really poor showing ensued. We created next to nothing and it was as if we had just turned up for the first game of the season prior to being relegated. Oh wait that had already been!? We were even gifted a fortuitous penalty and Green (LM) skied it. Our front two were very poor, Bevan (ST) will be dropped. There are now 9 teams fighting for third spot and being 8 points off we are 8th out of 9 in the running. A day to forget which makes me all the more agitated for the last game of the month against high flying New Milton.
  8. 26 Sep (WSX) Hamble 0 - 3 Shortwood Up next were Hamble ASSC. Another team we had to be wary of given their recent form and unpredictability. They had scored 5 and conceded 5 in matches 5 games, prior to this. The pre match press conference was centred around what I thought of Hamble and I said they were doing well without pulling up any oysters and I said we would be careful in transition of play not to be sloppy when the playing surface would be greasy particularly early on. There was recommendations of praise for Jack Rutter, mr evergreen who is right up there at the moment as our most important player and the best player I’ve managed thus far. He is dependable, does the basics really well and has positional sense a lot greater than some, even in the divisions above ours. We are lucky to have him. Tom Roberts (DC) is also in top form so it was right to accept and remember well all plaudits for him. We went 3-0 up at half-time and whilst it was not a perfect performance, we did get the job done early and everyone to a man had a hand in the victory today. Squad harmony is at an all time high. I felt as if contracts were to be beckoned and distributed… League Position: 3rd 29 Sep (WSX) Shortwood 1 - 1 Fawley (Shortwood) player of the month… James Baldwin (CB) S1SW Manager of the Month … Simon Browne (Hamworthy) 3 Oct (WSX) Shortwood 0 - 0 Lymington Town 6 Oct (WSX) Moneyfields 2 - 2 Shortwood We started out of the blocks very well here, there was an opportunity from range in the first minute but Davis (ST) just needed a little more luck. We penetrated the opposition well and on a sticky surface made use of the ball well with neat balls into Davis and Bevan. It was comfortably 2-0 at half time. Somehow we managed to lose grasp of the game and from an innocuous cross they beat our strong CB, Baldwin to the ball and netted. I would have been less concerned had it been from a whipped in cross to the zone of our 5’4 CB Roberts - though it was not his zone, but Baldwin’s. Moneyfields then proceeded to earn a penalty from a careless foul by Tosh (CM) who is on a run of poor form and they were to level up at 2-2. We couldn’t reply from a couple more good chances. Recent signing Dawson (LB) was taken off injured but luckily it was a mis-prognosis and he is just stiff. Match stats stood that we had 4 clear cut chances from 13 shots to M’fields 3 from 6 shots. We were dead level on an avg team rating of 6.55. It was unquestionably 2 points dropped though. 10 Oct (FA Cup 1st round) Shortwood 1 – 2 Rocester A nervy game in which Rocester had many chances while we rode our luck and the 0—0 scoreline was respectable at half—time. Rocester continued to have a good couple of goalmouth scramble opportunities in and around our point of scoring when Rutter and Davis linked up sublimely. I couldn’t muster any wise words for the lads other than to push higher up and feed off Davis and Bevan (ST). Eventually the game was decided in extra time when Rocester took their cross opportunity gratefully on 92 mins and there was no further action in reply. I was disheartened to be knocked out of the cup, it was never winnable but I am disappointed we didn’t produce more given that we went 1-0 up. Our 13 match unbeaten run was ended. 13 Oct (WSX) Shortwood 0 - 3 Sholing We faced top of the league Sholing who were going great guns and over achieving. I played down any notion of attacking them at will and wanted to dissect the game as best we could with disciplined creativity and hassling opponents. It was to no avail, we really disappointed and Sholing continued their great form, credit to them. 17 Oct (WSX) Malmesbury 0 - 0 Shortwood Malmesbury caused us more problems than we had liked and we were lucky to escape with a draw in a dull game. We were now winless in 6 and needed to get back on track. 20 Oct (WSX) Ilfracombe 1 - 1 Shortwood Chris Davis with a Rooney-esque blisterbolt on 37 mins. An innocuous equaliser on 70 mins. Another two points dropped. Poor at best. Our league performances are subsiding alarmingly. 24 Oct (WSX) Bournemouth Poppies 0 - 3 Shortwood We visited Bournemouth with trepidation. They were 3rd in the table whilst we were 7th. Lady luck was on our side and we were good today. We had 78% heading possession and 12 shots on goal which is pleasing. Shortwood Man of the Match: Tom Roberts (CB) (8.8) League Position: 6th 27 Oct (WSX) Shortwood 0 - 2 Totton & Eling An even game in which we didn’t disgrace ourselves, we were just down on our luck, which I have to be held responsible for. We edged the first half and were unlucky to concede the first goal. Totton came alive in the second half and deserved their win. Incidentally, we didn’t complete a single cross in their half which was the crux of our downfall in a league that facilitates crosses to good aerial players. 31 Oct (WSX) Dawlish 3 - 0 Shortwood A dire performance here, we looked frightened to make a pass, Dawlish could have had 5. What will it take to get the confidence and preferred moves flowing. We are scratching our heads to understand our poor form at the minute. (Shortwood) player of the month… Alex Dawson (DL) S1SW Manager of the Month … Danny Hunter (Fareham)
  9. 11 Aug (FAV 1st Round 1st leg) Almondsbury 2 - 1 Shortwood The players limbered up for this one like brere rabbies, running free for a sodomites life only to be brought back down to earth before long. Yes I told the players to enjoy their freedoms, drink strength beer, whiskey, Sambuca.. Whatever it was to unleash the inner beast. We had had an innocuous pre-season and I just wanted the players to unleash their potential, even at the behest of their mental capabilities. We had to show Almondsbury every respect but we also had to nail our stripes as soon as possible. Why? because we had not home advantage at this moment. It seemed Bristol City or worse still Gloucester City were profiting from our last relegation by assuming our focal fans. I played down any semblance of this being any easy encounter for us, stating we would be lucky to gain any sort of advantage in the first away leg. I was heard to praise our new recruit Hook (GK) saying he had all our prayers answered in a swat bag behind his goal, to his credit he had graced smaller crowds than were expected on a debut appearance. Ross Casey caught the limelight, with a few teams interested in his availability and, I was unsure where I stood with him. He might just have outgrown the club at his ripe age of 32…? Concerning the match, we lined up with probably our strongest squad but allowed The Almonds to threaten throughout the first half, which I’m sure was down to motivational issues. We were not likely to threaten to win the FA Vase however Almondsbury had every chance of a good run in the knockout competition. They scored in quickfire succession mid-way through the first half from quality strikes. We addressed the marking at half-time and came from the game with higher win rate percentages in tackling (77% - 63%), crossing (28% - 15%) and passing (65% - 61%)! as well as making up more ground than Almondsbury which I was very pleased with. A late goal from debutant Matt Bridge kept us in the tie but I’m confident we will be lucky to get through to the next round! 14 Aug (FA Cup Qualifying round) Erith Town 1 - 2 Shortwood We were favourites for this match against non league side Erith who had played only 2 pre-season fixtures but named 4 part-timers (rather than fill-ins) in their squad and were touted to have a match winner in the centre midfield in Hart (CM). We were yards off the pace in the first half, perhaps it was nerves perhaps it was complacency, I didn’t know which to castigate the team about first at half—time, having gone down 0-1. We responded well, I kept faith in midfield and Atkinson (ST) by giving them 75 minutes. Harrison Arthur (CB) scored from a corner and then Atkinson slotted home a winner on 62 minutes. It could have finished 2-2 but we rode our luck and were through to the first round. After the game I heaped praise on Harrison Arthur. Elsewhere in the FA Cup Qual Round … Brockenhurst (WSX) 2 - 3 Rocester Chichester 3 -1 New Milton (WSX) Fareham (WSX) 1- 2 Team Bury Thatcham (WSX) 3 - 1 Bishop Sutton Totton & Eling (WSX) 1 - 0 Stokesley Tring 1 - 2 Newport IW (WSX) 18 Aug (WSX) Melksham 2 - 1 Shortwood This was no surprise entry into the Wessex Premier. A game against a team made up of mostly amateurs. I was heard to say that we wanted momentum from the FA Cup Qualifying round victory, something we had never asserted in the last campaign. I wished pre-season could have lasted a few more weeks with our team blend good enough to be able to control these sort of games. I just wanted a good performance here without attaching too much importance to the result. I also went on record to say we might be able to challenge for the Wessex Premier title which was met with appreciation by Rutter, Casey and Bevan whose careers seemingly were at a crossroads. We started well in the match, making moves down the flanks and wearing down Melksham in the first half. Davis scored from a routine floated cross and glancing header. In the second half we were poor, we didn’t play to our strengths and there was complacency. Melksham had the right mentality and laboured to a 2-1 victory courtesy of a great solo goal to outwit our goalkeeper Hook’s opportunity to save a match. Melksham played to the best of their ability, I could have no complaints after the match even though it was etched on my face that we had dropped all 3 points in a milestone match. 21 Aug (FAV 1st Round 2nd leg) Shortwood 2 - 2 Almondsbury (3 - 4 on aggregate) Almondsbury made the 18 mile trip to our place, Meadow Bank knowing they still had a job to do. I welcomed this sort of fixture because we had played similar opposition to them in pre-season and were still training fitness intensively which was vital in games at this stage. I most of all wanted us to be rigid defensively and then to penetrate towards the second half. We still had this mindset going into half-time 2-0 down (1-4 on aggregate) and managed to dignify a ropey performance with two late goals to draw the match, but we were out of the Vase. 25 Aug (WSX) Shortwood 3 - 0 Brading Town We faced Brading who were ‘also rans’ of the league and had only one part-time player of note who coincidentally didn’t feature in his favoured striker role, instead at RM. We dominated the game (as expected) and probably should have scored more from our 17 shots on goal. Luke Scott (CM) scored a debut goal from close range. He took the MoTM here and I was pleased with him post-match though I felt there was a lot more he could contribute to, firstly to make the CM position his own with Casey, Tosh and Yates being preferred to him at this moment. Harrison Arthur was injured with a hamstring injury and he will be out for 4 months, meaning we had no cover for any position in defence which I would seek to address before too long. 29 Aug (WSX) Newport IoW 0 - 0 Shortwood We started out the better team, not too much created but nullifying Newport into counter attacks which they were straddled by. We saw two crosses come back off the crossbar and I was cursing Bevan and Davis (STs) who were a few yards out of reach at each chance. The game petered out and both sides were out of sorts in attack. I fancied Newport to be up there for promotion and we had to take this point imperviously and move on. League Position: 10th 1 Sep (WSX) Shortwood 0 - 0 Brockenhurst We were sure favourites going into this game. It was a wide open game in the first half, Brockenhurst had at least 3 good chances in which they rattle bar from the edge of the box from a long ball. They were good value for a win from their first half play. We had to close Brockenhurst down better and play out from the back but it was to no avail. Atkinson (ST) was replaced by Bevan who teed up Davis (ST) twice, however he had an off day today, such as was the like of many of last season’s. It riled me that he could be scintillating on his day but very poor the next. I can’t be too disappointed with the scoreline, we worked hard in all fairness. We had 4 clear cut chances to Brockenhurst’s 3, the game just needed a goal. We trialled a RB who came out with a 7.1 finish. If he plays well in the next game we will sign him up m/pg. We were now four games unbeaten and faced struggling Barnstaple next - away. We could really state our intentions with a win against a team who had lost 6-1 on 1 Sep and were 4 losses from 4 in the league. 5 Sep (WSX) Barnstaple 1 - 1 Shortwood I expected all 3 points here given that we were on a good run and Barnstaple not so. Even so I envisaged a tough game against better known opposition and I was sure Barnstaple wouldn’t be trailing the pack come the meatier middle of the season. There was no press conference before hand and maybe that gave Barnstaple the mental upper hand. Given their pre-season objective of a mid table finish it seemed they had more to gain than us however nitty gritty it got. In the match, Barnstaple were resolute and seemed to have more freedom on the ball than us. I was disheartened as I felt we were in a good place and squad harmony was never better. Both teams tried several efforts from range in the first half, it was to be the home team who would succeed to break the deadlock, their best player in Bassett on 43 mins, there went my pre match instructions. I was frustrated. We weren’t playing poorly enough to reshuffle and we weren’t doing badly enough to castigate any one man. I gave the boys ‘what for’ at half time. Telling them that if we were to win this league we would need to shut out the timid Tina’s and get our shots on target at the least. We booked our ideas up in the second half and started brightly, on 53 mins, an equaliser from Davis (ST). We definitely should have made more of our play and laboured to a 1 all draw. I had a decision to make over which of the two triallists would be signed.. DC or DCR both ex-Vanarama League South players. I said I was pleased, unsuprised and expectant of Davis (ST) who really needed to find his form if we were to challenge title contenders in future. 8 Sep (WSX) Shortwood 3 - 1 Hamworthy A game in which I was confident our qualities would show and prove too much for Hamworthy, who were ex-non league and punching above their weight in the Wessex Premier. I made a remark saying I felt suitably prepared how Hamworthy would line up, I asked the squad to attack from the early exchanges, we should be putting in double the effort we are on the training pitch at this point of the season. Our fitness levels were very high but our technique was well off, as if we were playing in baggy trousers with a punctured football throughout! We made hard work of it, we had too much rigidity when it wasn’t required and we snatched at chances in the box. Bevan (ST) disappointed, I really don’t know where his form has gone,.. prima-donna-ish. It took until the second half for us to get going and thankfully Hamworthy weren’t prolific enough to be two goals up so we were on easy street. Pugh (LM) saved the day for us, (he has done these things before) and Atkinson (ST) scored on his league debut. We deserved the win, though not by much! 15 Sep (WSX) New Milton 1 - 2 Shortwood I tried not to put us on the back foot pre-match, I said we needed momentum most of all which perhaps was not true given the individual qualities of the likes of Rutter, Waghorn, Pugh, Davis et al but I was wary to avoid disjointed performances so I said we would go out and attack and see what damage we could do to top of the league opposition, Christchurch. They were punching above their weight, but at home, a loss would be damaging. I praised Luke Scott albeit parenthetically, he was not full fledged yet and I also praised Pugh who I thought was garnering all the plaudits the press and the fans were giving him, though he did still have much to prove at this level. He should be in the top #10 performers in this league given the past experience he had in the game. We signed DC/L Alex Dawson prior to the game who would be a squad rotation man and try to break into the first team when given the chance. We were well worth our win here, executed the game plan well (to get wide as early as possible and stop their counter early). Atkinson (ST) was faultless and we kept a clean sheet comfortably. 3 points well deserved, and it meant a lot given that I had Brockenhurst down as promotion contenders, pre-match. 16 Sep We signed Jon Stannard, ex-Witton Albion to provide cover and competition for LM. He could also play at CM when necessary. 22 Sep (WSX) Laverstock & Ford 0 - 0 Shortwood An away match against Laverstock of Salisbury who although they were upper mid-table quality had a few players touted as serious dangermen (an DL, MC and ST) when they were in full swing. I couldn’t look further than the win given our current 8 match unbeaten run. During the game they hardly laid a glove on us. They only threatened from the odd corner and their front two who I was belting out instructions for wee anonymus, moreover we also were very wasteful. I switched to 4-5-1 at half time, hoping to shackle their midfield and give Pugh, Casey and Stannard much creative freedom but it wasn’t to be. Those named seemed to be pot, kettle, black out of position and many shots were blazed way over. Atkinson (ST) had a bad day and Davis (ST) who replaced him on 70 mins didn’t provide much at all. It was nowhere near a-top of the league showing and it was concerning. League Position: 6th
  10. SEASON 2010-11 2011-12 As the Wessex County league beckoned i was concerned by the levels to which we would fall whilst our close rivals progressed. It is a damnable thing that the few weeks spent in holiday mode left many players negligent of the ambition of the club or taking their time to cement their reputation, pinpoint their deficiencies ( ie. become the trequartista at their best or the flying wing-half that would give the would-be Patrice Evras shudders, tee up their positional partners more than once a month) and ultimately work at what they were weakest at. Yes early season games and gaining match fitness proved very little when above all things - that the cash flow was low. My opinion of squad players had not changed much since our downturn in form from October 2010 onwards till relegation. I knew that Rutter, Pugh and Davis could make a pass, hold the ball up well and not be fazed by equal opposition. Rutter (RB) was our player of the season, playing at 6.8 avg throughout the last campaign in 25 appearances and keeping the defence rigid in his influence. Top scorer Chris Davis was a seasoned pro who would regularly turn out 6.9 avg where favourable. I had faith in both layers to lead us back to winning ways. We also had Casey (RM) and Bevan (ST) who had continued on until at least end of 2012 and this was a bonus I would come to depend on. In the close-season a few notable names were relived... Joe Jackson - Ass Man. ---> Free Transfer Darren Pond (CM) --> Oxford City Dave Wilkinson (CM) --> Spalding Robert McCormick (ST) --> Free Transfer Alex Allard (RB) ---> Free Transfer In their places came "press" mantra, long-ball enthusiast Brad Donaldson as Ass. Man on a modest £50 per week. He would handle training and individual attribute focus to Rutter (RB) and to E.Tomkins (CB) in the strength and heading depts respectively. I was hands off until right before match day when match prep would be introduced to annul the oppositions strengths chiefly. I envisaged this to be mainly defensive positional work and team blend to incorporate 4-3-1-2 and also; as was previous, 4-5-1 in "defensive" and "controlling" mentality. We would not be favouring "contain" or general "attacking" play because we had not the creativity or stamina to master either. We would favour slow 4-4-2 with target men once again and on the road against tough opposition it would be disciplined 4-5-1 with emphasis on wing play. We had a number of balanced youths enter our squad in the close season and this was a plus point. I did not want ambitious players, longing for a money-fuelled quick switch regardless of how our season was to pan out. I did not really favour determined players either, chiefly because it grated on me that it might pose as a weak trait at county league level. I knew we needed wide men first and foremost and took to signing up: Craig Evans (LM) 39 Years old from free transfer Luke Scott (M RLC) 15 Years old from Clevedon Tom Roberts (DC) 21 Years Old from free transfer Greg Taafe (CM) 21 Years old from Yeovil Town Cathal Tosh (CM) 18 Years old from Cheltenham Mark Clowes (LM) 15 Years old from Bracknell Dave Hook (GK) 40 Years Old from Andover and on loan: James Baldwin (DC/R) once again loaned from Forest Green Rov Tom Waghorn (DL) 18 Years old from Forest Green Rov Up from the youth team were promoted: Harrison Arthur (CB) Eddie Tomkins (CB) Graham Green (AM RLC) We were given a wage budget of £46 per player/per game which was above with the Wessex League avg salary range, however we were spending around £30 p-p/g at the time of writing. Notably, Bournemouth Poppies (expected to finish 5th) were at a modest £15 p-p/g salary range whilst Brockenhurst (exp. finish 7th) and Dawlish Town, also on the South Coast (exp. finish 8th) were at a salary range of £40 p-p/game. Pre-Season was a sideshow.. I was happy with how debutants and triallists played, although nobody shone at the time and it was clear we had a lot of match preparation training to catch up with... -Pre-Season Fixtures- H - Cwmbran 1-0 scorers: Davis H - Merthyr T 2-3 scorers: Casey, Rogerson H - Barry Town 1-2 scorers: Casey H - Ely Rangers 3-0 scorers: Atkinson (2) , Davis H - Forest Green Rov 1-2 scorers: West A - Holmer Green 1-2 scorers: Green Player of the pre-season was the castigated Ross Casey (RM) (Squad rotation man at best) whilst Chris Davis (ST) and E.Tomkins (CB) did well. Well enough to earn their spots for August at least. We had trips to Almondsbury Town (A) first leg in the FA Vase before Erith Town (A) in the FA Cup Qualifying round before the league season began. I deduced that the strongest players in the league were: Kyle Bassett (ST) - Barnstaple Russel Perrett (CB) - Brockenhurst Kevin Wills (AMR/C) - Dawlish Town Gavin Jones (CB) - Fareham Brian Malllon (DR/L) - Lymington Town Karl Luisi (ST) - New Milton Shaun Reay (ST) - New Milton Alex Francis-Greer (ST) - Newport IoW Ryan Ashford (ML) - Sholing ( all of which were £1 - 4K in value ) I had gone on record to tip the league standings like this... 1, Fareham 2, Brockenhurst / / / 3, Sholing 4, Shortwood 5, Newport IoW 6, Christchurch 7, Thatcham 8, Hamworthy We wouldn't be far away from promotion, but we must do anything we can to ensure our season is not curtailed too soon. We were in both cups, but squad bonuses would be tipped in the favour of a strong league finish, realistically promotion at the first time of asking. We had the squad, numbers and experience wheras many others didn't coming into the seasons start. ----August 2011---- (Preview) So I fancied us to beat Erith Town of the non-league in the FA Cup over one leg, to battle bravely against Almondsbury of the S1SW in the two legs of the FA Vase and to gain 6/9 points in our opening 3 games of the @Wessex Premier Season 2011-12. It wasn't a great deal to ask and I was in agreement with all our staff who had helped gel the side and had really put a shift in over the pre-season coming off the back of a tough relegation from the league pyramid last season. ACHTUNG BABY! July - August 2011 Major Transfers from around the globe ... Juan Manuel Vargas Fiorentina - Man City - £15.25M John Heitinga Everton - Man City - £12.75M Cristian Zaccardo (RB) Parma - FC Bayern - £7.5M Andres Guardado Deportivo - Dinamo Moscow - £7M
  11. ---- It was heading in the wrong direction for us, we had a lot of sunken heads, why would you feel sorry for yourself at this level when you might be plying your trade In royal doulton in the near future.. We were trying as a squad to make progression towards our out-ball rigidity stable play, only it seemed mixed messages were getting across.. What we needed was an Icelandic mantra of play but had time made the better hold out for direr days? 10 Apr (S1SW) Shortwood 1 - 1 Didcot There was no pre-match press conference strangely, we faced Didcot who were chasing promotion in 4th place. Nothing was changed match preparation-wise , it would just be ball work and gym work. From here on in the players would decide for themselves. In the game we huffed and puffed and firmly edged the first half. Rutter (RB) scored from a free kick and Davis (LB) also played well, before coming off injured. Allard (RB) replaced him and he was caught out in the last minute when he lost his marker. 1 point instead of 3 and with North Leigh winning away from home, we needed 4 points from two games to stand a chance of staying up, even though we had outplayed Didcot here with an avg team rating of 6.88 vs 6.87. 17 Apr (S1SW) Shortwood 5 - 0 Mangotsfield We were told by the media that 5 points from 3 games could well see us avoid relegation and in training I could see Bevan (ST) take up the mantle of being chief whip. I asked Ross Casey (RM) and Pugh (CM) to improve, telling them their future was on the line. 20 Apr (S1SW) Swindon Supermarine 0 - 2 Shortwood Graveyard dining.. We whowed up when the foglights were dimming. It could have been so much better had we performed like this earlier. It was a shame. We were already relegated pre-match due to Merthyr Town and North Leigh finding wins as they’d hoped. I lied to the media saying we had a lot to prove still and that the funereal atmosphere just might play into our hands so that we might upset the apple cart. The press praised Bevan’s recent form but I was loathe to agree. I felt like a juggernaut wondering if I really had super powers. Time would tell.. ============ Season end. RELEGATED TO WESSEX LEAGUE PREMIER. ============================ final table (S1SW) (Shortwood) Player of the Season… Jack Rutter (RB) S1SW Manager of the Season … Chuck Martini (Godalming Town) Barclays Premier League Player of the Season ... Sergio Aguero (AMC) ( Man City ) Barclays Premier League Manager of the Season ... David Moyes (Man Utd) (champions) --------------------- UCL Final ... PSG 1 - 2 Chelsea Copa Libertadores Final ... Boca Juniors 4 - 1 Liverpool (URU) MORE TO FOLLOW
  12. 2 Feb (S1SW) Clevedon 1 – 0 Shortwood Regional Cup winners Clevedon had us in their sights. Could we return with a shock? Or would we roll over for them ? Clevedon win but in truth it was a poor match. 13 Feb (S1SW) Paulton 1 – 0 Shortwood We just didn’t turn up for the fight here, it seemed we had foregone all intimations of fight to the finish, we looked depressed simply put. We had quality strikers, good wide midfielders, decent-average central midfielders and yet we were impotent. It really grated on me that these players should wear the red shirt. Was it that they weren’t listening anymore? I didn’t know who to castigate, I could not give them more to do in training in case their was a backlash, god it was awful. They made the press look like Pomeranians at times like these. 112 watched on as Paulton laboured to a 1-0 win. 16 Feb (S1SW) Shortwood 2 – 3 Cirencester (Rivals Match) There was little to be envious about coming into this game. Cirencester were in 9th place and we in 20th place, in relegation zone. Prior to the game I was quizzed by a rookie journalist as to whether squad harmony had been ruined due to bad performances. I had to agree but I tipped our players to use their hard earned reputations in the previous seasons and upset the apple cart. It wasn’t miles way, we just had to deal the first blow and hold out for a result. I was also asked how I would set the side to play and I said we would attack from the first minute, with Cirencester the Centurians being susceptible to attacks at intervals—their team being on the slow side. Once again another manager, this time my rival tipped us to be relegated and I could only respond by saying that Hughes (the opposing boss) was doing a good but unremarkable job,. Hopefully it would have a negative effect on the high flying opposition… We didn’t rise to the occasion and once again it seemed the players were ignoring me. Laxidaisical passes from full back to centre midfield and centre forward were easily countered. Thompson (LB) and Rutter (RB) were very poor and Cirencester had a number of close attempts before taking the lead through a cross and header on the stroke of half-time. I swore to high heaven this was not what we deserved. But it was true. We will be going down if we continue to misfire. We have 3 winnable games out of 6 remaining and 9 points should see us stay up but it will take more than harmony to do it. We are currently 4 points shy of 19th place having played a game more than North Leigh. (Shortwood) player of the month… Jack Rutter (RB) S1SW Manager of the Month … Brian Hughes (Cirencester) 2 Mar (S1SW) Shortwood 1 - 3 Evesham Evesham were next to visit Meadow Bank on the back of my toughest week in the job (and also the most heady) . The press had me worn and dusted before hand which meant we would go in to the game carefree, all blame on me. We started well in the game, scored a goal of quality from Bevan (ST) but then went missing for the remainder of the game as Evesham dominated midfield. Pugh (our first team CM/LM) was covering at CB as he agreed to but was made to suffer. And Evesham and co. effortlessly brushed us aside. League Position: 21/21 6 Mar (S1SW) Merthyr Town 1—0 Shortwood A difficult game to watch. We lined up with regular 4-5-1 but did not trouble them until the second half. A silly foul committed by Johnson (CB) but us right on the back foot. Nobody stood up to the task, and we will go down with another home loss like this. 30 Mar (S1SW) Shortwood 2 – 0 Yate We pulled off a fine result here against 2nd place Yate Town. The team showed great mental strength and class to fell a good team on their day—only it was our day. However, North Leigh in 19th place found a win against 18th place Merthyr Town, so our win meant little changed for our prospects, we were 4 points adrift with 4 games to go. (Shortwood) player of the month… Ben Pugh (CM) S1SW Manager of the Month … Mark Collier (Swindon S) 6 Apr (S1SW) North Leigh 0 - 0 Shortwood The most important game of the season, there could be no room for powderpuff here. Thankfully North Leigh had won 1 in 8 of their last home games, but had recruited well in recent weeks and had a fresh look. They certainly didn’t fear relegation, but I did. ........ 3 games to go, 3 points adrift .
  13. 26 Dec (S1SW) Shortwood 1 - 3 Stratford A game that slipped under the radar during the close season and one we will want to forget. Robert McCormick (ST) made his debut coming off the bench, maybe I had stunned the team somewhat by hailing him as a prodigy during an interview. We could not get near to Stratford, we were ripe for the picking and I was very disappointed. 3 avoidable goals scored against us and McCormick came on to grab an equaliser, which in these uncertain times, being bogged in the relegation mire I questioned it to be a false dawn. Hopefully I was wrong. I was annoyed that the post-match press conference focused on McCormick’s performance rather than the team’s low determination, and I eyeballed a scurrying teetotaller press lad away and out of the ground. Who would be a gaffer? 29 Dec (D1SW) Bishop’s Cleeve 2 - 1 Shortwood We had to be careful, there could be a vicous cycle of results if we didn’t apply ourselves correctly. I really wasn’t sure how to lineup against Cleeve, they were in 15th place and we were in 19th, out of the relegation zone by 1 point. Both sides appeared to be rooted there. The press conference was lively, we were touted as boing-boing boys who could not be written off but usually were underwhelming, which was true. I had no past glories to mention, I was two or three results away from ruining my relationship with the board but also a few away from mid table security. I told the press to second guess how we would play, I didn’t like all the speculation that once the old heads in the team (Casey, Pugh, Baldwin, Bevan) were in the shop window, we would falter. I added unneccesary pressure because of this towards G.Johnson (CB) to nullify Allsop (ST) of Cleeve who was their dangerman. The press then went for the jugular and criticised Pond (CM) and Lawler (GK) to my annoyance and I no commented the questions, stating that they were one trick ponies and to focus on other matters, such as the predicted dangerous pitch at Kayte Lane, Bishop's Cleeve. We were undone in the match by two reckless challenges on their strikers, which I was to blame for instructing. Two penalties were conceded and scored by Allsop. We replied instantly to the first through Davis (ST) with a brilliant lob but then were beaten after conceding again. No player was at fault with every man averaging 6.5* or more in the game, it was just a shame that they had to win by creating very little. (Shortwood) player of the month… Jack Rutter (RB) S1SW Manager of the Month … David Mogg (Yate Town) 1 Jan [ S1SW League Table ] 1. Fleet (9th) 5. Cirencester (7th) 9. Swindon Supermarine (3rd) 13. Cinderford (13th) 17. Merthyr Town (1st) 21. Thatcham (19th) 2. Paulton (11th) 6. Godalming (14th) 10. Wimborne (20th) 14. Tiverton (2nd) 18. Bridgwater (17th) 3. Yate (6th) 7. Didcot (8th) 11. Stratford on Avon (18th) 15. Bishop's Cleeve (16th) 19. Shortwood (12th) 4. Evesham (15th) 8. Mangotsfield (10th) 12. Clevedon (5th) 16. Taunton (4th) 20. North Leigh (21st) 2 Jan <--- Southern Regions Cup Final ---> Clevedon 1 - 1 Swindon Supermarine (Clevedon won on penalties) 5 Jan (S1SW) Shortwood 1 - 0 Wimborne We faced Wimborne in a must win-game. We were in 19th place whilst they were in 9th place. Training intensity went down a notch before the game into general fitness drills, long-range passing buildup, gatework and 4v2s. It would be a good fraction less than Sep-Nov training and a good deal less than pre-season fitness work. During the match on a cold day in the forested range of Meadow Bank, Nailsworth we scored early one through a close range finish by Rob McCormick (ST) but then the game turned edgy, I was worried we would be undone by the unassuming (even still) lob cross into the box and failure to intercept—this was not to be and we ran out 1-0 winners. We remained in 19th place with a 4 point gap from below. 9 Jan (S1SW) Taunton 1 - 0 Shortwood We would line up with 4-5-1 because Taunton were unnervingly sound in central positions, they had a league ‘one to watch’ in Fouhad Bellaid (CM) but had their top scorer, Draycott out through injury. This counted for little in my estimation. There was no pre-match press conference before-hand. Another game so soon perhaps was not what we needed. I neglected the match preparation work and further scouting of Taunton because I believed the playing surface would pan out to be the most important factor. Taunton were in 15th place and not fairing as I had imagined (I had pinned them down to a 4th place finish). There was little I could say to jee the players up for this one and we went down to a 1-0 defeat. It was just the tale of a team playing to their strengths and responding to expectation versus we, who are struggling to impose ourselves on a regular basis. 18 Jan We signed Kieran Davis (LB) to replace Alec Baldwin who was returning to Forest Green and bolster our defence which was the most volatile and important area of the squad. 19 Jan (S1SW) Shortwood 0 - 1 Godalming The best team we have faced this season. There chance creation was second to none in this league. They featured the league’s starlet in Jamie Nolan (AMC) which the scouting staff made the team aware of pre-match. For the second game running, we would lineup with 4-5-1. We couldn’t contain Godalming’s intensity, they made space and time whereas we a shadow off this playing to my mind the only setup we could damage them with. A credit to them, they really should get promotion playing like this. They scored through a corner, which was a credit to us. League Position: 20th / 21. 23 Jan (S1SW) Cinderford 1 – 0 Shortwood One of the more experienced teams in the league but by the same token, one of the most fallible. They had the league’s top scorer in Sommers (ST). According to our scouting report. We were terrible here, they really put the shackles on us, it was temultous watching. 5-3-2 is the future and we were light years away. League Position: 20th, 1 point away from North Leigh. Major Transfers in January included: G.Chiellini - Juventus - Real Madrid - £44.5M R. Montolivo - Fiorentina - Dortmund - £24M L. Baines - Everton - Man City - £16.5M L. Donovan - LA Galaxy - Chelsea - £6M 30 Jan (S1SW) Shortwood 0 – 6 Fleet We faced Fleet who were 2nd in the league and coming off the back of a 6-2 win against regular underperformers Merthyr Town. It came without surprise that opposing manager Steve Leigh would as so many had done before, tip us for relegation, which did little to boost our January blues. I relied heavily on my assistant, Hindley to cajole our players. We invited a fire breather into training mid-week to set fire to our PET modified goals and in the 5 a sides, the losing XI, would have to do 10 laps of Meadow Halls training park to a time of 32‘ 17 seconds., clean the other half’s boots pre-match and cook with the cadres on the following Monday. It was character building alright! I purt pressure on Fleet Town boss, Steve Leigh before game saying he was doing a very good job but would have to take us seriously to preserve their top of the table status. Anybody could beat anybody else at this level in these parts I had surmised. The match was a write off after 7 minutes and a disaster at half-time with us 0-4 down. There was nothing I could say, nobody wanted to be gentle nobody wanted to tear into their teammates, I felt very tense. We were on time for the second half but Fleet knew exactly what they had to do and it finished 0-6. It was a big ask if we were to come back from this. We stood 20th in position 1 point separating us from North Leigh in 19th but I did not feel any solace for my stricken team henceforth. (Shortwood) player of the month… Dave Wilkinson (CM) S1SW Manager of the Month … Steve Leigh ( Fleet Town )
  14. 10 Oct (S1SW) Shortwood 1 - 1 Merthyr Town I made the decision to play 5-3-2 instead of regulation 4-4-2 just before the game. I thought we would try to stifle teams, in the same way as had been done to us and try to sneak a 1-0 win. Bevan (ST) would continue as the advancing forward with a touch of creativity but not too much. Davis (ST) would play as the deep lying forward, varied (mixed) passing, with little creativity, closing down often and to hold his position. It was the same pretext as we had started the season with only an extra defender, less roaming of the midfield and less width. I wasn’t counting on us getting anything from the match because I had tipped Merthyr to win the league though we were only 8 points away from 10th position and the season wasn’t going too well for the opposition either. In the game we went down 1-0 to a good header but pegged them back mid way through the second half thanks to a great strike from youngster Lee Price. He took the man of the match award and I couldn’t be more pleased for him today. 17 Oct (S1SW) Shortwood 3 - 0 North Leigh Up next was North Leigh, who were promoted last season and have found it hard on the road, picking up just 1 point from 9 games prior to this. If we didn’t get a good result from this game I would be dropping all those at fault and it would be a thankless task of having to claw back points we had no right to. We lined up without injuries to our core and I had the luxury of dropping Bevan, Casey and Wilkinson for Hoskins (ST), Price (RM) and Wilson (LM). We played medium-quick tempo 4-4-2 to begin with and I wanted the game wrapped up before 70 minutes. Davis had a host of good chances during the first half with good service from Pond (CM). Davis struck home on 29 mins at the fourth attempt. He was brought off at half-time because I felt he was snatching his chances when he needed to be calm, he was my fall-guy at this moment in time. Rutter (RB) scored from a free-kick on 76 mins and Johnson (CB) added a third late on. A vital win for us. 24 Oct (S1SW) Yate 2 - 1 Shortwood We faced in-form Yate Town who were in 3rd place and we in 19th. They had one of the league’s most talented strikers in N. Plummer and in good form was also J.Ayres (LM/ST). I was looking forward to the meeting for sure, Yate was within 20 miles of Nailsworth and this notoriety I hoped would bring out a sign of things to come. I didn’t fancy Yate to go up—although top half definitely, as long as things went their way… The pre-match press conference was cordial. I told them we couldn’t go into the match thinking about defeat and that anybody could beat anybody given their day. I was questioned about Bevan not being at his best to which I emphasised he would soon bounce back and return to top form I was sure. Then came a question regarding a squad player for Yate to which I stated it would be dangerous to focus solely on stopping him, given that I was unaware of him I winged it. Then came a tough question about Merthyr Town facing North Leigh, with both sides in relegation trouble I was scratching my head to give them an answer and said it would be a tight match up with neither side wanting to show their hand too early. My enthusiasm for the Yate game was knocked, I just had to hope we made the most of our short trip to Lodge Road, Yate. 27 Oct (S1SW) Didcot 2 - 1 Shortwood I opted to play 4-5-1 against Didcot. Strangely our scout report noted that they were prone to scoring in the first 15 minutes of games (when we were most troubled) and conceding most between the 30th and 45 minutes (when we were most productive). (Shortwood) player of the month… George Johnson (CB) S1SW Manager of the Month … Kevin Sharp (Paulton Rovers) 13 Nov (S1SW) Shortwood 2 - 2 Swindon Supermarine I feared that this would be a walkover from Swindon S, who were in 5th place whilst we were at the bottom of the table. We reverted to 4-4-2 playing slow, narrow play. It took a special performance from Davis (ST) who scored 2 quality goals to match Swindon. We could have re-taken the lead at 2-2 and both teams piled pressure on at the start and end of the second half. It was a reassuring performance except for CBs Potter and Baldwin who could have done more. Nevertheless it was a point gained. 21 Nov (S1SW) Mangotsfield 2 -1 Shortwood Mangotsfield were without a win in 7 going into this game. They had no win in 7 and were out of all cups. During the match both teams laboured to create chances, many wild shots dictated the game. Wilkinson and Pond (CMs) did ok for us but Davis and in particular Hoskins (STs) were poor. We thought he had taken a point at Cossham Street but conceded in the 94th minute to go down 2-1. 27 Nov (S1SW) Tiverton 1 - 1 Shortwood Tiverton were in 12th place while we were bottom of the league. They were bookies favourites for promotion but it seemed their season had not got going. I was put on the back foot during the pre-match press conference, was heard to say that we had to work harder to turn out better performances. I was concentrating on our next match and little else because this could be a heavy defeat or an unlikely upset in favour of us. Neither team outplayed the other, they had 4 clear cut chances and us 2 but these were questionable. They missed a penalty from a reaction save from Lawler (GK) who I am sure is our best keeper. Justice was dealt when Davis summoned his magic to power a shot from 20 yards into the net and we took a point, gladly. Tiverton’s average rating for the match was 6.62 while ours was 6.85. (Shortwood) player of the month… Chris Davis (ST) S1SW Manager of the Month … Tony Tillbrook (Mangotsfield) 12 Dec (S1SW) Thatcham 0 - 0 Shortwood A drab match with both teams lacking confidence and the will to win, thankful we didn’t make any slip ups and we kept a clean sheet so we are pulling in the right direction. Considering Thatcham have the lowest wage budget in the league and looking poor on paper they showed a collective spirit and they might have snuck a 1-0 win if it had not been for good displays by our backline when I was tweaking our offside line at regular intervals. 15 Dec (S1SW) Shortwood 1 - 0 Bridgwater A cagey game in which we landed the first and knockout blow on 4 minutes through a neat link up between youngster Lundy (ST) and Bevan (ST). Lundy impressed during pre-season and has the knack of losing his marker well. I have a feeling he will be needed as an outball against aging sides from here on in. Bridgwater made a good start to the season and beat us 4-1 at their ground so it was nice for the boys to understand that good days will follow bad and each team has the capability to beat another at this level given the right application and mental strength. We were now out of the relegation zone. 20 Dec We signed Robert McCormick from FC Belize on a free transfer. He was a talented striker, number 9 who would challenge Davis and Bevan (STs) for places while Andy Hoskins was dropped from the first team and transfer listed.
  15. 8 Sep (S1SW) Godalming 1 - 0 Shortwood Opposing manager Chuck Martini of Godalming chucked some chagrin over our upcoming game by stating he didn’t believe I would achieve anything this season for Shortwood and I retorted by saying Godalming surely deserved a better roll of honour but was doubtful it would be fulfilled under him, Martini. I also highlighted Bevan (ST) to go one better and continue to be our star man. I had faith that Bevan would could outwit their defence and opted to play him alone up front in a standard 4-5-1. Hoping we would repel their attacks and get early opportunities I told the team to retain possession defensively and pick pockets for Bevan. Ultimately it wasn’t to be and no change of formation to 4-4-2 could stop us from going down 1-0. A fair result. 12 Sep (S1SW) Shortwood 2 - 3 Cinderford I was wary of the threat Cinderford had, being one of the more regular constants in the S1SW and also having a good record in knockout competition. They were out of sorts, having only 1 in in 7 in all comps and conceding 16 goals during. But it was still early in the season and only Bevan in our side was half-firing. The game turned out to be a good watch, we took the lead from a close range finish and then missed a penalty which knocked us back and gave them momentum. Clever finishes put them 2-1 up and we looked frail once again. A brilliant run and round the keeper finish from Bevan levelled the scores at half time. In the second half we couldn’t control the game and went down 3-2, ruing our losses after the game. I had to knock back the press who were claiming I wasn’t in control of the squad and many players were baying for higher pay packets from other clubs. I could only reply by saying our talisman, Bevan was still in form and that this could jee up the squad to match his performances soon enough. 15 Sep (S1SW) Shortwood 1 - 0 Taunton A good performance here to rectify a slow start where we weren’t sure of the strengths we posses and our defence had to stay solid - which they did. Taunton were poor and I doubt they will cause any upsets this season. 19 Sep (S1SW) Fleet 3 - 0 Shortwood Fleet Town had a lot to prove whilst being at the top of the league. They had the most experienced squad in the league but had not ascended to the top by being prolific up front. They had their wing to thank for their league position and if they were to implement counter-attacking 4-4-2 well, every team would struggle to beat them. Their gaffer took a cheap dig at me before the game saying ‘we were doomed’ so long as I was in control and I had to rap back that Steve Leigh was out of his depth at this level. Was it a point scored? No. We were very poor against Fleet, the whole team mis-firing. Fleet were cruising at half time 3-0 up and there was almost nothing of the spirit we showed against Tiverton on opening day. They were Average rated 7.24 and us 6.17. Very poor. We had to respond quickly. 22 Sep (S1SW) Shortwood 1 - 3 Clevedon A good chance to character build and put the doubters to pasture for the meantime, we faced Clevedon were 10th while we were in 14th. I couldn’t look beyond the same back four of Baldwin (RB) Potter, Johnson (CB) and Thompson (LB) . We started with Hoskins (ST) up front instead of Davis because he was frankly capable of a lot more than he had been giving, which rankled me. If I was to get the sack at this point I would lay blame at Davis’ feet and we would have one less journeyman to worry about. Throughout the game we were lax, wayward efforts, lack of crosses and were undone by their midfield when it mattered. Even after Clevedon going a man down, we couldn't press on and they finished us off on 90 minutes to win 3-1. 29 Sep (S1SW) Shortwood 0 - 2 Paulton Another home game followed against Paulton Town who were in 6th place and us in 17th place. We started with Allard (LB) who had returned from injury, Pond (CM) who we had missed in recent matches and Casey (RM) who I kept faith in during poor - average form. Paulton made better use of the ball, held a higher line better than we did and won here easily 2-0. We had 3 clear cut chances to their 2 though this counted for nothing. (Shortwood) player of the month… Sam Potter (CB) S1SW Manager of the Month … Morton Titterton (Stratford on Avon Town) 3 Oct (S1SW) Evesham 1 - 0 Shortwood We faced Evesham Town of Worcestershire with them in 11th place and us in 18th. They were well known in their region for taking players from Kidderminster FC and Birmingham City so they were to be watched and scouted closely. Our Scout Jake Donaldson, noted that they play mixed mentality 4-4-2 and rely heavily on CM Reilly to provide for Ball (ST). I had them down as lower mid-table ambitious and that if we played well enough we’d beat them 2-1. It wasn’t to be. In a mediocre game, it finished 1-0 to them and points lost to nearby opposition is not a good sign. I fended off critics of our team after the game, saying that players were not reflecting their salaries and that I had lost control of the squad, I said we were a close bunch and that no potential suitors could be found to offload players so we had to stick by them. I said I would go into the transfer market if only there were an experienced head to settle down in defence, having already added Baldwin (RB) who wasn’t nailing his spot thus far. Was it a road to ruin? I told them of course not. 6 Oct (S1SW) Cirencester 2 -1 Shortwood (Rivals Match) A local rivalry match against 15th place Cirencester Town whilst we were in the relegation zone. Cirencester had a large, capable squad who were on double our wage budget. They had had a poor start to the season but had won 5 out of 6 of their last matches. They were also in the 3rd qualifying round of the FA Cup. Pre-match, their boss Brian Hughes nonchalantly dismissed us, saying we wouldn’t recover from our recent slump and would be lucky to survive relegation from S1SW. I thought this was very distasteful and wanted to deal him a blow back. I put pressure back onto him by saying they would sink or swim, having a squad of capable also-rans. The press were eager to damage our chances further and I had to support Bevan (ST) by saying he was much more prolific than any other in both squads, enough said. They also targeted Davis (ST) and G.Johnson (CB) though I carefully annulled each criticism and they took heed quickly, thankfully (the press). The match turned out to be a limp contest. In the first half we were given time on the ball but it seemed we had no self-belief, our only efforts were from range (as were Cirencester’s) to which we gave the ball back to them without threatening. There was no steel from the midfield or the attack, even though we needed to win this fixture more than they did. We conceded in the 30th minute and the game petered out until the 86th minute when we were given a lifeline from a penalty, converted by first-time taker, Peter Gilchrist!! We then did nothing to redeem ourselves by conceding a damning late goal to Cirencester from a Fernando Torres—esque finish. (2 touch placement into the back of the net within a matter of 2 or 3 seconds). Managers had been known to be sacked after poor runs like this. Gratefully I had retained backing from the players and in keeping well within the wage budget I would continue on. But my performance and leafy holiday home in the Brecons, all inclusive, were under review. League Position: 20th
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