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neilhoskins77

(FM'11) The Story With No Name

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Tuesday 6th July 2010
A sleepy town on the Thames is where fate has placed me for this latest attempt at cracking the big time world of football with a start from the bottom. In this case, the bottom is the ninth level of English football, as the game is asked to randomly select me an English lower league club, and hands me Chertsey Town of the Combined Counties League, Premier Division.

Established in 1890, they are a club that have achieved, well nothing actually. They won the Surrey Junior Cup before the turn of that century, but then took over fifty years to actually become a Senior club and join the Surrey Senior League, and then until 1960 to win the Title. They won it twice more in the next three years, adding three League Cup triumphs to it as well before turning professional. That lasted exactly three years, costs were too high for a club of this size, and they reverted back to a lower level of football. In recent years, with several League reorganisations, Town earned promotion twice, only to find the higher level too competitive for them.

Now I'm joining a club that is expected to challenge for a promotion. There is no real signal that it's on the cards from what I can see, the club want to spend £575 on wages, already spending all but £8 of that, and worse still, spending £400 of it on just one player. I'm not sure that's a sustainable situation. The club has a bank balance of £8,500 right now.

With no backroom staff at the club, the first job is to try and bring in some help, while also evaluating what kind of level of player we have, and what we need to make immediate improvements.

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*Welcome. Football Manager'11, twenty four nations, with only lower level League's from England added to the traditional FM preset options. No other tinkering has taken place, even unfaking, as I forgot to do it, so don't slap too much of your hard earned cash on the Germans winning the Euro's or World Cup during this one!

In the spirit of a proper lower league save, I won't sign staff unless they apply for the job, or are recommended by a current staff member or player. As for on the park, players need to be scouted, playing in trials that I or my staff are invited to or recommended before I can attempt to sign them. Should keep things interesting. Enjoy.
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Of course, in a proper LLM you can't name players, either :D

Good luck with this -- I do love a good small-club save.

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20 hours ago, tenthreeleader said:

Of course, in a proper LLM you can't name players, either :D

Good luck with this -- I do love a good small-club save.

I was never really a fan of the not naming players rule on the Lower League Save section of the Boards. Actually, I wasn't particularly a fan of that section of the Boards period. Not a particularly friendly place, hence why I migrated here. In the end, they were getting very few posts, and I believe from memory that led to a softening of the rules.

Thank you, appreciate it. I can honestly say it's never crossed my mind to start from the top.

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Wednesday 7th July 2010
With five job adverts posted for the main roles we need to fill, there really isn't a great deal more I can do until those positions have been filled. I'm left to analyse the squad that we have in place, and work out what will suit us best on matchdays.

Saturday 10th July
That first matchday arrives several weeks earlier than we are prepared for, as pre-season kicks off today, with an away trip to a club from the same level of football as ourselves.

Pre-Season Friendly
vs Shoreham @ Middle Road, Shoreham-by-Sea

A match that we are entirely unprepared for against the Sussex County Division One side. I lined my team up in a narrow 4 -4-2 Diamond, which featured both defensive and attacking midfielders. We have just three Senior players in the squad, a 21 year old centre back, Dominic Worthington, and two 25 year olds, one is our £400 a week wage budget destroyer, Jamal Da Costa, the other is striker Dean Papali. I'm forced to pluck goalkeepers from our Under-18 side.

We fell behind quickly when Jack Harris beat young keeper David Underwood at his near post in the second minute. It could have quickly got worse, but the 16 year old makes a smart stop to prevent a clean through Harris netting again. We would equalise ten minutes later, striker Geoff Howell had his legs taken from under him in the box, and one of our better youngsters, Ollie Jones, who is operating out of position in the defensive midfield role today, picked out the bottom corner with his well taken spot kick. Ten minutes further on, and Shoreham were back in front, Paul Lambert's powerful header from a corner led to confusion between Underwood and left back Rob Neale on the post, neither taking responsibility for a ball that could have been knocked away. That lead was extended before the break when Lambert's header up the park sent Durwin Andrews into a sprint against Dominic Worthington. The striker won the race, and powered a shot past the young keeper to make it a two goal lead at the break.

I asked my young side to dig in for the second half, reminding them that it is pre-season and the work will count later in the campaign. I made a few changes too, and that worked well when Dean Papali not only kept the ball in play, but then sent it to the far post, where young striker Trevor Flack tucked it in to reduce the arrears. With the final ten minutes fast approaching, Andrews netted his second for the hosts, stooping to head home Geoff Lawson's whipped cross in the 78th minute. We kept plugging away though, and as the clock hit 90, we reduced the arrears once more, Grant Charlton's free kick from the right picked out defender Ian Baldwin, and he won the ball in the air, and looped his header back across goal and into the far top corner. Shoreham still had time to have the last word in injury time though, Gavin Dormer's cross from the left found it's way through our defenders in the box, for Harris to apply the finish from close range to complete his double and a 5-3 win for the Sussex club.

Shoreham (3) 5 - Jack Harris (2,90+2), Paul Lambert (22), Durwin Andrews (38,78)
Chertsey Town (1) 3 - Ollie Jones (12 pen), Trevor Flack (52), Ian Baldwin (90)
Attendance :- 46
David Underwood; Jamie Hatter, Dominic Worthington (Ian Baldwin 45), Joseph Geddes (Tom Bolton 68), Rob Neale (Liam Edwards 45); Ollie Jones; Lee Barlow, Mark Middleton; Jamal Da Costa © (Grant Charlton 68); Geoff Howell (Trevor Flack 45), Dean Papali (Jack Preston 68).
Unused Substitutes :- Jamie Feetham (GK), Alex Whittingham, Ian Potter, Martin Wright.

That could have gone a lot worse. There were plenty of positives from today, and some of the youngsters really put their hands up. But we need some more Senior players, and when we get some staff in and can actually go to work on our recruitment, it would be a smart move to start building from the back. A good, solid, Senior goalkeeper is an absolute must.

Tuesday 13th July
While we still have an absolute lack of staff, it will be myself who will be left to attend the Trial Day that takes place later in the week. 80 players who's dreams of making a career in football have been shattered over the summer, all have a chance to impress a legion of visiting scouts, coaches and managers who are looking to add to their squads. It's highly improbable that any of them will see a small town of less than 20,000 people and a team in the ninth tier of English football as the ideal location to resurrect their footballing dream. But as it's my only option to bring players in right now, it would be ridiculously inept of me to not try my luck.

Thursday 15th July
The trial matches are over, and what can only be described as a free for all begins as clubs try to snap up the Free Agent players who were involved. As expected, signing for Chertsey Town is a tough sell, and only around a handful of players are prepared to even consider discussing terms with us, and even then, they are unsure on how much they badly they want to play at Alwyns Lane.

The bottom line is that we don't have the money in the wage kitty to attract any of these players, even with the money available extended slightly to £625 per week. Most of the players who will talk to us are looking for somewhere around the £150-200 a week mark.

There are only three options now. Wait for a Scout to arrive via our job advertisement, and hope that he can find us some players who will accept lower wages. Or, ask Jamal Da Costa to renegotiate his contract, reducing his own salary to put some more money back in the pot and allow us to bring in some quality players. You'll surely not be surprised to hear that Da Costa has zero interest in that option, actually asking for a pay rise!

We are now left with the prospect of selling Da Costa on, or releasing him, with no guarantee that the players that we are coveting will sign for us even if we can come up with their magic number on salary. There is no right or wrong answer I suppose, just a very difficult decision for a brand new first year manager. A Boardroom request for more wage budget room goes better than expected, as they bump the pot up to £750 a week, giving us a bit of room to play with. For now at least, Da Costa will be staying.

Friday 16th July
It's time for the second of our five pre-season friendly fixtures, and this time we're welcoming the Reserve side of Blue Square South League outfit, Hampton & Richmond Borough. We have an agreement with the sixth tier club that we can loan players from them at no cost to us. We are not obliged to play the loaned player, and he can be recalled by his parent club at any time. In return, they will send a team to play us in an annual Friendly match at Alwyns Lane, with no obligation to send a strong side, and we keep all the gate money. With Reserve sides it's always difficult to judge the level of quality we'll be facing, and the level of motivation too. Our work has mostly been on setup and routines for attacking set pieces this week, so hopefully we get a chance to put some of that effort to good use.

Pre-Season Friendly
vs Hampton & Richmond Borough Reserves @ Alwyns Lane, Chertsey.

With no new faces since last time around, there is only one change, Ian Baldwin has suffered a bruised head and is out of the matchday squad, and with no one to replace him, we are three players short compared to our visitors. The set piece work didn't get off to a particularly auspicious start, as Mark Middleton completely overhit our first chance to send a corner into the box. That said, we were very competitive against a strong Borough squad in the first half, Ventislav Mirchev's overhit free kick was punched clear by David Underwood, who produced a good diving stop to keep Lawrence Yaku out before the break.

The second half started with the sides very equal, but with the hour mark approaching, we found our way through the Borough defence. Lee Barlow won a tackle and played the ball to Geoff Howells, who held it up before picking out Dean Papali. The striker played it square for the man every Chertsey fan was talking about, Jamal Da Costa, who strolled in on goal, and slotted the ball underneath the newly introduced keeper, Luke Edgecombe. Was that a response to all the speculation regarding his future? Either way, the lead was wiped out inside a minute, as David Stevens sprinted by Jamie Hatter, and Underwood could only palm his low cross into the path of Carl Gibbs, who stabbed the ball into the bottom corner from close range. As if that wasn't bad enough, we were soon behind. Middleton lost the ball to Adaje, and he swept it forward to Ben Edwards. He wasted no time with moving the ball forward, instead curling a 30 yarder out of Underwood's reach and just under the cross bar! Middleton would do his best to make amends, a 25 yarder of his own missing the target, and a free kick into the box just missing a group of blue and white stripe shirted team mates. In front of a poor crowd, we didn't quite match up to a good side.

Chertsey Town (0) 1 - Jamal Da Costa (58)
Hampton & Richmond Borough Reserves (0) 2 - Carl Gibbs (60), Ben Edwards (63)
Attendance :- 27
David Underwood (Jamie Feetham 69); Jamie Hatter, Dominic Worthington, Joseph Geddes, Rob Neale (Liam Edwards 69); Ollie Jones; Lee Barlow, Mark Middleton; Jamal Da Costa ©; Geoff Howell (Trevor Flack 69), Dean Papali.
Unused Substitutes :- Tom Bolton, Alex Whittingham, Ian Potter, Martin Wright, Grant Charlton, Jack Preston.

That was an improved performance, but we still need some help. These young players are giving it their all with less than a handful of Senior players around them. If we can get some reinforcements in through the door, they can develop at a reasonable speed, rather than being chucked right into the deep end.

At least there is finally some progress though, as the adverts for some backroom staff are starting to bring in some results.

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I had the same problem when I managed Kildare County way back in the day. Zero money equaled zero interest from just about anyone worth a lick. Carry on!

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20 hours ago, tenthreeleader said:

I had the same problem when I managed Kildare County way back in the day. Zero money equaled zero interest from just about anyone worth a lick. Carry on!

Absolutely one of the bigger challenges when managing further down the pyramid.

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Sunday 18th July 2010
Five candidates have stepped forward to be a Coach for us at Chertsey Town, and one of them is a standout candidate. He is offered the job, and the advert is removed for that particular role.

The groundsman needs to know what our plans are for the season so he can make sure that Alwyns Lane is prepared properly. I tell him that order of the day is a narrow and long park, we plan on playing through the middle, so we want to limit the amount of space we give our opponents to try and go around us.

Monday 19th July
First thing Monday morning, and 29 year old Joe Little has signed his deal to become our Coach. The Londoner has signed a two year deal worth £50 a week. I'm absolutely relieved! I feel like I've been talking to myself in backroom meetings for the last fortnight! Little has had one previous backroom job in football, he was a Youth Coach with Millwall.

Hopefully that has started the ball rolling, as five more applicants have come forward to take on Scouting roles. Two of them are now sitting on contract offers, our first and third choices. I couldn't get near the salary demands of our second choice applicant.

While we continue to wait for a Scout or two to arrive, we do at least have a Coach who's willing to put a shift in. Joe Little rocks up at the backroom staff meeting with the names of half a dozen young players he believes could give us some immediate improvement, and that we can afford. One of them has just rejected an offer from Northern Premier League Division One South side Spalding United.

Tuesday 20th July
The two Scouts have both quickly agreed terms to join our backroom staff....we're going to need more chairs! 37 year old Warren Newbold is from Ilkeston, and is taking on his first job in football. Royston born 38 year old Ian Ryan joins him, and he is also taking on a football role for the first time.

Wednesday 21st July
Our next pre-season match is this evening, the final one we will play at home. We're taking on another Sussex County League Division One side, with Crowborough Athletic the opposition this time. We've spent some time working on defending set pieces this time, and that will most certainly need to be on point when we get into the competitive games.

Pre-Season Friendly
vs Crowborough Athletic @ Alwyns Lane, Chertsey.

With no new player arrivals yet, we are still going with what we have. Obviously that isn't particularly great news, and Lloyd Wilson sent a 10th minute curler wide of the target as Athletic tried to get themselves on the front foot. We would then produce some attacking intent of our own though, Mark Middleton sending a free kick high and wide, while Jamal Da Costa continued his crusade to prove he is worth his outrageous salary, skipping past a few Athletic players before curling a low shot beyond Anthony Reeves, but wide of the post. Unfortunately, we would pay for those missed chances, as on the half hour Danny Ellis made ground down the right, and his cross picked out Michael Watson, who netted with a downward header. Their lead would stick through till half time too.

I wanted to see some more from this young squad after the break, but within ninety seconds, we had shipped another goal. Steve Porter sent over a free kick from the right, and Dominic Worthington failed on his marking job, Luke Burns getting away from him and sending his header into the bottom corner. Not a good job from our only Senior defender. At least on the plus side we did get that one back immediately, right from the kick off we produced some smart passing and got the ball to the half time sub Trevor Flack. He held the ball up, before releasing it into the path of Da Costa, who drew the keeper out and lifted it over him to score for the second consecutive match. We had given ourselves a chance to get back into the game, but Middleton missed the target with a free kick, that one just too high. Da Costa would have the next try, reaching a near post pass from Dean Papali, but sending this shot across goal and wide. Once again, paying for the misses looked on the cards, Ashley Allanson's cross from the left found it's way to the far side of the penalty box, where John White was judged to have been pushed by Rob Neale. There was a booking for Ollie Jones for his protests, and then a saving grace as Michael Hamilton blasted the spot kick against the top of the bar and over. With time ticking down, we went for the equaliser, Da Costa showing his turn of speed , but his finishing was off the mark this time, as he shot right at sub keeper Adam Humphreys. Instead, Athletic sprung us open at the other end, Allanson getting into the box, and taking a shot that deflected off Worthington, who's miserable day was compounded when he watched the ball spin away from sub keeper Jamie Feetham and inside the far post. Another defeat. This is become a bit of a habit.

Chertsey Town (0) 1 - Jamal Da Costa (48)
Crowborough Athletic (1) 3 - Michael Watson (30), Luke Burns (47), Ashley Allanson (90)
Attendance :- 17.
David Underwood (Jamie Feetham 82); Jamie Hatter, Dominic Worthington, Joseph Geddes (Tom Bolton 82), Rob Neale (Liam Edwards 82); Ollie Jones (Alex Whittingham 82); Lee Barlow (inj - Martin Wright 65), Mark Middleton (Grant Charlton 82); Jamal Da Costa ©; Geoff Howell (Trevor Flack 45), Dean Papali (Jack Preston 82).
Unused Substitutes :- Ian Potter.

Maybe we're just saving the wins for when the real action begins? Or until there are more people in the ground to watch us get that elusive victory? I think I'd feel better if we just went ahead and got the monkey of our backs now though if I'm honest.

We have two Friendly matches left to play before it all kicks off, and we badly need some reinforcements, both and off the park. With less than a week until the penultimate match, it feels kind of like a ticking clock if we're going to get some bodies in and get them some pre-season game time as well.

Thursday 22nd July
There are three positions that still need to be filled in the backroom, and we now have applicants for the Physiotherapist, Fitness Coach and Assistant Manager roles. Contract offers have been sent out to what we consider to be the best candidate for each role, except the Assistant Manager job. The best candidate for that wanted a wage that we only pay to forwards who sound Portuguese but are milking a huge salary from a Surrey club that can't afford it. Sorry, did I say that out loud?

We have several irons in the fire for players now, but we are going to face some competition for several, if not all of them.

Friday 23rd July
We need some Senior players, and at the age of 38, former Welsh International full back Darren Barnard absolutely fits that bill. With Barnsley and Bristol City among his former clubs, and with nearly 450 League matches on his CV, the dead ball specialist is currently on a Player/Youth Team Coach contract with another Surrey side, Camberley Town. He would be a perfect mentor for some of our young players, and I tell the press that despite his age, he is a player I'd very much like to bring to Alwyns Lane.

Friday does bring good news though, as our backroom staff recruitment is complete. Dean Davis, a 26 year old from Blackburn, will be our new Physiotherapist. 30 year old Matthew Hanley of Grays is the clubs Fitness Coach. Finally, I have my new right hand man, 34 year old Trevor Burns from Lichfield, who becomes Assistant Manager. None of the three have worked in the game previously.

Saturday 24th July
We're one of the front runners for the signature of a player that would be a significant upgrade in our defence, but a host of other clubs are now in the race, and we are going to face some significant competition.

However, the race is over for the signing of Craig Miller. And we have won that race! On the face of it, 19 year old left footed winger Miller is not an ideal candidate to improve our squad, but I can see enough potential in the speedy dead ball specialist to get him in the door and attempt to convert him into a centre midfielder. We will be Miller's first Senior club.

We miss out on full back Sean McKenna, who has taken an option to sign for Wakefield of the Northern Premier League Division One North instead. But there is better news on forward Michael Simpson.

The 19 year old six footer who can play up front or behind the strikers rejected our first offer, but was keen to continue talking, and before the day was out we had reached an agreement with him. The fans are absolutely delighted to sign a player of Simpson's quality, stating that they believe the club may well have pulled off a signing that could dramatically enhance our fortunes. Time will tell of course, but the club shop are reporting a run on jersey's with his name on. I'd be happy if some of them bought a match ticket!

Sunday 25th July
I was hoping to quickly make it a strike double on the signing front, but we lost out on Alex Bell. He rejected offers from both us and Aylesbury United, instead signing a deal to play for Truro City of the Southern League Premier Division.

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Monday 26th July 2010
We enter the final week of our pre-season, with two more matches this week, before the opening fixture of the League season one week from Saturday.

Our original hit list of targets contained six names. Two of them have joined us, and one more is yet to make a decision. Either way, the success rate isn't too bad at all, particularly for a financially lacking team sitting in the ninth level of English football. We are now moving onto the next phase of our recruitment, with another group of players on our radar.

Tuesday 27th July
Our penultimate match of the pre-season see's us take a trip to Wiltshire, where we will provide the opposition to Western League Division One side, Calne Town. Both Craig Miller and Michael Simpson are included in our squad, but with preparations now becoming more serious, half a dozen of our young players have now been released from First Team duties, and will continue their development with the Youth and Reserve sides. Alex Whittingham, Ian Potter, Martin Wright, Grant Charlton, Jack Preston and Geoff Howell are those who are no longer taking part in First Team activities for the foreseeable future at least.

Pre-Season Friendly
vs Calne Town @ Bremhill View, Calne

Our now reduced First Team squad of seventeen arrive in Wiltshire four players shorthanded compared to our opposition. We do however have our two new signings named in the starting lineup. Michael Simpson is selected up front alongside Dean Papali, while the left footed Craig Miller is asked to play a box to box role on the right side of the midfield diamond. The only real disappointment is that we still haven't been able to improve our defence or goalkeeping options.

Both new arrivals had opportunities to send in early crosses, Michael Simpson's just missed the head of Dean Papali, while Craig Miller won corners on two occasions while trying to centre with his weaker right foot. Miller will be a big part of our set pieces going forward, while Ollie Jones did exactly what I would like him to do when the opponents try to break from one of our set pieces, making the foul to break up play and halt the attempted smash and grab. Ben Ross of Calne would get the best chance of the early stages, picked out by Kevin Townsend, he drove his shot right at David Underwood. In fact, that was the only real chance of the opening half hour, and the next one would come our way, Miller and Simpson both involved, first stealing the ball, and then playing it through the Calne back line to create a chance for Jamal Da Costa, which he fired just wide. Five minutes later, we were behind. Michael Knox escaped attention down the right after Rob Neale was caught too far up the park, and his low cross to the far post picked out a sliding Steve Connor, who netted from close range. Simpson's shot from range just before the break never really threatened to get us even.

I let the assistant manager go to town on the players at half time, and he certainly didn't pull any punches. It seemed to do the trick though. Kelvin Bishop looked to be through on goal, but Neale worked hard to get goal side and forced him to shoot from 25 yards out, Underwood dealing with it easily. He launched the ball right to Neale, who sent a 50 yard through ball between the Calne defence, Simpson sprinting onto it, rounding Trevor Perry, and slotting in the equaliser. We suddenly looked in much better shape, and we were now having the better of the game. With just under a quarter of an hour remaining, I made four changes. One of Calne's subs would quickly make a fatal mistake though, Danny Stevenson coughing up the ball just inside his own half, Da Costa and Simpson combined to send sub Trevor Flack into space in the left channel, and his shot crashed back off the near post, only for Da Costa to adjust his body and lash the bouncing ball into the net to put us in front. I've mentioned that even in pre-season, I will get very competitive, and when Calne threatened to find an equaliser, Knox forcing a near post save from Underwood, I set my team up very defensively, Simpson replaced by a defender, as we went five at the back, with two defensive midfielders as well. We still managed the final word though, Flack holding up the ball and going towards the corner, before sending it back to Da Costa. No one on the home side bothered to pick up our now lone striker, and Da Costa picked him out with a through ball, and Flack put the stamp on the win by beating sub keeper Martin Pitman at his near post. We finally have a win to our name!

Calne Town (1) 1 - Steve Connor (36)
Chertsey Town (0) 3 - Michael Simpson (61), Jamal Da Costa (78), Trevor Flack (90+1)
Attendance :- 62
David Underwood; Jamie Hatter, Dominic Worthington, Joseph Geddes (Tom Bolton 76), Rob Neale (Ian Baldwin 76); Ollie Jones; Craig Miller (Lee Barlow 76), Mark Middleton; Jamal Da Costa ©; Michael Simpson (Liam Edwards 87), Dean Papali (Trevor Flack 76).

Unused Substitutes :- Jamie Feetham (GK).

I know. It's just a Friendly, and against a club a level lower than us at that. But for a bit of confidence going forward, it will do us the world of good. Don't underestimate the boost the club has received from the arrival of that pair of new signings. Craig Miller and Michael Simpson brought a new lease of life to us this evening, and if we can add some more players to improve our baseline quality, I think our prospects will look a lot better.

Wednesday 28th July
We've identified a goalkeeper who would be a fairly big upgrade for us, though it would only be a loan deal. There are also attempts to bring in two midfielders, a full back, a centre back, and another striker. The latter two are thanks to one of our Scouts being a bit of an expert when it comes to the British talent plying their trade in Australia. He forgot to mention how much they would want paying however. At nearly a grand a week each, we'll have to give this pair a big miss.

With the full back not particularly interested in joining us, we're currently left with potential deals for the keeper on loan, the defender from the original group of players, a centre back our Scout has unearthed, and the two midfielders from the second group of players. One of those options disappears later in the day, Richard Hughes, the defender from the first group of players has decided to reject our offer and signs for Carlton Town of the Northern Premier League Division One South.

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Friday 30th July
After spending most of yesterday on tenderhooks as news came of players we were chasing receiving more and more offers, things started to get settled today. It would start with excellent news, as a player that a whole host of clubs had tried to sign on loan has chosen us, and better yet, he signs on a permanent Free Transfer deal. 19 year old London lad Mitchell Game arrives after failing to make the grade at either AFC Wimbledon or Enfield Town. He brings some real physical presence to our midfield, as he stands at 6'4 and has real athletic prowess. Often when we sign a player, I'll ask the Captain to welcome the new arrival. No need this time, as Jamal Da Costa speaks to the press right away and tells them that Mitchell's arrival is going to bring huge benefits to the squad at Alwyns Lane.

Pretty soon, there is another new signing to whet the appetite of the Chertsey Town faithful, and it's a much needed improvement to our back line. 21 year old 6'2 left footer Gary Kettle has never managed to find a club in the past, mostly because he has a reputation for being outspoken and a bit volatile. If, like us, you look past those unenviable qualities, there is the makings of a pretty good centre back. He has a lot of catching up to do, but fingers crossed, we can bring Kettle on as a player and make his first experience as a Senior player one to remember for all the right reasons.

Saturday 31st July
Pre-Season comes to an end today, and this time next week, we'll be kicking off our domestic season. Our last opponents are Eastern Counties Premier Division side Wivenhoe Town, a club playing at the same ninth tier as ourselves. Once more, we have two new players available to play for us.

Pre-Season Friendly
vs Wivenhoe Town @ Broad Lane Ground, Wivenhoe

Once more we go with a shortened squad, taking 19 players to Essex for this final pre-season match with Wivenhoe Town. New signings Gary Kettle and Mitchell Game are both brought into the starting lineup, with Joseph Geddes and Mark Middleton both dropped down to the substitutes bench.

We almost had a lead immediately, when Jamal Da Costa's shot from the edge of the box was only just over the top of the bar. It wasn't anything like as bad as Ross Hawkins' miss when he beat our offside trap, but blasted way over the bar from ten yards out! He didn't miss in the 11th minute when Lee Brown beat Dominic Worthington in the air to flick the ball on, and Hawkins rounded David Underwood and tucked the ball inside the near post. Their lead was short lived, as with right back Liam Bailey off the park receiving treatment for a knock, we took advantage. Rob Neale took on a player, gaining a yard and crossing to the near post, where striker Dean Papali found all the room he needed, smashing the ball in off the underside of the bar to level on the quarter of an hour mark. Our hosts were nearly back in front when Ian Chalmers free kick was headed onto the target, Neale kicking it off the line. It was a short lived reprieve though, as Chalmers delivered a corner midway through the half, and John Atkins headed it home. Once again they couldn't hold on to that advantage though, as five minutes later Michael Simpson got on to Dominic Worthington's long ball up the park, held the ball up, and passed it square to Jamal Da Costa, who continued his fine goalscoring run with a shot on the turn that found the bottom corner. We had shown some resilience, and could have taken the lead, Simpson's dipping shot only just missed the target on the half hour, and then he harassed a defender into coughing up the ball on the penalty spot, but sidefooted the ball just the wrong side of the upright. And wouldn't you know we'd pay for those misses right on half time. Mark Jones did well to keep the ball in play, and then took on his namesake Ollie, cutting inside him and sending a diagonal cross into the box from the left, Chalmers heading it home from what looked a suspiciously offside position, but the flag stayed down.

With this match being the last of preparations for next weekend's big kick off, the players were told that we wanted to see them put a shift in during the second half, and push themselves. They almost shipped another goal less than ten minutes after the restart though, Mark Jones again causing us problems, picking out Hawkins in the box who again sent his shot too high. Then we had our turn in what was starting to look like a basketball game, sub Shaun Wright making a hash of his clearance, and Simpson headed the ball back into the box for Papali, who was only prevented from getting another by Joel Geary getting off his line quickly and throwing himself into a block in front of our striker. When a Craig Miller left footed curler just missed the target, I made my moves with five substitutions, several of our key players who came into the club late in pre-season among those taken off, though the changes were instigated by Jamie Hatter taking a knock. The closest the few attending would come to seeing another goal was in injury time, Lee Chin Pang forcing a save from Underwood, and we ended with ten as Trevor Flack took sustained an injury late on.

Wivenhoe Town (3) 3 - Ross Hawkins (11), John Atkins (22), Ian Chalmers (45)
Chertsey Town (2) 2 - Dean Papali (15), Jamal Da Costa (27)
Attendance :- 14
David Underwood; Jamie Hatter (Liam Edwards 63), Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle (Tom Bolton 63), Rob Neale (Ian Baldwin 63); Ollie Jones; Mitchell Game, Craig Miller (Mark Middleton 63); Jamal Da Costa ©; Michael Simpson (Trevor Flack 63 - inj 90+2), Dean Papali.

Unused Substitutes :- Jamie Feetham (GK), Joseph Geddes, Lee Barlow.

Trevor Flack twisted his knee right at the end of that match, meaning he will be out for a month. He wasn't likely to be a starter next weekend, but he would have probably been in the matchday squad, and everyone knows our squad isn't big enough to start dealing with injuries right now.

The squad depth does improve when we arrive back in Surrey though. At Alwyns Lane, we are met by 19 year old London born centre midfielder, Reece Tison-Lascaris. This is another player who had a long queue of suitors to take him away from Boreham Wood on a loan deal. We were the only ones to offer him a permanent move, as he was playing on non contract terms with the Blue Square South side. He jumped at the chance too, after making just two League appearances in three years at Meadow Park. Once again, just as he did with the Mitchell Game signing, the news is welcomed by our current star player, with Jamal Da Costa praising the ambition of the club by managing to make this signing.

Sunday 1st August 2010
It had all been very quiet on the loan front from our parent club in the agreement with Hampton & Richmond so far. That silence is broken this morning, with the news that the Blue Square South club have proposed sending attacking right back/right wing back Chris Robinson to us on loan. The 22 year old who played fifteen matches for his employers last season would be a pretty significant upgrade for us, but he is suspended for three matches after being sent off on the final day of last season.

Monday 2nd August
There is further loan news first thing on Monday morning, and this time it's confirmation news. We finally have a Senior goalkeeper on board, as we agree a deal to sign Hayes & Yeading stopper John Peacock on a loan deal. The 20 year old 6'2 keeper joins a growing group of London born players at our club, and counts Uxbridge, Hayes and Camberley Town amongst his former clubs. His only Senior football came three years ago, when he played four matches for Hayes & Yeading as a 17 year old.

We look to continue bringing in players, with loan offers made for a left back from Crawley Town, and a centre midfielder from Wycombe Wanderers. Both clubs have accepted our offers, so we're now waiting on the players making a decision.

With only days remaining till the domestic season begins, we are now required to name our Club Captain and his deputy. Jamal Da Costa is clearly the most influential player in the dressing room, and the best player as well. If you don't believe me, just ask him. Centre back Dominic Worthington is named as his second in command, if I'm honest, mostly due to a lack of other real candidates.

With the day reaching a close, a Free Transfer offer for a defensive left back from Kidlington has been accepted, and a contract offered to the player. On the other side of the back four, Chris Robinson has stated that he would relish an opportunity to play regular First Team football, and has agreed to join us on loan from Hampton & Richmond. That could prove to be a quality bit of business, especially at a cost of absolutely nothing.

Tuesday 3rd August
Trevor Burns, our Assistant Manager at the club has been liaising with Hampton & Richmond to see of there are any other loan opportunities from them. We're told there is one, and we ask them if we can get that done. They tell us that it's fine with them, but the player has to make the final decision, and that we shouldn't hold our breath.

It looked like another goalkeeper was about to join the club today, but at the last moment, he asked if there was any room for him to also join the backroom staff as well. There isn't, and he is now going to consider his options and get back to us as soon as he can.

Wednesday 4th August
A much quieter day, which isn't a good thing for us right now. Wycombe Wanderers midfielder Sam Belcher has rejected our offer to spend the season on loan at Alwyns Lane.

Thursday 5th August
We make another improvement to our defence, this time on the left side of the back four. More than an improvement, we bring a bit of maturity as well, with 28 year old Nathan Meade signing from Kidlington. Able to operate as a more attacking left wing back, though his attributes suggest that he would struggle in that role, he looks much more suited as a defensive left back. A dual national of St Kitts & Nevis as well as England, our new player has a long held desire to play for the Caribbean nation of his heritage, but has never had a First Team opportunity to catch their eye. Northampton Town and Chipping Norton both failed to spot his talent before Kidlington passed him over. That said, their fans are a bit disappointed he never got a chance with the Yarnton Road club.

25 year old goalkeeper Luke Buckingham has come back to us, and has signed a two year deal to play at Alwyns Lane. I see him as a backup to on loan John Peacock, but it does give us a very viable option should Peacock be recalled back to his parent club. 6'2 stopper Buckingham has been out of the game for a couple of years, failing at Bristol Rovers, Yeovil Town, Backwell and Almondsbury Town.

Friday 6th August
Tomorrow will see me make my managerial debut, as we host Egham Town at Alwyns Lane. We have been made slight favourites at 5/4, where the manager in the opposite dugout will be once capped England striker, and former Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Middlesbrough and Sunderland man, Peter Davenport. He used his press conference to cast doubts on our promotion credentials.

Meanwhile, our hopes of adding to our squad further before tomorrow's big kick off are dashed, as Crawley Town left back Byron Napper and Hampton & Richmond Borough right back Ryan Adams both reject our offers to come to join Chertsey Town on loan.

Edited by neilhoskins77

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Chertsey Town FC 2010/11 Pen Pictures

Goalkeepers :-

Luke Buckingham (GK) - English - 25 years old - 6'2 - 14st 0lbs - Value :- £0
Born :- Taunton, England - Joined :- 5th August 2010 - Contract :- Part Time, £20 per week, 2 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 0 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- Bristol Rovers, Yeovil Town, Backwell, Almondsbury Town

Our backup keeper going into the season, but Luke is desperate to get First Team football after a decade of failing to make it. If on loan Peacock is recalled or slips up, Luke will get his chance.

John Peacock (GK) - English - 20 years old - 6'2 - 13st 9lbs - Value :- £0
Born :- London, England - Joined :- 2nd August 2010 - Contract :- Part Time (On Loan), £0 per week, 1 year remaining
Career Appearances :- 4 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- Uxbridge, Hayes, Hayes & Yeading (twice), Camberley Town

John has a chance to stake his claim for First Team football first, and the young keeper could seriously develop during his loan spell at Alwyns Lane.
------------------------------------

Defenders :- 

Jamie Hatter (RB,LB) - English - 16 years old - 6'2 - 13st 3lbs - Value :- £0
Born :- Chertsey, England - Joined :- 1st July 2009 - Contract :- Youth Contract, £5 per week, 2 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 0 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- None

A local lad who went through a serious learning curve in pre-season, but didn't do a bad job at all. He might have to fight for his place when Chris Robinson is eligible to play though.

Dominic Worthington (CB) - English - 21 years old - 6'2 - 13st 0lbs - Value :- £0
Born :- London, England - Joined :- 1st June 2009 - Contract :- Part Time, £15 per week, 2 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 0 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- AFC Wimbledon

Don't read too much into the 21 year old Londoner being named as Vice-Captain. The jury is still very much out on Dominic, and he really needs to show some improvement.

Gary Kettle (CB) - English - 21 years old - 6'2 - 14st 2lbs - Value :- £0
Born :- Unknown - Joined :- 30th July 2010 - Contract :- Part Time, £25 per week, 2 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 0 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- None

The projections put Gary as considerably better than Worthington, but there is a trade off. The reason Gary has never been given a chance to impress is because he has a bad attitude. We'll be keeping a close eye on him.

Tom Bolton (CB) - English - 16 years old - 6'2 - 12st 12lbs - Value :- £0
Born :- Chertsey, England - Joined :- 1st July 2009 - Contract :- Youth Contract, £5 per week, 2 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 0 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- None

The backroom staff believe that young Tom is probably going to be the best of our current crop of youngsters over time. He has a lot to learn before he's ready for regular First Team football though.

Chris Robinson (RB,RWB) - English - 22 years old - 5'10 - 11st 2lbs - Value :- £2,500
Born :- Unknown - Joined :- 2nd August 2010 - Contract :- Part Time (On Loan), £0 per week, 1 year remaining
Career Appearances :- 15 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- Staines, Hampton & Richmond Borough, Uxbridge

Potentially one of the best players at the club, but only here on loan through our relationship with Hampton & Richmond Borough. Brings a bit of experience and know how to a squad that is lacking in both overall.

Nathan Meade (LB,LWB) - Kittsian/English - 28 years old - 6'2 - 13st 7lbs - Value :- £0
Born :- Unknown - Joined :- 5th August 2010 - Contract :- Part Time, £20 per week, 2 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 0 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- Northampton Town, Chipping Norton, Kidlington (twice)

At the age of 28, Nathan finally gets a chance to play First Team football, and try and impress in his dream of playing International Football. Largely an unknown quantity, though everything suggests he is very much defensive minded.
------------------------------------

Midfielders/Wingers :-

Chris Miller (LW) - English - 19 years old - 5'10 - 12st 1lbs - Value :- £3,000
Born :- Unknown - Joined :- 24th July 2010 - Contract :- Full Time, £35 per week, 3 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 0 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- None

Signing a left winger when we don't plan on playing any wingers was a bit of a risk. But I have faith that Craig can successfully make the conversion into a centre midfielder and become a very important player for us.

Mitchell Game (CM) - English - 19 years old - 6'4 - 13st 9lbs - Value :- £250
Born :- London, England - Joined :- 30th July 2010 - Contract :- Part Time, £75 per week, 3 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 0 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- AFC Wimbledon, Enfield Town

Another young player who is desperate for a chance to prove himself with some First Team football. A big unit in our midfield who the opposition are going to hate going up against.

Reece Tison-Lascaris (CM) - English - 19 years old - 5'11 - 9st 12lbs - Value :- £1,000
Born :- London, England - Joined :- 31st July 2010 - Contract :- Full Time, £60 per week, 3 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 2 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- Boreham Wood

A late pre-season signing who didn't play any part in our preparations, and will now be playing catch up. That said, he has plenty of talent, and will bring some flair to the table.

Ollie Jones (CM) - English - 16 years old - 6'0 - 12st 1lbs - Value :- £0
Born :- Chertsey, England - Joined :- 1st July 2009 - Contract :- Youth Contract, £5 per week, 2 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 0 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- None

Perhaps the pick of the bunch from the hometown lads. Ollie is retraining to try and become an effective defensive midfielder, and didn't do a bad job at all in pre-season. One to keep an eye on I think.

Mark Middleton (RW,CM,LW,AM) - English - 16 years old - 5'9 - 11st 0lbs - Value :- £0
Born :- Chertsey, England - Joined :- 1st July 2009 - Contract :- Youth Contract, £5 per week, 2 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 0 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- None

Mark didn't have a bad pre-season at all, and is making some good strides now we have a backroom team in place. The arrival of older and better midfielders may cut down his First Team chances, but don't count out this local teenager just yet.
------------------------------------

Forwards/Strikers

Jamal Da Costa (AM,ST) - English - 25 years old - 5'8 - 11st 2lbs - Value :- £0
Born :- Unknown - Joined :- 1st July 2004 - Contract :- Part Time, £400 per week, 2 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 2 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- Woking

'Mr Chertsey Town', though you'll have to take it up with someone else how he got that title from playing zero games in six years. A superb pre-season despite our indifferent form, and now with some exciting young players around him. The expectation levels just rose for Jamal

Michael Simpson (AM,ST) - English - 19 years old - 6'0 - 12st 12lbs - Value :- £3,000
Born :- Unknown - Joined :- 24th July 2010 - Contract :- Part Time, £35 per week, 2 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 0 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- None

Probably the signing that our fans are most excited about. Michael combines size and speed with a great team ethic, and he knows where the net is as well. At just 19, and finally joining his first club, it's not too late for Michael to prove he can play at a higher level.

Trevor Flack (AM,ST) - English - 16 years old - 6'0 - 12st 3lbs - Value :- £0
Born :- Chertsey, England - Joined :- 1st July 2009 - Contract :- Youth Contract, £5 per week, 2 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 0 - Career Goals :- 0 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- None

What he lacks in natural ability, Trevor makes up for in determination and team work. He's already proved he can hold the ball up well, and found the net twice in pre-season. He might yet prove to be very handy to have around.

Dean Papali (ST) - English - 25 years old - 5'8 - 9st 12lbs - Value :- £0
Born :- London, England - Joined :- 1st July 2009 - Contract :- Part Time, £60 per week, 2 years remaining
Career Appearances :- 72 - Career Goals :- 28 - Career Assists :- 0 - CTFC Appearances :- 0 - CTFC Goals :- 0
Former Clubs :- Brook House, Wealdstone, Burnham, AFC Hayes

Easily our most experienced player, and our best in front of goal judging by career goals. I was starting to become a little concerned about Dean when he went without a goal in the opening four pre-season games. But a goal last time out may mean he's hit form at just the right time.
------------------------------------

Reserve & Youth Team Players :- 

David Underwood (GK) - English - 16 years old - 6'2
Jamie Feetham (GK) - English - 16 years old - 5'11
Liam Edwards (CB,LB) - English - 16 years old - 6'0
Ian Baldwin (CB,LB) - English - 16 years old - 6'2
Joseph Geddes (CB,LB) - English - 16 years old - 5'11
Rob Neale (LB,LWB) - English - 16 years old - 6'0
Lee Barlow (RW,CM,LW) - English - 16 years old - 5'7
Alex Whittingham (RW) - English - 16 years old - 5'11
Ian Potter (RW) - English - 16 years old - 5'10
Martin Wright (LW) - English - 16 years old - 5'10
Grant Charlton (CM,AM) - English - 16 years old - 6'0
Geoff Howell (ST) - English - 16 years old - 5'10
Jack Preston (ST) - English - 16 years old - 6'0
------------------------------------

Staff :-
Club Chairman :- Chris Foster - English 
Club Manager :- Neil Hoskins - Welsh - 32 years old - Unproven
Assistant Manager :- Trevor Burns - English - 34 years old - Unproven
Club Coach :- Joe Little - English - 29 years old - Unproven
Fitness Coach :- Matthew Hanley - English - 30 years old - Unproven
Physiotherapist :- Dean Davis - English - 26 years old - Unproven
Scout :- Ian Ryan - English - 39 years old - Regional
Scout :- Warren Newbold - English - 37 years old - Regional
------------------------------------

Edited by neilhoskins77

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Saturday 7th August 2010

Combined Counties League Premier Division
vs Egham Town @ Alwyns Lane, Chertsey

So here we are at last, the opening competitive match of my career, and the start of what all at Chertsey Town hope will be a bright new era. From the last pre-season match at Wivenhoe, we have two new players who are pushed straight into the starting eleven, John Peacock in goal and Nathan Meade at left back. There is another new keeper on the bench in the form of Luke Buckingham, while new midfielder Reece Tison-Lascaris is also on the bench. An injury to Trevor Flack means there is a place on the bench for Geoff Howell.

In a very tight opening quarter of the match, there was little to report, with neither side able to take advantage of a couple of corners each. Slowly but surely though we started to take control, Craig Miller missing the target with a few efforts from long range. Five minutes before the break, Barry Marchena had to make an superb reaction stop to keep Michael Simpson out. Their luck would run out a minute later though, Miller's corner, Steve Court tried to bring the ball down before clearing, and Dominic Worthington took advantage of his relaxed defending, stabbing the ball home from a couple of yards out. That forced Egham to come out of their shells a little, and they committed a lot of players forward when they won a free kick on the touchline. John Peacock collected it easily, and threw it out to Jamie Hatter. The full back launched the ball over the desperately retreating defensive line, and Dean Papali out ran Court, before sliding the ball under Marchena's dive to double our lead at the break.

The second half started much as the first had, with the game returning to it's tight nature. Ollie Jones went a little over the top with a tackle early on, and had his name taken by the referee. On the hour mark, Jamal Da Costa attempted to recreate his pre-season form, collecting a pass, turning on the jets and beating a defender far too easily, but then sending his shot across goal just wide of the far post. Midway through the half he was at it again, winning the ball himself on halfway, and then getting all the way to the byline. His cut back picked out Papali, who will be disappointed with his finish, it really was easier to score than miss. With Egham providing little by way of threat except a poor piece of play from Worthington that nearly let them in, I turned to my bench to kill the match off. Jones and Mitchell Game were replaced in the midfield, Mark Middleton and newcomer Reece Tison-Lascaris making their introductions to the Alwyns Lane faithful. And ten minutes later Hatter assisted Papali for the second time, a pinpoint cross from the right, Papali beating the offside trap and glancing home a header. The points were safe, and Tom Bolton also came off the bench for a career debut late on. So he got a good view of our pièce de résistance in injury time. It would be Simpson's time to shine, Marchena's goal kick up the park, Miller's header back upfiel caught the visiting defence flat footed, and our new striker strolled through the back four before planting a powerful low shot out of the keepers reach. 

Chertsey Town (2) 4 - Dominic Worthington (41), Dean Papali (45,83), Michael Simpson (90+2)
Egham Town (0) 0
Attendance :- 89
John Peacock; Jamie Hatter (Tom Bolton 89), Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle, Nathan Meade; Ollie Jones (Mark Middleton 73); Mitchell Game (Reece Tison-Lascaris 73), Craig Miller; Jamal Da Costa ©; Michael Simpson, Dean Papali.

Unused Substitutes :- Luke Buckingham (GK), Joseph Geddes, Ian Baldwin, Geoff Howell.

Well that was unexpected, but very welcome too! It was an exceptional performance, and it would have made a few people around the League sit up and take notice. But it is just one match, and the most important thing now is to keep the players feet firmly on the floor, with another match coming up quickly on Wednesday evening. Try telling that to the fans though, who are delighted with what they saw after being a little concerned with our pre-season form.

Edited by neilhoskins77

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Sunday 8th August 2010
The first day of the season is done, and records of all manner have tumbled. At 15 years and 342 days old, Dorking centre back Joe Allen becomes the League's youngest ever player. Shane Winters of Mole Valley isn't much older, but at 16 years and 42 days old, he is the new youngest goalscorer in the League's history. At the other end of the scale, Wade Falana's appearance up front for Cove at the age of 40 years and 52 days make him the new oldest player in League history, while the record for the quickest goal has also tumbled, with Paul Kissock's strike after 26 seconds for Badshot Lea against our midweek opponents Chessington & Hook United setting a new mark.

There is a single new record for the club as well, Tom Bolton's very late cameo into the match has made the club's new youngest ever player at the age of 16 years and 184 days. In other club news, the ticket office has today announced that a final total of 35 season tickets have now been sold.

Monday 9th August
Wembley played Hanworth Villa yesterday, and the League's mark for youngest goalscorer was lowered again, Bobby Price netting for Wembley just two days before his 16th birthday.

Our Scout had a look at Chessington & Hook United's heavy defeat at Badshot Lea on Saturday, and unsurprisingly he thinks we will be able to get at them when we visit them later this week.

Tuesday 10th August
Four of our players are named in the first Team of the Week of the season. Jamie Hatter, Dominic Worthington, Craig Miller and Dean Papali are all included.

Glyn Stephens is the manager at Chessington & Hook United, and he has today announced that his side are much better than they showed on Saturday, and look forward to proving it by denting our early season form, and ultimately our promotion hopes. I reply simply by stating that that his comments certainly add some spice to the match.

Wednesday 11th August

Combined Counties League Premier Division
vs Chessington & Hook United @ Chalky Lane, Chessington

You will, I would imagine, be not surprised to hear that I fielded an unchanged lineup from Saturday's opening day victory. We went for an early goal, Jamal Da Costa weaving his way through the United defence, but he then pulled his shot wide of the target. Undeterred, we had another go midway through the half, Da Costa popping up on the left and sending the ball through the six yard box, right in between both Dean Papali and Michael Simpson. The ball was recycled quickly and found Papali on the edge of the box, and his shot was inches wide of the target. With just under five minutes to go to the break, Dominic Worthington sent the ball over the defence, and Simpson ran in on goal. He used the fact that Papali was alongside him as a decoy, and instead slammed the ball past Shaun Turner and into the roof of the net. We were all set to carry a lead into the break, until James King sent in a corner, Mitchell Game's header flew towards his own net, and Nathan Meade's attempt to get it off the goal line only helped it on it's way in. Doh!

United caused us considerably more problems in the second half than they had in the first, particularly Matt Walker, who only just missed with a shot on the turn that crept past the post, before putting John Peacock to work with an acrobatic volley from the edge of the box that our keeper needed to hold onto with further blue shirted players in the vicinity. At the other end, Meade shaped to cross, but instead picked out Craig Miller on the edge of the box, his driven shot was only just wide of the goal frame. As both sides pushed for a winner, Papali forced Turner into a smart stop, turning his shot wide of the post. Miller departed the park after getting booked, with Reece Tison-Lascaris once more summoned from the bench. King caused us problems again when he hooked a shot just wide, and I decided a point was fine this evening. Simpson, followed by Meade, both left the park, slowly. Geoff Howell and Ian Baldwin came on in their places, slowly. With a minute to play, Da Costa dragged King to the floor out on the United right, earning a booking for his trouble. With the penalty box loaded with players, King squared the ball to teenage midfielder Michael Davies, and his 30 yard shot took a deflection that looped it over Peacock's dive and into the net. Gutted!

Chessington & Hook United (1) 2 - Nathan Meade (45 og), Michael Davies (90)
Chertsey Town (1) 1 - Michael Simpson (41)
Attendance :- 128
John Peacock; Jamie Hatter, Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle, Nathan Meade (Ian Baldwin 89); Ollie Jones; Mitchell Game, Craig Miller (Reece Tison-Lascaris 76); Jamal Da Costa ©; Michael Simpson (Geoff Howell 88), Dean Papali.

Unused Substitutes :- Tom Bolton, Luke Buckingham (GK), Joseph Geddes, Mark Middleton.

So a goal at the end of each half was our undoing, and on an evening we were probably well worth a point, we come away with nothing at all. Disappointing, but I'm consoling myself with the knowledge that with a bit more time together and some hard work, we should have the beating of sides like this. Don't worry Glyn Stephens, there's plenty of time to get our own back.

Thursday 12th August
Ian Baldwin came on late for his Senior debut last night, and at 80 days younger than Tom Bolton when he came on last Saturday, the teenage defender is now the youngest player in Chertsey Town history.

Friday 13th August
Apparently this day is unlucky, so it's fortunate that we don't play to tomorrow. When that match does take place at home to Hanworth Villa, we will be ridiculously short price favourites. Having already shipped five goals at Wembley on Sunday, and then another three at home to Badshot Lea in midweek, our opponents have already gained a reputation for being somewhat leaky at the back. Expectations are high that we will bounce back from our midweek defeat and pick up a second home win.

Saturday 14th August

Combined Counties League Premier Division
vs Hanworth Villa @ Alwyns Lane, Chertsey

This is our third match in a week, and while that is something we are going to have to get used to with 40 games in the League alone, we have to rotate just a little bit to try and avoid injuries and burn out. Sadly, I don't have the squad depth to do too much without risking a big drop off in quality, and the changes are limited to just two. Ian Baldwin replaced Nathan Meade at left back, while Reece Tison-Lascaris gets his first start in a defensive midfield role and Ollie Jones is rested.

This one got feisty, and quickly. Andrew Henry and Gary Kettle both launched themselves into tackles that forced the ref to produce yellow cards within the opening ten minutes. But we got ourselves into our stride nicely, and on the quarter of an hour mark, Michael Simpson picked up the ball on halfway and escaped from his marker down the right flank. With defenders backing off him, he looked up, and picked a low cross to Dean Papali, who stepped back to give himself a yard, and then struck through the ball with a beautiful low shot into the bottom corner. Within a few minutes we were attacking again, keeper Darren Warner's clearance didn't have enough length, and Reece Tison-Lascaris headed up back upfield, Simpson chased it down, Warner started to come for it, then changed his mind, and Simpson fired past the stranded keeper to make it 2-0. The change is scoreline didn't have any impact on the nasty undertone that was present in the match though, and midway through the half Luke Jones picked up the ball inside our half. With his back to goal, he turned, only to be brought to the ground by a crude and ill timed two footed scissor tackle, which earned Mitchell Game a straight red card. That left us in a difficult spot, and I elected to simply push Tison-Lascaris into the centre of midfield alongside Craig Miller. Even that didn't calm the match down much, as we successfully defended the free kick and a pair of corners, before Simpson put us on the counter attack. He released Jamal Da Costa down the left, and he was brought down in full flight by Villa's new signing, Ryan Adams, who picked up a booking. In the 26th minute, Hatter played Simpson in on the right channel of the box, and he shifted the ball past Paul Proctor, who caught his standing foot. It was an easy penalty decision, but Proctor wasn't punished with a card. In fact, Villa escaped punishment entirely, Miller's attempt to place his spot kick into the top corner was too high, and the ball flew over the bar. Down a man, I was worried we might rue that miss should Villa claw their way back into the game. I need not have been concerned. Just after the half hour mark, with Evan Whelan becoming the latest player to be booked, Miller picked out Papali with a corner, and our striker sidefooted home his second of the match. We were far from being done yet either. Dominic Worthington headed a corner clear, and Da Costa and Simpson quickly worked the ball up the park, finding Papali twenty five yards out, and he completed his hatrick with a swerving shot that Warner never really got behind. And still we poured forward, just before the break Jamie Hatter's cross found Papali in the box. With his back to goal, he tried to turn, only to be brought down by Whelan. Already booked, I expected Whelan to be sent off and the numbers brought to ten a-side, but the ref failed to book him again. At least Miller did punish them this time, his spot kick finding the net via the underside of the bar, and despite being a man down, we were five goals up at the break!

It wasn't a particularly difficult half time team talk, telling the lads to keep doing what they had been doing, while Mitchell Game made his apologies to his team mates. I did decide to take the opportunity to rest a couple of pairs of legs, with Da Costa and Simpson both replaced, Mark Middleton and Geoff Howell coming on. The latter came close to getting on the scoresheet soon after the restart, Middleton played in Papali, his shot was blocked by Warner, and Howell only just failed to connect with the rebound. The pressure continued, Hatter almost scoring from a cross, Warner caught cheating on his near post and the full back fired the ball at goal, it bounced back off that near upright. With an hour played, Hatter dropped the ball into the right channel again. Howell got there first, quickly followed by Whelan, who's lunge sent our young striker to the floor, and the ref awarded us our third penalty of the match. Whelan once again escaped a booking somehow, which was bordering on ridiculous. Papali placed the ball this time, and showed Miller he was capable of doing what he had wanted to do at the first time of asking, slamming the ball into the top corner to send the scoreboard to six, and his own personal tally to four for the afternoon. There would be no let up for Villa. Howell let a shot go from 20 yards, this one rattled the cross bar and hit Warner before a defender hacked it clear. With the officiating best described as unpredictable, I took the decision to remove our other booked player Kettle with our final change, and brought on young Joseph Geddes into the back four to have a run out in competitive football and make his Senior debut. It didn't impact us at all, apart from when Papali hurt his neck a bit in an aerial challenge, and we couldn't take the striker off. It didn't prevent him playing his part, and with five minutes to play, he spun away from David Martin in the box, the Villa player levering him to the floor, and we were awarded our fourth penalty of the day! Miller returned to spot kick duty, and sent this one right down the middle to make it 7-0. There was still time for another, and yes, an unbelievable fifth penalty, this one awarded against Martin again, as he raised his arm and made contact with the ball as he jumped with Howell to defend a Middleton free kick. I'd have liked the youngster to have taken the spot kick himself, but Miller wouldn't pass up the chance to get a treble of his own. He placed this one low into the bottom corner, and an incredible afternoon was over, a lot later than Villa would have liked.

Chertsey Town (5) 8 - Dean Papali (16,32,39,62 pen), Michael Simpson (18), Craig Miller (45 pen, 86 pen, 90+3 pen)
Hanworth Villa (0) 0
Attendance :- 89
John Peacock; Jamie Hatter, Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle (Joseph Geddes 68), Ian Baldwin; Reece Tison-Lascaris; Mitchell Game, Craig Miller; Jamal Da Costa © (Mark Middleton 45); Michael Simpson (Geoff Howell 45), Dean Papali.

Unused Substitutes :- Tom Bolton, Luke Buckingham (GK), Nathan Meade, Ollie Jones.

Where should we start? The refereeing maybe? Clearly 27 year old Southport official Peter Bankes lost control. However, being as impartial as I can reasonably be, I don't think any of the penalty decisions were poor, and neither was the straight red for Mitchell Game. The decisions not to send off Evan Whelan, maybe even Ryan Adams as well, were poor however. Mercy on the beleaguered Villa side maybe?

Mitchell Game's red card was a stupid, rash and unnecessary decision by a young player with little game experience and a fair bit of growing up to do. He will get a one match ban, and a disciplinary committee from the League will gather in due course to decide if the former AFC Wimbledon and Enfield Town player will receive any further punishment. He has also been told he is expected in my office on Monday for a 'chat'.

There would be worse news than the 19 year old Londoner getting a suspension though. Dean Papali, who already has six League goals this season now, is a little more badly injured than first thought, suffering a strained neck that is going to keep him out for the rest of August. As mentioned before, our squad might be now described as decent for our level, but it lack serious depth of quality, and losing players to injury for chunks of time is going to cause us problems. We have to try and push on and increase our options.

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Sunday 15th August 2010
Records continued to fall in the Combined Counties Premier yesterday. Four days younger than Bobby Price, the new youngest goalscorer in the League is now Bookham striker Paul Trowbridge, who found the net at Croydon. While extending his own record as the League's oldest player, Wade Fofana of Cove is now also the oldest goalscorer, 40 years and 59 days of age when he netted yesterday against Epsom & Ewell.

The rest of the records to fall would all belong to us, as we now hold high marks for the biggest ever win and highest number of goals in a game in the League. Those two are also new club records. Dean Papali's four goal haul sets new high marks for League and Club when it comes to individual number of goals in a match, while Joseph Geddes' debut in Senior football see's a new club record for our youngest ever player at 16 years and 81 days old.

Monday 16th August
First business of the day is to deal with Mitchell Game. I resist the urge to fine the 19 year old a week's wage of £75, and settle instead for issuing him with an official warning as to his conduct on the park. Referring to the score, the teenager couldn't resist commenting that he was concerned it would cost us the match at half time. He tried his best to keep the grin off his face, and was told to do 20 laps of the park. He was still laughing when he left my office. Cheeky sod.

The time difference is an issue when trying to discuss deals with clubs and players on the other side of the world. I discovered that when I yesterday made offers for two players who both currently ply their trade in Australia. They both come highly recommended by our Scouting team, and both are available on Free Transfers. Today I hear that both have agreed to discuss a deal with us, and a potential return to England. It very quickly becomes very clear that it's not just the weather that will prevent their return to these shores, and that we do not have the budget or resources to bring either of these players to Alwyns Lane right now. I really need to set my targets to a lower and more realistic level.

A quartet of Scouting reports have been received from the backroom team, with midfielders and strikers included in the pile. Two of them are given contract offers, both considerably more realistic targets than my previous efforts.

Tuesday 17th August
Six of our players are named in the Team of the Week as we unsurprisingly dominate the lineup after that huge weekend win. I'm not too sure about the case for keeper John Peacock being included, but there are thoroughly deserved spots for Dominic Worthington, Ian Baldwin, Reece Tison-Lascaris, Craig Miller and Dean Papali.

Wednesday 18th August
We have a new arrival at the club, though not everyone is happy about that fact. 6'1 Kevin Newell is 21 years old, and can play at centre back and also provide cover at left back. I'm not even going try and convince you that Newell is going to be a world beater, truth be told, he is an average player for this League, and some members of my backroom team attempted to talk me out of the signing. But we have proved that we are going to be competitive, and for that to continue through busy periods of the fixture list, we will need some options and some cover. Newell can provide that, and at £20 a week on a two year deal, signs for his first Senior club.

Our offer to 22 year old Free Agent striker Eddie Rimmer has been rejected by the Gloucester born player. He wasn't happy with the weekly wage we were offering, but would like to continue with negotiations. I decline to do so, as I now believe the Scouting team has better options for us to pursue.

Friday 20th August
Tomorrow afternoon, we will travel to take on Ash United away from home, and have today learnt that they are expecting their largest ever crowd at Youngs Drive, with over 100 tickets sold for the match. We're honoured! Hopefully we can do a job on them after their 30 year old manager Garry Wardell told the press today that he didn't believe we had what it takes to get promoted from this League.

The bookies might not disagree with that, but they certainly don't expect United to upset us this weekend, making us Even money favourites for the win, a seemingly generous price against a side who have managed just two goals so far this season.

In management news, Taunton Town of the Southern League Division One South & West have sacked their manager Laurence Woodley today following a Boardroom takeover. It seems a touch harsh on the 30 year old, who took the job just 38 days ago.

Saturday 21st August

Combined Counties League, Premier Division
v Ash United @ Youngs Drive, Ash (Surrey)

In an ideal world, I wouldn't have had to make any changes to a winning side. Unfortunately, managing at this level, seldom does anything go ideally as you would like. So there are four changes, and that includes a debut at right back for on loan Chris Robinson, taking the place of a very unlucky Jamie Hatter. There is a recall at left back for the rested Nathan Meade, while Ollie Jones returns in defensive midfield, and Reece Tison-Lascaris pushed into centre midfield with Mitchell Game suspended. Up front, the injured Dean Papali is replaced by young Geoff Howell. On the bench, Joseph Geddes drops out of the matchday squad, Hatter and new signing Kevin Newell providing defensive cover, while there is a call-up for 16 year old local striker Jack Preston from the Under-18's, and he'll be hoping to make his Senior debut today from the bench.

A record crowd for Ash United were greeted by a persistent drizzle, and us trying to get on the front foot immediately, Geoff Howell drifting out to the left to make himself available, and then cutting in off the touchline, and finding Michael Simpson who tried to lob Nathan Hunter, but just missed the target. Howell was proving to be a real pain for Ash early on, his shot on the run a little too high, and then his knock down to find Simpson needed a smart low stop from Hunter. There would be another chance for Simpson that he would pull wide of the target before we eventually opened the scoring midway through the first half. The striker had won the ball in the centre circle, and played it off to Howell. The youngster did some great hold up work before returning it to Simpson, who earned a yard and then struck a low curling shot that faded away from Hunter and found the net via the inside of the far post. We could have had another before the break, but Jamal Da Costa showed that his build up play is better than his finishing, as he shanked his shot badly wide after doing all the hard work to get himself into a shooting position. We were nearly caught out just before half time though, Michael Campbell dropped the ball over the head of Nathan Meade to send Ben Highmore in behind our defence, and he angled his run into the box, then tried to squeeze his shot inside the near post, John Peacock making a good stop to turn it behind and preserve our half time lead.

We almost doubled that lead right from kick off in the second half, passing our way through the Ash side, and Craig Miller sent Howell into space in the left channel of the box, but he blasted his shot well over the bar. Da Costa made a spectacular run shortly after, dribbling his way past three green shirted players, and then beating Hunter with his shot, but it was just the wrong side of the post. Hunter then denied Simpson a second with a flying save, before Ash finally cracked for a second time. From the back, Dominic Worthington dropped the ball down the right flank, and Lee Carr dawdled slightly. Simpson stole the ball off him and reached the byline, before sending it across the goalmouth, where Howell met it with a diving header, netting our second, and his first ever Senior goal. I wasn't yet confident enough to bring off any players for a rest, and my trepidation wasn't helped by sub Colin Robinson sending a curler from the corner of the box only just over our cross bar. Another goal would be perfect, and Miller nearly obliged on the hour, his curling effort almost caught out Hunter, who got fingertips to it at the last moment to divert it wide. When Paul Rhodes missed Ash's best chance for a while with quarter of an hour to play, lashing a shot high and wide of the goal frame after pulling the ball down from a corner, I decided we were safe enough. Simpson came off, replaced by debutant Kevin Newell as we went to five at the back. And wouldn't you know it, we snatched a third just moments later. A free kick on the right near the corner flag was whipped in by Miller, and Howell met it with a perfect volley at the far post to notch his second of a really good day for the young striker. He was brought off a few minutes later to allow Jack Preston a Senior debut, while Jamie Hatter also came on as we cruised to a third win of the season.

Ash United (0) 0
Chertsey Town (1) 3
-
Michael Simpson (22), Geoff Howell (52,82)
Attendance :- 154
John Peacock; Chris Robinson (Jamie Hatter 86), Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle, Nathan Meade; Ollie Jones; Reece Tison-Lascaris, Craig Miller; Jamal Da Costa ©; Michael Simpson (Kevin Newell 79), Geoff Howell (Jack Preston 84).

Unused Substitutes :- Luke Buckingham (GK), Tom Bolton, Ian Baldwin, Mark Middleton.

There was plenty to like about that performance, and getting a first win on our travels is a real confidence boost for everyone at the club after missing out on a point at least the last time we were away from home. Special word for young Geoff Howell, who netted his first ever Senior goals with a pair of clinical finishes, and has certainly given food for thought in a side that has scored sixteen times in just four matches, shipping only two at the other end.

While that match was going on, the League had their disciplinary committee sat, and they have handed Mitchell Game a further two match ban after his straight red card last weekend. It's not a surprising bit of news to be honest. Not that it should impact us too much actually, and that's because before the day is out, we have two new arrivals signed at the club!

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Sunday 22nd August 2010
In the late hours of a Saturday evening, the two latest new recruits to our squad were completing formalities and signing for the club. the first of the pair is 21 year old forward Nathan Cornwell. After yesterday's performance from Geoff Howell, I nearly pulled the plug on giving the 6'2 player his first Senior contract, but he does bring something to the table that could prove useful. That's the ability to also play behind the strikers, giving us some much needed Senior cover for Jamal Da Costa. He signs for two years at £20 a week.

Also signing last night as I continue to stretch the wage budget beyond it's breaking point is 19 year old midfielder Stuart York. The 5'10 right footer can play anywhere across the middle of the park, and will provide some width should we need to change around our tactics during the season. He is another who is playing for a Senior club for the first time, and gets what is now the almost standard deal, £20 a week for two seasons.

At the age of 16 years and 263 days, Geoff Howell yesterday became the clubs youngest ever goalscorer.

Tuesday 24th August
That brace of goals has rightly earned Geoff Howell a place in the Team of the Week, the only Chertsey player included this week. Competition for the forward places is hotting up, Trevor Flack returning to training today. He's another young local player, and he was ahead of Howell in the pecking order in pre-season, something that may have changed now. Flack can also provide cover for Da Costa if needed.

Friday 27th August
Tomorrow is our final match of August, and we're back at home where we will play host to Camberley Town. With just one win from their opening four matches, Camberley are not being given too much chance of taking any points from us at Alwyns Lane.

We are at least getting a bit of respect from our opponents for a change, with Camberley manager Paul Mack stating that while he wasn't sure if we had enough quality to get promoted, he was sure there was plenty of fighting spirit at the club if we needed to dig in.

Saturday 28th August

Combined Counties League, Premier Division
v Camberley Town @ Alwyns Lane, Chertsey

August Bank Holiday weekend, and the weather was dry and warm. There are no changes to our starting lineup, with Geoff Howell keeping his spot in the side, and speculation in the local media that Dean Papali would be declared fit proving unfounded. There are two changes on the bench, Tom Bolton and Jack Preston dropping out of the squad, with new signings Stuart York and Nathan Cornwell brought in.

This visitors certainly weren't here to make up the numbers, Paul Lee's diagonal through ball from the left sent Scott O'Hanlon in between our defence, and John Peacock was called into action, narrowing the angle and then making a great block save to prevent us going behind very early on. Even without scoring, Camberley had rattled us a little, and we were clearly being a little more cautious than we normally would be. We didn't create anything until the 20th minute, Craig Miller's shot from the left corner of the box curled away from goal and way past the far post. A minute later, Gary Kettle launched a long ball down the left channel, and Darren Bloor only had time to bring the ball down before Geoff Howell was on him. The striker stripped him of the ball, and then guided a low shot under Edward McLeod to open the scoring. Camberley were furious, believing Howell had shoved Bloor off the ball. John Harris came very near to protesting long enough and loud enough to get booked. That goal certainly gave us a jump though, and we nearly got another one right away, Michael Simpson hitting a pot shot that beat McLeod but crashed back off the cross bar. With half an hour played, we lost Ollie Jones to injury, meaning an earlier than anticipated debut for new signing Stuart York. It would be quite an initiation for York, as Camberley chucked the kitchen sink at us. O'Hanlon struck a shot on the turn that was blocked, before Peacock had to come to our rescue with an outstanding save to keep out Michael Webb's drive. That led to a series of corners, and Keith Schofield's cross was nearly turned into his own net by Chris Robinson, the ball coming back off the post. That wouldn't be the last time our goal frame would be struck either, as right at the end of the hefty injury time period caused by Jones' injury, Darren Barnard struck a low free kick around the wall and off the post. We had barely kept our lead through to half time.

It's a shame our bigger attendance was only a very slight one, as this was all set up for a blood and thunder second half. That might have been calmed slightly if Howell had finished when York sent him in on goal, but this time, while getting his shot past McLeod again, the effort drifted just wide of the far post. York himself drove a shot over the top just before the hour, before O'Hanlon did the same at the other end, and our debutant midfielder set off a chain of events. He did that by throwing himself into a tackle on Joel Barnes, rightly earning a yellow card. Barnes' retaliation was far less subtle, as he brought down Craig Miller with a crude two footed and out of control tackle. Several players were involved in the melee that followed, York being dragged away by team mates before he could get himself into any more trouble, while Barnes was shown a straight red card. I spent five minutes trying to get York to calm down, but when it was clear that was going to happen, the sub was substituted himself as I fought to preserve both numerical and scoreboard advantages. Mark Middleton replaced him, while an out of sorts Simpson was also replaced, Nathan Cornwell coming on for his debut. Schofield had been fortunate to avoid a card during that incident, but he quickly earned one for a poor tackle on Reece Tison-Lascaris, who nearly gained revenge a moment or two later, his shot striking the top of the cross bar on its way over. Howell had another late chance to put the game to bed, but this one was also just off target. McLeod turned his final chance away in injury time, and it hadn't been our day in front of goal. Fortunately, we had survived what had turned out to be quite the test of attrition.

Chertsey Town (1) 1 - Geoff Howell (21)
Camberley Town (0) 0
Attendance :- 91
John Peacock; Chris Robinson, Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle, Nathan Meade; Ollie Jones (inj - Stuart York 30 (Mark Middleton 69)); Reece Tison-Lascaris, Craig Miller; Jamal Da Costa ©; Michael Simpson (Nathan Cornwell 69), Geoff Howell.

Unused Substitutes :- Jamie Hatter, Luke Buckingham (GK), Kevin Newell, Ian Baldwin.

What a test that had turned out to be, and the man who received the man of the match award did not even appear in that match report I don't think. Nathan Meade was superb at left back, in particular showing excellent positioning on multiple occasions to break up attacks. St Kitt's & Nevis have Friendly Internationals coming up as they prepare for the Caribbean Championships, but there is still no call up for the 28 year old despite his excellent form for us so far. It's not like there is a big queue of players ahead of him.

There were also Senior debuts for Nathan Cornwell and Stuart York, the latter having his big day condensed slightly for his own good, not a debut he is going to forget anytime soon I suspect. And to top it all off, we move up to second place in the table.

Sunday 29th August
Dean Papali has been passed fit to resume training again, and could now be in contention for our next match, a Wednesday night visit to take on lowly and winless Epsom & Ewell, who are currently under a transfer embargo as two seperate consortiums fight for control at Merland Rise.

Monday 30th August
While others spend their Bank Holiday Monday at the seaside, or being dragged around DIY stores, I'm attempting to drag a former Welsh International to Alwyns Lane. Yes, after seeing him at close quarters on the weekend, I'm trying again to get Darren Barnard to move from Camberley Town across to Chertsey. While the club quickly accept the offer to take him for absolutely nothing, we can't get the numbers to work with Darren. He wants £250 a week, nearly five times what he is paid at Camberley. Even if I found a backroom staff role for him, we couldn't afford to pay him anywhere near that.

Tuesday 31st August
In a Team of the Week that is dominated by Banstead Athletic players following their 5-0 drubbing of Bookham on the weekend, we have one player included, left back Nathan Meade.

A backroom meeting ahead of our next match see's the Scouting team continue their fine work so far with some more possible players to upgrade our options. I have picked out several, and asked them to provide me with some more detailed information. Two of them in particular look like they could do a good job for us.

With three wins on the bounce, we are the favourites with the bookmakers to win again when we take on Epsom & Ewell tomorrow night.

Edited by neilhoskins77

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2010/11 Combined Counties League, Premier Division Table. Up To & Including Tuesday 31st August 2010

| Pos   | Inf   | Team               |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 1st   |       | Horley             |       | 5     | 4     | 1     | 0     | 15    | 4     | +11   | 13    |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 2nd   |       | Chertsey           |       | 5     | 4     | 0     | 1     | 17    | 2     | +15   | 12    |
| 3rd   |       | Sandhurst          |       | 4     | 4     | 0     | 0     | 12    | 4     | +8    | 12    |
| 4th   |       | Cove               |       | 5     | 4     | 0     | 1     | 11    | 5     | +6    | 12    |
| 5th   |       | Wembley            |       | 5     | 3     | 2     | 0     | 13    | 6     | +7    | 11    |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 6th   |       | Badshot Lea        |       | 5     | 3     | 2     | 0     | 12    | 5     | +7    | 11    |
| 7th   |       | Mole Valley        |       | 5     | 3     | 1     | 1     | 6     | 2     | +4    | 10    |
| 8th   |       | Chessington & Hook |       | 5     | 2     | 1     | 2     | 7     | 10    | -3    | 7     |
| 9th   |       | Egham              |       | 5     | 2     | 1     | 2     | 6     | 9     | -3    | 7     |
| 10th  |       | Banstead           |       | 4     | 2     | 0     | 2     | 9     | 5     | +4    | 6     |
| 11th  |       | Raynes Park        |       | 5     | 2     | 0     | 3     | 8     | 9     | -1    | 6     |
| 12th  |       | Croydon            |       | 5     | 1     | 3     | 1     | 4     | 5     | -1    | 6     |
| 13th  |       | Molesey            |       | 4     | 1     | 2     | 1     | 6     | 6     | 0     | 5     |
| 14th  |       | Dorking            |       | 4     | 1     | 2     | 1     | 5     | 5     | 0     | 5     |
| 15th  |       | Ash                |       | 5     | 1     | 1     | 3     | 5     | 8     | -3    | 4     |
| 16th  |       | Colliers Wood      |       | 5     | 1     | 1     | 3     | 5     | 9     | -4    | 4     |
| 17th  |       | Camberley          |       | 5     | 1     | 0     | 4     | 8     | 11    | -3    | 3     |
| 18th  |       | Epsom & Ewell      |       | 5     | 0     | 3     | 2     | 7     | 11    | -4    | 3     |
| 19th  |       | Bookham            |       | 5     | 0     | 1     | 4     | 2     | 14    | -12   | 1     |
| 20th  |       | Hanworth Villa     |       | 5     | 0     | 1     | 4     | 2     | 21    | -19   | 1     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 21st  |       | Guildford          |       | 4     | 0     | 0     | 4     | 4     | 13    | -9    | 0     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Edited by neilhoskins77

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Sincere apologies it's been so long since this story was updated. My focus been mainly on the Minsk story. Expect much more frequent updates from now on. Thanks.

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Wednesday 1st September 2010
The monthly awards are given out today, with Chertsey featuring heavily in the consideration. It's Badshot Lea centre back Colin Hogan who takes the main Player of the Month Award however, his three goals and excellent all round performances sees him voted in front of our Michael Simpson, and Ben Grier of table toppers Horley Town. We have things very much our own way in the Young Player of the Month Award though, with a clean sweep of the top three. Craig Miller is given the award for August, with Dominic Worthington and Michael Simpson placing behind him. Finally it's the turn of the decision makers, and the Manager of the Month Award goes to Horley Town boss Lawrence Geary, who's side went unbeaten through August with four wins and a draw. That puts him in front of myself, with Ian Clarke of Wembley in third place.

Combined Counties League, Premier Division
v Epsom & Ewell @ Merland Rise, Tadworth

Today I'm afforded the rare luxury of an unchanged lineup as we visit an Epsom & Ewell side that are yet to record a win from their opening five games, but have picked up draws in both of their home matches played so far. There is one change amongst the substitutes for us, Ian Baldwin left out of the matchday squad, and fit again Dean Papali takes his place.

In our all yellow away strip, we create the first chance in the 7th minute, Geoff Howell coming deep to collect the ball, and then beating a few players before slipping a pass into the path of Jamal Da Costa, who once again showed that finishing is not his strong point, sending a shot wide of the target. Howell would be involved in the play once more in the 18th minute, the young striker chased after Nathan Meade's ball down the left, and stripped the ball away from right back Sam Innes, who's response was to hack Howell to the floor on the sideline with a vicious two footed tackle that earned him an immediate red card. That meant our hosts would have to remove a midfielder to restore their back four to full strength, while Howell would hand out his own punishment in the 21st minute, racing onto Craig Miller's through ball and lifting the ball over the advancing Denis Fisher to put us ahead. With our tails up, Epsom & Ewell would have to deal with a spell of sustained pressure, where Michael Simpson rejected a chance to shoot when put in on goal, but did send in a shot moments later which came back off the post. A short while later, Miller's drive from range was comfortably held by Fisher. The only response from the home side came in the form of a wayward shot from distance by George Burrows shortly before Ollie Jones picked up a yellow card as we held our lead through to half time.

Howell continued to put in a good shift when the action resumed, holding up the ball well before laying it off to Miller, the midfielder didn't have the power to cause Fisher any trouble on this occasion. A quiet spell of the match saw home centre back Ollie Courtnage get booked for claiming a penalty that Epsom & Ewell were never likely to be awarded in one of their very rare trips up the park. Meanwhile at the other end, Simpson's bad luck in front of goal continued as he sent in a low skidding shot from an angle that beat Fisher but again came back off the frame of the goal. With just over a quarter of an hour left to play, I summoned a trio of players from the bench, replacing both midfielders Miller and Reece Tison-Lascaris with Stuart York and Mark Middleton, and also goalscorer Howells, allowing Dean Papali some game time as he seeks a return to match fitness. And Papali will have been disappointed not to score just moments after coming on, Simpson sending him beyond the back four with a through ball, and Papali curled his shot around Fisher's dive, but just inches wide of the far post. That was the last real chance we created as we settled for playing keep ball in the latter stages, York's shot from range closer to threatening any low flying aircraft than the home side's goal.

Epsom & Ewell (0) 0
Chertsey Town (1) 1
-
Geoff Howell (21)
Attendance :- 85
John Peacock; Chris Robinson, Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle, Nathan Meade; Ollie Jones; Reece Tison-Lascaris (Stuart York 73), Craig Miller (Mark Middleton 73); Jamal Da Costa ©; Michael Simpson, Geoff Howell (Dean Papali 73).

Unused Substitutes :- Jamie Hatter, Luke Buckingham (GK), Kevin Newell, Nathan Cornwell.

Considering we played over three quarters of that match against ten men, it wasn't what you would call a sparkling performance, more of a professional 'job done' kind of outing. We certainly created enough chances to put a bit more gloss on the scoreline, and Michael Simpson in particular will be disappointed that he didn't get his name on the scoresheet.

It's a fourth successive win though, and keeps us in second spot in the League as it continues to form in these early stages of the season. The Board are happy enough, declaring themselves satisfied with the way things are going, giving special praise for the 8-0 thrashing of Hanworth Villa, though they have also noted that the fans are starting to single out Jamal Da Costa for some criticism. The other concern is a loss of £7,000, two thirds of which being down to our overspent wage budget. Ironically, Da Costa is the man who we pay the most by far. Right now we are just over £1,000 in debt.

 

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Thursday 2nd September 2010
Records continue to fall pretty much every matchday in this League, and all four unbeaten clubs in the Division are now joint record holders of the longest unbeaten run record at half a dozen matches. At the other end of the table, a trio of clubs, including our latest victims Epsom & Ewell, hold the reverse record, six games without a win making the three teams the new joint record holders for that unwanted landmark. Hanworth Villa striker Darren Robinson has lowered the mark for the quickest goal in this Division's history down to 22 seconds.

We have another new player arriving at the club today, and it services a position where we lack cover and experience, the defensive midfielder role. 25 year old Tim Murdoch is the latest recipient of our now famous two year £20 per week deal. The 5'9 anchor man who is adept with both feet failed to make the grade as a youngster with Carshalton Athletic, but started this season with our Division rivals, Croydon. A goal and two assists with them convinced me to offer him a deal here as he was only on an amateur contract with them. He will now compete with Ollie Jones primarily.

Evesham United of the Southern Football League Premier Division have made an enquiry to ask how much we would want for Dominic Worthington. The 21 year old centre back is never going to be a world beater, but he has been playing pretty well so far this season as well. Plus, with the squad being built up to a point where we have finally got a bit of depth, it would make no sense to sell him right now. Unless United were prepared to pay well over the odds. I told them we would want £20,000 for him.

Friday 3rd September
We are 4/6 favourites for tomorrow afternoon's home League match with 13th placed Dorking. They have won just once this season, but they have only lost once as well, so clearly they're quite well versed in the art of the draw. Hopefully our prolific scoring form will push their record out to a pair of defeats this weekend. Yet another manager feels the need to talk up his sides prospects of derailing our good early season form, 31 year old Mark Reid stating that he is relishing the prospect of putting a dent in our promotion chances.

Evesham United have advised they won't be following up their interest in Dominic Worthington, which is unsurprising after I asked for £20k for a player who is worth about 1% of that at best. So instead of offloading a centre back, we bring one in. The new arrival is a fellow Welshman, 18 year old Aaron Malton, a 5'10 defender who can also play in midfield. He has spent the last two years with Blue Square Bet Premier side Wrexham, but the Racecourse Ground club cut him loose in the summer, and we have now signed him on a bargain £5 per week contract for two seasons. I suspect he'll be used more as cover than a First Team regular, but he will certainly be useful to have around. The fans are certainly delighted at the prospect of following his development.

Saturday 4th September

Combined Counties League, Premier Division
v Dorking @ Alwyns Lane, Chertsey

A little bit of rotation is necessary for our second game in four days, and Nathan Meade is left out of today's fixture, with Kevin Newell starting for the first time, and showing his versatility by filling in at left back. Craig Miller drops to the bench today as he is rested, with Mitchell Game returning following his suspension and also taking the armband to Captain the side. It's also a place on the bench only for Jamal Da Costa, which will hopefully help him understand that he is no longer an automatic choice to start for us now, Nathan Cornwell selected behind the strikers today. Dean Papali has to settle for a spot on the bench, Geoff Howell and Michael Simpson keeping him out of the side. New signing Aaron Malton is also on the bench today.

A new season high attendance on a day of persistent drizzle, where the weather was not as clear as Dorking's intention to frustrate us, and not just with their formation. Still, a long ball up the park from Kevin Newell saw Geoff Howell out-muscle his marker, and slip the ball square to Michael Simpson. It was a gilt edged chance on the quarter of an hour mark, but Simpson's frustrations in front of goal continued, slicing his shot wide of the target from ten yards out. A shot from out wide on the right wasn't any closer, while Ollie Jones soon picked up the almost obligatory booking that his combative style of play seems to attract in a congested area of the park. Simpson's miss was soon forgotten when Chris Robinson's driven low cross found Howell unmarked right in front of goal and six yards out, Jon Whittle denying him with an outstanding stop with his legs from point blank range. A yard either side would have done. Mitchell Game had the final try of the half, but it wasn't troubling the Dorking keeper.

Jones came off at the break, replaced by Stuart York, and Reece Tison-Lascaris pushed back into the defensive midfielder role. That had been a frustrating first half, and the second half started in the same manner, Newell volleying in a cross from the left, and Simpson getting the most deft of touches to divert it onto goal from the corner of the six yard box, Whittle getting up a hand at the last possible second to keep it out. An attempt to spring the offside trap from the back by Dominic Worthington was just a little overhit, Whittle able to get out and clear with Howell right in his face. Talking of in faces, there was a danger of Dorking crossing the line with their tackling, which they were now ramping up to break up the flow of the game, a tactic that earned them a pair of bookings in quick succession, but even that didn't seem to deter them. Why would it? It was working for them, and the chances had almost entirely dried up. With quarter of an hour remaining, I turned to my bench, Nathan Cornwell and Howell replaced by Jamal Da Costa and Dean Papali. Both got into the game quickly, but our frustration was leading us to shoot from range, and York's two efforts were well off target. There was no way through today.

Chertsey Town (0) 0
Dorking (0) 0

Attendance :- 102
John Peacock; Chris Robinson, Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle, Kevin Newell; Ollie Jones (Stuart York 45); Reece Tison-Lascaris, Mitchell Game ©; Nathan Cornwell (Jamal Da Costa 75); Michael Simpson, Geoff Howell (Dean Papali 75).

Unused Substitutes :- Jamie Hatter, Luke Buckingham (GK), Aaron Malton, Craig Miller.

So two points are left on the table today, dropping us back down into third place, as Dorking got the point that they had blatantly come for. There were positives for sure though, not least our fifth consecutive clean sheet, and our sixth in seven League matches, aided by the man of the match performance at left back from Kevin Newell, who had a very good outing in his first start in a Chertsey shirt. The fans were pretty happy as well despite the failure to break down the visitors defence, pleased with how we restricted their attack, with just one shot that was off target all afternoon for Dorking.

Sunday 5th September
League leaders Horley Town have now won six games in a row after their victory at home to Camberley Town yesterday. That is a new Combined Counties League Premier Division record.

Friday 10th September
Another fairly uneventful week, and another Friday where a manager gives it the big one a day before they play us. This weeks comments are from Molesey manager David Hutton, the 31 year old Uxbridge born man who is also in his first career job in the game using his press conference to suggest that myself and my club will now be under pressure to succeed after building a squad with considerable depth. The bookies weren't listening to him, ignoring the League Table that shows us eight points ahead of our hosts, and making them Even money favourites.

Saturday 11th September

Combined Counties League, Premier Division
v Molesey @ Walton Road, West Molesey

We revert to something more like our first choice eleven for this trip, Nathan Meade reinstated at left back in place of Kevin Newell who is left out, and Craig Miller is back in the midfield in place of Mitchell Game who returns to the bench. Jamal Da Costa is also back in the side today after switching with Nathan Cornwell, but up front Michael Simpson is dropped to the bench, Dean Papali selected to partner Geoff Howell.

It didn't take long for us to look more dangerous than we had done in the last match, Gary Kettle lifting the ball into the left channel and Geoff Howell justified his selection by stepping inside his marker and into the box, before sending a low shot across the face of goal, just wide of the far post. Kettle was involved again shortly after, picking up a booking for a late tackle. It was the first sign of his hot headed behaviour we had heard plenty about before he joined us, but it didn't cause us too much concern as we were soon in front. Clearly being dropped had fired up Jamal Da Costa, and he picked up the ball from a Craig Miller pass, and sent in a left footed curling shot from the edge of the box that found it's way inside the post. That was not only his first goal of the season, but it was his first ever competitive goal for Chertsey. Soon enough, the yellow card count was getting close to the shots amount, Nathan Meade and Scott Norwood picking up a booking for each side. Buoyed by his goal, Da Costa almost doubled his tally just after the half hour mark, blasting in a shot from a similar area he had already netted from, Matt Nash managing to get his hands to that one and pushing it away. Five minutes later, he robbed the ball from the toe of Jamie Minton on halfway and sprinted forward. It was a three on one, with Howell and Dean Papali up with him, but Da Costa went alone, firing a shot that Nash saved with his legs. We should have had three goals at the break, but we did have three bookings, Chris Robinson the latest to be shown a card.

We had a lead to defend, and our defence has been stingy to say the least this season, giving us a better than even chance of holding onto it. The fact that Molesey had been forced into two changes for injuries, one of them a serious looking injury to Matt Dawson, helped our cause too. Clearly Da Costa was in the mood today, and he would try his luck again with a curler shortly after the restart, his shot beating Nash but creeping just wide of the upright. Number two was on it's way though, and arrived in the 57th minute, Robinson curling the ball beyond the home defence, and Miller ran between the centre backs, drew Nash, and then guided his shot beyond him and into the bottom corner. Molesey would soon have their best chance so far to get themselves back into the match, sub Alvin Taylor skipping past Nathan Meade down their right and sending a cross to the far post that fellow sub Ben Pemberton won in the air, but his downward header lacked power, and John Peacock fielded it without too much trouble. With tackles still flying in, and the ref still showing yellow cards, I made a triple change. I removed two of my three booked players, Robinson and Kettle joined by Miller with Jamie Hatter, debutant Aaron Malton and Mitchell Game all coming on. That left only Meade walking the tightrope, though he was joined by Papali in the later stages. We were still looking to add to our goal tally, Howell sending in a shot that crashed back off the bar, and Da Costa trying once more with a shot that was just wide of the top corner. It wouldn't matter too much today, the three points were ours, and it was fairly convincing.

Molesey (0) 0
Chertsey Town (1) 2
-
Jamal Da Costa (13), Craig Miller (57)
Attendance :- 57
John Peacock; Chris Robinson (Jamie Hatter 71), Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle (Aaron Malton 71), Nathan Meade; Ollie Jones; Reece Tison-Lascaris, Craig Miller (Mitchell Game 71); Jamal Da Costa ©; Dean Papali, Geoff Howell.

Unused Substitutes :- Luke Buckingham (GK), Stuart York, Nathan Cornwell, Michael Simpson.

That injury to Molesey player Matt Dawson had overshadowed the match somewhat, though thankfully the news on the teenage winger wasn't as bad as first thought. He has suffered a knee cartliage injury though, and will miss a couple of months of football. That aside, our win was pretty routine today, and we are back into second place, overtaking a Wembley side who didn't play today.

The recalled Nathan Meade is praised for his performance today, an outing that has earned him his second man of the match award of the season, and now see's 28 year old St Kitts & Nevis national push his average rating up over the 7.50 mark. There was also a twenty minute or so debut for teenage Welsh defender Aaron Malton, his first ever Senior match. And maybe, just maybe, we have set Jamal Da Costa on the road to winning back over the fans. Other than being a little selfish, he was superb today, without doubt my man of the match.

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Sunday 12th September 2010
Six League matches without conceding a goal in a run stretching back to 14th August is a new record for both the League and club. The six matches unbeaten in that same spell is also a new club record mark.

Tuesday 14th September
Goalkeeper John Peacock and left back Nathan Meade are both included in the latest Combined Counties Premier League Team of the Week.

Friday 17th September
Another fairly quiet week as things start to settle down around the League, and the next match is only a day away. We will be favourites tomorrow when we take on 10th placed visitors Cove, who have a very young squad on the whole, the notable exception being their 40 year old top scorer, Wade Falana, who has found the net five times already in this campaign. They have lost their last two though, giving them four wins and three defeats from their seven matches to date.

The local press are less interested in the match and more interested in the story that I'm about to bring in a second defender from Kidlington, they have come up with the story that I'm trying to sign Ben Weedon. I deny being interested in the left back, telling them that I'm very happy with my options there right now.

Saturday 18th September

Combined Counties League, Premier Division
v Cove @ Alwyns Lane, Chertsey

No changes to the starting lineup from the win away to Molesey last weekend, but on the bench Jamie Hatter drops out of the matchday squad with Kevin Newell replacing him, the same fate befalls Stuart York, his place on the bench taken by Tim Murdoch, who will be hoping to make his debut in the blue and white stripes this afternoon.

It was to the surprise of no one that we were on the front foot right from the off, Chris Robinson and Dean Papali combining well down the right, and the latter's cross picked out Geoff Howell 12 yards out, his powerful shot needed to be a yard either side of Lee Styles, but it was right at the keeper who managed to push it away. Our early dominance was in large part down to our midfielders absolute refusal to allow Cove over the halfway line. But what our visitors were managing was to keep us out wide, and the next chance didn't come till the mid point of the half, Paul Simpson unable to cut out Robinson's long ball down the right touchline, and Papali collected the ball and ran directly at goal, before lashing the ball high over the bar. In fact, a Craig Miller curler from an improbable angle and range included, those chances were all we created in a first half that's only other action of note was Nathan Meade collecting a booking on the half hour mark.

A frustrating first half then, and the second half started with more of the same, Papali contesting a pitched battle with Andy Spencer that he eventually got the better of, but once more the finish lacked any real composure, and was well off target. When Ollie Jones took a knock around the hour mark, I took the chance to bring on some fresh legs, Tim Murdoch replacing him for a Chertsey Town debut, while Michael Simpson came on in place of Howell. Our prospects increased further moments later when Cove dangerman Wade Fofana suffered an injury that ended his afternoon. Try as we might, we could not punch a hole in the Cove defence though, sub Simpson threatening to weave his magic in the last five minutes, neat footwork getting him past a few players before he then shot wide. A 0-0 draw was a bit of a surprise.

Chertsey Town (0) 0
Cove (0) 0

Attendance :- 89
John Peacock; Chris Robinson, Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle, Nathan Meade; Ollie Jones (Tim Murdoch 62); Reece Tison-Lascaris, Craig Miller; Jamal Da Costa ©; Dean Papali, Geoff Howell (Michael Simpson 62).

Unused Substitutes :- Kevin Newell, Luke Buckingham (GK), Aaron Malton, Mitchell Game, Nathan Cornwell.

What a frustrating afternoon that was for ourselves and the just under ninety fans who turned up to watch that one. We had 70% of the ball, and nine shots at goal, but managed to get only one of them on target, the early effort from Geoff Howell, that wasn't lacking for power and intent, but was right at Lee Styles.

Horley increase their lead at the top to five points after a win at home over Dorking, while Wembley win away to join us on twenty points, but they have a game in hand on us, as do fourth placed Sandhurst who are only one point further back after their home draw with Hanworth Villa, one of only two clubs who are yet to register their first win of the campaign.

On the positive side, we didn't concede again, a seventh consecutive clean sheet, a fantastic record at any level of the game. A member of the back four was once more selected as the Man of the Match, right back Chris Robinson the recipient this time, as he worked tirelessly to try and find a way through down the right flank. Our defence is likely to be given a more thorough examination next weekend, as we face a Sunday trip to Wembley, the club and not the Stadium I hasten to add.

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Sunday 19th September 2010
Cove manager Alan Wood was quick to take his opportunity to speak up after yesterdays match, telling anyone who would listen that with a squad as deep and talented as ours, everyone at Chertsey has the right to expect more than they got from the side in our match with his club.

With the right to reply given this morning, I told the local newspaper that we were starting to look and feel like public enemy number one in this league, and that attitude was clearly brought on by the envy of the squad we have managed to put together. I ended by telling them I didn't really care too much about Wood's opinion, or anyone else's outside the club for that matter.

Monday 20th September
16 year old Molesey striker James Ager has been a bit of a revelation for the Walton Road side this season. He strikes his fourth goal of the season in their 3-0 win away to Colliers Wood United, noted here as it's a new League marker under the segment labelled fastest goal, which is now standing at 22 seconds.

Tuesday 21st September
The scouting report is in on our weekend opponents, as we begin our preparations for something of an acid test against a Wembley side we are likely to be competing with for the lone Promotion spot or one of four Promotion Playoff places. I'm told to expect a defensively well organised side who are tough to break down, just seven goals conceded in eight games so far. It's noted that they play a similar formation to us, and have been successful against sides who have matched up with them, though none of those sides who have tried it have been as strong as us. 

They have been weakened by an injury to 24 year old 6'2 striker John Judge, who has found the net three times so far this season but has a groin strain. As a result their danger man is now likely to be veteran Northern Irish defensive midfielder Kyle Leckey, a 35 year old in his first season with the club, who even at this twilight stage of his career is still being linked to a return to Ulster and a transfer to top tier side Donegal Celtic. He has a goal and four assists to his name so far this season. 

There is one final word from the scouting duo in their report, and that is that if we do decide to match up on formation with Wembley, it would be risky to play Jamal Da Costa. A combination of his sketchy form, frequent turnovers and reluctance to track back lead my backroom team to conclude that we have better options for this match.

Wednesday 22nd September
That meeting with the backroom staff has left me with a tough call to make this weekend, Da Costa may not be bang in form right now, but he is 'Mr Chertsey Town', and he loves this club, though he is given four hundred reasons in his bank account to love it on a weekly direct debit.

A much easier decision from that longer than normal meeting was to decline the opportunity to follow up our interest in 18 year old left sided player, Grant Ludford. The former Millwall youngster can play anywhere down that flank, but we only really utilise a left back right now, and that isn't Ludford's strongest position. In fact, it's suggested that if we were to look at it as an American sports style depth chart, he would be well behind Nathan Meade, and likely behind Kevin Newell, pitching him somewhere above Jamie Hatter, who is actually a right back who can cover the left side. It's a no from me then.

Saturday 25th September
As is now almost customary, another manager speaks out on how fortunate I am to have a playing squad of our quality. This time it's tomorrows opponent Wembley's boss, 29 year Ian Clarke, who has seen fit to comment and try and stir the pot before the big game. It actually seemed to be a respectful and genuine comment from another young manager trying to make his way in the game, and as such I decided I would refrain from commenting until after the game.

It's a game that we are very much the underdogs for, actually priced at 4/1 if you can believe that when we haven't shipped a goal in seven games. If I was spending Saturday afternoon in the bookies, I would be taking a slice of that action! There's nothing wrong with Wembley's form however, they are unbeaten so far this season with six wins and two draws from eight matches.

When the other games in the League have been played, there is plenty to take notice of. Horely win again, grinding out a 1-0 win away to Molesey, the third time in a row they have won by a single goal, and the second time in a row that it's the only goal. They have won now won nine in a row since being held to an opening day draw. Sandhurst Town continue to be on the up as well, as they win 2-1 away to Ash United, and move into second ahead of ourselves and Wembley. Meanwhile at the other end of the table, there is simply no let up for the woeful Hanworth Villa, who are thrashed again, this time 8-0 at home to a Guildford City side collecting just their second win of the campaign. In ten matches, Villa now have just two draws on the board, only six goals, and at the other end they have let in 40!

Sunday 26th September
41 year old Welsh right winger Martyn James yesterday played his first ever competitive Senior match for a club outside Wales. And it didn't go too badly at all for the former Aberystwyth Town, Haverfordwest County, Maesteg Park Town, Camarthen Town, Pontardawe Town, Briton Ferry Athletic and Neath player as he made his debut for Chessington & Hook United. He scored a 7th minute equaliser at home to Mole Valley Sutton Common Rovers, meaning in one match he has broken the records for both oldest player and oldest goalscorer in the Combined Counties League Premier Division.

Combined Counties League, Premier Division
vs Wembley @ Vale Farm, Sudbury (London)

After only managing a goaless draw last time out, changes are made to the starting lineup, three of them in total. The first comes in the defensive midfield role, with Ollie Jones dropped to the bench, and Tim Murdoch handed a full debut. Up front, Geoff Howell is also left out today, switching places with Michael Simpson. The final change was the most difficult one to make, Jamal Da Costa the third player dropped to the bench, Nathan Cornwell taking his spot. Dominic Worthington wears the armband for the side today.

This is one of the nicer grounds that we will visit this season, not that there are many people inside to appreciate it, the same number as we had at our last game, helped by a handful of travelling Chertsey fans. Booby Price had the ball in the net for Wembley in the 8th minute, rounding a dis-interested looking John Peacock after latching on to Mark Anderson's long ball, but only realising a few seconds after tucking the ball into the net that he was offside, causing the keepers nonchalant approach. But the real onslaught was yet to come. Just before the half hour mark Eliot Morton sent across an inswinging free kick from the left touchline, and striker Kevin Robson rose highest to connect with a header that he glanced inches wide of the far post. That started a series of corners, one of which forced Craig Miller to deal with the ball while facing his own goal, barely getting enough height on his header to clear the cross bar. We rode out the storm, and in first half injury time, Michael Simpson jinked his way past a few before his deflected shot missed the target. Chris Robinson sent in the corner, and Simpson couldn't quite get his head to the cross, but skipper for the day Dominic Worthington did, guiding his header into the corner of the net to earn us a bit of a smash and grab half time advantage deep into injury time.

Nathan Cornwell was injured in the latter stages of the first half, and he wouldn't be able to come out for the second half, meaning the stage was set for Jamal Da Costa. But it was Wembley who were asking questions after the restart, and once more we were almost caught out by a set piece, Chris Watson sending in this one from the opposite side, midfielder Kyle Leckey flicking it past Miller and towards goal, but Reece Tison-Lascaris got back to hack the ball off the line, ending up in the back of the net himself, but ensuring the ball didn't. That was an important kick off the line, and it's importance was magnified around ten minutes or so later. Robinson sent the ball down the right touchline for Dean Papali to chase, and he won that race. He cut back inside his marker and fizzed in a cross at a fairly awkward looking height, but Da Costa stooped to redirect it from eight yards out and across goal into the bottom corner to double our lead. Now we were playing beautiful and flowing passing football, and we sliced Wembley open again moments later, Da Costa shooting past Clive Turton only to see the ball crash back off the underside of the cross bar. Attention would soon turn to protecting what we had, three points and yet another clean sheet. Papali and Simpson came off, with Da Costa moved into a lone striker role. On came Ollie Jones to join Tim Murdoch as another layer of protection in front of the defence, which had it's numbers swelled to a back five with Kevin Newell joining the centre backs. Armed with a 5-2-2-1 DM system that was geared towards defence, we were still the ones who almost got another goal, a counter attack that saw Da Costa wait for reinforcements and then play a one-two before sending in a shot that was just wide. Not that it mattered today.

Wembley (0) 0
Chertsey Town (1) 2
-
Dominic Worthington (45+4), Jamal Da Costa (70)
Attendance :- 89
John Peacock; Chris Robinson, Dominic Worthington ©, Gary Kettle, Nathan Meade; Tim Murdoch; Reece Tison-Lascaris, Craig Miller; Nathan Cornwell (inj - Jamal Da Costa 45); Dean Papali (Ollie Jones 78), Micheal Simpson (Kevin Newell 78).

Unused Substitutes :- Luke Buckingham (GK), Aaron Malton, Mitchell Game, Geoff Howell.

The players were told after the match that their performance today was the best since I arrived with the quality of the opposition factored in. This performance was the new standard on which they would be judged in the future. Today, my lads had shown they were capable of beating the best teams in this Division, and if they believed we could do it, then this season could be a fabulous one for the club.

Eight successive clean sheets, 720 minutes of football not including any injury time. A superb achievement for John Peacock and his defence, with yet another of them picking up the Man of the Match award, this time it's the man who broke the deadlock deep into first half injury time, and skipper for the day, Dominic Worthington. He edged out last weeks winner Chris Robinson, and the man who came off the bench and played his part with the second goal. Jamal Da Costa rammed home his opinion of being left out today, and may have changed a few minds of those who doubt if not his ability, but his consistency at least.

He will have a little less competition for his place in the coming weeks, with the news given that Nathan Cornwell's chance to settle into life at the club will be hampered by a pulled hamstring that will likely keep him out of action till the end of October.

Tuesday 28th September
I asked Hampton & Richmond for permission to discuss a permanent deal with Chris Robinson with the view to him joining us when his loan finishes. His club accept the Free Transfer offer, but the player says that right now, he is happy with the situation and doesn't want to negotiate a deal at this point.

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Posted (edited)

2010/11 Combined Counties League Premier Division Table, Up To & Including Thursday 30th September 2010

| Pos   | Inf   | Team               |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 1st   |       | Horley             |       | 10    | 9     | 1     | 0     | 27    | 9     | +18   | 28    |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 2nd   |       | Chertsey           |       | 10    | 7     | 2     | 1     | 22    | 2     | +20   | 23    |
| 3rd   |       | Sandhurst          |       | 9     | 7     | 1     | 1     | 21    | 9     | +12   | 22    |
| 4th   |       | Wembley            |       | 9     | 6     | 2     | 1     | 20    | 9     | +11   | 20    |
| 5th   |       | Egham              |       | 10    | 6     | 2     | 2     | 16    | 13    | +3    | 20    |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 6th   |       | Banstead           |       | 9     | 5     | 2     | 2     | 18    | 11    | +7    | 17    |
| 7th   |       | Raynes Park        |       | 10    | 5     | 1     | 4     | 22    | 15    | +7    | 16    |
| 8th   |       | Croydon            |       | 10    | 4     | 4     | 2     | 15    | 10    | +5    | 16    |
| 9th   |       | Badshot Lea        |       | 9     | 4     | 3     | 2     | 19    | 13    | +6    | 15    |
| 10th  |       | Cove               |       | 9     | 4     | 2     | 3     | 13    | 11    | +2    | 14    |
| 11th  |       | Chessington & Hook |       | 10    | 4     | 1     | 5     | 16    | 21    | -5    | 13    |
| 12th  |       | Mole Valley        |       | 9     | 3     | 3     | 3     | 14    | 12    | +2    | 12    |
| 13th  |       | Molesey            |       | 9     | 3     | 2     | 4     | 12    | 13    | -1    | 11    |
| 14th  |       | Dorking            |       | 9     | 2     | 4     | 3     | 12    | 12    | 0     | 10    |
| 15th  |       | Guildford          |       | 9     | 2     | 2     | 5     | 19    | 19    | 0     | 8     |
| 16th  |       | Camberley          |       | 10    | 2     | 2     | 6     | 17    | 23    | -6    | 8     |
| 17th  |       | Colliers Wood      |       | 10    | 2     | 2     | 6     | 9     | 20    | -11   | 8     |
| 18th  |       | Epsom & Ewell      |       | 10    | 1     | 3     | 6     | 10    | 20    | -10   | 6     |
| 19th  |       | Ash                |       | 10    | 1     | 2     | 7     | 11    | 21    | -10   | 5     |
| 20th  |       | Bookham            |       | 9     | 0     | 3     | 6     | 4     | 20    | -16   | 3     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 21st  |       | Hanworth Villa     |       | 10    | 0     | 2     | 8     | 6     | 40    | -34   | 2     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Edited by neilhoskins77

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Friday 1st October 2010
It will be a very quiet first half of the month for us, as after tomorrows home match with Badshot Lea, we have a fortnight off due to an International Window that doesn't impact us in the slightest. Things will get busier in the second half of the month, as we finish October with a trio of League matches. An away trip to Colliers Wood United will then be followed by a huge home match with League leaders Horley Town. It is then on the road again to finish the month, with a tricky trip to Croydon.

As a club, we are almost completely overlooked when it came to the handing out of the Monthly Awards. We didn't feature at all in the reckoning for Player of the Month, Young Player of the Month, or Goal of the Month. I did come third in the Manager of the Month Award, as Lawrence Geary of Horley Town won it, with Peter Davenport of Egham the runner-up.

The Board at the club are pleased with how things are going so far this season, and they are still very happy with that demolition of Hanworth Villa, that has since been repeated by other sides. They are not happy with the form of striker Dean Papali though, and are starting to wonder if there are better options in the squad for his place. I've been wondering the same myself lately. There is no mention made of the financial situation, other than the news that we lost £5,740 last month. That leaves us around £6,500 in debt now, and it will surely be a matter of time before the monthly reports make mention of the wage bill being over budget.

Tomorrow we are 1/6 favourites to continue our impressive recent form when Bashot Lea pay a visit to Alwyns Lane. They come to us in 9th place, which is several places higher than they are expected to finish the season in. They have actually been more successful on their travels than they have in their home games, but the bookies don't fancy their chances of taking anything from tomorrows match. We are eight matches unbeaten right now (six wins, two draws), and have a clean sheet in each of those matches as well.

Saturday 2nd October

Combined Counties League, Premier Division
v Badshot Lea @ Alwyns Lane, Chertsey

Two changes have been made from our win at Wembley (the club, not the Stadium) last weekend, with the injured Nathan Cornwell replaced by Jamal Da Costa in the attacking midfield role behind the strikers. There is also a change amongst the front pair as well, with Dean Papali dropped to the bench, and young striker Geoff Howell recalled to the starting lineup for this match. There is one vacant place on the bench, and that means a return to the matchday squad for Stuart York.

Geoff Howell is an entirely different striker to Dean Papali, his game built around pace. He showed it in a 9th minute dual with Daniel Bostock that left the Badshot Lea defender needing treatment. He would carry on, but his injury made him a target for our players, Gary Kettle joining a 21st minute attack and sending in a low skidding shot that Patrick Kinsella had to turn around the far post. The pressure continued, Craig Miller sending a low curler from 20 yards out only just wide on the half hour, and moments later his low cross went right through the six yard box with no one able to apply the finishing touch. It looked like we were heading towards the break with a frustrating first half behind us, but that changed in the 39th minute. We played out from the back, John Peacock playing the ball short and left to Nathan Meade, the full back dropping the ball over the top of right back Chris Sealey, and giving Howell a run at the limping Bostock. The defender won the race with a healthy head start, but was given no time by the hungry striker, and he swept the ball right from him and left him in a heap on the grass, while he moved into the box, drew out Kinsella, and then slotted a low shot under his dive and into the bottom corner to open the scoring with his fifth League goal of the season, and Bostock was done for the day.

Our team talk might have been entirely different if we hadn't managed to get that goal, instead there was nothing but positive vibes and the second half saw us get a quick second. Miller's corner was cleared only as far as Reece Tison-Lascaris, and he got it right back to Miller. This time he drove in a low cross, and Jamal Da Costa volleyed if home from ten yards out to double our lead. We looked comfortable, maybe a little too comfortable, as our visitors started to apply some pressure of their own with a series or set pieces and shots from range. In the 72nd minute Ollie Pearce whipped in a free kick from the right, and Dominic Worthington was ruled to have held back recent sub Dave Thomas, the ref feeling the infringement warranted the awarding of a spot kick. So keeper Peacock now faced the very real threat of his League and Club Record clean sheet spell coming to an end. He tried every trick he knew to put off striker Paul Kissock, but to no avail, the left footed spot kick drilled high into the net to reduce the arrears to 2-1. It woke us up though, and our response was almost instant. Kinsella's goal kick was headed back over the Badshot Lea defence by Tim Murdoch, and Michael Simpson raced onto it and through on goal, before producing a finish almost identical to Howell's in the first half, sliding his shot under the keepers dive to restore our two goal lead. We looked keen to add more to the scoreline, Da Costa stinging Kinsella's hands with a shot from the edge of the box before a made a little triple change, replacing the three deepest players from the midfield diamond, Murdoch, Tison-Lascaris and Miller replaced by Ollie Jones, Mitchell Game and Stuart York. With time ticking down, Kissock and Simpson clashed on the right touchline, earning the Badshot Lea goalscorer a booking, and us one last chance to put the ball into the box. Chris Robinson's delivery picked out Worthington, and he made up for giving away the penalty by looping a header over Kinsella and into the far corner to put the gloss onto a good days work.

Chertsey Town (1) 4 - Geoff Howell (39), Jamal Da Costa (49), Michael Simpson (76), Dominic Worthington (90+1)
Badshot Lea (0) 1 - Paul Kissock (73 pen)
Attendance :- 100
John Peacock; Chris Robinson, Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle, Nathan Meade; Tim Murdoch (Ollie Jones 85); Reece Tison-Lascaris (Mitchell Game 85), Craig Miller (Stuart York 85); Jamal Da Costa ©; Michael Simpson, Geoff Howell.

Unused Substitutes :- Kevin Newell, Luke Buckingham (GK), Aaron Malton, Dean Papali.

Nine in a row, as we win again, this time in a convincing enough manner for the fans spokesperson to comment on how much the fans enjoyed watching us dismantle a mid table side with relative ease, and in particular how good the finishing was. Despite that, it is once more a defender who is awarded the Man of the Match prize, with defender Chris Robinson the recipient today, his second of the season after getting his third assist in injury time. Only Craig Miller and Dean Papali have more assists than him in our squad. My own choice for the award would have been Geoff Howell, who was superb on his recall to the side, and netted the fifth goal of his debut season in Senior football.

The win made no impression the League table though, with Horley Town winning again at home to Cove, maintaining their five point lead at the top. There were also wins for Sandhurst Town at home to Camberley Town, and Wembley away to Colliers Wood United meaning they both remained in striking distance of us with a game in hand. Finally, congratulations are in order for Hanworth Villa, who climb off the bottom with a 2-0 away win against Mole Valley Sutton Common Rovers. That result pushed Bookham to the bottom after they lost at home, making them now the only club in the Division without a win this season.

On the night before the match, Badshot Lea manager Marc Tindall had told the local press that his side were confident they could expose us as 'Promotion frauds' on Saturday afternoon. I said nothing at the time, and decided to have my say in the aftermath of a fairly dominant performance. 'Badshot Lea will probably regret hiring Tindall I'd have thought. In fact, their second rate team is only made worse by having a third rate manager.' Ouch.

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Tuesday 5th October 2010
Despite a very convincing win on the weekend, only one of our players is selected in the Combined Counties Premier Division Team of the Week, and that is right back Chris Robinson.

Saturday 9th October
We have a weekend off, which I'm fairly sure is merely a coincidence to it being the International Break. We are not important enough to demand our games being called off for International call-up's, especially when we have none.

Young goalkeeper Jamie Feetham might have more than just the weekend off. The 16 year old has a virus, which will rule him out for two or three weeks. He is sent home to avoid anyone else going down with the illness.

Sunday 10th October
For only the second time this season, league leaders Horley Town have dropped points, as they are held to a 1-1 draw by fourth place Wembley. We are six points behind the leaders now, with a game in hand. Their twelve game unbeaten run from the beginning of this season is now a new record in the Combined Counties League Premier Division.

Tuesday 12th October
Another excellent meeting with my backroom team, who have given me another list of players that they think would improve our options. Right now, I'm pretty happy with what we have, but I will send some Scouts to check out the players they have suggested. I also give the go ahead for some of our current players to be given new training schedules to help them continue on their lines of improvement.

Friday 15th October
It's becoming a regular thing now. We get to Friday, and the following days opponent gives it the big one, and tells me how much they're looking forward to derailing our promotion hopes. I've taken to ignoring the comment initially, and then replying to it after the match. The bookies think I'll have plenty of ammunition to use by Sunday, making us heavy favourites for the away match with Colliers Wood United, the London side sit in 19th place and haven't won any of their last five matches.

Saturday 16th October

Combined Counties League, Premier Division
v Colliers Wood United @ London Fire Brigade, Ewell

There are no changes at all to last time out, as we face the London side who are currently playing in the Surrey village of Ewell. There is a persistent drizzle as we take to the park in our black away kit in front of a decent sized crowd, for this level anyway. They watched man in form, Geoff Howell, miss the target with an early sighter. Midway through the half, Michael Simpson won a corner as we counter attacked, and Craig Miller's set piece found Howell as he stole in from the far post, and headed home the opener. United pressed to get back in the game, Lloyd King swinging over a cross that Peter Ward headed against the bar, while Dan Newby forced a smart stop out of John Peacock in the best of the chances created as United put us under a spell of pressure that had us creaking at the back. Reece Tison-Lascaris came close at the other end with a low curler from outside the box that was only just wide.

We had held our lead through to the break, and then extended it only 32 seconds after the restart. Tison-Lascaris showed great footwork to avoid a challenge on the halfway line, then found Simpson. The striker held the ball up, and picked out Jamal Da Costa, who let fly from 25 yards with a shot too powerful for Jonathan Widdowson to keep out. We looked good, for five minutes or so, then half time subs Brett Langford and Simon Warrilow combined, the latter getting the ball back from a one-two, and drove into the box, Nathan Meade caught his leg as he tried to get back goal side, it was clumsy, and an easy penalty call. Tom Pell drove it high into the roof of the net, and the game was back on. Da Costa went on a lung busting run that took him past three players and into the box, but his shot was nowhere near as impressive, sending the ball high and wide just after the hour mark. With just over a quarter of an hour to play, I decided to make some changes to try and hold on to what we held. Tim Murdoch, Miller and Simpson were replaced by Ollie Jones, Stuart York and Dean Papali. That seemed to just put us under more pressure, but we dealt with it better than the United defence, who didn't like having their back four hassled in possession. A long ball across the edge of their own box was intercepted by Papali, who missed the chance to put the game to bed. Howell did no such thing a minute from time though, Papali sending in a low cross, and Howell turned home his second of the afternoon to put the game out of reach for United.

Colliers Wood United (0) 1 - Tom Pell (53 pen)
Chertsey Town (1) 3 - Geoff Howell (22,89), Jamal Da Costa (46)
Attendance :- 137
John Peacock; Chris Robinson, Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle, Nathan Meade; Tim Murdoch (Ollie Jones 74); Reece Tison-Lascaris, Craig Miller (Stuart York 74); Jamal Da Costa ©; Michael Simpson (Dean Papali 74), Geoff Howell.

Unused Substitutes :- Kevin Newell, Luke Buckingham (GK), Aaron Malton, Mitchell Game.

Another good win on the road, but we don't make any ground on Horley Town, who win 3-0 at home to Badshot Lea. But we're matching them for form, as we are unbeaten in the last ten now. And just think, Geoff Howell wasn't slated to be part of the First Team squad when he got the season underway. Now he's our top scorer after taking his tally up to seven goals for the campaign, putting him one in front of Dean Papali, who in turn is one ahead of Michael Simpson, the young striker is a further goal ahead of both Jamal Da Costa and Craig Miller. We only have half a dozen players who have found the net this season, but at the other end, we have conceded just four all season.

Our home meeting with Horley next Saturday, already looks like a crucial one, despite it being only a quarter of the way into the season.

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Sunday 17th October 2010
I didn't need to say a word about Colliers Wood United boss Frankie Barlow. He had already made himself look more than foolish enough when he claimed his side were 'robbed of a result' in yesterdays match. A 3-1 result which saw us have over 60% of the possession would suggest otherwise, though his side did cause us a few problems for a spell in the first half.

Monday 18th October
Geoff Howell is the only player named in the Combined Counties League Premier Division Team of the Week, after he scored two goals away to Colliers Wood United in Saturday's win.

Wednesday 20th October
Mark Middleton turns 17 today, and is eligible for a Senior contract, which we have offered him, and expect him to sign in the coming days. The attacking midfielder has made four League appearances from the substitutes bench so far this season.

Thursday 21st October
Middleton has signed a two year part time contract with us today. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on his rate of improvement.

Friday 22nd October
Tomorrow is a game of interest for everyone associated with this League, not just the two clubs involved. Only the top team wins promotion up into the 8th tier, with the other four sides playing in the always unpredictable end of season Promotion Playoffs.

It's too early to say that the result in this match will decide anything of course, but it would be a mistake to underestimate it's potential significance too. Defeat in this one, and we will be nine behind Horley Town, and right now, they don't look like dropping a huge amount of points this season.

The staff have some concerns with how we may cope with the free scoring Horley attack, in particular their 29 year old striker Ben Grier, who has fourteen goals in his thirteen League matches to date this season.

Our record attendance at the club right now stands at 102, which was for the home match against Dorking in early September. It's odds on that figure will be topped tomorrow afternoon. Also odds on are us, as the bookies price us at 4/6 to hand Horley their first defeat of the season.

Saturday 23rd October

Combined Counties League, Premier Division
vs Horley Town @ Alwyns Lane, Chertsey

For this top of the table clash, that has attracted a new club record attendance to Alwyns Lane despite the persistent drizzle, we have once more made no changes to either the starting eleven or the matchday squad. On the slick surface, we passed the ball around nicely, and created an early chance, Geoff Howell trying his usual sighter from the edge of the box, getting that one all wrong. With both sides happy to feel each other out, the first quarter of the match went by without either side creating anything of note, a couple of corners each the highlight, while Town centre back Daniel Scott was booked for a late tackle. That changed before the half hour mark, right back Scott Cairns was put under pressure by Howell, and the young striker nicked the ball from him, blasting in a low shot that Steve Heller saved with his legs. Moments later, a Nathan Meade cross was turned onto the target by Jamal Da Costa, and blocked well again by Heller, the loose ball arriving at the feet of Craig Miller on the edge of the box, but his curler just missed the target wide of the far post. Miller had another go, that one swinging wide again, while at the other end, skipper Mitch Rimmer's shot on the turn was high and wide. Goalless at the break, but we had looked the more likely side.

We kept our intensity from late in the first half up after the restart as well, Miller's cross was too deep, but Michael Simpson chased the ball down, and then worked his way back into the box from the right, before sending in a curling shot towards the top corner, Heller pushing it away at the last possible second to deny us again. Horley are not the type of side to be put in their place and not come out fighting, and on the hour, a short pass into feet at the edge of the box saw Glynn Huckett roll his marker and send in a shot that had John Peacock beaten, but just brushed the outside of the far post. That bit of success going forward convinced Horley to commit a few more players to their attacks, but we nearly caught them on the counter, winning a corner, which was partially cleared, before Reece Tison-Lascaris sent the shot high and wide of the target. With the match now into it's final quarter, the pressure of the situation was clearly starting to have it's impact, as mistakes became more infrequent, and the foul total rose quickly, Meade lucky to avoid a booking for a clumsy tackle he didn't need to make near the corner flag. Horley turned to their bench, while I decided to let things remain as they were for now. Miller's outswinging free kick from the touchline after Howell was fouled was headed down at the far post by Simpson, and Dominic Worthington struck a fierce shot from close range that Heller once more was able to block. He could do nothing to keep us out moments later though, when some quick, short passing cut through the Horley defence, and Da Costa played in Howell, who slid his shot wide of Heller and in to give us the lead with barely ten minutes left to play! I was absolutely delighted with my players, but we did had work to do. Lumumba Amena's cross from the left found the head of sub Adam Abel, but he just couldn't keep his header down. We would be a lot less lucky moments later, Brendan Sebuliba's through ball found another sub, Paul Watson. He checked back inside of Worthington, and sent in a low shot that Peacock, blocked. But the ball rebounded right back to him, and he had a second try, this time his effort hit the shin of the unfortunate Worthington, and looped over the prone keeper and into the bottom corner to level the match up again! I already had Kevin Newell on the sideline, ready to come on in place of Simpson to go defensive for the last five minutes. I let that change go ahead, while I decided what I wanted to do now. A minute later, I had made my mind up, Gary Kettle and Tim Murdoch came off for Mitchell Game and Dean Papali as we reorganised into a more attacking setup. But the cagey play not surprisingly returned, and the match ended in stalemate. Not the worst result, but a missed chance to get one over the team who are undoubtedly going to be in the Title hunt.

Chertsey Town (0) 1 - Geoff Howell (79)
Horley Town (0) 1 - Patrick Watson (83)
Attendance :- 108
John Peacock; Chris Robinson, Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle (Mitchell Game 85), Nathan Meade; Tim Murdoch (Dean Papali 85); Reece Tison-Lascaris, Craig Miller; Jamal Da Costa ©; Michael Simpson (Kevin Newell 84); Geoff Howell.

Unused Substitutes :- Luke Buckingham (GK), Aaron Malton, Ollie Jones, Stuart York.

We went from piling the pressure onto Horley Town, and potentially getting ourselves back on terms with them if we went on to win our game in hand, to dropping down to third place, as combined with our failure to hold onto the lead, Sandhurst Town won well away to Molesey to move ahead of us in the table, also on the same number of games. Wembley are three points behind us now too, also with a game in hand.

The fans, who don't forget turned out in record numbers for this match, are reported to be disappointed with our failure to hold on to the lead and see out the match for the win. The reality is though that we are now eleven games unbeaten, playing very well at both ends of the park, and involved in any conversation that should take place regarding the favourites for promotion this season.

Our good work is clearly being noticed elsewhere as well. Cuffley of the Hertfordshire Senior County League Premier Division have made an offer for teenage attacking midfielder Mark Middleton, while Holt United of the Anglian Combination League Division One have made an offer too, this time for Jamal Da Costa. Neither offer involves us receiving a fee of any kind, and both are very swiftly rejected.

Edited by neilhoskins77

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Sunday 24th October 2010
Lawrence Geary was pretty happy with himself and his side after they left Chertsey with a point yesterday. An interview he gave to the League website appeared online late last night, where he pointed out that the pressure is firmly on Chertsey Town to recover their form if they are to live with the likes of Horley Town this season.

Monday 25th October
21 year old forward Nathan Cornwell is back in training today after recovering from his pulled hamstring. He has found himself further down the queue than expected due to the form of Geoff Howell, and has only made three appearances so far, one of those coming from the substitutes bench.

Tuesday 26th October
Our backroom meeting today gave us six more potential players to keep an eye on. They are all scouted, and are all very decent players, some of which would be great to enhance our squad right now. But I tell the staff that for now at least, we are going to go with what we have. I tell them I don't want the club to start being noted for a revolving door policy when it comes to either players or staff. For the short term at least, we are going with what we have. It has served us pretty well so far in the opening quarter of the campaign.

Friday 29th October
Gavin McSheffrey is the same age as me, and just like me, he is also taking charge of a team for the first time. He was born in Lichfield, and is now the manager of Croydon, who have had a pretty respectable start to the season and sit in 8th place going into the weekend. At 6/4, his team are slight favourites for our match at the Croydon Sports Arena, though his side have lost twice there already this season. That doesn't stop McSheffrey from building up his sides chances of turning us over tomorrow.

Saturday 30th October

Combined Counties League, Premier Division
vs Croydon @ Croydon Sports Arena, Croydon

Once more we are unchanged for what is being billed as a difficult game for us. Craig Miller was involved early on, first winning a corner, and then sending it over, it was partly cleared to Reece Tison-Lascaris, who's shot was well over the bar. Soon enough though, we were second best, danger man Andy Owen sidestepping through our midfield and then sending the ball right out to full back Peter Nesbitt, his cross into the middle only just missing it's target. Then from out wide, Shaun Fogg took the ball on the bounce and sent a controlled volley over John Peacock, only for it to crash back off the cross bar. But they were on the attack again within minutes, and this time Fogg sent in a corner to the near post that was deftly touched into the net by British/Cypriot centre back Nikolas Stylianou. We had struggled to get ourselves going, and that didn't really change now we had to, a late Miller corner was again cleared to Tison-Lacaris, the midfielder this time trying a swerving shot that just missed outside the far post.

After a pretty stern going over at half time, I was expecting to see a serious improvement in our play after the break. But what I saw was Fogg bring down skipper Stephen Mitchell's cross and shoot on the turn, again seeing his effort come back off the bar. Things were not going our way, Owen curling a low 25 yard shot just wide of the goal frame. With twenty minutes to go, they cut us open once more, Steve Gregory sending a through ball into the path of Steve Clark, who should have put us away, but instead only found the side netting. A change was needed, and with just under a quarter of an hour to go, Tim Murdoch was taken off and Dean Papali brought on as we dispensed with the defensive midfielder, pushed the full backs forward, and went with three up front. But we created absolutely nothing. Bad day at the office, or something a bit worse?

Croydon (1) 1 - Nikolas Stylianou (32)
Chertsey Town (0) 0
Attendance :- 100
John Peacock; Chris Robinson, Dominic Worthington, Gary Kettle, Nathan Meade; Tim Murdoch (Dean Papali 77); Reece Tison-Lascaris, Craig Miller; Jamal Da Costa ©; Michael Simpson, Geoff Howell.

Unused Substitutes :- Kevin Newell, Luke Buckingham (GK), Aaron Malton, Ollie Jones, Mitchell Game, Stuart York.

With not a single shot on target, and the short end of possession, even away from home, that was easily our worst performance of the season. Lacklustre would be the best way to describe it. To make matters worse for Tim Murdoch, he had to suffer the catcalls from the fans who previously cheered him on, as he was given the hook away to one of his own former clubs.

The fans are disappointed, I'm disappointed, the players are disappointed. Horley Town are not disappointed though, as with a home win over Colliers Wood United, they are now nine point clear of us to finish October. With Sandhurst Town winning as well, we are going to have a lot of work to do over the coming weeks and months to put the pressure back on them.

Edited by neilhoskins77

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Posted (edited)

2010/11 Combined Counties League Premier Division Table, Up To & Including Sunday 31st October 2010

| Pos   | Inf   | Team               |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   |

| 1st   |       | Horley             |       | 15    | 12    | 3     | 0     | 37    | 12    | +25   | 39    |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 2nd   |       | Sandhurst          |       | 14    | 11    | 1     | 2     | 33    | 16    | +17   | 34    |
| 3rd   |       | Chertsey           |       | 14    | 9     | 3     | 2     | 30    | 6     | +24   | 30    |
| 4th   |       | Raynes Park        |       | 15    | 9     | 2     | 4     | 32    | 17    | +15   | 29    |
| 5th   |       | Egham              |       | 14    | 9     | 2     | 3     | 25    | 18    | +7    | 29    |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 6th   |       | Banstead           |       | 14    | 8     | 3     | 3     | 27    | 16    | +11   | 27    |
| 7th   |       | Wembley            |       | 14    | 8     | 3     | 3     | 27    | 17    | +10   | 27    |
| 8th   |       | Croydon            |       | 15    | 6     | 6     | 3     | 23    | 15    | +8    | 24    |
| 9th   |       | Guildford          |       | 14    | 6     | 3     | 5     | 34    | 21    | +13   | 21    |
| 10th  |       | Chessington & Hook |       | 14    | 6     | 2     | 6     | 22    | 26    | -4    | 20    |
| 11th  |       | Badshot Lea        |       | 14    | 5     | 4     | 5     | 25    | 25    | 0     | 19    |
| 12th  |       | Mole Valley        |       | 14    | 4     | 4     | 6     | 15    | 18    | -3    | 16    |
| 13th  |       | Cove               |       | 14    | 4     | 4     | 6     | 18    | 22    | -4    | 16    |
| 14th  |       | Epsom & Ewell      |       | 15    | 4     | 3     | 8     | 24    | 25    | -1    | 15    |
| 15th  |       | Dorking            |       | 14    | 3     | 5     | 6     | 17    | 22    | -5    | 14    |
| 16th  |       | Ash                |       | 15    | 3     | 5     | 7     | 18    | 25    | -7    | 14    |
| 17th  |       | Molesey            |       | 14    | 3     | 2     | 9     | 12    | 24    | -12   | 11    |
| 18th  |       | Camberley          |       | 15    | 2     | 4     | 9     | 20    | 34    | -14   | 10    |
| 19th  |       | Colliers Wood      |       | 14    | 2     | 2     | 10    | 12    | 33    | -21   | 8     |
| 20th  |       | Hanworth Villa     |       | 14    | 2     | 2     | 10    | 11    | 47    | -36   | 8     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 21st  |       | Bookham            |       | 14    | 0     | 5     | 9     | 9     | 32    | -23   | 5     |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Edited by neilhoskins77

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