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[FM17] The Long Road – Keymer and Hassocks/DCK Maidenbower

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Posted (edited)

DCK Maidenbower 2029/30 Season Summary

Preseason

Absolutely thrashed by Arsenal, but an otherwise reasonable pre-season. 

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League

With 20 teams and only the winners being promoted, I thought that DCK were in for a tough season. DCK had among the lowest wage bills in the league, so I expected that despite media and boardroom expectations of a league title, DCK would take a few seasons at least to reach the Isthmian divisions. In the end though, DCK romped to the title, finishing over 20 points ahead of their closest competitors. 

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Cups

Of 4 the cups DCK competed in this season, the only one with no hope of winning was the FA Cup. The board didn't consider the two Southern Combination cups to be a priority, but wanted DCK to reach the semis of the FA Trophy and reach the FA Cup 4th qualifying round. DCK only reached the 2nd qual. round of the FA Cup before being knocked out by St. Neots, but reached the final of the FA Trophy, only to lose the final on penalties after extra time. 

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DCK II

DCK are managed by AI but Jamie Tabb controls transfer incomings, outgoings and staff appointments, making them a DoF challenge inside a LLM challenge. Managed by AssMan Carl Simmonds due to staff shortages, DCK II won Mid Sussex D4 in 2029/30, earning promotion to D3.

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Top Performers

David 'Literally Messi' Ashley had another outstanding season, bagging a career high 90 goals in all competitions, ably assisted by some excellent performances from the midfield.

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Transfers

Hardly any signings this season, with stringent wage limits holding DCK back. Ashley Rivers and Charlie Pheasant were both signed in the search for Ian Lowendes' long term replacement, but neither are truly convincing so the search goes on.

Paul Marchant was the first player that Jamie Tabb ever signed for Keymer and Hassocks, way back on 2nd July 2016, and was signed for £20 p/w to play for DCK II in Mid Sussex D4. Primarily a nostalgia signing, but his ability to play both RB and CB have proved useful.

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Next Season

Going into the Isthmian D1S, DCK are now only two promotions from the Conference South, traditionally the lowest the FM database goes, and four promotions from the Football League. 

Next season DCK will likely need to make as many signings as the finances allow; Isthmian D1S is a 46-game season, and it would be nice to reach the FA cup 1st round, meaning a lot of games next season. Hopefullt the board doesn't expect another league win, but experience suggests that they will. It would be nice as well to keep as much of the squad together as far as they can go, especially the Sutton-Bell-Wheeler-Hopkinson backline, who will likely stay at the club for the rest of their careers, playing for DCK II once the first team has outgrown them and staying to tutor younger players as well as help DCK II rise up the divisions.

Onwards and Upwards!

 

 

Edited by sourgrapes11

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On 04/05/2019 at 00:30, Dev'o said:

Haha, had some time on my hands so made you this :D

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Hahaha I love it! Looks much tastier than the angry chicken badge...

I just wish I could import a club badge into an ongoing save - would love to see that badge pitched up against a prem team down the line - like Spurs vs DCK, the badges would be like a before and after...

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3 hours ago, sourgrapes11 said:

Hahaha I love it! Looks much tastier than the angry chicken badge...

I just wish I could import a club badge into an ongoing save - would love to see that badge pitched up against a prem team down the line - like Spurs vs DCK, the badges would be like a before and after...

You can

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On 04/05/2019 at 00:30, Dev'o said:

Haha, had some time on my hands so made you this :D

dck.jpg.555f0d54ca6093fe9e71eec9e25ad5a5.jpg

Just need to change it to Maidenbower haha

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2 hours ago, Dan BHTFC said:

Just need to change it to Maidenbower haha

To be honest I misread that for a whole season when I was facing them regularly with K&H, easily done! And in fact i hadn't noticed it on the badge until you mentioned it - maybe I should petition Crawley Council to change the name to Maidenblower?

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In The Money

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Um, thanks, I guess?

 

 

 

Also: my computer froze (again) when attempting to save, likely due to the sheer weight of 150,000 active players loaded, and I lost progress from Feb 2030 onwards. The rest of the season played out in essentially the same fashion; we won the league and the two Southern Combination Cups, and lost the FA Vase Final. I won't post new screenshots unless requested as essentially nothing substantial changed.

 

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Posted (edited)

DCK Maidenbower 2030/31 Season Preview

Once again, we're expected to win the league on a shoestring.

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As well as the League title, expectations are that DCK will win the Isthmian League Cup, featuring teams from both the Isthmian First Divisions North and South, as well as the Isthmian Premier Division. DCK are also expected to have runs in the FA Trophy and FA Cup qualifying rounds, which will mean another full season if expectations are met.

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With a long season ahead (46 game league season this year!) and some departures/retirements expected in the off-season, from about March onwards Jamie Tabb asked his scouts to focus on finding young talents. After months of effort from the scouts finding them and Jamie compiling lists of the most promising, DCK signed a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds in the off-season. The view was that they would integrate the ones that were ready now, and tutor/loan the ones that needed more work, hoping to put the building blocks in place for a team that could conquer the Conference South & National, and win promotion to the Football League.

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Of the signed players, the two most promising are Alex Scott and and Scott Wheeler, who both arrive with resolute personalities.

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Sam Concannon is hopefully going to take over as our long term no.1, and Robert Shaw and Ollie Gibbs-Wilkin will stay on for squad depth, but the rest have gone out on loan, many with part or all of their wages covered, which helps lessen the wage bill which was starting to creak a little with all the new faces.

As well as the League title, expectations are that DCK will win the Isthmian League Cup, featuring teams from both the Isthmian First Divisions North and South, as well as the Isthmian Premier Division. DCK are also expected to have runs in the FA Trophy and FA Cup qualifying rounds, which will mean another full season if expectations are met.

Tactics

As of yet I haven't included any info on tactics, mainly because I haven't been doing anything fancy. At Keymer and Hassocks it was a simple 442, with defensive full backs and a little and large (quick poacher and target man on support) duo up top, which I expected to be transferred to DCK. When I arrived however, attacking midfielder Callum Gribbin was streets ahead of the rest of the midfield, so rather than attempt to shoehorn him into the midfield I opted to stick with my predecessor's 4411.

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The emphasis is simplicity and minimal instructions, relying essentially on David 'Literally Messi' Ashley to get the goals while employing a deeper back line to counter the same threat of balls over the top that K&H and DCK employ. Once in the Football League it would be nice to build an identity of posession football but in the lower leagues the reality is that knocking it long to a pacy striker is just far more effective.

Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2030/31 Season

August-October

Despite some initial concerns, DCK have had a (mostly) excellent start to their first Isthmian season. After an unbeaten pre-season, they continued that form into the League campaign and currently sit confortably on top of the pile after 13 matches.

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David 'Literally Messi' Ashley continues to bang the goals in for fun, with 28 in 20 so far (plus 8 assists), and the rest of the team continues to do an excellent job supporting him. The new signings, especially Scott Wheeler and Alex Scott, are making solid strides in their growth and the club is also embarking on something of an FA Cup run, reaching the first round for the first time in their history. DCK have been drawn away at Accrington Stanley, the first football league opposition in their history.

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Nearly 100% certain to be knocked out, but you never know...

 

On a less positive note, DCK's FA Trophy campaign ended before it even got going, losing in the preliminary round to Windscale. A measure of revenge was extracted a week later however as DCK knocked them out of the FA Cup in the 4th preliminary round.

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The FA Trophy loss is frustrating, but the Accrington match should net DCK a financial boost and hopefully allow them to turn a profit this season, after a small £8.5k loss last year.

Overall things look good in terms of club progression this season but there is still plenty of time to screw it up; if the first place spot is squandered then the playoffs are always a roll of the dice. Even at the start of November though, a lead of 7 points and 2 games in hand is fairly commanding.

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Posted (edited)

Accrington Stanley vs DCK Maidenbower

Having qualified for the FA Cup first round for the first time in the club's history, the match against League Two side Accrington Stanley was surely the club's biggest ever. Being drawn away meant that the club would get maximum revenue from the match, in the likely event that they were knocked out. In the end it was a thrilling match.

First Half

It started badly, with an early 5th minute own goal from centre back Mel Bell after five minutes. Staring at the potential of a hiding, things needed to improve fast. They didn't. Three minutes later, Fulham loanee Perry Garner ran on to a through ball and slotted past Sam Concannon to double Accrington's lead. DCK needed to get it together fast, if only to keep the scoreline respectable.

After going 0-2 down however, DCK seemed to wake up and started to take the game to Accrington. They looked sharper and more dangerous on the break, and halved the deficit in the 16th minute with a poacher's finish from David Ashley. As if the ghost of Barcelona had floated down and taken up residence in The Crown Ground, Accrington suddenly fell apart under the pressure. In the 25th minute, a cross from Scott Wheeler was deflected into his own net by Mark Armstrong, leveling the tie. It was a remarkably similar own goal, in fact, to Mel Bell's 5th minute howler. 

After that, Accrington seemed to stablilise and looked to finish the half well. Those hopes fell apart though when David Ashley drifted to the near post and finished another Scott Wheeler cross smartly on 41 minutes. By now, Accrington were in freefall, DCK were rampant, and it was scarcely even a surprise when Callum Gribbin bent a gorgeous 30 yard free kick into the top corner a few seconds before the half time whistle. When it blew, Accrington were shell shocked, and the sides went into the break with the scoreline reading Accrington Stanley 2-4 DCK Maidenbower.

 

Second Half

Stanley knew that they had to tighten up at the back while at the same time chasing the game if they wanted to avoid a giantkilling, and they turned to Perry Garner, who didn't disappoint. He pulled a goal back seven minutes after the restart, and on 77 minutes completed his hat trick to draw the sides level. DCK's goal was then peppered with shots, but they held firm to keep the draw and take the tie back to their home turf.

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Mixed emotions about this one; it was a fabulous effort to go from 0-2 down to be 2-4 up at the break, but then throwing away that lead was frustrating. At least the tie netted a relatively high sum for the club, between 5-10k, and there will be another chance at it when Accrington return for the replay.

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Whoever wins the replay faces League One side Rochdale in the second round, and after that the Prem big boys enter the fray. I'd give DCK roughly a 3% chance of making the 3rd round, but whatever happens next to secure a draw away at Football League opposition has to be the achievement of the save so far.

 

Edited by sourgrapes11

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Posted (edited)

DCK Maidenbower vs Accrington Stanley - Replay

After the first leg at Accrington's Crown Ground, DCK fans came away either delighted or disappointed, having secured a draw against Football League opposition but also given up a two goal lead in the second half. Still, it meant that Accrington came to Crawley for the replay, fully expecting that they'd take the tie more seriously and roll DCK over this time.

Accrington started the game well, and in the 10th minute Matthew Buttle drifted off the wing, ghosted through the defence, latched on to a through ball and finished cooly at the near post past debutant keeper Leigh Jenkins. Accrington tried to press the advantage and kill DCK off before the break but at half time the scores still read DCK 0-1 Accrington Stanley.

Whatever Jamie Tabb said to his DCK players at half time worked though, and they came out of the blocks the better team. It told when David Ashley was sent scampering down the left wing after a long ball. He looked up and saw Bradley Bell making a Lampard-esque run into the box. The cross sailed over Bell's head, but Scott Wheeler was waiting on the other side of the penalty area and produced a fantastic first time finish on the half volley that gave keeper Paul O'Neill-Garner no chance.

At 1-1 both sides traded chances but there were no more goals to be found after 90 minutes so the match went to extra time. Accrington's players seemed stunned that a team four divisions below them had held them level after 180 minutes, and the capacity crowd of 750 was roaring on DCK.

The support seemed to give them extra legs in extra time, and DCK punished Accrington's failure to finish them off.  On 111 minutes a goalmouth scramble ended with Olie Gibbs-Wilkin finishing cooly to give DCK the advantage, and as Accrington threw bodies forward in search of the goal to earn them a penalty shootout, DCK scored in a similar fashion to their first; Ashley chased a long ball down the left. This time his cross found the late-arriving Bradley Bell perfectly and he finished with amplob from six yards.

With only five minutes of extra time to go, Accrington knew that the two goal deficit was insurmountable, and their heads clearly dropped. The final five minutes passed without incident, and when the final whistle was blown the DCK bench ran onto the pitch, celebrating as if they had just won the FA Cup final rather than the first round. The win means that they face Rochdale in the second round, and will surely be targeting another shock result.

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It might only be November but Rochdale are looking like the favourites to be promoted to the Championship this season, so another giant-killing will be a tough ask. Still, as FA Cup runs go this is among the most special I've experienced on FM.

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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Posted (edited)

DCK Maidenbower vs Rochdale

Despite DCK's heroics against Accrington Stanley, few expected another giantkilling hosting League One promotion candidates Rochdale.

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Rochdale lined up with an attacking 4-3-3 and looked to take the game to DCK from the start. They came close on several occasions, with Neville Wheeler producing several goal-saving clearances. The pressure told, however. Neil Mars floated a freekick from just inside DCK's half into the box, and William Hutchinson rose the highest to put Rochdale ahead after 22 minutes. The DCK fans were fearing a drubbbing by this point, but the defence held firm after going behind and just before half time they pulled level, Scott Wheeler scoring a piledriver from the edge of the area that keeper Casper Kristiansen was able to get a hand on but couldn't keep out. Level at half time, could DCK get another and complete a second shock result?

DCK's optimism didn't survive long however. Four minutes into the second half, Oliver Black latched onto a through ball and fired low and hard into the bottom corner, the kind of shot that keepers just don't save. DCK were level for only seven minutes, and Rochdale were looking the more likely to score again. DCK though still looked dangerous on the break though, and on 60 minutes Elliot Smith fizzed the ball across the box for Bradley Bell to tap home from 6 yards out.

That goal in the end was enough to secure another replay, as despite Rochdale continuing to knock on the door they were unable to find a way through for a third time. DCK will play the replay at Rochdale's 10,000 seater Spotland stadium, a match that will surely smash their record for gate receipts. It remains to be seen though, can lightning strike again and see DCK knock out another Football League side on a replay?

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Edited by sourgrapes11

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FA Cup 3rd round draw

If DCK can pull off the impossible in the FA Cup 2nd round replay against Rochdale then they will earn a tie against Premier League side Crystal Palace.

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Fingers crossed!

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Rochdale vs DCK Maidenbower - Replay

With a potential tie against Crystal Palace on the cards, manager Jamie Tabb needed to do little to motivate his players against Rochdale. Having come back from behind twice in the first match, there was certainlyt a level of confidence that DCK could surprise a lot of pepole again and knock another Football Legue team out of the FA Cup.

The match, however did not start well. After five minutes, Kieran Edwards crossed the ball into the box. Jack Fitzwater was unable to get out of the way; the ball hit him on the arse and beat Charlie Pheasant. Determined not to go the way of Accrington, the opener only served to galvanise Rochdale further and they doubled their lead 20 minutes later. Neil Mars swung a corner in, and Oliver Black struck a perfect volley from just inside the area to give Pheasant no chance. The half finished 2-0, leaving DCK with a mountain to climb in the second half.

The mountain became Olympus Mons not long after the restart. Mars took the ball to the touchline and lifted a cutback over Charlie Pheasant to the far post, and Daniel Stokes finished comfortably.  At 3-0 it was clearly game over, and though DCK stayed solid after that and prevented an absolute rout they were unable to claw back so much as a consolation goal.

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If DCK had lost the first tie against Accrington 3-0 there would have been no shame; having got this far and taken a likely Championship side next season to a replay DCK's fans will fell nothing but pride at how the FA Cup campaign has gone.

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However not all is positive

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Seems harsh...

The gate receipts from the two away cup games mean that this season will likely be a record profit for DCK, and could mean that next season there is more cash to play with in terms of wages.

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Posted (edited)

DCK Maidenbower vs Rochdale attempt 2

Not for the first time, my rickety old computer failed on me and I lost progress. Thankfully the game had been saved shortly after we won the Accrington match so only the two Rochdale matches and a few league games were lost.

When replaying the Rochdale games I was determined to not let the data loss affect the results, which meant that I had to savescum both legs, much to my discomfort; the first match because we lost 2-0 on the first attempt and the replay because we actually took Rochdale all the way to penalties, and then went and won the shootout! Reloading to make sure we lost the replay as it originally played out was one of the toughest things I've had to do on FM. 

With that in mind, this is what happened in the replayed FA Cup matches.

Home Leg: DCK 1-1 Rochdale

After an exciting but scoreless first half, Rochdale took the lead when Dan Pring curled in an absolute beauty of a free kick shortly after the break. The lead didn't last though, as 12 minutes later Callum Gribbin played in David Ashley who finished low into the bottom corner.

The match seemed to be headed for the desired replay before Bradley Bell gave away a silly penalty fifteen minutes from time. It looked like getting the required draw would take a third attempt but Jack Payne's lame effort from the spot was easily save by Leigh Jenkins, meaning that we would travel to Rochdale's Spotland as the universe intended.

 

Away Leg: Rochdale 2-1 DCK

Having been forced to reload to overwrite a brilliant shootout victory in the replay I was not in the best of moods and was really not looking forward to FM inevitably serving us up a 10-0 loss. The DCK players clearly sensed my frustration though as they put in an excellent performance to go out narrowly with their heads held high.

Rochdale held a 2-0 lead as the clock ticked towards the final whistle, courtesy of two goals either side of the break (and also another missed Rochdale penalty) but David Ashley raced clear on 83 minutes to give a glimmer of hope to the fans, and a sense of dread to myself that I might have to overwrite another incredible victory. But it was not to be, and the 2-1 loss sent the DCK fans home proud and left me very grateful to be done with savescumming .

 

Hopefully I've now finally learned my lesson about making sure I've saved all progress before posting about it online.

 

 

Edited by sourgrapes11

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Posted (edited)

DCK Maidewnbower 2030/31

November-January

Although only the end of January, DCK appear to pretty much have the league sewn up.

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At this point it would surely take a monumental loss of form to screw this up, 16 points ahead with 2 games in hand.

 

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Having gone out of both the FA Cup and the FA Trophy, and with the league effectively in the bag, the only competition still on the line is the Isthmian League Cup, which the board expect to win. 

Having lost progress from the end of the 29/30 season, David 'Literally Messi' Ashley's top scoring season remains 87 goals in 2023/24 with K&H; it would be nice to see him beat it this year. He is currently on 70 goals having played 39 games, and has 19 more League games and potentially 4 Isthmian League cup games to go.

Scott Wheeler and Alex Scott have continued to grow into their roles at the club, and several players have been signed on amateur contracts to help DCK II, including old K&H faces Kyriakos Antoniou, Alfie Barrett and Adie Higginson.

DCK II had been run fairly close by Scaynes Hill and Lindfield II for the MSD3 crown but have now begun to pull away with 1/3 of the campaign remaining, and are also still in the hunt for the Somerville Challenge Cup and Edgar German Challenge Cup having made the semis. Rio 'Ferdy' Bryan-Edwards won the SCC three times and the EGCC once with K&H, now he is managing DCK II in the semis.

Fingers crossed for the SCC, EGCC and the Isthmian League Cup to come home at the end of the season!

Edited by sourgrapes11

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DCK Maidenbower 2030/31 Season Summary

February-April

Coasted to the end of the season, although slightly annoyed by the final day loss. DCK won the Isthmian Cup this year, so all board expectations were fulfilled.

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Season Summary

League

With the League sewn up, the new league goal was to break the record Isthmian D1S points total,  118 points set by Corintian in 2018/19. With 121 points, our season is a new record that is unlikely to be beaten any time soon.

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Cups

The Isthmain league Cup Finall was won with a dramatic late goal in extra time, but the major cup success was the extraordinary run to the FA Cup 2nd round replay, Beating Accrington Stanley and drawing with Rochdale.

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DCK II

DCK II ended up winning Mid Sussex D3 comfortably, the extra signings on amateur contracts in the second half really helped them to push on. They won the Somerville Challenge Cup, but lost the Edgar German Challenge Cup semi final and the Mid Sussex Senior Cup & Stubbins Challenge Cup 1st rounds. 

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Top Performers

David 'Literally Messi' outdid himself yet again, with 103 goals and 21 assists in 60 appearances, winning POTM in roughly half his games.

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Other players also had excellent season, including Callum Gribbin, Scott Wheeler and Alfie Barrett, but Ashley was head and shoulders above the rest as usual.

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Transfers

A lot of signings this season, a mix of first team, DCK II and young prospect signings. Of the bunch, the ones who are likely to play a major part going forwards are Leigh Jenkins in goal, RW Scott Wheeler and CM/AM Alex Scott. Gavin Dyer will also be a promising addition at CM for next season but he arrived injured so played no part in this season. He also has a Tempremental attitude so will definitely require some intensive tutoring.

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DCK is starting to take on a distinctly K&H flavour, with Robert Stenning, Alfie Barrett, Adie Higginson, Kyriakos Antoniou & Oliver Finney all arriving this season with K&H experience under their belts, joining Paul Marchant, Elliot Smith, David Ashley, Scot Hopkinson, Warren Sutton, Mel Bell & Neville Wheeler on the training ground. I guess when your scouts are crap your only option is to sign the players you already know...

Next season

Most likely the expectation will be another league win next year, but after that once we face the big bad world of the Conference South who knows what will happen. Looking at previous winners, most teams who win the Isthmian D1S finish the next season in or around the top of the Isthmian Premier but after that they tend to stall at the Conference before slipping back down. That's not a problem for now though, the next step for now is to see how well we can do next year and where it can take us.

 

Onwards and upwards!

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DCK Maidenbower 2031/32 Season Preview

The usual in terms of league expectations, another title is what the board are gunning for.

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Last season's Isthmian D1N champions Coney Hall will likely provide the strongest challenge. They have been on a promotion streak even more impressive than DCK's.

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In the cups, the expectations are:

FA Cup: Reach 1st round

FA Trophy: Reach 2nd Round

Isthmian League Cup: Win again

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Transfer wise very few players have come in; at the start of the season only CB Romaine Lewis on loan from AFC Wimbledon, and AM Adrian Russell who Coney Hall unwisely had on an amateur contract. In one swoop we weakened our major rival and gained an extremely promising attacking midfielder. He will get some tutoring to hopefully get his determination stat up but he's ready to immediately contribute to the first team squad.

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This is the last division before we reach  the conference, the league the carrer would have started in were it not for Dan's L22 mod (I was considering doing dafuge before I discovered it was possible to go lower). As previously noted, AI clubs promoted, even if they've been on a streak of several promotions, almost always tend to struggle once they reach the Conference. I suppose if this is going to be our last season of dominating every team then we face then we might as well enjoy it.

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