We’re back for another episode of this journey! Last time I left you we had made a great start to our first season in the JD Cymru Premier and we were in a strong position to push on and cement a top half finish, but for me I know how quickly these strong starts can crumble so I was making sure my teams feet were firmly on the ground and we approached each game knowing we had to work hard for the points. The aim for me was still the same, stay up at all costs.
October promised to be a very busy month with 6 league games crammed in. There were some tough games in store against Bangor City & Connah’s Quay, but also some real winnable ties against Flint Town, Carnarfon & Newtown. Let’s see how we got on:
A tough game against Bangor City, in which we went 3-0 down at half time (an FM classic) before making a fightback to 3-2, but in the end a draw was just out of our grasp. We bounced back immediately however with a solid 1-0 win at home to Flint Town, unfortunately that was followed by another loss to Barry this season, who are becoming a bit of a bogey team! So the start to the month was a bit of a mixed bag.
We pushed forward though and a spirited 1-1 draw against Connah’s Quay was a welcome result as 3 losses in 4 would have been tough to contend with. We followed that with a good 2-1 win away at Caernarfon before a rampant 5-0 win at home to Newtown, summer signing Dale Taylor with a hat-trick. This meant that there were only 5 games to go before the split and the table looked like this:
Incredibly we were occupying a European place, I honestly couldn’t believe how well we were doing. However I was conscious that a collapse in the last 5 games could easily see us back towards the relegation places in no time. Unbelievably, powerhouse Connah’s Quay were languishing just above the relegation zone in 10th place. The thought of them being relegated is ridiculous, and with a lot of football still left to be played I’m certain a recovery isn’t far away.
November & December 2022
Weirdly enough, and I have absolutely no idea why, there were no games in November at all, and then only 1 cup tie at the beginning of December before a new years eve game in the league. So basically there was a 2 month break in the league from the end of October right through to the end of December and I have no idea why, I’m thinking it was something to do with the Qatar 2022 World Cup but not sure that would impact us at this level, If you know the answer comment below or get in touch! Anyway, here’s how we got on in the 2 games in December.
A dominating performance led to a 2-0 win against Holyhead in the 3rd round of the Welsh Cup, before another hat-trick from Dale Taylor helped us to a 4-0 win against Penybont. It was actually a very close game, despite the scoreline, both sides had the same expected goal ratio, we just took our chances better than Penybont did. Although a quiet month on the match front, we did complete the signing of free agent striker Tyrese Bailey-Green, rated 4.5 star for this level so a great bit of business! But the best bit of business was the board agreeing to send me on a coaching course for my National B Licence after I had been successful in gaining my C Licence. Another step towards moving to a more prestigious club in the future!
Following the almost 2 month break from football, January marked the return of a congested schedule with 4 games to bring to an end the first part of league season split, a fourth round welsh cup tie, and the start of the second stage league season split. First of all, let’s see how we got on in the last 4 games of the first split:
A relentless attacking performance meant we came from a goal down to beat Penybont 3-1 at home, before we edged a tight televised game against TNS with a winning goal from new signing Tyrese Bailey-Green. A deserved lost to Bala Town followed before we survived a late collapse to hold on for a 3-2 win against Cardiff Met. Then that was it! First stage of the season done, had I done enough to cement a top 6 finish and guaranteed survival?
Well… unbelievably, and I have absolutely no idea how, we had not only finished in the top 6 and guaranteed survival, we are only 2 points from the top of the league and with 10 games to go, we are in with a very realistic chance of winning the title in our first season in the premier division! To be honest though at this point I didn’t care how the rest of the season went, we have done incredibly well and if we could go a step further and cement a European place I would be delighted. There was no time to pat ourselves on the back however as a 4th round tie against Connah’s Quay awaited us, before we got straight into the second stage split with a game against Barry, who had beaten us on the 2 occasions we faced them previously this season.
Not for the first time on this save we went all the way to penalties with Connah’s Quay, before the shootout went in their favour. I was really frustrated with this result, they were down to 10 men after 30 minutes and we had completely dominated but just couldn’t get that goal in normal or extra time. Then incredibly, for the third time this season, Barry had beaten us again! Another game that we completely dominated but they got 2 early goals and then sat back and defended for their lives. Not the start to the second stage split I was hoping for!
In the next episode we will be covering the last three months of the season where if things go our way we could be the surprise league champions! I mean, it’s extremely unlikely but who knows? Crazier things have happened! Find out if we can do it on Friday 15th January 2021.
Don’t forget you can subscribe below to have updates sent directly to your email and again if you have any thoughts, tips or feedback leave them in the comments below or get in touch with us through our contact page or social media. If you’re enjoying then make sure you like and share with other FM enthusiasts!
While you’re here if you want to follow more challenges go over to Scott’s (the co-author of this site) challenge where he is on a journey to rebuild Bolton Wanderers and take them on a Europa League run! Link: https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/bolton-back-to-europa-s1e1/
Thank you for reading and see you again soon!