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Post by Mark »

Kingsley wrote: Tue May 17, 2022 6:28 am That is a month to forget.
Goalkeepers are all over the place
Nothing much in these games, only a single goal in most of them.
Bit of a gap developing between 11th (Cardiff) and 12th (Halifax) you need a few wins to get in the top half if there is going to be a break.
Dogfight below you.
Can't see relegation being a threat with the one team going down, but it is early days! I think we'll settle down into some consistency eventually, we're still sort of sorting the dross from the players who can actually compete at this level.
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Season 5 - December

After a bad run of games, we'll need to pick up some wins during the busy December period. We start at home to third placed Brentford, with the trio of Rickard Blomqvist, Ross Darcy and Simon Lyons starting. We do have a habit of conceding first, and it was no different this time after four minutes, though Steve Sullivan (7) pulled it back. A push from Paul Moss gave away a penalty to hand Brentford back their lead. But then came the second half. Sullivan tied it up once more and Moss made amends to put us 3:2 up. With nine minutes left, Brentford made it 3:3. Three minutes left, Moss scored again! One minute left, we made it 5:3 as Sullivan registered his hat-trick!

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It would have been nice to try and follow up that win with some momentum but we have a Vans Trophy fixture first against Telford, a team we've faced eight times in the Conference but both side have won only three each. Two changes are made as we replace Carl Owen and Paul McCann with Simon Ramsden and Stuart Osborn. It's a disappointing performance as a 68th minute goal from Leon Constantine puts us out.

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Macclesfield arrive to put the focus back on the league. We make two changes as McCann is recalled with Osborn failing to take his chance. Arturo Miguelez is also dropped with a chance handed to Gareth Watkins, who puts us ahead after half an hour. It's a scrappy game, but we hold on for another win.

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Away at last after four games in a row at home, Scunthorpe welcomed us and went two-nil up after 32 minutes. Watkins got himself on the scoresheet again but despite our best attempts, we went home pointless.

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To make progress at this level, we certainly need to work on our defence and of course in the sticks. This is evident once more at Notts County as we fall two goals behind as Dominque Krief struggles. For a third game running, Watkins scores but that's as good as it got for us on the day despite being the better team overall.

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Our sixth and final game of the month is a fifth match at home, this time to Carlisle. We make just the one change as Krief manages to keep hold of his place, it's Ross Darcy who makes way for Leon Drysdale. With Carlisle struggling below us in 21st, we take a solid 2:0 lead through Watkins once more and Lyons. However, the ref takes umbrage to Charles putting in a hard tackle and shows him a red card in the 56th minute. Thankfully, it didn't disrupt our game as Owen got a third to wrap it up nicely.

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After a poor November, it was important to try and bounce back this month and I feel we've done that with three wins. It's a shame we've been eliminated from the Vans Trophy but I'm sure most would prefer that we stay in the Third Division at first attempt, and we seem to be in course for that, 21 points clear of Mansfield.

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Post by Kingsley »

Not so far from a playoff if you can find a lucky run, but perhaps that is too much to ask for this season.
Why was Carl Owen dropped. He appears to be the one player putting out consistent performances.

Something got a bit screwed up with the Scunny match report.
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Post by Mark »

Kingsley wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 10:06 am Not so far from a playoff if you can find a lucky run, but perhaps that is too much to ask for this season.
Why was Carl Owen dropped. He appears to be the one player putting out consistent performances.

Something got a bit screwed up with the Scunny match report.
That's true, guess I've been looking behind me too much :D

Can't remember if he was dropped due to form or just rested. He has surprisingly played a bit more this season after failing to get on the pitch at all last season.
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Post by Redknapp69 »

• Not sure why but I’m not a fan of Paul Moss and then he gives away a pen but scores 2!
• Only 4 points from playoffs!
• Shame on cup – but getting settled to this league is more important for this season
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Post by Mark »

Redknapp69 wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 7:05 pm • Not sure why but I’m not a fan of Paul Moss and then he gives away a pen but scores 2!
• Only 4 points from playoffs!
• Shame on cup – but getting settled to this league is more important for this season
I think he's got the potential, has some good attributes but definitely inconsistent!
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Season 5 - January

The last calendar year has certainly been a superb one for us with just 11 defeats in 45 league matches. 9 of those have been in the Third Division this season! We can only hope we can get back to that kind of form once we've settled at this level. In other news, we've lost yet another coach as Sammy Morgan has opted to move to Bradford, who pay £22,000 in compensation. There's also a surprise move in store for former right-back Karl Owen, who had struggled for us but appears to have done very well at Stratford, earning himself a big move to Scunthorpe in our league! We'd sold him for £9,000 and Scunthorpe paid £10,000 with £3,000 coming our way.

The first game of a new calendar year is a toughie, away at 2nd placed Colchester who have good experience at the back in Darren Moore and Scott Minto. The difference in quality was evident in the first half as they took a 2:0 lead. But our players did not throw in the towel at all as Gareth Watkins (7) continued his recent run of goal scoring form before Steffen Albrecht (6) came off the bench to earn us a well deserved point.

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Next up is another tough one, as it's surprising to see Cardiff in this division. They're 8th though, and clearly must have issues behind the scenes though we don't care, taking full advantage of their disharmony to score one, two, three and FOUR goals in the first half alone! Watkins didn't score a single one of them (Sullivan (11), McCann (2, Moss (4)) but the bad news is that he went off injured in the 51st minute. The second half was a completely different game, as Cardiff scored three times. Thankfully we managed to hang on for the win!

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Watkins is out for a month, which hands a chance for Arturo Miguelez to establish himself in the midfield. Two other changes are made as Anthony Charles' three match ban kicks in, meaning Mark Studley starts, as does Patrick Perret after Dominque Krief loses his place following 16 goals conceded in 11 games. Our opponents are Oldham, who take a lead through former LIverpool graduate Neil Mellor, a good freebie for the club. Try as we might, we just cannot get back into it with Oldham taking home the points despite only two shots on target. We'd had 4 from 11 attempts.

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There's another 'keeper change as Helgi Sigporsson returns but it's the only change made as we head to Swindon. Simon Lyons bags his second goal of the season in the second half, but we just cannot keep clean sheets as Swindon equalise with 9 minutes left.

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No changes were planned for the trip to York but Miguelez and Lyons were looking tired after the last match, and therefore are replaced by a Michael Wiening making his first appearance of the season and Chris Dawson. Hopefully the German makes the most of his appearance, though we are hit with a blow as Leon Drysdale is forced off. Paul Morgan is asked to play out of position as the defensive midfielder and though he looked awkward at times, a brace in three minutes sees us go home with 3 points thanks to Dawson (1) and Carl Owen (3).

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We've had a really good month with just the one defeat in five. We only move up a place though, but there's a definite gap building up behind us. It means maybe, just maybe, we can start to look ahead instead of behind us as we sit just four points away from the playoffs.

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Post by Redknapp69 »

• Excellent news in turning over the bluebirds
• Why changing keepers so much?!
• 2 superkeeper MOM performances in 2 games against you ☹
• Very decent month there pal – amazing top half of the table!
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Post by Mark »

Redknapp69 wrote: Wed May 18, 2022 10:52 pm • Excellent news in turning over the bluebirds
• Why changing keepers so much?!
• 2 superkeeper MOM performances in 2 games against you ☹
• Very decent month there pal – amazing top half of the table!
That's how I've always picked my teams, always by the best form over their last five games. None of them have been consistently good so you can see how they keep moving around in the pecking order.

Yeah, very surprising to see us starting to play well and move up the table!
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Post by Kingsley »

What a strange game against Cardiff. Was their a gale force wind blowing the length of the pitch ?
Certainly holding your own and very hard team to beat.
I'm pleased to see "Winning" Weining back (although I hadn't noticed he was missing).
Are we allowed to dream yet ?
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Post by Mark »

Kingsley wrote: Thu May 19, 2022 8:29 am What a strange game against Cardiff. Was their a gale force wind blowing the length of the pitch ?
Certainly holding your own and very hard team to beat.
I'm pleased to see "Winning" Weining back (although I hadn't noticed he was missing).
Are we allowed to dream yet ?
Amazing game, so good to take a lead like that though we nearly threw it away!

Yeah, it's odd as Wiening hadn't exactly got bad form but just so happens that both Watkins and Miguelez had been doing ever better.
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Season 5 - February

Could it be? With Northwich now only four points away from the playoffs, is it inconceivable that the team won't put together a run of good results to gain back to back promotions? All we are concerned about is staying in the league and therefore we have already achieved our aim for this season. But now, let's simply take it game by game.

We start February at Cheltenham, where three changes are made, two of which are enforced as Leon Drysdale is injured and Paul Moss starts a one match ban after picking up five yellows. Simon Ramsden and Johnny Mansson come in to replace them, and Arturo Miguelez is recalled with Michael WIening making way. Miguelez himself puts us ahead as we play well though concede in the 29th and lose Mansson through injury in the 63rd, forcing Miguelez to drop back into defensive midfield.

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Mansson is out for three weeks with a twisted knee but Drysdale is back from injury to return, as are Anthony Charles and Moss after their bans. It's good news to have the trio available as we welcome top of the league Shrewsbury who have been beaten just 4 times in 30 games. Steve Sullivan gets the ball rolling with his 12th goal of the season and when Oyvind Leonhardsen equalises three minutes later, Sullivan's second goal is also cancelled out three minutes later! But when Sullivan gets a third to mark a hat-trick, making it a personal best of 14 goals for the Vics, Shrewsbury have no answer and we complete a great win with Miguelez's 6th of the season.

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Miguelez has done well recently but the return of Gareth Watkins after a month out sees him start at Wigan, where we also hand Ville Aaltonen only a 4th start of the season with Bobby Stevenson dropped. Sullivan is clearly loving it at this level, scoring two more goals in the first nine minutes! Wigan respond with a strike, but Sullivan not only gets a hat-trick in the 39th minute but he also scores a fourth goal after Simon Lyons had scored too! An own goal from Martin Harper, who scored at the right end earlier, completes an unbelievable 6:1 win!

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Despite two wins where ten goals were scored, seven by Sullivan, we haven't moved from 10th place though we are now only two points away from the playoffs. We make no changes to the team for the trip to Doncaster where, for a third time we've sold him, Chris Newton is not in their matchday squad. Our former attacking midfielder hasn't featured for Doncaster this season, and made only one start last season, with four appearances off the bench, scoring once. We are hit with a double blow in the first half, Doncaster scoring twice whilst losing Paul McCann to injury. We are forced to move Aaltonon to the right wing to accommodate Stevenson, who sets Sullivan up for a 19th goal. By rights, we should be getting something out of the game but it was not to be, as Doncaster strike for a third time, rendering a last minute own goal as useless.

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After losing at Doncaster, we're back where we started in 12th place, but now five points away from the playoffs. It does seem harsh though, given we won two and drew one before that. It's no surprise either to see that Sullivan has become the first Vics player to win the Young Player of the season for the Third Division!

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Post by Kingsley »

got to love back to back hat-tricks.
It is a bit harsh to have lost ground on the playoffs after those results, especially beating the league leaders.
You do have a game in hand, so there is a chance to make up that lost ground.
You're getting a bit of bad luck with the injuries at the moment.
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Post by Mark »

Kingsley wrote: Fri May 20, 2022 8:59 am got to love back to back hat-tricks.
It is a bit harsh to have lost ground on the playoffs after those results, especially beating the league leaders.
You do have a game in hand, so there is a chance to make up that lost ground.
You're getting a bit of bad luck with the injuries at the moment.
Yeah, you'd think we'd have caught up to the pack a little more but I had overlooked the game in hand!
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Post by Redknapp69 »

Nice recognition in YPOTS - massive moment for him!

Some darn good results there and with game in hand still superbly placed - doing better than I thought this season!
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Post by Mark »

Redknapp69 wrote: Fri May 20, 2022 9:05 pm Nice recognition in YPOTS - massive moment for him!

Some darn good results there and with game in hand still superbly placed - doing better than I thought this season!
It's surprising there's no interest in Sullivan, he's out of contact at the end of season! Wouldn't sign a new deal under the wage limit.
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Season 5 - March

The first of a six-game month sees a rare start for right winger Mark Holland who takes over from the injured Paul McCann. Bobby Stevenson is also back in for a 31st start, with Ville Aaltonen dropped. Our centre half Carl Owen got himself a 4th goal of the season but it came between an Armand One brace.

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Despite defeat, we were planning no changes against 8th place Bournemouth but do bring in Paul Morgan at right-back as Rickard Blomqvist is rested. However, we are pegged back very early on as we concede 3 times in the opening 18 minutes! Owen gets another goal but its too high a mountain to climb for us as we drop to 16th.

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We've suffered three defeats since that emphatic 6:1 win, so for the away trip to Hartlepool, there are three changes with a recall for Blomqvist as well as Ross Darcy and Arturo Miguelez. Simon Lyons puts ahead before we lose Anthony Charles to injury, which leads to SImon Ramsden being asked to play out of position at left-back. It looks as though we've managed to hold onto the lead only for Harltepool to equalise in the 81st. Thankfully, Steffen Albrecht comes off the bench to score an injury time winner!

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The injury to Charles means Mark Studley starts at left-back for an 11th time, and we also make three more changes as Johnny Mansson, Rik Lopez and McCann start too. We play really well against Plymouth who take a first half lead which Miguelez manages to cancel out. But an 79th minute winner means a fourth defeat this month.

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Helgi Sigporsson's luck is up as he is cut from the squad with Patrick Perret starting for only a fourth time this season. In a second change, we start Albrecht as Steve Sullivan's goals appear to have dried up after that hot streak. Albrecht does seem to be the man in form now, scoring twice to reach 9 for the season. Gareth Watkins also comes off the bench to make it 3:0 with his 8th.

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Exeter come to the Drill Field whilst sitting in fourth place amidst a push for a top three promotion spot. With Paul Moss having a wobble last time out, we've handed Simon Ramsden a start who had been superb when asked to play out of position at left-back a few games ago. It's our only change as Miguelez (8) and McCann (3) put us ahead in the first before Albrecht reaches double figures for the season to make it 3:0, leaving our supporters once again wondering if we can actually make the playoffs.

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The booking for McCann means we've now had 32 yellow cards and 5 red cards, which is certainly something we'll need to look into improving. In the league table, we're up to 10th and it's incredibly tight. We could fall back as far as 15th in one game, but can also move as high up as 4th! The top three look well out of reach though with Shrewsbury (80), Colchester (77) and Oxford (67) having a solid buffer to the playoffs. Meanwhile, Albrecht picks up the Young Player of the Month award for a second time!

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Post by Kingsley »

Your form is yo-yoing all over the place
Still in the hunt and back on a roll.
Undone by a former Jag ..... "One One. There's only one One !"
By my count Albrecht only made 2 start (subbed both times) + one off the bench. Surprised there is not a better young player.
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Post by Mark »

Kingsley wrote: Mon May 23, 2022 9:32 am Your form is yo-yoing all over the place
Still in the hunt and back on a roll.
Undone by a former Jag ..... "One One. There's only one One !"
By my count Albrecht only made 2 start (subbed both times) + one off the bench. Surprised there is not a better young player.
It's to be expected at this level, to be fair. At least we are nowhere near a relegation battle despite a squad on very low quality/wages :)

You really don't like Albrecht :lol: He did score 4 in 3 games though.
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Post by Redknapp69 »

• Armand One – what a name!
• Few boys had a shocker v Cherries
• MASSIVE 2 victories on the bounce at the end otherwise it was looking a poor month
• All to play for in a very tight league!
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Redknapp69 wrote: Mon May 23, 2022 8:21 pm • Armand One – what a name!
• Few boys had a shocker v Cherries
• MASSIVE 2 victories on the bounce at the end otherwise it was looking a poor month
• All to play for in a very tight league!
I think he wasn't a bad SC in the lower leagues on ODB, played at Cambridge Utd!
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Season 5 - April

This is it, the final run in for our first season in the Football League. We've done remarkably well considering, and bearing in mind that we have a young squad (average 24.73) and a wage bill of just £6,000 per week. Seven games to go though and we could yet surprise a few people by finishing in the playoffs. I'm simply happy to see how we get on as each game comes by, just as we have always done at Northwich. Could we finish in the playoffs? I'm not too sure, given we've never progressed any higher than 10th all season, and even then we've only been up this high for a few games at the most.

We start at Halifax (22nd) with Anthony Charles returning from suspension to take over from Mark Studley at left-back. It's a game we should be looking to win really, but we concede twice in the second half with Gareth Watkins (9) getting one late on.

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Rochdale (17th) at home is next and there's one change again as we make the same change with Studley returning for Charles. After a goal apiece with Albrecht (11) scoring first, we lose Simon Lyons to an injury. Rochdale go on to lead the game twice with Carl Owen (7) scoring once more from defence.

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7th placed Brentford is next, as we make two changes. The injured Lyons hadn't recovered enough to feature so is replaced by Chris Dawson, whereas Owen is dropped after a poor game and replaced by Paul Moss. Dawson (2) puts us ahead but we collapse in the last 12 minutes, conceding three times.

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It's Bank Holiday Monday next which means wholesale changes with the exception of Perret. The Swiss stopper fails to keep a clean sheet once more though as Nuneaton score after 29 minutes. When Ross Darcy is sent off with little over half an hour left, it looks like we're heading for a fourth defeat in a row. However, Steve Sullivan (20) and Owen (7) have other ideas as we somehow turn it around with ten men.

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Only Perret and Owen manage to keep their places as we make the drive to Cardiff where we fall two goals behind. Simon Osborn scores his first Vics goal with 14 minutes left but any hopes of another comeback evaporate when Studley leaves us with 10 men in injury time, after picking up an injury.

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Left-back Charles is back in for Studley who'd picked up a damaged heel whilst Sullivan and Osborn starts ahead of Albrecht and McCann. It's a tough game, particularly with Swindon in 4th place. It takes us until the last minute of the game to finally test the goalkeeper with a shot, and thankfully it goes in as Bobby Stevenson scores only his 3rd goal despite it being his 41st start.

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The last game of the season is something of a local game, with it being just a 40 minute drive from Northwich to Macclesfield. Osborn didn't take his chance at right-wing, so McCann returns alongside a fit again Studley. Michael Wiening, on his 4th start, hands us the lead with his first goal of the season, and centre half Owen is at it again with his 8th! Macclesfield pull one back, and we lose Mansson to injury before Wiening makes it 3:1, which is just as well as Macclesfield score a second late on.

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You've got to be happy at finishing 8th in our first season, though I'm sure there'll be some who are disappointed that we just missed out on the playoffs. I'm not at all disappointed about that as, as far as I am concerned, we've set a marker to improve on for next season. £170,000 comes our way as a reward although the FA have fined us £10,000 after our disciplinary troubles.

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Post by Redknapp69 »

Poor month's worth of results on the whole and any hopes of playoffs shot early doors

BUT - that would have been a dream in first season there!

Excellent season overall

Jekkyl and Hyde team though - turn some of those losses into draws and you could be in playoff contention next season
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Post by Mark »

Redknapp69 wrote: Tue May 24, 2022 10:29 pm Poor month's worth of results on the whole and any hopes of playoffs shot early doors

BUT - that would have been a dream in first season there!

Excellent season overall

Jekkyl and Hyde team though - turn some of those losses into draws and you could be in playoff contention next season
Yeah, I can see it taking perhaps two more seasons to become contenders. Playoffs likely to be a route to Division Two though?
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Post by Kingsley »

Losing those first couple of games kind of killed off any chance of the playoffs.
Still ended up just 4 points away, so certainly there is a squad to build on.
Tighten up that defence and turn a couple of the narrow defeats into draws and that will make a huge difference.
Has to be said that this is an excellent first season in the 3rd Division. It gives us all hope for next year.
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