So, after another strong month, it is getting to the point where we are being described by the media as ‘overachieving’. This is great, as it keeps up the idea that we are underdogs, something that makes motivating the lads much easier. Long may that continue!
Matchday 11 – Weston-super-Mare v Forest Green Rovers
Our first game in October was a home game against Forest Green Rovers, a side that every year features in the mix for promotion and who have enjoyed a strong start to their season. Forest Green are one of those hipster clubs that serve hummus pies instead of balti ones, and instead of hot cups of Bovril, they serve chai lattes. I wouldn’t mind giving them a kicking, it might do them good.
Before the game had even begun, Forest Green’s manager – a man I have never encountered before in my life – had already developed a bit of an attitude towards me. Clearly, my outspoken views on serving iced, sugar-free vanilla lattes with soy milk (grande, obviously) at football grounds has rubbed him up the wrong way.
Luckily, we do our talking on the pitch rather than in the press, handing out a 2-0 beating to Hockaday and his latte-drinkers. Gavin Donoghue got his first goal for the club, heading in from a corner. He had a great game and generally dominated in the air, making a nice change from last season where we were not able to get any kind of advantage from set pieces. Yannick Texeira Barbosa grabbed our second in the second half, pouncing on a loose ball in the box to slam home his first for the club.
Overall it was a dominant performance and we could easily have had more if we weren’t so wasteful with our chances. Luckily, Forest Green offered nothing, except for a large delivery of kale that they presented to club officials before kickoff. Weird.
After the game, I was informed that we had been drawn at home against Barnstaple Town in the FA Cup fourth qualification round. A win at this stage would see us progress to the first round proper, something that Truro denied us last season. Maybe this time, we could go one better and set up a glamour tie against such clubs as Morecambe or Fleetwood Town.
Matchday 12 – York City v Weston-super-Mare
But before all of that excitement we had to visit York City, a side struggling down at the wrong end of the table. York are yet another club with Football League history, although they are looking less likely to challenge for promotion this season than many of their fellow Football League alumni. They had lost two in a row and looked ripe for the taking for my confident Seagulls.
We drew 1-1, courtesy of a late Michael Potts equaliser. Overall it was no less than York deserved. They played well and matched us in all areas of the pitch and, even though we had taken the lead, I have to admit that a draw is probably a fair result. Norwegian Mo got himself another goal, to the delight of the club’s fans who are very much enjoying watching him play.
It is always disappointing to drop points, but then again a draw away from home against a side that has far more experience in this division is nothing to be sniffed at. Let’s hope this set-back doesn’t damage our momentum.
Matchday 13 – Weston-super-Mare v Kettering Town
Kettering Town were the next visitors to fortress Woodspring. The Poppies were in a sorry state, having conceded 30 goals in their 13 league games and only scoring 12 in reply. They were well inside the relegation zone and, frankly, deserved it. I know we usually struggle against sides in this situation, but come on, they are rubbish. I didn’t quite tell the lads that I was expecting a win, but they knew how angry I would be if we lost this one…
Whether it was my team talk or the fact that Kettering are utter rubbish I don’t know. All I do know is that we left the 1,106 fans inside the Woodspring happy at seeing a job well done, as Gavin Donoghue’s second goal in three games secured us the three points. We looked good and could have scored a hat full, but as Kettering were dreadful in attack it ultimately didn’t matter that we were so wasteful. It is also encouraging that we can now score goals from corners. We only got one goal from a corner last season, so to start adding a new string to our bow is good news and offers us an alternative to our usual stylish passing game.
Matchday 14 – Tamworth v Weston-super-Mare
Fresh off of our dominant performance against the Poppies, we rocked up at Tamworth four days later high on confidence and still within touching distance of the top of the table. Tamworth, by contrast, were a mid-table team with mid-table ambitions. They had been fairly frugal at the back, conceding less than a goal a game, but they were hardly free-scoring and seemed to be a fairly functional side.
And to beat a functional side, you sometimes need a functional win. We got just that, courtesy of yet another goal from a corner, this time from Dean Lawrence who powered in a far post diving header in the first half to sink a dogged Tamworth side. They defended well but had very little attacking intent about them and couldn’t even muster a single shot on target. By contrast, we had five on target and 18 overall. Had we had our shooting boots on, we could have run riot.
So, another good win for the boys who are now seemingly getting very good at grinding out results even when the opposition are trying to blunt and frustrate us.
Speaking of frustrating, England’s efforts to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil are going swimmingly. Michael Carrick did his best to drag England through this game, but a Robert Lewandowski-inspired Poland beat the reigning European Champions fairly comfortably.
Good work, Stu.
Matchday 15 – Weston-super-Mare v Barnstaple Town
To round off the month, we welcomed Barnstaple Town to the Woodspring in the fourth qualification round of the FA Cup. I am not too interested in progressing a long way in any cup this season, but given the club is struggling a little financially any progress (prize money) that we can accrue is a bonus. Plus, having been cruelly beaten by bloody Truro at this stage last season, it might be nice to redeem ourselves this time around.
That is some redemption. Six goals, six different scorers, almost nothing in reply from the opposition. I’ll take that. Bring on the first round proper of the FA Cup. We could be drawn against the likes of Charlton or Preston, although it’s more likely that we will end up with an away trip to Wycombe…
So, overall, that was a good month. We have suddenly become adept at keeping clean sheets, as well as winning games by one goal. We may not be as entertaining as our swashbuckling side from last year that scored over 90 goals, but we are at least keeping pace at the top end of the division, something that I hadn’t been expecting in pre-season. We are also just three points away from meeting my 40 points target, so we will have to reassess that particular aim soon…
The highlight of the month must surely be our FA Cup thrashing of Barnstaple Town, although we also achieved big results against Forest Green and York City, both clubs who would have been looking to try and halt our early season momentum.
Next month sees us take on some of the middle-of-the-road teams in the division, with the highlight, of course, being the first opportunity for us to reignite our rivalry with bloody Truro. If we are going to lose a game next month, you could confidently bet that it will be that one.
Thanks again for reading! Leave me a comment full of love or abuse (or both) to let me know if you are enjoying or hating (or both) the series. Until next time!