Manager’s Reflection of the season
As another season draws to a close I would like to offer a ‘BIG THANKS’ to our supporters from the Management and players – we really appreciate the extra support we have gained on a regular basis both home and away – your chants are both amusing and well appreciated
During the last pre-season we decided to build on last season and looked to introduce several players who might give us a stronger all round group and several experienced lads who have ‘been around’ came on board – The trials by invite during July and August also introduced us to a couple of lads who have gone onto be a integral part of the squad.
Early in the season we started brightly with 4 wins and 3 draws from our fist seven League and Cup matches, who would have thought then that we’d become one of the league’s highest DRAW specialists throughout the season. That first game away at Aylesbury United a 3-1 win gave the team plenty of belief to build on and our aim at that stage was to try to achieve a 75 point target that might get us into the play-offs.
Our FA Cup adventure started away at Arlesey Town FC and it took a very late equaliser to ensure the adventure that we all went on. At the start of September one of our strongest performances saw us progress at Chalfont with a 3-0 win, followed by the defeat of Canvey Island after a replay really got everyone believing. But the outstanding night and memory surely must be the fans after the penalty shoot out at Bath City where the excitement and noise after the win must have been heard back in Potters bar.
Unfortunately the ride came to an end away to Chesham United when a penalty was all that separated the two sides – great credit to a strong group of players who worked so hard to achieve every non-league player’s dream of a great run in the cup
So back to League and a run of 31 points from the next 17 games kept us in the top six and on course for our target for the season. Unfortunately injuries came at bad time during the season. Ben Goode had been in fantastic form in goal at the start of the season picking up the Man of the Match award away at Marlow but injuring himself in the process. He has now undergone an op which will hopefully see him back playing by October. Young Connor Samson came in to cover before we signed Ravan Constable for the Bath City FA Cup game at home. Now Rav as many of you know was a real character on the pitch and excelled in those FA Cup matches in particular but off the pitch the lad had been released by Barnet for his poor timekeeping and as all our lads will tell you things didn’t improve! One day I hope that the penny drops for Rav and he goes onto becoming a top class keeper. Unfortunately we had to release him but were very fortunate with the availability of Berkley Laurencin who I know very well as he was instrumental in Hillingdon Borough winning the Southern League Cup when just a youngster for me some nine years ago.
After January our league from dipped with our home form being the most surprising where we found ourselves losing games that we really should have got more out of with a little more luck and effort. The injuries continued to pile up. Defensively Connor Sullivan broke his foot at Royston away in the 0-0 draw in August and like Ben has just been operated on and will hopefully be fit in around 6 months. Sean Grace had a leg injury for a period and on his return twisted his ankle in training so has missed the last few months, Billy Baird who had been in good form picked up long-term a Hamstring Injury and Tommy Boxer has trained but his fitness has been difficult to build on after his heart tests last summer. In Midfield Jordan Lawal had played through a long-time groin problem but finally had to rest whilst Danny Hart has sustained an ongoing problem with his Hip. Unfortunately last week against Cockfosters Eoin Casey sustained a fractured cheek-bone and spend two nights in hospital under-going an operation to lift and fix the damage. We all wish him a speedy recover
However despite the ups and downs of the season the lads have performed well at times and they are all as disappointed as us that our target has not been achieved this season. We have learnt so many things and hope that this can help us to improve again next term. One of the biggest frustrations is only having 60 minutes to train every week. This really does not allow us to work with individuals who would certainly benefit from the excellent coaching they have been given during the season. With the building works nearing completion we hope that we can keep the majority of this season’s squad together whilst adding a few players to galvanise us and pre-season should be an interesting time. I would like to thank the committee for working so hard to keep the club on a solid footing. But in particular to James (JD) and Murph for their hard work and commitment to being a big factor in producing the most successful season that the club has experienced so far. Enjoy the game today and congratulations to the players who achieve recognition at the Player of the Year Presentations this evening.
Updated 10:27 - 6 Feb 2018 by Steve Ringrose