Academy – 0 Old Southendians (4) – 4

Academy – 0 Old Southendians (4) – 4

By Gary MacDonnell
24 March
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Farewell 2018/19 its been a blast.


Its over, another season in the books. 2018/19 done and dusted. Bookended by two disappointing performances against Southend but the first and last games don’t tell the story of the season.

This game? Well it was one of them really. Not one to dwell on. Southend are third. The make-up of their side is similar to ours but their ‘kids,’ are more towards the 16 side rather than 13. I’d have liked to have made them work harder for the 3 points that on reflection they were always going to win but we were never at the races.

So the season.

8th place – not bad effectively starting on -7 pts.

The team goals at the start of the season where:
- Higher percentage of goals from youth players: Achieved
- More points then 17/18: Achieved (when you add on the 7 deducted points)
- More goals then the 47 scored the previous season: Failed

20 October 2018 defined the season for me. A team containing four 12 year olds defeated promotion chasing Romford 2’s away. We were flying in terms of meeting our goals. Blooding young players and staying in division 8SE. They weren’t having it. In went the complaint and the website shows a 5-0 win to Romford. We lost those three points and another four for good measure. That was bad. What was worse was the loss of players for the rest of the season. Romford would go on and secure promotion.
On specific goals we broadly did what we set out to achieve. We put young players in a position to learn and develop. James King, Henry MacDonnell, Frank Lewis, Harry Lewis, Brady Doyle, Lucas Curley Sanchez, George Mortlock all make legal debuts this season and play a massive part. They join Shae Nelder, Simon Hill, Jack Payton, Harvey Ashton and Carter Trett as the older young players. Its been great watching them all develop and for the most part enjoy their hockey.

A mid table finish represents success. There are lots of highlights. I will still hold the 4-1 defeat away at Wapping as my best moment. The never say die attitude, the pouring on of pressure, the desire, the skill, I absolutely loved it. More of that please. They did me proud that day. A couple of great tight games against East London (one win, one loss) were enjoyable and character defining.

A big thanks to all adults who turned out and supported the process. Paul Colman remains one of the best in the business of defending and a special thanks to Kris Spurling who joined up with a job description of being part time goal keeper and part time coach. This morphed post Romford into full time goal keeper. Not what he signed up for and big thanks for going with it. Richard Trett’s injury also took some gloss off the season. Ian Forbes came back for the final third of the season and has added so much the best part of it being his ability to pass on that experience within the match. Richard Doyle shows no signs of slowing up. Stephen Brown finding ways to get on the pitch and lead the line, thank you all.

But we must finish on the youth. All will be major assets to the club. I fully expect some to start flying the nest and spreading their wings. Simon Hill – the teams player of the year in particular should now move quickly up and start 19/20 with Wednesday night training and a 2’s spot and show the way to the others. He has been outstanding goals and all action skill.

So to 2019/20. The illegals will be legal and I look forward to trying to build them into a unit that the club can be proud of.

Onwards and upwards.

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