Today in Local to Legend…
This is the fifth post in my “local to legend” series with Christchurch FC. In part four I talked about our second preseason and season expectations. If you missed that catch up here. If you have just joined us review the series form the start here. In this part, I’ll be reviewing the first half of the season and looking ahead to the second half.
Games of the Month
The last game of August turned out to be a cracker. An even game overall in a battle of the 4-4-2’s. The first half was exactly that with 2 goals being shared evenly as well as possession. The second half is where all the action happened. Holmes put Christchurch FC 2-1 up until Stevenson equalised for AFC Portchester. It was then a case of watching tennis, back and forth the attacks went. It definitely was attack after attack after attack. Christchurch FC then scored in the 97th minute with a McFarlane headed goal from a well-worked corner routine. AFC Portchester 2, Christchurch FC 3; the final result.
It was a great first month to life in the Wessex Football League. The only points dropped were against Fleet Town who were top of the league at that point. Wins versus Bemerton Heath, Alresford Town and AFC Portchester ensured an unbeaten start to the league campaign. A 5-1 win over St Andrews helped us progress to the next stage of the FA Cup.
The first league game of September saw Christchurch FC face Hamworthy United in a match dominated by the away side. It may not have been the highest scoring game of the month, but it was the way in we won the match that caught my eye. The first half saw us lead 1-0 at the break thanks to a 31st minute Murphy goal. The second half saw 3 more goals added and none conceded as Murphy added 2 more to complete his hat-trick and McGee added 1. The match ended in a 4-0 win to the Church.
A busy September saw the lads win every match during the month. Wins in the FA Cup versus Chatham, Wisbech and Chester saw us progress to the 3rd qualifying round. A win against Bewdley in the FA Vase see’s us progress to the next stage. In the league 4 wins out of 4 meant that Christchurch FC rose to the heights of 1st place in the league.
A local new forest derby saw Christchurch FC travel to Grigg Lane where they faced an in-form Brockenhurst side. Another shoddy first half with Holmes putting the away side 1-0 up. Once again the second half is where it all came alive. Brockenhurst equalised shortly after the break to make it 1-1 before Holmes added a second goal to make it 2-1. Brockenhurst equalised once again to make it 2-2 going into the last 15 minutes of the match. An 88th minute goal from newgen Lyons and a third goal from Holmes sealed the win for the church. The game ended in a 4-2 away win for Christchurch FC.
Another busy month of football for the lads saw another unbeaten streak in the league. They took maximum points from the 4 games played. It was also a month where Christchurch FC went out of both domestic cups. Losses to Banbury United and St Andrews meant the FA Cup and FA Vase journeys were over for another season.
Not the most exciting match in this month, but it was the hardest I’ve seen the team work. It was a match where Christchurch FC dominated chances but failed to control the possession of the game. All the action was in the first half for a change. Christchurch FC went into the break 1-0. The only action in the second half was a Portland United missed penalty. But other than that Christchurch FC controlled the game until the end. The match ended in a 1-0 victory for the church.
November was one of the quietest so far due to having no cup football matches to play. It was once again 3 wins out of 3 in the league. A total of 8 goals scored with only conceding 2. The consistency of our league form has certainly helped us cement our place at the top of the league.
A tough win against a decent side is the game of the month for December. It wasn’t the highest scoring game or a game where the team played particularly well, but it was a hard fought game and an important one. A goos first half from Christchurch FC saw them lead 2-0 thanks to Waller-Lessen and McGee. A poor second half allowed Sholing FC to come back into it with 2 goals, but not before McGee added a 3rd for the away side. Christchurch FC managed to hold out for the last 7 minutes where the score was 3-2. The final score ended Sholing FC 2, Christchurch FC 3.
A busy month heading into the Christmas period with games coming thick and fast in the league within the month of December. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t hold out for another unbeaten month as Lymington Town beat us 1-0. A total of 10 points out of 15 available.
Wessex Football League
A strong first half of the league season see’s us top of the league. An unbeaten run which spanned for 17 games before Lymington Town beat us 1-0. Our league form has been scintilating. Our preseason expectations of winning the league seem a lot more possible now. I will be expecting us to carry on this form into the second half of the season and win the league from this point.
The FA Cup journey this time around is something to be marveled at. The team made it to the 4th qualifying round where they faced Southern Premier League side Banbury United. It was an unlucky defeat despite losing 6-2. Christchurch FC started the game brightly going ahead early on, but then a red card to CB Summers left them in the learch. After that Banbury United took advantage of having the extra man. I didn’t expect the team to get this far in the FA Cup, but the board and I are ecstatic with how they’ve performed.
The FA Vase was bitterly disappointing this season. There was no rhyme or reason as to why, obviously apart from losing the match. After sailing through the 2nd qualifying round against Bewdley, I thought here we go – We’re going to have a decent run. The team then drew 1-1 to St Andrews who we had earlier beat us in the FA Cup. A replay was needed to finalise the result and it wasn’t a good one for us. Unfortunately, Christchurch FC are dumped out of the FA Vase at the early stage of the 1st round. The board had expected us to reach the fifth round.
First Team Squad
The squad has been performing at an exceptional level in this first half of the season. If you take away the FA Vase performances, its been pretty perfect. As a team they’ve worked well. The newgens in the squad have performed to great standards. Slack, Murphy and Wearing have been the most used newgens as they’ve managed to rack up a combined appearance total of 60 appearances. McGee, Waller-Lassen, Higgs and Hornby have turned in some very impressive performances during the season so far. This has led them to an average rating over well over 7.50. McGee leads the line with 19 goals in all competitions, closely followed by Holmes and Waller-Lassen who are on 15 and 12 goals respectively. The only first team player yet to live up to my high standards is Ripsher. The left-sided full back has yet to turn in a performance of a 7.00 average rating or above. Ripsher has also only played in 7 games out of a possible 29 so far this season, which speaks volumes.
Next Time on Local to Legend…
In part #6 I will be analysing and reviewing the next 6 months of football up until the end of the season.
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