Today on Local to Legend…
Welcome to the next part in my “local to legend” series with Christchurch FC. In the previous post I took you through our pre season review. If you missed that catch up here.
If you have just joined us, review the series from the start here.
In this part, I’ll be reviewing the first half of the season. How did we do in the league? Did we have a good cup run? What players have left us already? Did we bring anyone else in? How is it all looking?
Southern League Division One East
So, another league campaign and another season of smashing it! Yeah, not exactly! I did expect us to perform well, but maybe I expected too much. Especially after a great start to the new season with an unbeaten record of 7 games before our first loss. The first half of the season left me a little tense, worried and anxious. I was desperate for us to get into those play offs to push towards the next step on the English Football Pyramid. In summary, the first 22 games for Christchurch FC have seen 11 wins, 7 draws and 4 defeats. That leaves us nicely poised for a magnificent play off push; 40 points, 8 points off 1st place. We can do this!
The FA Cup journey is always one I look forward too. As a massive underdog for the competition, it has to favour us right? Our first FA Cup match this season was against Hanwell, where we did well in a 2-1 win. Next up, Heybridge where the lads performed out of their skins to win 4-0. We were getting serious now! Next round we were drawn against big timers Wembley, and surprise surprise another victory 3-1 this time. Th next round would prove more difficult as the team stumble and fall to a 4-2 defeat to South Shields in the FA Cup 3rd Round Qualifying. A decent run in the countries main domestic cup competition. We didn’t get as far as I would have liked but ah well, can’t win them all.
Our first season competing in the FA Trophy and I have to say, it was a successful one by our standards. Entering the competition in the 1st Qualifying Round meant a lot of rounds to make it far. But that’s how we like it! In that round we faced Canterbury, but only managed a 2-2 draw away. The home game was a completely different story as the lads smashed it 4-0. Qualification to the next round saw us face Pontefract Colls at home. The game was a thriller ending in a 3-1 victory for Christchurch FC. The next round has been drawn, but yet to be played. In the FA Trophy 1st Round Christchurch FC play FC United of Manchester away. I’m hoping for a cracker of a match. Hopefully we can put up a bit of a fight. Certainly the toughest opponent we’ve faced in a competitive fixture during this save so far.
Southern League Cup
A cup competition much like the League Cup for big clubs, it’s losing its reputation like Arsenal are star players. In all seriousness, I am not going to focus on this trophy. Especially when there is only £1.12k available for winning it. First up in the 1st Round were Sutton Common and the team did a professional job and won 3-0. The 2nd Round was next and Aylesbury were the opponents. It’s was a tight game with both team creating opportunities, but Aylesbury snatched it with a penalty shoot-out win. As I said, I’m not too bothered by the loss, we may reconsider our Southern League Cup strategy next season.
At the half-way point during the season, let’s have a look at who’s performing and who’s just not. So, at the top of the list is George Brr… wait what! Hold up! Georgie McGee isn’t at the top. Surely, that’s hacks right there!
Right, I’ve composed myself and back to who performed well… Branford one of our more creative central midfielders. He’s made 4 assists whilst scoring 3 goals and grabbing that 8.39 average rating like a boss in 7 appearances. In all fairness to McGee and Hornby they do have 20 appearances plus in the locker where as the others only have less than 10. However Branford has made a great start to his Christchurch FC career. Looking down the list, a few familiar names Hornby, Wearing, Higgs and McGee all in the top 5 performers so far.
The players I’ve been disappointed with are Watson, Batchelor and Felwick. They’ve just not really performed to the standard I expect from them. Maybe, I’m being a bit harsh on Felwick as he has assisted 3 and scored 3 in 9 appearances. Which, isn’t too bad.
Now considering my real life coaching experience you would expect I know what I’m talking about when it comes to tactics. Yeah, totally! I got this! No, for real. I don’t got this. I go through so many tactics it’s unbelievable Jeff! This season so far, I’ve experimented with the below formations working with an attacking mentality which aims to get the ball forward quickly and directly. This has had mixed results, so I’m back to the drawing board. Let me know your thoughts on this tactical dilemma I seem to have run into.
Now usually you wouldn’t get a transfer update during a mid-season post. However, these non-League season are far from normal. No transfer windows for us, meaning players come and go as they bloody well please. This couldn’t be closer to the truth for Christchurch FC. We’ve had more players come and go than Chelsea have had physiotherapists under Jose Mourinho.
First up is defensive midfielder Louis Hutton, who is 25 and English. He looks like he could do a job for us, in sharpening up our defence.
Kunle Oktudeko try saying that when you’ve had a few. He is a new addition to our striker force. The 23-year-old Englishman can also play on the wings with great dribbling and flair attributes to boot.
Matt Ward, a 20-year-old Englishman who plays in a transitional central midfield role. A good base of attributes which we will look to develop that’s for sure.
We’ve mentioned this man earlier, but here he is in the flesh. George Branford! English and 25 years of age. A great back up to Hornby, but with the way he’s performing he’ll be first choice over Hornby in no time.
Last but by no means least is ex AFC Bournemouth player Callum Wilson. No, not that one. Do you think I’m that lucky ha! A 22-year-old, English right-sided full back who has a great set of physical attributes. His technical side of the game remains to be seen.
A Final Word…
In part #9 we’ll be taking a look at the whole season as a review. Can we get promoted, that is the million pound question?
Also a massive thank you to Christchurch FC who have been following the blog since the beginning, it means a lot to me. Go check out their website and definitely get yourself down to Hurn Bridge Sports Club and watch a real life Christchurch team chase promotion.
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