Hi and welcome to the second instalment of season 2019/20. If you missed the first part check it out TS Sports – Season 2019/20 – Part 1
New Years’ Day was the opening fixture for 2020. At home against Kettering. The first half was a steady performance where we kept Kettering at bay. The second half was much stronger Lee Sticks scoring a screamer and Vic Penn scoring a well-placed shot to win the game 2-0.
Three days later we were hosts to Derby County in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. The tie may have felt bigger if we had been playing at Newhall Park. Instead the windy Keys Park had to do, and 6039 people came to see a David Vs Goliath battle.
We played a perfect game, seizing control from the off. We also took the game to Kenny Jackett’s Derby County, which bared fruit for Karl Wright on 17 mins with a lovely close ranged goal. Wright doubled his account five minutes later with another clean close ranged goal. Our lead was extended further with the man of the moment Vic Penn scoring a cracker from the edge of the box on 38 minutes. The half time team talk was simple, have some orange slices, fill up on Lucozade Sport and get back out there and stick it to the Ram! After all of that the second half was a much tighter game Derby started to gain possession of the ball, but fortunately for us is was all in their own half with little penetration. A wayward shot by Johnny Starr was the only highlight. It struck the hapless Tom Huddlestone and went in to the Derby goal. 4-0 was the final score. A score line that will surely go in local folklore???
With our tails high, the league form continued with victories over Chester, Altrincham, FC United and Nuneaton. We also managed to thrash Kettering 5-1 in the second round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
Our final fixture of a long and dry January was our 4th round FA Cup tie against Blackburn at Ewood Park.
12 months prior we had managed to get to the same level only to be marginally beaten by Premier League opposition (Southampton).
The same happened again. We dominated Blackburn throughout the match, but we just could not find a way through their defence (Goalkeeper). David Raya played like David de Gea and the lad just wouldn’t let anything past. They also scored from a freekick on the edge of the area that was given for the softest foul I’ve ever seen. No sour grapes here, just a bad taste in the mouth and the feeling of being robbed. They won 1-0.
Moving on, swiftly to February. The month of love would also be the month of revenge.
We went the entire month without a loss and without conceding a goal. The revenge came by beating Spennymoor twice. First in the FA Trophy quarterfinal. We won 2-0 at home. But also, a 1-0 home win against them in the league. We also beat Blyth, Curzon Ashton, Braintree and Boston Utd.
March would continue where February left off. Our league demonstrated great togetherness and strength. The first two games of the month were won 2-0. Next up came the first leg of the FA Trophy semi-final against Billericay. The first leg was away, the game was dominated by Vic Penn in our midfield, he managed to score a beauty by running from the half way line breaking into their box and sliding a shot past the goalie. Eddie Beans score the other goal.
Our next league game was at home to Southport, I had been made aware that if we won and other result went our way, we could clinch the title (in March!). Jermaine Anderson scored the only goal of the game and the general team performance lacked its usual bite. But somehow, we managed to not only win the match, but we were presented the league trophy too.
With the title in the bag we put a strong team together to play in the second leg of the FA Trophy. We were professional, we struck early through a rare Paul Newman goal on 8 minutes. We then controlled the game and played the final sucker punch on 88 minutes when Lee Stick hit one of his super freekicks. We won 2-0 and 4-0 on aggregate.
The last match of the month saw us lose 1-0 to Kidderminster the boys were clearly still feeling the after effects from celebrating the league title win because the performance was shocking neither Beans nor Davies could really get going when given the chance.
With the title clinched you would imagine we would put our foot off the gas until the FA Trophy final. Nah… Not my style.
April saw us get back to our usual standards. We went the month with out conceding again. Along with some good victories against Bradford PA, Guiseley, Brackley and Leamington, the only blemish was a 0-0 away to Chorley.
The curtain for our league campaign would drop after our home game against Nantwich. We would win in emphatic style and winning 3-0 to boot. Both wingers scoring the goals (Sticks and Wright).
Our last game of the season, the cup final. The FA Trophy final against Chesterfield at Wemberrrrrrrley!
The atmosphere was great about 9,500 fans from each club cheering both sides on. I took the opportunity to look smart for once. The lads had their cup final suits from Jon Paul in town.
The match was a very tight nail biter. Our defence were resolute throughout the 120 minutes. At 51 minutes I rolled my dice and played my aces, I put Davies on for Beans and Sticks on for Wright, yet nothing would budge. In the 76th minute I had to take left back George Cox off because of injury and put utility man Dean Crisp on. Our cards had now been laid. We huffed and puffed just before the ref blew his whistle to close the 90 minutes.
With one last team talk I rallied the boys in and told them to go out and play their natural game. Just before I started jotting down names for penalties Jon Davies popped up in the box to score a close ranged shot that had been created buy the guile of Herman Maragh. We would go on to see out a hard fought battle and win the FA Trophy.
Thank you for your time. And we’ll see you in the Vanarama National League.