2015/16 End of Season Review
Second season in charge of the Towners, and it was one that took everyone associated with the club pleasantly by surprise. We were supposed to be no-hopers, yet we managed to upset the apple-cart. I was very pleased to go as far as we did in the FA Trophy, as that one eluded me as manager of Town in FM13… Though so did the Conference Premier winners’ trophy, and it has again.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say ‘hi’ to the Towners on nonleague.co.uk who are following this career! And also don’t forget you can follow every game by following @EnfieldTown_FC on Twitter!
Skrill Premier (stats)
Promoted! I really don’t know how, as we were labelled as no-hopers, and we weren’t able to bring in the quality of player I’d hoped for, despite many ex-Premier League players being available on frees – they just weren’t interested in us like they were at this stage on FM13. Still, we had to make the most of what we had, and with excellent consistency from the team, and Matt Drage in defence and Jack Cameron up top in particular, we managed to grind results – where many clubs would have lost, we got draws, and it was those draws that got us where we did.
The playoff semi-final was contested against Macclesfield, who we’d only recently lost 2-0 to in the league. Two 1-1 draws, including a 120+3 equaliser in extra time of the second leg from our winger David Adedipe, means we went to penalties to decide who would be facing Grimsby in the final. We scored all ours, and Macclesfield players crumbled under the pressure, missing two of their four. We were going to Wembley!
In the final, we were thoroughly outplayed by Grimsby. We only managed one shot all game, but it was that one shot that decided the game! Jack Cameron’s 64th minute strike was the only goal of the match.
LEAGUE TWO HERE WE COME!
FA Cup (stats)
We had a great run this season, with the draws in the fourth qualifying round and the first round particularly kind to us. FC Halifax were in our division but towards the bottom half, and we proved ourselves again to be the better side as we went through to the third round. If I’m honest, I was hoping for a bigger side than the Championship’s Burnley, but although we were convincingly beaten, we still earned over £200,000 from the fixture.
FA Trophy (stats)
Assuming we avoid relegation back to the Skrill Premier in the future, this was my last chance to capture the FA Trophy, as last season we failed miserably to get anywhere, going out at the first hurdle. This season, I made it a priority. We were close run in some games, especially against Aldershot and bottom-of-division Newport County, and the semi final was very tricky as we had to get a result away after the blank at the QEII, but an emphatic victory in the final gave us the trophy, and also gave me the trophy that eluded me on FM13 with the Towners!
IN: Club-record signing Matt Drage has been a standout performer this season and a key player in our promotion and cup win. The rest all made the first team squad, too.
OUT: Most of the players out were simply not good enough for the level. The club-record sale of Liam Hope was more because I couldn’t give him the game time he wanted, than my wanting to sell.
Matt Smith. Not much to write home about, but with some training may develop into a half-decent midfielder. Despite 2 assists in 5 games, the rest of his play was rather poor but he was thrown in the deep end days after signing thanks to a few injuries and tiredness.
A new stadium has been announced, and the debt incurred will no-doubt influence our spending ability. With that in mind, I think the best we can hope for is a mid-table finish.