Right, I’m now 10 games into my Kidderminster career and things are going okay. It feels like they’re going a bit better than that, actually, but such is my cautious approach – and my irrational fear of jinxing just about anything that can be jinxed – I’d rather keep a level head for now.
Plus, although I may have only lost two of my first 10 games in charge, I’m aware we’ve still only moved up the league table by two places.
However, what is good is that we’ve put a bit of distance between us and the relegation zone, which is… what’s the phrase? Over to Louis Balfour for that one.
You can see that although things aren’t as rosy as a Sir Alex Ferguson’s nose, they’re better than being 18th and just two points off the drop zone with the whole squad out of form and in a filthy mood after losing 3-0 at home to Spennymoor:
That goal difference doesn’t look very clever. I’ve improved it by one goal since I took charge – and bearing in mind we lost 5-2 at York, that’s not bad going.
Anyway, here’s a summary of what’s happened since last time.
We avenged that Bootham Crescent mauling by travelling to Leek Town in an FA Trophy 3rd qualifying round match and beating them 4-1. My left winger Charlie Edge, who doesn’t really like playing as a left winger, scored two goals. They might have been weak opposition but any away game at this level is far from a foregone conclusion.
It reminds me of the time my good friend Stuart lost an FA Cup tie 2-1 at Colwyn Bay when he was in charge of Cambridge in League 1.
Then we put in what I can only describe as a ‘bitty’ performance at home to Gainsborough. They were shit, and we really should’ve beaten them, but we still enjoyed more possession and created more chances than them – and it was also the match when N’Guessan, my highest-paid player, finally turned in a decent performance on the right wing.
On the other side of the pitch, the Edge got injured, so he wasn’t fine. Adam Clayton is fine, though. I went out into the loan market and brought the experienced Chris Zebroski to the club for a month, from Eastleigh. And he duly scored both goals on his debut in our excellent 2-1 win at Chroley.
That victory was sweet for two reasons – firstly, they were 7th and so it was a good result on that fact alone, but also, secondly, it felt like revenge for the shit they gave me on FM17, even though that’s irrelevant on so many levels.
Then came our FA Trophy 1st round match at Barrow, who are in the National League play-offs. The media had us down as outsiders, as you’d expect, but we went there and gave them a real game. My midfield maestro, Ngwatala, grabbed a deserved opener but we conceded early in the second half and the game finished 1-1.
I actually fancied our chances back at our place. Games at Aggborough had been rare under my tenure (just two of my first eight games were at home). Once again the match finished 1-1 (thanks to a late equaliser from N’Guessan) and then we took the lead in the second minute of extra time!
Sadly, we conceded immediately – which appears to be a habit of ours at the moment. Maybe I should tell them to concentrate more just after scoring a goal.
We were by far the better team, creating more chances and working their goalkeeper, but the sucker-punch came in the 119th minute when they scored the winner. I won’t say we hammered them, but when you consider they’re 30-odd places higher in the league ladder than us, it was a decent effort by our lads.
Annoyingly, the board expected us to get to the 2nd round of the competition, so we’ve fallen short of expectations without any regard for the quality of opposition or the fact that we created far more chances than they did over the two legs.
One other thing that annoyed me was the match report at full time. More possession and more chances usually brings a tale of bad luck, or that the winning side got lucky, but not this time. Our bad finishing cost us dearly, it reckoned. Funny, that, because when it’s been the other way round (and we’ve won undeservedly) it will usually say we didn’t deserve it.
Anyway, as a consequence of playing 120 minutes in a week when no other bugger from our division had to play, we were then totally knackered for our home game against mid-table Nuneaton and it finished 0-0. It was the first time I’d failed to score in a game since picking up the reins.
Next up is the festive double-header against AFC Telford, who are just a point outside the play-offs. Away game first.
Oh yeah, and one other interesting thing that’s happened, which I’ve totally forgot to mention, is that we’re now under a transfer embargo because some dick head is interested in buying the club. I wish they’d hurry up and get the deal done because I’m about to lose two decent loan signings in the January transfer window and I won’t be able to replace them as things stand. I don’t think I’ve been in charge of a club that’s been taken over by a consortium before. I have no idea whether that’s good or bad.
So that’s my story so far. Steady if unspectacular. It’s 16 goals scored and 13 goals conceded in 10 games, which is far, far better than at any stage of my stints at Chorley and Queen’s Park on FM17.
I doubt the play-offs are possible, even though we’re only four points short. The sheer volume of clubs between us and that dotted line is so heavy that we’d really have to show championship form to get in there. I’d like to think we’re not in any real danger of getting relegated though.