6 December: Buckingham Athletic 1-3 Stony Stratford Town
The pitch at The Stratford Fields in Buckingham was a quagmire, enabling us to put on an exhibition of long-ball football at its best (or worst, depending on your particular tastes.)
displayed a nice first touch on a looping pass from Liam Barton
before firing in our first goal. Early in the second half, Sam Edwards
released Craig Curtis
, whose shot was palmed away by Fraizer Stimson...into the path of Hayward
, who tapped in easily for his brace. Edwards
' perfect corner was headed home by Ian Williams
for our third goal.
I've noticed teams dropping deeper against us. This has previously been very challenging for me, as I've wondered what the best response should be.
Director of Football Matt Reid
worked out a deal with right winger James Harris
. He's got bags of pace and plays with flair, and he makes very good decisions. He's willing to be a backup, but he's talented enough to challenge for a starting position, too.
13 December: Welwyn Garden City 1-4 Stony Stratford Town
scored twice, while Shaun Charles
and Max Wallace
also found the range on a wet, wintry afternoon. Jamie Hackett
provided two assists, and was named Man of the Match with a 9.0 rating.
It was a match we were expected to win, and that's exactly what we did.
12 December: Stony Stratford Town 5-4 London Lions
This match had all the makings of a South Midlands League Division One classic: the league leaders visiting their nearest challengers. It did not disappoint.
The pundits tried to goad me into a row with Lions boss Adrian Spriggs, but I wouldn't bite. I'm sincerely impressed with his team, and I have respect for what he's done there.
The supporters were barely aware the match had begun before referee Carl Couzens pointed to the penalty spot. Shaun Charles
had tripped Max McIntyre just inside the area. James Husband lasered his penalty into the upper left corner.
We equalized through Mark Buzzeo
, who knocked down a long ball from Max Wallace
and slotted home.
On the half hour mark, Richard Williams
made a jinking run down the right wing, only to be chopped down by right back Graham Crane. Again, Couzens issued a penalty, and Buzzeo
converted to put us in the lead.
Couzens wasn't done yet. Eleven minutes later, Richard Williams
rose up for a header inside the box, and Alec Wilding shouldered him to the turf. Buzzeo
stepped up and confidently put the ball in the back of the net.
I'm beginning to be concerned with Dominic Cassidy
. He waved "olé" to a soft shot by Ricky Osei to allow Lions to pull within a goal.
We responded quickly. Wayne Stott saved from Liam Hayward
, but he spilled the ball and allowed Buzzeo
to lash home his fourth goal of the match.
Back came the Lions. Sam Victory ripped a shot past a nearly-motionless Cassidy
, and Scott Cahill rifled home a free kick. Just like that, it was 5-4.
Fortunately, we were able to hold on and secure the result, and with it, we moved to the top of the table!
27 December: Stony Stratford Town 0-1 Southall
Our run of eight games without a defeat ended in our last fixture of 2014. It was a Fan Day--any paying adult could bring a child to the game for half price. A good crowd of 317 turned out, and I wish we could have given them a better show.
2 January 2015
was busy in the days after Christmas, signing three of our players to new contracts. Center back Ian Williams
(£45/week), left back Shaun Charles
(£60/week), and midfielder Liam Barton
(£60/week) are all signed through the 2015/16 season.
is the oldest of the three at 23, while Williams
are both still teenagers. It's good to lock them up for another year.
My job is now Very Secure, according to the latest board confidence update. Even better, most of our players list me as one of their Favourite Personnel.
We're top of the league, and life is good.