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Old 06-28-2014, 11:59 AM   #551
JonInMiddleGA
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
Feb 27, 2014 (morning)

Aziz Deen-Conteh gets an international call up, he'll be with the Sierra Leone squad as they face Chad on March 5th.

MR Hassan Janneh has reached agreement on terms that will keep him with us through next season. Hopefully he'll find himself satisfied with whatever first team action he gets.
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Old 06-28-2014, 12:58 PM   #552
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March 1, 2014 (morning)

Whaddya know, I finished second in the BSBN Manager of the Month awards (behind Gainsborough's Andy Cale).

March 1, 2014 (mid-morning)
Our U18s played a league match vs Woking, winning 5-1.

A challenge for sure, Woking is 16-9-1 so far in U18 Group 10, this is a battle of first place vs second place in the group. They beat us 4-1 previously, dominating things after we went down a man in just the third minute.

Cresswell feeds Branker for a quick shot at 4' ... and for a quick 1-0 lead. Almost got another one at 17, denied by a quick save. 27' Ferguson sends a cross into the box but it's intercepted ... and bounces off the defender for an own goal & a 2-0 lead. 29' Musungu lobs a pass from the byline into the box, it finds trialist O'Halloran for a 3-0 lead. 43' Ferguson to Branker for his second goal of the half and a 4-0 lead at the half. 57' Musungu clears the area with a very long ball, O'Halloran catches up to it but is one-on-three ... he shoots and scores anyway. They get one back at 63'. A penalty at 84' gives Branker a chance for the hat trick but he's denied by the post.

Yeah, didn't see that coming. Fun though. They outshot us 14-8 but on target shots were 5-2 in our favor. O'Halloran (8.8) is MOM.
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Old 06-28-2014, 01:07 PM   #553
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March 1, 2014 (midday)

The board is currently satisfied with my coaching of the team, despite losing $77k last month. They're sympathetic to the fans criticism of our signing of Daniel Boateng, and at this point I guess I can't really blame them. He's been disappointing at best.
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Old 06-28-2014, 01:43 PM   #554
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March 1, 2014 (afternoon)
Blyth (10-10-11, 13th BSBN) at Hinckley (11-9-11, 10th BSBN)
We're a 5:4 favorite at home against a high-scoring outfit. We'll open 4-4-1-1 again, Counter this time. We beat them 2-1 earlier in the year on a brace from Cofie while allowing only an own goal.

GK: Dovey
D: Deen-Conteh, Paul, Seidu, Groves
MF: Higgins, Ahmed, Smyth, Moke
F: Whitaker, Cofie
Available Subs: (Saywer, Nightingale, Rickard, Mutero, McDonald)

9' - Deen-Conteh is fouled, the second Hinckley yellow card of the match is handed out
14' - They slip a runner past Seidu but shoot wide
23' - Moke misses a shot high & wide
26' - Farrell puts them in front with a header off the bar (0-1) ... switch to Standard
28' - Moke is slammed down from behind on a run, Hinckley's third yellow. Deen-Conteh picked one up earlier as well
38' - Moke heads a loose ball out to Ahmed at the point, he has a go from 25 yards out ... SCORES !!! (1-1)
43' - They miss a dangerous shot just wide
44' - Dovey makes a save

Halftime - I tell them I know they're capable of even better. Shockingly, Cofie is "looking uninterested" (his 6.0 shows that).

46' - Smyth shoots one wide ... switch to Counter
59' - Farrell sails a free kick high & over
60' - Sub Mutero (for Cofie, 5.7)
74' - Ahmed fires from outside, somehow manages to hit the corner of the post and the crossbar ... they clear the rebound
75' - Sub Rickard (for Higgins) ... shift Whitaker to ML, Mutero to AML
78' - Kerwin fouls for the second time in a minute ... long discussion ... that's his second yellow card and we're a man up ... Switch to Standard
79' - Mutero header in traffic is high & harmless
90' - Three minutes of added time ... switch to Attacking
90:46 - Whitaker shot skims the crossbar
92:31 - Smyth turns the ball over at midfield ... Broderick splits Paul & Seidu ... Dovey heads out to meet him ... a 20 yard strike is in (1-2)

Full Time: Hinckley 2 - Blyth 1

March 1, 2014 (postmatch)
I have no words. I let another coach express our disppointment. Cofie (5.7) and Paul (6.0) were bad. Ahmed (7.4 and MOM) and Deen-Conteh (7.1) were good. The rest were mostly okay but not good enough. What a bad way to see our streak end.
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Old 06-28-2014, 01:48 PM   #555
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March 2, 2014 (morning)

Shane Clarke wants first team football. Honestly, he's a fair player but is here on a strictly p/a basis and he isn't better than several people ahead of him. I reluctantly agree to let him go at the end of the season, he says he can't wait that long (what? Does he have a hot date somewhere?)

I release him on a free and hope neither the board nor the supporters are too upset by that.
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Old 06-29-2014, 12:14 AM   #556
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March 3, 2014 (morning)

As you might have suspected would happen, 17 y/o ST Bobby O'Halloran is the newest member of the Blyth Spartans. He signed a youth contract first, then agreed to his first professional deal that will keep him here through 2017.

March 5, 2014 (evening)
Our Reserves play a group match at FC Halifax, winning 1-0

Johnson-Cole finally gets one to go in at 36'. That's enough for our underdog effort to succeed. The only goal nets WJ-C MOM honors (7.3) with good outings from Thomaspon, Foot and Williams in particular. Only McGovern (6.2) kinda stunk. We should have scored more, but we scored enough.

March 6, 2014 (morning)
We get a report on Aziz Deen-Conteh's international outing for Sierra Leone yesterday. He had a 6.7 rating playing the entire length of the 2-2 draw vs Chad in the African Cup of Nations Qualifying match. He is the fourth Spartan to see international duty this season. (McKeever / Northern Ireland U21, Seidu / Dem. Rep. of Congo U20, Cofie / Ghana U20)

March 7, 2014 (morning)
DL Joe Henderson wants first team football. That'd be fine if he hadn't largely sucked when given the opportunity. 4 appearances this season with a 6.18 avg rating. His debut last year was even worse, a 5.70. So I'm being asked to play a game who has 5 starts and a total 6.08 match rating. I expect him to be a professional and get on with his job.

Mar 7, 2014 (evening)
Our U18s played a fitness friendly at lower division side Morpeth, drawing 1-1 (apparently I didn't attend). In an odd occurrence, seldom used GK Rob Fry suffered a broken finger in the 50th minute & will miss 6-7 weeks.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:11 AM   #557
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March 8, 2014 (afternoon)
Blyth (10-10-12, 13th BSBN) at Altrincham (7-13-12, 16th BSBN)
We're a 3:1 underdog on the road. Need a win here as a brutal stretch is coming up with 4 of the next 5 matches are against teams currently in playoff spots on the table, points could get scarce. A 2-2 draw was the result in our previous meeting this season, we rallied from an own goal at 1' only to see the win slip away due to a controversial PK given at 85'. We'll open 4-4-1-1 again, Standard this time.

GK: Dovey
D: Carruthers, Seidu, Boateng, Grovers
MF: Higgins, Ahmed, Smyth, Moke
F: Whitaker, Mutero
Available Subs: (Saywer, Nightingale, Rickard, Paratore, McDonald)

18' - We're saved by the crossbar
23' - Smyth is denied by the crossbar
26' - They beat us with a quick run but shoot wide
33' - Long possession leads to an Ahmed shot but it's into the side netting
36' - Ahmed whistles a long shot high

Halftime - In this instance the phrase "a bore draw" seems apt. We outshot them 3-2 but neither side has anything on target nor anything better than a half chance. They've been content to let us have possession (57-43) so we'll switch to Attacking to open the half & try to make use of it.

49' - Dovey makes the save on their second decent chance in the early part of the half
51' - Switch back to Standard
57' - A couple of set pieces caught to naught for us
62' - Ahmed's high cross to Moke is headed just inches too high
64' - They cross into the area but shoot high
64' - Sub Rickard (Mutero, 6.0)
69' - They graze the bar with a shot from a corner
76' - Free kick gives them a clean chance, it's shot weakly wide
76' - Sub Paratore (for Higgins, tiring) ... shift Whitaker to ML ... switch to Counter
78' - Whitaker corner to Ahmed is headed wide
86' - We get a break as they miss from the right side of the area, should have been a goal honestly
88' - They take a crack from the point on a free kick, sails high

Full Time: Blyth 0 - Altrincham 0

March 8, 2014 (postmatch)
Should have gotten more here, although we were outshot 13-5, we never put anything on target and they only had one on target themselves. Carruthers (7.6) is MOM with 13 interceptions. Mutero's 25th league appearance is a forgettable one, his scoreless streak now over 9 hours.
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:29 AM   #558
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
Mar 10, 2014 (morning)
We've reached agreement with backup GK Nathan McDonald on a new deal that will keep him here through next season.

Mar 11, 2014 (morning)
We have reached agreement to bring in Italian DC Michelle Fornasier on a four week trial. He would be, on paper, our best central defender but we'd like to see that in action. And there's enormous questions about whether we'd be able to reach terms we can afford. But first things first.

March 12, 2014 (evening)
ML Andrew Higgins is concerned about his expiring contract & would like to improve terms. I agree to make him an offer within the month. I'd love to do that in fact ... but he is "not currently interested in entering into contract discussions" with my club. This has been going on for several months now, it's an annoying little bug.

March 13, 2014 (morning)
AssMan Jonathan Worthington lets me know that over a dozen youth candidates have been given trial contracts. He singles out DC Greg Wright as having the potential to be one of the most gifted players in our youth ranks in recent years.

Let's have a look see. A pair of GK, 1 DR, 3 DL, 3 DC, 1 DM, 3 MC, 1 AML, 2 ST. Nothing below a half yellow star, Wright is a 2 yellow star and a tall drink of water at that (6'3, 194 lbs).

I'm a bit incredulous that we've scheduled them against our current U18 squad for a friendly just two days before the U18s go on the road to play a group match.

March 13, 2014 (evening)
Our Reserves played a fitness friendly at Whickham, winning 1-0.

Loudon buries a PK at 34'. DL Joe Henderson inexplicably gets a deserved red card at 58' for elbowing an attacker in the face, a major WTF moment. We park the bus and hold on. Fornasier and Williamson played well, Slaughter, Davies and Clarke-Harris did not.

March 14, 2014 (morning)
I issue Joe Henderson a formal warning for his violent behavior. He accepts it, is willing to control his temperament in the future. I've rarely done that sort of thing but, seeing it, a warning was at very least needed.
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Old 06-29-2014, 11:03 AM   #559
JonInMiddleGA
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March 14, 2014 (evening)
Our U18s played our youth intake candidates in a friendly exhibition. We encourage them not to hurt anybody. Also have to manage the bodies here, there's a U18 group match in two days. A scoreless draw until extra time when Egbeku stole the ball from Wright near midfield, dribbled into the area and calmly stuck it in the back of the net for a 1-0 lead and win.

March 14, 2014 (late night)
Ironically perhaps, it was the highly touted DC Wright that turned the ball over for the eventual match winning goal. The real standout from the outing, in a positive way, were 16 y/o GK Ross Cook who faced 15 shots (6 on target) and had a clean sheet until extra time.

AssMan Worthington now says we should sign: DM Kyle Mitchell, DC Greg Wright, ST Jeff Hunt, DC/MC Martyn Sadler, and DMC/MC Barry Saunders. He think DC Jamie Speight (who probably had the 2nd best performance for the group) and ST Deane Murphy should be kept on for youth team depth next season. I'll assess a bit more and then make decisions.
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Old 06-29-2014, 12:39 PM   #560
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March 15, 2014 (afternoon)
Blyth (10-11-12, 13th BSBN) vs Barrow (19-7-7, 2nd BSBN)
We're a deserving 7:2 underdog in the first fixture of what feels a little like a death march. Over the next six Saturdays we'll face the teams currently standing 2nd/4th/22nd/1st/3rd/6th. That's 4 of the top 5 in goals scored, 3 of the top 5 (including first & second) in goals allowed. Barrow cleaned our clocks thoroughly, 3-1, in the first meeting this season, dominated us in pretty much every facet. We'll open 4-4-1-1 again, Counter this time ... until we have to go into Defensive in order to keep from getting shelled

GK: Dovey
D: Dean-Conteh, Sawyer, Seidu, Grovers
MF: Higgins, Ahmed, Smyth, Moke
F: Whitaker, Cofie
Available Subs: (Boateng, Janneh, Mutero, Nightingale, McDonald)

15' - Owen scores his first goal of the season for Barrow after outbattling Groves for the ball at the top of the box. (0-1)
18' - They narrowly miss on a 35 yard try
23' - Smyth shoots over the bar on our first shot of the match
25' - Higgins turns an apparent cross into a near goal, caroming a boomer off the post
40' - Moke gets a little space down the right flank ... looks to cross into the box ... it hits the far post and goes in !!! (1-1)
43' - They miss a whistler from long range right over the bar

Halftime - Moke's moment has gotten us level, just not sure if we can keep it there. We'll have to continue keeping possession even, but it may simply come down to whether Barrow starts aiming their shots better.

62' - They've used their second sub already, we're just tweaking instructions to our starting lineup for now
73' - Whitaker's corner goes to Sawyer at the near post ... it's headed over
74' - Sub Janneh (for Smyth, 6.2)
81' - Sawyer with a throw to Moke at the right point ... it's headed out of play, our squad incredulous at the lack of a penalty or even a foul call there
86' - Their DR Lomax gets a yellow card for a hard foul, he actually injured himself and will have to come off
87' - Sub Mutero (for Cofie, 6.4)
88' - They counterattack half the length of the pitch with a long run, the eventual long shot sails wide right
90' - Three minutes of added time
92:20' - We concede a corner ... it's headed clear & out of play by Seidu
94' - Whistle


Full Time: Blyth 1 - Barrow 1

March 15, 2014 (postmatch)
We sympathize with the boys, a well-earned draw that just might have been even more with a little luck. Moke (8.3) is MOM. Deen-Conteh & Groves had good games, Smyth and Cofie less so. Still, we escape with one point more than anyone expected.
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Old 06-29-2014, 01:14 PM   #561
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March 16, 2014 (morning)
16 y/o DC/MC Barry Saunders becomes the first of our youth intake candidates to sign on for next season.

March 16, 2014 (mid-morning)
Our U18s played a group match at Dartford, winning 4-1.

Branker knocks one home at 27' off a nice through ball from Smith who chased down a loooong pass. Dombaxe crosses for Musungu who scores at 40'. They get one back after Wallace commits a stupid foul to give them a free kick at 51'. Musungu scores again at 55'. Musungu feeds Branker for his second goal at 70'.

Musungu is MOM with a 9.4 stormer, 2 goals and an assist. Branker posted an 8.8 with two goals, youth trialist Andy Dowson showed his promised with a 7.9, youth candidate Jamie Speight had a 7.2.

March 16, 2014 (evening)
ST Deane Murphy, ST Jeff Hunt, GK Ross Cook, DC Greg Wright and DC Jamie Speight have agreed to youth contracts.
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Old 06-29-2014, 02:37 PM   #562
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March 18, 2014 (morning)
Adriano Moke was selected in the BSBN Team of the Week first eleven

Youth candidate Andy Dowson has agreed to terms of a youth contract.

March 19, 2014 (evening)
Our Reserves played a group match at Rotherham,

Tough task against a team that hasn't been beaten in group play, scoring 33 times while allowing only 3 goals in 14 matches. They scored first at 24'. They scored second at 68', simply taking the ball from the dribbling Davies at midfield with ease. Give & go gives them a 3rd goal at 84'.

Hey, we almost scored once. Outshot 12-5, we only had one shot (12 seconds into the match right from the kickoff) until the 76th minute. Just a ridiculously overpower roster for the reserves of an nPower League 1 side. Most disappointing thing all day had to be the play of trialist DC Michele Fornasier who posted a sad 5.4, lowest rating of any player we fielded. Rickets, Mutero and Kaine Sheppard all played pretty well for us actually.
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Old 06-29-2014, 04:07 PM   #563
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March 22, 2014 (morning)
Our U18s played a group match vs Bishop's Stortford, winning 4-0.

It took just 77 seconds for O'Halloran to take a give & go from O'Nien, wheel around the defender and score for. At 8', Madine centered a pass in the area that O'Halloran headed home for goal number two. Bishop's goes a man down at 18', when a hard challenge from behind gets a red card. O'H has a near miss on a rebound just before the half. 50' sees O'H get his hat trick with a simple run down the middle from O'Nien's second assist. 72' Branker gets into the act with a goal assisted by Niall Smith.

Not too shabby.
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Old 06-29-2014, 04:48 PM   #564
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
March 22, 2014 (afternoon)
Blyth (10-12-12, 13th BSBN) vs Stalybridge (19-4-11, 4th BSBN)
We're a 13:8 underdog against the league's second highest scoring team (69 goals in 34 outings). We'll open 4-4-1-1 Counter again, maybe it'll work twice in a row.

GK: McDonald
D: Dean-Conteh, Williamson, Seidu, Groves
MF: Musungu, Ahmed, Janneh, Moke
F: Paratore, Rickard
Available Subs: (Boateng, Whitaker, Clarke-Harris, Saywer, Dovey)


Full Time:

29' - Seidu just misses a header off a corner from Paratore
34' - Seidu buries a header on the run off a corner from Paratore (1-0)
41' - Seidu just misses a header off a corner from Paratore
44' - Ahmed has a fair try but he's flagged offside

Halftime - Not bad.

48' - Janneh gets a good run but shoots well wide
58' - Seidu misses a header well high off a corner from Paratore
63' - Paratore has to come off after a collision with former Spartan Nathaniel Wedderbrun ... Sub Whitaker
65' - Ahmed gets a yellow card for tripping
69' - We survive a couple of set pieces ... switch to Defensive
74' - Rickard has to leave with an injury ... sub Clarke-Harris
87' - Sub Sawyer (for Janneh, tired) ...
89' - Switch to Contain
89:25' - McDonald comes out to challenge, Stalybridge runner beats him by a step and ties the match (1-1)

Full time: Blyth 1 - Stalybridge 1

March 22, 2014 (postmatch)
Missed it by that much. Just a bang-bang play away from stealing three points. Seidu (7.8) is MOM. Paratore and Deen-Conteh were both 7.3.

Of course after something good, somebody has to bitch. This time it's DC Lloyd Foot who wants first team action. I basically tell him he can leave at the end of the year, he's not thrilled, I basically tell him to eff off. Idiot, you're on a part-time month-to-month contract, if you're not happy then the door isn't hard to find. He's officially released on a free.
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:46 AM   #565
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March 25, 2014 (evening)

Our Reserves played a fitness friendly at Ryton,

A scoreless first half, but if Ryton could shoot straight we'd be behind by several. And 31 seconds into the second half they shot straight. Pearce Farren draws us level at 62'. Ryton goes back in front at 77'. They bury another shot after a turnover at 88'.

If we'd played any flatter, wait, I'm pretty sure that wouldn't even be possible. Got outshot 16-5 by a side that shouldn't have been able to stay on the pitch with even our 3rd and 4th string. Embarrassing for nearly everyone.

March 29, 2014
The transfer deadline for English clubs has passed.

Neither Carl Jones nor Wil Antwi are willing to agree to mutual termination. Phil Stevenson however is willing to go for a separation fee of $20. Let me see, we're paying you $8/wk and there's another 8-10 weeks of the season left ... yeah, that's fair by me. Best of luck young fellow. Stevenson appeared in 4 league matches over two seasons with an average rating of 5.97

Stuart Giddings wants first team football, that's just not likely to happen, especially after his last few performances in the first team. At 28 y/o and on a per appearance contract, he's just not in the future plans. I agree to let him go seek his fortune elsewhere. Giddings appeared in 29 matches for us over 3 seasons, tallying one assist, one MOM and a 6.71 average rating. He wasn't awful, he was just rarely above average either.

We terminate the trial of youth intake prospects DL Jimmy Parkinson, MC Mickey Duncan and AML Liam Care.
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:26 AM   #566
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
March 28, 2014 (evening)
Our U18s played a fitness friendly at Bedlington, losing 3-1.

A middling first half, we give up a goal on a free kick early in the second half. Intake trialist Craig Barrett draws us level at 74'. GK Batey allows a slow roller to get past him at 81'. Batey misplays a contested ball in the area & allows the clincer at 88'. Clearly our youngest newcomers have a ways to go yet ... or maybe just need to go. DL Kosta Papadopoulos posted a 4.8 rating.

March 29, 2014 (morning)
The intake trials of DL Kosta Papadopoulos and MC Martyn Sadler are terminated. We wish them well in their future endeavors.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:06 AM   #567
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
March 29, 2014 (afternoon)
Blyth (10-13-12, 13th BSBN) at Worcester (6-8-21, 22nd BSBN)
We're a 4:6 favorite at the last place team in the league. We'll open 4-4-1-1 Counter again, based on their control of possession in the first meeting which we won only 1-0. We need to win this one.

GK: McDonald
D: Dean-Conteh, Williamson, Seidu, Boateng
MF: Musungu, Ahmed, Smyth, Moke
F: Whitaker, Cofie
Available Subs: (Sawyer, Carruthers, Mutero, Nightingale, Dovey)

7' - Whitaker has a go, it's turned aside
18' - Good pressure on the counter, nothing comes of it
19' - Moke recovers a bad pass from Williamson in the area, nods it on to Smyth who takes a half try and SCORES ! (1-0)
23' - Boateng at midfield, spots Whitaker in the area and sends it his way ... GOAL ! (2-0) The first goal since early December for the veteran, Boateng's first assist for Blyth
30' - Boateng gets a yelllow card for tripping
Halftime - Not bad. Nobody lower than a 6.8 at the break. We just have to keep it going.
51' - Midfield turnover gives them a try, it's long range & held easily by McDonald
53' - Ahmed free kick, Moke rattles the crossbar with a header, Cofie can't put home the rebound
60' - Musungu feeds Cofie at the point but he misses wide
64' - Cofie with an interception right in front ... can't put it home
65' - Worcester generates an easy one on one chance ... misses high
66' - Sub Carruthers (for Musungu) ... Switch to Defensive
69' - Ahmed free kick from the point ... just missed
73' - Sub Nightingale (for Boateng, yellow card)
74' - They get a man behind the defense but miss well high
86' - Corner kick gives Worcester life, an easy goal as we let a man loose unmarked in front (2-1)
86' - Sub Sawyer (for Cofie) ... shift Whitaker to ST, Sawyer as DMC ... switch to Contain
90' - 3 minutes of added time
90:15 - Inexplicably we let the same Worcester attacker get behind us but this time Seidu recovers to poke the ball away
90:45 - Another runner in the clear ... McDonald comes out and steals the ball away

Full Time: Blyth 2 - Worcester 1

March 29, 2014 (postmatch)
It'll look like a blowout in the table. Boateng (7.3) is MOM. This one got a little too interesting late but it all worked out in the end. McDonald, Williamson and Cofie all recorded their 25th appearance for Blyth.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:19 AM   #568
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
March 31, 2014 (morning)

I get an update from my personal assistant regarding soon to expire contracts.
AMC Whitaker - we'd like to resign but he won't discuss
WB Carruthers - uncertain
D Purvis - he's done I think
ST/MF Bembo-Leta - seems doubtful to retain
ST Johnson-Clarke - tempermental talent, almost certainly gone
MF Thompson - young talent but wants only a p/a deal, not big on that
MF Abraham - he's just not up to it IMO
D Kay - probably gone
ST Sheppard - hmmm
GK Dalton - won't discuss

Youth contracts are about to expire en masse too (with their valuation)
GK Rob Fry - $4k
AMC Ben Wignall - $8k
ST Elyon Egbeku - $12k
D Charlie Butt - $8k
D Callum Willson - $1.5k
ST Pearce Farren - $12k
MF/ST Nnamdi Nwachuku - $0
D Olly Bashford - $8k
D Jack Folan - $0
MF Dean Goodall - $0
D Ashley Wheeler - $0
MF Anson Watson - $0

I mention the valuations because they don't really match up all that well to performance-to-date nor even my eye test.

There are decisions to be made on the staff, where expiring contracts include

coach Matthew Naylor ... double digits in 6 of 9 coaching categories
coach Phil Hunt ... double digits in 6 of 9 coaching categories
Scout Craig Howard ... 14 ability / 11 potential
GK coach Carl King ... 14 GK Coach rating
fitness coach Matt Burton ... only a 10 in fitness coaching
youth coach Dean Daniels ... good (15) with youth, low dbl digits in 5 areas
coach Dean Harris ... defense (14) is his highest mark
---------------------

Of the staff, I believe we can do better for fitness than Burton, probably better for defense than Harris. I suspect we might do better for that 3rd scouting slot (our other pair are signed, 16a/9p and 15a/12p). The others, well that's tougher.
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:49 AM   #569
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Apr 4, 2014 (morning)

We've reached agreement to extend the contract of staff member Carl King (GK coach) through next season.

We've also reached professional contract agreements with DL Luke Donald and DC Ben Weaver that will keep both here next season.

And apparently Alfreton head coach Tim Flowers feels the need to talk about the state of the pitch at Croft Park. I mention to the media that might be construed as an indication he's worried about us tomorrow.
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:08 PM   #570
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Apr 5, 2014 (morning)
Our U18s played a group match at Farnborough, winning 3-0

It's an important fixture as we've climbed to within 3 points of Woking for the group lead. Branker buries a shot on the move at 12', off a lovely feed from Niall Smith. Branker feeds Madine with a corner, he steps back out of traffic & suddenly fires to make it 2-0 at 36'. Terrible call gets us our second yellow of the match at 50', for the team that is. Just before the end of extra time (93') Branker feeds Egbeku for a little icing on the cake.

Branker is MOM (8.0) with a goal and two assists. Madine sparkled, Dalton was worthy of his clean sheet.

O'Halloran has bruised ribs, he'll be out 6-8 days. Woking lost to Dorchester, leaving us tied with 61 points each but we lead on GD +40 to +23 with four matches left to play.


Apr 5, 2014 (afternoon)
Blyth (11-13-12, 12th BSBN) vs Alfreton (24-9-3, 1st BSBN)
We're a 7:4 underdog at home against the runaway leaders of the league. We'll open 4-4-1-1 Counter again, might as well, despite the enormous temptation to park the bus and just try to steal a point here. First meeting this season saw us salvage a 3-3 draw thanks to a Whitaker PK in the 86th minute.

GK: Dovey
D: Dean-Conteh, Sawyer, Seidu, Groves
MF: Higgins, Ahmed, Smyth, Moke
F: Paratore, Rickard
Available Subs: (Williamson, Whitaker, Cofie, Carruthers, McDonald)

7' - Ahmed free kick is a scorcher but it's high and wide left
8' - Alfreton gets a man completely unmarked into open space on the right flank, behind everyone ... his shot is slapped away by Dovey. He HAD to be offside to be that far behind the defense but no flags in sight
14' - Alfreton's Griffin shoots long but high
27' - Ahmed takes a long shot but it's well wide left
30' - Rees shoots for Alfreton, Dovey saves ... but it hits the post & then hits Dovey for an own goal (0-1)
32' - Moke breaks free down the right flank, looking to center it, gets fouled on the tackle but no call is made
34' - Ahmed has a free kick from the point ... closer but still wide left
37' - Weak shot by Ahmed is no trouble

Halftime - Not a good showing really. They're just faster than we are (or at least as fast) and it's killing our normal opportunities from the flanks. Meanwhile our shots are mostly long and aren't on target. We ask the players to give us more in the second half and try something we haven't ever really done, which is to focus our passing in the middle. We'll also switch to a Defensive strategy to open the half. Planning to use it just for a bit to prevent a cheap goal early.

54' - Ahmed sends a corner to the far post but Seidu's header it harmlessly high ... switch back to Counter
61' - We decide to roll the dice ... switch to 4-4-2 Diamond Counter ... sub Cofie (for Paratore, tiring) ... shift Moke to AMC, shift Ahmed to MR, shift Sawyer to DMC, shift Smyth to DC
65' - Ahmed with a corner played low to the far post, Seidu's point blank shot is saved & clear out of bounds to midfield
66' - Mellor FINALLY gets a foul called against him with a yellow card for tripping Grovers for good measure
68' - Smyth clears a threat with a long ball to the right flank ... Cofie runs onto it with a sudden burst of speed ... he's free and into the box ... shoots ... GOOOOOOOALLLLLL ! (1-1) Alfreton players look stunned
69' - Alfreton reverts back to their usual style of play (had gone Defensive since scoring)
76' - Moke with a takeaway in the offensive end, feeds Ahmed, who feeds Cofie right in front ... saved and turned aside for a corner try
77' - Sub Carruthers (for Higgins, tiring) ... Alfreton appears to be going more defensive now
84' - Groves trips Mellor, gets a yellow card of his own
90' - 3 minutes of added time
91:30 - Sawyer centers a pass for Moke, it's cut out and Alfreton starts a quick counterattack
91:55 - Griffin slips past Smyth on the run ... eludes Deen-Conteh and shoots ... (1-2)


Full Time: Alfreton 2 - Blyth 1

April 5, 2014 (postmatch)
Gut-wrenching defeat. You just want to throw up. The assistants want me to crack the whip a bit, I calmly say it just wasn't our day. The players look to have gained confidence from that, almost to a man. I guess they expected a tongue-lashing, one that I just didn't have the heart to give them. Deep down though, we deserved at least a point today, somehow we didn't come away with it.
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Old 06-30-2014, 02:28 PM   #571
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
April 8, 2014 (morning)

Trevor Mutero decides to take his complaints about playing time to a national newspaper. Let's keep in mind, his last 5 outings have the following ratings:
6.0, 6.3, 6.6, 6.1, 6.9. And hasn't been willing to discuss extended his expiring contract for months. And he hasn't scored since before Christmas despite five starts and four sub appearances since then.

Apr 8, 2014 (evening)
Our supporters paper is oh-so-helpful. They decide to run a poll about whether Mutero should be on the first team regularly. 89% say Yes.
W.T.F. ? What part of "he doesn't produce" fails to get through to people?

Also, DC Michele Fournasier has complete his trial and left the club. The 20 y/o Italian is WAAAAAAY better -- on paper -- than anyone we have at any position (5 yellow stars for ability and potential) but showed little other than rare flashes of that in match action. Medicore performance definitely did not warrant the sort of contract demands he had, something along the lines of double even our highest allowed salary.

And, from the physios, Dean Goodall -- who just returned from missing nearly two months with an injury -- stubbed a toe in a training session collision with Michael Wilson, he's out 6-8 days.
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Old 06-30-2014, 03:42 PM   #572
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April 9, 2014 (morning)

Being just a bit over the weekly wage target at the moment (after a few youth contracts were upgraded to professional contracts), I decide to go ahead & bit the bullet and buy out the remainder of Wil Antwi's deal in order to release him on a free. It's about $4k total lump sum for him to depart but clears $325/wk from our salary. He appeared in only one league match this season (6.1) after playing in 15 matches of last year's dreary relegation experience (6.55). As much as anything he went from being serviceable at 29/30 years old to simply past it at 30/31 years old.

OOC Note: As much as anything really, I wanted to see how or even if the board reacted to the move. Hopefully if the reaction is negative the amount is small enough that it isn't fatal.

April 9, 2014 (afternoon)
Our Reserves played a group match vs Bradford, playing a 0-0 draw.

Scoreless first half, players look about as interested as I am to be honest. 2nd half was only slightly better. We get outshot 11-3 but ratings were all between 6.8 and 7.5 for the starters. Shrug.

April 9, 2014 (evening)
We terminated the trial of intake hopeful DC Curtis McHale.

AssMan Worthington says Trevor Mutero would like to improve the terms of his current contract ... except, naturally, he "isn't interested in discussing matters" at the moment. Did I mention that this bug is kind of annoying?
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Old 06-30-2014, 04:00 PM   #573
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Apr 12, 2014 (morning)
DL Darren Holden is the latest appearance (actually a recurring appearance, along with ML Higgins) of the "wants new contract, won't discuss contract" glitch.

OOC Note: Have I done something special to set this off or something. I honest don't remember having it appear, at least not so frequently, in the past
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Old 06-30-2014, 04:46 PM   #574
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Apr 12, 2014 (morning)

Our U18s played a group match vs Basingstoke, winning 4-0

39', Smith with a quick spin & pass across from the flank to the point for Egbeku who shoots and gives us the lead 1-0. 55' Egbeku draws a foul in the box and buries the PK to make it 2-0. 58' Egbeku finds Nwachuku for an easy goal 3-0. 62' Branker taps in a rebound for a 4 goal lead.

Egbeku is MOM with a 9.3. Donald went 8.2, Nwachuku & Branker both 8.1 and Niall Smith 8.0. Just a rousing outing all around really. Dalton with another clean sheet, now 218 minutes since he's last given up a goal in reserve play.

Woking lost to Havant & W 2-0 so we now lead the group by 3 points with 3 matches to play.

Bad news though, as regular U18 ML Ross Armstrong twisted his ankle and will miss 4-5 weeks. That's basically the end of his season.
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:44 PM   #575
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Apr 12, 2014 (afternoon)
Blyth (11-13-13, 13th BSBN) vs AFC Telford (18-12-7, 4th BSBN)
We're a 4:1 underdog away to a team just 3 points out of second but only 4 points ahead of 6th (2nd - 5th make a promotion playoff) We'll open 4-4-1-1 Counter again. Different lineup today, with Ahmed struggling a bit the fans have called for his removal so we'll see how that goes, along with giving those fans what they wanted by starting Mutero (and being ready to pull him when he's unproductive yet again, scoreless in his last 601 minutes). First meeting with Telford this year saw us settle for a 3-3 draw when they scored in extra time after we had gone in front at 87'.

GK: Dovey
D: Dean-Conteh, Williamson,Sawyer, Boateng
MF: Higgins, Smyth, Janneh, Moke
F: Paratore, Mutero
Available Subs: (Seidu, Ahmed, Cofie,Whitaker, McDonald)

3' - Smyth hits the woodwork with a shot in traffic
5' - Telford misses an open shot wide left
12' - Deen-Conteh loses track of his man, Meikle makes us pay (0-1)
12' - Switch to Attacking, let's try to get it back
20' - Moke has a dip, misses just a bit wide
25' - Mutero shoots high & wide from long range
34' - Boateng goes in late on a dribbler at midfield ... that's a red card
34' - Switch to 5(4)-3-2 ... shift Smyth to DC
45' - Mutero on the fly, shoots ... misses an empty net weakly to the left

Halftime - Probably need nothing short of a miracle here to save us. That last shot by Mutero was our chance, it came to nothing.

46' - Meikle abuses the defense after some nice passing (0-2) Dovey simpliy dove for the rolling pass and missed
57' - Meikle leaves with an injury
61' - Sawyer's header from a corner is too high
65' - Sub Seidu (for Williamson, 5.8) and Sub Ahmed (for Janneh, tired)
72' - Dovey makes a diving save
83' - Sub Cofie (for Mutero, 5.8)


Full Time: AFC Telford 2 - Blyth 0

April 12, 2014 (postmatch)
That went well, don't you think? Boateng's red card, Williamson (5.8) and Mutero (5.8) were all just smashing highlights. Perhaps the crazy thing here is that we were outshot just 10-6.

Boateng is suspended two matches (we won't appeal, it was deserved).
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Old 06-30-2014, 07:58 PM   #576
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April 13, 2014

Steven Morrison wants first team football, yadda yadda. I'll let him go at the end of the season (hell, I was gonna do that anyway)

Elyon Egbeku has signed a professional contract & will remain through next season.

Four veterans are coming in on trial with the expectation that we will look at them in Reserve matches. 28 y/o AMR/ST Mehdi Kerrouche, 30 y/o ST Chris Porter, 30 y/o ST Leon Clarke and 30 y/o ML/M Darren Carter are here for a month or so, let's see if at least one will do anything that makes them worth keeping longer. With those inbound players, we quickly arrange a Reserve friendly for tomorrow.

April 15, 2014
Uh-oh, I hate to see physio Ewen Fairgreave coming toward my office with that look on his face.

MR Adriano Moke has suffered a pulled hamstring during training. He will be out 3-4 weeks, effectively the remainder of the season.

April 17, 2014
Our Reserves played a fitness friendly at Bedlington, drawing 0-0

Scoreless first half but if Bedlington could shoot, we'd be in trouble. They can't, so we weren't.

The trialists were unimpressive. Darren Carter 6.1 in 84 minutes, Chris Porter 6.5 in 72 minutes, Mehdi Kerrouch 6.7 in 84 minutes.

April 18, 2014
Our U18s played a fitness friendly at Billingham Town, drawing 2-2.

O'Nien knocks home a rebound at 9'. B'hamT draws level at 46'. Nwachuku runs down the right flank, crosses to Johnson-Cole right in front for the lead at 83'. B'hamT ties it again, rebound off a corner at 89'.

A mixed lineup with several key starters given the night off. Just hoping to keep the squad relatively sharp during the off week.
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:55 PM   #577
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Apr 19, 2014 (afternoon)
Blyth (11-13-14, 14th BSBN) at Droylsden (17-12-9, 6th BSBN)
Just like that, we a struggling 13:8 underdog in need of a win. We'll open 4-4-1-1 Standard today, try to figure things out quickly. Boateng is suspended for the red card (his 2 game ban was extended two additional games so he's done for the year now), Moke is out with the injury so things are shaken up by necessity more than design. MR Niall Thompson will make his debut today, just hours after signing a contract through next season. Further complicating things is the 3 games in 8 days stretch we face but we'll go all out today, hope the backups can handle relegation candidate Boston Utd just 48 hours from now.

GK: McDonald
D: Dean-Conteh, Sawyer, Seidu, Groves
MF: Higgins, Ahmed, Smyth, Thompson
F: Whitaker, Rickard
Available Subs: (Carruthers, Janneh, Cofie, Purvis, Dovey)

6' - McDonald makes a big save on a dangerous shot, Seidu clears the rebound
10' - Seidu clears another chancy moment
12' - Rickard's long try shakes the crossbar
13' - Sawyer is somehow denied on a header from a Whitaker corner
14' - Switch to Counter
15' - Whitaker has a blast sail high
18' - Smyth sails one over
32' - Corner gives Droylsden a chance, first shot saved, rebound gets through (0-1)
32' - Switch to Attacking
34' - Whitaker's long shot is no good
37' - Ahmed with a blast that's just tipped away
39' - Ahmed with a steal, lays the ball off to Whitaker in the arc ... SCORES ! (1-1)
43' - They got a great breakaway chance, shot it wide

Halftime - Whew. We outshot them 7-5, plenty of action all over the pitch. Sawyer & Thompson seem nervous, we hope we settled everybody down for what should be a thrilling second half. We'll stay in Attacking mode for now.

47' - Whitaker hits the post from 40 yards out
53' - They have a try from 25 yards, nothing doing
56' - Seidu with a takeaway, plays it long to Rickard ... who went offside
62' - Set piece danger, Deen-Conteh and Rickard combine to clear
63' - Sub Cofie (for Thompson, tired) ... shift Rickard to AMC, Whitaker to MR
72' - Rickard with a long try that's tipped aside ... switch to Counter
77' - Whitaker intercepts a throw-in, feeds Ahmed for a try ... wide
84' - Ahmed free kick, loose in front ... put out for a corner
85' - Sub Janneh (for Rickard, 5.7) ... Whitaker back to AMC

Full Time: Blyth 1 - Droyslden 1

April 19, 2014 (postmatch)
Not sure whether to be happy or disappointed. We had our chances, we snapped a 470 minutes scoreless streak for their keeper. Then again, we outshot them 12-6 but only scored once. Deen-Conteh is MOM with a 7.3. Seidu (7.1) and Whitaker (7.2) played well also. Rickard's 5.6 on the other hand, not pretty.

Good news? We're officially clear of relegation, 11 ahead of the drop zone with just 3 matches to play.
Bad news? We can now finish no higher than 11th. That's only borderline of what the board wanted this season.
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:07 PM   #578
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Apr 21, 2014 (afternoon)
Blyth (11-14-14, 14th BSBN) at Boston Utd (8-12-19, 21st BSBN)
Quick turnaround and we're actually 13:8 underdogs at home to a team facing relegation. Given the lineup we'll use I can't say that I find fault with the odds. We REALLY need to win this. We'll open 4-4-1-1 Standard again, hope for the best.

GK: Dovey
D: Carruthers, Seery, Seidu, Nightingale
MF: Musungu, Harrison, Smyth, Janneh
F: Paratore, Cofie
Available Subs: (Sawyer, Ahmed, Branker, Deen-Conteh, McDonald)

2' - Musungu works his way past two defenders on the flank, whips a pass into the box for Cofie ... GOAL !!!! (1-0)
8' - Long ball into the right side of the area, Cofie chases it down, passes into traffic ... Paratore shoots ... GOAL !!! (2-0)
13' - Counterattack by BU, they quickly race down for a score (2-1)
22' - Harrison draws a yellow card for tripping. Funny how the three hard fouls by BU got off with a warning.
24' - Carruthers gets a yellow as well. I smell homecooking.
28' - Another hard foul by BU, another "warning"
29' - Switch to control, let's see if we can shorten the game a bit, switch to More Cautious tackling
30' - Saw it coming and sure enough ... Harrison bumps into a BU player at midfield, there's his second yellow card, we're down a man. Unbelievable.
31' - Switch to a 4-4-1 Contain ... shift Paratore to MC
34' - A header from BU goes wide
42' - Header off a BU corner goes high

Halftime - We'll have to show a world of heart here. I'm still living, cursing the son of a motherless goat of a referee. We'll try to get a little more out of the makeshift lineup before looking to sub

66' - We almost made it but Nightingale's centering pass (instead of just putting the ball out of play) was intercepted and Henry-Francis scores again to knot the match (2-2)
75' - Free kick for BU comes to nothing
75' - Sub Deen-Conteh (for Carruthers 5.9) ... sub Branker (for Janneh, tiring)
83' - Dovey punches out Henry-Francis' try for a hat trick
89' - 3 minutes added time
90' - Sub Ahmed (for Paratore, tired)
91' - Dovey makes the catch to save us
91:30 - BU shoots wide
92:40 - BU is offside on a breakaway

Full Time: Blyth 2 - Boston Utd 2

April 21, 2014 (postmatch)
Amazing to get jobbed out like that. Unfuckingbelivable. Nightingale (5.0) was a disaster, Carruthers (5.9) wasn't much better. Harrison got screwed over by the crooked ref. Cofie (7.9) came through, as did Musungu (7.7) and Paratore (7.2). Branker made his league debut, a reward for his recent stellar play for the U18s. Stunned to escape with even a point as it turned out.
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:50 PM   #579
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Apr 22, 2014 (afternoon)
Our Reserves played a fitness friendly at Spennymoor, winning 3-2

Our GK Archer gets taken to school by a runner at 3', down 0-1. Veteran ST trialist Clarke feeds veteran AMR trialist Kerrouche, the keeper comes out & he makes him pay, 1-1. Veteran trialist ML Carter scores at 35' on a fluke header 2-1. Davies feeds Kerrouche for another goal 3-1. McGovern is called for a questionable penalty at 81' and it's 3-2.

Brad Ricketts twisted an ankle that will keep him out 4-5 weeks, ending his season.

April 25, 2014
3 matches left for our U18s, 2 matches left for our Reserves, 2 matches left in BSBN. Our questionable position in the table has my future somewhat in doubt at this point. Wins sure would be nice.
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:59 PM   #580
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Apr 26, 2014 (morning)
Our U18s played a group match at Bromley,

The post denied Branker at 38'. O'Halloran denied a chance with a missed foul at 58'. Crossbar saved us at 61'. They score at 84', the counterattack bomb finally completed. We were thoroughly outplayed, well deserved win for Bromley to snap our five match group winning streak. We slip back into a tie for first place
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Old 07-01-2014, 04:05 PM   #581
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Apr 26, 2014 (afternoon)
Blyth (11-14-15, 15th BSBN) at Gainsborough (20-9-11, 5th BSBN)
Welp, just about done. A win here would be huge, could propel us up the table several spots. This is a side that we drew 1-all just before Christmas. We'll open 4-4-1-1 Standard again, with Mutero at AML (instead of the customary AMC), not sure that's the right decision though, neither the player nor the formation.

GK: Dovey
D: Deen-Conteh, Williamson, Seidu, Groves
MF: Musungu, Ahmed, Smyth, Whitaker
F: Mutero, Rickard
Available Subs: (Paul, Dombaxe, Cofie, Sawyer, McDonald)

2' - An early yellow to G'borough
8' - Dovey makes a nice save on a clear chance
20' - Ahmed jusssssst misses wide
26' - Mutero runs ... ahead to Deen-Conteh ... ahead to Musungu ... cross to Rickard ... Bang (1-0)
32' - Whitaker free kick from near the byline ... into the box for Seidu ... knocks it home (2-0)

Halftime - Playing largely neutral football worked beautifully. Too early to park the bus just yet but we're looking for a good spot.

49' - Mutero gets a stern talking to but no card
50' - Smyth intercepts in the defensive half & feeds Mutero, who plays a long ball down the middle to Rickard ... flags stay down ... GOAL ! (3-0)
52' - Smyth gets a yellow card
53' - They weakly miss an empty net ... we switch to Counter
54' - Dovey tips a corner try away
55' - Dovey swats away two point blank shots, Whitaker clears
61' - Smyth clears a loose ball out of the box
63' - Sub Sawyer (for Smyth, yellow) ... switch to Defensive
81' - Sub Dombaze (for Ahmed, tiring) ... shift Whitaker to MC
90' - Dovey makes a nice save

Full Time: Blyth 3 - Gainsborough 0

April 26, 2014 (postmatch)
Where has this been? We looked like a different team today, although G'borough may have simply been flat. Rickard (8.8) is MOM. Seidu (8.5) was brilliant. If I didn't know better I'd almost think (some of) these guys would like me to keep my job.

The win moves us up to 13th, with a chance to reach 11th. The win also makes things very interesting for playoff spots with Gainsborough now tied with Kidderminster for 5th place, with both having a +15 GD.
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Old 07-01-2014, 04:13 PM   #582
JonInMiddleGA
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
April 27, 2014 (morning)

The results from the penultimate fixtures certainly have made things interesting.

Alfreton is 1st by a mile (91 pts) and long ago clinched promotion.
Stalybridge (78) and Barrow (74) have clinched playoff spots ... and then it gets more interesting. Here are the contenders:

4th AFC Telford 71 pts / +16
5th Gainsborough 69 points / +15
---------
6th Kidderminster 69 points / +15
7th Droylsden 67 points / +16

Final matches are
AFC Telford vs 22nd Colwyn Bay
Barrow vs 12th Guiseley
19th Boston Utd vs Gainsborough
Kidderminster vs Droylsden

At the other end of BSB North, Colwyn Bay (35) and Worcester (36) are sure to be relegated, but things are interesting to the end for the 3rd drop.

18th Eastwood 42 pts / -21
19th Boston Utd 40 pts / -18
-------------
20th Harrogate 40 pts / -27

Harrogate goes to Staylbridge while Eastwood goes to Worcester

For us? It's a positional battle with 14th Vauxhall.
A win means we could climb to 11th. A loss could see us fall to 15th.
A draw? Maybe we tie & prevail over Guiseley for 12th.
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:18 PM   #583
JonInMiddleGA
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
April 28, 2014
Ever-hopeful, I've signed a promising 17 y/o to a youth contract with an eye toward next season. Robbie Locke is a ML/AML/ST with better numbers than just about anyone I've seen for this level.

April 29, 2014
Three Blyth players -- Nigel Seidu, Danny Whitaker and Matt Rickard -- were selected in the BSB North Team of the Week first eleven.

April 30, 2014 (morning)
Recent ML trialist Darren Carter has agree to terms with Sligo Rovers. Best of luck to him.

April 30, 2014 (afternoon)
Our Reserves played a group match at Guiseley, winning 6-1.

An inexplicable red card given to Abraham at 2'. He fouled from behind but there was nothing even the slightest bit unusual about the play. Inexplicable. Henderson-to-Loudon-to-Clarke is 1-0 at 27'. Kerrouche-to-Clarke is 2-0 at 30'. Purvis long pass to Kerrouche is 3-0 at 38'. Kerrouche-to-Clarke-to-Davies is 4-0 at 46'. Kerrouche from 35 yards away is 5-0 at 47'. Harrison to Clarke on a long run, 6-0 at 53'. Guiseley gets a consolation goal at 90'

Umm, maybe we should play with 10 more often? One of the more bizarre things I've seen. The two veterans were world beaters, pity I can't afford them beyond a trial run. ST Leon Clarke (9.7) is MOM with three goals and a helper, AMR Mehdi Lerrouche (9.5) scores twice & adds an assist. Those two combined for 15 of our 18 shots.
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:30 PM   #584
JonInMiddleGA
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
May 3, 2014 (morning)
Our U18s played a group match at Kingstonian, losing 2-1

They score just 78 seconds in, a floater that hit the crossbar and bounced into the net. At 19' we get a harsh foul on Nwachuku that gives them a PK for an 0-2 score. Aaaaand at 27' we lose our only true ML Dean Goodall to injury. We finally get on the board at 73' when Branker knocks home a loose ball right in front.

Oof. Woking managed a draw so we'll need help in the finale next weekend to win the group. Not sure whether teams have caught up with our tactics or if we just aren't playing well right now. Our offense has stagnated for some reason, managing only 5 shots all day.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:17 PM   #585
JonInMiddleGA
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May 3, 2014 (afternoon)
Blyth (12-15-14, 13th BSBN) vs Vauxhall (13-11-17, 14th BSBN)
Last chance for this group. A win, as a 1:2 favorite, could keep me on board for another season, a loss could mark the end of my tenure since we would have underachieved what the board wanted. That's not a good scenario when a club is bleeding money like we've done. This is a side that dominated us 3-0 in our first meeting this season. We'll open 4-4-1-1 Standard again, with Mutero at AML again

GK: McDonald
D: Deen-Conteh, Williamson, Seidu, Groves
MF: Musungu, Ahmed, Smyth, Whitaker
F: Mutero, Cofie
Available Subs: (Sawyer, Paratore, Rickard, Purvis, Dovey)

11' - A third straight corner kick produces nothing for us
16' - Ahmed with a tough tackle attempt in the rain, he slides in ... and gets a red card. WTF ?!?!?!? How in the hell ... OMG ... switch to Counter
19' - Groves is knocked & needs treatment but will try to remain in
30' - Cofie basically gets legwhippped and naturally Vauxhall gets a stern warning
32' - Cofie with a hard challenge that forces Vauxhall's Jackson out of the game (yes, that's the player who got away with legwhipping moments earlier)
44' - Whitaker with a long shot that goes high, wide and not so handsome

Halftime - We're not only in this one, we've had the better of it despite being a man down. Somebody has to make a play, get a finish. Soon.

47' - McDonald gratefully clutches a weak header to his chest
55' - Their header sails harmlessly (except for my heart) over the bar
71' - Sub Rickard (for Cofie, 6.4)
74' - Deen-Conteh dillies and dallies ... centers a pass for Rickard near the arc, he has a dip ... GOAL !!!!!!!! (1-0) ... switch to Contain
77' - Smyth with a long free kick, turned away for a corner that we eventually bounce out of bounds
88' - Lovely Vauxhall move for a clean shot ... but they're offside
89' - Sub Sawyer (for Whitaker, tiring) ... shift Groves to RWB
89' - 2 minutes added
90' - McDonald saves a soft shot from the left flank

Full Time: Blyth 1 - Vauxhall 0

May 3, 2014 (postmatch)
Just when you think you've seen everything ... this. We actually outshot them 4-2 despite being a man down for over 70 minutes. No matter what the board does in the days to come, I'm proud of this group.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:53 PM   #586
JonInMiddleGA
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May 3rd, 2014 (late night)
As the remainder of the results come in, we find ourselves finishing in 11th place with 54 points, a tie with Nuneaton settled in our favor by GD (-3 to their -5). Playoff clubs are Staylbridge, Barrow, AFC Telford and Droylsden, the last spot decided by GD over Gainsborough (+17 to +15). Relegated are Boston Utd, Worcester and Colwyn Bay.

May 4, 2014 (morning)
Much as we hate to do it, it's only realistic to conduct some unpleasant business now that the season has ended for League play.

We release versatile LD Richard Slaughter on a free, clearing $275/wk from our salaries. (Hey, that's 3% of our total weekly budget, every little bit counts around here). He's a bit incredulous at the move but it makes sense. He was here on a month-to-month deal and would not be resigned for next season. He's among the handful of players who has been with me throughout my Blyth tenure, appearing in 56 games with 1 goal, 6 assist and an overall avg rating of 6.62. This season he finished with only 10 appearances, 1 assist and a 6.48.

Less traumatic was the decision to go ahead & release Steven Morrison on a free. He was on a p/a deal, played in only 4 matches this season, compared to 24 last year. Lifetime rating for us was 6.62

Several players who will be out of contract soon that we would be interested in retaining are not willing to discuss the possibility. Those include AMC Danny Whitaker, GK Tamer Dalton, AMC Niall Smith, AML Trevor Mutero, and ML Andrew Higgins.
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:04 AM   #587
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May 6, 2014 (evening)
We've reached agreement with ST Kaine Sheppard and RD Jordan Kay to remain with the club through next season.

Aziz Deen-Conteh was selected in the BSB North Team of the Week starting eleven

BSN North Playoff Semi-Final First Leg saw AFC Telford over Barrow 1-0 and Staylbridge over Droylsden 2-1.
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:30 AM   #588
Brian Swartz
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You can't get much more middling than 13-15-14(would have been lovely if you had 14s across the board). What do you think your prospects are to finish higher next year?
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:36 AM   #589
JonInMiddleGA
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May 6, 2014 (late night)

With the season for the first team concluded, we can go ahead & take a look at how (and how much) the players performed
Italics indicate a player no longer with the club

Goalkeepers
Jack Dovey - 26 app, 6.61 rating
Nathan McDonald - 19 app, 6.64 rating

Both are expected back next season with the question being whether Jonathan Henly can work himself into the mix. Another question is whether anyone will make a run at getting Dovey from us, he's drawn a little bit of interest from Burton of npower League 2 but nothing resembling an offer.

Defenders
Danny Groves: 28(4) / 1g-5a / 6.94 rtg
Andy Williamson: 27(3) / 2g-0a / 6.80
Sam Saywer: 22(8) / 2g - 1a / 6.88
Nigel Seidu: 19(2) / 3g - 1a / 7.01
Tom Seery: 16(1) / 1g - 0a / 6.75
Darren Holden: 15(0) / 0g - 2a / 6.57
Aziz Deen-Conteh: 14(1) / 0g - 1a / 7.20
Dylan Purvis: 10(4) / 0g - 1a / 6.66
Richard Slaughter: 10(0) / 0g - 1a / 6.48
Stuart Giddings: 9(0) / 0g - 1a/ 6.62
Andrai Jones: 7(1) / 2g - 1a / 6.88
Daniel Boateng: 7(3) / 0g - 1a/ 6.55
Chris Carruthers: 6(4) / 0g - 0a / 6.56
Rhys Paul: 6(1) / 0g - 0a / 6.55
Carl Jones: 6(0) / 0g - 1a / 6.38
Joe Henderson: 4(0) / 0g - 1a / 6.17
William Nightingale: 2(6) / 0g - 0a / 6.30
Wil Antwi: 1(0) / 0g - 0a / 6.10
Sam Christensen: 1(0) / 0g - 0a / 5.60
Ben Jefford: 1(0) / 0g - 0a - 5.40

The group solidified it's play after mid-season and we're actually somewhat happy with the projected starters for next year. There are plenty of candidates for depth, not many clear cut choices though. This group will thin out by several bodies once contracts expire.

Midfielders
Danny Whitaker: 30(5) / 5g - 11a / 6.79
Adriano Moke: 21(2) / 3g - 5a / 6.85
Trevor Mutero: 19(7) / 2g - 4a / 6.63
Robert Paratore: 18(5) / 4g - 4a / 6.86
Tommy Smyth: 16(0) / 2g - 2a / 6.84
Adnan Ahmed: 15(2) / 2g - 3a / 6.81
Andrews Higgins: 12(0) / 1g - 1a / 6.78
Djeny Bembo-Leta: 8(3) / 1g - 0a / 6.58
Andrews Musungu: 6(0) / 0g - 2a / 7.10
Reece Hands: 6(0) / 0g - 1a / 6.53
Hassan Janneh: 5(3) / 0g - 0a / 6.66
Shane Clarke: 5(0) / 0g - 0a / 6.55
Mo Davies: 4(7) / 2g - 0a / 6.61
Steven Morrison: 4(0) / 0g - 0a / 6.30
Jack Harrison: 3(0) / 0g - 0a / 6.73
Niall Smith: 2(1) / 0g - 0a / 6.75
Louis Wallace: 1(2) / 0g - 1a / 6.83
Niall Thompson: 1(0) / 0g - 0a / 6.10
Lewis Whiteley: 0(1) / 0g - 0a / ---
Laste Dombaxe: 0(1) / 0g - 0a / ---

Some hopeful signs for next season but a lot of ifs. If Moke stays healthy. If Smyth doesn't suffer a sophomore jinx. If Ahmed plays under control. If Musungu can handle a full season of regular first team play. If Paratore is ready to be the regular AMC. Quite a bit of talent in this group that will leave of their own accord, either by simply leaving or by having absurd contract demands.

Strikers
John Cofie: 23(7) / 12g - 4a / 6.82
Jonson Clarke-Harris: 15(6) / 5g - 1a / 6.72
Matt Rickard: 9(10) / 8g - 0a / 6.97
Billy Lobjoit: 8(5) / 1g - 2a / 6.55
Nnamdi Nwachuku: 4(2) / 0g - 1a / 6.48
Jamal Branker: 0(1) / 0g - 0a / ---
Leeroy Chinthengah 0(1) / 0g - 0a / ---

Cofie & Rickard will be back but behind them is a mystery. And probably an area where we'll hope to find some help in the off-season. Branker looked great on the U18s but is he really ready for first team action?
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:21 AM   #590
JonInMiddleGA
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
May 7, 2014
Our Reserves played their final group match of the season vs Harrogate, winning 1-0.

We resisted the urge to stack the team, only Higgins from the first team comes down for this one. Scoreless at the half. 86' Kerrouche crossed from the right to just outside the box on the left, Higgins heads it into the net 1-0.

Considering we outshot them 11-3, didn't allow one on target all day and had 58% of possession it probably should have been a bigger margin but, hey, why be picky? And how wise do I feel about moving Higgins down for this match?

May 7, 2014 (evening)
We wind up 4th in Reserve Group 7 for the season, 9-2-7 with 33 goals scored and 27 allowed. We closed strong, losing only once in our final six matches, with three shutouts in that span.

Niall Smith leads the Group in assists (5), Shane Bennett leads in Pass Completion percentage (79%).

Rotherham wins the Group by going 14-3-1 while Gateshead brought up the rear witha poor 2-3-13 record.
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:31 AM   #591
JonInMiddleGA
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
May 8, 2014 (morning)
Backup ST Billy Lobjoit wants first team football, I offered to try to find him a loan slot, he says he just wants to go, I remind him who the boss at Blyth is, he's says he expected more respect, I told him how disrespectful he was being to me and the club ... he says he'll drop the subject because he wants to remain here.

May 8, 2014 (evening)
Well here's a surprise. Northampton of League 2 has made an offer for Djeny Bembo-Leta. We accept, let's hope he's on board with it too.

May 9, 2014 (morning)
Danny Whitaker has asked that we remove him from the transfer list. We're happy to oblige.

He was also willing to discuss terms to remain next season but his asking price ($450/wk) was more than the board will allow ($375/wk). Despite offering him the largest appearance, goal scoring and loyalty bonuses in my tenure he wouldn't budge and I couldn't budge. Nothing left but to walk away.
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:14 AM   #592
JonInMiddleGA
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
May 10, 2014 (morning)
Our U18s played a group match vs Boreham Wood, winning 2-0.

Ferguson crosses from the byline to Branker in front for a 1-0 lead at 14'.
Smith corner kick to the far post, Branker nails it 2-0 at 86'

Branker is, obviously, MOM (7.2). Nice win over the 4th place side to finish the U18 campaign.

May 10, 2014 (evening)
We did what we could but come up one point short (68-67) as Woking beats last place Dover. Still in all a fine season for the youngsters who go 21-4-9 with 73 goals scored against 29 allowed.

Jamal Branker leads the group in Goals Scored (21), Michael Madine is tied for 4th in Goals (9). Niall Smith finishes 2nd in Assists (8), Dean Goodall, Alex Donals and Jamal Branker are among those tied for 3rd in assists (7). Gary Pemberton leads the group in Games Won (20), Branker leads in Pass Completion (75%) as we sweep the top five spots in that category (Ross Armstrong, Dennis Robson, Alex Donald and Gary Pemberton). Pemberton also leads the group in Distance Covered (159.3 miles), Chris Ferguson is 2nd in that (157.7). Late arrival Bobby O'Halloran leads the group in Avg Mins Per Goal (96.00) with Branker 2nd and William Johnson-Cole 3rd. Tamer Dalton finishes tied for second in Shutouts (12) while Michael Madine led the group in key headers (42).
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:01 AM   #593
JonInMiddleGA
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
May 10, 2014

Chelsea has won the English FA Cup Trophy with a 2-0 victory over Arsenal.

Djeny Bembo-Leta has agreed to a deal with Northampton. The $500 deal has been confirmed and will go through on June 9, 2014. (Not bad for a player who would have been out of contract in a few more weeks)


May 11, 2014
BSBN Playoff Semi Final 2nd Leg
Barrow beats AFC Telford 2-0, wins aggregate 2-1
Stalybridge beats Droylsden 3-1, wins aggregate 5-2

May 12, 2014
AssMan Jonathan Worthington has assembled the end of year training review

Follow players showed signs of progress:
Andrew Higgins, Matty Hunter and Joe Henderson.
Rhys Paul improved well.

Failing to impress:
Trialist Leon Clarke declined slightly
Danny Whitaker shows early signs that he may be on the decline

Youth players that trained well:
Chris Ferguson, Rob Fry and Jon Holland

Youth player the declined slightly:
Dennis Robson


The Blyth squad have now gone on vacation until pre-season begins. They will report back for training on Monday June 30, 2014.

May 16, 2014
Northampton makes a tidy transfer offer for Chris Carruthers ... he snubs them

May 17, 2014
Gateshead has won the English FA Trophy by beating Mansfield 3-1

May 18, 2014
The BSBN Playoff Final has been won by Stalybridge, 2-1 over Barrow with a goal in extra time.

May 18, 2014
Blyth have paid out $2,000 to be shared among the squad on a pro-rate basis after finishing 11th in BSBN.

May 19, 2014
Stalybridge forward Stephen Brogan has won the BSBN Player of the Season Award.

Alfreton's Marc Griffin has won the BSBN Top Goalscorer Award. His 18 goals tied him with Liam Head (Stalybridge) and Adam Boyes (Barrow), the tie broken by having played in fewer matches.

Man U's Javier Pastore is English Footballer of the Year, over Man City's David Silva and Man City's Yaya Toure.

Man U's Marek Hamsik is the English Player's Player of the Year over Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey and Arsenal's Bacary Sagna.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:38 AM   #594
JonInMiddleGA
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
Fri Jun 6, 2014

We've been given our budget for the upcoming season, $8,426/wk, basically the same as last year. Same transfer budget too, a whopping $803.

I really can't complain too much though I guess, we lose a LOT of money. The club technically made a profit of about $66k last season but that includes over $600k in investments made by the board.

Prior to the expiration of contracts at the end of the month we're basically right at the salary cap, just $82 available.

To that end we go ahead and buy out the remaining three weeks of the contract for DC Carl Jones.

Sat Jun 7, 2014
With Carl Jones now gone we need to select a new captain. AssMan Worthington recommends, and I agree, that in spite of his youth MF Tommy Smyth be appointed. I also select a new assistant captain, naming MF Adriano Moke to replace Sam Sawyer (who is less influential, less determined and likely to see less playing time than Moke).

The board recommended that we add a 4th scout to our staff, so we've added 36 y/o Scot David McNiven (12 ability / 12 potential, extensive knowledge of both England and Scotland)
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:29 AM   #595
JonInMiddleGA
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
Sat Jun 14, 2014

Remember veteran forward Mehdi Kerrouche, the trialist with the sparkling play last season? He's signed with Gainsborough who were willing to pay him what he wanted ($425/wk + bonuses). For us it really came down to more of the mental aspects (selfish player, would have to adapt to fit in) but I surely dread facing him twice a year.

Sun Jun 15, 2014
Blyth have appointed 37 year old American Kevin Knight as youth coach. He had spells as a player with MetroStars, Richmond and Toronto Lynx S.C. but this is his first coaching job.

He's superior to current youth coach Dean Daniels in several areas
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:20 PM   #596
JonInMiddleGA
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Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
Mon Jun 16, 2014

We've released fitness coach Matt Burton from the remaining two weeks of his contract. (The club would not allow me to hire a candidate to replace him while he remained technically on board)

Tue Jun 17, 2014
The U.S. rolled over Saudi Arabia 4-2 in their WC Group E opener. Ruelas, Dempsey, Cameron and Shea all scored for the US, breaking open a game that was tied at 1 at 26'.

Wed Jun 18, 2014
A highly polished England defeated Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 in their WC Group G opener. Shawcross put them in front at 28', Crouch scored at 86' to clinch it.

Thu Jun 19, 2014
Blyth has announced the hiring of new fitness coach Carol Horcroft. The Englishman is noted for his disciplinarian nature.

Brazil's 2-0 win over Canada has made them the first team to clinch advancement in this year's World Cup. The hosts had previously beaten Belgium 3-1 in the Group A opener to put themselves in this position.

Sun Jun 22, 2014
Argentina hammered the U.S. 3-0 with an early goal from Messi, a PK from Tevez and a clincher from Tevez. The win clinches advancement for Argentina, the U.S. hopes likely come down to the outcome of their match vs Italy on Thursday.

Tue Jun 24, 2014
England got two goals from Rooney, one from Crouch and a clincher from Richards to rout Ecuador 4-0 in Group G play and clinch advancement. The upcoming match vs Holland will determine the group winner, as the Dutch already know they will join the English as well as Colombia, Russia, Argentina and Brazil
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:36 PM   #597
JonInMiddleGA
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
Also, Football.guardian.co.uk published their 2013/14 season review. This ought to make recapping things fairly concise & I'll share the key bits here.

Premier
Winner: Man Utd
Relegated: QPR, Blackburn, Leeds
Top scorer: Moussa Dembele/Fulham 21
Highest Avg Rtg: Bacary Sagna/Arsenal 7.76

Championship
Winner: Norwich
Promoted: Norwich, West Brom, Cardiff
Relegated: Portsmouth, Charlton, Nottm Forest
Top scorer: Jay Simpson/Hull 26
Highest Avg Rtg: Angel Rangel/Swansea 7/74

League 1
Winner: Sheff Wed
Promoted: Sheff Wed, Preston, Doncaster
Relegated: Walsall, Stevenage, Crewe, Exeter
Top scorer: Saido Berahino/Preston 23
Highest Avg Rtg: Martin Taylor/Watford 7/43

League 2
Winner: Southend
Promoted: Southend, Yeovil, Hereford, Luton
Relegated: Cheltenham, Accrington
Top scorer: Eddie Johnson/Chesterfield 22
Highest Avg Rtg: Stephen Jordan/Rochedale 7.68 (2nd straight season)

BSB Premier
Winner: Mansfield
Promoted: Mansfield, Wrexham
Relegated: Newport Co, Histon,Darlington, Staines
Top scorer: Liam Hearn/Grimsby 30
Highest Avg Rtg: Michael West/Ebbsfleet 7.58
Signing of the Season: Jamie Mole/Stockport

BSB North
Winner: Alfreton
Promoted: Alfreton, Stalybridge
Relegated: Boston Utd, Worcester, Colwyn Bay
Top scorer: Marc Griffin/Alfreton 18
Highest Avg Rtg: Stephen Brogan/Staylbridge 7.27

BSN South
Winner: Boreham Wood
Promoted: Boreham Wood, Woking
Relegated: Farnborough, Kingstonian, St. Albans
Top scorer: Tony Garrod/Dartford 21
Highest Avg Rtg: Jack Bartham/Woking 7.42

Regional Premier Divs
Promoted: Chester, Stafford, Cambridge C, Gloucester, Margate, Tooting & Mitcham

FA Cup
Winner: Chelsea

League Cup
Winner: Q.P.R.

Community Shield
Man City

Johnstone's Paint Trophy
Bradford

FA Trophy
Gateshead

European Qualification
EC Cup Group Stage - Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal
EC Cup Best Playoff - Man City
Euro Cup 4th Qual Rd - Chelsea, Tottenham
Euro Cup 3rd Qual Rd - Q.P.R.

Awards
Footballer of the Year - Javier Pastore/Man U
Players' Player of the Year - Marek Hamsik/Man U
Top Goalscorer - Moussa Dembele/Fulham
Players' Young Player - Gareth Bale/Tottenham
Golden Glove- Petr Cech/Chelsea
Manager of the Year - Martin Jol/Wolves
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:06 PM   #598
JonInMiddleGA
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
Wed Jun 25, 2014
We've released coach Phil Hunt from the remaining week of his contract

Danny Whitaker has been voted Blyth's Fans' Player of the Year

The 2013/14 Blyth Best Eleven were
GK Jack Dovey 6.61
DR Danny Groves 6.94
DL Aziz Deen-Conteh 7/20
DC Andy Williamson 6.80
DC Sam Sawyer 6.88
DM Tommy Smyth 6.84
MR Adriano Moke 6.85
ST John Cofie 6.82
AMC Danny Whitaker 6.79
ST Trevor Mutero 6.63
ML Andrew Higgins 6.78
----------
GK Nathan McDonald
DC Nigel Seidu
AMC Robert Paratore
MF Adnan Ahmed
ST Jonson Clarke-Harris
DC Tom Seery
ST Matt Rickard


Danny Whitaker enters the club's Overall Best Eleven
John Cofie and Andy Williamson were added to the "others mentioned"
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:40 PM   #599
JonInMiddleGA
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
Wed Jun 25, 2014

The minimum expectation from the board is that th eteam achieve a safe position within BSB North this season.

Those expectations bring a transfer budget of $803 and a payroll of $8.25k /wk, a reduction of about $175/wk from where we were.

We'll stick with that since a) my contract expires at the end of the season, and b) guaranteeing a top half finish brings only $250/wk in extra salary. Not worth it.


Youth players promoted due to age include Nightingale, Smith, Branker, Weaver, Scully, Wallace, Wilson, Fry, Wheeler and Ferguson.

Youth contracts expiring include
Farren who won't discuss
Cresswell & Wilson who we don't offer
Folan, Bashford and Nwachuku whom we tender small offers

Thu Jun 26, 2014
Oh yeah, the BSB North schedules have been released now. We'll open at home against Barrow on Sat August 9th, ending the year at home against Kidderminster on May 2nd 2015. New additions to BSB North this year are Cambridge City, Chester, Darlington, Histon and Stafford.

During my tenure this is the highest level reached for Stafford & Cambridge, Darlington has been BSB Premier in my career, Chester returns after being relegated two years ago, Histon returns having ridden the promotion up/relegation down train.

Thu Jun 26, 2014
Darlington have been made 5:4 favorites to gain promotion.
Other contenders are Histon 3:1, Kidderminster 5:1, Barrow 6:1, Chester 8:1 and Southport 10:1

We're given 40:1 odds meaning they believe relegation is a real possibility.
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:00 PM   #600
JonInMiddleGA
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Fri Jun 27, 2014

Italy has eliminated the US from the World Cup with a 1-0 victory on the strength of Giuseppe Rossi's lovely chip shot from the edge of the box in the 76th minute.


Meanwhile we have extended the contract of coach Matthew Naylor through the end of this season.

Sat Jun 28, 2014

England holds on for a 1-1 draw against Holland and wins Group G. Huntelaar put Holland in front at 4' but winger Adam Johnson equalized with a powerful shot at 45'.

Blyth announces the hiring of coach Darren Baker, a relative unknown 39 y/o Englishman. His strengths are Defending (16) and Tactics (16) with a keen eye for judging talent.
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