Written By Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14]
Hello and welcome the first of a possible series of blogs which clubs themselves give their thoughts on the 2019-20 season and their favourite moments, favourite matches and more. First up is Essex Olympian League Division Three side Wakebury, who joined the EOFL last summer, after a spell in the Southend Combination League.
In this piece, manager Matt Cardy and assistant boss Dan Blewett (MC & DB) and club captain Chris Gore (CG) giving a players’ viewpoint, shed some light on how they felt the season went. My thanks to Matt, Dan & Chris for their time, you call find the club on Twitter: @Wakebury_FC
- Going into your first Essex Olympian League season at Division Three level, how did you feel the side would cope with the opposition?
MC & DB: Looking back and reflecting now, we are really pleased with the progress we made through the season. We stepped up to most challenges put in front of us. The players bought in to how we want to do things and as the season went on we felt we was getting better all the time. Joining the EOFL was a big step for a club of our size and we was aware we would be “punching above our weight” and be underdogs in the majority of games so to be sitting in a promotion spot at the close of play is really pleasing and we are glad to have achieved the clubs’ highest-ever finish in this fashion. This level of progress motivates us more to get better and improve all aspects of the club.
- What was the favourite match of the season and why?
MC & DB: We’re going to go a bit ‘outside the box’ on this one. It was Basildon Town Reserves (away) in our first-ever EOFL league game. We won the game 3 -1 after going 1- 0 down to a penalty in the first half (which is still a mind-blowing decision thinking about it now!) we had made a big effort in the summer to bring in better characters to make us mentally stronger, this was a test of that in the first game and we was able to turn it around in style and win the game, this set us up for the rest of the season as we demonstrated how much character we have on a number of occasions.
CG: For me personally, my favourite match of the season came away at ACD Utd – we went into the game with 12 available players, 2 – 0 down inside the first 10 minutes, then an injury put us down to 11, which included the manager & assistant! We managed to come back and grab a point with a last-minute free-kick. It was a great performance with all factors considered.
- What was your best performance away from Shoebury Park this season?
MC & DB: Toby Reserves (away). Although we lost the game, this was 100% the turning point in our season. We all came away feeling hard done by and this brought the group closer together and saw us go on unbeaten. We played with 10 men for 35 minutes and battled against a top side heroically at times. This was our last defeat of the season and really got us moving in the right direction.
CG: Our best away performance would be away at Leigh Town Reserves. Having lost to them a couple of weeks before and after suffering a couple of defeats we came into the game under pressure as we wanted to challenge at the top. We completely dominated the game from start to finish and came away with a 3 – 1 win.
- What was your best performance at Shoebury Park this season?
MC & DB: Corinthians Reserves would be a stand-out home performance. We had billed it to the players as the ‘game of the season’. Make or break. I could feel it changing just before we went out for kick-off that the players were in the right frame of mind. We had really created a squad that wanted to step up and be involved in these pressure moments. We went 1 – 0 down just after half time and in our first season in charge, we would have collapsed. But this group used that goal as extra motivation to perform. We went on to win 3 – 1 and it was a great show of character and determination. We were proud of the players following that performance.
CG: Our best home performance would be against Corinthians Reserves. We knew going into the game that if we wanted to challenge for the league title we needed to win this game. I felt we was under pressure as a side and even more so going 1 – 0 down just after half-time. We managed to come back and win 3 – 1 which showed the amount of character we have as a side.
- On or off-the-pitch, what was your most memorable moment from this season?
MC & DB: Generally speaking, we would say how we grew as side the longer the season went on. When you have an idea in your head of how you want your team to play and be, we really made some big strides this season to working towards that. Off-the-pitch, the players became a tight-knit group, the best group since we began four years ago. We built a side of not only good players but good people – that’s why we have had a good season.
CG: Back to the away game at ACD, to steal a point with a depleted side and with the free-kick being the last kick of the game. The celebrations after the goal showed how much it meant to everyone. To go away from home with the side we had out on the day, it meant a huge amount to everyone.
- Were there any low points of the campaign for you?
MC & DB: Home defeats. We lost two league games at home and both times we under-performed. Looking back, that is the only frustration of the season. We don’t like losing. Especially in games where we should be winning. The week following a defeat always seems to drag on a little bit more and you are just counting down to the next Saturday to hopefully right the wrongs of any defeat.
CG: Lowest point would Toby Reserves (away) back in November. Probably our first big game of the season, after taking an early lead we had goal wrongly disallowed. After dominating we were hit with a ‘sucker-punch’ to make it 1-1 at half time. Early in the 2nd half we was reduced to 10 men and battled on a muddy pitch until the last minute when was beaten by a penalty. That day we showed so much character, and that was our last defeat of the season and was a real turning point.
- Looking forward to 2020/21 season (whenever it starts), what are the aspirations for the club?
MC & DB: We hope to rewarded how we feel we should be after a fantastic debut season in the EOFL. We hope the relevant people see sense and reward all sides across the divisions for their hard work. We are ambitious and will always strive to improve all aspects of what we do. From our coaching to how we deliver information to the players in preparation for matches, this period of lockdown has given us great chance to evolve how we work and we can’t wait to put some new strategies and practices in place for next season.
- Finally, any other exciting news for the future you’d like to share?
MC & DB: We have announced the launch of a new youth set-up. Wakebury Youth is a new strand of the club and something we believe is vital to having a long-lasting, stable football club. Football Clubs are all about young people so it will be great to see some young players coming over and represent the club. This being said, we are looking out for any coaches or volunteers that want to help and get involved in Wakebury Youth, so if anyone is reading this and wants to get involved do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you! This is an exciting time and we continue to grow on and off-the-pitch.
My particular thanks to Matt Cardy, Chairman of Wakebury for setting this piece up & I wish the club well going into next season. If you’d like to contact the club, a reminder that you can find them @Wakebury_FC on Twitter or by email at email@example.com
If your club (at Essex Olympian level for the moment) would be interested in sharing your thoughts on your 2019/20 season then please DM me on Twitter. Thank you. Hope you enjoyed the article & stay safe.