Starting from Scratch – Part 15

Twitterless Matthew is here with the penultimate episode of season two. His Altrincham side started last season without a single player but a promotion later, they’re mounting a charge to Division 1. Oh and I’m going to assume the genering greeting is intentional from Matthew rather than an error. Catch up with part 14 here.

<Generic Greeting, Season 2 Episode 7>. Let’s get on with it!

1

This isn’t a great start to the update, he’s our most reliable midfielder behind N’Diaye so will be sorely missed for the next 3 or 4 games.

2

When it rains it pours. He’s only backup though so we’ll cope

3

Aw c’mon! If someone gets the flu next I’m going to scream. Not great timing either as our next match is in the cup against premiership outfit Newcastle. I put out a patched up team and hope for the best, it might be painful though as I’m without a left wingback so Browning’s having to start there

4

It’s fair to say that it goes about as well as expected. Only Roberts does himself proud, though Browning does alright to say he’s in the wrong position. 5th round is still a decent achievement and we’ll aim to go one better next year.

5

Oh pipe down, look at my injury list you morons. I’m so sorry that we got tonked in the 5th round, which I’ve guided us to for the second season running, you deserve so much better. Why don’t you build some more seats to cheer yourselves up? Besides which, we’re record breakers

6

Anyway it’s time to shift our focus back to the league. Who’s next up….oh, what?

7

Oh for God’s sake, this is getting ridiculous now. Ferguson is back at least, but I might play with one up front until Tomlinson comes back because we’re out of options up front. Oh wait, Ferguson is bloody suspended so he’s unavailable anyway. Shoot me.

What a perfect time to be visiting the Zoo…err, the Den. Our supporters have been complaining about the lack of phlegm in their hair recently so it’s a great time to go and stock up. I decide against going with 1 up front and give McGarrigle a recall

8

We’re quite understandably second best and the scoreline is probably a bit flattering to us really. Let’s just move on, quickly.

9

Of course. Things are going swimmingly right now. This cheers me up a bit though

10

Colwyn Bay come in for Matthew Bound, who I’m happy enough to offload so I accept their offer

11

The loss has allowed Brighton to catch us and we’re second on goal difference. We have the chance to grab first again though with our game in hand, at home to Wigan. Tommo, Ferguson and Hughes are all back so thankfully we can dump the dregs of the team and put out a somewhat stronger side.

12

That’s more like it, back to winning ways thanks to the familiar scorers Allardyce and Ferguson. Taggart picked up some sort of knock but it’s not serious, hopefully he’ll be fit for the next game. After the match we bid farewell to Bound and pocket £250k

13

3 days later we’re back in action at home to Plymouth, and it’s just one of those games

14

We go behind in literally the first minute, and then batter them for 90 minutes without scoring. This happens at least 5 times per season (well, not the scoring in the first minute, you know what I mean) but it’s not going to define the season so let’s move on.

This isn’t too helpful though

15

His understudy Heinrich is also out so we don’t have any cover. I think it’s going to be Browning filling the gap again as we don’t really have another option. Allardyce is also suspended for 2 games to piss on my chips further. At least we’re playing the division’s bottom club, Bristol City:

16

Well, that was bloody close. We manage to survive the first minute without conceding this time – but we concede in the second, what the hell are my team doing at the start of the game? We quickly take control of the game but can’t find a way past their keeper, who’s having the game of his life. After the break our fortunes change and Tommo stabs one in, before Zerrouki blasts in a rebound and N’Diaye heads in a corner. They pull one back in the last 10 minutes and have 2 chances to level it up, but some excellent last-ditch defending allows us to hold on for the win.

There’s a potential Hollywood against-the-odds blockbuster (or at least a BBC 1 hour-long drama) in the making as 3rd division Wrexham are 90 minutes away from the FA Cup final

17

Heinrich makes a recovery but he’s lacking match fitness for our next game against 19th placed Swindon. I hand him a start but will have to sub him later on, hopefully we’ll be comfortably ahead by that point.

18

Ugh, it’s another match where we lay siege to their goal but fail to score. This is the final straw and I’ve made my mind up to sign a third striker that can hit a cow’s arse with a banjo. No wonder no-one’s interested in taking McGarrigle off my hands, he’s sodding hopeless. I make a £1.1m bid for England U21 and Boro striker Campbell, though he’ll probably be tempted to go with Wimbledon and play in the Premiership so I look for a backup target.

19

Tony Bird is twice the price but he’s been banging them in for Swansea over 3 seasons and crucially isn’t wanted by anyone else, so I put a bid in for him as well.

20

At least Allardyce is available again as we travel to Luton for the next game. They are a couple of places outside the playoff places and probably looking to put a run together to break into the top 6, so this might be a tricky one.

21

It’s actually a bit more comfortable than it looks. We go two up by half time as we run Luton ragged. It really should be 5 or 6 and then of course they go up the other end and score with their first effort on target in the second half. We’re holding on for the last 20 minutes but the defence holds firm and we take the win. I’m impressed with Luton’s old man Wilkins, as player manager he’s been selecting himself for every game at the sprightly age of 43.

Bird gets back to me first, and I doubt Campbell will choose us anyway so I rubber stamp the deal, which is a new club record

22

Jason Harris had all the qualities to be a top drawer striker but it just hasn’t happened, so I transfer list him and look to offload asap although his contract is up in the summer so I’ll dump him for free if I must. Campbell opts for Man City to my relief.

Southend in 8th place are our next opponents, and I give Bird his first start at Tomlinson’s expense – he’s missed so many chances recently I’ve lost count. The entire squad is injury free and fully fit so I pick my strongest team and cross my fingers.

23

Is it a Bird? Is it a pla…oh nevermind, it was actually a Bird. He starts paying back his record transfer fee straight away as his diving header puts us one up by half time. We can’t add to it however and we’re indebted to Roberts for keeping them goalless, as he makes 3 or 4 saves to maintain his clean sheet.

There’s now 7 games left in the season, so I’ll save the rest of them for next week. The table makes for good reading right now:

24

11 points clear with only 21 to play for, we should get over the line sooner rather than later. In the division below, Colwyn Bay are still in the mix but they’ve dropped out of the playoffs at this crucial juncture:

25

They’re only a point behind though so they have every chance of getting there by the end.
The arse end of the table has tightened up somewhat, if you’ll pardon the expression

26

Oh Darlo, you did the hard work and hauled yourself off the bottom earlier this season after being 6 points adrift, but now you’re right back where you don’t want to be. Like Colwyn Bay though there’s only a point (well ok 2, their goal difference isn’t the best) to make up and they’ll be alright.

Come back next time to see how the end of the season unfolds and hopefully see our promotion to Division 1 confirmed. We’ll also follow the division below to see who drops out of the football league. Goodbye!

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