We started the month with the crucial game against Notts County, our fourth match against them this season. 4,247 people found their way to Dorking Stadium for this game and broke the record for highest attendance and gate receipts.
After the bitter end to the last game between us, we wanted to get something from this game. It started with a disallowed goal from Khayon Edwards, and that’s just a sign of what was coming. After 25 minutes, Ryan Alebiosu found Edwin Andersson with a cross to make it 1-0, before Sammy Braybrooke increased the lead three minutes later. In the second half, Notts County tried to fight themselves back and grabbed a goal in the 55th minute. When Aaron Skinner headed a corner after 70th minutes, the game seemed over. Three goals from three shots on target are more effective than we are used to. In the 90th minute, a defensive error for Marqes Muir gave away another goal. It was too late to change the outcome, however.
We dominated the possession with 66%, a surprisingly high number against another team that plays possession football. As you can see from the pass map, we had a highly successful game in that aspect of the game.
Against Barrow, we again had the same type of match as last time. Again, dominating possession but not creating enough chances. The game’s only goal came after a magnificent play where 8 eight players were involved before Edwards played Alebiosu through on goal. Did anyone say tiki-taka?!
Yet another close win against Newport. The game’s only goal came when Andersson snatched the ball and did everything on his own. A great solo goal and three points closer to promotion. We finally did create quality chances again, and with an xG of 2.67, we should’ve won by more.
The game against Mansfield is the one I remember best from this season. We had to rotate a lot due to a heavy programme. It started badly with a goal against it after only five minutes. We tried our best for long periods of the game but didn’t manage to score before 16-year-old Jeff Edwards came on to score in his league debut in the 77th minute. Our youngest ever player and goalscorer. Fifteen minutes later, Olly Allen scored the winner with a beautifully placed shot from outside the box. The academy boys win us the game and three hugely essential points!
In the next game against Harrogate, we fielded our strongest eleven, and it only took two minutes for Muir to score from a corner. Andersson won the game for us with a late goal after K. Edwards set him up.
We played a weird game against Bristol Rovers to end the month unbeaten. After an hour, we were 2-0 up after goals by Michael Craig and Andersson. K. Edwards increased to a three-goal lead after 76 minutes, just to see them reduce the lead one minute later. With the third goal in three minutes, Dante Cassanova made it 4-1. With two more goals in the last ten minutes from our opposition, they managed to score with every shot they had.
A perfect month was rounded off with the second manager of the month award for the season and Michael Craig winning young player of the month.
We started the month with a draw against Tranmere. A game where we again had to rotate to rest some tired legs. George Nunn took good care of his chance when he equalized and grabbed us a point.
With a win against Crawley, we could’ve won the league. But, unfortunately, the pressure got to the lads, and we didn’t manage to get anything from the game. However, it was still a good experience for a young team to learn to handle pressure.
Against Wycombe, we started well when K.Edwards scored the opener early in the first half. Then, with 19 shots, it was just a matter of time before the second goal came. J. Edwards got another chance from the bench and scored his second senior goal. A goal that won us the title! It’s fantastic when young players from the academy contribute like this.
After winning the title, I decided to give some of the reserves and youngsters enough games to win a medal.
It was a big success against Rochdale when Kobbie Mainoo scored after 12 minutes. Aaron Lee scored a screamer from distance in the second half to make it 2-0 before Andersson made it 3-0.
The plan to play youngsters didn’t go that well in the season’s last two games. But, of course, our season was over could also have played a part. At least, I hope that it did.
Against Sutton, we conceded four goals in the first half. Even if we had more shots and higher xG than them, it was too big of a job for us to get back.
We played better against Walsall in the last game of the season, but them scoring three goals in three minutes made it hopeless for us to finish strong.
Two teams that played in the National League last season get promoted to League One. A fantastic achievement by both Notts County and us. I look forward to playing them again next season, and I hope we both can keep a reasonable distance to the relegation spots.
Bobby-Joe Taylor broke the record for average rating in League Two and won the PFA Skybet League Two player of the year. A great season by the winger, and I hope he can adjust and play well at an even higher level next season. Edwin Andersson was the League Two golden boot winner with 24 goals. A fantastic debut season by our number ten! We also had seven players in the team of the year, a testament to the team and the strong season we had.
I was voted manager of the year for the third year in a row, and I have now won the award at three different levels of English football. Of course, the teams’ achievements are important, but it is always lovely to earn recognition from the footballing community.
We again got some relatively exciting talent through this year’s youth intake, where Eric Vogel is named the star graduate. It bothers me a little that three of the top five prospects are strikers. However, with Jeff Edwards promoted to the first team, there will be room for other talents to make their mark for the U18’s. I also have high hopes for Jared Mncube as we only have two senior goalkeepers.
Two new debutants from the academy this season, while others drastically increased their number of games. Aaron Lee has now established himself as a part of the first team alongside Olly Allen. There will come more opportunities for these lads, and I have a high hope that one of them will establish them as a starter.
* no longer at the club