We played Lincoln at home in the first game in March. Oakley Cannonier with two assists and a goal. “Cantona” Andersson is back from injury, and Khephren Plumain is on the scoresheet once again. Great game by the lads. Later the same week, we travelled to Shrewsbury and conceded in the game’s first minute. Nohan Kenneh equalized later in the first half after a corner. We won 20 – 4 in the shot statistics, but it was one of those days. Playoff secured, at least.
In the third game in a week, we played Portsmouth at home.
After 20 minutes, “Cantona” was back on the scoresheet for the first time after his injury. Harvey Vale got injured again in his first start and is out again. Cannonier made it 2-0 before the break, on a lovely volley after a deep cross from “Cantona”. Matt Craig sat the last nail in the coffin on a penalty on overtime. Against Oxford, we had a really unlucky game. We dominated the first half, went offensive and moved the team up in the second half only to get to two slaps in the face.
Before the game against Cheltenham, Cannonier tore his thigh muscle and will be out for 2-3 months. So there goes the rest of the season for our top scorer. Of course, George Nunn, who has impressed when taking Vales place, got injured. The game itself was a stalemate in the first half before the second half opened more up. Nile John gave us the lead after 58 minutes before “Cantona” made it 2-0 five minutes later.
Not much to say about the game against Notts Co. Marcus Dewhurst got a knock before the game, and I had to start with Jared Mncube in goal. He’s a promising talent but not good enough yet. The game’s only goal came after a header. Dewhurst would’ve saved 9/10 times.
Despite his injury, Oakley Cannonier was awarded young player of the month again.
Forest Green at home was maybe our biggest game this season. But, unfortunately, we got smashed by our biggest contenders for the title—a shit performance from us.
We turned our form around when visiting Wycombe three days later. Olly Allen made two assists before he got injured. Everyone at the left midfield gets injured now. Vale, Nunn and Plumain are already injured. We were 3-0 up after the first half after goals from Daniel Gore, “Cantona” and John. A red card for John ten minutes before full time, leading 3-0 is just idiotic.
Against Sheff Wed, Dominic Rogerson was back at Dorking Stadium for the first time. A good day for him with a clean sheet and a win. We didn’t produce more than one shot on target, so it was a deserved win for the visitors.
We lost again when visiting Huddersfield. It was 1-1 at the break after a goal from Manni Norkett.
In the second half, Ryan Alebiousu got sent off and made a penalty for the home team… We can’t continue getting red cards, suspensions and penalties against us if we want to compete with the best teams. It seems like the lads aren’t coping with the pressure at all. In the last game of the season, we played Plymouth at home and could secure direct promotion if we won the game and Huddersfield lost. But, in the end, they won, and we lost, so utter heartbreak after we were on the top for 33 consecutive rounds.
“Cantona” and Gore scored our goals and tried to turn the game after trailing 0-2. But, two minutes before halftime, we conceded the third. It’s the first time we lose three in a row in my time as a manager.
The final standings. We bottled a direct promotion with our form in the last two or three months. With 15 games left to play, we were top of the league with one loss. With nine losses during the previous 15 games, we don’t deserve better, to be honest.
We were drawn against Peterborough in the semi-final. The first game was a tight game for the first 45 minutes. In the second half, we got awarded a penalty, which “Cantona” converted. At the end of the game, Norkett, who came from the bench, scored two goals in the 92 and 93rd minute to pretty much send us through. Great result before the second game.
0-2 in the second game, but several players got rested, and we handled the two-game match well.
Dewhurst put on a show in the playoff final against Portsmouth and saved all nine shots on target. Portsmouth was maybe the best team in full time, but we also had our chances. Extra-time seemed fair, and we decided to go for it. Everyone thought Mike Craig scored the winner in the 104th minute, but it was disallowed for a marginal offside when he was played through on goal. The time ran out, and it was all set for penalties. “Cantona” and Matt Craig scored on our first two, while Dewhurst saved the first two from Portsmouth. When Luke Badley-Morgan and Conor McAvoy scored our next two, the game was over. WE’RE GOING TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP!!
Two of our new signings made a solid mark on the team this season. Nile John sat a new average rating record and was also awarded League One player of the year. Even if he missed ten games this season, Oakley Cannonier won the golden shoe. Outstanding achievements from both of them. Both of them were also part of the team of the year, and I, for myself, was awarded manager of the year. We had a great season, even if we bottled the direct promotion and had to win promotion through the playoffs.
Edwin Andersson also had a great season, and it would’ve been even better if he wasn’t so unlucky with injuries.
The U18s won Youth Alliance South East but couldn’t qualify for the knockout round in the Youth Alliance Cup. This season, their most significant achievement is undoubtedly the run in the FA Youth Cup, reaching the sixth round where they lost 0-1 to Man City. So close to a semifinal. Hopefully, they can do just as well next year.
Through the season, three more players made their debut for the first team(Hopkins, Stephen and Fink), and two players scored their first goals for the first team(Plumain and Stephen).
We also made improvements to the youth facilities, which are now average. Finally, we’ve been granted permission to increase our youth level from 4 to 3 after the promotion to the Championship.
With a decent youth intake this year, it looks like some of them are big enough talents to reach the first team in the future. However, with one of them classed as an Elite Talent, weird enough, that’s not the same player that is aforementioned as the star graduate.
Thank you for reading.