Jack- Not the ideal month at all I have to say, the FA Cup draw was nice - however the second round tie is a little bit tougher!
A Step Back
November was a month to forget overall as we dropped points to sides that should have been beaten comfortably. We began the month however to Braintree Town of the National League in the FA Cup 1st Round, who had the support of Crystal. An early corner gave us the lead as Tom Eastman powerfully headed home, this was quickly doubled upon after eight minutes as Thomas Lapsile's shot deflected effort sent the keeper the wrong way from outside the area. Chris Porter picked up from where he left off against Plymouth and bagged a goal to make it 3-0, a tidy placed effort from inside the box. Braintree did get a goal through Jack Midson to provide some joy for the home fans but we went in 3-1 up at the break.
Déjà vu struck as Eastman replicated previous events to make it 4-1 early into the second half, Lapsile would also get a second of the day and substitute Drey Wright surely wrapped the game up as his curling effort provided more dispear for Crystal's side to make it 6-1. The game wasn’t over as Manny Parry scored a late goal from a well worked corner routine but the National League sides hopes of a FA Cup run were over.
In other news we were dumped out of the Checkatrade Trophy through a 2-1 defeat against Luton Town, good. I'm glad that's over and done with. Swiftly moving on we hosted struggling Leyton Orient. The visitors were languishing at the foot of the table, with just as many off the field issues as well as on – it wasn't a particular nice time to be a Red's fan. Chris Porter's good run of form continued as he gave us the lead after 28 minutes and the game fizzled out from there. However in a game that provided little entertainment Josh Koroma would snatch a surprise point to pull them out of the relegation zone.
Another poor affair followed against Yeovil Town at Huish Park, a side in similar situations on the field to Leyton Orient as they sat dead last. The Somerset based club have tumbled down the leagues since their surprise rise to the Championship and could be looking at going down for the third time in four years after a 1-0 defeat to ourselves. Chris Porter and co were comfortably contained by the Yeovil defence which was not overally surprising considering they could boast of three clean sheets in four. However the substitute Kurtis Guthrie, replacing a rather poor Chris Porter on the day found the good like he often has this season to take the three vital points for us.
Cheltenham were next up for us and they were enjoying a very good start to life in League Two following their immediate return from the National League. The hosts went up as champions last season after being relegated to the division the season previous. Harry Pell scored on the stroke of half time for them as they went in 1-0 up at the break following yet another poor showing from ourselves. The majority of chances were coming for Cheltenham as Dean Brill was kept busy in the goal – Brill had been a reliable option for us so far but he couldn't stop the barrage of attacks in the end as Billy Waters doubled the lead five minutes from time to allow Cheltenham to reign 2-0 winners on the day and lift themselves into the playoff places.
A reaction was needed against Crewe who were relegated alongside us last season. Alexandra finished bottom of the table, which was perhaps regarding as unsurprising off the back of the two previous finishes of 19th and 20th, surviving by the skin of their teeth. They had made a steady start under the management of David Artell, an ex Gibraltar international and once Alexandra player back in 2010-2012.
The story of November was a lack of chances and end product and it's once again what cost us three points again, as well as our automatic promotion spot early on this season. George Udoh, signed on an undisclosed fee last season from Ilkeston, gave them the lead just before half time and once again this was doubled by George Cooper, who was subject to interest from the likes of Leicester and Stoke in the Summer. Kurtis Guthrie, once again coming off the bench in place of Chris Porter hit the bar with eight minutes to go but this was all that was created and once again we settled with nothing.
Next month sees us take on Scunthorpe in the FA Cup 2nd round and top of the league Mansfield Town as well as trips to Luton Town and Stevenage and a home game to Notts County in a month of real importance heading into the winter transfer window where activity is bound to happen.