After a great preseason, finishing with a 100% win record, even against teams like Farsley Celtic and Bradford Park Avenue, Wetherby Athletic have got off to a great start in the Northern Premier North West League.
Our season began with a great 4-1 victory in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round against Winterton. Our first league game of the season was rather underwhelming, though. A goalless draw against Droylsden set us up for another tight game against Widnes. We returned to the FA Cup in August against Wantage Town in the Preliminary Round. In the first game at Old Boston Road it was 10v10 as Hosannah was sent off for us and Sandu was sent off for Wantage as the game finished 2-2. The replay sent us into the 1st Qualifying Round against Brightlingsea. Our first defeat of the season came in the league against Pontefract in another very tight game.
September turned out to be a marvellous month for us with lots of goals and a 100% win record in all competitions, beginning with a 3-1 win over City of Liverpool. We advanced further in the FA Cup with a 3-0 win over Brightlingsea. A 2-0 win against Runcorn Linnets in the league sent us into Play-Off contention. The Integro League Cup - the cup played across all Northern Premier League sides - drew us against divisional rivals Clitheroe, who we smashed 8-1 in the club’s biggest win margin in our two-year existence in the lower tiers. This was followed up by two more consecutive big wins against Ramsbottom and Hartley Wintney, both in cup competitions. We finished off this perfect month with a 3-1 win over bottom of the table Kendal Town.
October began with an eventual exit from the FA Cup in the 3rd Qualifying Round against National League North outfit Bradford Park Avenue. We returned to the league with a 1-1 draw against Clitheroe - who we had beaten 8-1 just the month before. We qualified for the FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round with a Preliminary Round win against Skelmersdale. Two dominant wins in the league against Whickham and Brighouse led to another great continuation of form in the FA Trophy against Spalding. A loss to Workington was gutting, however, we finished the month on a high with a 4-1 win against Prescot.
As October came to a close, we sit in 4th place in the Northern Premier League North West. Unlike last season in the 9th tier, this division has four Play-Off spots rather than the singular promotion spot available last season. We have two games in hand on the league leaders Bamber Bridge, but even if we win them both we will still be two points behind them. Regardless, we are slowly beginning to figure out what level we are at in this league, even if it is very fluctuant at this moment in time.
At the other side of the table, Mossley and Kendal Town sit in the relegation spots, with Kendal particularly having a bad start to the league.
Both Henry Jacobs and Karl Milne have had resounding starts to the season, with Jacobs getting off to similar form that he had last season and Karl Milne helping Jacobs score the goals with a great amount of assists.
We have started off very well in my opinion. Last season were in a similar situation as we were trying to scout out the division for our main rivals to decipher where we should be aiming for as our final position come springtime. On assessment of our first three months, I imagine that we should be aiming to finish around the Play-Off positions, even if we don’t achieve the Play-Offs themselves.
We have proven our ability to score scores time and time again, both last season and so far this season. However, this season we have become exposed to more losses in the league early doors. We are already set back against the league leaders and we have more good teams to contend with rather than just Yorkshire Amateur and Barton Town as it was last season.
Going into the next three months, I would like to see more cup progression in the Integro League Cup and potentially win the club’s first cup honour after failing in the FA Vase last season. Consistency will be key if we want to safely enter the Play-Off positions, but I can see a spell of inconsistency rising up at some point as some of our performances so far have shown us.
Certainly a charming young lad
You *almost* jinxed it! Your theory about Jacobs seems to be coming true, too!
With what was meant to be a makeshift squad last season, it did a great job but the fact is there are some serious competitors this time around. I'm actually surprised Mottley-Henry even spoke to us considering his previous employers!
It improves contract security immensely and will no doubt improve player fitness and therefore performance. Jacobs is almost a third of the way there already!
It's a huge leap forward, especially as it means we're now at the same professional status as our competitors now.