Naturally a fair bit of turnover, but perhaps not as excessive as it could have been. A lot of arrivals coming from local sides which is to be expected at this level and suggests good relationships are being formed with those sides. Motley-Henry is an absolutely fantastic signing and should have no problem absolutely destroying this division should he be given suitable game-time. He's far too good for this level.
Wetherby Athletic: A New Dawn
Going semi-pro is massive this year and the number of additions are probably needed to bolster the squad. Keeping a hold of Jacobs will be massive for you this side, looking for 65+ this year though!
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.
MJK: Certainly a charming young lad
Jim: You *almost* jinxed it! Your theory about Jacobs seems to be coming true, too!
Scott: 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!
Seb: 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!
Griffo: It's a huge leap forward, especially as it means we're now at the same professional status as our competitors now.
A bloody excellent start to the season once again. Henry Jacobs and Karl Milne show absolutely no sign of slowing down from last season at all!
The Trophy run is extremely promising, plus a decent one in the FA Cup too. The coffers must look pleasing.
The Trophy run is extremely promising, plus a decent one in the FA Cup too. The coffers must look pleasing.
Think I might of been going a bit easy with just 65 for Jacobs this season after that start. Karl also starting off very well. Looks like Herd also gets on the scoreboard quite a bit despite a slight drop off in October but nonetheless, a squad getting some good results early into the season once again.
“Take a seat, lad,” Harold said as he held an opened envelope in his hand, stamped with Leeds City Council’s coat of arms on the front. “I’ve just received this through from Andrew Mellor from the council. It’s definitely worth a look.”
Harold passed over the envelope to Mark as Eileen came into the living room holding a tray of tea and ginger biscuits from a fresh pack opened just two minutes before - Aldi’s finest, she called them.
Mark looked up confused, having had to re-read all of the formal council jargon in the letter before putting his head back down towards the letter and reading again “MR HAROLD MILNE and MRS EILEEN MILNE as owners of Old Boston Road”. Looking up once more, he was greeted by huge smiles across both of his parents’ faces.
“What do you reckon?” Eileen said whilst grinning with her cup of tea in her hand. “The Milne’s - football ground owners!”
“This is incredible mam, dad. I mean, are we really making that much profit now? It’s not like you’ve bought this out of your own pocket is it? This has to have come from the club’s coffers?” Mark began questioning, almost panicked that his parents had just blown £10,000 of their own money.
“Relax, Mark,” Harold said to his son whilst chuckling at his son’s fear that something had to be wrong in the details. “The club is doing really well. You’re doing really well on the pitch so naturally the club is doing well in itself. Andrew Mellor is an old friend of mine and let’s just say he had no qualms about Old Boston Road moving into our hands - we even got a cut-price!
“As far as he sees it, Old Boston Road belongs to Wetherby Athletic for what the club has done to bring the community together. His words, not mine!” Harold finished.
Mark doubted that the purchase of the ground meant much to the players, but he would mention it regardless when he saw them next. But to Mark personally, as a family man as much as a football coach, it meant the world that his family continued to pave a successful way in life.
Scott: The pair of them have been phenomenal and have stepped up in pretty much every game so far! There's a few cup involvements left after our exit against Bradford PA - looking forward to winning them
Griffo: I'm as confused as Milne as to what you're talking about
Seb: Funnily enough, Cole Gibbon is actually outscoring Jacobs in the league, despite being a lethal scorer once again this season! A tidy few months in a new division, time to kick on.
Well thats some massive news! Owning the club at this level isn't something every club can say and is certainly an indication of how well the club is doing! Always good to have friends in higher places like Mark has in Andrew Mellor
After an impressive start to the season, building up a great five-point lead in the Play-Offs, Wetherby have slipped out of the Play-Offs and now sit two points outside the top five after terrible runs of form throughout December and January.
November began with two consecutive 5-2 victories for us in the league, with an anticipated loss in the FA Trophy to Southern League Premier side Rushall Olympic in the 2nd Qualifying Round. A draw with 2nd placed Colne dropped us two points, but an unexpected loss to lowly Skelmersdale shocked us as Jacob Owen netted a seventh minute winner. We hit back the game after with a great 4-0 win as Henry Jacobs netted his 2nd hat-trick of the month - the first being against Glossop North End. November ended well with a 2-1 win over Atherton Collieries.
Moving on into December is when our problems began to arise. This started with a 2-2 draw against league leaders Bamber Bridge which was a good result considering their consistent positional stature. We were knocked out of the Integro League Cup in the 2nd Round by Alfreton Town despite a 95th minute consolation by right-winger Craig Herd. The cup exit was shortly followed by a loss in the league against Ramsbottom United. The truly shocking performance came against Kendal Town as we dropped two points against a side that had lost its past four games and were rock bottom of the league table. Troubles were temporarily lifted in the only victory of the month coming against Clitheroe as summer signing Rob Harker scored his first league goal of the season after an injury was sustained to our starting striker Henry Jacobs.
The New Year arrived and brought bad results with it. Our first game of 2021 was a 2-1 loss to Mossley as Adam Morgan’s 71st minute strike won them the game at Old Boston Road. Workington drew 1-1 against us as we kept dropping points against teams any Play-Off contending team should be beating. January finished with another loss to Widnes and another draw to relegation-threatened Droyslden as we really began to miss the injured Karl Milne and Henry Jacobs.
These results saw us tumble out of the top five Play-Off spots despite holding a five-point lead over 6th going into November. We are now two points outside of the Play-Off spots. To make matters worse in comparison to three months before, we are now nine points behind the league leaders Bamber Bridge, rather than the eight points in November (but with two games in hand).
The title is being heavily contested by at least four teams at the moment, though. Bamber Bridge lead the way with 52 points, with Colne two points behind and Whickham and Workington both four and five points behind respectively.
At the opposite end of the table, Kendal Town are still struggling as they try to come back from seven points away from safety. Runcorn Linnets have replaced Mossley in 19th place, but there are still almost half of the division potentially facing the threat of relegation if either of the bottom two hit on a decent run of form.
With Henry Jacobs being injured for most of January, his goal scoring tally has not risen so much - increasing his goals by nine since the end of October. Craig Herd has been able to overtake Karl Milne as the leading creator in the side, capitalising on my brother’s injury.
With regards to my comments at the end of October regarding what sort of expectations that I am holding out for this season, I would say that we are still on track despite a torrid three month period with December and January being almost diabolical. We are still very much in the running for the Play-Offs as long as we start to pick up form after January.
The positive that I would take from these three months is that we have carried on scoring goals as even during our bad spell in December and January, there was not a single fixture that we didn’t score a goal in. It seems like this is a matter of tidying up a defence that is leaking goals. We have also missed the presence of Karl Milne and Henry Jacobs for a large chunk of these three months which has restricted the amount of goals we score in games for certain.
It was gutting to see us go out of the Integro League Cup against Alfreton as I would have really loved to have made that the club’s first cup competition honour since our national league induction last year.
Seb: It's something that a lot of clubs at this level haven't got, that's for sure! A good indication that the club is here to stay in these divisions and grow to the next level.
Scott: Big up Harold and Eileen
Form has certainly dropped as of late, but I think that's to be expected. The current league position still reflects excellently on Wetherby.
Not the greatest last couple of months, impacted heavily by Jacobs injury in particular. However, still just two points off the playoffs and three points off 4th who you have a game in hand on, so certainly still a good opportunity of the playoffs!
Little dip in form and you're out of the play off position but I've no doubt you can rediscover some fine form and get back up there. Good old Harold and Eileen eh?
Moving from strength-to-strength with this team. At the rate Jacobs is going, he'll end up with more career goals than Pele.
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