The goals aren't quite flying just yet, but defensively you've been very strong so certainly something Amie can be pleased with. A good start overall and sitting 3rd is a nice place to be early on in the season. A reasonable set of fixtures coming next, with some winnable games in there for sure.
A fantastic run of four consecutive wins saw us enjoy an unbeaten run in September. Beginning with a 2-1 win away to Toulon, we edged past Bourg en Bresse before dominating in the final fifteen minutes against Villefranche to come out 3-0 winners. The month was wrapped up to ensure a perfect set of results remained in-tact with a 1-0 win against Le Puy Foot thanks to a first-half strike from Steve Shamal.
SC TOULON 1 - Mestrallet (4)
US BOULOGNE 2 - Lina (2), Idazza (pen, 14)
Our trip to the Stade de Bon Rencontre proved to be full of entertainment as the deadlock was broken just a couple of minutes into the game. A free-kick from Remy Duterte was swung in from the left and found Jackson Mendy in the middle. His header was kept out by the Toulon goalkeeper, Florian Andreani, but could only be spilled into the path of Meddy Lina who was on-hand to finish and open his account for the season.
The lead wouldn't last long however as the hosts quickly found a response through a free-kick of their own. In similar circumstances, the ball was lofted into the six-yard-box and after a scramble to clear the ball away, it eventually found its way to Remi Mestrallet who tucked the ball home despite the best efforts of Riffi Mandanda.
An action-packed opening quarter of an hour continued when Steve Shamal's corner resulted into Said Idazza being brought to ground inside the box. The referee had no hesitation to award a penalty and the Moroccan stepped-up to convert his third goal of the season.
In the second-half, Mathias Serin will be wondering how he failed to find the net from Christian Senneville's deep-cross when the winger fired his volley over the bar from approximately five-yards out. He was nearly made to rue his miss moments later when Jonathan Mambu was denied magnificently by Riffi Mandanda to preserve our lead. There was certainly a great sense of relief from the travelling fans when the full-time whistle sounded.
US BOULOGNE 1 - Muani (80)
BOURG EN BRESSE 0
In a game nowhere near as entertaining as the one prior to it for Boulogne, the final result was nonetheless just as important for L'USBCO as we continued our excellent start to the season with yet another three points against Bourg en Bresse.
The best chance of the first-half came after half an hour when Remy Duterte eventually received the ball out wide and sent a beautifully weighted cross into the box. Randal Kolo Muani positioned himself well to get on the end of it, but he could only send his glancing header flashing wide of the goal.
The deadlock was finally broken with ten minutes to go, however. Substitute Cedric Makutungu combined well with Remy Duterte who sent another dangerous ball into the area for Muani to meet. Not to be denied again, the 20-year-old made just enough contact to divert the ball past Matthieu Pichot.
Our goal did seem to spark some life into the contest but the visitors failed to create any decent opportunities to greatly concern Amy Belshaw. Remy Duterte's free-kick was struck with power but was well-saved by Pichot. Said Idazza also came close five minutes from time when his header from a corner narrowly crept the wrong side of the post.
US BOULOGNE 3 - Idazza (77), Duterte (87), Shamal (90+3)
FC VILLEFRANCHE 0 - Robinet missed pen (58)
Chances were rather sparse in the opening forty-five minutes as Villefranche visited the Stade de la Libération, but it became apparent the first-half wasn't about to be repeated straight from kick-off. A cross from Cedric Makutungu was headed agonisingly open the bar by Randal Kolo Muani in a second-half that completely juxtaposed the first.
The visitors had an opportunity to take the lead ten minutes into the second-half when Charly Dutournier was clumsily brought down by Cedric Makutungu. Thomas Robinet stepped-up for the visitors, but has penalty was denied by Riffi Mandanda who also managed to gather up the rebound to deny the striker.
Djamaldine Atoiyi also had an opportunity to convert but failed to make his one-on-one effort count as it was comfortably saved by Mandanda.
Keen to stop the barrage of Villefranche attacks and to turn the tide of the game, a cross from Maël Illien found Remy Duterte in space but his effort came crashing back off the bar. Moments later, Said Idazza was introduced to the game after being dropped due to a knock he sustained in the victory against Bourg en Bresse. It wouldn't take long for him to make an impression as Steve Shamal's low-cross invited the Moroccan to get in front of his man and finish expertly to give us the lead.
Ten minutes later we doubled our lead when Christian Senneville was afforded too much space to give his cross into the box. Failing to clear the ball, it eventually found Steve Shamal who combined with Remy Duterte who made no mistake this time, tucking his effort in at the near post.
There was just enough time for the provider to become goalscorer in added-time. Shamal flicked the ball past Alexis Sauvage from a Rayan Frikeche cross to wrap up the game in style. A thumping second-half performance in the end proving to be too much for the visitors who simply weren't given a foot-in within the last fifteen minutes in a dominant display.
LE PUY FOOT 43 0
US BOULOGNE 1 - Shamal (36)
September was wrapped-up as it was started; with a 1-0 victory, this time coming against Le Puy Foot at the Stade Charles Massot. It proved to be a tight affair with the defences of either team perhaps shining more so than the forward-lines, as we were limited to just a solitary shot on-target from thirteen attempts, whilst the hosts managed three from the same number of attempts.
Steve Shamal scored the only goal of the game ten minutes before the break as Anthony Scarramozzino bombed forward to send in a delightful cross that the winger tucked away with great poise.
The hosts failed to create any notable chances throughout the ninety minutes with the only other significant opportunity of the game falling to Meddy Lina from a free-kick. Scarramozzino found the Guadaloupe international but his header was sent over the cross-bar.
Twelve points from a possible twelve and three clean-sheets from four games. A perfect month all-in-all for L'USBCO.
Our impressive run of form saw us move up to second at the end of September. We remain behind the equally-impressive AS Béziers on goal-difference as they fell to their first defeat of the season against Quevilly-Rouen in a 2-1 loss at the Stade Robert Diochon. Gazélec Ajaccio remained in close-proximity just three points behind with Stade Lavallois just a further point adrift.
At the bottom, SC Toulon sat at the foot of the table with just three points to their name. They had yet to record a single victory this season after their opening eight games. USL Dunkerque were also winless as they sat a further two points ahead on five. US Concarneau and Pau completed the bottom four with three teams sitting just a point clear of the pair.
Player of the Month
Steve Shamal is the recipient of September's Player of the Month award having impressed this month with two goals and two assists to his name.
"Steve is a player of great quality. We recognise the great ability he has, but we also recognise the great level of potential we have to unlock. He's still very fresh into his career and is improving all the time. He has been a valuable asset to us so far this season and he really has knuckled-down to really prove what he's about.
He relishes challenges and that's a desirable trait to have. He's pushed every week by Mathias [Serin] to do enough in both games and in training to continue to retain his place in the starting eleven on a week-to-week basis. That level of challenge is mightily important to ensure we keep players on their toes. The two of them share a great respect for each other and have a good relationship. That can't be underappreciated either."
October serves up an additional game to the usual four as the fifth-round of the French Cup was recently drawn. We travel to FC Agon Coutainville who ply their trade in the depths of regional football with the tie due to take place on 15th October. Before then, we travel to SO Cholet and then host Gazélec Ajaccio a week later in a massive clash at the top of the Championnat National.
Following on from our exploits in the French Cup, we travel to AS Lyon-Duchère and the Stade Balmont, which is due to be left by La Duch in January 2021 as they take up residence in their new home, the Matmut Stadium. We then return home to face struggling US Concarneau as we look to continue our push for promotion at the end of the season.
Seb: There are hints of improvement going forward but there's still need for improvement. Defensively though, the team have been fantastic and Amie is bound to be impressed with the record her team have. That's now six clean-sheets from eight games. Not bad at all.
Credit to Justice for providing the graphic at the start of this update. His work is very much appreciated.