Season 3 - Part 2
Having taken over from ImThatSybGuy
, we were in a reasonably comfortable position in the league, sitting second three points behind first and seven clear of fifth. Looking set for at least a playoff place, the aim was to push for the league title.
The team I had inherited was a strong one, which was clear from the results, with some key players in the likes of Lewis Jamieson and Luke Lyons key assets to the squad. However, I thought we lacked depth in two key areas. Up front, and at center back. When the previously mentioned pair are out of action, we don’t have the quality to replace them.
Therefore I went out and signed two players, with Jordan Ponticelli and Jacob Mensah joining the club on frees.
Ponticelli becomes by far our highest paid player, but in my opinion is worth it, with the quality to be playing Championship football already. He still has time to grow into a better player and I believe we have got a good signing in him. Jamieson and Ponticelli will be a deadly partnership up front, which bodes well for the future.
Jacob Mensah comes in as our back up center back as a free transfer from English League Two side Bolton. Still aged 21, Mensah has a lot of potential about him and comes in at a reasonable wage, making the deal a no-brainer. He will remain as our third choice for now, with Lyons and Louis Lomas have formed a strong partnership at the back.
With Syb ending a tough December with one win in five in a very tough run of fixtures, January was a much better month, picking up some very important victories against Clyde and Peterhead, two teams in and around the playoff spots. Our one loss in January came to a team who quickly became a bogey side of mine, East Fife, who were eventually relegated, making the loss to them even more frustrating.
I then saw just why Syb had struggled so much in December, with a very similar set of fixtures. Playing three of the top four with a number of players missing due to suspension or injury. It cost us dearly as we lost to our leaders Morton and third place Ayr. We did manage to pick up a point away to Stirling another side who were pushing for the playoffs. It was a dissapointing month which effectively ended our chances of winning the league, with Morton failing to lose a game throughout the eighteen games I played. The final game of February was a huge 5-0 dismantling of Dumbarton, with new signing Jordan Ponticelli scoring a hattrick.
Off the back of the big win, I identified March as a month where we needed to build momentum going into a massively tough final month of the season. We did just that with back to back 3-1 wins over Arbroath and Montrose. Again we faced Clyde, who were still pushing for a playoff berth, but a 3-0 win gave us a great boost, only to be slowed down by East Fife once again.
A draw to Morton was a good result on paper, but it was disappointing having gone 1-0 up and having the possibility to go two up but a missed penalty allowed them to equalize late on. We then struggled to pick up results, with a 3-1 win over Peterhead our final win of the season. With Morton picking up draws we had a real chance at pushing for the title had we been able to get over the line in a few of those games, but it wasn’t to be and we were confined to the playoffs.
The playoffs got off to an incredible start, with a massive 4-0 away win against Ayr, setting us up for a good chance at qualifying from the semi-final. A 2-2 draw at home secured such and we were placed in the Championship Promotion/Relegation Playoff final against Partick Thistle.
I was happy with our first leg once again, with a 2-2 draw away from home giving us two away goals and a nice foundation. But a heartbreaking 93rd minute goal from Sean McGinty kept Partick Thistle up in the second tier of Scottish football, with us spending another season in League One.
I made two transfers before handing over to OMGItsToddzy
as I noticed we could do with an added quality in center midfield, having lost Lewis Hyde with his loan deal ending. Leftback was also an area we needed an added layer of depth, so with that in mind, we signed Seb Ross and James Maxwell on free deals.
Seb Ross comes in from Aberdeen and is one of the first players at the club who has played a game of Premiership football. Still aged 22, Ross has a lot of time to develop and he already looks like a player who could be playing a level higher. I expect him to do well under Todd and Hazza this season.
My final signing in this round of the save, we bring in James Maxwell from Hamilton. The left back was signed on loan as back up to Luke Robinson for the season gone, and despite only playing a single game last season, showed enough to get a free transfer to play second fiddle once again.
A special shout out also needs to go to this talented youngster who I found in our youth side.
Gordon O’Halloran had 26 assists in 31 under 18 games, when I noticed he was the 4th best midfielder in the squad, according to our assistant. He was quickly called up and placed on the bench, ending the season with two start’s and ten appearances from the bench netting twice and assisting once. I am very excited to see him leading us to glory in a few years time!
So now I pass over to OMGItsToddzy
for another season in League One, hopefully he has a great start and we can get promoted this coming season.