Welcome back! There are 20 games between the CM9798 Acamdemy and a second consecutive promotion, but we’re dodging obstacles from all angles. Our captain, Stonesy as I once called him, is the latest to depart. He followed creator in chief Ryan Morrison out the door and owner Ike Mashley is swimming in cash. We’ve found free replacements – which is all we are allowed – but now we have our top scorer injured for January. It’s a good job we’re second.
Good news though, Twiss is back for our visit to Millwall. Ricky Newman does the most stereotypical Millwall thing and gets sent off for an elbow to the face after a minute. Good. Twiss departs with a hamstring injury. Bad.
Our last two away games have been 4-0 wins but now we’re at home for two in a row. A month without Twiss though.
Without Pearson, Twiss and the departed Morrison we are the opposite of ruthless. I don’t know what that is. Toothless? Big Bill Davies (centre half/striker) nets a late winner after Cassin and Billing miss a truck load.
To celebrate, Davies gets injured in training. ‘sakes.
My options are few and far between up top. I’m fortunate that Billing has really hit the ground running since signing, though he is inconsistent like a lot of the team really.
Lowly Gillingham are next up and we’re just not at it. They deservedly lead and Cassin eventually manages a shot on target to equalise. It’s two points dropped.
As luck would have it results elsewhere go our way. 4th placed Oxford beat 3rd placed Wigan and Shrewsbury can only draw. So we’re still 2nd and no worse off.
We are however in Bristol. Nicky Byrne is the only absentee to return and I’ve decided to play him in the AMRC role, with Johnson dropping out. He picks up two assists on one of our more impressive days out.
Shrewsbury lose so this puts us top of the pile. FLYING WITHOUT WINGS.
Byrne’s new lease of life continues as he heads us in front against Carlisle. We lose Gowshall to injury though and although Billing adds a second, the return of big Bill lasts one minute before he is the victim of a bad challenge and he departs on a stretcher. My sub keeper plays the last 23 minutes up front.
It’s a month for Davies and two weeks for Gowshall. Pearson returns to training though, which is great timing with a trip to 3rd placed Wigan coming at the weekend.
Twiss returns to training the day before the game so the pair of them are subs.
We’re 2-0 down inside 8 minutes. It’s the type of form that got Graeme Jones the assistant managers job with Belgium. Johnson pulls one back but it’s soon 3-1, Heritage having a shocker in nets for us. Billing reduces the arrears before Byrne scores an OG from a corner. What is life?
We have a serious key change at half time though and with Johnson departing due to a thigh injury, Twiss is in the action. Byrne pulls one back at the right end before Billing and Cassin both round Roy Carroll. 5-4 up and Pearson arrives from the bench to make it 6. Game, set, match.
We’ve got options for the visit of 6th placed Oxford. Only Johnson (and long term Gallagher) are missing from the forward options and I think we’re approaching some sort of Utopia in terms of our form. 5-0 doesn’t flatter us and what’s more – nobody gets injured.
5 points clear at the top and 8 points ahead of 3rd place. We’re well set for automaitc promotion with 13 games to go.
It’s Shrewsbury who lead the chasing pack and that’s where we’re off now. We’re in the form of our lives and this is our opportunity to make the Meadow less Gay. However, we fail at that. To paraphrase Jimmy White, I’m beginning to get a little tired of them.
Nevermind. Still top and as 3rd place lost, still 8 clear of the playoff positions.
Just outside of those playoff positions are Wrexham. We’re in no mood for their shenanigans and it’s an easy win.
On to the last page of fixtures now but with 33 points still available, our 10 point gap back to 3rd can still be cut down.
3 months out for Brazier. What we do to each other in training I dread to think. Byrne starts out of position in central midfield as Luton are disposed of.
10 games to go, 10 points the gap to 3rd.
A win over Norwich costs us Twiss for two weeks
But a win over Crewe is without incident. Sides around us faulter too, so it’s a 12 point gap now with 8 to play.
Cassin and Byrne both play for Eire Under 21s whilst Heritage makes the bench for England’s equivalent. The transfer deadline looms…
Phew. Twiss has three Premier League clubs circling but as he is valued at £4m, maybe his recent injuries have put them off. Good.
Hull have tiptoed into 3rd place which makes our trip there quite important. Brian McClair settles it though and we are momentarily pegged back.
It’s still very much in our hands though.
Twiss wants to move to a bigger club. Now is not the time, Michael. You quite literally can’t. A sketchy performance agaisnt Cardiff brings a point thanks to Heritage saving a pen.
Hull lose so there’s no damage done. Everybody else seems quite intent on beating each other. 6 to go.
We don’t have a game on Easter Saturday as our opponents, Bristol Rovers, are in the Windscreen shield final. It means we are raring to go on Easter Monday against 21st placed Chesterfield. Pearson is banned but Gallagher is back after a long absence.
That. Was. Awful. The gap is down to 6, though we have a game in hand. Don’t blow it now!
No Gowshall and without him the defence is weak. 4-1 down at half time, I really question why any of us bother and fortunately it rouses us to immediately reduce the arrears, but it is soon 5-2. A fight back ensues and we sneak a point. Bloody hell man.
The game in hand is away at 5th placed Bristol Rovers and we have a further curveball to deal with – International call ups. Heritage, Byrne and Cassin are all away yet somehow old crisp packet hands Aldous keeps a clean sheet.
9 ahead of 3rd, 9 points available. In the words of Boris Becker, any point will do.
Name the dullest way to seal promotion
We’re up! That’s the main thing.
What’s more…we’re the champions!
We round off the season with a win at Walsall and a thrashing of Burnley. Pearson had a great bank holiday,
That leaves us on 99 league goals, annoyingly.
Barnsley have been releagted from the Premier League so we’ll up against Betterton and Ryan Morrison next season. Amazingly we lost nobody in this update, I will save the graduates update for next time though as I’ve covered so much already, you’ll be sick of me.
Tottenham have won the Premier League, quite who has allowed that to happen I don’t know. They also won the UEFA Cup so Jack Charlton is obviously a genius. Shrewsbury go out of the playoffs on away goals to Crewe. Good. Wigan win the playoff final. Coventry are in the 1st Division yet win the FA Cup and then lose the playoff final. So they’ll have a fixture nightmare next season with Saturday/Wednesday confused by Thursday fixtures thrown into the mix too.
Anyway, we’re going to have a lot to sort out ahead of our life in Division 1. Jeff Brazier wants to move to a bigger club, Channel 4 are weighing up a bid, whilst Twiss…
With that, here’s some awards. Obviously only one matters.
Give Pearson the golden boot. If he gets it next season things have gone really well. See you then as I try and convince Twiss to stay or more accurately hunt for a free replacement. Bye for now.