Welcome to Part Three of Singing The Blues. For me the save is flowing nicely and I am really enjoying trying to build the club back up after their relegation last season from the Championship.
At 34 years old Central Defender Luke Chambers is my captain and I have got to say what a fantastic job he makes of it wether it’s a player looking for an improved contract or looking for more game time Chambers resolves the issue every single time. A real leader who will be difficult to replace when the time comes.
We ended the last month sitting pretty at the top of the table with a 7 point advantage over 2nd placed Blackpool, so I wanted us to take control of the situation and start off with a win to keep us on track for promotion however Wycombe Wanderers had a different idea when we travelled to face them. The Chairboys held us to a 0-0 draw with our best chance of the 90 minutes falling to Will Keane who blasted his effort wide.
Our next game was at Portman Road in the FA Cup 3rd round against QPR who we looked like rolling them over after Will Keane and James Norwood gave us a 2-0 half time lead. The Championship club came out fighting though and gave us a run around in the second half with 2 goals that forces a replay at Loftus Road with the game ending in a 2-2 draw.
Back to back home games in the League produced two wins with the first being against Fleetwood Town who fired their manager after we beat them 2-0 thanks to a Matt Gilks own goal and a James Norwood strike.
The second of our wins came by the way of a 3-0 win against Accrington with a Will Keane first half double and another 2nd half strike from top scorer James Norwood who is looking good in the Advanced Forward role. Will Keane picked up an injury that would keep him out for the rest of the month.
Our next game was to be the FA Cup replay against QPR who after a fairly even game defeated us 1-2 with our goal coming from Kayden Jackson. I am not too dissapointed with getting knocked out of the Cup because it allows us to now just focus on our push for promotion.
Unfortunately the QPR result was the first of a difficult end to the month for us after we then fell to a 2-3 defeat at the hands of Tranmere Rovers who hit us early which we tried to salvage something in the 2nd half but came up short after goals from Luke Chambers and James Norwood.
A 1-2 defeat at the hands of Lincoln City at Portman Road was difficult to take after we created chance after chance but got hit twice by the Imps on the counter after Kayden Jackson had given us a first half lead. Frustrating to watch but it gives us something to work on going forward.
We ended the month with a point away against Rotherham United after a 1-1 draw that saw us get off to a flyer with a 2nd minute goal courtesy of James Norwood but we could not put the game to bec with a second goal and paid the price in the second half when Rotherham scored to sbare the points.
With just 2 wins in January I was hoping that February was a better month and I could not have wished for a better start when we hammered Peterborough at Portman Road 5-1 and a man of the match performance from Alan Judge who scored two and got the assist for Janoi Donacien who fired home from just inside the 18 yard box. Will Keane and Freddie Sears also got on the scoresheet.
The Stadium Of Light witnessed a nine goal thriller when we played Sunderland who raced in to both a 3-1 and 4-2 lead but we managed to more than match our hosts in winning the thriller 5-4. James Norwood grabbed a brace including the winner along with goals from Kayden Jackson, Teddy Bishop and Myles Kenlock. A great win but a managers nightmare especially when we have built our season on a strong defence but I suppose that’s football.
We are scoring for fun and scored another 5 goals when defeating AFC Wimbledon 5-0 that included another double from James Norwood who is doing a fantastic job in leading our frontline in tandem with Kayden Jackson who also got a goal in the second half. Both Kane Vincent Young and Cole Skuse also found the back of the net.
Alan Judge and Kayden Jackson were both on target when we entertained Burton Albion at Portman Road avenging our defeat in Staffordshire on the opening day of the season. We are playing some really good football now which is a pleasure to watch and keeping the board happy.
We entertained Oxford United in the final match of the month and made it 5 wins from 5 when a Kayden Jackson goal was enough to give us a 1-0 win that keeps us in pole position at the top of League One and favourites to win promotion to the Championship.
We kicked the month of March off with a top of the table clash against 2nd placed Coventry City at home and after going behind to an early goal we had turned things around by half time going in 3-1 up which ended up being the full time result thanks to goals from Teddy Bishop and a double from Kayden Jackson.
Another top 4 side Blackpool would be our hosts on Matchday 36 and they gave us a good run for our money in holding us to a 0-0 draw with youngster Jack Lankester coming closest for us when hitting the post with a half volley.
Teddy Bishop is consistently playing well in our midfield linking up well with our forwards and fellow midfielders, Bishop is sure to attract some attention from the bigger clubs come the summer transfer window.
A trip to face Bristol Rovers resulted in a 0-1 defeat for us however with the other results going our way a win in our last game of the month against Portsmouth would guarantee us automatic promotion.
A team meeting before the Portsmouth match to give the squad a boost of encouragement went well and I had my starting eleven in mind to get the job done. On the day of the game their was a lot of hype coming out of the press and I decided to go in to the pre match press conference with confidence that we would get the job done. I handed the team sheet in to the referee an hour before kick of it read : Norris, Vincent-Young, Chambers, Wolfenden, Kenlock, Huws, Bishop,Judge,Nolan,Jackson and Norwood. Portman Road was buzzing with excitement and I gave my final words to the boys before kick off, telling them “Do this for the fans”
It was a tense first 45 minutes with both Jon Nolan and Myles Kenlock coming closest to breaking the deadlock. An assertive “I am not happy with what I just saw” got a positive response.
The second half mirrored the first period and just when it looked like the game would end all square Alan Judge produced a moment of individual magic firing home a 20 yard free kick to send the Tractor Boys faithful in to raptures in the 86th minute to win the game 1-0 and guarantee automatic Promotion. A fantastic end to the month.
April – May 2020
With promotion achieved we now wanted to go on and win the title starting with the visit of Southend United to East Anglia who we beat 2-0 thanks to goals from Jon Nolan and Luke Chambers.
Our next game against bottom club Bolton Wanderers would be the game that we were crowned Champions after Myles Kenlock and James Norwood scored the goals to give us a 2-0 win to secure the title with 5 games remaining.
Next up we met promotion chasing Shrewsbury Town and had our backline to thank for creating and scoring the goals with the first being created by Myles Kenlock for Kane Vincent-Young to finish in the 24th minute and then it was the turn of Luke Woolfenden to turn provider for fellow Centre Back James Wilson to give us a 2-0 lead at the break. Despite our hosts best efforts in the second half we held firm for a 2-1 win.
With just three games left until the end of the season I decided to give game time to our younger players and three of them got on the scoresheet when we defeated Rochdale 4-1. I dress El Mizouni, Jack Lankester and Andre Dozzell all took their opportunity along with a James Norwood strike.
Young Forward Jack Lankester scored the only goal of the game against Doncaster Rovers who had already secured a play off place. Lankester as scored 3 goals in 5 starts and 5 substitute appearances for the first team this season and will get the opportunity at an higher level next season when we are back in the 2nd tier.
We finished the season off with a 3-2 win at Portman Road against MK Dons after a ding dong game that we had to come from behind twice through Kane Vincent-Young and captain Luke Chambers before Jon Nolan rounded the season off with his 6th goal of the season.
A great finish to the season with us winning our last 7 games to cap a fantastic season.
Team Of The Year
7 of our players made the players team of the season Vincent-Young, Chambers, Nsiala,Kenlock,Bishop,Norwood and Jackson.
James Norwood was our top scorer with 23 goals followed by Kayden Jackson who netted 15 goals followed by Will Keane, Teddy Bishop, Jon Nolan and Luke Chambers all with 6 goals to their name.
Alan Judge led the assists table with 14 ahead of both Wing Backs Myles Kenlock with 11 and Kane Vincent-Young with 10.
Emyr Huws had the best season average at 7.40 followed by Myles Kenlock at 7.38
The team led the way in 4 categories starting with most clean sheets 27, best passing percentage 82%, best possession average 56% and least goals conceded 26.
Fans Player Of The Year
Deep Lying Playmaker Emyr Huws was instrumental in our season with his range of passing and the clubs supporters voted him their player of the year which I think is a fair reflection of his season.
A really enjoyable first season at the club culminating in promotion to the Championship meeting the boards vision. No sooner had the final whistle had been blown to bring an end to the season it was now time to decide who would be released or sold as we plan the next phase of the clubs rise back up the pyramid.
Looking back at our season I am very pleased with how the Singing The Blues 4132 system went from strength to strength with the players settling in very quickly but only time will tell if its effective in the Championship.
I have decided that the first team squad for next season will have a maximum of 23 players and any player at the club who is 20 years old and not in the first team squad will automatically be available to loan out to get some playing time Under their belt.
I don’t envisage many players coming in to the club and joining the first team squad but I will be letting anybody who I consider to be not part of plans going forward to leave the club either by transfer or their contract expiring.
My next blog post will have a look at our summer business and focus on our Pre-Season. So until then thanks for reading and I hope you return soon to see how we are getting on in the 2nd tier.