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Stromson – Afan Lido: I don’t like roller coasters (2011 in review)

Hello all, and welcome back to another Afan Lido update! As I’d mentioned in my previous post, I’ll be doing an abbreviated coverage of the 2011 season (it is a repeat after all), and we’ll pick back up with more regular updates starting in the 2012 season.  I’m afraid I don’t have a video for you again (this is a season in brief after all), but I’ll be making that up in the next post!

Dear Fred,

Sorry I haven’t written in you in so long (okay, that sounds naughty). It’s been a helluva season, and I’ve spent so much time with the squad and my assistants that I simply haven’t had time enough to myself to even think. Fortunately I have assistants who can do some of my thinking for me, and they’ve ensured that I’ve maintained a healthy level of hygiene and remained well caffeinated.

So how did this season go? Best way I could describe it would be a very roller coaster year (did I mention I hate coasters?), with some pretty substantial highs and lows. Our preseason friendlies went well, and we managed to hold our own (and win) all of our warmup fixtures. The squad was already showing signs of gelling at this early stage, and I was optimistic about our chances in the league. “Was” being the keyword in the last sentence, we weren’t able to maintain our friendly form in the slightest.

We kicked things off with an awe-inspiring 1-4 defeat at the hands of Aberystwyth (or the team with no vowels, as I like to call them), and followed it up with two lame duck draws against Airbus and Neath. 0-2-1 was not exactly how’d I’d envisioned our season starting, and by October 3rd we were 1-2-4 with 5 points and sitting dead last in the league. Not okay!

I pulled the lads into the locker room following our 1-2 defeat against Haverfordwest, and we had a bit of a chat (in other words I scared them half to death). Whatever I said (play or go home) seemed to work, and we responded in our very next game by reversing the score against Haverfordwest in the League Cup first round. This kicked us off into a fantastic series of results:

Not too shabby if I say so myself! This run of results has left us with an outside chance of challenging for the title. Unfortunately The New Saints have been damn near unbeatable this year, and are absolutely dominating their way through the league. Not to be swayed though, I led the lads onward!

We continued our good form, but we were drawing way too many of our games:

We managed to keep the pressure on TNS for a good long while, but they finally secured the title with a game to spare. I was a little frustrated, and if a few of those draws had been wins, the title would have been ours. None the less, I was extremely proud that we managed to finish runner up in my first season with the club!

We had a spot in the Europa Leauge (2nd Qualifying round)! This would only be the clubs second ever European berth, and I sincerely hope we’re able to at least win our first round tie. There were more important things afoot however, as we’d played ourselves into both the League Cup and Welsh FA Cup finals! First up was the League Cup final against Carmarthen town.

The first half was as lopsided a game as there could be, and we utterly dominated both possession and shots when the halftime whistle blew:

We went on to win that game with a convincing 3-0 final (we did give up a few shots before the bell tolled), and Afan Lido’s first League Cup win since 1994!

That, my friend, is how we do that. I was incredibly proud of the lads, and thrilled that we wouldn’t be going home empty handed this season. Admittedly it’s a pretty insignificant achievement, but a trophy is a trophy no matter how small!

Next up was our Welsh Cup final against league winners TNS. I hardly optimistic heading into this game, and we’d only managed to beat them once all year (drawing or losing all the others obviously), and they’d been in very fine form in the waning weeks of the league.

Heart breaking! The stats suggest we outplayed TNS, but in reality it was a pretty equal affair. Ultimately we just couldn’t overcome their quality, and they finally made us pay in the 70th minute. It was a great effort from the lads, but we just didn’t quite have it in the end. Regardless, we had reason to walk away with our heads held high, and we finished deserved runners up in both league and cup! Apparently the rest of the league was equally impressed, as I received this little certificate in the post:

Damn right I was! This squad had 2000.00 odds to win this league, and we finished runners-up, I’d say that’s pretty damn fine work myself. In fairness though, it wasn’t just me (or even the majority me), and the squad and assistants were simply stellar all season long. These kids have dump truck full of heart, and I have to give them a deserved credit for pouring their heart and souls out onto the pitch each and every game.

It was a great year, and I’m genuinely excited to begin our off-season, and gear up for what I hope is a compelling season! Now if I could only remember where I put my damn Coke…

Sorry folks, this one isn’t up to my usual standard, but I just wanted to give a brief rundown of our “make-up” season. Needless to say it was significantly more successful than the first time around, and next season should be infinitely more interesting!

 

 

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Excessive
9 years ago

Yay Stromo! Well done mate, amazing turn-around at the new year. If only that had come sooner..
Good luck next season, can’t wait to see a few more vids :)

Laxeyman
9 years ago

Great season Stromo, and the way you turned your season around after a disappointing start was fantastic, and considering you weren’t too far off the league title, I’d say that with a few good signings you’ll be right up there next season. Well done on the cup win too, and looking forward to seeing your pre season :)

Darren Smith
Admin
9 years ago

That may have been a second attempt, but it was simply superb. Even if you redone the season a million times those results would have been tough to come by. Second position and a but of silverware, what can I say! You’re off to the perfect start and I can’t wait for the story to continue.

CsAtlantis
9 years ago

2 finals, a cup win, a second place finish and a place in Europe? You seem to have done better on your second attempt :D

Too bad nobody got to won the 2000:1 bet on your team ;)

vaibhavc
vaibhavc
9 years ago

Hey Stromson
Simply amazing effort! That was a great turnaround by your team and you were so close to winning it. And you won the cup as well, and then made it to Europe. That is what I call amazing!

Johnny Karp
9 years ago

Congratulations Jon, definitely much better than the first time! Looking forward to your European campaign, good luck!

Sears
9 years ago

Wonderful season Jon!

Ana Garcia
9 years ago

Phew!

Just been reading all your previous posts and am glad you fixed your game as I am really enjoying this story!!

Congrats on the cup win!! And unlucky on the cup defeat!! But still alot to be proud of and a very good league finish also.

At least you deserved your manager of the year this time around! ;)

Good luck!!

Sam Pettitt
Sam Pettitt
9 years ago

What a season!

great cup win, unlucky not to win the league and the other cup!
still, well done and looking forward to the next update and the europa league!

Sam :)

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