AA9s 2020 Season Review

Thoughts from the Coach, by Gus Davidson

Well what a great first season for a newly formed B team (AA-09). Following year-on-year growth of the Rangers, the new B team was created to sit between our AA1s and AA13s. 

We welcomed 9 new players this year, and some returning players from different Rangers teams, so it took a few training sessions and warm up games to work out exactly how we all played! (we will forget the first warm up game…)

With a new format to training (enforced to due to COVID restrictions), the As and Bs were training together and it is safe to say that a few people were not too happy at the amount of running in the warm up, and even more unhappy about having to do the infamous ‘Sally’ squat challenge… 

With a couple of COVID-Safe sessions (non-contact) and only one contact session before the season started, we weren’t in the best of shape for the first game. 

However, the team really came together for the first game of the season, with a solid 4-0 victory over Concord… In my head, a Leicester City 2016 underdog challenge was on the cards.  

Sadly, things didn’t turn out that way exactly, with a run of games which had great goals, ‘clangers’ and injuries. We lost our infamous injury prone keeper after game week two (shock… his knee went again), so had stand in keep Ben Bagshaw doing half a game, combined with some great stand in performances from Jackson and Nathan! 

Highlight from the first round of games has to be the 3-1 victory over Enfield with 10 men, following Chris getting his head smashed in, a Nico hattrick against the eventual league winners (and getting the win against them!) and having a defence which seemed to be getting stronger and stronger through the game weeks (without a regular keeper behind them). 

The second half of the season saw our crippled goalkeeper return, and the addition of Ellis in midfield, meaning the squad was back up to 16 players, with the Rangers sitting in 3rd spot, still in with a chance getting promotion. 

The positives from the second half of the season were the lack of losses (only losing one game against Belmore, who won the league), but a few too many draws cost us pushing onto the top spots. 

The mid table of the league was also exceptionally tight, with a win taking teams from second bottom to 3rd

Although we had a few too many draws, some of these results felt like a win! Two goals in the last three minutes from myself (bundled home from a collective distance of four yards out) snuck us a draw against Enfield. 

On a baking hot day against Strathfield (who had comfortably beaten us 4-0 in the reverse fixture), Rangers scored two great team goals in the second half and fought hard in defence, which led to another 2-2 result, with the last 20 minutes feeling like the longest 20 minutes of football in my life… 

In our final game at Blick, from a long throw and flick on, Fraser fired home at the back post to make it 1-1 ending the chances of Balmain winning the title, with the final kick of the game. 

In the second half of the season, the team really came together, especially for the final few matches, with suspensions (I won’t discuss that here…), injuries and people heading away on holidays. Ending the season in fourth place, with a great 5-2 win on the final day was a fantastic way to close out the season. 

Given the COVID disruptions and having so many new players, the team really gelled both on and off the pitch, meaning we were playing some silky football at times (when I wasn’t involved as I seemed to lose the ability to pass a ball towards the end…). From speaking with the team, it seems that we should have a great retention of the squad for next year and building the team further. 

I need to give thanks to both Jackson (manager) and also Jacob (captain… for most of the games…) for their help this season, and also to the other ‘louder’ players, who helped bring the team together… you know who you are!! 

Look forward to playing with you all again next year!  

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