Hello friends, welcome to 2020 in my Thurrock game. Our performances in the first half of the season had been below par. We are currently lying in 19th place but we do not have any relegation worries at the moment. However we really need to improve for the rest of the season in order to challenge for a play-off spot. After 2 days of rest, we will be facing Notts County which we were unable to beat in the last four meetings. So lets take a look whether we can pull off a great results to push for a better performance.
Home against Notts County
We entertained 16th place Notts County in Ship Lane for our first game of the month. I was a bit surprised that they were struggling in this game unable to play their normal attacking game. With a solid foundation in defence, we started to take control of possession in the first half but were unable to turn those possession into goals. We were not hitting the ball correctly after the break but things finally changed after the introduction of Rudd Thoma who came on for Julian Hayward. I used him as a target man and he hold the ball really well. In a quick succession of three minutes, he scored two goals both a place shot after assist by Gabriel Torje and Gary Lewis. A fine start for us.
FA Cup 3rd round
We have a break from the league and will be facing league 1 side Charlton. They have pretty good players so we need to take note of complacency. We started as the favorites and we really showed it on the field. The players were taking control of the game but their goalkeeper was credited with several important saves. We were shocked when their first attack resulted in a goal and we had to chase the game early on. We got the equalizer five minutes later when Tristan Hickman hit a through ball to Jim Beardsley and he strike the ball in close range. Though we dominated for the rest of the game but we could not find the target and had to settled for a draw. The return leg will be play one week later.
We had some transfer activity going on just before the Doncaster game. My Chairman had accepted an offer from Watford for my young starlet Billy Jones without consulting me, though i offered him a new contract but we certainly cannot match Watford’s offer of 11.5k/week. And the lure of Premiership football is too much to turn down. With Tristan Hickman back in the frames, i believe we are quite well cover there in the right back position. So i got no intention to sign any players as i have Sam Allen as back up.
Arrival of Bastian Bruckner
We had a new signing coming in whom i paid 200k for his services. There is certainly money to spend as some portion of transfer fees from the sales of Billy Jones went into the transfer budget. Bastian Bruckner arrived from Bayer Leverkusen and probably the first German to don a Thurrock shirt. My scouts think that he is more of a Premiership player though he must put in some training in his fitness level. The fans are already excited by his arrival and the sales for his shirt has flying out of the stores fast. Hopefully he can become a key player for us. I also concluded another transfer but he will be arriving in July. I will introduce him till then.
Away at The Keepmoat Stadium
Next game will see us travelling to The Keeomoat Stadium to face 20th place Doncaster. Once again we showed our dominance just as the Charlton game but we were very poor in converting the chances. We went behind as early as in 11th minute after a mistake from Ignasi Miquel saw their striker clear and put the ball past David Cook. The first half saw us trailing by one goal. We were in total control that they saw little of the ball after the break. Finally we found the net in 68th minute after some dazzling skills by Gary Lewis threaded the ball through and Jim Beardsley finished it perfectly. We went searching for the winner and it was very late. Gary Lewis was the architect again made a cross to the penalty area and of all people, Andy Holsgrove my left back jumped the highest and headed in a goal. The fans were delighted with the comeback. Bastian Bruckner came in in the second half and he did pretty well in his first game showing some delightful touches.
FA Cup replay
We went to The Valley for this FA Cup replay. It was pretty the same scenario as the first match. We totally dominated the match but only managed to break the deadlock in 71st minute after a fine assist from Julian Hayward put Jim Beardsley clear. We progressed to the next round and our next opponent is Bolton.
Home against Leicester
Next game was against 18th place Leicester. Few players were given a rest as they were tired after the replay against Charlton. Even though we rested a few regulars but we were still the better team creating chances after chances. However there was no quality in our finishing and both teams went into the break with the scores goalless. We maintained our performance in the second but they were very clinical in front of goal and took their chances really well. They scored two well taken goals and condemned us to our first defeat of the month.
FA Cup 4th round
Next was a FA Cup 4th round game against league 1 side Bolton. I was really pleased with the creativity of the team in recent games. They had been creating a lot of chances and pressuring the opposition. This was seen in this game too but disappointing is that we went behind two goals in the first half. Some harsh talk in the dressing room was heard by the players and they produced a magnificent second half to turn the game around. Gary Lewis scored his first goal after going goalless for nine hours to start our comeback. Jim Beardsley added another two goals after that and substitute Julian Hayward rounded off our performance in the second half with a place shot. We will either meet Man Utd or my parent club Peterborough in the next round which prove to be a difficult fixture for us.
Away at The Riverside Stadium
Last game of the month was against Middlesbrough who is lying in 22nd place. We went full gear from the first minute but we were facing a goalkeeper in awesome form. He saved at least three clear cut chances from Gary Lewis and Jim Beardsley. Andy Holsgrove failed to take the chances when we were awarded the penalty in 25th minute and i can’t believe that it was a stalemate in the first 45 minutes. We were still finding difficult to get past their last line. As Jim Beardsley was showing signs of fatigue, Julian Hayward came in for him. And it was down to him to break the deadlock when he raced a through ball to beat their on form goalkeeper. It was really a hard fought win for us.
Our position hasn’t change that much and we are currently lying in 16th place. If not for the defeat against Leicester, we would have a perfect month. Though we are still 11 points off the last pay-off spot but i am really pleased with how the team plays at the moment. Defensively we have done very well this season just that the attack could do better. Jim Beardsley is the player who stands out in this month with his goals, but i also want to credit Gary Lewis and Julian Hayward who also excel in this month with their assists and goals.
It will be a busy February for us as seldom we will be playing six games in this month. Some tough opposition there such as Leeds Utd and Cardiff both teams chasing for an automatic promotion spot. Need to raise our performance against these teams.
Alright friends, we have show some signs of improvement and i am quite satisfied about it. The only thing that bother me is that i hope my board will stop accepting offers without consulting me. I am building a team yet he is doing the opposite. Some of the players has really matured this season and hopefully we can see a strong performance from Thurrock from now on. Thanks for following the story and i will see you in my next posts.