Marcus Braddock takes his weekly look at all things Town
It's been another busy week at Montgomery Waters Meadow with Town appointing Sam Ricketts as our new manager. As you will have probably read, Sam joins us from Wrexham who have been doing rather well under his management. He's had a quite broad playing career serving at a number of different levels including Premier League and international. Sam has added Jon Pitts as head of performance after working with him previously.
We've also had a couple of cup draws this week and have somehow drawn the only two teams from the same city in two different competitions! The first was a home tie to Stoke City in the Emirates F.A. Cup and the second in the CheckaTrade Trophy away to Port Vale, both to be played in January.
On the pitch it's been a bit of a mixed bag with a win at home in Sam Ricketts first game in charge, the CheckaTrade Trophy game with Walsall. Both of our goals were pretty good with Alex Gillead getting the first from outside the box as Walsall failed to clear their lines sufficiently. The defending header fell to the ex-Newcastle trainee on the edge of the box and he put it away in style. The second reminded me of a move David Beckham and Paul Scholes made direct from a corner many years ago. In our case it was Shaun Whalley who used the corner to pass to Doug Loft on the edge of the box who lofted it over everything bar the bar. It was a good performance considering the amount of changes made from the team that beat Scunthorpe the previous Saturday, with many less regular performers getting the first chance to impress the new manager.
The team was changed back to suit the demands of Skybet League One on Saturday but was again dogged by our poor away form. In fairness it was a dreadful day for football with wind, rain and low temperatures probably playing a part We were a goal down after a couple of minutes when the advancing Liam Boyce closed down Steve Arnold who had just received a backpass from Mat Sadler. Boyce's position forced Arnold to clear quickly but a wet ball span the wrong way, hitting the striker and rebounding into the net. It was a goal that owed more to tenacity than to any footballing ability but they all count. We were punished again in the 81st minute when Luke Waterfall's clearance span into the path of Burton's Scott Fraser who pushed the ball diagonally into the box and scored. Waterfall later provided the assist for Okenabirhie who scored the goal of the game on the half volley. It was his 9th goal in 20 games but it was a little too late to get a second and the three points went to Burton who used them to climb above us in the league.
We play Burton again this week in the Central League cup on Tuesday afternoon at 1pm.So far we've beaten Bristol Rovers 3-0 at home and then Walsall 3-0 away, so a win or a draw should see Town through to the next round. The game kicks-off at 1pm and admission is free through the gates by blocks 6 and 7.
The coming weekend brings us Peterborough at home for the first team and Accrington away for the under 18 team. Peterborough sit in fourth place in League One and have the second best away record in the division with just one defeat and two draws in ten games.
Last week saw Omar Beckles and Burton's Marvin Sordell join forces to raise awareness of mental health issues. As part of their effort both teams wore CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably) t-shirts in the warm up before the Burton game. Further details can be found in the news archive section of this website.
With Christmas just a couple of weeks away there have been a few announcements concerning arrangements during the festive period. Monday the 17th of December will see our annual Christmas Carols celebration, which returns to the club after a few tears at the Abbey. Everyone is welcome and Christmas jumpers are advised if you have one. It starts at 7pm with no ticket required.
The club shop are having a 12 days of Christmas promotion both online and in-store with big savings on selected items.
Looking toward to the New Year and the club have announced that there is a memorial tribute planned for fans who have passed away in the last year. Supporters are therefore invited to submit the names of their loved ones to be remembered by the club. The club would like fans to send in names for the memorial to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or pop a note into reception or the clubshop.