Possibly the poorest Sassco season for a number of years, easily the most disappointing since we dropped out of the top division in 2005, without a single win to our name.
The pre-season was, as expected, quite busy, including trips a post season defeat to Redhouse FC by two goals to one in the AGUK Challenge Cup, a strong win on the Sandhill’s artificial turf against Thomas Wilson, before the team came unstuck on a Sunday morning with a surprise defeat to Leam Lane Rangers at Gateshead.This was followed with a tempestuous comeback win against Forest Hall, a massive victory over Rutherford Deaf and then a heavy defeats against West Auckland and Newcastle BT; both teams in higher levels than ourselves.
After ninety minutes of our opening game, it was obvious that the team had near-collapse. The 2-0 defeat against Cambridge was hard to bear, but the insolence of some key players, namely Stoker and Richardson, meant that I was forced to remove them from the squad. Both eventually returned, but the absence and the disarray saw a run of defeats.
We hadn’t won a single game against a decent team until we actually went to Portugal, where a memorable tour saw a win, a draw and a loss.
Back in the cold, the team suffered and Greenwell, who was appointed Coach, was ready to receive the axe, until a superb run saw the team unbeaten for several games. During this run, Greenwell suffered the “thumb” and was forced out of coaching the side, mainly due to lack of attention and interest. Michael Pearson was appointed in his stead, and kept the run going. However, as the player signing deadline approached, the team was hit with several injuries and hobbled over the finishing line with only five wins out of fourteen games in the new year.
A lot of soul searching during the summer months, but the advantage is that the team has an appointed coach for pre-season for the first time, who will bring his ideas in and look for reliable players to avoid some embarrassingly heavy defeats.
Leading scorer for the season was Mark Muers, who move from defence into attack, back into defence, then back into attack for the latter part of the season.
Overwhelming player nominated as the best Sassco player this season was goalkeeper, David Smith, who replaced Simpson (now outfield) and was a key figure in the long unbeaten run.