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End of Season Review
Written by DW   
Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:10

The 2013/14 season has been a resounding success for Whaley Bridge Football Club.  The reserve team finished the season as league runners-up and Challenge Cup champions in just their second Cheshire League campaign, whilst the First Team exceeded all - in what many had thought would be a season of transition – by equalling last season’s third place finish.

But, despite a year of positives, both sides will look back at the season and wonder what could have been.

Having remained unbeaten in the league until February, Dan Turner’s Reserve team took their quest for the title to the final day where they required a win at home to Garswood United to overtake Greenalls Padgate at the top of the league.  However, due to the inclusion of many of the visitor’s quadruple winning First Team squad, Whaley fell short, losing 6-0 forcing them to settle for a second placed finish.

Tom Scorer picked up the Player’s Player of the Year award at the club’s end of season presentation evening having amassed an incredible 40 goals in just 33 appearances in a fruitful campaign.  Scorer’s strike partner, Tom Wildgoose, managed an impressive 22 goals whilst Whaley’s defence was the best in the league – conceding just 41 goals.

The highlight of the Reserve team’s season came in late April when goals from Scorer and Laurence Reynolds secured the CFL Reserve Challenge Cup crown against Denton Town.

Dan Turner praised the work rate and togetherness of his squad, traits that will stand them in good stead for next season when they hope to go one better and complete an unprecedented double.

After the departure of long-serving First Team manager Darryl Hall and a number of senior players in the off-season, many expected John Brogden’s first season in charge to be a difficult one as his side were widely tipped for a mid-table finish.

But, after starting the season with a defeat at Eagle Sports, the First Team produced a number of accomplished and disciplined performances to secure an unlikely but well-deserved top four finish.

Impressive away wins at Gamesley (5-0) and Knutsford (2-0) and imperious home form which saw them beat both Barnton and Rudheath Social 4-0 highlighted potential which was often missing in games against lesser sides as Whaley dropped important points which could have seen them challenge Garswood United for the title.

Much like the Reserve Team, Brogden’s men boasted a miserly defensive record throughout the season, tallying 14 clean sheets and conceding just 28 goals, 14 fewer than the previous season.  This success was reflected in the end of season awards as goalkeeper James Tattersall shared the Manager’s Player of the Year award with George Burgess whilst central defender Colin Moss was awarded Player’s Player of the Year.

Whaley had no problem filling the void left by last season’s top scorer Lee Morris when he departed in the summer finishing as the league’s second highest goal scorers; Dan Christie (18) securing the golden boot award whilst set-piece specialist Bill Sutton pitched in with 14.

The First Team’s Derbyshire Cup campaign pitted them against Glossop North End for the second consecutive season and, having lost out in extra-time in 12/13, Whaley once again ran the Hillmen close; conceding in the last minute of injury time in a 2-1 defeat which epitomised the side’s organisation and battling credentials.  Glossop would go on to reach the final before losing to Ilkeston.

Whaley Bridge Football Club has much to be proud of after a year of overachievement which sees both team’s well placed for more success next season.

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