By – Sour
As promised weeks and weeks ago, here’s your (or more accurately My) summary of the latest (and greatest?) knights season.
All in all, the start of the season was a bit of a damp squib.
Chester failed to make the trip over on the first week, and the trip to Hull, although it showed some promise wasn’t an entirely convincing performance. This was then followed by back to back losses, a poor home performance against Leeds and a fairly poor 10-9 loss at Liverpool that set up an episode of late season drama that the producers of 24 would be proud of – although no-one died.
A return to dampness saw the next weekend’s game at home to York postponed following torrential rain, fireworks and fairs leaving the field at Broadway West looking more like a WWI battle field than a lacrosse field.
This took us to the middle of November and to Oldham. The weather was that bone rending, strength sapping, soul destroying cold that you always find at Oldham! This time it made no odds as the Novocastrians put on a show trotting out 14-4 winners against a the side who’d to that point arguably been the form side in the league (especially at home) and putting down a serious marker for the remainder of the season.
The Knights then embarked on an unbeaten league run that stretched to the end of the season, a total of 5 months and 3 days. One cup loss in that period – a shocking 18-5 reversal at, ironically, Oldham was the last in that column for the season.
This astounding run (including the Oldham reversal, but excluding two concessions that were recorded as 1-0 wins) saw the Knights win on average 11-7 and only once (that bloody game at Oldham) concede more than 10 goals. Wins over Chester and Liverpool (twice each) York, Hull and Leeds rounded out the season. If you want more detail I suggest clicking where it says Report over to the right and get reading some of the excellent (if I say so myself) match reports under that category.
We finished the season with a 12-3 (wins-losses) record and including three 1-0 concessions (officially) a goal difference of 134-87 (+47), an average winning margin of over 3 goals. Seven games were postponed.
Excluding those concessions, and including goals that we think we scored that didn’t make it onto the ref’s score sheet our goal difference was 135-87, with a winning margin of exactly 4 goals.
Only 3 times did we concede more than 10 goals, lost all three games, and only one other time failed to break double digits on offence.
In total 26 different players pulled on the silver and black, with and average squad size being 12.75. Only 5 players were involved every game those were Andy Higginbottom, John Wheeldon, Robin Webb, Mark Webb, and Steve Warwick. Andy Ford and Ian Stewart had 11 games each (including one reffed by Ian), with Kyle Standiford and Ed Davenport being the only other players with double digit appearances. “Fashionably Late” Nick Lacey, Phil Ellwood and James Woodrow all had 9.
A special shout out has to go to James Woodrow who not only played every position not involving a longstick this season, and refereed the most games, he was also (I think) our winningest goalie with (I think) 4 wins under his stewardship.
Other people to play in goal were (in order of first appearance) Robin Webb, DJ Crookes, Pierre McIlwee, Ed Davenport and Zanner Michael.
In terms of goals, 15 different Knights made the score sheet at one time or another, but Andy Ford came away top of the charts with 29 from his 11 games with John Wheeldon one behind on 28 from his 12 games. The most goals in scored by one player in a game were by Wheeldon with 6 against York.
The best goal average was Dave Bryant with 3.0 per game from his 3 games, followed by Ford. Scorers, their tally and average are below.
Name Goals Goals per Game
Andy Ford 29 2.64
John Wheeldon 28 2.33
Mark Webb 20 1.67
Nick Lacey 18 2.00
Kyle Standiford 9 0.90
Dave Bryant 9 3.00
Chris Suddaby 6 1.50
Andy Higginbottom 5 0.42
Robin Webb 4 0.33
Pete Happanel 2 2.00
Steve Warwick 1 0.08
Ian Stewart 1 0.10
Ben Beattie 1 0.25
Liam Thomas 1 0.50
Sam Ridgeway 1 0.50
Liverpool took home the Premier 3 Championship trophy finishing 2 points ahead of us in second with Leeds ahead of Oldham with Hull, York and Chester rounding out the division. At the start of the season, I think we’d have settled for a solid fourth, so we’ve exceeded my expectations at the very least.
To return to the subtly hidden question at the top of the article, was this the greatest Knights season?
In my opinion, maybe...we certainly played at a consistently higher level than we had in either previous season, and some of the performances were outstanding – Liverpool at home, Oldham away (league) and the clinical demolition of York away spring to mind, but there were still some glaring shockers – namely Leeds at home and Oldham away in the cup, that robbed us of a chance of some cup glory and took some of the shine off the year as a whole.
I can’t make my mind up; I’ll leave up to you to comment your hearts below and salvage something from this awful end to an article.
Previews, match reports and general musings from the Toon and beyond.