Dafuge & Data: Season Summary 6

What goes up, must come down. Am I referring to the team? A player? A bag of chips stolen by an angry seagull? Read on to find what happened during our first season in league one. To my limited knowledge the first season in living memory for Scarborough at this level. But before you read on about my brave, and violent, boys, catch up with the previous posts above.

Transfers ‘n that

As always we had a mad scramble for players to improve the side. As always we were largely disappointed because our reputation is low, and so is our available salary. Our overall budget went up as you can see.
But ultimately we were still limited in how much we could offer each player.

As a result, I focused recruitment around future-proofing. I felt one of two things were going to happen: 1) We would do well but our best players would be stolen from us, or 2) We would get relegated and need to rebuild.

So plenty of players with potential were brought in to supplement the core of the squad from last year. The idea being that even if they weren’t good enough to start outright this season, they would be by the time we either had to replace a starter or got relegated and had to replace all the rats leaving the sinking ship.

I’ve not included images for all of them and have instead given you a selection box of talent to look at. Some like Eze, Lynch, Dowse and Kouril are all players I’d expect to make an increasing impact in the seasons to come. Some of the others are a little bit more of a crapshoot.

Bigger and more important names are Welch, Barclay, Duggan and Howell. These are all player who would slot straight into the team, reinforcing the spine of the team. Welch and Barclay in the NCB positions, and then Howell (BWM) and Duggan (BBM) ahead of them. Kuajbi offered some more options on the left.

Early Season Form

So it started well with a nice 4-2 win over Swindon. It seemed really promising, especially with that man Varian scoring a hattrick to introduce the team to league 1. Easy. Things did start to tail off a little though. Increasingly it became evident that whilst Varian still have all the moves in his locker, his locker was now smaller than that of the bigger boys we were playing against.

He would move well, turn, get some space. In league 2 he would then outpace or brush past the defender to get a shot off. Now he was making space and then losing ground very quickly. Often not getting a shot off despite all his work. It made me a little sad. Fairs and Sasaki however stepped up and provided the goals instead. With Peake and new boy Kujabi helping out on the left, Sonny on the right, and the new signing Duggan making waves from the BBM position.

Over the course of the season, we started to build some momentum. There was a worrying moment as we found our feet in the first few months but the ship soon steadied. We headed towards the playoffs.  Far exceeding our pre-season expectations of outright relegation. This was almost derailed during the January window when bigger fish Cardiff put a bid in for Duggan.

The initial bid was an insulting (but still record-breaking) £195k. With some brazen haggling, we managed to up it to over 400k, with just £46k upfront, but £125k in instalments and then a few extra clauses (approx. £225k). Of particular note is the international call up clause. Sometimes a bit of a risk but as Duggan was both good and Northern Irish it was a bit of a given that he would meet this one at some point.

Perhaps the best bit of the deal though was getting him loaned back. Making money, saving money on wages and keeping an integral part of the jigsaw together until we could find another piece to jam in later.

Final Run

The form continued. And although we dropped points here and there it was difficult to get angry considering we weren’t meant to be within sniffing distance of this end of the table.

Automatic spots proved to be too much for us but with a few games to go we secured a playoff spot.

The Play-Offs

Semi – Peterborough

Nothing like a nice relaxing set of matches, with the tie being put to bed nice and early. And obviously, our games against Peterborough were nothing like this. A healthy 2 goal lead (almost 3) was turned on it’s head in the 2nd leg. And whilst Varian wasn’t the biggest of scorers this season he did make a big, fairy tale, impact here with the goal to send us through.

Final – Rotherham

It was a dour affair. Which I would have been fine with if we had won. We conceded a soft penalty. We concede a few penalties but they are normally really deserved. Normally it is because they have to collect bits of an opposition player that have been scattered across the pitch. So they can be sent onto the local hospital and reattached.

 This time around there was just a stiff breeze followed by a Neymar-esqe tumble. Bright managed to step up in what was his last Scarborough game and grab the injury-time equaliser. We laboured into extra time where Rotheram grabbed two goals, and we just managed one via Fairs.

It was not to be. I’m not bitter though Carlos.

End of Season Stats, Thoughts, and Feelings

So…success? Massive overperformance with no danger of relegation counts I think. I have to ignore the pain for not getting promoted as it was neve meant to be on the cards. The stats for the season back that up too.

According to xPts we should just be glad to be above midway in the table. A lot of goalkeeping heroics kept us in games as evidenced, again, by the high shots against but low conversion rate.

We bossed various other stats too. So all in all it looks promising for next year. A season to get used to L1 and a brief dalliance with the playoffs should mean it is easier to spread our wings and soar next season.

A few things to watch out for – Is Varian done? I mean he might be but I’ve extended his contract anyway.

He didn’t hit the heights of previous seasons but he’s managed over 250 league appearances, and over 150 goals in all competitions so he’s still earning his wage. I think the telling thing is that he is doing the right things but the edge he has in the lower leagues has ebbed away.

And what about this takeover?