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After a long hiatus Mark is back with a new story. Where will it take him?

Discussion
Unbeaten league season on the cards?
It would be brilliant if we did do that @Shedender - however methinks we won't mate. Let's see what happens...

https://i.postimg.cc/nh4bhG4k/wrexhamweb.png

Dragons secure new central defender

https://i.postimg.cc/g23HgDv3/balatoni.png


Wrexham today have confirmed that Edinburgh City skipper Conrad Balatoni will be joining the Dragons in the summer after agreeing a pre-contract deal. The Leeds born 27 year old is currently captaining the Scottish capital's lesser known league side who are unbeaten in their league season so far, but is looking forward to joining his new club in the summer.

Balatoni had this to say after agreeing the deal:

"I'm very pleased to have agreed a deal with Wrexham this summer.

I am happy at Edinburgh City, the team there is performing absolutely fantastic but I could not turn down Wrexham. Wrexham is only a couple of hours or so from my home in Leeds and makes it closer to be nearer to my family who are still south of the border. It's not about the money, my family comes first and I always try and do what is the best for them.

However, Edinburgh City fans can be assured that I will still be giving them 100 per cent for the remainder of this season and hope I can lift them a trophy at the end of it. That would be the absolute perfect way to bow out and say thank you to them."


The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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Trio sign new City deals

https://i.postimg.cc/fRzNLTsF/andyblack.jpghttps://i.postimg.cc/T3tXWMYP/liamhenderson.jpghttps://i.postimg.cc/QMVZQ4HJ/grahamtaylor.jpg


Three of the players that have played an integral part in City's surprise unbeaten start to the season, have agreed one year extensions to their contracts this week. Defender Liam Henderson, attacking midfielder Andy Black and winger Graham Taylor have all put pen to paper to remain at Ainslie Park until the summer of 2020 and quash any thoughts that they will be moving on in the summer.

Henderson, 22, has formed a solid partnership with captain Conrad Balatoni in the heart of the City defence this year and was proud to sign up for a further year. He admitted:

"When the gaffer approached me with a new deal I could not grab the pen out of his hand quick enough. I love the club and the fans and it gives me a great honour to continue pull on the white jersey. I feel I can only improve and what better place than here."

Black, 23, has been a very important part of the midfield wheel since forcing his way into the side at the start of the season. Playing an attacking midfield role in the revised 4-3-3 formation, Andy admits the dressing room atmosphere was an integral factor to why he signed up again:

"I am very pleased to agree a new deal here. The Club is doing well and the dressing room atmosphere at the moment is something else. All the players are buying into what the managerial team have set up. It's a team effort and everyone is playing their part."

Young winger Taylor, 20, who has twice won the Divisional Player of the Month and Divisional Young Player of the Month this season: was equally happy and reserved a lot of praise for the manager:

"As a young winger looking to make a name in the world of football, I am so pleased to agree an extension to my current deal. All the credit for my form this season has to go down to the gaffer, he is a breath of fresh air around here and has improved my game no end. I wouldn't have signed a new contract if it wasn't for him. Now I hope to repay him further with more scintillating performances."

In other news, defender Gareth Rodger looks certain to leave the Club after having had a transfer request granted, The former St.Johnstone trainee has failed to break into the starting line up this season and feels a change of scenery might just kickstart his career.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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December 2018 Round-Up


https://i.postimg.cc/pL6yFXv0/FM19-December2018-1.png


Another busy month as we head towards the halfway point of the season.

It started with a trip from the Spiders, Queen's Park, who are the oldest club in Scotland. In front of a crowd higher than our average, the fans who attended were treated to a goal fest. Again we made an excellent start with a goal after just 13 minutes when Graham Taylor headed down a Craig Thomson corner into the path of attacking midfielder Andy Black who rifled a shot into the net. Five minutes later we doubled the lead, Black scoring his second of the game when he placed a shot beyond the visiting keeper from just inside the penalty area after being found in a pocket of space. A third arrived in the 26th minutes and who else scored it but the lethal goal machine that is Blair Henderson. A long ball forward from Robbie McIntyre was collected by Scott Shepherd who hared down on goal, whilst Nimmo's well judged tackle denied the striker a goal: the ball landed at the feet of Henderson who simply made no mistake.

Nine minutes after half time, we went 4-0 ahead. Another Thomson corner and this time a powerful header from Taylor found the back of the net. Spiders then woke up, top scorer Josh Peters reduced the arrears in the 67th minute and then central defender Dean Kindlan headed in a second with eight minutes to go. We weren't about to throw it away were we? Thankfully two minutes after the Kindlan goal, we added a fifth goal and it was a replica of the first one with Taylor heading down a Thomson corner and Black completing a superb hat-trick with a controlled finish. Peters scored a second and a third for the away team in the closing stages but we held on for win number 14.

The press had been gushing that we could break the League Two record for consecutive wins if we saw off second placed Annan at Galabank the week after. It looked to be danger when Galabankies top scorer and danger man Aidan Smith gave his side a deserved lead which they held right up to half time. The team had to step it up if they wanted to preserve their record, and the hero came from an unlikely goalscoring hero. Step forward attacking right-back Thomson, who first of all levelled matters on the hour with a curling free-kick that gave the keeper no chance and then scored the winner six minutes from time. It was another free-kick which took a massive deflection off the wall and wrong footed the keeper to find its way. A new league record in the book but my gosh we had to work hard for it.

We had to work hard the week after too as we entertained Elgin City at Ainslie Park. After a goalless and dour first half, Elgin took the lead in the 49th minute through Jack Purdue but that lead only lasted seven minutes when loanee Adam Watson crossed from the right and Henderson made no mistake again. The winner came 17 minutes from time, Henderson was baulked as he looked to seize on his own rebounded shot...penalty...and one result as the striker stepped up to put the perfect spot kick away. It was also the game I introduced a new face as reserve team top scorer Regan Lumsden came off the bench in the 58th minute and to be honest; he acquitted himself very well indeed.

Cowdenbeath were supposed to be next, but the game was postponed whilst we were on our way there due to the Central Park pitch being waterlogged. It has been subsequently been rearranged for New Year's Day which means that January is going to be a hell of a hectic month if it wasn't already. We finished the month at Shielfield and struggled to get our game going throughout, the game being decided by a single goal from Berwick's Euan Turner in the 54th minute. A first league loss of the season but to be honest I knew it would be coming sooner rather than later.

That said...It's all your fault @Shedender - you jinxed it buddy

The league table at the end of December 2018 reads as follows:

https://i.postimg.cc/8PnrhbBB/FM19-December2018-2.png

Next Game Update: December Monthly Awards
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Monthly Awards - December 2018


https://i.postimg.cc/yd2VPBT7/FM19-December2018-3.png

So I could not make it four monthly awards in a row. Guess that first loss of the season against Berwick really did have an impact then. Still normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. I'm more than happy with what I have done so far.

https://i.postimg.cc/Pf8fqptJ/FM19-December2018-4.png

No luck with the player awards. Andy Black really did have a very good month, his hat trick against Queens Park was so well taken. The Young Player of the Month award saw none of our players nominated but hey ho...
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Watson extends Citizens loan deal

https://i.postimg.cc/wxkfLFxG/adamwatson.png


Adam Watson has extended his loan deal at Ainslie Park to stay on loan until the end of the season.

The 20 year old attacking midfielder who joined on a half season loan from Scottish Premiership side Livingston, has today agreed terms with City to spend the remainder of the campaign here. Whilst he has failed to secure a permanent slot in the team, Watson obviously feels that he can continue to improve his development here instead of going back to Livingston.

"My initial loan deal here was to expire at the end of December so it was a case of wondering do City still want me? The gaffer made it quite clear he did, and was quick to secure an extension with Livi. If he hadn't then I would have been playing reserve team football and game time is quite important to me.

I know I haven't started as many games as I would like but I'll keep working hard and hope to force my way into the team sooner rather than later. The best I feel is yet to come."

Manager Mark Duell was keen to keep the youngster:

"It wasn't a tough decision to decide to extend Adam's loan to be honest. He's an exceptional young player who probably will go onto bigger and better things, so to have him on loan here is a major coup. He's not played many games for us because of the quality we have in front of him and the fact we have a very settled line up week in; week out which makes it so hard to change when the team is winning games as regular as we have. He still remains a very important part of my plans this season."
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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Humphrey agrees Citizens deal
28 December 2018


https://i.postimg.cc/DyPPtz4p/chrishumphrey.jpg


There is a new face on its way to Ainslie Park, but Edinburgh City fans will have to wait until next season to see him in action.

Former Hibs winger Chris Humphrey has agreed terms with City and will become the first signing for 2019-20 when he arrives in the summer. The 31 year old speedy winger, who is currently plying his trade at East Kilbride in the GeoSonic Lowland League, is back in the big league after a couple of seasons flittering around the lower leagues both North and South of the border and he admits he cannot wait to get started for his new club:

"I'm very pleased to become an Edinburgh City player next season. My career has taken a bit of lull in the last couple of seasons but it's great to feel wanted and back with a team that clearly is aiming high. I had some great times earlier in my career in Scotland's top division and Mark sold the ambition so well that I could not say no. I look forward to pulling on the white of Edinburgh City next season and exciting my new supporters.

I feel I have plenty of offer and the pace is still there. We can really go places here."

The Edinburgh City chief is equally happy to bring the winger in:

"As well as having a great squad this season, it's imperative that we build on these foundations next season already and acquiring Chris is a massive coup for us. Here is a guy that played 132 times for Motherwell in the top division here and he's still only 31. He has terrific crossing ability and has pace in abundance. I'm sure this signing will have a lot of people talking and our fans jumping for joy that we have managed to secure such an established player in our ranks.

His signing is a statement that Edinburgh City aren't prepared to stand still. This signing is just the beginning."
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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Manager's Half Time Report


31 December 2018

Well we have just completed the first half of the season; and what a ride we are having so far.

One of the main things I wanted was to develop a playing system that the players could buy into and they have certainly done just that. We have found a formation that everyone feels suited to and it's certainly reflects in our results and the league table as well. We have certainly found a golden blend and it's a great feeling when you see your team in control. A single defeat all season and 11 points clear of second in the league as I write this is something special, even some of the bigger names are casting eyes in our direction as if to query how are we being so damn good.

I have also done a bit research too. The last three champions have picked up 62, 66 and 77 points respectively and we are currently on 48 in 17 games. If we can keep our focus then who knows what kind of points tally we could end up with. Even Rangers could only manage 83 in their season at this level and we could quite easily eclipse if the first half of the season is matched. That would certainly be something to crow about.

The players themselves make managing a joy. There is ability right through the team from back to front, and in Blair Henderson we have a proven goalscorer who fancies his chances every time he gets an opportunity. He could quite end up with 40 goals this season if he carries on at his current pace. But Blair knows it's a team effort and when everyone wants to be part of it then the results come as good as they have. However being as good as we are at the moment, means we are there to be shot at. Teams will want to beat us and knock us off our lofty perch which we are on at the moment, we need to be ready for that.

I just hope, finally, we can finish this remarkable season with a trophy. That would be the icing on the proverbial cake.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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More updates coming soon, stay tuned.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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Allan agrees to Edinburgh move
4 January 2019


https://i.postimg.cc/rwR5VVKk/Matty-Allan.jpg


First there was one, now there are two as Edinburgh City manager Mark Duell announced his second summer signing,

Joining the Citizens in the summer is Montrose central defender Matthew Allan; after the former Dundee trainee agreed a pre-contract arrangement to switch to the League Two pacesetters once his Links Park contract expires. He becomes the second player that City have acquired from Montrose after Michael Bolochoweckyj swapped the Gable Endies for the Scottish capital last July. The new arrival is looking forward to his new challenge:

"Although I have had a regular campaign this season with Montrose, I'm quite looking forward to my impending new chapter with Edinburgh. I spoke with Mark, the manager, and "Bolo" who is a former teammate and is already there and Bolo told me what a great set up they have at Ainslie Park. Even though Bolo admitted he hasn't had much game time, he thinks it will be a great career move for me and it's great to be wanted by a club that is looking to the future.

They play some good football there which suits me down to the ground. I just hope I can hit the ground running when I arrive and establish myself in the team."

The Edinburgh City chief is also pleased with his latest capture:

"I'm pleased to secure the signing of Matthew on a pre-contractual arrangement. He's been a mainstay in the Montrose defence this season and despite being just 22, has a good deal of experience behind him. To acquire him on a free transfer I think is a great deal for the Club. Matthew is keen as mustard to join us, and I hope our fans are looking forward to seeing him in our colours. He's got some terrific potential about him and with us losing Conrad (Balatoni) in the summer to Wrexham, he is the ideal replacement we were looking for."
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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Ayr snap up striker


https://i.postimg.cc/1533cvQ7/goodwillie.jpg

25 January 2019

Ayr today announced that they have agreed terms with Clyde striker David Goodwillie to join them when the striker's contract at Broadwood expires in the summer.

The former Rangers and Dundee United striker, 29, will become a Honest Man after sealing a deal with boss Ian McCall today. He admits it was a deal that was not too hard to make:

"I'm pleased today to announce that I will be joining Ayr this summer once my Clyde contract expires.

It was not a hard decision to make, Ayr were the only team that I wanted to join and it's easy on the travel which makes it a no brainer. I did have interest from other teams but I want to continue my career playing at a high level and Ayr fits that bill perfectly. Clyde have been brilliant in giving me games, as well as entrusting me with the captaincy, but League Two is not where I want to remain and to be wanted by a team that wants to get into the Premiership is something to get excited about."

It is alleged that League Two leaders Edinburgh City were keen to sign the front runner but, like the Canadian Mountie, boss McCall has got his man:

"I'm happy to bring a striker of David's calibre here to Somerset Park. He is player that knows where the net is and increases our firepower. We're looking forward to working with him and I'm sure he will excite our fans no doubt. He is quite simply a terrific signing for Ayr United."
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January 2019 Round-Up


https://i.postimg.cc/bNss69M3/FM19-January2019-1.png


What a hectic schedule with six games! Well we are in the second half of the season now, things are certain to heat up from now on.

January began with the re-arranged game at Central Park, Cowdenbeath on Ne'er Day after the original staging was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Cowdenbeath came into the game having conceded the least number of goals in the division but that record suffered a bit of a jolt after we had rolled into town. It was a close game for the first 45, and duly ended up goalless. I rallied the boys at the interval, demanding we upped the game and bounce back from the loss at Berwick just three days previously. Attacking midfielder Andy Black rampaged forward from midfield in the 58th minute, and although Robbie Buchanan halted his progress further with a well timed tackle: the loose ball fell at the feet of none other than Blair Henderson six yards and unmarked; 1-0 to us. Four minutes later we went 2-0 ahead when Dryden was adjudged to have brought down Scott Shepherd in the area, it did look harsh but we will take it, and Henderson made no mistake from the spot. We secured the win in the dying stages, Henderson this time setting up substitute Marc Laird to score his first of the season from close range.

Four days later and we entertained Stirling Albion at Ainslie Park, and were two goals to the good before we had played 15 minutes. We took the lead as early as the 9th minute when set-piece master Craig Thomson curled in another free-kick from wide on the right that beat the Stirling keeper at his near post. It was doubled five minutes later, Kieran Stewart put Henderson in space on the right and the prolific front man turned provider for strike partner Shepherd to again score against his old club with a composed finish from just outside the six yard box. It could, and should have been, three in the 24th minute but Henderson missed a rare penalty when he fired straight at the keeper and then couldn't turn in the rebound. Goal number three did come, and did so in the 42nd minute, thanks to another brilliantly executed free-kick from Thomson that had the keeper grasping thin air. Darren Smith reduced it 3-1 just after the hour but we saw it home with ease.

A trip to rainy Hampden followed and we took the spoils thanks to a couple of first half goals. The first came as early as 63 seconds; when after a spot of head tennis, Henderson picked up a loose ball just inside the penalty area then proceeded to create a chance of his own before curling the effort into the far corner. It was 2-0 as we headed towards half-time, the Spiders failed to deal with a Thomson corner and Black finished from around 12 yards. Despite the home side controlling the game, we repelled everything they threw at us and ensured Spiders dangerous striker Josh Skelly had an absolute stinker. One of the best away performances of the season I thought.

That game at Hampden would be the first of three in seven days. The midweek game would see us play second placed Annan at Ainslie and look to extend our advantage at the top of the table. Adam Watson was instrumental in the 7th minute opening goal when his dangerous low cross was diverted on the post by Annan defender Steven Swinglehurst and before the keeper could collect, Stewart reacted first to prod the ball home. Swinglehurst conceded the foul that led to our second goal in the 19th minute, upending Watson and Henderson made no mistake from the penalty spot. They were back in it two minutes later, prolific striker of their own Aidan Smith with the goal that halved the deficit. The two goal lead was restored in the 47th minute, Langan baulked Henderson and the striker duly obliged with a second successive penalty in the game. Swinglehurst gave his side hope by reducing the lead to 3-2 just before the hour but their hopes took a massive hit when Chris Johnston was red carded in the 63rd minute. We made it 4-2 a minute later, central defender Liam Henderson heading home from a Thomson free-kick from wide on the left. Annan couldn't respond after that.

The big William Hill Scottish Cup Fourth Round tie at home to Premiership St.Mirren was the penultimate game in January, and it also saw us exit the competition. However, it was not the rout that most expected it would be. Buddies central defender Alfie Jones, on loan from Southampton, heading in the only goal of the game in the 41st minute when we failed to pick him up from a corner. We struggled to break them down and had to come off losers for once. They had given their best though in front of a club record crowd of 1956, twice as much as the previous record against Motherwell.

Another month concluded with an away trip to Elgin City and it was another tight contest. The game was decided by one goal and that came in the 56th minute; teenage substitute Regan Lumsden with the shot and the recalled Danny Handling reacted first before anyone to snaffle up the rebound that the City keeper provided. Five wins out five for the month and back to winning ways; perhaps the dream of promotion is within reach now.

So the league table at the end of January reads as follows:

https://i.postimg.cc/R0YxPwHx/FM19-January2019-2.png

Next Game Update: January Monthly Awards
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Monthly Awards - January 2019


https://i.postimg.cc/523vVxBn/FM19-January2019-4.png

After not winning the award last month, a maximum win ratio in January saw me pick up my 4th Manager of the Month award. Would I be considered too greedy to say I'm now eyeing the Manager of the Year award now?

https://i.postimg.cc/bwkPDJC9/FM19-January2019-3.png

And well deserved too... Our set piece expert got the Player of the Month award so it's a huge congratulations to right-back Craig Thomson! Blair got third in the same award so that's testament to how good this team is. Nothing on the Young Player of the Month scene however. But we can't win everything can we?

I'm definitely being greedy now I guess haha!
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February 2019 Preview


https://i.postimg.cc/4dCn5LHc/FM19-Feb2019-Fixtures.png


14 games left to go in season one.

We start February with a home game against basement club Albion Rovers. The last game saw us crush them 6-0 at their place so I guess people will be expecting another hammering but to me, I will take a 1-0 win to be honest. It's a match that has the potential to be a banana skin if we go into it with any degree of complacency, we need to avoid it.

Following on from the Wee Rovers visit, it's a tough game away to Peterhead. Peterhead have massively underperformed this season in my eyes and now have a new manager in place so it will be equally tough if it wasn't already. I will be more than happy to come away from that away trip with a point to be honest.

We finish the month with back to back home games. First up is Berwick, the only team to have beaten us this season in the league. If we perform like we did at Shielfield in December then we will get beat, pure and simple. A revenge mission is on the cards. Then we finish February with Cowdenbeath in town, a team that doesn't concede many but equally doesn't score loads. I'm expecting them to come for the draw, we will have to be patient and break them down.

Overall we are on 63 points from 22 games, just 10 points shy of equalling our points record of 73 which we accomplished in the 2015-16 Lowland League season which saw us win the title. It's looking good!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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Sensational league season going on here dude! And very unlucky to narrowly lose out to st Mirren.
https://i.imgur.com/zgMyvyG.png?2
It really is absolutely remarkable @Dan - I have just have been incredibly lucky with how it's unfolding. Imagine if we had beaten St.Mirren...absolute scenes one can only surmise!

Hoping to have another monthly update done in the next few days. Might get season one done by the end of the month at this rate! Keep reading and comments always welcomed.
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February 2019 Round-Up


https://i.postimg.cc/rsG7SY6Q/FM19-February2019-1.png


Another four game schedule for February, could we keep this train rolling towards the promised land?

The month began with a home game against bottom placed Albion Rovers. We were expected to win, and made a great start with the opening goal after just 7 minutes. A sweeping move saw Andy Black find Graham Taylor on the left 12 yards out and the young winger swept a shot into the far corner. Two goals either side of the midway in that opening half sealed the win for us. In the 21st minute, a wonderful cross field pass from Taylor found Danny Handling and his low cross found young Regan Lumsden in space to tuck away a neat shot; it was the academy product's first ever senior goal. What a moment! Then three minutes later, we added a third. Craig Thomson flighted in a corner and Blair Henderson nodded home at the near post. Albion scarcely troubled us and we literally cruised to another three point haul.

The following week was our only away game of the month, at underachieving Peterhead who are managed by former Dundee boss Jim Duffy. Experienced manager vs Rookie some said. It was a fairly even contest until we broke the stalemate nine minutes before half time. A swift counter attack saw Black again provide the assist and once Taylor obliged with another smart finish. We sealed the win five minutes from time, Thomson launched the ball forward to relieve the pressure that was building, and Eadie allowed himself to be dispossessed by substitute Scott Shepherd, on for Lumsden who had put in another great shift, and the former Stirling Albion striker took a couple of touches to steady himself before finishing confidently. A tough game but rewarded perfectly and it also guaranteed us a place in the play-offs should we inexplicably collapse afterwards.

It was top versus second next as we hosted Berwick in the first of back to back home games, and a chance to get our own back on the team who had inflicted our sole defeat of the season. A goalless first half and memories of Shielfield came flooding back but we managed to open the scoring in the 51st minute. Berwick left-back Aidan McIlduff dallied in possession too much to allow Handling in and from his cross, Henderson drilled home his 30th of the season! Eight minutes later, we had doubled the advantage. Some great passing saw Robbie McIntyre spot the run of Henderson with some excellent vision and the striker fired across the stranded keeper for a quickfire double. The game was put beyond Berwick ten minutes from time; Thomson with the corner and although Kieran Stewart headed goalwards, fellow substitute Brad Donaldson made sure from virtually on the goal line. It felt bitter sweet as the defender had been pretty scathing in the days before that he didn't see eye to eye with me and that I was alienating him.

The month finished with misery Cowdenbeath at Ainslie Park. We were ahead ten minutes before half time thanks another well executed counter attack, Henderson provided the cross and although Shepherd fired his initial effort against the crossbar. the striker had the awareness before anyone else to smash home the rebound whilst Cowdenbeath looked at each other. Our task seemed to be improved early in the second half when Celtic loanee Robbie Deas was sent packing for a professional foul which reduced the "Blue Brazil" down to ten men. But we couldn't get that second goal to kill them off, and so it proved 12 minutes from time. A free-kick was punted into the danger area and Kris Renton placed a header beyond the reach of Callum Antell for the equaliser and a share of the spoils.

Therefore the table at the end of February reads as follows:


https://i.postimg.cc/sDW7jdYk/FM19-February2019-2.png

Next Game Update: February Monthly Awards
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Monthly Awards - February 2019


https://i.postimg.cc/905y3C8F/FM19-February2019-3.png

Despite not winning every single game in Febriuary, I did enough to have another Manager of the Month award sent my way. So much so that the Board are wanting to talk contracts ahead of this deal expiring in the summer.

https://i.postimg.cc/SR6Ck33L/FM19-February2019-4.png

Another Young Player of the Month for our young winger who is having an absolutely sensational season, and he finished second in the voting for the senior Player of the Month voting as well. He's definitely got to be in the running for a big award at the end of the season right?
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March 2019 Preview


https://i.postimg.cc/Gm2854Lx/FM19-Mar2019-Fixtures.png


We're heading into the home stretch now with another five game schedule ahead of us.

Although we are in the play-offs for sure, I'm hoping that we can secure the title in March if at possible. We begin March with a trip to Broadwood and face underachieving Clyde who have our former transfer target David Goodwillie in their squad. Like Peterhead the month before, it promises to be a tough game and we will have to be on our game to take away a maximum point haul.

The week after sees "The Spiders" back in Edinburgh. Games against Queens Park have been very close and entertaining this season and I am expecting nothing different here. They have an attack that can really hurt you if you are too complacent, but it's their defence that I feel is their weak point. I'm hoping we can exploit that and secure another home win.

It doesn't get any easier the week following as we go to Galabank to face Annan. It's a game that Blair Henderson will be relishing as he goes back to his former club and hoping to add to his prolific goal tally this season, but they will be looking to burst our bubble. We need to be ready for that.

The month concludes with two more tough tests, Peterhead are first up at home and I am half expecting Jim Duffy to have his troops rallied and up for the game by the time this game comes around. We recently beat them 2-0 at their place so they will be smarting from that as they try to squeak into the play-off picture. We conclude it with a trip back to Shielfield, and if we play as confident as we can then I'm sure we won't lose at their place this time out.

We're going into this month on 73 points; a point from any of these games would see us break a club record for the most points in a season. Another record that could tumble is if we record one more win then we will have recorded our 25th win of the season: another club record. It's certainly been a season to remember.

What a time to be a part of this!
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So would we win the title with games to spare?

A 2-2 draw on 16 March did this....
https://i.postimg.cc/520D5kK2/FM19-Champions1819-Spoiler.png
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March 2019 Round-Up


https://i.postimg.cc/Vv5g22x7/FM19-March2019-1.png


Two months of the season left, and pushing for glory.

We started March with the trip to Broadwood to face an underachieving Clyde. The team made a great start with a goal in the second minute. Some great passing again from the boys in pouring rain, saw Blair Henderson tee up Danny Handling who found the back of the net via the far post. They all count don't they? Clyde levelled ten minutes from the break, Johnstone with the cross from the right wing and we failed to track the run of David Goodwillie and he finished from close range. If only he had wanted to talk terms with us the other month. We regained the lead twenty minutes from time, Graham Taylor with the through ball and Henderson shrugged off the home defender to drill yet another goal. Could we hold on? Alas not, Clyde got a second equaliser with five minutes and again we switched off once more to allow Goodwillie to again ghost in unmarked at the far post. Not the best result but equally not the worst.

Queens Park rolled into town the week after and once more it was a close game with one goal separating the sides. Thankfully it went our way, and it came in the 68th minute. Craig Thomson with another brilliant delivery from the right wing, and striker Scott Shepherd got above his marker to power home a header into the back of the old onion bag. It was ironic that he actually scored it because I was seriously debating about substituting him moments before the goal.

We could clinch the title at Galabank the week afterwards if we picked up a point there. Annan obviously hadn't read the script as they were still challenging for a top four finish, and delighted their supporters when they took a 5th minute lead through Scott Roberts. Perhaps the impending title celebrations nerves were kicking in as we looked fairly tense and a bit of out of sorts. However, we rallied after a few words at half time with the equaliser four minutes after the interval; another cross from Thomson and deep to the far post where Taylor had pulled away from his marker to fire home into the opposing corner. We took the lead in the 76th minute and what a goal it was. Substitute Kieran Stewart split open the Annan defence completely with a majestic through ball and Henderson hared onto it before striking home a delightful finish against his old club. We couldn't hold on again though as Roberts scored his second of the game with five minutes left.

Yet after that, we did manage to tighten up and picked up the point we needed. We are LADBROKES LEAGUE TWO CHAMPIONS!

Another of the league's underachievers were next up as Peterhead came to Ainslie Park. The home crowd were in party mood as we picked up the League Two trophy at the end of the game itself, hearing a chant of "We've got Conrad Balatoni; wouldn't you like to know" to the tune of the Balamory Children's TV programme certainly made me chuckle. The game itself was reminiscent of games in March overall, us taking the lead and then failing to hold onto it. This time we took an early advantage in the 3rd minute when Marc Laird headed in a Thomson free-kick but they got a point when experienced striker Derek Lyle powered in a header of his own with 22 minutes left. The celebrations were soured a bit when Thomson limped off with a groin strain just before the hour mark which might keep him out for the final few games of the season.

With the title won at Annan, I decided to give back up keeper Fraser Morton a few games to give him some involvement and assure him he was still part of my plans. He started in the Peterhead draw and kept his place for the final game of March; away at Berwick. We made a sensational start with a goal after just 48 seconds! Berwick left-back Gary Phillips impeded Handling in the area and Henderson sent the keeper the wrong way for his 34th goal of the season. Euan Turner, scorer of the game winner in this same game at the end of December, levelled for the Borderers just after the half hour but we got the game winner with three minutes to go to half time. Handling crossing to the far post where Taylor volleyed first time into the roof of the net. That said the backheel from Henderson to send away Handling away was just sublime.

So the table at the end of March is as follows:

https://i.postimg.cc/bN9Mkjzn/FM19-March2019-2.png
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We are the Champions!

https://i.postimg.cc/mDSMVVhm/LL2-Trophy.jpg


When the final shrill of Gavin Ross' whistle sounded at Galabank, Annan: it was celebration time to pop those champagne corks.

EDINBURGH CITY ARE LEAGUE TWO CHAMPIONS!

Rookie manager Mark Duell has engineered something that even the most ardent Citizens supporter dreamed was impossible and that was to bring home silverware in the shape of the League Two title heading its way to Ainslie Park for the first time in its history. It's an amazing feat considering City were not expected to win anything by the experts and most had them thinking that a relegation battle was on the cards after last season's 9th place finish. However, isn't it just great to prove a lot of people wrong?

An emotional Duell had this to say at the final whistle:

"What can I really say about this? It's the stuff of dreams that you can't bottle.

When I took over the role in July, a few people doubted my ability to lead here considering I had no experience at all in managing a football club. However, they say believe in your own abilities and that is what I have done. It's not just me though, it's everyone. The Chairman, the players, my back room team: we have all bought in as one and this is the end result. I can't wait to get my hands on that trophy at home next Saturday.

It's been a long hard slog but we have got over the line and that's very pleasing indeed. To do it with seven games to spare it's even more remarkable. Consistency and sheer hard work is the key and we have such a tight knit team here, not one person is bigger than the team. There's definitely no I in team as the saying goes here. Our quest to go on better things continues now, as Neil Lennon said: "This is not the end , it's just the beginning!" - we will be looking to kick on even further when we take the next step in League One."
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Citizens joy as Duell signs on once more
29 March 2019


https://i.postimg.cc/280sgfPD/new-deal.jpg


Less than two weeks after celebrating the League Two title, Edinburgh City fans are in joyous mood again.

Their reason this time, manager Mark Duell has agreed a new two year deal at Ainslie Park that will take him up to the end of the 2021 season. The then unknown manager could have been the target of bigger clubs when his initial 12 month deal expired at the end of May but the likeable manager will be in the dugout when City kick off their inaugural League One campaign in August. Both Chairman Jim Brown and Duell are happy to get his deal done early:

Jim Brown:

"I am pleased to announce today that we have agreed terms with Mark on a new 2 year contract. After what he has achieved this season, it was the easiest decision I have ever made as the Club Chairman. He's been a breath of fresh air ever since we brought in and has wholly justified why we acquired. He's destined for greatness but if he can continue to establish us then who knows what we can achieve together."

Mark Duell:

"This new deal was quite simply a no brainer as they say. When the Chairman says we are looking at rewarding you with a new contract at the end of March, you just can't say no can you? I'm glad it's a 2 year one which gives me and the Club themselves a fair of stability. We will be looking to compete next season and can't wait to get started. I've fallen in love with the Club and the City as a whole, I can't see me going anywhere else soon. This is the place I want to be at, let's continue the journey right?"
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Monthly Awards - March 2019


https://i.postimg.cc/XqQPMw18/FM19-March2019-3.png

Not the best month in terms of results to be honest: two wins and three draws. But still good enough to get third placed in the Manager of the Month awards. The Manager of the Year one is the one I'm really craving now...just give it to me!

None of our players featured in the Player and Young Player of the Month awards. Ah well....
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April and May 2019 Preview


https://i.postimg.cc/LXVCftSp/FM19-Aprand-May2019-Fixtures.png

Five more games to go.

Tight Cowdenbeath start the schedule with our second away game in a row; at Central Park. They grabbed a draw at our place last time out so we will have to be extra cautious there. However, we have won there before so why not again?

Another toughie comes at home at Clyde. We surrendered a lead twice recently at Broadwood so we will have to equally vigilant on our own patch. David Goodwillie is a prolific scorer and if we give him room, like we did in that 2-2 draw there, we will get punished for it. No mistakes this time out.

The season finishes with on paper, three easy games, but then again nothing is easy is it? We go basement strugglers Albion Rovers first and I'm hoping we can continue our goal tally there at their expense, well we did score six there earlier in the campaign. Elgin are next and if we underestimate them, we will lose. They are looking for a strong finish for sure, it will be nice finish our home campaign with a win eh? Then we go to Stirling, another struggler. Nothing less than three points for a game there.

We're still closing in records, the League Two points is 88 and we start April on 83. Talk about ripping it all up.

Enjoy the final five games, we've still got things in our sights even though the silverware is in that cabinet!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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Sensational season and top work wrapping up the title so early!
https://i.imgur.com/zgMyvyG.png?2
Walked the league @HockeyBhoy. Congrats!
Aye it was something else @Dan - let's see how season two unfolds.


Thanks @Shedender, I'm hoping for more to come mate
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April/May 2019 Round-Up


https://i.postimg.cc/PqPJnzX5/FM19-April2019-1.png


With the title in the bag, we headed into the final five games of the season with no pressure on our collective backs. The question was: could we break some more records along the way?

April began with a final trip to Central Park, Cowdenbeath, to face the home side who still harboured dreams of making the play-offs. It wasn't a great game from our perspective as we struggled as we have done so much in the last few games. I really can't put my proverbial finger on it, it's not as if we have changed the formation. Anyway Cowdenbeath looked like they would inflict our second defeat of the season when Josh Skelly gave them a 24th minute lead. However, we rescued a point nine minutes from time. Andy Black played the ball over the top of the home defence, and there was the predator that is Blair Henderson and he applied the finish. Two points dropped I felt at the end.

Clyde arrived in town the following week for our penultimate home game and they have really started to show why they had been second favourites for the title in recent weeks, winning home and away. It looked like we would stop that run when we went ahead four minutes from half time. Danny Handling provided a cross which Scott Shepherd headed against the crossbar but Henderson reacted first before anyone else to prod home the rebound from six yards out. However, Clyde upped their game in the second half and we simply folded like a deck of cards. Dangerman David Goodwillie scored as did Colin Johnstone and Dundee United loanee Logan Chalmers and so defeat number two actually did happen. It was extremely annoying as we created chances but wasted the majority of them; just 2 on target from 19 attempts is just not on.

The perfect riposte could come at bottom placed Albion Rovers the week after. However, the sides actually treated the fans there to a bit of a goal fest with defences taking a bit of an afternoon off. We took the lead after 16 minutes, Kieran Stewart had a shot parried by the home keeper but young winger Graham Taylor tucked away the rebound. A second arrived less than a minute later, Shepherd teeing up Stewart who placed his effort into the net. Yet we gave Albion a route back into the game when their captain rifled in a long range free-kick that simply thundered home and gave young Fraser Morton no chance whatsoever. Just after the half hour, they were level. A corner was played to Jamie Watson outside the box, and we backed off uncharacteristically to allow him to meander through and pick his spot beyond Morton.

Sensing the lads weren't showing any care, I urged more passion from them. It had an almost immediate effect when we regained the lead in the 38th minute when Taylor headed in his second of the game from a Handling corner. Surely we would put the match beyond Albion now and kick on right? Er, wrong. They drew level eight minutes after the break, Watson scoring his second of the game. I seriously though we were going to throw this away and suffer an embarrassing loss. Thankfully the blushes were spared in the 69th minute as we got what turned out to be the match winner. Henderson flighted in a free-kick, see there is more to his game than scoring goals, and Josh Walker got his head on it before anyone else to score our fourth of the game and the most crucial.

Our penultimate game of the season saw Elgin City come to Ainslie Park, and I named Mr Assist (Craig Thomson) on the bench after he had recovered from his groin injury with a view to starting him next week in the final game at Stirling. Taylor volleyed home a Handling cross in the 37th minute for his 20th of the season. but that lead lasted just four minute when Davie Wardrope levelled for Elgin. We did go into the half time break in the lead though, a well flighted cross by Henderson and another powerful header into an opponents goal from the superb Taylor. We put the game to bed with two goals in the last 17 minutes. First of all, Black set up Henderson who finished from an acute angle and then with five minutes left who else but Thomson with goal number four through another superb curling free-kick like he has done so often all season.

That win allowed us to break the most goals in the league ever, and also hit the 89 point barrier thereby breaking East Fife's record of 88 in the old Third Division (as it was then known) set in the 2007-08 season.

The season concluded at Stirling, who had recently secured their survival a few weeks ago and they took the lead when midfielder Dominic Docherty put them into a 12th minute lead. We had lost striker Shepherd with injury as early as the 6th minute, young starlet Regan Lumsden replacing him. Yet we levelled with six minutes from half time, Thomson whipped in a free-kick and Taylor applied the finish at the far post. The game looked to go towards a draw but we took the lead with 18 minutes left, Lumsden heading down a Thomson corner for Black to squeeze his shot beyond the keeper and the man on the line. That knocked the stuffing out of Stirling and we secured the win with four minutes left, Robbie McIntyre crossed for Black who was certain to score his second but saw the keeper pull off an amazing point blank save but the ball rebounded out to who else but Henderson who finished the season as he started it with yet another goal.

The final standings were as follows:


https://i.postimg.cc/fbq61p5J/FM19-April2019-2.png
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
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Here's a more detailed league table....

https://i.postimg.cc/CMqW6v8x/FM19-End-Season-Table1819.png
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