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Preseason News – Preseason Review 2019

Preseason News – Preseason Review 2019

The club embarked on its third preseason since its formation in March 2017.

With the departure of Neil Sutcliffe as both Chairman & First Team Manager, many changes were to be made within the management setup before the start of this seasons preseason.

First port of call was to install a new first team manager which the club offered the position to Sam Cook of which he accepted.

Sam needed to rebuild his coaching team from scratch and swiftly set about getting back club favourite Luke O’Donnell to install the required fitness within the squad.

Also added to the coaching team was Jon Harrigan as a goalkeeper coach, something of which Ben Tate would have been pleased to hear given he had been waiting nearly two years to finally get someone to coach him individually.

With the coaching team in place, it was all now about getting the players ready for the new season.

The club had a couple of new faces join us for training in the month of July, Will Rist & Tyler Hughes both showed promise and managed to make an appearance during the first couple of preseason friendlies.

Tyler Hughes made just 2 appearances before breaking his leg in two places during a friendly with West St Leonards cutting short any hopes of him fighting for a place within the Chopbacks dressing room.

Later on in preseason 3 more players joined the squad for training, Syd Moffat-Bailey & Jay Beaumont both making appearances in friendlies and most recently Dan Aldous who has yet to make a match appearance.

The majority of last season’s squad chose to sign for the 2019/20 season with the likes of Ben Tate, Brad Owens, Byron Nichol, Charley Adams, Connor Smith, Dayle McGurk, Georgie McDonagh, Harry Jackson, Jack Bloomfield, Lee Finnigan, Luke Darvill & Ryan Fuller staying on for another season.

Of course not all players choose to stay on every year and this year saw a couple move on to pastures new.

Firstly was Mike Hawley who decided to sign for Westfield Reserves, the club will always remember his debut hattrick against Parkfield in 2018.

Secondly Ryan Penney chose to switch to Northiam 75 Reserves, he leaves on the high of scoring the Chopbacks third goal in the Cup Final last season and we wish him well for the 2019/20 season.

Lastly the clubs top goalscorer last season, Connor Easton decided he needed a new challenge and moved to Westfield Reserves also, Connor was a big character and leaves big shoes to fill, no doubt Lee Finnigan will be keen to prove that he has the ability to do that this season and beyond.

The friendlies list this preseason was a very tough one designed to test both the Chopbacks ability and mental resolve.

First was a 5-0 victory against Tackleway F.C with goals by Connor Easton (2), Ryan Fuller, Brad Owens & Lee Finnigan.

Second was a narrow last minute 3-2 loss against West St Leonards with goals from Jack Bloomfield & Dayle McGurk, during this unfortunately Tyler Hughes broke 2 bones in his leg during a challenge.

Third was a tough 4-2 defeat against Westfield First Team, the players held their own for 70 minutes with goals from Brad Owens & Dayle McGurk before finally succumbing to defeat with Ben Tate sustaining a painful injury at the end of the game.

Fourth was a forgettable 7-3 defeat in Essex just 2 days later against Ramsey & Mistley, with injuries from the previous game and no replacement keeper the Chopbacks suffered from both tiredness and lack of numbers, something that the management team will make sure does not happen next preseason, goals in the game were scored by Brad Owens, Ryan Fuller & an own goal.

Lastly was a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Northiam 75, still without a keeper Sam Cook found himself playing in goal and the Chopbacks struggled to play the way they can play for the whole 90 minutes, Brad Owens got the only Chopbacks goal and its fair to say the hairdryer treatment came out in the dressing room afterwards.

The squad will now regroup and assess what they have all learnt during a tough preseason, Luke O’Donnell will be making sure that everyone is fit and ready for this Saturdays opening league fixture against Wittersham in ESFL Division 2.

The group of players know exactly what is expected from them and will be keen to put a disappointing set of preseason results behind them and getting back to winning ways when it matters.

This weekends game will be a 3pm kick off at Bexhill College 3G pitch, the players will all be hungry to build on last seasons success as they look for a possible third successive promotion and more silverware.

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