Welcome to the latest blog post covering my time with Torquay United as we reach the end of my third season in charge. Three seasons all enjoyable in their own way non less so than this one.
EFL League Two 2021-2022
We enter the month with an 11 point lead at the top of the table and kick things off with a 3-2 win at Southend which was easier than the scoreline suggests after racing in to a 3-0 lead with goals from Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, Kalvin Kalala and an own goal we took the foot off the pedal in the second half and conceded two late goals.
After a 1-1 scoreline at half time against Arsenal U23’s in the EFL Trophy 3rd round the young gunners took our rotated side to the cleaners in the 2nd half inflicting ending up inflicting a 5-1 defeat upon us.
Colchester felt the backlash of a rested starting XI after leading at the break we dominated the second period running out 4-1 winners with Kyle Cameron, Victor Sodeinde and Virgil Gomis all getting amongst the goals before a calamity of an own goal rounded off a dismal afternoon for our visitors.
A visit to mid table Scunthorpe resulted in a 2-0 defeat which we can’t have any excuse for after creating chances but not converting them, a bad day at the office.
A single Yassine En-Nayeh goal was good enough to beat Crewe who are pushing for a promotion spot. Another defeat this time against Newport County going down by the odd goal in three with Victor Sodeinde getting our consolation goal.
A Victor Sodeinde hat trick was the highlight of the final game of the month when we beat Port Vale 4-1 with Virgil Gomis getting our other goal.
The in form loanee Victor Sodeinde continued his rich vein of form with another goal in the 2-2 draw. Armani Little was on target for second goal earning a late point. A disappointing 2-0 defeat against struggling Northampton was next as we continue to be a little hit and miss since the start of the year.
Winger’s Jeremy Ngakia and Kalvin Kalala hit the goals in a 3-0 win against Stevenage with Ngakia netting a double giving us a much needed win to stop the rot setting in.
A 2-1 win against Carlisle came by the way of goals from Victor Sodeinde and James Norris in a tough game in front of a crowd of just over 4,600 at Plainmoor.
We are not having things our own way in the 2nd half of the season but if we can continue to carve out at least 50% of our games each month we should manage to get promotion.
We finished the month off with a defeat at the hands of Salford who revenge our win against them earlier in the season. We lost 3-2 with Jake Andrews and Tyler Magloire getting our goals. We are still sat at the top of the table with 10 games to play.
A 1-0 win against our old sparring partner Notts County was decided by a Jake Andrews penalty after Kalvin Kalala was upended. Andrews stepped up and placed the ball home to give us another three points in our race for promotion.
Our second derby win of the season followed when we beat Exeter City 3-0 at St James Park. Victor Sodeinde, Tyler Magloire and Yassine En-Nayeh all on target to send the travelling Gulls fans the short journey home in happy mood.
A defeat to 2nd placed Rochdale was to follow with only Ethan Galbraith on target in a 2-1 defeat that closes the gap at the top.
Playoff chasing Leyton Orient were the next visitors to Plainmoor but we’re not match for the young Gulls who saw them off with goals from Yassine En-Nayeh and Jake Andrews giving us a well deserved 2-0 win.
We dropped three points in the final game of the month losing 3-1 at Swindon Town with Kalvin Kalala getting our consolation goal.
5,285 joyous fans watched us gain Promotion to League One after a 1-1 draw against Crawley Town who led from the 16th minute until Virgil Gomis struck the leveller in the 73rd minute. We did not know until after the game with results going our way that we had won promotion to League One.
We followed up with a 2-1 win against Morecombe with goals from Yassine En-Nayeh and Ethan Galbraith to set up a win that puts us in a position of needing 3 points from the next 3 games to guarantee the title.
We travelled up to Grimsby (Cleethorpes) for a Good Friday game against the relegation threatened club knowing a victory was all we needed to secure the title and the boys did not let us down, Victor Sodeinde grabbed a brace and both Ethan Galbraith and Kalvin Kalala were on target in a 4-1 win which crowned us Champions of League Two.
A 1-1 draw at at Cambridge United was followed by the last game of the season in front of our own fans 5,925 against promoted Doncaster Rovers who had already clinched 3rd place in the table.
We lost 3-2 with Ethan Galbraith and Virgil Gomis getting our goals to bring the curtain down on a terrific season in the clubs history.
We never could have imagined back to back promotions last summer never mind winning the title.
Yassine En-Nayeh finished top goalscorer for the second successive season scoring 16 goals just one ahead of Victor Sodeinde and Kalvin Kalala who both hit the the target 15 times in front of Jake Andrews with 12 and Virgil Gomis on 10.
Winger Jake Andrews leads the assist table with 22 from Kalvin Kalala on 10 and Jeremy Ngakia with 9.
Kalvin Kalala had the best overall average at 7.28 and was voted the fans player of the season for the second year running ahead of Jake Andrews and Ethan Galbraith.
What can I say the squad have been fantastic playing a nice brand of football whilst exceeding expectations by winning the League Two title. I have declined interviews at Greenock Morton, Portsmouth, Mansfield Town and Glentoran in recent weeks. The squad have pulled together this season and now it’s time to plan for life in League One. The squad is growing both in experience and maturity so I really want to keep the core of players together and so I am looking at offering new contracts to a number of players. Of the players who we have on loan at the club Tyler Magloire, Joe Lewis and Victor Sodeinde are all out of contract at their parent clubs at the end of June which gives us an opportunity to maybe sign these players on a free transfer. If I can keep the squad together I think we can be competitive in League One and with one a two prudent signings who knows what we may achieve.
The boards initial budget for next season is around £38,000 available for transfers with a wage budget of £40,000 per week for an expectation of fighting against relegation. I think the transfer budget will just be added to the wage budget again because I don’t feel it is necessary to pay for players at this level. I have not spent a penny on players during my first 3 seasons and I plan to continue down this route.