Stanley captain Seamus Conneely looks over the 2018/19 season for the Reds – their first in Sky Bet League One.
It has proved to be a season of mixed emotions. After losing to Gillingham on the first day, we went on a terrific unbeaten run and found ourselves well placed in the top six at the end of October.
We were a team full of the belief and expectation that comes from being promoted.
“I feel like we carried on much of the momentum that we built up last season when we won the League Two title. There was obviously a real confidence in the side and that showed in those first few months,” said vice captain Sean McConville.
Unfortunately, we were unable to maintain that form and struggled to put two good performances together for much of the winter.
“Teams suss you out quicker the higher the level you play at,” said centre back Mark Hughes. “We have our own style of play which is easy on the eye, and has received plaudits from opposition fans, but that doesn't always guarantee you results. We needed to adapt.”
Midfielder Sam Finley remarked: “Confidence is a massive thing in football, when you don't have it everything is made so much harder.”
It was a testing few months for us all but we knew we were capable of pulling away from the bottom four.
Hughes felt the turning point was our point at fellow strugglers Wimbledon.
He said: “We just went back to basics – w defended well, won second balls and got up the pitch. These things will never change in football. Any successful team will do them.”
Indeed, following that AFC Wimbledon game, we won three of our last six games which proved to be decisive in us securing our League One status for another year.I don't know about you but if someone had offered me 14th place at the beginning of the season I'd have taken it!
I'd like to finish with a special mention for our fans who have followed us up and down the country this year and made themselves heard at every ground.
On behalf of all of the lads I say thank you and put on record how much we appreciate your support. We look forward to many more happy days next season.
Enjoy the break,