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Hoddesdon Town FC - A Season In Numbers

Hoddesdon Town FC - A Season In Numbers

Jon Dean29 Apr - 19:08
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It's Raining Stats and Dogs

'Numbers don't lie. Women lie, men lie, but numbers don't lie...'
- Max Holloway - MMA UFC Champion

With the season now over, it's time to take an analytical review of all things Lilywhites, as we delve deep into the data, dive into the details and digest the dossier of the 2023/24 season.

You know that bit after the game on Monday Night Football when Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville baffle us all with maths, taking a look at XG, XA, VAR, PPG, FFP, CR7, AET, EPL, ITK, MOTD, QPR, YNWA and COYL? Think of it a bit like that, just without the professionalism and obvious Manchester/Liverpool bias.

Right then. Let's look at the team.

Final position 10th. After a shaky start and a flirt with relegation, the lads pulled themselves up by their boot straps (what are boot straps?) and come the turn of the year, put in some exceptional performances to pull themselves clear of danger, and at one point, have an eye on a play off place. It wasn't to be in the end but eleven wins and four draws from their final nineteen games represented one hell of a turn around!

Goals for 70 (=13th). Whilst we weren't overly prolific in front of goal, there were some pretty memorable goals this season. We lost count of how many times the 'Bolton set piece to Riddle back post' routine ended up paying dividends and Dion's Double on Debut away at Enfield Borough also ranks fondly in the memory.

Goals against 66 (8th). Our central defensive partnership, affectionately referred to as 'Double Jack', saw messrs Gibbs and Riddle really come into their own this season. No less than twelve clean sheets were kept in all competitions, and credit has to go to both Liam Nugent, excellent all season in goal, and his deputy, Ethan Gannon, who most recently forced a shut out against Park View on the 20th of April.

Goal difference 4 (10th). Finishing as the only side with a positive goal difference at the end of the season, from position 10 down to bottom placed 22nd, its an honourable equation.

Wins 16 (=10th). Memorable victories include a 5-0 away win at local rivals St Margaretsbury (who we played four times this season without defeat), a 4-1 away win against high flying Dunmow Town and a 6-2 thrashing of NW London back in August.

Draws 10 (4th most). Only Clapton Community, Cannon's Wood and Basildon Town had more stalemates this season, and perhaps on reflection, turning a few of those draws into wins might next season be the difference between mid table and challenge for a top 5 finish.

Losses 16 (8th). Ok, sure. There have been some defeats along the way. 6-0 away to Benfleet. 6-1 away to Hackney Wick. 3-0 at home to Harlow. But it's character building, right? You learn more in defeat than you do in victory. We got our heads up, dusted ourselves down and went again. Yay for us.

So let's look at some of the individual performances this season.

Top Goalscorers

Connor Bolton - 14 (13L 1 C) - (1 every 3 games)
Dion Laughton - 8 (6L 2C) - (1 every 4 games)
Callum Bennison - 7 (7L) (1 every 6 games)
Harrison Cage - 6 (6L) (1 every 5 games)
George Rankin - 6 (4L 2C) (1 every 7 games)
Jack Riddle - 6 (4L 2C) (1 every 6 games)
Narcis Filip - 5 (4L 1C) (1 every 4 games)
Blue Gallagher - 5 (4L 1C) (1 every 7 games) (Includes the only TWO penalties the Lilywhites were awarded across 52 games!!)

So Connor Bolton takes the Golden Boot award at a canter eventually. His goal in the final game of the season away to Burnham won the game, but in truth, the top goalscorer award was his a long time ago. Dion and Callum made it interesting late in the season but it was never really in doubt. Honourable mentions to Harrison Cage with six (and the best cartwheel celebration ever seen at Lowfield), Most Man of the Match Awards winner George Rankin with six, and astonishingly, Hoddesdon's very own 'slabhead', Jack Riddle, also with six.

Had injury not curtailed his season early, we are sure Narcis Filip would have been somewhere near the top of the charts too.

Total goals scored 86 (70L 16C). Sixteen cup goals, ten of which ended in winning the Herts Senior Centenary Trophy, is not to be sniffed at. Three penalty shoot out wins also showed that we are calm under pressure and goalkeeper Liam Nugent certainly has ice in his veins when it comes to kicks from 12 yards, or, 10.9728 metres for you youngsters.

We saw no fewer than 23 different goal scorers this season (plus 1 own goal), and whilst Bolton scored the most, we pay tribute to those who got just the one, including Kofi Agyemang, Ben Clarke, Jack Gibbs, Sam Cross, Billy Skinner and George Smith.

Total appearances out of a possible 52 in all competitions (42L and 10C):

Jack Gibbs 45 - All starts (39L) (6C)
George Rankin 43 (30+13) (25+10L) (5+3C)
Liam Nugent 42 - All starts (34L) (8C)
Connor Bolton 41 (37+4) (31+4L) (6C)
Callum Bennison 41 (28+13) (21+12L) (7+1C)
Bailey Eden 37 (20+17) (16+15L) (4+2C)
Jack Riddle 36 (34+2) (28+2L) (6C)
Blue Gallagher 36 (33+3) (26+2L) (7+1C)
George Smith 36 (26+10) (22+6L) (4+4C)
Sam Cross 32 (29+3) (21+3L) (8C)
Harrison Cage 32 (20+12) (17+10L) (3+2C)
Dion Laughton 30 (21+9) (18+7L) (3+2C)

After a closely fought battle, Jack Gibbs (captain, leader of men, inspirational defender and thoroughly nice bloke) took the title of most appearances this year, closely followed by midfielder George Rankin, and stopper Liam Nugent, who may have run him all the way, had it not been for injury late on in the season.

Again, we pay tribute to those who still played their part but only registered one appearance, including Jack Lee, Russell Mtakati, Yasseir Nazor and Kamere Brown.

Five players made between 20-29 appearances and a total of 30 players made appearances into double figures. The total number of players used was 42, with twelve making 5 or fewer appearances.

Historical High Appearances:

Connor Bolton - 187
Sam Cross - 185
Blue Gallagher - 175
Jack Riddle - 168
Jack Gibbs - 135
Liam Nigent - 131
Aidan Crtichley - 103

Of the current squad, Connor Bolton leads the way with 187 appearances, and surely it won't be long before he joins the '200 Club'. Sam Cross is only two games behind him with Blue Gallagher and Jack Riddle also high up the charts with 175 and 168 respectively.

Finally, a few oddities to look back on.

Since Hoddesdon beat Royston Town Under 23s on penalties in the Herts Senior Centenary Final back on the 27th of March, our opponents that evening failed to win another game in 8 attempts. It was only their final game of the season six days ago that they finally broke the curse, beating Rushden and Higham United 4-2 at home. Some hoodoo!!

In more strange twists of fate, Hoddesdon did not register a league win at their Lowfield home for almost four months, between the 5-0 win against Burnham Ramblers on the 30th September 2023 and the 1-0 win against Hackney Wick in front of 110 people, on the 27th of January 2024. That translates to 7 attempts across 116 days. Fortunately, the lads turned the corner after that and picked up 5 more home wins for the season, meaning their final league record at home reads Won 7, Drawn 7 and Lost 7.

To end, in what has been one of the wettest seasons known to non league football, the Lilywhites had no fewer than TWENTY ONE games, either home or away, postponed for one reason or another. With such a high level of disruption to the schedule and a lack of continuity across the winter months, a 10th place finish in the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties Division One South is a creditable and respectable finish to a season that has truly had it all.

With much to be decided over the summer in terms of leagues, lateral movements, reshuffles, promotions, relegations and more, who knows what the landscape will look like ahead of the 2024/25 season, but one thing is for sure...

You can count on it being a ton of good fun!!

See you next season.


(with thanks to Colin Sinden for supplying many of the stats)

Further reading