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Defining a Season : 2008/9

By Nathan Jackson
May 24 2010

2008/9 was to prove another frustrating year for City. The Imps rarely troubled either end of the table and generally sat midtable all season long. Peter Jackson had hyped up his squad so much that most fans were expecting a guaranteed promotion push, whereas defeats to non-League Kettering in the FA Cup and a 5-1 defeat at Grimsby started the beginning of the end for Jackson.

Peter Jackson returned from his battle against cancer in the summer of 2008 and automatically got about changing the squad. Long serving Alan Marriott was released after 9 year's service, whereas Jamie Forrester, Mark Stallard, Oliver Ryan, Ryan Amoo, Adie Moses and Owain Warlow all left. They were replaced by Aaron Brown, Rob Burch, Frank Sinclair, David Graham, Kevin Gall, Janos Kovacs and Stefan Oakes, Jackson's proclaimed "Magnificant Seven."

The season started with three straight League defeats, although the start did have a sign of promise as City came within six minutes of eliminating Championship side Derby in the Carling Cup. Ben Wright had given City the lead in an enthralling game, City looked like going through before Nathan Ellington equalised just minutes from time. He would score a further two to put City out.

City finally secured the services of Romanian Adrian Patulea. The striker had caused something of a media stir due to his methods of securing a contract at City. He had ran around the training ground with his wife on his back, lied about having no club and didn't really act as part of the team before eventually signing. He became the first Imp in over 2 years to score on his debut for City as the Imps ran out 2-0 winners over Barnet.

That proves to be a bit of a catalyst for the Imps as City only suffered one defeat from their next 10 games, that includes a creditable 0-0 draw against Leicester in the JPT, Leicester would go on to win League One. That run included 5 wins in 6, but results elsewhere meant that City didn't break into the top 7. The run ended with a 1-0 home defeat to Port Vale.

With City doing reasonably well in the League, they could have realistically expected to progress past Conference side Kettering in the FA Cup. It would turn out to be a first round tie that neither side would forget in a hurry. The first game ended 1-1 and all seemed well until news filtered through that a Kettering fan had shouted racist abuse at various members of the City bench.

Much to the amazement of City players and fans alike, virtually everyone in Kettering didn't seem phased by these reports of racism, an amazing thing considering Kettering's Asian Chairman. Kettering would go on to win the replay, but the clubs have not got along since. The court case fell through because of a lack of concrete evidence against the accused.

City were never really the same again after a poor November. Two wins in a row over Christmas increase hopes of a decent season, but the problem with City under Jackson was that we weren't losing many, but we weren'tlosing many either. City remained undefeated in January, but only actually won one of those games, although in fairness City were behind in every single one of those games.

The week that summed up City's inconsistency came in the first week in March. City travelled to promotion chasing Dagenham and dominated the game. Goals from Aaron Brown, Anthony Elding and Janos Kovacs provided the victory. Four days after beating a team chasing promotion, the Imps lost 5-1 at Grimsby Town........Grimsby had only won four games all season at this point.

The inconsistency continued and a confident 2-0 win over Accrington on April 4th was the last time that City would win during the 2008/9 season, ending the year on a six game winless run, failing to score in four of those.

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