It is time for the second instalment of OTT FC, and after a strong start to the season, the Writers will be hoping to continue this form over the next few months. In this article, I will be playing through the months of September, October and November, with there being at least 14 matches played.

The first game of September was against Moneyslane in the league. The Writers travelled to Jubilee Park top of the league on goal difference, with Moneyslane sitting in ninth. There was one change to the starting XI, with Glenavon loanee Diarmuid Lavery coming into the midfield to replace Chris McCrory, who drops to the bench. It was a very even first half, with both sides having an equal share of possession, with the score level at 0-0. Just after the hour mark, it was the Writers who found themselves 1-0, thanks to debutant Lavery scoring from outside the box. Lavery scored his second of the game in the 70th minute, before substitute Institute loanee Jack Bradley scored his first goal for the club, to make it 3-0 to the Writers in 87th minute. This was the last real chance of the match, with OTT FC going a point clear at the top of the league.

It was then time for the cup double-header against Wakehurst, with the first fixture taking place in the Irish Cup First Round. With an unchanged starting XI, the Writers found themselves 1-0 down in the 57th minute, with Jordon Foster putting Wakehurst in the lead. Timmy Browne then gave the Writers hope of equalising with a stunning free kick in the 66th minute. After 90 minutes the game ended in a 1-1 draw, leading to extra time. Jamie Willighan gave Wakehurst the lead in the 99th minute of play, scoring again in the 103rd minute. Chris McCrory equalised for OTT FC in the 106th minute of the game, before the referee blew for half time. OTT FC couldn’t find another goal in the second half, seeing the Writers knocked out of the cup at the first time of asking, marking the first defeat in the history of the club. Revenge will be on offer in the very next game.

Before the rematch against Wakehurst, the draw for the fourth round of the Steel & Sons Cup. The winners of the match against Wakehurst will play Glentoran II or Strabane Athletic.

The rematch against Wakehurst didn’t get off to the best start for OTT FC, with Conor Ross putting the side ahead in the 12th minute. Ross scored his second of the game on the half-hour mark, giving the Writers a huge mountain to climb. Ross then got his hat trick in the 52nd minute, giving OTT FC little chance of progressing. Oisin Smyth did give the Writers hope in the 77th minute making it 3-1, but it wasn’t enough with OTT FC being knocked out of two cup competitions by the same team in the space of three days.

OTT FC returned to league action away to Rectory Rovers, with Timmy Browne, Chris McCrory, Diarmuid Lavery and Jack Bradley giving the Writers a huge 4-0 win, keeping OTT FC top of the table and unbeaten in the league so far this season.

The first player to leave the Writers was right-back Aaron Casey, who left OTT FC to join Cobh Ramblers. This transfer will go through on the first of January when the transfer window opens. Our third-choice right-back Andrew McCoy picked up a length injury, with him being out of action for at least six weeks.

The next game was against the league favourites Crewe United, who currently find themselves in third. The only change to the starting XI was upfront, with Jack Bradley replacing Timmy Browne, who drops to the bench. The first half was fairly even, with Crewe United just edging OTT FC in terms of possession with 51% of the ball. Mark McCullough gave Crewe United the lead from the spot in the 74th minute, with that being the only goal of the game at the Ronnie Dog Arena.

Oisin Smyth picked up an injury during the last match, being out of action for at least 11 days with a gashed lower leg.

The following two matches for the side against Banbridge and Richhill went as follows:

vs Banbridge Rangers (A) 1-2 (Goals: (BAN: McKeown 87’) Lavery 17’ McCrory 45’)

vs Richhill (H) 2-0 (Goals: Mackie 30’ Browne 39’)

As I look ahead to the second half of the season, I have signed midfielder Ross Clarke from Chimney Corner on a free transfer, which will go through on January 1. I have also made a number of signings that have immediately come into the squad. Bulgarian winger Plamen Kolev, striker Rory Patterson and goalkeeper Blaine Hughes have all joined the Writers, with striker Connor Farrelly leaving OTT FC to join Athlone Town

We have also been drawn against Ballymena Premier Division side Desertmartin in the First Round of the Northern Irish Intermediate Cup.

Before this Intermediate Cup match, we faced Bourneview, with Patterson and Kolev getting their first runs out in the green shirt. Bourneview took the lead after only 15 minutes, with Thomas Willis scoring. Rory Patterson got his first goal for the club in the 52nd minute, rounding the keeping and slotting the ball into the bottom right-hand side of the net. The game ended 1-1, keeping OTT FC top of the league by three points, but have played one extra game than their rivals.

Ray Kelly also joins the team on a free transfer after being released by Institute. He goes straight into the starting XI for the next game against Oxford Sunnyside which ended 5-2 to the Writers. A hat-trick from Lavery, and goals from Patterson and Browne cancelled out Sunnyside goals from Ryan and Campbell.

With no changes to the starting XI, the team for the Northern Irish Intermediate Cup tie against Destermartin looked like this:

Rory Patterson gave the Writers the lead after only four minutes with a fantastic strike from outside the box. Timmy Browne then doubled OTT FC’s lead late in the game, scoring in the 94th minute, with this being the final chance of the match.

Before the second round of the Intermediate Cup, there were three league matches. These fixtures went as follows:

vs Fivemiletown (A) 2-1 (Goals: (FMT: McNeil 42’, Gillespie 87’) Patterson (Pen) 25’

vs Hanover (A) 3-1 (Goals: (HAN: Courtney 7’, 42’, Brown 22’) Patterson 30’

vs Windmill Starts (A) (Goals: (WMS: Devlin 77’, Taylor 32’, 45+2’, (Pen) 57’, Patterson 45+1’

After a disappointing run of results, OTT FC find themselves in third place, one point behind Crewe United and Hanover.

OTT FC have been drawn away against Ballymena Premier Division side Cookstown Royal British Legion in the second round of the Northern Irish Intermediate Cup. OTT Started the game very quickly with a goal from Mackie and a brace from Patterson giving the Writers a 3-0 lead after only five minutes. Patterson then got his hat-trick in the 13th minute to seal the match for OTT FC. Plamen Kolev then scored his first goal for the club in the 49th minute, before Chris McCrory slotted in OTT FC’s sixth goal in the 72nd minute. Cookstown RBL pulled one back in the 76th minute, thanks to Colin Donaldson before the referee brought an end to the game with OTT FC running out 6-1 winners and through to the third round.

The final game of the month and this article was a league clash against Ballymacash Rangers. Rory Patterson gave the Writers the lead in the tenth minute, getting onto the end of a great ball forward by Byrne. Kingsberry equalised from the spot for Ballymacash in the 24th minute, before OTT FC’s right-back Jake Richardson got sent off the following minute. Tarek Arafa put the Writers ahead on the stroke of half-time, with that being the final action of the half. Substitute Kolev extended the lead on the hour mark, connecting with a cross from Taylor. My final substitute Smyth gave OTT FC their fourth with a stunning strike from outside the box. Kolev got his second of the match in the 90th minute to give OTT FC a 5-1 lead over Ballymacash Rangers.

That huge victory for the Writers concludes another part of this long journey as I aim to take OTT FC to the Premiership. The league table after fifteen matches looks a little like this:

In the next part, I will be playing through December and January, as well as making plenty of transfers during the January transfer window. The standout player for me so far has been Diarmuid Lavery, who has been our highest average player with a rating of 7.43. Rory Patterson has been in terrific form since he joined the Writers, scoring ten goals in eight appearances, as well as getting two assists. The squad is outperforming expectations and a push for the title is definitely on with a little more consistency from the side.