It may not have ended the way we wanted it to but, when all is said and done, it has been a memorable season in more ways than one.
Home Sweet Home?
If we're going to point a finger at where we could have improved matters then let's start with our home form.
Unfortunately Park Road wasn't the fortress we would have liked it to be. 7 defeats at home in the league compared to just the 3 on the road tells its own story. 61% of our league points total was gained away from Park Road.
The away form must have been good, for on Saturday 26th March 2016 we recorded our first win at Holker Old Boys for what seemed like a generation.
Play-Offs, On, Off and On Again
Although they didn't bring the desired end to our season, let's have it on record that we are a big fan of the play-offs here at Cheadle Town FC.
In the past two seasons that they have existed they have kept our season going. Without them the promotion issues would have been sewn up by late March leaving us with a handful of "dead rubbers" to trawl through at the end of the season.
As I mentioned in the match report for the play-off semi-final v Barnton, to have got there on this occasion says a lot about how far we have come under the guidance of Terry Hincks et al.
At around 4.45pm on Saturday 30th April it looked as though we could be missing out but Rick Whyatt's winning goal deep into stoppage time at Daisy Hill changed the outlook once more. Granted we still needed favours from others but the "ask" at that point wasn't as big, and the footballing gods smiled down on us for once and gave us a shot in the play-off picture.
We're confident that we can feature again next season...and going one better.
An Appetite for Destruction...
A lot of proverbial cats were kicked back home after the 2-3 defeat to Ashton Town in September. 2-0 up and absolutely coasting, despite having a man (wrongly) sent off, we inexplicably collapsed in the final ten minutes of the match and ended up going home with nothing.
The same happened again three weeks later in the FA Vase tie at Handsworth Parramore, although that game wasn't lost in the final ten minutes it was a bitterly disappointing way to go out.
The miserable mid-September to mid-October was capped by a non-performance at home to Rochdale Town where three goals were conceded without reply.
...and Character in Spades
And yet there was the 5-5 draw at Bacup Borough on the opening day of the season. 1-4 down at one point, with the result rescued some thirteen minutes into stoppage time.
And the 4-3 win at Staveley Miners Welfare in the FA Vase. 1-3 down midway through the second half, with Rick Whyatt's late winner sending us all home happy.
And the 5-3 win at Stockport Town. 3-3 until the last minute, when late goals by Luke Hincks and Chris Sherrington give us the sweetest of victories.
And the 6-3 win at Eccleshall. 1-3 down before performing a barnstorming fightback to win 6-3.
And the 2-2 home draw v Barnton, coming back from 0-2 down at half-time to claim what would turn out to be a precious point.
All matches that "the Cheadle of old" might have gone on to lose. Encouraging stuff.
Where did he come from?
If ever there was an example of somebody "coming up on the rails" in the club's goalscoring charts then have a look at what Liam Tongue did this season.
A rasping drive v Maine Road in a pre-season friendly raised a few eyebrows. That was followed by a couple v Chapel Town, also in pre-season, with Liam then not featuring in the goalscoring statistics until early November when he netted twice in the First Division Trophy tie at Irlam.
He chased Rick Whyatt down in impressive manner during the final nine games of the season where he netted eleven times to top the charts with 20 goals in all competitions for the club, his final act being one of his trademark thumps into the back of the net v Barnton in the play-off semi-final.
Such activity is going to attract interested parties. We sincerely hope that he stays and does the same again for us next season where he is capable of bettering his tally.
Keeping It All Together
To that end, the hard work starts now for Terry and the rest of the management team.
We have an excellent squad - we know that - but the trouble is that it won't have gone unnoticed by others.
We lost the backbone to our squad last summer and, frustratingly, lost Darryhl Mason and Chris Sherrington mid-season this time around. If we can keep the majority of this squad for next season, and add one or two new names to add a bit of strength and depth, then next season looks a very exciting prospect indeed.
Goals, Goals, Goals
The manic opening 5-5 draw at Bacup Borough should have served as an indicator.
If you came to watch us this season then there was the guarantee of goals. Not one match in all competitions ended up as a 0-0 and we only failed to score in two of them. In total we netted 102 times in all competitions, a massive gain of 29 goals on last season and the biggest total we've had for a while.
The 10-1 home victory over Atherton LR was the club's biggest home victory for a long while with the half-time score of 8-1 being the biggest interval scoreline in the club's history.
Happy New Year?
The turn of the year flung us from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other.
As everybody was tucking into their Christmas dinners we were top of the pile with a couple of points as a cushion. This was achieved on the back of three consecutive wins, once of which was away at Barnton...who would eventually go on to be promoted (via the play-offs).
That was all wiped out by mid-February as we went on a horror run. Ashton Town, Litherland REMYCA, St Helens Town and Stockport Town all came to Park Road and claimed victories, pushing us back into the play-off places.
The repair process started with a useful 2-2 draw at Hanley Town and then the 10-1 demolition of a hapless Atherton LR that set us on the way to our ultimate play-off destiny, but there's no denying the post new year slump potentially put paid to any hopes we had of automatic promotion.
Anything Else Worth Mentioning?
* Michael Sherrington surpassing his brother Chris' goal tally in only 11 games
* That win at Holker (have I mentioned that already?) and the hoodoo being buried
* Gillian Wood - our physio up-to-and-including that win at Holker. A valuable asset to the club this past season and sorely missed by all. We wish her well in her new venture back home in Norfolk.
Thank you to everybody who has read the match reports, articles, news etc on here and also engaged with us via social media, be it on Twitter or Facebook.
It may be the end of the season but that doesn't mean things come to an abrupt halt on here. We'll be reporting back from the Presentation & Awards Evening at the end of the month, giving you the key points from the NWCFL AGM that takes place in June and also letting you know about any pre-season friendlies before it all starts again in August!