FM10 - From the Bottom Up
Add me to the list of people who have seriously gotten into FM for the first time in a long time thanks to the world cup. I just completed league play in my second season, so we'll pick up in May 2011 entering the offseason. But first, a little history to catch up:
Welcome to Woking FC. As a diehard Cubs fan, I never thought I'd manage a team nicknamed the Cardinals in any game ever, but here we are.
When I took over Woking, they had just been relegated out of the Blue Square Premier league. I found them in Blue Square South with the hopes of earning promotion right back up.
I had one great gift already in place when I took over. Woking had a loaner at GK for the entire season, a reserve from a higher squad by the name of Lee Butcher who was 4 or 5 times better than anyone I was paying full time. I brought in a striker with my second year long loan option, paired him up with one of my own full time guys, ST Giuseppe Sole (bolded as that one is gonna be worth remembering), and worked the short term loan market to keep talented guys in the midfield and defense during the rest of the season.
2009/10 record: 24-12-6, 62 for-39 against (+23 differential) - 1st BSS
We were in the top 3 of the Blue Square South from start to finish, ended the season on a nice tear and had clinched the top spot with about 4 matches to go, earning promotion without having to fight through a playoff. we met our goals in the FA Trophy and FA Cup competitions.
2009/10 Stats Leaders
Goals: ST Giuseppe Sole - 22
Assists: ST Giuseppe Sole - 11
Avg Rating: ST Giuseppe Sole - 7.14
Yeah, a name worth remembering.
A comedy of management errors. I fired most of my coaching staff and learned how hard it was to find better. I ended up with an average at best GK coach, a fitness coach(which I didn't have in my first year), two general coaches and an assistant. Only two scouts, and a physio who wasn't rated all that well at all. This was a smaller staff than I had in season 1, primarily done as an effort to lose less money.
I didn't renew contracts of a lot of my backups, letting 7 or 8 guys leave the squad, and attempting to bring in a couple big impact free transfers. Instead of taking on another loaner GK, I brought in GK Kevin Lynch to try to develop into a full time goalkeeper. Two other offseason signings that I thought would have a major impact, I brought on 32 year old DC Bilal Sidibe, who looked better than anyone I had on defense, and FC Zepherim Zoko, a veteren Forward from the Ivory Coast. Sidibe was decent but not a starter by the end of the year. Zoko was a complete disaster. He never settled in with the squad and was unhappy to not have any countrymen to hang out with. I ended up giving him away in the middle of the season to clear his salary.
I started out in a relegation position after just a few matches and stayed there most of the season. It took a couple months for me to work out any loaners at all, but they finally started coming in and helping. I made two stellar free transfer signings, MC Joe O'Sullivan and DC Nick Fenton. also, I finally came to the realization that my star scorer from last year, ST Sole, could still play at this level too.
At around the 30 match mark I got out of bottom 4 spots in the table and never looked back. I only made it up to 17th (21st-24th get relegated), but I slowly built up a lead over the dreaded 21st spot and secured a stay in the Blue Square Premier league with about 4 matches left.
2010/11 Results: 14-10-22, 60 for/65 against, -5 diff, 52 points - 17th BSP
I didn't win a single game in FA Cup or FA Trophy qualifying, disappointing the board.
One last key point about last season. One of the turning points was when I had brought too many players onto my roster, was running about 1k/week over my salary budget... I took 5 guys who weren't regular first teamers and offered them all away for free. I dropped a good bit of salary, renegotiated a bunch of my guys cheaply, and my smaller squad seemed to gel much easier as a result.
Hopefully, I have learned from my mistakes and will keep my team more settled and will get off to a better start next season. I think I brought in some quality full time guys during the year and if I can get some quality loaners in around them a top 10 spot in the table should be very reasonable, a playoff position not impossible.
Goals: ST Giuseppe Sole - 20
Assists: MC Joe O'Sullivan - 9
Avg Rating: MC Joe O'Sullivan - 7.13
Next up, we'll go over the roster. At the end of the 10/11 season I'm still carrying my loaners, a couple of which I'd love to have back, but that seems unlikely.
This is what I have currently on my roster as of the end of the 2010/11 season.
By the end of last season, I tended to play a 4-4-2 diamond formation with a DMC, AMC and two wide midfielders (4-1-2-1-2) or a 4-4-2 attacking formation with two central midfielders and an AML/AMR (the game called this a 4-2-4, or perhaps a 4-2-2-2).
GK Kevin Lynch - 19 y/o - $150/wk - 16 handling/16 reflexes is what attracted me to Lynch as a free transfer last year. 6 anticipation and 10 positioning (not bad for this level but not the best) led to some silly goals allowed on occasion. 6.64 rating in 44 league matches last year, with 62 goals allowed but 10 shutouts. He's scottish and made one appearance for the Scottish U21 squad last season.
DL: Sam Habergham - 19 y/o - on loan from Norwich - I won't spend much time on Sam since I don't expect him to be back next year. He was a key loaner, averaging a 7.08 rating over 26 league matches. He's way better than anything else I've got available here. If I can't get Sam back for another year on loan then this is a key hole to fill.
Other options: Aswad Thomas (natural DC), Sam Sloma (natural ML)
DC Nick Fenton - 31 y/o - $1300/wk - I brought Fenton in after I cleared off a ton of salary. Fenton was a free transfer and I was desperate to stabilize my defense and took a big risk to make him my highest paid player. It worked, Fenton put up a 7.12 avg rating over 21 matches. Easily my best defender with 14 heading/12 tackling/12 marking ratings, with no mental or physical weaknesses, all of his key mental attributes are between 10-13, great for this level.
DC Aswad Thomas - 21 y/o - $750/wk - Thomas has been with me since the start. He put up a 6.84 avg rating in league play this year. He can play as my left side fullback but I prefer him in central defense when possible. He's nowhere near as strong technically as Fenton, but he has good teamwork, he's aggressive, brave, strong, and fast.
DC Bilal Sidibe - 32 y/o - $625/wk - aging vet who is slowly losing his physical attributes. No speed at all, his mental attributes are stellar (17 teamwork/14 concentration/10 positioning... decent at least there).
A couple other players can fill in if there are injuries but are better off elsewhere.
DR: (c) Mark Ricketts - 26 y/o - $700/wk - Ricketts put up a 6.80 avg rating in 40 matches this year. He was better when playing the right full back position. He can also fill out a MC/DMC role reasonably well and I used him there at times when I had a great DR loaner in. But he's a natural in the back line and I plan to keep him here from now on. He's been the team captain for 2 full seasons now.
Other DR options:
DR Ricky Anane - 21 y/o - $425/wk - Anane is a decent backup. He doesn't get pissed off when he goes awhile without starting, he has decent technical skills, good pace/accel(13/12), and good mental attributes. His left foot is terrible and he can play MR but is "unconvincing". I may see if I can do something to improve that to make him more of a utility guy. Played 11 matches with a 6.6 rating this year, mostly off the bench.
ML Sam Sloma - 28 y/o - $550/wk - I am torn on this guy. Sometimes I feel he's a weak spot. His stamina isn't great, he's not a speedster, and he doesn't have spectacular technical attributes to make up for that. But he's... ok... everywhere (9 passing/8 tackling/9 dribbling, etc), and he's really the only guy on the squad who has a decent rating taking corners and sending in crosses. 6.61 rating/1 goal/4 assists in 24 matches last year with injury issues.
Others that can play here: MC Harry Arter, AM/ST Ramone Rose(loaner)
MC Joe O'Sullivan - 19 y/o - $150/wk - Solid physical abilities (13 pace/12 accel, 15 jumping/all other phys abilities 10+). Good work rate, good teamwork. He's my best passer in the midfield (12 rating) with acceptable dribbling/tackling/marking ratings. O'Sullivan and Fenton were my two best free transfers last year, and its hard to say which is better. I have a strong affinity for O'Sullivan though, he's one of my favorite guys. 7.14 avg rating, 1 goal/9 assists/4 MoM in 29 games last year.
MC Anthony Pulis - 26 y/o - $1000/wk - 12 passing is up there as the best among the team, solid physical ratings, solid mental attributes, minus a 6 determination which worries me a little when it comes to chemistry/effort. I brought Pulis in very late last year, after I'd purged my roster a good bit. 7.03 avg rating with 2 assists in 8 matches.
MLC Harry Arter - 21 y/o - $725/wk - Arter is one of those guys who doesn't stand out anywhere but has tons of ratings in the 8-9 range, a few in the 10-11 range, without any huge weaknesses. The fact that he can play the left side is a big reason I keep him around. 6.69 avg rating/1 goal/2 assists in 24 matches last year (12 off the bench)
MC Jamie Hand - 27 y/o - $775/wk - Similar to Arter, except a lot more 8-9 ratings and a lot less 10-11 ones. also he's limited to the middle of the pitch and offers less utility. He was important in year one but with O'Sullivan and Pulis coming in last year Hand may end up odd man out in a stuffed MC rotation. 6.75 rating in 21 matches last year.
MC Jerome Maledon - 23 y/o - $450/wk - Worse than Hand and Arter, but cheaper, and he is a natural DMC which gives me a little more options when I use a diamond formation.
MR Moses Ademola - 21 y/o - $900/wk - Ademola is someone I've struggled with. He's a natural Striker but there's rarely room for him. He's poor technically, 5 passing for someone in the midfield makes me cry, and none of his other technical attributes stand out. But he has 12 pace/14 accel and when he's in the lineup he finds ways to score. 6.86 rating with 9 goals and 1 assist in 27 matches(13 off the bench).
Other options: MC Pulis can play here too, great for depth but I think I prefer Pulis starting in the middle.
ST Giuseppe Sole - 23 y/o - $775/wk - Decent all over, not great anywhere. I stick him in the Poacher's role and he does it better than anyone else I've tried there. 12 pace/11 accel, 10 str, no physical weaknesses but not a physical monster either. 11 composure/10 flair/10 creativity/10 determination... all good but not spectacular. 10 finishing/9 first touch/9 long shots. See where this is going? I kept thinking I had better options, faster players, better finishers, and kept Sole out of the starting lineup early on. Huge mistake. The guy gets the ball into the net. 45 appearances/10 off the bench, 20 goals/5 assists/6.85 avg rating.
I have 3 loaners at striker right now. two of them I like a *lot* and will try to bring back next year but I'm doubtful.
AMLR/ST Romone Rose - 21 y/o - 15 pace/12 accel, 14 dribbling/13 finishing, 10 creativity/10 flair. I may have a shot at this guy because he is from QPR. They're my parent club, so if they don't need him next year I will request to bring him in again. I love him either paired with Sole up front or in an attacking midfield/inside forward role on either side. 7.02 avg rating/9 goals/4 assists in 34 matches(31 starts)
ST Mark Cullen - 18 y/o - On loan from Hull, I'll try to bring him back too if I can. 12 pace/accel, 14 off the ball, the best on my entire roster I think, 14 finishing, creativity/decisions/determination/dribbling/heading/technique all 10+. 7.02 avg rating/9 goals/4 assists in only 23 matches(18 starts)
Assuming i lose all my current loaners, I'm perfectly content and happy with my GK(Lynch), both DC(Thomas/Fenton), DR(Ricketts), both MC(O'Sullivan/Pulis), and one striker(Sole). That's not to say I wouldn't consider a loaner if I can get someone who blows me away at those positions. DL will be a spot I *must* fill and I'll need to bring in a striker or two to pair with Sole. My wingers are ok but I could use better.
I currently am spending $12,597 on player salaries. I'm allowed $15,250. I spent much of the year at about $16k/wk and offloaded a lot of salary to get where I am. I'm still in the 2010/11 season though, we'll see where things stand after flipping over to the next year.
like most any dynasty I run, things may start out a little crazy but hopefully I'll refine things and find a formatting I like as we go. :D
2010 World Cup
Just a quick review, since we're in the midst of world cup fever right now anyway.
Group A provides us with an insane coincidence... we see Slovakia and Paraguay advance, while Italy finishes 3rd and doens't make the group stage. If the 4th team was New Zealand instead of Togo, I'd be really creeped out(this is exactly what happened in group F in the real world).
The USA drew group C with France, South Africa and Chile. They earned only 1 point as France and South Africa advanced.
Group D brought more weirdness where Ghana and Saudi Arabia advance over Greece and Holand.
Mexico failing to make it out of their group with Argentina and Switzerland is the only other noteworthy group event.
The second round sees the world powers start to fall as Slovakia beats Brazil on pk's. Paraguay beats Germany.
In the quarters, Ghana beats Slovakia, Paraguay over France, Spain over England, Argentina over Ivory Coast.
Ghana takes down Argentina 2-1, Paraguay beats Spain 1-0 in extra time.
Paraguay beats Ghana 2-1 to win the world cup. Spain over Argentina for 3rd.
Oh also... leagues. I have a new PC with 8 processors and 9 gigs of ram. 9 gigs? Yeah, I lol'd at that too. It makes FM fun though.
So I'm running:
Mexico, USA, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Holland, N. Ireland, Portugal, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Wales, Argentina, and Brazil.
I started with the USA/England/Germany/Italy/Spain/Holland/France and just kept adding nations until it said the speed would start to suffer.
I did the mod to fix Holland and brought in a logo pack, but other than that didn't make any big changes. I haven't done anythign to england, with BSN/BSS the bottom leagues there, etc.
Oxford won the Blue Square Premier League and earns promotion
York finished 2nd, only 3 points out of first, and wins the playoff to advance.
of note is Cambridge, they finished in the playoffs for the 3rd time in 4 years but have not been able to win the playoffs to earn promotion. They are stuck here for one more year at least.
Forest Green, Hayes & Yeading, Eastbourne Boro and Fleetwood will be relegated.
Coming into the BSP next year will be Macclesfield and Accrington, the two sides relegated out of league 2.
Northwich wins the Blue Square North, Southport comes from 4th place to win the playoffs.
Maidenhead wins the Blue Square South, Eastleigh finishes 2nd and wins the playoff.
Those will be the 6 new teams we face next season.
Arsenal wins the Champions League, defeating Real Madrid 3-2 in the finals. Barcelona and Chelsea were the semifinalists.
Tottenham wins the EPL with 80 points (24-8-6). Chelsea 2nd, Liverpool 3rd, Man U 4th, Man City 5th, Arsenal 6th.
My parent club, QPR, finishes dead last, scores 27 goals in 38 matches, has a -46 goal differential, and drops down to the Coca-Cola Championship. Ouch.
Inter wins Italy's Serie A, Barcelona crushes La Liga (29-4-5, 91 points, 7 better than Real Madrid).
The board is "very pleased" with me. They, like me, love the O'Sullivan and Fenton signings I made last year. Perhaps scaring them with relegation then ending the season strong makes 17th look better than it really is too.
I have 3 coaches that I can't/won't re-sign. Two want more money than I can offer and one sucks. One is a regular coach, one my keeper coach, and a scout.
Paul Moore signs on to be my new goalkeeping coach. He's rated 13 in Goalkeeper coaching, 13 motivation, just 9 adaptability. He's also decent with youngsters(11), i'm not sure if that helps since I have a U21 keeper, but hopefully it does a little.
New Scout Michael Patrick is rated 13 at judging current ability/14 at judging potential. Like most scouts I can get at this level, he knows England and not much else.
New Coach Martin McMenemy is rated 11 in attacking, 10 in defending, 10 mental/12 tactical. Mid-range disciplinarian, 14 adaptability. His Man Management and technical knowledge are terrible, but I've never had a coach who is a good attacker/defender coach(good being relative, of course, so I went this way this time.
Along with my current returning staff, I'm pretty much set for next year now.
During June, the board provides a $110k cash injection. This has been happening pretty consistently. We're a very low level club, and we lose money. So far though, as long as i stay under our wage budget, it has yet to be an issue at all. The second I went over last year Salary Allowances went way down until I purged a bunch.
the European club rankings are out:
2. Man U
7. FC Bayern
8. Real Madrid
My first friendly is set up, a required one with QPR, our parent club, that pays out $24,000. I reject a few other CPU offered friendlies since they won't generate any cash.
A year end report by Football365.com has some fun info in it:
Woking is estimated to be valued at $750,000. this is 102nd in England, ahead of most other Blue Square Premier sides and a couple League 2 sides.
We rated 98th in England with 705 season ticket holders (this is out of 160 teams ranked)
End of Season Recognition
Joe O'Sullivan is voted Woking player of the year by our fans. He was my favorite new player too, so I'm thrilled the fans like him.
Our Best 11 somehow doesn't include 20 goal scorer Giuseppe Sole...
GK: Kevin Lynch
DL: Sam Habergham (loaner)
DC: Aswad Thomas
DC: Nick Fenton
DR: (c) Mark Ricketts
DMC: Sam Sloma
MC: Joe O'Sullivan
MC: Harry Arter
AMC: Jamie Hand
ST: Mark Cullen (loan)
ST: Romone Rose (loan)
this terrible narrow formation with no one in the middle playing wide was something I experimented with early in the year when I was sucking horribly, mainly b/c I had such an overabundance of central midfielders. Its immortalized here to shame me.
Start of New Season notes
We receive $49,500 for TV Rights. Woohoo?
The board expects me to achieve a safe position in the Blue Square Premier. For this they'll give me $12,500/wk for salaries. I'm currently spending $11,716/wk.
I'm seriously tempted to state that Woking can finish in the top half of the table, which would bump me up to $14,000/wk... but I'm a little too new to the game and don't quite have the balls to do that. I accept our mid-standing finish and feel confidant we can meet or exceed that goal.
The two teams taht got relegated from League 1, Accrington and Macclesfield are 3-1 favorites to advance.
Other top teams are Cambridge at 12-1, Wrexham (12-1), Eastleigh (14-1) and Rushden (14-1).
We are listed as a relegation possibility at 40-1.
As we near the end of June I still can't make loan offers, and that's going to really determine where we go this year.
Pre-season Coaches Meeting
My assistant tells me we suck at everything and are young. I'm used to hearing this.
Interesting to me this year is the recommendation of a 4-1-3-2 or 4-1-2-1-2 formation as our best formations. This is based on current players though. I've only got 14 players on the first team roster at the moment, I'll bring up a backup GK from the reserve squad and bring in (ideally) 5 loaners to get us up to 20. I may well look to sell off one of my backup MC's and sign someone elsewhere, but I really want to wait until I shape the team up with some loaned in players first.
I finally get a few semi-lucrative friendlies scheduled, but I seem to remember making more off them last year. Ah well, I'm getting 15k+ for them this year at least. And our first one comes up on June 30th, I'll call up some reserves and just let everyone run around for a half here.
June 30th, 2011
Woking @ Morelia B - Friendly
I'm not going to spend much time on the friendlies, at least until I bring in a couple loaners and have some decisions. I know what I've got right now.
I start in a generic 4-4-2 formation:
** not starting where I forsee them playing once I have a full compliment of players, covering holes for now until the loan season opens.
I tell my guys the result doesn't matter, and I tell them not to work too hard today, not to tackle too hard and not to close down too hard. First friendly of the year, lets just take it easy and get used to playing again.
20': Joe O'Sullivan takes a hard knock and has to go off the field for treatment
22': We're building up possession as O'Sullivan wanders back onto the pitch. He takes a pass just outside the 18 yard box, lofts up what I might have called a cross if it didn't flutter into the top right corner of the net. 1-0
31': Pulis with a short pass to my poacher Sole, he times his run behind the defense perfectly and beats the keeper 1-on-1 for an easy goal. 2-0
36': Pulis is brought down hard in the box. Its a penalty, but at this point I'm much more concerned that Pulis' fitness went down to 40%. Sole is good on the penalty though. 3-0
We lead 3-0 at the half and I sub out my entire team. A couple guys took hits that hurt their fitness levels, I'd hate to see anyone hurt right off.
So much of the team in right now are reserves, I'm not really interested and turn the match engine to commentary only.
Final Result: Woking 3 : 0 Morelia B
We out-shoot them 16-9, only generating 1 clear cut chance, but putting 5 shots on target for 3 goals. Morelia B shoots 9 times, only twice on target.
Anthony Pulis is man of the match with 2 assists and an 8.9 rating.
O'Sullivan earns an 8.2 for his goal and solid passing in the midfield (21-24 passes completed). Sole has 2 goals and an assist for an 8.5 rating.
Starting MC/R Anthony Pulis pulls a hamstring and is going to miss 4 weeks. He shouldn't miss the start of the season but he'll need a little while to get fully fit and that will have to come during league play now.
The board is satisfied with my coaching. Nick Fenton's signing remains a high point.
As July opens up I make countless loan offers. Some of them are probably aiming a bit high, but we'll see what comes in.
I accept a year extension to my current contract. I make $950/week. It was set to expire in June of 2012, I'm locked up until June of 2013 now.
Loan Rejected: The only one worth mentioning here is that QPR's Romone Rose is not available this year to me. He was a versatile and skilled player for me last year, I would have loved to have had him back.
July 4th, 2011
Woking at Juv. Antoniana - Friendly
While we wait on loaners to come through, we've got our next friendly set up. Another random team that looked like I'd make about $18k for playing.
Sam Sloma scores in the first half, Sole with the assist heading the ball to him in the box.
We sub out everyone at halftime again and concede a goal in the second half.
Woking 1 : 1 Juv. Antoniana
Sloma earns man of the match honors and an 8.2 rating. No one plays poorly, and Aswad Thomas and Moses Ademola earn ratings over 7 in their half of play.
After our friendly on July 4th, we get two guys committing to loans for us:
ST Mark Cullen - 18 y/o - Valued at $40,000, Cullen is a reserve player at Hull in the Championship league. Cullen is a known entity which is what makes me most excited. 12 pace/13 accel, 14 off the ball, solid mental ratings elsewhere. 11 dribbling, 10 heading, 12 technique, and 14 finishing. Cullen came through with 9 goals and 4 assists in 23 games last year for me. Sole as a Poacher and Cullen an advanced forward up top seems to generate lots of goals if my midfield is solid.
AM LR/ST Antonio German - 19 y/o - German is on QPR's reserve squad and I'm really excited to see him sprinting up the flanks to generate offense for us this season. 15 pace/13 accel, strong, fit, he will be outrunning a lot of opponents hopefully. Determined, good off the ball, good teamwork, no mental weaknesses at all. His technical abilities aren't bad either though its the rest that will make him shine. 11 finishing/12 heading, 10 long shots, 9 passing, 8 dribbling... he's definitely an offensive player, very poor marking and tackling, so I'll need to account for that. I'm *very* excited about German.
One day later a 3rd loaner comes through:
D LR Jordan Clarke - 19 y/o - Clarke played on the right side of my defense for 3 months last year. He's accomplished on the left side as well though and will be playing there this year. Another speedster, 14 pace and solid physical attributes everywhere. Determined, Brave enough, good work rate and teamwork. 8 marking and 12 tackling aren't spectacular, but combined with speed and hard work he'll be where we need him most of the time on defense I believe.
I'm still waiting to hear from one more guy when my next Friendly comes up:
July 8th, 2011
Woking @ RC Riviere Pilote - Friendly
Another random click on a team that would make me some money.
Sole picks up a knock in the first 5 minutes, frustrating and I'll be crossing my fingers when I talk to the doc after the match.
We give up a goal in the first half. I sub out most of the team at halftime, but a couple guys are starting to get their legs and get to play til the 60th minute.
We never threaten in the second half.
RC Riviere Pilote 1 : 0 Woking
ML Sam Sloma twisted an ankle badly in the second half and is going to miss between 6 and 7 weeks. Sloma is a bit injury prone, he seems to miss a solid 6 weeks every season.
ST Giuseppe Sole has a thigh strain and is going to miss 4 weeks. He's gotten a little work and hopefully will only miss our first couple matches in league play.
Around July 15th I lose out on my last loaner hope. I've got about $500/wk left in my budget, so I could also look to bring on one free transfer if I see something I like, and I'll send out a few more loan feelers. For now though, the 3 additions that I've made have me just about where I want to be for the start of the season.
July 17th: I breeze through a friendly with QPR, most of my starters make the 60-65 minute mark, keepers and defenders who don't run quite as much are starting to show their fitness. We lose 1-0, not really bad for us. No one plays exceptionally well for us, but no one does too poorly either, and no one gets hurt.
July 22nd Another friendly to breeze through, this one against Melbourne Knights, another random click that looked profitable. We get a first half goal from Antonio German, starting at Striker for Sole today. Melbourne ties it up after we sub out our starters. 1-1 draw. Ricketts, Ademola, O'Sullivan, and German are all noted as putting up 7.0+ performances today.
Free Transfer Signing
Taking a risk here... last year when a risk bombed I was easily able to offload the player I botched.
AML/ST Zoltan Harsanyi - 24 y/o - $1100/wk - At this salary I'm clearly hoping/expecting to make a Fenton like splash in the transfer market, pulling in a guy who needs to make a strong impact for the squad. Harsanyi is Slovakian but he does speak English. He's 2/3 of the way to British Nationality after spending 5 years as a reserve player for Bolton.
He's quite pacey, 14 pace/14 accel, 14 agility, good stamina, so there's that to be excited about. Determined(12),solid flair(12) and creativity(10). A good first touch(11), good dribbling and finishing and a solid enough passer.
I expect to start Harsanyi on the left side of my midfield. The reason to bring someone like this in was for depth and coverage. the only strikers I had on the first team were Sole/Cullen/Ademola/German. But the only MR's I had were Ademola and German, and the only accomplished ML's were German/sloma/Arter... just too much overlap there, and too many holes when one person goes down, which will happen. Harsanyi adds coverage in two of those positions.
With this signing I'm about $575/wk over my wage budget. We're gonna lose money either way but the board is happier when I stay under. Jamie Hand will be the man to go if I can find any takers for him. He's valued at $20k, but i'll give him away for free if I need to. Hand can only play MC, and we've had a rocky relationship the entire way. He was my highest paid player when I first took over and i didn't even want him starting, and he's never really liked me. Easy choice.
Now that I've brought in a number of guys, here's what I'm looking at as my healthy best 11 (pending Sole/Pulis being back in time for opening day):
July 29th - Our last friendly. We're playing at Juv. Antoniana again. I didn't realize the game would let me schedule 2 friendlies against the same team, and I was just going through looking for the biggest payouts. Whoops. I moved us to a 4-2-2-2 formation for this match, moving Harsanyi and Ademola up into AML/R slots. We generated tons of chances, 14 shots, but most were off target. 3 on target and 3 off the woodwork though. We let a goal in on a free kick late in the first half, and they scored late after I'd pulled the starters. We fall 2-0.
O'Sullivan puts up a superb 7.7 rating despite no goals/assists. He completed 65 out of 77 passes, 8 out of 9 tackles, and 9 out of 11 headers won. Also 9 interceptions. He's just all over the place in this attacking formation. I believe he and Pulis in those MC slots are good enough to let us try this attacking formation. Well, I hope that's the case at least :)
The board remain satisfied with me. We pulled in a hefty profit of $201k in July. That's a good thing because we'll lose money every month the rest of the season.
Jamie Hand is now gone, off to Morecambe in League 2. I have to wonder about giving a guy away to a higher league club... but the other options I have are so much better, I don't see it at all in him.
From here we've got a week off before our league opener. I'm very hopeful and feel like I've had a great offseason, excited to get the season started and really get this rolling. But it probably won't happen until later tonight.
August 6th, 2011
Woking @ Southport
Southport are very slight favorites (6-4 vs our 13-8, virtually even). This is our first ever meeting. Southport won promotion last year out of the Blue Square North. Sole is healthy but not really match fit. I'm going to bring him in as a sub to get him some minutes if I can.
20': We're dominating possession but have only managed one shot. German is SO fast its crazy. His speed should generate a lot of goals this year.
31': Our first good chance, O'Sullivan finds Cullen who gets by his man and shoots from 15 yards out, but the keeper makes a good save.
HALF: we have 3 shots, they have 2, our one attempt from Cullen was the only serious chance on either side. We have 63% of the possession, but our new guys seem to struggle finding each other up front. That'll improve with time I'm sure.
Harsanyi has a bad half. I move German to the left wing and bring Sole in up front.
51': O'Sullivan with a precise long pass up to Cullen, but his first touch is poor. We keep possession, Ademola finds him and he takes a long strike which goes wide. Meh, but looking a little better.
62': We get lucky, a couple nice runs by southport, both due to Clarke missing a tackle for us on the left side. We concede a corner on a cross, they get a good head to the corner but its just over.
68': After minimal buildup, O'sullivan finds Cullen 35 yards from the goal, he makes a run with the ball, the defense reacts terribly and lets him get into the box unopposed, he shoots from 15 yards out and easily beats the keeper!! 1-0
72': Harry Arter comes in for a tiring Antonio German. I pull back to a standard 4-4-2, mainly b/c without German and Hansanyi I don't have the personnel for the attackers, but also to defend a little more late with the lead on the road.
76': Defend, Retain Possession, and Maledon in for a tired Pulis.
80': We concede a corner but Arter defends it well, and a long shot goes way over.
82': O'Sullivan with a surprise shot from the corner of the box after a throw-in, its closer than I thought it could be and just off the post.
86': A breakthrough for Southport, Thomas challenges but their striker gets a solid shot off, Lynch lays out for the ball, deflects it, and Fenton gets the rebound out of there. WHEW. Their first on target shot of the day.
We hold for 3 minutes of extra time and get a win in our opener!
Southport 0 : 1 Woking
Cullen is man of the match with an 8.3 rating and the only goal.
O'Sullivan misses too many passes today (36/53) but hits on 4 key ones including the assist. He's otherwise great in the middle and has an 8.2 rating.
Our entire back four (Ricketts, Clarke, Fenton and Thomas) put up 7+ numbers. Fenton specifically is great in the air, he wins so many headers.
I kinda feel like if once our offense has a little more experience together we score 3 or 4 here, but we'll see how that goes along.
We announce 705 season ticket sales this season.
August 9th, 2011
AFC Wimbledon(23rd) @ Woking(9th)
Its only one match so our place in the standings means nothing yet. Both teams are going on 3 days rest. This will be my 100th match as the Woking skipper I am told before the game today.
We played Wimbledon 3 times last year, We are 1-0-2 against them, scoring 4, conceding 8. One of those was in the first round of the FA Trophy, a loss.
I start Arter for Pulis in the midfield today, and switch German (to AMC) and Harsanyi (to ST). Sole still isn't really fully match fit and I don't want to start him yet. We're gonna be tired by the end of this one, but hopefully they will too.
11': Harsanyi with the first shot on target of the match, but right at the keeper. We dominate possession early again today (70/30 so far).
15': Clarke with a throw-in, gets the ball back, puts a very nice ball to the Arter just outside the box, he places a perfect through ball for Harsanyi who runs on to it and beats the keeper! 1-0
21': Arter with a foul on our end. Free kick from 25 yards out leads to a corner, but we get the corner out of there cleanly... last year we gave up TONS of goals on headers off of corner kicks, so that's a concern for me.
25': Yellow for Wimbledon midfielder Moore after a contested header.
27': Good possession for us in their 3rd. Arter gets it to Harsanyi just outside the box, he does it himself with two defenders closing down on him and puts a great shot past the keeper. His second goal! 2-0
32': German wins a ball in midfield, heads it ahead to Harsanyi, he attacks and draws the defense, does a great job in finding Ademola streaking in from the right wing, delivers a perfect pass and Ademola finishes well! 3-0
HALF: We take a dominant 3-0 lead into the locker room. We have 7 shots, 6 on target. AFC Wimbledon has 1 shot and it was blocked. No changes at the half.
46': A Yellow for Defender Kennedy Adjei, tripping O'Sullivan. A free kick from not too far outside their box.
47': Arter passes to O'Sullivan on the free kick, O'Sullivan lays the ball into the box, Cullen is the first to it, and he beats the keeper! 4-0
52': Ricketts with a horrible mistake in our penalty area, no one near him after a long ball by Wimbledon, but he misplays a header(trying to head it back to the keeper I think), and the ball falls right to a Wimbledon attacker who strikes it cleanly past Lynch. 4-1
62': Arter picks up a yellow for a rough tackle in midfield.
65': Pulis in for German, Arter moves to ML, Pulis MC. Sole in for Harsanyi.
70': O'Sullivan with a yellow. I dunno why, I was in the tactics screen.
72': Ricky Anane is in for Ademola. Anane is weak at MR, but I'm having him actively train to improve there, and maybe game experience speeds that along?
I tell the team to retain possession and we do just that, keeping the ball in their half of the field for most of the final 20 minutes.
Woking 4 : 1 AFC Wimbledon
Harsanyi is man of the match with 2 goals and 1 assist and a 9.2 rating.
Harry Arter had two assists and held the ball very well in the midfield, 8.6 for him, while Ademola's goal earned him a 7.7 rating.
Ricketts (7.5), Clarke (7.3), O'Sullivan (7.5), and German(7.2) also stood out today.
The original scouting report I got on Zoltan Harsanyi listed his main weakness as "He is a selfish player." That may well be true but at this level that selfishness turns him into the most decisive player on the pitch. If he had a lane to the goal, he fired it in. And he was on target every time. Antonio German, for all his wonderful speed, doesn't seem to want to shoot.
Harsanyi will be one of my starting strikers for the foreseeable future. I'm pretty sure I'll give Sole the other starting job over Cullen, at least for now as soon as he's fully match fit.
Early in the season I tend to watch my full matches. Once I get comfortable with what we do well and what mistakes we're likely to make I drop back to extended highlights and eventually key highlights as I want to knock out the remainder of the season later on. That'll end up impacting the pace of things a lot, slow buildup before I start to tear through the season I hope.
August 13th, 2011
Woking (2nd) @ Kidderminster (3rd)
Kidderminster are fairly heavy favorites today at home and off to a start just as hot as us. this is the 3rd match in 8 days for each team. We're 1-0-1 against them.
Of note for Kidder is Forward Darryl Knights, he was one of the finalists for player of the league last year, scoring 24 goals and 12 assists in 39 matches. I instruct my guys to tackle him hard and close him down.
Sole starts over Cullen for me today:
5': Sole with a nice interior pass to Harsanyi, his first shot is on target. We win a corner but can't do anything with it.
17': There's my poacher! O'Sullivan with a pretty ball foward to Sole, he's got a tough angle on the left side of the box but has no defenders in front of him, he blasts the ball by the keeper! 1-0
HALF: We took a few more shots, all by Harsanyi, all off target. We take a 1-0 lead into the locker room, controlling 63% of the possession and only allowing one shot all match so far, a poor long range effort. The defense and midfield have been brilliant for us, not allowing Kidder to come close to getting anything going.
'45: Their star striker, Knights, gets a ball in a good position to shoot, Lynch makes a nice save.
47': 3 shots this half already from Kidder, they're trying to even it up quickly. I change my instructions from defensive to counter-attacking
64': Ademola goes down hurt after being challenged on a header. I move German from the left side to the right and bring Arter in on the left. Maledon in for a tiring Pulis.
67': Foul by Thomas just outside the box. Kidder's free kick is off the wall for a corner. First corner is headed behind. Second corner is cleared cleanly.
71': Sidibe in for a tired Sole. Sidibe is a DC, and I change to a 5-4-1 to try to withstand the assault on the road.
89': We have the ball in the midfield wasting some time, Arter finds Harsanyi well outside the box, the defense tries to win the ball away, fails horribly, Harsanyi with a good run by his defender, setting up a finish to put the game away! 2-0
Kidderminster 0 : 2 Woking
Joe O'Sullivan delivers 1 assist and dominates the midfield as usual, good for a 7.9 rating and man of the match today.
Harsanyi has a goal and a 7.5 rating, Clarke (7.3), Fenton (7.1) also stand out. Sole gave us our first goal but struggled some after that.
We were the second worst road team in the league last year. I am pretty thrilled to get such a solid win here.
3 matches in and only Woking and Cheltenham have won all 3. We're listed first in the Blue Square Premier for the first time in my tenure.
Harsanyi and Arter are both named in the BSP team of the week.
August 16th, 2011
Histon (0-1-2, 20th) @ Woking (3-0-0, 1st)
We're very slight favorites at home today. We're 0-1-1 lifetime against Histon, they finished 13th in the BS Premier last year.
4 matches in 11 days now... a grueling start for everyone to kick off the season. Cullen and Arter start over Pulis and Sole, fatigue issues. Sam Sloma is back from injury and available off the bench, he's not match fit yet. If I can, I'll work him in just to run around some.
Histon looks set to play a very defensive 4-1-4-1 formation. Their fitness is much worse than ours it seems.
10': I love O'Sullivan. Even with 10 men defending he puts the ball in the perfect spot for Cullen. Cullen with a nice move to make a little space, beats the keeper! 1-0
30': Arter is down after a hard challenge... but he's still listed at 75% fitness, hopefully he's fine.
33': Ricketts with a long throw, O'Sullivan with a great through ball for German who strikes it past the keeper! 2-0
46': Their best midfielder, Bosner, makes a good run down the left side after a free kick, he gets a cross into the box and their striker heads it home past Lynch. 2-1
HALF: The late goal to keep this interesting was disappointing. Histon mainly went for long balls and a couple times we committed fouls in their half going for headers, allowing them to get a couple attacks, the last one resulting in the goal. still, we are way more fit than they, and they should be too tired to generate anything else I hope.
Pulis in for the injured Arter at the half. It seems Arter can still go but why risk it.
48': Ademola with a nice cross, German gets a head on it from very close range but right at the keeper. Its listed as a Clear Cut chance that we didn't finish, that's always disappointing.
52': German's speed draws a yellow card, a bad trip by defender Holden as German went flying by him.
57': Fenton gets beat on a long ball, commits a foul and draws a yellow. There's a free kick near our penalty area, but it comes to nothing.
67': Sloma is in for a tired Antonio German.
71': Anane in for a tired Ricketts, and we are done with subs for the day.
79': After a clearance, Histon's foward tried to pass the ball back to a defender. It was way wide, Harsanyi ran on to the stray ball and struck it past the keeper for an easy gift goal! 3-1
Woking 3 : 1 Histon
In a game where the opponent was content to let us control possession and just fire long balls whenever they could, its no surprise that Joe O'Sullivan dominated the match. He has 2 assists and a 9.0 rating and is the clear man of the match.
Our 3 goal scorers each put up nice ratings, German(7.3), Cullen (7.1) and Harsanyi (7.0). Ademola(7.1) and Thomas(7.2) are noteworthy as well. No one really played poorly, though Fenton had a couple mistakes/fouls that gave Histon some chances.
We're 4-0-0 with 10 goals and just 2 against. Cheltenham is the other team to watch early, they've scored 7 and not allowed a single goal yet.
We play Gateshead (11th currently) in 4 days time before finally earning a little rest with a week off.
ISP troubles yesterday had FOFC unavailable, took notes on a couple games in notepad though:
August 20th, 2011
Woking (4-0-0, 1st) @ Gateshead (2-0-2, 12th)
Gateshead are very slight favorites at home over us. One of the few teams that didn't beat us last year. We're 1-1-0 against them in our short history.
Pulis is back in the lineup over Arter, Sole back in for Cullen.
11': Gateshead earns a corner and takes a short corner and don't defend it well at all. We get lucky as a shot goes off the crossbar.
21': O'Sullivan has picked up a yellow and a number of fouls in the midfield. This is concerning me. We haven't managed a shot yet today, Gateshead is giving us a good challenge early.
42': We get a breakaway after 40 minutes of nothing, Ademola with a nicely placed ball for Harsanyi, but he strikes it right at the keeper. Our first shot of the match is a missed clear cut chance.
45': O'Sullivan with a through ball, the keeper is indecisive about running out for it, Sole gets to it first.. and hits the post.
HALF: We get two chances late that hopefully help to swing the momentum. Gateshead outplayed us most of teh half. Around the 25 minute mark I switched from a standard mindset to a defensive one. This may be one where we need to just make sure we don't give up a goal and be happy with a draw. Gateshead had 3 early shots and then we held them out of our area completely for the last 30 minutes or so.
56': Harsanyi with a long run through the Gateshead defense, he takes a strong shot from just inside the box... great save by the keeper.
58': Fenton picks up a little injury and he's playing like crap. Ricketts moves to DC, Anane in at DR.
63': Harsanyi on a counter attack, runs up the right side, plays a beautiful pass to Sole in the middle of the box, seems like an automatic goal, but a poor first touch gives it away.
70': Whoa! I'm in the tactics screen making a sub and see GOAL FOR WOKING start flashing. We earn a corner, O'Sullivan ends up with teh ball in the box... I'm really not sure if he made an impossible pass or the 4 defenders made the worst clearance ever(I suspect the second), it falls to Thomas who volleys it into the net! 1-0
70': Cullen in for Sole, Sloma in for Ademola.
74': Free kick gateshead, a swinging cross, Sloma goes up with one of their forwards, loses out horribly on a header, they put it in the net. 1-1
Gateshead 1 : 1 Woking
The last 15 minutes are extremely boring.
I feel pleased to get a draw here, even though we scored first. Possession was about even, but it seemed like Gateshead were threatening way more than us.
Aswad Thomas(DC) is our goalscorer and he picks up the slack in defense for Fenton having a crap game, he's the man of the match with a 7.8 rating.
DL Clarke puts up a 7.1, and no one else is really noteworthy. Fenton and Ademola are under 6, Fenton with a 5.4 rating, awful in the air (5/13 headers, he's usually 10/13).
Cheltenham loses today and we remain in 1st, 1 point ahead of Rushden and Cheltenham, 2 points ahead of Kettering.
Aswad Thomas and Joe O'Sullivan are named in the team of the week.
August 27th, 2011
Barrow (2-1-2, 11th) @ Woking (4-1-0, 1st)
We're pretty heavy favorites at home here. Barrow finished 18th in the leaugue last year, we are 1-1-0 against them. At home I open up attacking, I want to put this away early today.
23': Very simple poachers goal, Sole scoots behind the D at just the right time, O'Sullivan delivers it perfectly, Sole puts it home. 1-0
42': We earn a deep throw in and 4 corners and can't even manage a shot.
HALF: We dominate possession, but struggle to set up shots. Harsanyi and German keep losing the ball where one little move gives them a look. We take 6 shots, the only on target one is the goal. Barrow only manages 3 shots. Our 63/37 possession edge and Barrow's 47% pass completion rate favor us in a huge way.
55': Yellow for Fenton in the defensive midfield.
61': A little poachers effort for Barrow to get an attacker a free shot at Lynch. Lynch runs at him and blocks his shot, nice save, nice decisive decision by Lynch.
66': There's the move by Harsanyi to beat his man! He's one on one with the keeper and puts a shot just wide to the right. ERGH!
66': Cullen in for a tiring Sole, Sloma in for a hurt German.
73': Harsanyi may be selfish but he fires a beautiful pass to Cullen around midfield on a counter attack. Cullen does the rest himself, makes his way into the box and beats the keeper! 2-0
80': Anane in for a tired Ricketts.
Woking 2 : 0 Barrow
Each team generates 10 shots, each team only puts 2 of them on target, but we generate 4 "clear cut chances" and both of our on target shots end up in the back of the net.
Joe O'Sullivan puts up a 7.8 and earns man of the match honors. This is our 6th match and 3rd man of the match award for O'Sullivan. He delivers an assist and connects on 39 of his 50 passes.
Cullen's goal earns him a 7.1 in just 20 minutes on the pitch. Ricketts(7.2), Fenton(7.0), Thomas(7.1) and Harsanyi(7.0/1 assist) stand out as well. Sole had the first goal but nothing else for a 6.8 rating.
Joe O'Sullivan is once again named to the league team of the week.
Aug 31: Harry Arter twists a knee in training and is going to be out for 4 weeks.
Sept 2: Nick Fenton twists a knee in training and is going to be out for 4 weeks.
Bad week for practice...
Cheltenham's Patrick Kohlmann(DL) averages a 7.87 rating in August and is the league's player of the month. Joe O'Sullivan has the exact same average rating and is 2nd in the player of the month voting.
Rushden's 21 y/o Sam Smith scores 7 goals in 6 matches and is the young player of the month (why isn't that player of the month, wow!). Joe O'Sullivan, only 19 , is second here as well.
I am named manager of the month for August! Rushden's manager is 2nd and Cheltenham's is 3rd.
The board is pleased with me as we go into the month. We lost $61,750 on the month, about what I'd expect. Zoltan Harsanyi is seen as a good signing.
September 3rd, 2011
Rushden (5-0-1, 2nd) @ Woking (5-1-0, 1st)
This could end up being a key matchup if we both stay near the top as we go along. We are very slight favorites at home. Rushden has qualified for the playoffs in the BS Premier each of the last two years. We haven't beaten them yet (0-1-1 last year).
Bilal Sidibe will be taking over for Nick Fenton until he's back from his injury. Rushden's star striker, Sam Smith, hurt himself this week and is out for awhile so we catch a big break not having to face him.
8': Harsanyi to Sole for a solid strike, but Rushden's keeper makes a nice save. That's the first on target shot for either side.
15': Sole shakes off a defender to generate a solid shot in the box, its just wide, and he ends up injured by the time he's done(I really dunno how...). His fitness is down and he'll probalby only play the first half, if that.
20': O'Sullivan with a rare run by himself, a great move to beat a defender and he fires an on target shot but its blocked by the keeper. We seem in control here... 7 shots already but just 2 on target.
28': A quick counter for Rushden leads to a breakaway, ST Hilliard beats Sidibe and scores his first goal of the season. 0-1
HALF: Our first halftime deficit. Cullen replaces Sole, Anane replaces Sidibe (ricketts to DC/Anane DR). We've dominated possession (63/37) but Rushden countered well. They manage 8 shots, 7 for us, only 1 on target for them/2 for us. I think getting Sidibe out will help us. He's not match fit and wasn't really ready to take over for an injured player and got beat constantly.
56': The first shot of the half for either team... Clarke runs down the left side, slides a ball into the box for German who strikes it from a very narrow angle and beats the keeper! A really nice goal 1-1
62': Rushden gets the lead back quickly. A cross into the middle, an attacker with a header, and Lynch just stands there as it slowly goes by him. He got caught out of position a bit and that looked pretty bad. 1-2
64': Ademola down the right side, a nice pass to Harsanyi. Instead of striking at a tough angle, he fires a center pass to Cullen who runs onto it and puts it into the net. 2-2
67': A big chance for Rushden... Thomas with a last second saving tackle in front of the goal, Ricketts blocks a shot and we clear. Whew.
70': Yellow card for Rushden defender Downer. We hav a free kick just outside the left corner of the box, but its taken poorly.
84': Sloma in for a tired German. Perhaps I should settle for the tie but at home with this kind of team I don't like it. I tell the guys to attack and we'll take the risk.
91': A poor pass in the midfield by Rushden is intercepted and quickly fed to Cullen. He runs down the left side, turns and puts a great cross in front of the net. Ademola is there and heads it by the keeper! 3-2
We don't lead until extra time, what a great win!
Woking 3 : 2 Rushden
Rushden Midfielder Lee Tomlin got 2 assists today and put up an 8.8 rating. He gets man of the match in the loss.
Our goals come from Ademola(7.2), German (7.5) and Cullen (7.7). Cullen, Harsanyi(7.7), and Clarke(7.8) with the assists. Clark was very strong in defense, helping to make up for the terrible play by Sidibe in the back. O'sullivan doesn't have a part in any goals but put up a 7.2 rating just for his control in the middle.
Sole was bad today, 5.8.
We're 3 points clear of 2nd at this point. Ebbsfleet is 4th in the league, 3-4-0... they're the only other team left besides us without a loss.
Heh, in a coaches meeting my assistant says that our current formation "isn't really suitable at all." Talk to me after we lose, buddy.
September 6th, 2011
Woking (6-1-0, 1st) at Wrexham (4-0-3, 8th)
Last season we won once and lost once against Wrexham in two high scoring affairs. Wrexham have one of the best goal scorers in the league in Marc Williams. 19 goals last year and already 7 in 7 matches this year. We will attempt to close him down and force him to use his weak left foot.
3': Left midfielder Reuben Noble-Lazarus (great name) for Wrexham controls the ball well just outside our penalty area, moves well with two defenders very close to him, and puts a shot right by Lynch from 20 yards away... 0-1 Well that is unfortunate.
8': Ricketts is brought down hard in midfield... no foul despite him staying down for a bit. The turnover leads to a 2 on 2 situation, and a nice pass frees Marc Williams in the box, Lynch runs at him and makes a good/lucky save. whew.
12': An outlet to Harsanyi starts a counter attack, he passes wide to German, back to Harsanyi near the penalty area, he could have come in to shoot, but centers for Sole instead.. Sole should have scored I would have thought, but instead loses possession in the middle of the box.
18': Thomas with a yellow about 30 yards out for a rough tackle. the free kick leads to a corner... and a second corner.. before they put a header over the bar for a goal kick.
25': Ademola with a poor pass in the midfield starts things for Wrexham, they move it forward quickly, get it to a man in front of Sidibe, the dude runs right by Sidibe and fires a strike straight in past Lynch. 0-2
40': Yellow for defender Obeng bringing down Harsanyi just outside the box. We can't do anything with the free kick though.
HALF: Just terrible. I was hoping maybe we could get one back before the half but not even close. Wrexham has more shots on target than we have total shots (4 to 2).
49': Ricketts with a yellow for a hard sliding tackle deep in our end. Free kick leads to a corner which we clear easily for once.
51': Brilliance from Sole! He takes a pass 40 yards out, turns by his man, runs into the box where a tackle is attempted, he manages to keep the ball and fires a shot with two men draped all over him, GOAL! 1-2
56': A long bounce after a blocked shot triggers a break for us. Harsanyi runs from midfield towards the goal, cuts wide and hits German with a pretty pass, but German takes a very weak shot and the keeper blocks it easily.
62': Anane in for Sidibe, who played terribly again.
65': Ademola hasnt' seemed to recover from the fact that his poor pass led to Wrexham's second goal, plus he's tiring... Sloma in for Ademola, German to the right side/Sloma on the left.
70': Wrexham with a quick counter, their right back wins the ball deep in his own end, fires a long ball past our defense, a fresh midfielder named Batt runs onto it and is able to put it past Lynch... 1-3
70': Cullen in for Sole, who spent some time on the sidelines after being fouled hard.
92': Lynch comes off his line to try to pick up a through ball, he gets to the ball first but doesn't pick it up cleanly, the ball falls to a Wrexham attacker and he happily puts that one in. 1-4
Wrexham 4 : 1 Woking
Can't win 'em all.
through all of that mess, O'Sullivan picks up the assist, has 5 key headers and completes 27 of 33 passes and has a 7.9 rating.
Sole's goal gives him a 6.9. Lynch (5.5), Sidibe(5.0), Thomas(5.2), and Ademola(5.8) and Harsanyi(5.9) embarrass themselves today.
Oof! Sidibe stuck in there without being match fit and struggling in general anyway after Fenton got hurt has really caused problems the last couple matches.
September 10th, 2011
Eastleigh (3-2-3, 13th) @ Woking (6-1-1, 2nd)
Eastleigh earned promotion out of the BS South last year. They're holding their own so far up in the baby Premier league. We've played them twice and drew both times, that would have been two seasons ago though. We're heavy favorites and I get Sam Sloma into the lineup in place of German to get him some work. Sidibe starts yet again in the back of the defense.
20': Harsanyi with the ball well outside of the box, he draws the defense, gets it to Sole who takes it up a bit further, he gets it back to Harsanyi in the box, if he could have shot immediately he had a clear look... but he needs a touch to control it and the defense gets it back for a corner. It was pretty looking though :/
24': Near breakaway by Eastleigh. Thomas hurries back and forces a tough shot. That's Eastleigh's first shot of the match. We have 7, but only 1 on target.
30': A very quick counter by Eastleigh leads to a thunderous shot off the post. Whew.
33': Sole with a poachers cut to the goal, O'Sullivan hits him, our 2nd clear cut chance of the match, but its saved and put behind for a corner. Corner comes to nothing.
HALF: Still scoreless. Ricketts and Thomas both picked up little knocks to their fitness. We're going to be very worn out in the back by the time this is over. O'Sullivan and Clarke have looked pretty good, Harsanyi and Sole both have had more than 1 legit scoring chance. Hopefully the pressure we're putting on will wear them down and get it done.
50': Counter for us, Harsanyi runs down the right side, hits an open Sole with no one between him and the keeper... and a shot goes right off the keeper. Seriously needed to finish there. 0 for 3 on clear cut chances.
55': Pulis hits Sole about 30 yards out, Sole runs right up the gut and makes one nice turn, he's got 3 defenders closing but finds the space for a shot just as he gets into the penalty area.. this is WAY tougher than his other chances but he puts this one by the keeper! 1-0
55': Ricketts moves to DC, Anane in for Thomas.
61': Maledon in for O'sullivan, who is both tired and has a yellow. German in for a tired Sloma.
69': Some buildup in the middle, a ball forward to Harsanyi who makes a good run with a defender draped on him. He centers for Sole who puts home a very nice volley into the left side of the net. 2-0
Woking 2 : 0 Eastleigh
We hold the ball, fend off some desparation attacks, and kill the final 25 minutes successfully.
Sole's 2 goals earn him an 8.8 and man of the match.
Ricketts and Clarke put up a 7.2 and 7.3, everyone else in in the 6.7-6.9 range. Pulis and Harsanyi earn the assists today.
we take first back over with our win. Wrexham, who beat us 4-1 last match, beat Rushden, another top squad, 6-0 today. Holy crap! Their star striker, Marc Williams, scored 4 goals today. He now has 11 in 9 matches.
A nice recovery for us today after our first loss.
Mark Cullen picks up the flu. I send him home so he doesn't infect the whole team and he'll be unavalable for a couple matches.
September 17th, 2011
Woking (7-1-1, 1st) @ Accrington (1-4-4, 18th)
Accrington aren't allowing many goals, just 9... but they've somehow only managed to score 6. they got demoted from League 2 last year and don't seem motivated to get back up just yet.
Accrington are very, very slight favorites at home regardless (6-4 vs our 13:8). German starts at the AML slot today.
11': Accrington get two men ahead, Lynch with a great job to block the first shot, and our defense catches up to clear the rebound... we should be down 1-0.
13': Midfielder Proctor for Accrington picks up a yellow tripping Sole.
28': Accrington catches our defense totally by surprise on a long ball... they get a striker one on one with Lynch, Lynch comes off his line and deflects a shot behind. We should be down 2-0. I give the "drop deeper" instruction to hopefully prevent this from happening again.
33': Thomas with a missed interception on a cross coming in from the left side. Accrington Striker Fletcher does a great job running onto it and putting it into the right side of the net. 0-1
HALF: What a terrible half. Sidibe, Thomas, Harsanyi and Sole are all under 6.0, we're really playing awful here. We're being outshot 9-3 and we haven't put a single shot on goal yet. Lynch has really saved us today, we could be down 3 or 4. Ricketts moves to the middle of the defense, Anane in for Sidibe.
56': We have some very nice buildup near the box and things get very crowded... in the end Ademola is trying to pass the ball across the box and one of Accrington's defenders gets a leg on it and it richochet's into the net!! Own goal! 1-1
62': I've mentioned it before, but if German had better control over the ball he'd be unstoppable. O'Sullivan finds him in acres of space as the play by play tells us, but his awful first touch sends the ball to the keeper.
75': Corner for Accrington, Lynch rushes out to try to pick up the cross, he misses, they have a header on the open net.. and hit the post.
76': Sloma in for Harsanyi. German moves to the striker position, Sloma AML.
79': Ricketts misses a header on an in swinging cross, Accrington midfielder Burgess heads it by Lynch. 1-2
81': WOWOWOW. Sloma with a cross into the middle. Its headed away down to the right corner. Anane busts his ass to run onto it and crosses it back in on a fully volley. Its a gorgeous cross and German gets his head on the ball inside the 6 yard box and it goes into the back of the net! The cross by Anane is one of the best plays I've ever seen at this level. 2-2
Accrington 2 : 2 Woking
Accrington manages 18 shots, 7 on target, and somehow only comes away with 2 goals. They generate 5 clear cut chances and don't finish well enough. By contrast we only have 5 shots, just 1 on target, just 1 clear cut chance. There's an own goal... I said it multiple times during the match, we should have lost 4 or 5 to 1 here.
German(7.4) and O'Sullivan(7.3) and Anane(6.9 in only a half) are worth pointint out... Lynch only managed a 6.5 despite his saves. Thomas and Sidibe were both embarrassing and I gave them the "disappointing" pep talk.
We stay up in first.
Every team has played 10 matches now:
1. Woking 23 pts
2. Cheltenham 23 pts
3. Wrexham 21 pts
4. Kettering 19 pts
5. Rushden 19 pts
6. Newport 18 pts
7. Cambridge 17
8. Macclesfield 17
9. Stevenage 17 pts
10. Kidderminster 16 pts
September 20th, 2011
Stevenage (5-2-3, 9th) @ Woking (7-2-1, 1st)
Stevenage are our top rivals. They are favored on the road based on reputation, we're considered quite lucky to be in first right now. Sadly Arter, Fenton and Cullen are still just a few days away from being ready. We're going to be at a pretty severe fitness disadvantage today.
Stevenage owned us last season, outscoring us 5-1 in two decisive victories.
I start Ricketts at DC today and leave Sidibe out of the lineup. Anane is my right side defender, and I have 3 guys from the reserve squad ready to come in off the bench to provide some fresh legs if necessary. I can't say I'm thrilled to be doing this for a rivalry game but it seems necessary on such short rest.
I open the match in an attacking mindset, willing to take risks at home early while we're still fresh.
2': Brilliant run by Harsanyi down the left side on a counter, brilliant pass across the box to Ademola, brilliant save by the keeper... doh!
5': Great turn by Harsanyi to get free near the box, he runs into the penalty area but doesn't strike it... he hasn't scored in a few matches, his confidence may be suffering? Instead he runs deep and lays it off for Anane who can't finish.
21': Yellow for midfielder Bostwick for a hard tackle on O'Sullivan. There will be more cards coming, that's 9 fouls between the two teams already.
26': O'Sullivan gets the ball to Harsanyi about 25 yards out, Harsanyi with the same great turn to get by the defense and generate a chance. This time he lines it up and fires a shot towards the far post by the keeper! Great goal. 1-0
29': While I'm writing this up, Stevenage earns a corner, Lynch comes out to try to punch away the cross, he fails, and the ball is headed into the net. 1-1
33': Sole with a hard tackle in the midfield... that's a yellow.
HALF: Exciting few minutes there as we each score quick goals. The last 10 minutes was a lot of fouls in the midfield. Sole and Ademola are struggling, Harsanyi is looking great.
65': Sloma in for a tired German. Reserve Anson Cousins in for Sole. Cousins is probably my best reserve player... my coaches don't think he is worth a damn but his numbers are decent imo, I've wanted to get him a little action.
79': Ademola is out, Maledon in. Pulis moves to the right side, Maldeon in the center. I back into a standard 4-4-2 based on the guys I have left out there.
82': O'Sullivan gets us going on a little break, he feeds Cousins who has some room just outside the box on the left side. He could have run at the keeper but it looks like he just panicked and shot from where he was, way wide.
88': Pulis picks up a yellow for a hard tackle.
89': Through ball from about 50 yards out by a Stevenage midfielder... a foward dives onto it and directs it into the net, urgh! 1-2
92': O'Sullivan feeds it into the box after a throwin, Sloma with a great look directly in front of the keeper, but he puts it right on the keeper...
93': Another throw in, Clark with a deep swinging cross from 40 yards out on the left side of the field, it drops to Pulis in the box who strikes it near post, PAST THE KEEPER! 2-2
Woking 2 : 2 Stevenage
I will take that! The downside is that Stevenage only puts two shots on target and they both go in, while we had 14 shots/6 on target/4 clear cut chances... we controlled the match and could have won. But with our depth and fitness issues I am certainly fine with a draw here.
O'Sullivan has an assist, key passes, key headers and dominates as usual, 8.0 and man of the match.
Clarke has an assist and a 7.7 rating. Pulis(7.3) and Harsanyi(7.5) score teh goals. Sole is the only true poor performer with a 5.7 rating.
Wrexham and Cheltenham both win and drop us down to 3rd.
September 24th, 2011
Woking (7-3-1, 3rd) @ Newport Co(5-4-2, 6th)
Newport were our main competition in the Blue Square South the year we won. They finished 2nd and won the playoffs. They finished 15th last year in the BS Premier, a few places ahead of us. We're 2-1-1 with 4 goals for/2 against over our two years with Newport.
Newport are 5-4 favorites at their place today.
I start the same lineup from last match, but Cullen/Arter/Fenton are available... just not fully rested up yet. There is a very good chance that Fenton and Cullen play at least 30 minutes heh.
35': Each team with 4 shots, we dominate possession but are really not getting good looks, struggling to break down the D at all. I try the rarely used(by me at least) Control strategy... trying to frustrate and draw out the defense to get some openings.
HALF: Yeah, still the same. Sloma in for a complacent German at the half.
58': Pulis is hurt on a challenge in the midfield... I have a bad feeling about this one, his fitness got knocked down to 45%. Arter in immediately for him.
73': Best chance i've seen all day... Ademola with a beautifully threaded pass to Sole who is running into the box, he has a half step on his man but the defender makes a great sliding tackle to save the chance.
77': Great give and go by Newport, Lynch makes a fingertip save on a tough shot.
78': I really want to bring Cullen in... but I have to sub a midfielder. O'Sullivan is exhausted, Maledon in for him.
89': 3rd match in a row we've conceded a goal on a corner I believe. Cross, header, poor defense, poor positioning by the keeper. Bad all the way around. 0-1
Newport Co 1 : 0 Woking
Disappointing loss today. No one stood out as having a good match at all here. We only put 2 shots on target all match. We controlled 57% of the possession but Newport generated more chances, more shots on target, more clear cut chances and obviously the only goal.
I am very pleased to see Arter, Cullen, and Fenton all available again. Fenton will shore up the defense right away I hope and the other two will allow me the chance to sit a player if he isn't doing well, or just needs a break.
Newport jump to 4th with the win today. We stay in 3rd but are not 5 points out of Cheltenham in first. There isn't a whole lot of room for a mediocre run if you want to stay near the top of the table, so we need to snap out of our little funk here right quick(1-2-2 in our last 5).
Anthony Pulis is going to miss about 2 weeks after the bruised thigh he suffered from a hard tackle in our last match. We've got a little bit of a breather here so he might only miss two matches.
October 1st, 2011
Altrincham (1-3-8, 24th) @ Woking (7-3-2, 3rd)
We are, no surprise, massive favorites here and need to avoid a letdown against a weaker side as much as anything. We've played them 3 times, winning 2 and losing 1.
Cullen starts for Sole - Sole hasn't been doing great so far, Cullen has the same amount of goals in far far less time
Arter starts at MC for the injured pulis
Fenton, thank god, is back in the lineup. Ricketts back to DR, Anane back to the bench after some useful work.
2': Fenton goes to close down a man at midfield when there's another guy running free... one very simple pass and an attacker runs 30 yards behind the defense by himself, beating Lynch one on one. 0-1 Ridiculous.
7': Throwin deep i nour area... a pass to striker Kalala in front of the net, he stands there seemingly forever(just a moment in reality I'm sure) without getting closed down on, strikes to the far post, goal. 0-2
10': Cullen runs in front of the penalty area, draws the defense a little out of position, passes back to O'Sullivan, who puts a good ball forward for Ademola, near post strike, GOAL. 1-2
31': A quick counter after an attacking attempt... Rickets to O'Sullivan who lays a ball nicely into the box. Cullen runs onto it and takes a good angle to the far post by the keerp. 2-2
34': O'Sullivan to Cullen for another easy goal, but he was very clearly offsides, meh.
41': O'Sullivan feeds Harsanyi who puts a shot on the keeper despite two defenders on him, but a nice save.
44': O'Sullivan to Arter after a throwin, nothing special here, just movign the ball around... Arter strikes from 30 yards out and surprises everyone, including the keeper. Its in the net! 3-2
46': Harsanyi feeds Cullen for another offside goal. Again, clearly offsides.
HALF: WHEW. Well then, that was fun. Conceding two terrible goals in the first 7 minutes, getting the ball into the net FIVE times the rest of the way, though only 3 counted. So yeah, 3-2 halftime lead.
46': German gets a yellow for a rough tackle on the wing.
49': Clarke with a nice long pass to Harsanyi, he hits German cutting in from the left wing, German with a beautiful strike just barely inside the far post! 4-2
54': Yellow for Kalala, one of their goal scorers. A minute later he commits another foul, oh to be red, but nope.
64': O'Sullivan with a pass from just within midfield forward for German, a missed interception by a defender, the ball settles in the perfect spot for German to run on to, he dribbles once and puts it past the keeper. 5-2
69': Free kick for us from the left side, practically a corner kick really, after a foul. German passes to Thomas, essentially a short corner. Its not defended at all, Thomas lines up a shot and puts it past the keeper to the near post. 6-2
74': Anane in for Ricketts, Sloma in for German, Sidibe in for Fenton. "German receives a standing ovation" as he comes off.
Woking 6 : 2 Altrincham
Well I'm more than a little annoyed that we were so flat at the start, but luckily this is a terrible team and once we woke up we were able to do this to them...
Antonio German scores 2 goals and has 1 assist for a 9.2 rating and man of the match.
Joe O'Sullivan has FOUR ASSISTS for a 9.1 rating.
Harsanyi (8.3/1 assist), Cullen (8.1/1 goal), Arter(8.1/1 goal), Ademola (8.0/1 goal), Thomas (7.8/1 goal), Ricketts(7.4), Clarke(7.4), and Fenton(7.0) are noteworthy as well. Only the subs and the keeper(6.9) didn't put on a good showing today.
As we enter October, the board is "Very Pleased" with my leadership of the team. Concerns about Sam Sloma's performances are mentioned as the only negative. We lost $70k last month but no one seems to care about that.
My job status is "Very Secure"
In addition to our clearly superb BS Premier run, we'll see the FA Cup and FA Trophy start for us this month, we have expectations to win a game or two in each.
Woking dominate the team of the week in the BS Premier League. German, Arter, and O'Sullivan make up 3/4 of the midfield, and Harsanyi is in at striker.
ugggggggh. "Joe O'Sullivan has suffered a groin strain after the central midfielder attempted a sprint during training today"
Out 4 weeks. There isn't a single player on the team more important imo. The only other guy I come close to trusting in his role is Pulis, who is out for another 10 days or more himself.
October 8th, 2011
Woking (8-3-2, 3rd) @ Kettering(6-5-2, 5th)
We played Kettering twice last year, winning one, losing once. They are slight favorites at their place, both teams are considering to be overachieving at this point.
Great News going into the match, Anthony Pulis returned to training earlier than expected and is fit enough to come in off the bench if need be today. Maledon and Arter start in the midfield though. I give Arter a supporting role instead of the attacking one that O'Sullivan is allowed.
I open in a defensive mindset and tell our boys to retain possession. This works great with O'Sullivan, we'll see if Arter/Maledon working it around can give us 65% possession and find openings at the same time.
7': Arter gets it to Cullen who makes a great cutback move to generate an open shot. Its deflected wide by the keeper, we fail on the corner.
10': Ricketts is way forward... especially given the defensive strategy. But he puts in a great cross and German gets his head to it... off the left post.
19': Corner to Kettering.. a cross into the box, midfielder Dempster heads it in, Lynch is nowhere near the ball at any point during that play, and no one was anywhere near Dempster. 0-1
21': A random shot from 25 yards out before we can close down is put into the right side of the net... ouch. 0-2
24': A long pass is deflected very slightly by Arter before settling near the penalty spot in front of Kettering's top striker O'Flynn. I think our entire team assumed he was long offsides? Thomas and Fenton appeared to be standing around watching the grass grow as he put it into the net. 0-3
After falling behind early here, I switched to commentary only, as this is my last game of the night and I'm pushing it a bit for this one, so the early deficit was good excuse to just end this one ASAP.
Boy did it get out of hand. Ricketts scored a goal before the first half ended, but then Kettering score on a counter attacking goal, then a penalty, then a corner... to crush us 6-1. This is one of those places where I should probably play for the closer loss instead of attack like its do or die, but I always forget about that until things are out of hand :)
Kettering 6 : Woking 1
Nick Fenton puts up the lowest rating I can ever remember seeing in a FM match... 3.9. Thomas 4.9, most others in the 5's. Oof.
I'm out of town tomorrow til Friday, so this should pick back up next weekend.
If I got a 3.9 on my team, the very least I would do is warn them, if not fine them a week's wages. (interact with player)
ohh i hadn't thought about that. I saved it immediately after the end of the match, still haven't done post match press conference or anything. I'll definitely be doing that and seeing what happens heh.
I'm pretty sure I've seen a sub four rating for a player in '09. In my case, I was playing a friendly or perhaps a cup match against a team three or four leagues above my own. Their strikers had a field day against my relatively slower defenders, and their ratings suffered.
Nice Dynasty so far. Sloma is a guy that has played on a couple of my teams, and always seems to perform. I like his versatility, as he has played up and down the left side of the pitch for me.
Thanks for reading!
Sloma has been a bit weird for me. He starts the game with Woking, so I've had him from the start. My first season I ended up finding success with a very narrow formation and having my play go right through the middle, so Sloma got left out. These last two I've found very good loaners and he's been a versatile reserve, but also a bit injury prone. As long as he's happy with not starting too often I'll be happy to keep him.
FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying Draw
Our opening match in the FA Cup will be at home against lowly Hampton & Richmond. They were in the BS South with us in 2009/10 but got relegated down. Our expectations are only to make the first round, which I believe we will do if we win this match in a couple weeks.
October 11, 2011
Cambridge(7-6-1, 3rd) @ Woking(8-3-3, 4th)
We are level with Cambridge with 27 points, but we only have a +8 goal differential, the lowest of all the playoff contenders. Cambridge are +14.
Cambridge were expected to be playing this well, we were not, and it shows in the lines, we're a 7-2 dog to win, Cambridge is a heavy 4-6 favorite. We are 0-0-2 against cambridge, losing both times we faced off last year. We have in fact not yet scored a goal against them.
Ademola is a bit tired coming into the match today, I move German to AMR and start Sloma on the left. Pulis and Arter start in the midfield.
I open the match with a defensive mindset.
11': Harsanyi breaks behind his man on a counter and gets far ahead down the right side of the pitch. Cullen is open in the box but Harsanyi's pass isn't quite right... Cullen still gets a shot off but its blocked. A better pass and we lead.
22': Ricketts misses a tackle fairly far out and our defense breaks down. One of their forwards ends up with a clear cut chance inside the box. Lynch rushes out and deflects the shot away, lucky for us.
39': A second clear cut chance for Cambridge, a second fingertip save by Lynch... a poachers cut behind the defense that we defend poorly. A shot on the ensuing corner is off the post.
42': Harsanyi with a good run into the box, the ball is well tackled away though. It falls to German who fires a cross over the crowd. Sloma takes it on the other side of the box and makes a GREAT pass to Harsanyi. He fires a shot that is saved, Harsanyi is fouled after the deflection though!! PENALTY! Sloma takes it and buries it. 1-0
We'll take the 1-0 lead to the locker room. Cambridge has 8 shots, but only 3 on target. We have 4 shots, all 4 on target, 3 of them clear cut chances on goal. We are tired today and I am worried about the second half. I issue the 'retain possession' instruction to try to spend a little more time with the ball.
55': Ricketts and Pulis with good defensive plays to get the ball out of the box after a dangerous through ball and a subsequent short corner.
58': Lynch again! Cambridge forward Frank Wiafe Danquah breaks behind the defense and Lynch has to make a 1 on 1 save. Wiafe Danquah has 8 goals in 12 matches for Cambridge and is a huge threat, Lynch is making some huge saves today.
61': Ademola in for a tired German, Maledon in for Arter
68': Fresh sub Willmont charges down the right side of the field for Cambridge, makes a great cross and Striker Lindfield heads it into the net... a very clean run and clean cross and great header that we just don't seem to generate ourselves. Yuck! 1-1
68': Sole in for Cullen, who isn't playing well at all. I was considering subbing into a 5-4-1 to try to hold the lead, but yeah, not now.
74': I move into a standard mindset, we haven't taken a shot all half.
75': WHOA! Pulis with a free kick from midfield, he lays it off to Maledon, Maledon with a great long pass to Harsanyi just outside the box. Harsanyi has tons of space, has a great first touch to control it, and fires a shot past the keeper from ~20 yards out!!! 2-1
80': After another long run by Willmont for Cambridge that we barely cut out, I decide its time to turtle. Contain/retain possession.
Woking 2 : Cambridge 1
We hold on for a big win against a playoff favorite!
Zoltan Harsanyi is clear man of the match winner today with an 8.5 rating. Ricketts (7.2) and Pulis(7.0) are the only others that stand out. I don't see how Lynch doesn't rate more highly.
Harsanyi is credited with a goal and an assist. Sloma has our 2nd goal, and Maledon our other assist. The difference in the number of chances we generate without O'Sullivan in the middle is striking. He's the only MC we have that can send through balls up the middle with any success. We shot 7 times, 6 on target. Cambridge managed 18 shots but only 7 on target.
After the match, we move into 3rd. We're 5 points out of first and tied with Wrexham for 2nd, but behind on goal differential.
October 15th, 2011
Woking(9-3-3, 3rd) @ Gainsborough(5-7-3, 10th)
Gainsborough are slight favorites at home today. We're 1-1-0 in our only two matches so far against them.
We luck out a bit, striker Bob Davidson has 8 goals and 5 assists for Gainsborough this year so far, but he's hurt and is going to be out for awhile.
Pulis/Arter start again in the MC slots. German/Ademola back at AML/AMR, and Sole is back in at striker instead of Cullen, who has not done well his last couple starts.
MR John Melligan seems the player to watch for Gainsborough, he's their top rated player and scores and passes well.
9': Gainsborough shoot 3 times in the first 5 minutes, we get out first look after short buildup, Harsanyi takes the ball about 25 yards out, he's got a man on him, but he turns and fires a rocket that hits the right post. Sole gets a look after we get possession back but has a shot blocked.
12': Boulding, a very average striker in for their injured star, gets a step on our defense and has a breakaway. he perhaps shoots a little too soon, but Lynch makes another great save after our defense fails us.
uh yeah... HALFTIME: We officially have 1 shot, Sole's second shot mentioned above was offsides. Gainsborough has 6, but only 1 on target.
Anane comes in for Ricketts at the half.
48': Pulis with a yellow, he's picked up about 6 fouls today, it was due.
53': Sole takes a throwin just past midfield and makes a brilliant run through the defense, getting all the way into the area by himself and generating a pretty darn good chance... but its saved.
61': Sloma in for a tired(and carded) Pulis. We still need to find a way to generate more shots today.
65': Our second shot on goal... sole with a nice little cross to Ademola in the box who fires a shot on target, but easily saved.
81': Maledon in for German, Maledon in the center/Sloma moves out wide.
84': Defender Taylor for Gainsborough picks up a yellow for tripping Sole.
Gainsborough 0 : 0 Woking
They take 7 shots, we take 5. Each puts only 2 on target all match. The end. James Taylor, one of their defenders, takes man of the match honors.
Thomas(7.5), Clarke(7.2), Pulis(7.0) and Sole(7.0) stand out for us.
Gainsborough tackled amazingly well. Sole's poacher cuts to the goal were not there. We didn't have possession of the ball in spots to try to feed him, they just took the ball away from us whenever we got close. We didn't defend them the same way... we defended the mdifield well and forced bad through balls up ahead that we easily took over... but if they did get past our midfield they usually managed a shot.
Either way, we will take a draw on the road against a decent team.
A loss by Wrexham moves us up to 2nd for now. Its very very tight though:
1st: Cheltenham - 38 pts
2nd: Woking - 31 pts
3rd: Rushden - 31 pts
4th: Cambridge - 30 pts
5th: Wrexham - 30 pts
6th: Newport Co - 29 pts
7th: Macclesfield - 29 pts
8th: Kettering - 27 pts
9th: Kidderminster - 27 pts
8 teams within 4 points of 2nd. Cheltenham threatening to run away with things, but we're barely 1/3 of the way done.
We get a bit of a breather, a week off before our FA Cup match.
October 22nd, 2011
FA Cup 4th Round Qualifying - Hampton & Richmond @ Woking
We're massive 1-6 favorites here. I make sure to get anyone who is losing match fitness into the lineup today. Hopefully it won't matter. H&R plays a flat 3-4-3 format.
2': Right, of course. 60 yard pass with a perfect run up the left side by H&R attacker Onwubiko. He is a step onside when the long ball is lifted and is 10 yards behind the defense when he picks up the ball and beats the keeper. 0-1 A poor pass by Ademola is said to lead to the counterattack... but it was well in their end, I don't like the "mistake led to goal" declaration there.
21': Lord... a through ball makes it to an attacker for H&R for a clear cut chance that luckily is pushed wide. A missed interception in the back by Fenton is the reason.
36': Right again. Sidibe misses a tackle in the box and that leads to goal #2. We are not doing well at all here. We have 4 guys "playing nervously" and "playing without confidence" 0-2
39': Yellow for Anane near midfield.
HALF: Down 2-0 i question the team's passion. Thomas in for Sidibe. Sidibe was a fine backup last year for a little while... he's turned into a complete disaster this year.
56': Cullen breaks by a defender and earns our first clear cut chance on goal, but the keeper does a good job to deflect his shot. Sloma goes after the rebound but doesn't get there first. He picks up a yellow.
62': Arter in for Ademola, German in for Sloma. I go for a more aggressive 4-3-3 to try to generate some offense.
64': Sole hits German for a breakaway goal, but he's offsides. I was 90% sure he was offsides before it was announced, ah well.
70': Pulis with a great ball into the box for Cullen, Cullen gets behind the defense and lays the ball past the far post! 1-2
After the goal... which I also expected to be called back due to offsides when I saw it, H&R protest wildly. Three H&R players get yellows before the kickoff. I don't think Ive ever seen that before!
82': Time to press hard on offense and take risks... this is embarrassing.
85': Second goal for Onwubiko, cross/header/goal/sigh. 1-3
86': Cullen runs down the right side with the ball, he crosses it into the middle, German uses his speed and gets there first a step before the defense and finishes! 2-3
90': Counter goal for H&R. this is goofy. 2-4
92': We hold the ball very briefly after kickoff to get men forward, Cullen finds German again for a goal. this is really goofy. 3-4
Woking 3 : 4 Hampton & Richmond
I did two things I don't usually do before this match. First, I brought in 4 subs simply to get them playing time. second, I told the team I expected them to win pre-match. I did of course, but I wonder how badly that tightened them up.
Pulis plays great in the middle and earns a 9.0 rating and man of the match in the loss. No goals/1 assist but a number of key pases.
Cullen has 2 assists and a goal for a 9.0. German with 2 goals and an 8.6 rating in 30 minutes.
Fenton (5.9), Sidibe(5.7), Ademola(5.8), Sole(5.6)...
This is the second year in a row that my team has choked horribly in our opening FA Cup match, failing to meet expectations.
We set a record for $70k in gate receipts from our match against H&R. Oops. The fans were out today and will be very disappointed.
Our next match on October 29th against Darlington has been chosen for our fan day to attract new fans. Hopefully we show the fans something better than the crap we just put out there.
Hey look, Sam Sloma is hurt in training. He's going to miss 4 weeks with a thigh strain. Sloma offers such good utility but is so injury prone.
October 29th, 2011
Darlington(5-6-5, 12th) @ Woking(9-4-3, 2nd)
we're at home but our form has dropped off a little bit and Darlington is favored against us very slightly. We've never beaten Darlington. We're 0-1-2 against them.
The best news of the week.. Joe O'Sullivan is back to full strength. He probably can't play the whole game today but I really dont' care, he's in the lineup. We're back to an ideal lineup with O'Sullivan and Pulis at MC, German/Ademola forward, and Cullen/Harsanyi at striker.
7': Darlington is playing a very defensive match so far. O'Sullivan, welcome back buddy. He's had a shot just hit the crossbar and go over, and placed a pass to Cullen in the midst of about 17 defenders(probably 4, but yeah...) for an effort that I don't think anyone else on the team can generate.
25': We have 4 shots, they have 1, all off target. We're dominating possession and such but no really great chances.
27': Cullen lays a ball off for Harsanyi, he gets it behind the defense but has a poor first touch on the ball, he still gets a clear cut chance out of it but its about 2 yards closer to the keeper than it needed to be... deflected and we come away empty.
43': Crazy corner for Darlington... its played to the far post, headed to someone on the near post, headed at Lynch, he saves it but deflects it out in front of the net, and its put into the net. 0-1
HALF: We're down 1-0, we dominate possession but can't get shots on target, just the one by Harsanyi. Darlington has the one good corner for a goal.
51': Yellow for Darlington Midfielder Byrne. He'd committed a bunch of fouls and was due.
59': Cullen with a bit of a breakaway, he has to take a shot from 20 yards out though and its nicely saved. corner comes to nothing.
74': Sole in for Cullen, Ricketts is tired, Anane in for him, we start to attack more.
81': O'Sullivan with a nice forward ball, Ademola centers it and Harsanyi with our second clear cut chance but he puts a header wide... we really should have scored there. O'Sullivan is tired and comes out after that, Arter is in.
84': Harsanyi with a great pass up ahead to Ademola, Ademola cuts to the goal from his right side position and puts a shot to the far post by the keeper! 1-1
87': Pretty much the same play, Ademola with a great run from the right side, but this time he's offsides. I don't buy it, looked clean to me!
89': Harsanyi with a yellow trying to win the ball back deep in their end.
93': One last corner for us in injury time, Thomas with a header well over the bar. Oh well.
Woking 1 : 1 Darlington
I'd like to get the win here at home, but after falling behind early I guess I have to take the draw.
Ademola earns man of the match with his goal and an 8.0 rating. Harsanyi's assist earns him a 7.6, Clarke, Thomas, Pulis 7.0 each.
Each team had 3 clear cut chances, 3 shots on target, and 1 goal. We dominated late to get 14 shots to their 8, but just not enough close range/on target.
Today was our fan day, and we drew 3278 fans, around 950 people more than our average. An exciting match is thought to be a good thing for fan interest.
Cambridge and Rushden wins drop us to 4th.
We get some good training reports coming into november. Our keeper, Kevin Lynch, raises his positioning ability up to 11, and composure to 9. He's got great reflexes and handling, its great to see him improving on his mental abilities.
Additionally, the board remains very pleased with my job overall. However, there is some slight concern that Lynch, Sole, and Ademola are slumping a little, and major concern over Nick Fenton. I think some of this is due to the aftereffects of our horrible 6-1 loss and once we get past that we'll be fine again.
November 1st, 2011
Maidenhead(5-4-8, 16th) @ Woking(9-5-3, 4th)
We're on a long home stretch here and not doing well enough during it IMO. We're only small favorites here but its a home match against a team not playing well. We've played these guys twice, a 1-0 win and a 0-0 draw.
With the short rest, I make a couple changes... Harsanyi/German AML/AMR, Sole and Cullen strikers. Reserve ML Josh Coke will probably get into the game for a bit.
14': Antonio German goes in hard on a guy from behind... no need, just possession in the midfield. its a RED CARD. Down to 11. I change us up into a 4-3-2 formation. Arter comes in for Cullen. Arter ML/O'Sullivan MC/Pulis MR. Sole and Harsanyi up front.
18': Sole with a great run, he's got a defender draped all over him but runs into the box with the ball, cuts across the goal looking for a shot. He finally takes it from the left side of the penalty area, but its saved. A corner comes to nothing.
33': Despite 10 v 11 we're really in control here. We've managed 7 shots, 3 on target, just 1 put on target by Maidenhead so far. Of course if we don't manage to get ahead the longer it goes the more we'll wear down.
36': There it is! O'Sullivan is controlling things in the middle, he hits Pulis on the right side, a great poachers cut by Sole, Pulis threads the ball by two defenders to Sole who finishes well. 1-0
HALF: Given the red card I have to be real pleased with how we're doing so far. Maidenhead is very timid and we're taking the 'good offense is the best defense' approach. No changes at the half.
49': O'Sullivan finds Harsanyi who places a great shot from about 22-23 yards out, the keeper makes a great save though. Corner comes to nothing.
50': Pulis with a yellow on a challenge in midfield.
58': Thomas takes a free kick from just outside the box after O'Sullivan is fouled. He fires the ball into the wall. It falls to Fenton in the right side of the box who fires an on target shot but its not going to score... interesting connection on offense between our two central defenders.
65': Great pass by Sole into the box for Harsanyi, he gets our 4th clear cut chance of the match but doesn't do anything at all with it, just fires it right into the arms of the keeper. Another "really should have scored" moment.
69': O'sullivan and Harsanyi are tired and sit. Coke in at ML, Arter to the center of the midfield. Ademola takes over at striker for Harsanyi. I consider a 4-4-1 but I really think if we don't keep pressing that we're going to start giving up shots constantly and will let them tie it up.
83': Terrible backpass by a Maidenhead defender. Sole charges the ball and has a one on one with the keeper starting outside the box, and I really want to just strangle the dude right now. No confidence? He just ran at the keeper and he's been a great finisher for me for 2 years now but he just loses it here and keeps running til its too late and pokes it like 3 yards wide.
Woking 1 : 0 Maidenhead
We're way way better than Maidenhead, and managing to win with 10 men on the field for almost 80 minutes is a good sign of that.
Pulis is player of the match with an 8.2 rating today. O'Sullivan 7.5, Thomas 7.3, Lynch 7.3, Ricketts 7.3, Clarke 7.2 Our goal scorer, Sole, only puts up a 6.9.
Back to second with our win today. Cheltenham loses on the road to Kidderminster, we're still 6 points behind them though.
GK Kevin Lynch is named to the BS Premier team of the week for the first time ever(I think at least!). Anthony Pulis played great this week as well and is on the team.
Antonio German is suspended two league matches for his red card. Reserve ML Josh Coke will stay up with the senior team but won't start.
I get a message that the loan and free transfer window is about to end for this period. I was confused, apparently, because i thought it was already closed. Apparently that was just the regular transfer window... I thought I was waiting for the new year to try to snag a couple extra players to cover holes left by injuries and such. I make a few loan offers and look to sign one new player, more on that if it happens.
November 12th, 2011
Woking (10-5-3, 2nd) @ Crawley(4-6-8, 19th)
Based on performance so far, I'd expect to be favored, but the oddsmakers like Crawley at home today. They beat us twice last year. Crawley has been in this league since 04/05, finishing as high as 8th and as low as 17th.
Harsanyi is AML, Ademola AMR, Sole/Cullen up top with German serving his suspension.
Striker Charles Ademeno leads Crawley in goals(6) and is up there in assists(5). He has no bravery and a very weak left foot, we'll try to exploit both of those and keep him off his game today.
25': 5 shots for us... all from long range. 3 of them were on free kicks from 20-25 yards so that's defensible. I tell the guys to work it into the box though. Nothing remotely close to a threat yet.
45': Midfielder Quinn collides hard with O'Sullivan. He rolls over and isn't getting up. He's not coming back from this one today. Arter is in for O'sullivan and we'll keep our fingers crossed for the injury report after the match.
HALF: This is boring! Neither team has placed a shot on target yet.
50': Arter takes a knock after a hard challenge... he can stay in and only loses a little fitness, hopefully he's fine.
52': Yellow card for midfielder Quinn, the guy that hurt O'Sullivan. :P
55': Crawley put the first shot on target all match. I was in the tactics screen and missed it. Harsanyi moves to striker, Sole is out, Coke is in at AML. Sole playing like crap lately.
58': O Lord. Cullen is tackled hard on a run down the left sideline... he's hurt and needs treatment.
63': 30 minutes left and I've used all my subs... Maledon in for Cullen who is hurt worse than Arter. I drop back to a classic 4-4-2, Coke/Arter/Maledon/Pulis. Ademola/Harsanyi strikers. Hope no one else gets hurt.
71': Crawley has dominated this half, maybe because they've injured nearly 1/3 of our side. They have 5 shots on target to our zero.
75': Thomas gets a clear look off a short corner but puts it barely wide. Still no on target shots today.
78': Ademola finds Harsanyi who runs by his man and has a solid strike at the near post, fingertip save by the keeper, so close! Our first on target shot all match. Corner comes to nothing as usual.
Crawley 0 : 0 Woking
Arter is hurt further on a sliding challenge late in the match. We spend most of the rest of the way defending, though neither team puts another shot on target in the final 15 minutes.
Jordan Clarke earns man of the match honors in defense today with a7.3 rating. Ricketts 7.2, Thomas 7.0. Ademola and Sole are slightly under 6, both seem to be struggling a lot lately.
Joe O'Sullivan will need to be sent to a specialist for a hip injury he suffered today. He's out for 3 months. If treated by the team it could have been up to 6 months, so that's good i guess??
Harry Arter sustains a gashed leg following the late tackle and is going to miss 3-4 weeks.
Mark Cullen is out for about 2 weeks with a bruised thigh.
Luckily, I'd taken steps to fill some gaps recently and they come through after the match.
AM RC Lee Keehan - 3 month LOAN from Bournemouth
I wanted someone who could play in Ademola's place besides Antonio German. Ademola has been struggling and needs some pressure(or perhaps a replacement on the right side for awhile). Keehan isn't the best passer i nthe world(7), but he can place a great cross(14), dribble well(11), has a nice first touch and can take free kicks. 11 pace/12 accel, great natural fitness. He's also determined, a hard worker and exhibits good teamwork, plays well off he ball, a guy who shows some promise. He's very young, only 17. We'll see how that plays out.
AM RL/ST Romone Rose - 3 month LOAN from QPR
Rose is a guy who played extremely well for me last season. I tried to loan him in at the start of the year but QPR said no. They've had a change of heart and I fully welcome it. 15 pace/12 accel, determined, creative with decent flair. 14 dribbling/13 finishing. 11 long shots. A little lacking in other mental areas, but at this level rose has proven to be great. He scored 9 goals and averaged over a 7 rating last year for us in 34 matches.
MC Chris Herd - FREE TRANSFER
Herd is a 22 year old. In 09/10 he spent 25 matches with Lincoln, puttig up a 6.51 rating. In 08/09 and last season he spent the entire time as a reserve with Aston Villa. They finally decided he won't ever succeed in the EPL and cut him loose.
Herd is a very good athlete. 12 pace/14 accel. 12 agi/12 bal/14 fitness. He's strong mentally, not a single mental attribute under 8. Work Rate 15, Teamwork 12, Decisions 11, Determination 10. Positioning/Off the Ball 9 each. Technically he seems just as solid. 11 dribbling, 11 passing, 12 tackling, 12 technique.
SO, before the injuries last match, I intended to only loan in one of Keehan/Rose, and hoped to sign Herd. Herd is going to make $975/week. I was going to try out a rotation of O'Sullivan/Pulis/Herd, keeping my central midfield fully fresh at all times. Another option would be to convert Pulis fully to the right side of the midfield and run all three.
One last note, the Herd signing puts me ~$900 over budget. Eventually i'll have to deal with that. Selling off Ademola, a guy who makes $1000/wk, 3rd highest on the team (behind Fenton and Harsanyi) seems likely at some point. I'm done for the night though, we'll have a bit of an adventure going forward with 3 big injuries and 3 new players to acclimate in the lineup.
November 18, 2011
Woking (10-6-3, 3rd) @ Macclesfield (10-6-3, 5th)
Macclesfield is a 4-6 favorite at home. They got relegated from League 2 last year. We've never played them before. Their top striker, Lewis Guy, has 8 goals in 19 league matches.
Our other new acquisition, Keehan, is available from the bench. Sloma is training again, he's not available today but could get back into the mix soon.
On the road against a good team we will play defensive.
26': Ademola with the first on target shot of the match as he runs across the top of the box trying to find space. We have 3 shots/1 on target. We haven't allowed them a shot at all yet, defense is looking great. I'm really happy to have Rose back too, he seems to fit in so well.
35': Macclesfield take their first shot. They got a good run into the box, Fenton with a sliding tackle to force a corner, they go nuts, i'm sure that will come up post game. They take a shot off the short corner that is wide though.
44': Some serious pressure by the opposition... a shot off the post, a shot saved by Lynch, another shot deflected for a corner... that was a scary minute there.
HALF: Not much so far. 7 shots for Macclesfield, 4 for us, just 3 on target between us both. I sub Maledon in for Herd, who was not playing much soccer (the free transfer) and not match fit.
54': New AM Keehan is in for Ademola
58': We fail on a couple attempts to make clean tackles and clear the ball just outside their box, the ball squirts away from a few guys to their striker Guy who scores a pretty goal from the edge of the box. 0-1
68': Pulis threads a nice pass through the defense to a cutting Keehan. He is onside(barely) and picks the ball up with space, he places it by the keeper! 1-1
69': Harsanyi moves to striker alongside Rose. Sole out, Coke in at AML.
Macclesfield 1 : 1 Woking
Fenton picks up a bit of an injury and we go defensive after that.
Pulis with the assist and a number of key passes in the middle earns him an 8.0 and man of the match. Keehan's goal is worth a 7.2. 7.3 from Clarke, 7.0 from Ricketts.
With the 3 new guys seeing significant action, and with a road game against one of the better teams in the league a draw is a fine result here.
FA Trophy 1st Round Draw
Bad luck for us, we're on the road against another Blue Square Premier side. It's Maidenhead, we're a lot better than them, but I'd rather play a total nobody at home(even though that didn't work out so well in the FA Cup)
November 22nd, 2011
Cheltenham (14-3-3, 1st) @ Woking (10-7-3, 4th)
Cheltenham have only allowed 12 goals in 20 matches. They're slim favorites in our house. Antonio German is still suspended, this is his last match out. I hate to do it but we're on short rest so I make a couple subs... Josh Coke starts at ML. Harsanyi Striker/Rose Striker. Also, Anane is in for Ricketts. Ricketts would be a guaranteed halftime sub if he played.
Cheltenham is led by aging Striker Zephirin Zoko, he's got 7 goals in 16 appearances this year. Noteworthy because I signed Zoko on a free last year but he never settled and played poorly and I was paying way too much to wait on him, so I gave him away to clear his salary. This allowed me to sign O'Sullivan, so no regrets here, but sucks facing him now.
I refuse to play for a tie from the start at home, we're in a standard mindset today.
18': Harsanyi with a quick long attempt from 25 yards out, a rocket that the keeper barely saves... first on target shot for either team.
36': Pulis with a nice pass to Harsanyi about 35 yards out, he puts a ball forward for Rose who runs onto it and strikes it quickly before the defense can close down. He puts it past the keeper for the lead! 1-0
38': Ademola controls the ball wide, fires a cross into the 6 yard box. Their keeper doesn't rush out for it and gets stuck out of position, Harsanyi is first to the ball and heads it into the essentially open net!!! 2-0
43': Herd with a nice ball forward to Ademola. He could have shot, dunno why he didn't, he lays the ball off to Harsanyi for what seems like a much tougher shot to me, but Harsanyi strikes it from the edge of the box with a defender bearing down and nails a solid strike into the back of the net! 3-0
HALF: Well that is one of the best 10 minutes of soccer I have seen in this dynasty! Ricketts comes in for Herd at MC(remember Ricketts is a natural DR but can play the midfield well). Keep it up boys!
50': Fenton picks up a Yellow for a worthless foul way out on the right side of the pitch, yuck.
54': Keehan in for Pulis at MC... he's a better AM but can play central midfield as well. Pulis went down hard in defense a bit ago and I don't want to risk anything with him.
62': After a throwin into the box is deflected away, Ricketts is first to a loose ball about 30 yards out. He drops a pass about 12-15 yards in front of the net, the defense is way out of position, the first one there is Reserve Josh Coke, he strikes it cleanly into the back of the net!!! 4-0
67': While writing up the last goal I see things blinking again. rose is running down the right sidelline, centers the ball for Harsanyi with one defender between him and the keeper. His first touch is great, allowing him to get a clear shot on goal which he easily puts into the net. 5-0 That's a hattrick for Harsanyi!!!
74': Sole in for Rose, who picked up an injury.
75': Cheltenham score off a short corner. 5-1
82': Thomas misses a header on a cross, Clarke with a very, very poor clearance attempt, right to a Cheltenham attacker for a goal. 5-2
Woking 5 : 2 Cheltenham
Quoting from my pre-match notes: "Cheltenham have only allowed 12 goals in 20 matches." .... make that 17 goals in 21 matches :D
With 3 goals and an assist, Zoltan Harsanyi is the clear man of the match winner, 9.6 rating. Rose has a goal and an assist for a 8.4 rating. 2 assists for Ademola earn him an 8.2 rating.
Josh Coke scores his first goal and has a 7.6. Ricketts(7.2/1 ast), Fenton(7.1), Clarke(7.0), and Anane(7.0) also stand out.
We're back to within 5 points of 1st after this win.
Nice dynasty (still reading through to catch up). I like your game report formatting much better than when I went with in my WSM09 dynasty.
You mention team size early in the thread. Have you found a preference in any of your time playing, few players versus many? I still haven't found a team size that I like, it seems that no matter which I go with the reverse would have been better (if I have a lotof signed players I end up seing fewer injuries and players getting upset about playing time while if I have few players I end up having to bring players up from reserve or youth quite a bit because of injuries).
Thanks! I had expected to speed things up a bit by now but I am enjoying watching full matches more this year than usual... usually by now I'm dropping back to extended or key highlights to try to plow through things a bit faster.
At these low levels I have a definite preference to a smaller team size. After the three new signings I mentioned just a couple nights ago, I think I have 20 guys on my roster, so for the first couple months I was running with just 17. That was a mistake on my part though, as I confused the initial "transfer deadline" that hits early in the season with a loan deadline and free transfer deadline too and thought I had screwed myself. I was intending to start small and add a couple players pretty early on as I saw weaknesses or a need for depth.
When I get a rash of injuries I do have a general preference to add depth with 1* high morale guys off my reserve team than with deep bench guys who are pissed off because they are stuck on my bench and can't get any playing time.
A great example is a guy that scored in my last game last night, Josh Coke. He's not really any good, but when Sloma gets hurt and German misses 3 games due to a red+suspension, his morale is superb and he plays his ass off for a couple weeks before giving his spot back up.
I assume at higher levels this won't work at all but in the Blue Square South and Blue Square Premier it seems to work really well.
November 26th, 2011
Woking (11-7-3, 4th) @ Northwich(2-6-13, 23rd)
What's worse than road trap games against horrible teams? Please don't let down please don't let down ;) This is actually the first time we've played Northwich. We're obviously big favorites today.
Harsanyi's explosion last match finally gives us a team leading scorer. Cullen/Sole/Harsanyi all had 6 goals before, now Harsanyi leads us with 9.
German is back from his suspension. He's at AML. Keehan starts at AMR for the first time, Harsanyi/Rose up front.
3': Rose gets the ball at the edge of the box, makes a move to beat his man for an open look, but he puts it wide. Shoulda scored, that was a clear cut chance.
20': Harsanyi receives a pass just past midfield on a counter and has a free run all the way into the box. He gets there, lines up his shot, and the Northwich keeper gets a hand on it to turn it just wide. Should be 2-0.
22': Pulis gets it to Rose in the box, right side of the next at a 45 degree angle and he is unable to put it past the keeper. Deflected away and cleared... that's our 3rd clear cut chance. Finish guys!
HALF: yup... lots of shots actually, including 8 for Northwich, but not a single one on target for them and we had our 3 clear cut chances and really nothing else remotely close. Sloma is in for Herd and we're going to attack harder this half.
49': Midfielder Grand for Northwich picks up a yellow in midfield.
59': Pulis with a ball forward to Harsanyi, he guides it to the left side of the box onto the foot of a charging German who fires a shot that hits the keeper but he can't fully hold onto and it bounces off him and into the net! 1-0
61': Ademola in for a tired Keehan.
70': Maledon in for Pulis to get us a fresh midfield for the final 20 minutes.
74': "Ademola is in a lot of pain. He's on the ground and calling for the trainers" ... and I just used my last sub. Down to 10 for the last 16 minutes. 4-4-1 the rest of the way. German/Sloma/Rose/Maledon midfield...
78': Our 5th clear cut chance on the match. Sloma with a great feed to Harsanyi in the box... shot wide.
80': There we go, Sloma with a low ball well forward from the other side of midfield. Harsanyi is faster than their defense, he breaks from an onside position and gets to the ball first, giving him a 1 on 1 run at the keeper, our 6th clear cut chance, and finally we put the game away! 2-0
84': 7th clear cut chance, a long bending free kick by Thomas that falls to German in the box, a bit of a tight angle, this fell to his feet VERY deep, and he slides it across the front of the net instead of directing it in.
Northwich 0 : 2 Woking
We end up with 7 clear cut chances on goal and only manage 2... but yeah a nice road shutout, getting the win against the poor opponent.
Harasanyi with 1 goal/1 assist for a 7.8 rating and man of the match.
German with a goal and a 7.7 rating. Sloma had our other assist in a 7.3 performance. Rose(7.3), Ricketts(7.5), and Clarke(7.5) great as well. No one is bad by any stretch.
Ademola is only going to miss 6 days after coming off in a ton of pain in our last match.
Ademola and Harsanyi are named to the team of the week this week.
Heading into December, the board remains very pleased. We're about $900/wk over our budget after signing Herd. Transfers won't go through til Jan 1 so I'm still kinda thinking about what to do there, but I am absolutely intending to drop some payroll.
December 3rd, 2011
Southport (5-5-12, 22nd) @ Woking (12-7-3, 3rd)
Another game we really ought to win, and we're nicely favored here. This is the 23rd game of the season, the halfway point. We beat Southport 1-0 at their place earlier in the season, our first ever meeting.
Same lineup as last match. Arter is back to full training and he's avalialbe as a sub for Ademola who is just coming off his short injury.
8': Lynch comes out of the box to pick up a loose ball after a long clearance. He passes forward to Thomas who has a horrid, horrid first touch, the ball bouncing many yards away to a Southport attacker. He's 30 yards out but the net is empty, but he manages to lift the ball over the net and can't put it in. Very very lucky.
23': Harsanyi with the first on target shot of the match, its a long one from a number of yards outside the box, not troubling anyone really.
24': Pulis with a 20 yard pass ahead to Harsanyi, their defense breaks down a bit, its not an easy shot, its another one deep outside the box, 25 yards maybe? But a clean look, the keeper barely saves it. Corner comes to nothing.
32': Herd forward to Harsanyi, he lays a great ball into the right side of the box, Keehan runs onto it and strikes it well but right at the keeper. Corner, shockingly, comes to nothing.
HALF: We've got double the shots, 4 on target shots and 1 clear cut chance, but haven't been able to finish one yet. I give the "disappointing" halftime talk, we really should dominate these guys at home.
63': And this is the worry when we can't put them away early. A deep run by the left side midfielder, a missed tackle by ricketts, a cross into the 6 yard box is headed home past Lynch. 0-1
65': Sole and Sloma in, German and Herd out. Rose moves to AML, Sloma MC(he did well here last match /shrug). Sole at forward along with Harsanyi. German picked up a knock and might be a bit hurt. Herd is just tired.
72': Rose with a cross into the box, its off a defende,r Harsanyi with a seriously forceful strike as it falls to him 18 yards away, but its off the keeper yet again.
75': Rose with a ball in for Harsanyi, again turns and has a solid open look, strikes it very poorly though and the keeper makes the save. Our 2nd clear cut chance, very frustrating!
77': We're building up possession. Pulis with a ball forward. A defender attempts to clear, but he blasts the ball off the body of a midfielder right in front of him. The ball ricochets backwards, the keeper isn't really ready for it, and its off his hands and in. Its credited as an own goal for the keeper. One of the strangest things I've ever seen. 1-1
81': Anane in for a tired Ricketts.
91': Thomas comes well out to try to tackle a Southport attacker 30 yards away. He misses the tackle, their other striker fills the hole that Thomas left, there's a pass, a shot, and a goal. 1-2
94': Ridiculous! Sloma is just a step inside midfield. He launches a ball to the middle of the penalty area. Sole cuts behind the defense, gets to it first and strikes it past the keeper!!! 2-2
Full time is called seconds after the restart.
Woking 2 : 2 Southport
Not good enough boys. It was exciting. Thrilling, even. But against this team, at home, that's not ok. Southport striker Steve Daly scores the first goal and assists on the second, he's man of the match.
Sole with our only goal, 7.1 rating. Sloma with the assist. Clarke puts up a 7.1, and Rose has his first poor match for us with a 5.8. Meh.
I had a huge mid-season writeup disappear last night during the flakiness of OS from NCAA11 day or whatever. Here's another go at it, but I'm sure its shorter.
We're 23 games into the league season, that's the halfway mark.
1. Rushden - 16-1-6 - 49 pts
2. Cheltenham - 15-3-5 - 48 pts
3. Cambridge - 12-8-3 - 44 pts
4. Woking - 12-8-3 - 44 pts
5. Newport Co - 12-7-4 - 43 pts
6. Macclesfield - 11-9-3 - 42 pts
7. Kidderminster - 12-5-6 - 41 pts
8. Wrexham - 11-6-6 - 39 pts
9. Kettering - 11-6-6 - 39 pts
10. Accrington - 9-7-7 - 34 pts
11. Darlington - 7-10-6 - 31 pts
12. Ebbsfleet - 7-9-7 - 30 pts
13. Gainsborough - 7-9-7 - 30 pts
That's pretty much a good cutoff for teams in playoff contention. I'm thrilled that we only have 3 losses but we need to turn just a couple of those draws into wins. Of course our expectations going into the season were much lower than this so contending for the playoffs is making everyone really happy anyway.
Sam Smith - Rushden - 16 goals
Marc Williams - Wrexham - 16
Stephen O'Flynn - Kettering - 13
Brian Wake - Gateshead - 12
Frank Wiafe Danquah - Cambridge - 11
Craig Lindfield - Cambridge - 11
Zoltan Harsanyi is amongst a group with 10 goals.
1. Joe O'Sullivan - Woking - 12
2. Obi Anoruo - Wrexham - 10
t3. Ben Harding - Rushden - 9
t3. David McDermott - Kidderminster - 9
t3. Zoltan Harsanyi - Woking - 9
I had no idea Harsanyi was responsible for creating so many of our goals. O'Sullivan has been hurt a lot and only played 16 matches, so leading the league in assists is awesome.
Other Woking Notables:
MC Anthony Pulis has an 81% pass completion rate, 2nd in the league
DL Jordan Clarke averages 5.26 tackles/game, 4th in the leauge
Joe O'Sullivan's 4 Man of the Match awards is 2nd in the league, as is his 7.60 overall rating.
Zoltan Harsanyi - 10
Giuseppe Sole - 7
Mark Cullen - 6
Antonio German - 6
Moses Ademola - 4
Aswad Thomas - 2
7 others have 1 goal
Joe O'Sullivan 12
Zoltan Harsanyi 9
Harry Arter 4
Moses Ademola 3
Anthony Pulis 3
Jordan Clarke 2
Sam Sloma 2
Many others have 1.
O'Sullivan and Harsanyi have 4 Man of the Match awards. Pulis 2. No one else more than one.
Joe O'Sullivan - 7.60
Zoltan Harsanyi - 7.20
Romone Rose - 7.10 (4 mtches only)
Jordan Clarke - 7.07
Harry Arter - 7.00 (12 matches)
Antonio German - 6.98
Mark Ricketts - 6.96
Anthony Pulis - 6.96
Mark Cullen - 6.89
Lee Keehan - 6.88 (4 matches)
Moses Ademola - 6.78
Chris Herd - 6.78 (4 matches)
Aswad Thomas - 6.77
Giuseppe Sole - 6.74
Sam Sloma - 6.72
Kevin Lynch - 6.69
Ricky Anane - 6.68
Nick Fenton - 6.62
Jerome Maledon - 6.51
Bilal Sidibe - 6.27
Thomas and Fenton as my DC's are a bit low, but I think its fair for my aggressive offensive style to account for that a bit? If I played defensive more often or played a 4-4-2 standard instead of wha the game calls a 4-2-4 the defense would be rated higher I assume...
I'm currently $825/wk over my allowed budget, so I've got to chop some salary. I found some guys willing to take pay cuts when I started looking, so maybe I'm not going to have to unload anyone after all.
I posted about this in the FM thread today before going forward. I'm not quite sure how it will go yet though, I'm not allowed to offer the full appearance fee some of these guys want.
DC Nick Fenton - Fenton makes $1300/wk now. He's 32, but he hasn't shown signs of his skills degrading yet. He's only asking for $650/wk, but he also wants a $325 appearance fee. Board only allows $250. OFFER: $700/wk - $250 appearance fee
AMR Moses Ademola - 22 years old. Athletic but not very skillful. I like him at this level though generally. Makes $1000/wk right now. Willing to take a pay cut but wants an appearance fee more than I'm allowed to offer. OFFER: $700/wk, $240 appearance, $65 goal bonus.
DC Aswad Thomas - Also willing to take a small pay cut to help the team's finances. Making $825/wk now, willing to re-sign for $650/wk. I offer it.
ST Giuseppe Sole - Very similar to Ademola. making $850/wk now. Willing to drop to $650 but wants an appearance fee bigger than I can offer. I offer $700/wk and $240/appaerance.
MC Anthony Pulis - Makes 1k/wk now. Wants $950/wk going forward. He wants a $500 signing bonus, doesn't much care about appearance fees. I offer it.
I leave it at that for now. I'm hoping enough will accept that I get under budget. These are all 1 year extensions. I've got a few others guys to work with still, including O'Sullivan, Ricketts and Arter. But these first.
Everyone signs their new deals. Maybe I should have tried harder to keep appearance fees down. So far though, the club has been willing to lose money to win as long as we aren't hemorrhaging through salaries. This gets me ~$200/wk under budget. If I could do one more thing I would like to sign another central defender and jettison Bilal Sidibe who is just not working out at all for me.
December 10th, 2011
FA Trophy 1st Round
Woking @ Maidenhead
A push according to the bookies, or thereabouts. 12-8 for Maidenhead, 13-8 for us. Maidenhead are 14th in the BS Premier right now and we beat them 1-0 despite German's red card early in the first half in our only meeting so far this year.
I start Pulis and Arter in my midfield today. Herd will get in on the second half.
22': We're playing defensive on a snowy field today. Maidenhead has generated one clear cut chance but done nothing with it. We only have 1 shot so far, a long shot well wide.
37': Arter with an indirect free kick from 50 yards out. He lays it to Pulis who fires a low ball into the Box. Keehan runs onto it, makes one cut and jukes a defender and puts the ball past the keeper at the near post! 1-0
HALF: Maidenhead has 8 shots, just 1 on target, 5 of them have been blocked by our defenders. We only have 3 shots, also just 1 on target, but ours went in. We're in counter-attacking mode and will probably stay that way.
52': Some buildup by Maidenhead, our defense seems fine. Striker Berry receives a pass about 20 yards out with just a step of space, he turns, fires a ball into the top left corner of the net. Lynch dives but can't get there. 1-1
52': Herd in for Pulis, who got hurt and is a bit ragged.
67': Harsanyi steals a backpass by Maidenhead and starts the coutner attack. He feeds rose and gets it back, charges down the left sideline with the ball, centers it for Herd who fires a quick shot, but the keeper saves. Its considered a clear cut chance, the angle was tough but a striker probably puts it in.
We stay in counter attacking mode, I really just don't want to give up a goal here on the road. Maidenhead only manages 1 second half shot. We get a few more but outside of the one clear cut shot for Herd, we don't seriously threaten.
Maidenhead 1 : 1 Woking
Antonio German earns a 7.7 and man of the match.
Keehan with a 7.6 and our goal. Pulis with a 7.6 and our assist. Clarke(7.2), and Arter(7.0) are worth noting as well.
There's a replay at our place in 4 days. we'll get 'em then.
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