October 15th, 2016
Woking(6-4-2, 3rd) @ Bournemouth(2-6-4, 21st)
Bournemouth are struggling quite a bit but still are the favorites at their place today, they're 5:4 compared to our 7:4. This was the team we played twice last year to get through the 3rd round of the FA Cup. We tied at home and then won a replay at their place.
Christian Smith gets his first start of the season as we bench a very frustrating James Chester. Standard mindset today.
2': They earn an early corner, its taken low to the near man, Upson tackles it away, the corner taker is there, crosses it back into the area, and a header is put by Lynch for a very ealry goal. 0-1
17': Our first shot, Constantino with a long run, he comes out wide, passes ot Upson who puts a shot from 20 yards out miles over.
21': Nikolaou gets a yellow.
35': We get a couple crappy long shots that aren't close, that's all we have right now.
36': Marc with a yellow for a tackle near the midfield.
HALF: This just isn't good. We give up the early goal and its very dull after that. We haven't put together anything useful at all. Bournemouth have 9 shots, just 2 on target, most weren't shown and were just wildly off target. We're really playing like crap and I guess I will turn on the attack to see if we can sneak a Constantino goal in there.
51': Colin makes a great run down the left, he finds a little extra gear to get by his man to play in a clean cross, N'Guessan is there, heads it... right at the keeper. Its considered a clear cut chance but it was a pretty tough angle.
57': Colin with another cross in, N'Guessan heads it again, this one is challenged and much tougher, the keeper ends up barely getting a finger to it, then it hits the crossbar, goes straight up, and the keeper grabs it.
60': Constantino receives a pass about 40 yards out. He begins a run, turns out wide right, goes by a man, goes ot the end line, goes by a second man, cuts inside towards the area, beats a 3rd man, walks into the 6 yard box and beats the keeper near post for a goal! If this gets an assist credit it'll be Harsanyi. Brilliant individual effort. 1-1
72': Alcock in for a tired Ogogo, Ferry in for a really tired O'Sullivan.
85': Each team has had one attacking highlight where lots of threatening looking things happened without a shot occuring.
88': We give up a corner as they get a man wide right ot make a long run and we have to tackle it behind. Marc gets to the cross in and heads it out. We try to counter, Harsanyi makes a run down the left but his cross is poor and easily cleared.
91': Ferry plays a ball into the area from 35 yards out... Colin runs onto it, and if his first touch was good he walks it into the net... but it wasn't, he ends up having to pull the ball wide instead of taking a point blank shot, and we can't do anything. That's a huge huge chance missed.
Bournemouth 1 : 1 Woking
We played much better on the attack in the second half, but in the end it took a brilliant individual play by Constantino to tie this thing up and we couldn't get a winning goal. Its a road match, I'll take a tie for sure.
They have a defender earn man of the match.
Goal: Constantino (8.3)
Assist: Harsanyi (7.2)
Notables: Marc (7.0), O'Sullivan (7.1), N'Guessan (7.0), Colin (7.1)
Simon Ferry was hurt towards the end of the match and is going to miss about a week.
-- Paulo resumes full training.
October 22nd, 2016
Shrewsbury(7-0-6, 7th) @ Woking(6-5-2, 5th)
A key early game between two teams that appear to be playoff contenders 1/4 through the season. We're slim 5:4 favorites at home today, they are 7:4. This is our first ever meeting.
Taylor and Paulo are healthy again and are back in the starting lineup. We're attacking at home today.
20': No shots yet, Shrewsbury has a 60/40 possession edge.
27': We have a quick buildup, Upson plays a ball out wide to N'Guessan, he centers it for constantino about 20 yards out, Constantino beats his man, gets into the area and burns the keeper! 1-0
44': Really weird moment, there's a goal kick by their keeper, Taylor goes up for a header with an attacker, neither get it and the ball sails into the area, Lynch wasn't reacting, I'm assuming b/c he expected someone to get that header... their other forward runs onto the ball and has a shot from 10 yards out, but he fires it right at Lynch and its deflected away. Taylor comes to clear it and is tackled... and he's hurt.
HALF: I'm bringing Taylor out, I'm worried that he's really hurt especially since he just came off an injury. Chester is in. We shoot twice, they shoot three times, that's it. We even out possession, its 53/47 in their favor, we need to keep control here, i don't want to give away another lead, lets get 3 points guys!
54': We allow 3 early shots, our defense is pretty well set in but they're trying to pressure us.
59': An attacker turns by Marc, Marc brings him down with a tackle attempt, and its a foul... I really thought it was a penalty, but apparently its inches outside the box, whew. They earn a corner on the free kick, the wall blocks the shot, and we clear the corner.
69': They get a ball out wide right, Nikolaou is there, he blocks a cross, but its blocked back into play, their midfielder gets there and crosses it again, Ogogo jumps with Leslie, their attacker, but he manages to get his head to it and puts it in... 1-1
71': We strike nearly immediately, Chester forward to Paulo, Paulo with a long ball from behind the mid line, constantino sprints past the defense, is first to the ball, and beats the keeper with a quick shot before he can rush out!! 2-1
74': Nikolaou with a yellow.
77': I'm backing into my defensive formation, Smith comes in for Harsanyi and is in at DMC, just constantino at forward. Taylor is better, but Smith is an adequate DMC as well.
83': Paulo fights in the midfield for a ball and ends up playing it way back... not to Lynch but behind for a corner. They earn a second corner, then we clear it out.
89': Mickael Colin goes down hurt... he's really hobbled, I've got two starters to worry about after the match again.
They shoot once more from long range, its way over, and we hold on.
Woking 2 : 1 Shrewsbury
Man of the Match: Constantino (8.8)
Goals: Constantino 2
Assists: Paulo (7.6), N'Guessan (6.8)
No one else is over 7, and Chester comes in for a half and puts up a 5.4 rating, this guy is killing me!
Mickale Colin turns his ankle badly and he is going to miss 4 weeks, ugh! Zatara and Subotic will get a lot more playing time.
-- The draw for the 1st round of the FA Cup is today... we are going on the road to play Eastbourne Boro in the Blue Square South, near the bottom of the BSS at that. This game will be in early November, its possible we've never been as big a favorite in a match that counts as we will be in this one.
-- Backup DR Craig Alcock picks up a chest injury in the weight room today that's going to keep him out for about 2 weeks. This combined with Colin's injury hurts us a bit... Ogogo is our starting DR but can also provide some backup at AMR, which would allow our normal AMR backup, Zatara, to help cover more for Colin at AML while he's out for a month, not a huge deal, but a small annoyance where our backups/extra depth overlaps in a noticeable way.
-- Hey look, Oct 29th, 2016... that'll be my 40th birthday IRL. Ok, lets not think about that anymore.
October 29th, 2016
Rushden(3-4-7, 21st) @ Woking(7-5-2, 3rd)
We're huge even money favorites today at home against Rushden. Four teams get relegated out of League 1, Rushden are the first team out at this point. We have a long history with Rushden, spending 3 seasons in the BS Premier with them and 2 seasons in League 2. We haven't done well either, going 2-4-4 lifetime against them. Rushden finished 3rd in League 2 last year to gain the final auto-promote spot. Last year we killed them on the road 4:1 and tied 1:1 at our place.
If you asked me, with the game not loaded, to name one player outside of Woking that stands out the most in this dynasty, I'd probably give you the name Sam Smith of Rushden. This is his 10th season with Rushden, he has 178 goals and 41 assists in his career. Last year he scored 34 goals, just one less than Constantino in league 2. But it looks like he might have met his limit, in 13 League 1 matches he has 2 goals and a 6.67 average rating. As Sam Smith goes, Rushden goes it appears.
Subotic gets his second start of the year as Harsanyi moves to AML. We attack at home today.
4': There's a move down the left side for Rushden, a cross in, there's a strong header from within the 6 yard box, Lynch saves but can't hold it, there's a rebound and they get a man to it to put it in the net... Nikolaou went up for the header and lost it. 0-1
6': Its a near mirror of their attack... N'Guessan down the right side, a cross to the far end of the 6 yard box, a header from Harsanyi... off the crossbar though. They clear it out but we recover in the midfield. Ogogo feeds it up to Constantino about 25 yards out, there's a huge open space, Constantino takes advantage, gets into the area, and beats the keeper! 1-1
11': Paulo has it 25 yards out, he makes a great move to skip by a defender, earns himself a clear cut strike in the area, but can't beat the keeper... we have 3 shots, all clear cut chances, but just one goal.
18': Midfielder Lee Tomlin gets a yellow for tackling N'Guessan from behind.
28': Nikolaou plays a long ball from deep in our defensive end. Its played for Subotic, they have a defender there about 30 yards out and he flat out misses the interception... the ball rolls behind him towards the penalty area, and we've got the fastest man on the pitch in these situations, constantino pounces, sprinting by everyone, he's first to the ball and places a perfect shot past the keeper! 2-1
39': Subotic has it 25 yards out, he draws an extra defender after a turn and plays a ball forward to Constantino, he's got it in a great position but the keeper makes the stop... this is our SIXTH clear cut chance, I think i've successfully documented five of them heh, but just two goals.
43': they're working the ball forward, Harsanyi makes a great play though and steals the ball from a defender near midfield, he makes a run up the left side and it looks like a 3 on 2 break for us, Harsanyi plays it to Upson who gets into the area and puts a shot by the keeper! 3-1
HALF: Ridiculous half. We give up a super early goal, then we take 12 shots, an incredible EIGHT of them are considered to be clear cut chances. Should I be upset with just 3 goals under the circumstances? Nah, 3-1!
48': We give up a corner, they take it to the near man in the area and he strikes it cleanly with his first touch... it hits the defender on the line, bounces off him and into the net... 3-2
53': After some buildup Upson plays a pretty through ball into the area, constantino times his run perfectly, is the first one there and he doesn't miss, that's a hat trick! 4-2
68': Wiggins in for Nikolaou, Paterson in for Subotic.
81': Upson gets a yellow.
83': Constantino gets a yellow... come on guys
87': They get the ball forward, there's a cross in from the left side, Paulo misses a header in the box, Sam smith gets to it but his header is extremely weak and saved by Lynch. Its a clear cut chance for Rushden and they should have scored.
Woking 4 : 2 Rushden
The pressure we put on Rushden today was insane. 18 shots, 8 clear cut chances, only 3 shots from long range!
Man of the Match: Constantino (9.4)
Goals: Constantino 3, Upson (8.1)
Assists: Ogogo (7.9), Nikolaou (7.1), Upson, Harsanyi (6.8)
Notables: Lynch (7.2), Paulo(7.4)
After a couple games where Constantino has picked up multiple goals, including a hat trick today, I take a look at the league 1 stats... Constantino has 17 goals in 15 league matches, amazingly, that's actually just tied for first in the league. Crystal Palace's Chris Ojapah, a 22 year old valued at $1.4 million who is actually owned by Crystal Palace and not on loan, also has 17 goals in 15 matches. He looks a lot like constantino, pretty solid skills but mainly fast as lightening, at least for this level.
-- Constantino is named to the League 1 team of the week.
-- We play on the 5th, 12th, 19th, 22nd, and 29th this month. If we win our FA Cup match we'll play on the 26th in round 2 as well.
-- Constantino scored 7 goals in 5 matches in October, earning the league 1 player of the month award!
-- The board is delighted with my leadership. Our league 1 performance is a highlight. Our signing of James Chester is "regarded by the fans as a poor piece of business"... yeah, they hailed me for bringing him in, they turn when he sucks though! I'm turning on him a bit myself, its ok. We lost $65k last month.
November 5th, 2016
FA Cup 1st Round
Woking (2nd, L1) @ Eastbourne Borough(15th, BSS)
We're 2:5 favorites here. Eastbourne are 13:2 to win. I expected that to be more in our favor even than that. We met twice in the BS Premier League in 2010, losing once and tying once.
We start a lot of backups today, most notably young keeper Jason James and young striker Bob Green. I hope we've left enough starters in, including our defensive line, that we'll be ok, I want to see some of these guys though. constantino and Lynch are both available should something go horribly wrong in the first half. We'll attack today.
12': O'Sullivan puts a ball into the left side of the area, Zatara is there and has our first clear cut chance, but his shot is right at their keeper.
25': We have a 67/33 possession edge but just 3 shots, we're not exactly walking it into the net so far.
35': Bob Green is hurt, I might have to take him out at the half no matter what now... we'll see if he recovers enough to go more.
42': Eastbourne shoots for the first time, a free kick from long range that's way wide.
HALF: 4 shots for us, 1 for them, 60/40 possession edge. I want to leave Green in there for a bit, but if we can't find a goal reasonably soon, Paulo and Constantino are hopping in this one
60': O'Sullivan takes a shot from long range, its blocked and goes behind. first corner earns us a second one, second corner Vince Taylor gets a solid strong shot but its also blocked and cleared out.
70': Constantino in for Green, Paulo in for O'Sullivan. Win this please.
72': Constantino has it 30 yards out, its tackled away and they pass it upfield, Ogogo wins it and sends it long, Constantino runs onto it, into the area, and its a clear cut chance, but Constantino blasts it off the crossbar, no goal...
85': There it is, we win a ball in the defensive end, Paulo to Constantino, he's 30 yards out, he beats a midfielder, then just simply sprints between the two central defenders who are trying to close down, making it into the area and beating the keeper. 1-0
87': Constantino receives a pass near midfield, he sprints down the right side, turns into the area, near the end line, you can clearly see him hold up as Harsanyi is offsides, Constantino just stands there waiting for a defender, Harsanyi gets back onside, Constantino passes it through the 6 yard box and Harsanyi walks it into the net. 2-0
Good try Eastbourne, I know the feeling, and may know it again soon if we run into an EPL team in this tournament later.
Eastbourne Boro 0 : 2 Woking
Man of the Match: Constantino (7.8)
Goals: Constantino, Harsanyi (7.7)
Assists: Paulo (6.9), Constantino
Notables: Ogogo (7.4), Nikolaou (7.3), Marc (7.8), Taylor (7.2)
The midfield and offense was pretty bad until I made my subs, the defense was very solid though. Bob Green shot once, off target, and picked up a 6.4 rating. He completed 10 of 12 passes and won 6 of 7 headers, impossible to tell if he couldn't get open or our other men struggled to get him the ball, with Upson and Harsanyi out there though Im sure its mostly on Green. Keeper Jason James put up a 6.9 rating and the clean sheet. We allowed 5 shots, just 2 were on target, but he was up to the task those 2 times, whee!
-- We receive $29,500 for our first round win.
FA Cup 2nd Round Draw
We're going on the road again for round two, where we'll face League 1 opponent Milwall, currently sitting in 5th place in League 1. We played them at their place in league play back in September, picking up a 1:1 tie.
November 12th, 2016
Woking (8-5-2, 2nd) @ Wigan(7-1-7, 11th)
Wigan are 1:2 favorites today, we're 9:2 to win at their place. Wigan fell from the Championship last year and are heavy favorites to promote back up but are off to a struggling start. A win over an upstart like us is really what they need. This will be our first ever match vs Wigan. While they are struggling a bit I note that their form is great, 4-0-1 in their last 5, oof.
Back to a normal starting lineup for us. Wigan are led by FC Victor Moses who has 10 goals in 15 matches for Wigan so far this year. Midfielder James McCarthy has 6 assists and a 7.41 rating as well, those are the two to watch. Defensive mindset today.
1': McCarthy centers the ball to midfielder Elliot who shoots from 25 yards out, its a rocket of a shot that hits the crossbar and flies out.
4': Their man moses gets a ball to Yakubu, their other striker, he controls it well in the area, drawing the entire defense it seems, but somehow finds the opening to pass it back to moses who is now wide open in front of Lynch, he buries it... 0-1
6': Harsanyi and Constantino begin a give and go from 40 yards out on the break after we win possession, Constantino feeds Harsanyi who makes a run into the area, gets a shot off just before they can close down on him, and beats the keeper! 1-1
8': Three quick passes from within 20 yards out for Wigan lead to a strong shot from Yakubu that Lynch is able to save, its their 2nd clear cut chance though.
24': Moses into the area, we tackled it away for a corner, they earn a second one... we head it out of the area but its not a strong clearance, midfielder Kamper is there 20 yards out, he blasts a rocket of a shot that is by Lynch and in the right half of the net... 1-2 Ed Upson takes the blame for that goal and we see his rating dip below 6.0 which we really never see, even briefly.
30': A quick attack as Moses gets out wide and crosses in, their man Kamper is there to head it in and we are getting killed out there. 1-3
42': We earn a corner but N'Guessan heads it over, noteworthy b/c its our 2nd shot of the match.
45': Constantino receives a pass at the midfield line, there are 3 defenders behind him, he holds up as though he were going to pass to Harsanyi and then takes off, beating two men immediately, he's off to the races... maybe he felt them closing in, I don't know, but he pulls up from 25 yards out and shoots instead of continuing his run, and the keeper makes the save. That looked destined to be another brilliant goal from our top scorer, alas.
HALF: We're just getting destroyed out there. Ogogo 5.2, Marc 5.4, Paulo 5.7, Upson 5.8. Ouch. Wigan has 11 shots, 6 on target, we have 3 shots, 2 on target. We had a couple quick little chances that didn't pan out due to a bad last pass or a poor first touch, but really Wigan are in complete control here. We'll do the only thing we know how, turn on the attack, and see if that makes it worse or better.
46': Defender McGivern with a yellow tackling Constantino.
54': Its all wigan, they earn a corner, take it towards the near post and a header has to be cleared off the line by Taylor, the next two highlights are deep in our defensive end as well.
56': Paulo passes to Constantino, he's about 35 yards out, he's got one man marking him, he dribbles right, then left, no openings, his man goes for a tackle, misses, constantino recovers, and there's his opening, there's no one else in a position to close down, Constantino moves quickly into the area and beats the keeper! 2-3
75': Long time without a highlight there, they get a cross that we have to head behind for a corner, the corner is taken to the near man and we converge and tackle it away.
81': They're attacking hard, but Paulo makes a great interception as they try to send the ball into the area, its not a breakaway but there are a couple pretty passes made, Paulo ahead to Constantino, he finds Harsanyi, the defense is trying to converge at midfield to win the ball back and Constantino finds a hole in the line, Harsanyi plays it forward towards the area, Constantino sprints ahead of everyone, gets into the penalty area and beats the keeper!! 3-3
82': Harsanyi to AML, Paterson in for Zatara. O'Sullivan in for Upson
86': Marc with a yellow.
89': Marc wins a the ball on an attempted clear to send it back forward, O'Sullivan is down the right side and plays in a cross, Paterson is there but can't put it on target, we almost had that one!
I guess we just attack, always, always attack. If we're attacking Constantino will find a way to make something happen.
Wigan 3 : 3 Woking
They generate 16 shots, putting 7 on target. We only shoot 6 times but we find 3 goals, Harsanyi and Constantino work so well together out there.
Their midfielder Kamper puts up a 9.2 rating and man of the match.
Goals: Constantino 2 (9.2), Harsanyi (8.2)
Assists: Constantino, Harsanyi, Paulo (6.9)
Notables: Lynch (7.4)
Upson ends up recovering with a 6.5 rating, but really that's as bad as you'll see him play i think!
Its just a tie but this totally feels like a win.
-- Kevin Lynch and Constantino are both named to the League 1 team of the week.
-- Matthew Paterson, little used backup ST that I signed last season before my flurry of huge loans had been annoyed at his lack of soccer for a long time. I transfer listed him last year at his request and he's only played in 3 matches so far this year, and not well. But he's had a change of heart and requests that I remove him from the transfer list. I don't think he'll stick at this level but hey he's a legit backup for me right now, so if he's willing to stay I'm all for it.
Injury Update - Big One
goalkeeper Kevin Lynch has sustained a fractured arm after falling awkwardly during a training session.
It is likely that Lynch will be out for around 4 weeks while he is treated.
backup Jason James will get a lot of action, but he's travelling for some international duty off and on as well. U18 keeper Ben Mason is brought up to the senior squad and will play whenever James is unavailable.
November 19th, 2016
Barnsley(8-2-6, 6th) @ Woking (8-6-2, 2nd)
Barnsley are super slim 6:4 favorites today, we're 13:8. This is our first ever meeting. Barnsley spent 7 of the last 10 years in the Championship, falling back into League 1 after the 13/14 season. After two mid table finishes they're back in playoff contention.
Barnsley are led by John Sutton with 10 goals so far this year. Jason James gets the start today at GK, Harsanyi's at AML and Paterson gets a rare start at striker. We'll attack, a clear default at home and a likely mindset every match until Lynch is back no matter what.
6': Barnsley with a run down the left side, a cross comes in, Marc misses a header and it allows for a very good look from their man Wildig, he heads it towards the far post, James has no chance and its in. Marc takes the blame there. 0-1
7': Paterson has it after kickoff, he goes straight forward, evading one defender, then putting a through ball into the right side of the area, N'Guessan runs onto it and blasts a shot up high and into the top right corner for his first goal of the year! 1-1
21': No highlights for a long time, N'Guessan with a long run down the right, a cross into the area, but a good ways out, 15 yards or so, Harsanyi gets his head to it but doesn't quite generate enough power to score from there on a header, keeper saves easily.
28': They win a ball in defense but the clearance is poor, Upson heads the clearance back in for Paterson, he kinda looks offsides but its not called, maybe a wide defender kept him onside? He slides a pass over to constantino who buries a very easy shot and we take the lead! 2-1
34': Midfielder morris with a yellow going for a cross in the area and bringing down Taylor.
38': Constantino receives a ball 25 yards out, he plays a pretty ball forward into the area, the defense is there but he puts it to a spot where Paterson clearly has the best angle on it... Paterson runs onto it, tries to beat the keeper near post, but fires it just wide and into the side netting.
HALF: We're looking good today, possession is even, but we've generated 7 shots and 5 have been put on target, 2 clear cut chances, we missed one. Barnsley only have 2 shots, 1 on target for the goal, our young James hasn't really been bothered.
47': They play a ball to their start striker Sutton in the area, Taylor closes down quickly... if Sutton's first touch was better he would have had a very good shot available, but it was poor and Taylor clears it to the side for a throwin, we eventually clear it out.
51': Its the first clear cut chance for Barnsley and I think it would have been Marc's fault again, he misses a tackle at the edge of the penalty box, his man goes around him and fires a shot, but its wide.
52': Ogogo goes for a tackle near midfield and he may have turned an ankle, he comes up injured... this allows a break down the left side, there's a cross into the 6 yard box, James goes for the cross but can't get there, Nikolaou is there but he comes in too late to challenge and its a wide open net for their man Sutton who heads it home. 2-2
56': Alcock in for the injured Ogogo.
58': Barnsley on the attack, there's a pass from 30 yards out into the area, midfielder morris runs onto it, James rushes out after a bad first touch, James goes down to the ground... but doesn't cover the ball, Morris is able to play it around James and pass it into the open net... 2-3
60': Paterson has it 25 yards out, he runs into the area and is surrounded by 3 defenders, he's able to make a pass though, he finds constantino open in the area with no one around him and that almost always means easy goal, no exceptions here. Paterson has 3 assists today! 3-3
69': I'm sure having a new, young keeper guiding the defense is part of the problem, but Nikolaou and Marc are having awful games today, I use my last two subs to bring in Wiggins and Chester.
81': They get a man in the penalty area, he's at a tough angle out right, he shoots on James and James makes his first stop of an on target shot all day, parrying it back for a corner, which we clear safely.
86': We have a thorwin in their end, Paterson plays a through ball to N'Guessan who has a pretty solid look coming in from the right, but its saved.
87': Free kick in midfield, the ball is quickly played up to Paterson, he turns and plays it into the area immediately, Constantino is first to break onto it, he shoots it with his first touch, and its a goal! 4-3
90': Ugh really? They get a through ball to a midfielder cutting in, he fires a shot that James stops but can't hold, the rebound falls to Sutton and he puts it into the open net. 4-4
Woking 4 : 4 Barnsley
Most every time someone scored to take a lead there was a near immediate answer from the other team. We got to 4 goals first but allowed them to tie it up in the closing moments.
We take 13 shots today, putting 8 on target, generating 5 clear cut chances and scoring 4 goals. They shoot 11 times, putting 6 on target and generating 4 clear cut chances. Neither keeper was really up to the task of making any great saves there. Our defenders took tons of blame for goals allowed today with missed headers and interceptions, we put our young keeper in some really impossible spots.
Man of the Match: Constantino (9.5)
Goals: Constantino 3, N'Guessan (7.8)
Assists: Paterson 3 (9.0)
Notables: Paulo (7.1), Upson (7.1)
Ogogo 5.4, Nikolaou 5.9, Marc 5.8. Vince Taylor gave us a 6.4 and James a 6.5 today, we just made way too many big errors in defense. Perhaps some experience with James directing the defense will help this to improve.
-- Rotherham fire their coach, pretty much every team in a relegation position in League 1 and a few in League 2 have fired their coaches in the last month and my name has come up
every time. I continue to issue statements that I'm not interested in these jobs.
-- I didn't mention it postgame but i'm thrilled with the performance I got from Mathew Paterson last match, his passing was great, he got a couple decent looks himself that he wasn't able to convert but 3 assists is nothing to sneeze at.
November 22nd, 2016
Woking (8-7-2, 2nd) @ Leyton Orient(8-4-5, 5th)
We play our next 3-4 matches on short rest (perhaps more I haven't really looked at December closely yet). Here we find ourselves up against another playoff contender, today on the road. Leyton Orient are slim 6:4 favorites to our 13:8. We are 2-1-1 lifetime against these guys over a couple of our League 2 years. They earned promotion to Leauge 1 a year before us and finished 14th last season.
Colin is back today and starts at AML, Zatara gives N'Guessan a rest, those are our only two changes today, we'll have to rest more guys later in this stretch but i want to be as strong as possible for this specific match. Standard mindset today.
14': We get a couple shots early but nothing special, we have a good buildup here, Constantino with a run then he goes out wide right, plays it back for Paulo, across to Harsanyi, he puts a ball foward, Zatara runs onto it and he's at the penalty spot with no one between him and the keeper... and he puts it miles wide. Our first clear cut chance, that was an ugly, ugly finish.
19': Zatara with a run down the right, he gets all the way to the end line, puts a cross into the 6 yard box... Colin is there, its crowded though, he heads it, its off the crossbar and back into play, Harsanyi recovers but his shot is blocked, Constantino recovers but its tackled away.
21': Paulo is near midfield, he plays a ball up to constantino just outside the area, Constantino turns by his man, takes a few steps into the area, and before the keeper can decide what to do buries a shot in the left side of the net! 1-0
40': We've seen nothing but a long Leyton Orient shot that goes way high in a long time.
45': We give up a corner, they take a little to the far side of the 6 yard area, James comes out but doesn't get to it, they get a head on the cross, but Nikolaou clears it off the line!! Whew, mistake by James, poor header (though ti was contested), clutch play by Nikolaou.
HALF: both teams have 6 shots, both teams have 1 on target. Our defense has obviously played way way better today and has kept James out of trouble until that last cross. We've allowed shots but we've closed down well, cleared corners well, and played a much more balanced game.
46': Upson puts a cross into the area, Colin gets a good head to it but puts it over, he had room to set that up, he should have gotten it on target at least.
50': Zatara is hurt and forced to immediately come out of the game, ugh! I move Ogogo up to AMR, Alcock is in and at DR.
62': We get foward twice but put two shots over, one is a 20 yard shot just high by Harsanyi, the other a header by Ogogo.
68': Ogogo is brought down as we try to build up an attack... he's hurt...
70': I bring N'Guessan in at AMR.
76': Midfielder Fitzpatrick gets a yellow.
82': We give up a corner, they cross it in but Taylor makes a good clearance.
86': They try a speculative shot from 35 yards out, James makes the save.
94': We're on the attack more often than not in the final 10 minutes but mostly we're stalling... here Paulo puts a ball into the area between two defenders and Constantino runs onto it, he shoots and easily beats the keeper to seal the win! 2-0
Leyton Orient 0 : 2 Woking
The defense plays a really strong game, James only puts up a 6.7 rating, we only allowed 2 on target shots all match, one was desparately cleared off the line, the other was a very long shot late in the match.
Man of the Match: Paulo (9.0)
Goals: Constantino 2 (8.8)
Assists: Paulo 2
Notables: Ogogo (7.4), Nikolaou (7.5), Marc (7.1), Upson (7.0)
I'm thrilled with this win, a playoff contender on the road with a backup keeper, but, I'm terrified to click through to postgame with two injuries.
-- Ogogo has a gashed leg and is out for 2 weeks.
-- Zatara has a couple broken ribs after a collision, he's out 4 weeks.
November 26nd, 2016
FA Cup 2nd Round
Woking (9-7-2, 2nd) @ Milwall(6-8-4, 9th)
This one is deemed to be pretty even, 6:4 for them at home, 13:8 for us. We tied Milwall at their place in our frist league meeting earlier in the year.
With Ogogo and Zatara hurt, colin needs a rest today, we go Alcock DR, O'Sullivan in for a tiring Paulo, Harsanyi/N'Guessan is a solid set of attacking mids and Paterson gets another shot at forward. Standard mindset today.
2': O'Sullivan plays a quick and great long ball from midfield as a highlight starts, N'Guessan is first to it in the area, it seems like he should easily score but the keeper rushes out and blocks a shot... a better first touch probably leads to a goal, it wasn't bad, but needed to be perfect.
12': We have 4 shots, the only other threatening one was put way wide by Upson though.
21': they work the ball down the left side, there's a pass into the left side of the area, its a shot from midfielder Hoolahan from a tough angle... but James doesn't react well... this is the first one where i feel 1000% sure that Lynch makes the save. 0-1
35': Upson with a free kick 25 yards out, he shoots off the wall and earns a corner. He takes the corner, there's a header by Taylor, its by the keeper but hits the far post and bounces clear.
46': They work the ball down the right, there's a cross in and its all our defenders, Alcock heads it but it goes right to an attacker 20 yards out, we don't chase it well and their man has a wide open shot from that range, he sends it in hard and James can't stop it, its in the right side of the net. 0-2
HALF I haven't typed Constantino's name once, I haven't seen him have the ball in a highlight. They shoot 9 times, we shoot 4, both of us put 4 shots on target, we had two very good chances to score, their goals weren't guarenteed looks or anything, just very strong shots that a better keeper maybe gets to. We'll change to an attacking mindset in the second half.
64': We have a long pass down the right after a clearance, constantino picks it up and runs into the area... the keeper and two defenders converge to the right side to try to stop Constantino, he threads a pass over to Paterson... lets paint this picture... the keeper and two defenders are 15 yards out over on the right side of the goal, constantino hits a WIDE OPEN Matthew Paterson at the left side of the goal, he's clearly onsides, the keeper isn't in front of the goal. HE DOESNT SHOOT. He holds the ball and runs towards the goal. One of the defenders rushes over to Paterson and by the time Paterson decides to shoot he shoots it into the defender. I'm just stunned. Unfathomable.
79': Time to wave the white flag. Subotic in for Constantino, Ferry in for O'Sullivan, Smith in for Marc, rest up.
After a great run in the FA Cup last year its disappointing to go out early, but we'll look for the silver lining and hope to be a little more rested than our opponents in December.
Milwall 2 : 0 Woking
Matthew Paterson puts up a 5.8. His decision not to shoot the second he touched the ball on that play with Constantino is the most baffling thing I've ever seen in a FM game.
Doh. I've seen some players do stupid things on rare occasion, but never something like that. At least it wasn't a league game.
-- Paulo is named in the League 1 team of the week
November 29th, 2016
Oldham(7-8-3, 4th) @ Woking (9-7-2, 2nd)
I'm surprised when I see that we're even money favorites today over Oldham, they're 11:5 to win. Oldham have been in League 1 every year since the 97/98 season, almost 20 years without a relegation or promotion. They've made the playoffs only 3 times, last year was the closest they have come to relegation with a 20th place finish. This is our first meeting.
So many changes today. Nikolaou and Alcock desperately need days off, Wiggins DL, Taylor DR, Chester DC... the midfield and attacking mids are solid, Subotic gives Harsanyi a rest today up front. We'll attack today. We're also dropping our defensive line back due to speedy attackers according to our scouts.
17': Each team has two shots, we've had some nice long buildup on offense and failed to make the one last pass...
18': We earn a corner, its taken to Chester who blasts a shot but it hits the crossbar, 6 inches lower and we're in the lead.
23': We send it into the area, they head it out wide right, Vince Taylor is well forward, he plays a beautiful cross ot the far end of the 6 yard box, Colin is there, no defenders are there, and Colin gets a lot of power on it and puts it into the net!! 1-0
27': I dunno wtf i just saw!!! Upson is out wide left, he plays a cross... it looks like it deflects off a defender... either that, or Upson mishit it, it lofts towards the far side of the goal, the keeper comes out and misjudges the flight of the ball, and it sails slowly into the net, a crazy goal for Upson!! 2-0
HALF: The rest of the half flies by, we're looking pretty darn good! We have a huge 59/41 possession edge, 7 shots with 4 on target to 3 shots for them.
62': They have a free kick from out left, they cross into the area, Adcock goes up for a header over colin and heads it inot the net, a quick goal that gets them back in the game with a lot of time left. 1-2
64': Midfielder Jesus Miguel with a yellow for Oldham.
66': Constantino with a long run down the right, he blew by two defenders, cross into the area, Colin goes up for a header, and its inches wide... the keeper couldn't get to cover that side of the net in time, if it was on target it was a goal, very close.
69': Chester picked up an injury, I bring Christian Smith in for him. Paterson in for Subotic who hasn't played much and is easily tired.
75': We earn 3 corners before they finally clear it out.
83': I have Ferry ready to come in the next time the ball goes out of play for Upson... before that can happen Upson goes up for a header and is brought down in midfield, he rolls around on the ground ofr awhile and we have to sub him immediately. This could be a bad one.
91': We try to dig in and do a pretty good job, but they get a move down the left side, a cross through the 6 yard box, man James needed to get that... he doesn't and their striker Davies heads it into the net. 2-2
Woking 2 : 2 Oldham
We're tired, really tired, and once Upson went down I had a really bad feeling about this, it sucks blowing a 2:0 lead but I'm not surprised. One of their goalscorers is man of the match.
Goals: Upson (7.5), Colin (8.1)
Assists: Taylor (8.0), Constantino (6.8)
Notables: Pualo (7.4), N'Guessan (7.0)
No long term injuries for Chester or Upson after the match today, whew. With a few injuries still and major signs of fatigue all over, we have to go on the road to face the #1 team in League One, Crystal Palace, in 4 days.
If you survive this run of injuries - especially with the situation at GK - I'd think it's nothing short of miraculous.
-- Two league 1 sides made the quarterfinals of the League Cup, Wigan and Stockport. Both were knocked out today by EPL sides, Birmingham and Chelsea move on to the semis.
-- We play on the 3rd, 10th, 17th, 26th, 28th, and 31st. It'll be really nice to get some rest for most of the month here.
-- Constantino comes in second in the Player of the Month award for League 1. Barnsley's john sutton won it, he scored a goal or two against us I remember.
-- Paulo is the League 1 young player of the month! constantino is second there.
-- The board is delighted with my leadership, and our performance in League 1 is a highlight. Signing James Chester remains a disappointment. We made money in November! Profit of $65k.
December 3rd, 2016
Woking (9-8-2, 2nd) @ Crystal Palace(14-3-2, 1st)
Crystal Palace have been brilliant this year, we have the same number of losses with just 2 but their record is just stellar. They have been in League 1 since the 10/11 season, top 10 the last 3 years in a row. They're huge favorites, 4:7, we're 4:1 today. We lost to them in the FA Cup back in 2014, our only ever meeting.
Crystal Palace ST Chris Ojapah has 21 goals in 19 league appearances, he's got a ridiculous 8.09 average rating, 5 assists, and 5 man of the match awards. Constantino has 24 goals, 3 assists, 6 man of the match awards and an 8.02 average rating in 19 league matches. They have two starters hurt, we have 2 starters hurt, but one is our keeper.
This is the strongest lineup we can start given the injuries. We defend today.
6': WHOA. midfielder Duncan takes out Harsanyi from behind in the midfield... the ref calls him over and shows him a straight red card!! Wowowow. We get a man up for 84 minutes. We change to an attacking mindset immediately. Pressure pressure pressure.
20': We're dominating possession but they are packed in really really tightly, getting a goal is still going to be a challenge.
21': Defender Ward with a yellow tackling Harsanyi.
22': Oh James... They have a goal kick, the ball bounces at the edge of the penalty area, James comes out but they have a man that outran our defenders, he gets his head on the ball and pops it up over James and into the net... pretty embarrassing stuff. James takes the blame for the goal and his rating tanks. 0-1
32': Colin makes a great run down the left, harassed the entire way, he plays a cross to the near side of the 6 yard box.. but Harsanyi can't win the header, great play by Colin but we can't get anything going.
33': Yellow for midfielder Hughes tackling Upson.
43': Paulo tries to make a tackle in the midfield and he's hurt... he can stay in but his fitness took a big hit.
47': We have the ball in their end, Paulo receives a pass in the area, splits two defenders to get it to Constantino, Constantino with the shot... its by the keeper and in!! 1-1
HALF: We get a goal out of nowhere to close out the half and to completely bail out Jason James. We need to get another goal to beat these guys though. O'Sullivan has to come in for Paulo, he didn't recover during halftime, I fear something long term here.
61': Upson has it about 25 yards out after some buildup, it looks like their defense is squeezed in tight to stop Constantino/Harsanyi, Upson plays it out to the left to Colin, he is unmarked, advances a step or two on the keeper and fires a shot.. right at the keeper and deflected away. Poor finishing, that was a great look.
68': Colin has it on the left side, he pulls up about 40 yards out and plays in a cross, Constantino gets his head to it, but it hits the crossbar and bounces over.
71': We have it and are on the attack again, O'Sullivan is about 30 yards out, he gets a ball into the area, Harsanyi... maybe offsides, that is damn close, but he gets to it first and is able to direct a shot to the far post by the diving keeper to give us the lead!! 2-1 One of their guys gets a yellow for crying about the lack of an offside call.
80': Paterson in for a super tired Colin, Paterson to forward, Harsanyi AML. Ferry in for the tired Upson.
88': They have a long free kick, its sent into the area, James is right there but one of our guys heads it behind for a corner anyway.. the first corner is headed behind for a second corner... second one, O'Sullivan heads it clear, they recover and send it back forward and start to build up, they end up with a cross in from the left that James comes out for and secures.
93': We seal the deal!!! Constantino scores two at their place while their star gets shut out!! They're trying to attack and get the tying goal, Marc wins a ball out near midfield and starts a quick counter, a ball is played up to N'Guessan who plays a nice pass into the center of the area for Constantino, he strikes it with his first touch and the keeper is helpless. 3-1
Crystal Palace 1 : 3 Woking
We simply wore them down today after a red card in the 6th minute. Its a win on the road against the #1 team in the league so we're thrilled, but we know they're going to be ready for the rematch in a few months.
Man of the Match: Constantino (8.8)
Goals: constantino 2, Harsanyi (7.2)
Assists: O'Sullivan (8.1), N'Guessan (7.2), Paulo (6.9)
Notables: Nikkolaou (7.7), Marc (7.7), Colin (7.0)
O'Sullivan came in for the injured Paulo at the half and was brilliant.
-- Paulo is fine, we've been getting very lucky of late with these in game injuries turning out to be nothing.
-- Crystal Palace have been so dominant this season that even with this victory today we're still 7 points behind them. That red card was a ridiculously big break, we weren't supposed to win today.
Our luck has been incredible. Our backup keeper Jason James has allowed 7 goals in 4 matches yet we haven't lost a single one. The 6 minute red card against the top team in the league in our last match is the icing on the cake. The other big of luck is that we actually only have 3 players out, Lynch, Ogogo and Zatara. It seems like every match lately we have one or two players go down hurt and show up with the little cross injury symbol over their head, we even had a match stopped to immediately pull one of our stars in MC Ed Upson recently, and none of these guys are missing any games long term. With a couple bad dice rolls we could have 4 or 5 starters out right now instead of 2.
At this point it looks like Lynch will miss one more match and then he should be back. The fact that we're firmly in second place is, exactly as you say, nothing short of miraculous.
We're almost to the midpoint of the season, 20 matches in, so i'll stop and do a midseason update in a few matches, but at this point I'm simply stunned at how one incredible player is able to carry a team at this level. This is essentially the same team that won league 2 last year. Five players on this team, including 3 starters (Lynch, Nikolaou, Harsanyi), were guys that helped us win the Blue Square Premier league what seems like ages ago now.
They're obviously decent players, but really, how far does this team go without Constantino? We have 47 goals in competitive play (league + various cups). Constantino has 27 of them. Ed Upson has 7 but at least 4 of those are penalties. Last year we had tons of players put up really great ratings, a few guys over 7.4 average and many more over 7.2. Constantino was the best but others were not far behind... This year? Constantino 7.90, our next best player is a tie between Paulo and Harsanyi at 7.26.
Murphy's Law Style Prediction: Constantino carries us to promotion this year into the Championship, we aren't able to loan him in next year, can't find anyone else similar to him to replace him, find that we've jumped way way too far too fast, and go 3-3-40.
I went back to see it again, and on second viewing maybe its just the worst first touch in the easiest position to score I've ever seen. Massive, massive choke. Hooray for fraps! Best viewed full screen but this works:
Since he's scored over 60 goals for us in a season and a half and i'm playing around anyway its a good time to upload a couple Constantino goals. Its hard to decide which ones really, most are just simple, easy finishes.
The first is just a very simple turn, burst of speed and easy goal:
The second is a fun romp through a the defense before laughing as he walks by the opposing keeper and pokes it into the net.
Both really have to be viewed in full screen to see what's happening.
The vast majority of his goals are just simple poacher's efforts, he gets behind the defense to receive a pass and finishes, or like that first one, there's only one guy who can stop him and good luck with that. He's just faster and better than nearly everyone at this level and any time he touches the ball anywhere on the pitch this kind of thing might happen.
-- Ogogo is healthy and back to full training again on December 5th. Our next match is on the 10th, so he'll hopefully be in good enough shape to get some playing time there.
-- We have a match at the end of the month against Bradford rescheduled for early January due to a conflict with their next FA Cup match. Bradford are one of the two teams to beat us, so us getting a few extra days off while they play an extra match before our next meeting makes me happy.
December 10th, 2016
Bristol Rovers(8-2-10, 16th) @ Woking (10-8-2, 2nd)
Bristol Rovers have been a pretty consistent mid table team in League one for the last decade, minus one season where they fell to League 2 and immediately promoted back up. During that season we got crushed by them twice, 3:0 and 3:1. We look for some revenge today as we are even money favorites to get the win, making them 11:5 dogs.
Bristol Rovers are led by striker Aaron McLean who has 13 goals in 20 matches. His average rating of 6.8 seems low for someone who scores that much. Our only lineup change today is that Ogogo is starting at DR. Clearly, we'll attack.
2': Harsanyi makes a run down the left, cuts inside, passes into the right side of the area, N'Guessan is there and controls it well, his man is a bit behind him and the central defenders are slow to rotate, N'Guessan takes one step, stops, fires a shot and its by the keeper and in! 1-0
11': Paulo plays a ball foward to Harsanyi, he cuts by his man and fires a shot from the edge of the penalty area, its a really good look but the keeper makes the save...
15': They win possession and immediately start a counter attack, there's a long ball behind our defense, our defenders are slow to get back and their star McLean is the first one there, James tries to cut him off, there's a shot, by James, it hits the left post and bounces in... 1-1
24': We have a throwin pretty deep in their end, Upson throws it in to Constantino who is wide right, he crosses in, N'Guessan is the man there, he gets his head to it from about 12 yards out, it doesn't have a whole lot of power on it but it floats just over the outstretched arms of the keeper and falls in the net!! One of their defenders is blamed for missing an interception. 2-1
28': We win a corner, Upson crosses it into the 6 yard area, it deflects off a defender and seems to pinball around the area briefly, Vince Taylor gets to it and shoots, the keeper makes a reflex save and it goes behind for another corner, which they safely clear out.
36': Colin goes in for a slide tackle on a man charging towards the area on the attack, he brings him down and its a miracle no card is given. They get a free kick from just over 20 yards out, the wall blocks the shot and its a corner, we clear the corner safely.
No more shots are taken this half.
HALF: Dany N'Guessan comes out of nowhere to score his second and third goals of the season to put us ahead 2-1. They have a slim 54/46 possession edge today, we've been attacking pretty quickly whenever we get the ball it seems. We've got 9 shots, 5 on target, they have 4 shots with 2 on target. Our tackling and air dominance are solid today, we win 84% of our tackles and 70% of our headers, compared to 60 and 45% for them respectively.
47': We set up our offense after ogogo wins an interception, and here's one of those classic poacher's goals, Paulo with a through ball, Constantino just outruns his man to get to it first, he's only about 7 or 8 yards out and he simply isn't going to miss from there. 3-1
53': We quickly counter after an attack for Bristol Rovers fails, Colin rushes down the left sideline and puts a cross into the 6 yard box, N'Guessan is there, this ought to be a hat trick... its by far his easiest look of the day, but his header is directed right at the keeper who can't help but save it.
72': After a couple highlights that don't lead to much Harsanyi has a shot saved and earns us a corner, they clear it out... figured i needed to type something after a whole lot of nothing for 20 minutes.
76': midfielder Straford with a yellow for a tackle on Colin
78': Paterson in for Harsanyi, Alcock in for Ogogo, O'Sullivan in for Paulo, its my dreaded "oh no now watch someone get hurt and they come back" set of subs late with the lead.
85': O'Sullivan plays a great long ball down the left sideline that triggers a bit of a break for us, Colin runs on to it, puts a cross in, N'guessan is there with the header... just over.
88': O'sullivan feeds Paterson, Paterson is about 20 yards out, he turns by his man and gets a pretty good shot off, the keeper makes the save, but acn't hold it, there's a rebound, N'Guessan is there and puts it in the open net before the keeper can recover, there's the hat trick!!! 4-1
Woking 4 : 1 Bristol Rovers
Man of the Match: Dany N'Guessan (9.6)
Goals: N'Guessan 3, Constantino (8.1)
Assists: Constantino, Harsanyi (8.7), Paulo (7.9), Paterson (6.9)
Notables: Ogogo (7.0), Nikolaou (7.2), Marc (7.2), Taylor (7.3), Upson (7.5), Colin (7.1)
James is the only starter not to put up a 7.0 rating or better, and he gives us a 6.9 today, his best match so far.
Prior to this match Dany N'Guessan had 7 goals in 51 matches in his Woking career so far, he gives us 3 more today!!
-- The fans are delighted, and there's even more to be excited about as we look at the news on gameday after the match... Kevin Lynch has resumed full training! We don't play again for a week and Lynch will certainly be back in goal.
-- Wigan beats Crystal Palace and we find ourselves all of a sudden only 4 points out of first place. We're 9 points clear of the first team out of the playoffs, but there is so much of the season left its silly to start seriously looking ahead just quite yet, we'll just enjoy how well we're playing right now and check back in 10 matches down the road maybe.
-- I picked up striker Bob Green earlier this year on a free transfer and was tunned when his value was over $100,000. He's only played in one cup match for me, he looks alright but he's young, my scouts view him as not as good as any of the 4 guys I regularly run at foward, and say that he doesn't even have the potential to be as good as Harsanyi. Despite that... his value has skyrocketed to $425,000... What the hell is up with that? Ed Upson is valued at $100,000. Harsanyi $55,000, Vince Taylor $50,000. Hopefully i'm not ruining
something special here, but I can't resist. I offer him to other clubs at his current value of $425,000. Lets see what happens.
December 17th, 2016
Woking (11-8-2, 2nd) @ Colchester(6-5-10, 20th)
Colchester are 5:4 favorites a their house today, we're 7:4 to win. This will be our first ever meeting. This is Colchester's 9th year in a row in League 1. Last year they finished 3rd and made the playoffs, its their only top 10 finish in the last 5 years.
They are led by John Marsden who has 9 goals this season. Lynch is back, hooray! We're going to attack on the road.
11': Marc wins a ball in the midfield and sends it up immediately to Constantino, he has a small opening and fires a shot from 20 yards out, but the keeper makes a nice save.
18': They're trying to work the ball around the area, Ogogo commits a foul inches outside the box, their striker Mardsen takes the free kick but puts it wide.
26': Constantino has it about 30 yards out, he'd defended tightly but places a great pass foward to Harsanyi, Harsanyi is in the area, a defender is near, but Harsanyi gets a clear cut chance out of it... he's a bit too close to the keeper though and its deflected back for a corner, which we can't convert.
44': Aftera long time with no highlights Nikolau commits a foul about 25 yards out, they put a shot way wide.
HALF: We have a 58/42 possession edge, they're passing is awful (50%), while our tackling is awful (54%). Both teams have 5 shots, but we have 4 on target and are at least threatening. 4 of theirs are from long range and all off target.
48': We have a throwin, we take a shot but its blocked, they get ot it first and put a long ball towards our end... their star Mardsen is there... and no one else is even remotely close. Mardsen walks into the area and beats Lynch. 0-1 Vince Taylor's rating just tanked, I don't see what happened exactly but clearly the goal was blamed on Taylor.
56': We build up a bit, a pass to Harsanyi, Harsanyi runs parallel to the penalty area, Constantino cuts through the defense and Harsanyi stops and plays a perfect through ball, Constantino receives it and very easily scores to level it up! 1-1
60': midfielder Wooten with a yellow for Colchester.
63': After a very short buildup there's a pass from Paulo to Harsanyi, he takes it into the area and fires a shot but he's pretty well defended and can't put it on target, its wide left.
65': Paulo with a yellow.
66': They make a run down the right side, there's a cross into the area... Taylor seems ot have a shot at it, one of their men gets to it and heads it to the side for another open man, Paulo seems to have a shot at THAT but their striker gets to it and blasts it into the back of the net... Nikolaou missed a tackle on their midfielder too, errors all over the place there. 1-2
71': Colin with a yellow.
80': Alcock in for N'Guessan, Ogogo to AMR. O'Sullivan in for Paulo.
87': O'Sulliavn has it about 40 yards out, he makes a little move and plays a ball into the area, Ogogo beats his man to the ball and fires a shot, its by the keeper, hits the left upright and ricochet's in!!! 2-2
91': Yellow for defender Wedderburn... we have a free kick from 30 yards, Upson blasts it, off the wall and out wide, throwin is cleared away.
93': we're fighting to keep the ball in their penalty area to try to get a goal... Colin goes up for an uncontested header out wide to try to send it in... and comes down hurt. REALLY???
That'll do it.
Colchester 2 : 2 Woking
We were better here, by a lot, but gave up a couple really crappy goals. That's pretty much the whole deal today.
Man of the Match: Harsanyi (8.0)
Goals: Constantino (7.7), Ogogo (7.7)
Assists: Harsanyi, O'Sullivan (6.9)
Notables: Marc (7.1), Upson (7.0)
Taylor puts up a 6.5, he'd haev a graet rating without the critical mistake allowing a goal. Paulo a 6.8, he'd have a spectacular rating without his error.
I forgot to check this before posting about the Colchester match. Colin SPRAINED HIS WRIST ON A HEADER... seriously, I saw the highlight. The ball floats his way, he jumps to head it into the area, he falls down, and he sprains his wrist. He's out for 2 weeks.
-- We've picked up a few draws that could have been wins, but, we haven't lost in 11 straight matches.
I tried to use my transfer money, an AML at Queen of the South in the Scottish Premier league valued at $550k was transfer listed and available for cheap. 25 y/o Shane Ferguson was scouted as "better than our best AML Mickael Colin" and deemed a clear key player should we be able to sign them. I was able to get a successfull offer at $90,000 and a % of his next sale. He only makes $1900/wk over in Scotland but I guess felt that League 1 was below him, as he rejected 3 offers of mine, the final one at $4200/wk.
-- We were going to play Rotherham on Dec 26th but our field is waterlogged and that match is delayed.
We're given notice that we have 22 contracts expiring between the staff and players.
-- Christian Smtih will surely be gone.
-- Ed Upson will take the same amount with a signing bonus. He'll surely stay.
-- Backup MC Simon Ferry's contract is expiring. He's cheap ($1900/wk) but he's kinda on the fence as to whether he can succeed here. If I let him go then MC becomes a position where I *must* bring on a new guy next year. If I keep him and we promote, he's worthless. I'll decide later.
-- Zoltan Harsanyi will stay on at $2900/wk and $800/match appearance, that's oen of the highest appearance bonuses but he gets what he wants. He turns 30 during the offseason, this is probably the last contract extension he'll get from me.
-- N'Guessan makes $4400/wk, he's willing to take a little less. He's putting up over a 7.0 rating as a consistent starter, maybe not the OMG SUPERSTAR I hyped him as when I signed him last year, but he's worth keepng.
-- Matthew Paterson will not be renewed.
-- DR Craig Alcock will stay around for $1400/wk. He's a pretty decent backup, but he's almost 30 and my strategy of letting go of backups to free up money for new splashy signings when I promote has worked in the past... for now I don't offer him anything. I may well change my mind.
-- Ogogo wants a big appearance fee like Harsanyi, but doenst care about a raise. I give it to him, he's another solid consistent starter.
-- Joe O'sullivan... man, I don't think he's worth keeping. Am I really saying that? His physical talents and a 12 passing rating are all he has. We don't develop talent well , that was fine when he was 18 in the BS Premier league, but he's basically stil the same guy and his physical talents are not going to carry him into the Championship. He only wants $1300/wk, so I may give him an offer out of simple loyalty, but I'm really not sure he can hack it consistently.
-- Kevin Lynch gets the $1700/wk he wants heh. I know he wont hold up at the next level but I also know how hard a time I had finding a new keeper this year... I'm not gonna count on being able to upgrade immediately.
-- DL Stelios Nikolaou only wants $1900/wk, he gets it. He's worth a lot more to me than that. He's not that physically gifted but his physical and mental attributes are much much stronger than O'Sullivan. 16 pace alone with other decent talents makes me want to keep him.
-- DC Vince Taylor wants a raise from $3200 to $3600/wk. No brainer.
December 28th, 2016
Woking (11-9-2, 2nd) @ Stockport(10-3-10, 9th)
Stockport got promoted up with us last year, so seeing them do so well too is a pretty big surprise, they're just a couple spots out of the playoffs. They're 5:4 favorites at their place today, we're slim 7:4 dogs. We're 1-0-6 lifetime against them, but that lone win was at home back in August, so we're on a winning streak!
Last year Stockport was a really strong defensive team that didn't score a lot. This year they still don't score much but their defense is a little bit worse. They've only scored 23 goals in 23 matches, the second lowest in the league. They've given up 25, which is in the top 5 for fewest goals allowed.
Colin is healthy again after the long layoff (due to the waterlogged game being missed) but his fitness is still quite low, so Harsanyi is at AML today, Paterson at foward. standard mindset on the road today.
10': Lots of highlights early and each team has two shots but nothing worth talking about really. We have a huge possession edge in the early going.
13': they build up some possession, eventually sending in a cross from the left side, there's a header that they put just over, the closest thing we've seen to a threat so far i think.
15': We begin what seems to be a slow buildup, Nikolaou passes to Paulo, he's about 25 yard sout, but all of a sudden he fires a shot that bends into the right side of the net!!! Something like 90% of the time he's looking for the through ball to a foward there, that's Paulo's first league goal of the year! 1-0
24': Terrifying sequence as they have a free kick deep i our end, way wide to the right... they cross into the area, there's one header, two, three, four, five and the ball is still in the air and stil in the penalty area, finally one of our guys wins one and heads it behind for a corner, which we clear.
34': We allow a goal on the most obvious offsides in the history of offsides. It doesn't count.
41': They put a pretty nice through ball into the area, Ogogo has to race one of their fowards to it, he wins barely and sends it behind for a corner, which we clear out, we actually get a pretty solid counter attack going but it falls apart at the end and we dont' get a shot off.
HALF: It wouldn't be right to say we're playing great or anything. We have a 53/47 possession edge, 7 shots with 3 on target, they have 8 shots with 2 on target. 4 of theirs are from long range. We really just have the one superb long strike from Paulo to carry us so far.
64': We've seen one highlight so far from their attack that went nowhere, then nothing... until Paulo is brought down and hurt on a tackle. He can stay in but he is really hobbled out there.
67': Ferry in for Paulo (Ferry instead of O'Sullivan since he's more defensively minded)
79': Chester in for Paterson. Chester to DC, Taylor to DMC, Constantino alone up front.
86': They have a very scary looking through ball, Chester makes a great tackle to prevent what looked like a point blank shot that was about to occur.
88': Zatara in for a very tired Harsanyi
We kill off the rest of the clock and sweep Stockport!
Stockport 0 : 1 Woking
We only got the one goal but we really did a nice job making it count today. We didn't shoot a single time in the second half. However, Stockport only shot 3 times and all were off target from long range.
Man of the Match: Stelios Nikolaou (8.5)
Goal: Paulo (8.3)
Notables: Ogogo (7.0), Marc (7.5), Taylor (7.5), Upson (7.1), N'Guessan (7.3)
Our entire defense and midfield earns a mention today, its not how we usually win games but they came up really big today.
We've played one less game due to the missed match from our crappy field recently, but here's how things look at the midpoint of the season.
Midseason League Leaders
1. Constantino - Woking - 28
2. Chris Ojapah - Crystal Palace - 25
3. Simeon Jackson - Gillingham - 19
4. Alex Nimely-Tchuimeni - Peterborough - 16
5. Charlie Austin - Swindon - 15
1. Sebastian Eriksson - Crystal Palace - 11
2. Gerard Kinsella - Swindon - 9
2. Paulo - Woking - 9
2. Zoltan Harsanyi - Woking - 9
Many are tied for 5th with 8.
Man of the Match Awards
1. Constantino - Woking - 7
2. Simeon Jackson - Gillingham - 6
2. Chris Ojapah - Crystal Palace - 6
4. Sebastian Eriksson - Crystal Palace - 5
5. Matt O'Neil - Dag & Red - 5
1. Chris Ojapah - Crystal Palace - 8.00
2. Constantino - Woking - 7.99
3. Simeon Jackson - Gillingham - 7.69
4. Steven Duncan - Crystal Palace - 7.61
5. Sebastian Eriksson - Crystal Palace - 7.51
Harsanyi is 7th and Paulo 8th with 7.38 and 7.36 ratings.
Looking a little closer at the team:
Goals: Constantino (28), Upson (6), Harsanyi (5), Colin (4), N'Guessan (4)
Assists: Paulo (9), Harsanyi (9), Upson (6), Constantino (4), Paterson (4)
Man of the Match: Constantino (7), Harsanyi (4), Paulo (2), Taylor (2)
-- I'm set with most of my contract negotiations, but Ogogo wants $1800/match appearance fee. The board will only allow $900 and that's omre than anyone else gets. He's turned down a couple offers, I bump him up over $4k/wk salary but I may not be able to retain him.
December 31st, 2016
Carlisle(7-9-8, 16th) @ Woking (11-9-2, 2nd)
We're 5:4 favorites at home today, they're 7:4 to win. This will be our first meeting. This is Carlisle's 11th straight year in League 1, they haven't made the playoffs since the 08/09 season.
Colin isn't ready to go yet, and we make a number of changes on quite short rest today. Alcock DR, Zatara/Ogogo AM's, Subotic at forward. We'll attack.
5': Paulo has it about 40 yards out, he puts a ball into the area, I don't really know how they don't intercept it, but Constantino is first to it, he's got a clear cut chance from 15 yards out and its a rare miss, he beats the keeper but it hits the right post and ricochets across the face of the goal before being cleared out.
6': Paulo has it again after we clear a ball out of the defense, he makes a run up the middle, passes to Subotic, Subotic avoids a tackle and passes it forward to Paulo who kept running, Paulo fills an opening in the defense, strikes from 18 yards out and beats the keeper! 1-0
8': Paulo has it yet again, he feeds it ahead to Constantino, this time Constantino does it himself, he's 20 yards out, he makes his man miss, turns by him, takes a couple steps into the area and buries it by the keeper 2-0
10': Slow buildup down the left, Subotic has it and sends it cross the area... Ogogo is there, he heads it in... but he's offsides, awww.
19': Craig Alcock is brought down by a tackle while trying to clear it out of the defensive end... he's hurt, and he's out. I move Nikolaou to DR and bring Wiggins in at DL.
25': Carlisle with their first shot and its a clear cut chance as an attacker moves by two of our defenders to earn a nice shot 15 yards out, Lynch makes a great save and holds it, no rebound!
26': We clear it but they take it away in the midfield after we've gotten foward, striker O'Brian has it, Taylor tries to win it back , Taylor misses his tackle and they're off to the races, O'Brian gets to about 20 yards out before taking his shot and Lynch isn't able to make the stop... 2-1
29': Subotic takes a pass from upson about 25 yards out, he turns and plays it into the arae right away, Constantino runs onto it and scores easily... I really, really thought he was offsides. On the replay i still think he was offsides, thanks for the goal refs! 3-1
38': We give up 3 corners, on the 3rd there's a header the scoots just between Wiggins guarding the post and Lynch into the net. We didn't really contest the header at all, not good! 3-2
45': Vince Taylor is hurt, sigh. We'll check on him postgame.
HALF: We're dominating every facet of this. We have 7 shots, they have 3, we're passing, crossing, tackling and heading the ball better, our team's average rating is 7.15, theirs it 6.69... but they've snuck in two goals and we're lucky they don't have 3. Some serious lapses on our part the few times they've threatened. Chester is in for Taylor, I'm worried about him going another full half with an injury.
49': They send a through ball into the area, Marc misses an interception, and it leads to an easy shot that beats lynch. Really? Come on guys... 3-3
60': they have a goal kick, we win a header near midfield and its headed foward to Subotic. He finds Constantino who beats his man, he's once again in the area and he looks ot have a hat trick... but puts it inches wide, doh!!
66': Ogogo with a long shot on our end and they counter, they get a man deep in the left corner after a very very long run, there's a cross that somehow stays in play, its played to the far post and there's a header, and Lynch doens't really do anything, he watches it go in, did he think it was offsides!?!? 3-4
Whoa. There's one more highlight showing Subotic shooting from long range, and that's it, the agme is over...
Woking 3 : 4 Carlisle
This is a complete and epic collapse by our defense. We shoot 4 times in the second half, all off target. They end up with 8 shots and 4 goals. This is just embarrassing, no better word to describe it.
Man of the Match: Paulo (9.0)
Goals: Constantino 2 (8.8), Paulo
Assists: Subotic 2 (9.0), Paulo
Dogshit Play: Lynch (6.4), Nikolaou (6.2), Ogogo (5.7), Zatara (5.8), Wiggins (5.0), Chester (6.3)
I tell everyone outside of Paulo, Subotic and Constantino that I'm furious with them.
-- Vince taylor is fine, Alcock is out for 7-10 days.
:( talk about a kick in the balls.
-- We play on the 3rd, 7th, 14th, 18th, 21st, and 28th in January.
-- Constantino is the League 1 player of the month, scoring 6 goals in 5 matches.
-- Paulo is 3rd in Young Player of the month voting.
-- The board is delighted with my leadership, our league 1 performance is a main reason, Rhoys Wiggins signing is a lowlight. His 5.0 rating in our last match I'm sure can explain that one. We lost tons last month, $175k. Signing bonuses and such.
January 3rd, 2017
Bradford(8-7-9, 15th) @ Woking (11-9-3, 2nd)
Bradford are super slim 6:4 favorites to our 13:8 today. Bradford gave us one of our 3 losses back in August. Their striker Tom Elliot has 7 goals in 20 matches, he scored both in a 2-1 victory.
Bradford's Tom Elliot is only their second leading scorer, Moreno Costanzo has 10 goals to lead them. We make tons of lineup changes today since we're on short rest yet again. Our attack is solid with Colin/N'Guessan/Harsanyi/Constantino but we have two backup mids and Wiggins in for Nikolaou. We'll attack and hope to not give up 3 goals on 4 shots early :P
14': They have a free kick from 30 yards out, its taken and its a beautiful shot bending around the wall and Lynch is unable to get to it, its in the left side of the net. 0-1
20': N'Guessan makes a run down the right side, he gets all the way to the end line and crosses to the far end of the 6 yard area, Harsanyi is there and he has a really good look, he heads it, and its off the left post, so close.
26': Colin with a long run down the left, a cross, and a header by N'Guessan is just high.
36': We have 8 shots already but 5 from long range and many have not been shown.
41': We earn a corner, its taken to Taylor, two men converge, he's able to find the room for a shot but its high.
HALF: We have 10 shots, but just 2 are on target and it really doesn't seem like we're outplaying them or anything. They have 4 shots, just 2 on target. We can't lose a second match at home can we?
63': Upson in for Ferry to try to get a better shot here.
70': Marc is hurt in defense and he has to come out immediately.... I bring in Chester.
72': We've only allowed one shot this half, we've taken 7 but only 1 on target and it was a very weak header by Harsanyi that we just saw.
78': There's a counter attack as we fail again to get an attack going, their forward Elliot wins a header from Chester and heads it out a bit wide to AMR McLaggon, he fires a shot from 18 yards out, he's able to get it by Lynch and its in the left side of the net... 0-2
Woking 0 : 2 Bradford
We shoot 17 tmies today but only put 3 on target. Are other teams figuring out Constantino? Is our service impossibly bad without Upson and Paulo? Or is it just an aberration for a couple matches?
Lynch puts up a 6.3, Chester a 6.4 as a sub, most everyone else is in the 6.6-6.8 range.
Marc has a hamstring injury and he's out 3-4 weeks. Ouch.
-- Crystal Palace have built up a pretty big lead now. Gillingham take over 2nd place from Woking by 1 point but they have one more match played than us. Crystal Palace are 9 points up on Gillingham. Only two teams auto promote so as long as we stay up here 2nd is critical.
-- Its early January and the transfer window is open, we've been scouting pretty hard but really haven't had much luck. We may stop at some point and seriously look for a 3 month loan or perhaps a reserve on a championship squad to help keep us playing at this high level.
Some days, the ball just won't go in. You hit some similar speed bumps at the same point last season, iirc, and all that worked out OK. Your supporters still believe!
Just wanted to say I read through this dynasty at work a couple nights ago and it's incredible, loved the vids. Never played FM but this has inspired me to look into the next new version. Good luck keeping Constantino, he's a beast!
Yeah this is true. I'm more worried faster this year due to the competition level I suppose.
Thanks for reading! Constantino just got a nice raise/extension from Aston Villa, they have him at $16,000/wk for 2 more years. Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll want to loan him out one more time before they bring him up.
Been playing a lot of Crawl for the little FOFC competition thing lately so i've had a little less FM time.
January 7rd, 2017
Woking (12-9-4, 3rd) @ Peterborough(9-10-7, 8th)
Peterborough are 1:2 favorites today at their place, we're 9:2. We're 1-1-1 lifetime against these guys, including a 3:1 home win earlier in the year. We're just out of the key auto promote 2nd spot but with one less match played, Peterborough are 4 points out of the playoffs.
Peterborough's Alex Nimely-Tchuimeni has 16 goals to lead Peterborough, Jeremy Gage has 9. We'd rested some guys last match and they're all back in. Chester starts for Marc with him hurt, Constantino is about as close as i've ever seen him to really needing a rest, but he doesn't get it today. We're defending today.
7': One of their forwards goes right by Chester and earns a clear cut chance near the area, its barely saved by lynch.
16': Paulo goes down defending a corner and he's hurt... He'll stay in though.
20': They have a goal kick, its taken long, Nimely-Tchuimeni gets way way behind our defense, Lynch comes out and dives at him, but he gets a shot off before Lynch can get on the ball and he puts it in. 0-1
28': Attacker Craddock seems to just have tons of speed, this is the second time he's burned a defender of ours really badly, he gets a clear cut chance after destroying Vince Taylor, but Lynch makes another great save.
30': Paulo gets a yellow.
35': Midfielder Cox with a yellow for a tackle on Nikolaou.
40': Constantino has it 30 yards out, he burns the defender on him and gets into the area, he may have shot early, he came in at a tough angle too though, not a clear cut chance, the keeper had to make a pretty good save still.
HALF: Peterborough is really in control here. They shoot 9 times, they're passing better and heading better, we are tackling well, just our few missed tackles have led to very very good looks. We only have 2 shots, 1 on target. Christian Smith is coming in for Chester, this may be the exact moment where I officially give up on Chester permanently.
46': We build up after kickoff, Harsanyi plays a ball into the right side of the area, N'Guessan is there, its a slow developing play and seems a slow shot that isn't a big threat, despite being on target. Easily saved.
48': They earn a corner, Paulo with a slide tackle on the man that receives the pass... he goes down, and is called for a dive, yellow for Gage for Peterborough.
56': Another slow buildup, we get it to Constantino this time, he beats a man but can't turn goalward, he ends up going to the end line out wide, he draws 3 defenders out with him, turns, passes into an open area where Paulo comes racing in. Paulo puts it in the left side of the net by the keeper!!! Great long control of the ball by Constantino in the area to generate the goal. 1-1
71': Vince Taylor goes down hurt... he'll stay in but I really am worried about him.
75': Zatara in for N'Guessan, O'Sullivan in for Paulo, both for fatigue.
77': All of a sudden I look like a genius with my subs!!! O'sullivan has it 30 yards out, plays a pretty through ball to the right side of the area, Zatara is closely covered but he makes a great play to control the ball and get his shot off, and he beats the keeper near post!!! 2-1
82': Upson plays a ball forward to about the 25 yard area, they have a DC there but his first touch is unbelievably bad, the ball squirts away and falls to Harsanyi who now has tons of open space, Harsanyi into the area, and he beats the keeper!!! 3-1
89': They're desperately trying to get a goal back, we intercept a ball and quickly counter, a ball to Harsanyi at midfield, a long pass forward to Constantino who runs behind the defense and picks up the ball, and he gets a one on one situation and beats the keeper from 15 yards out!!! 4-1
We score three times in the last 15 minutes, what a finish for Woking!!!
Peterborough 1 : 4 Woking
In the end they shoot 13 times and only generate the one goal. We shoot only 6 times in the second half, none are considered clear cut chances (I thought our last two should have been), and get 4 goals on those 6 shots.
Man of the Match: Harsanyi (9.0)
Goals: Harsanyi, Constantino (8.4), Paulo (7.4), Zatara (7.4)
Assists: Harsanyi, Constantino, Upson (8.5), O'Sullivan (6.9)
Notables: Lynch (7.0), Ogogo (7.5), Nikolaou (7.1), Taylor (7.4), Colin (7.0)
-- After the match Kevin Lynch tells the media that my halftime talk totally turned the game around and inspired the team to victory. Thanks keeper!
-- No long term injury for Vince Taylor.
New Short Term Loanee
One of the guys I really coveted before the season started but that went elsewhere on loan it turns out only went on a 6 month loan. I get a notice that he's returned to the Liverpool reserve squad and instantly make him an offer to come to Woking for 3 months.
Welcome 19 y/o MC Sam Cook to Woking. It's a busy 3 months, we play ~15 matches so he'll have a chance to make a big impact. i didn't have full scouting on Cook when I offered him, but I could see three ratings that made me not really care: Pace 18, Passing 16, Dribbling 11. Good enough that I'll take my chances on everything I couldn't see right there. 14 accel/15 agility/17 balance. 14 creativity/15 teamwork. 10 crossing/11 marking/10 tackling. Cook was on loan at Fulham in the Championship, he only got in 4 matches, scoring once.
So now the big question. What do I do with him? Play him all the time and rotate Paulo and Upson? Switch to a 3-5-2? Paulo can play DMC and I could just run one striker and have Harsanyi and Colin split time at AML.
For now I decide to start Paulo and Cook in my next match and will go from there. I don't feel strongly that this is the best solution, but i don't like the downsides of any of the other options.
January 14th, 2017
Swindon (10-7-10, 13th) @ Woking (13-9-4, 2nd)
Swindon are favored 4:6 today at Kingfield Stadium. We're not very happy to see that. We've played 4 times, never beating them. 3 of them are in cup matches though. We've already played twice this year, tying 2:2 on the road i league play, and tying 1:1 in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy 2nd round 1:1 but losing on penalties.
Christian Smith takes the job from James Chester. Sam Cook starts with Paulo. Upson sits today. They have two guys in double digits in goals, Charlie Austin with 16, Chris Porter with 12. We attack at home.
17': They get a corner 30 seconds in but put a shot way over. For the next 15 minutes the highlights are all Woking. We earn 2 corners and manage 4 shots, a couple on target but pretty weak.
20': Cook receives a pass 20 yards out and fires a shot in, its saved and turned back by the keeper, a nice effort, but corner comes to nothing.
25': They play a bad pass in the midfield after setting up an attack, N'Guessan gets to it and triggers a bit of a break, Harsanyi has it at midfield, runs forward a bit, fires a pass ahead to Constantino, he shows great control to beat his man, he's forward to the edge of the penalty box, its a clear cut chance, its by the keeper... but off the right post... noooo!
34': We win a ball in the defensive end, there's a ball to constantino, Constantino dribbles between FIVE, count them, FIVE defenders and midfielders into the right side of the area, he gets the ball to the end line, plays a short lofting cross to the other end of the 6 yard box, Colin is there and he heads it by the keeper and in!! 1-0
38': Cook has it 25 yards out, making a run into the area, its tackled wide, Nikolaou is there and crosses it into the area, N'Guessan win the header and directs it by the keeper and in! 2-0
45': N'Guessan makes a nice run down the left to start up the offense, he passes to Cook, pass over to Paulo, Paulo plays it into the area where constantino has broken free, its a clear cut chance and how the hell do you leave Constantino that open, like he didn't break behind a defender trying to cover, he's just left alone... he isn't missing a second clear cut chance, this one is good! 3-0
HALF: Great, great half for Woking. We control a ridiculous 65% of the possession, shoot 12 times, putting 7 on target, only allowing 2 shots. One was on target but it was from 30 yards away.
60': Christian Smith is hurt and the game stops for us to sub him out. Oooof. Chester is in.
We get a few nice looking shots in the 2nd half, none go in, but its ok, we only allow 2 second half shots. Looking good guys!
Woking 3 : 0 Swindon
Man of the Match: Stelios Nikolaou (9.0)
Goals: Constantino (8.6), Constantino (8.5), Colin (8.0)
Assists: Nikolaou, Paulo (8.2), Constantino
Notables: Ogogo (7.8), Taylor (7.5), Cook (7.0)
I noticed Cook mostly in the first 25 minutes, we'd feed a ball into the area, they'd try to head it away, and Cook's speed would get him to the ball first to keep it alive and send it back in. He completed 38 of 44 passes but no key ones, 2 shots on target. An ok debut.
Christian Smith suffers a torn hamstring and is going to be out for 3 months. Marc is still out for a couple weeks I believe. Not fun!
-- SIX Woking players are named to the team of the week... Nikolaou, Taylor, Ogogo, Colin, N'Guessan, and Constantino.
January 18th, 2017
Rotherham(9-7-11, 17th) @ Woking (14-9-4, 2nd)
Rotherham are favored at our place today, 5:4 vs our 7:4. The bookmakers just keep expecting us to fall. We tied 1:1 on the road back in August.
Chester in for the Injured Marc and Smith. Upson in for Paulo at MC, Zatara starts at AMR. We attack at home.
3': We have a throwin in their half of the field, its taken and passed to Cook, Harsanyi is offsides and slow to get back, if he's onsides I think we have an easy through ball, instead Cook beats a man, gets to the penalty area and fires a shot... inches wide, really nice play though.
17': Tons of woking offense, but not a lot coming of it, We just earned a corner after Cook plays a nice pass to Zatara but his shot is saved. Corner is cleared easily.
20': Our first clear cut chance as Cook plays a beautiful pass into the area to Colin, but he can't finish from 15 yards out, its saved...
26': We intercept a pass in our defensive end and are on the run. Cook with a long run, a ball ahead to constantino, Cook sprints ahead and gets the ball back, he draws two defenders as he's charging into the area with speed previously only seen by Constantino, and just like a great passer, he pulls up and plays a ball between the defenders to a wide open Harsanyi who puts it into the net. Very pretty play and that's really the first time i've seen the combined speed of Cook nd Constantino and that was just devastating. 1-0
30': Midfielder Law with a yellow tackling Harsanyi way out wide left. Free kick comes to nothing.
44': Ogogo with a yellow for a tackle about 2 inches outside the box on an attacker. I was really afraid that might be red. They shoot it over on their free kick... first shot of the game for Rotherham.
HALF: This a game where we should have a 3 or 4 goal lead. Its 1-0, but we have a 55:45 possession edge, 72%-54% passing edge, 33%-7% on crosses, 88-76 on tackling, 71-47 on headers. We shoot 12 times to their 1. 8 shots on target to 0. 3 clear cut chances to 0. Colin had 2 of the 3 and has a history of struggling to finish those. We need to get more out of this. We're controling everything, Cook is having a much much bigger impact today than our first game.
47': Cook passes it ahead to Constantino, Constantino runs around trying to get an opening, eventually finds a small hole and shoots from 18 yards out. The keeper is there, but doesn't hold it cleanly. The ball slips away from him and into the net. Its actually credited as an own goal, i guess he totally had it, oops! 2-0
57': We give up a corner, they take it to the far post, its headed... over Lynch.. it hits the underside of the crossbar, Lynch had dove to try to get the ball and isn't there and they have a man to poke it into the empty net... 2-1
60': midfielder Laird with a yellow, bout damn time, I think that's his 4th foul I've seen.
71': Alcock in for Ogogo.
76': Paterson in for Harsanyi, N'Guessan in for Colin, N'Guessan moves to AMR, Zatara AML.
84': We're unable to clear the ball out of the defensive end and they build up some possesion, a pass to a foward, their man Laird makes a quick run on a give and go and Taylor went to doubleteam the foward, leaving a hole open, Laird fills it, receives the pass and beats Lynch... 2-2 We've got a few minutes to make something happen.
87': We control it on offense, Cook with a great ball itno the area, N'Guessan runs onto it, its a tough angle, and its saved, turned back for a corner. Corner is cleared away.
96': They have a goal kick, we win the ball, Upson plays it to Cook, Cook is about 30 yards out, Cook with a through ball, N'Guessan is behind their defense, its a better angle this time, he shoots near post, the keeper dives, GOALLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!! 3-2
Woking 3 : 2 Rotherham
There were 4 minutes of injury time scheduled, and one injury occured during injury time that delayed it a bit more. Our goal came at the 95:12 mark and time was called seconds after kickoff.
We should have crushed them, but we'll be happy to sneak out with a win and move on. We shot 20 times, putting a ridiculous 15 on target. They have 5 shots, 2 on target, 2 goals...
Man of the Match: Sam Cook (9.0)
Goals: Harsanyi (7.4), N'Guessan (7.3), one own goal by their keeper
Assists: Cook 2, Constantino (8.1)
Notables: Nikolaou (7.0), Upson (7.0)
Cook was just everywhere today, he totally won that for us. He has a 9.0 rating, Constantino 8.1, no one else above a 7.4, that's how much better Cook was than everyone else in his second match for Woking.
-- Sam Cook is named to the League 1 team of the week.
So, two matches ago Harsanyi played really well, our assistant, the other team's coach and the media lavished praise on him. Then Rotherham's coach said Harsanyi was the man they needed to worry about in our last match. Then a media report said that Rotherham's coach was full of shit and Harsanyi wasn't anywhere close to our dangerous player.... now, if you don't remember, Harsanyi doesn't like media attention. He hasn't reacted well to this, and a day before our match on the 25th against Mansfield, Harsanyi didn't show up for training. He "feels insecure" and is "Worried that he won't live up to people's expectations". Holy shit.
Now, I feel bad for the guy, I'd like to just let him play, but I can't let him just not show up for practice right? So I issue a warning. Harsanyi announces that he is shocked to receive a warning from me and his status updates to "Feels victimized by Richard Dixon". I follow this up immediately by praising his recent play, which he takes well. I don't know whether to sit him or play him. I think I play him and keep praising him so that his insecure ass will calm the hell down.
January 25th, 2017
Woking (15-9-4, 2nd) @ Mansfield(6-9-13, 23rd)
Mansfield are 4:5 favorites at their place, what?! We're 3:1 to win. Absurd, they're going to be relegated dammit! We beat them 4:3 at home earlier in the year. I remember that match. All 7 goals were scored in the first half.
Paulo starts today, Upson sits. We're attackign on the road today.
8': Pure beauty from Constantino, we win a ball in defense, its played immediately to Harsanyi, Harsanyi plays it from the defensive side of midfield foward, Constantino is first to it, a defender is tracking him, he pulls up about 25 yards out as the keeper leaves his line, shoots, and beats the keeper. Beautiful run, control, and shot! 1-0
11': Another counter, N'Guessan plays a ball across the pitch to the left side for colin as we catch them before their defense can set up. Colin runs into the area and beats the keeper near post, 2 goals in 3 minutes! 2-0
28': Harsanyi has it 25 yards out, plays a nice ball ahead to Colin, Colin has his second clear cut chance, and this one is more like his normal attempts, way wide, ugly, not composed at all.
29': They begin to build up an attack, there's a pass to midfielder Boden about 30 yards out, he goes a few steps foward and shoots... and Lynch wasn't set, or something, its not a super pacy shot, but its in back of the net, slowing down the rout we were trying to get going. 2-1
46': We have a corner, they head it away, they have possession about 30 yards out after the header, Ogogo is there, tackles the ball away from the man with the ball, pulls up and shoots immediately. Their defense was transitioning foward out of the set piece, and like Lynch on the goal we gave up, the keeper just wasn't ready for this at all, its well aimed into the lower right corner of the net and its in! 3-1
HALF: We shoot 9 times, putting 5 on target and generate 3 goals, a solid effort. Mansfield shoots 4 times, all from range, just the one goal on target. We seem to be solidly in control here.
49': Colin makes a great run down the left and draws a foul as he beats his man. Taylor takes the free kick from way out wide left, crosses it in, Constantino gets up to the ball, heads it solidly and its by the keeper and in! 4-1
52': We're back forward right away, Colin plays it forward to Harsanyi, Harsanyi with a run across the edge of the penalty area, a short ball ahead to N'Guessan, he shoots by the keeper to the far post and its in!! 5-1
55': ogogo picks up a yellow.
56': Alcock in for Ogogo just to not risk the red, Wiggins in for Nikolaou as Nikolaou is tired.
64': Cook with a nice through ball to Constantino, he's defended tightly and doesn't shoot right away, he controls it in the area, is tackled, and its a penalty! Constantino will take the penalty and scores. 6-1
We hit the bar a couple times, they aren't anywhere close to getting a second goal.
Mansfield 1 : 6 Woking
Man of the Match: constantino (9.6)
Goals: Constantino 3, N'Guessan (9.2), Colin (8.6), Ogogo (8.1)
Assists: Harsanyi (8.9), N'Guessan, Taylor (9.0)
Notables: Lynch (7.2), Nikolaou (7.2), Chester (7.1), Cook (7.7), Paulo (7.8)
Its another hat trick for Constantino!
-- Crystal Palace are 0-1-3 in their last 4 and we just took over first place by a point!!!~
-- Marc resumes full training.
League 1 Record
Swindon Striker Charlie Austin scored 32 goals way back in the 2010/11 season. He's scored 20+ 6 of the last 7 and has 16 goals this year, a star for sure. Those 32 goals set a League 1 record. Well, with his hat trick today Constantino now has 35 goals in 29 league matches, that goal scoring record has been crushed just 2/3 of the way through the season and he's showing no signs of slowing down at all.
January 28th, 2017
Dag & Red (10-9-10, 12th) @ Woking (16-9-4, 1st)
We're even money favorites today at home, a big difference compared to the lack of credit the bookies were giving us our last few matches. We are 1-1-2 lifetime against these guys, our win coming this season 1:0 on the road back in September.
Upson starts today, and Marc is back from injury and immediately back into the lineup. We're attacking.
7': we've shot 3 times so far, the most recent a clear cut chance from N'Guessan after a through ball by Harsanyi that's saved.
35': Tons and tons of time with just an off target shot as a highlight... we have a throwin in our defensive half, one of their mids has a shot at it but flubs a header, N'Guessan recovers the ball near midfield and begins a run, the defense is scrambling to get into position, there's a pass ahead and Harsanyi is wide open 25 yards out, he makes it into the area and puts it into the left side of the net by the keeper! 1-0
48': midfielder Dicker picks up a yellow for a tackle on Upson.
HALF: We end up with 7 shots, 5 of them on target. They have 4 shots but nothing really close, one free kick from long range is high, a couple blocked. Possession is just 51/49 for us and they are tackling very well. Our shots have come in bunches when they've come, 1-0 feels about right here, it'd be nice to get a second one!
48': midfielder Kasim with a yellow tackling Cook has he was blowing by.
58': We earn a free kick 30 yards out, a bit wide, we cross it in, cleared back for a corner, the corner is cleared though. We have a couple shots, both headers after crosses in from the left side, both on target, both easily saved.
61': We get a free kick out close to midfield, its sent in, and there's a foul called! I don't' even know who was contesting that one for us... but its a penalty, Upson takes it and buries it! 2-0
70': They attack down the left side, a pass into the middle... Marc seems to have made a mistake here, an attacker has squirted through the defense and has a free run on Lynch... we're trying to close down, the forward keeps moving left... Lynch comes slowly up to try to cut off his angle... a shot is finally taken, and its a few inches wide left. I dunno really what happened there, it seemed like a very very poor move by their forward.
84': They have a corner, its crossed in, their man Todd goes down in the area, its a dive... and... a straight red? I'm not really sure what happened there, it was not explained what was different to not just give a yellow and move on compared to the dives I'm used to seeing, no mention of complaining, and definitely straight red, but hey, if we didn't have it wrapped up before, we do now.
Woking 2 : 0 Dag & Red
They ended up with 9 shots but 6 from long range and just one on target.
Man of the Match: Sam Cook (7.7)
Goals: Upson (7.3), Harsanyi (7.6)
Assists: N'Guessan 2 (7.6)
Notables: Ogogo (7.3), Nikolaou (7.3), Marc (7.4), Taylor (7.0), colin (7.4)
Constantino was a total non factor, he ended up earning a 5.9 rating today, winning only 1 of 12 headers he went up after and just not really being on the ball very often at all, a weird game from him.
Cook with the rare man of the match with no goals or assists. His speed really seems to give us a lot of extra possession and buildup so far from what I've seen even if he doesn't directly create the goal.
Most teams have now played 30 matches, so we're right near the 2/3 point of the season, lets take a look at the standings that are relevant to us:
1. Woking - 60 pts
2. Crystal Palace - 57 pts
3. Gillingham - 52 pts
4. Oldham - 50 pts
5. Leyton Orient - 45 pts
6. Wigan - 44 pts
7. Shrewsbury - 44 pts
8. Peterborough - 42 pts
9. Stockport - 42 pts
10. Rochdale - 42 pts
There's a huge bunchup really. The last playoff spot, Wigan, has 44 points. Preston in 19th is just 9 points back with 35. The number of teams that are within a 3 game swing of the playoffs with 15 to go is staggering. The top spots for auto promotion however are a lot different. We're 8 points up on 3rd, 10 points up on 4th and 15 points up on 5th place. The playoffs are starting to look incredibly likely for us. Promotion is still anything but guarenteed, so hopefully we'll keep up our hot stretch.
-- Ogogo and Sam Cook are named to the League 1 Team of the Week.
I spent the last 20 days of January working to acquire a DC. I want Chester gone, and don't want the huge dropoff that seems to occur after Vince Taylor and Marc when we get to Chester and Christian Smith. I found three that I liked, one, I couldn't afford to buy, a second took a bigger offer from AFC Bournemouth. A 3rd was an aging defender on the Watford Reserves. I offer him a chance at first team football again but he wants $7000/wk for it, so I can't do it. I looked for another loaner as well and just simply came up empty. Until Cook's short term loan ends, the team won't be changing again.
-- We've got 5 matches scheduled in February. February 25th will be a big one for us as we host Gillingham. Gillingham is in 3rd place right now, and they are the only team in the first half of the season that seemed to simply totally outclass us on the pitch.
-- Constantino is named the Young Player of the month in League 1. Our new midfielder Sam Cook is 2nd, Paulo is 3rd!! Sweep.
-- With 5 wins and only 1 loss in January I am named manager of the month.
-- The board is "absolutely delighted" with my leadership. Leading league 1 helps there, and James Chester... god damn him! We lose $11k last month, that's not bad.
February 4th, 2017
Woking (17-9-4, 1st) @ Rochdale(11-9-10, 11th)
We're slim favorites here, 5:4 to their 7:4 at their place. We have a long history with Rochdale, playing 8 times going back to the 13/14 season. We're 6-0-2 against them, winning 3:1 at home back in September.
Rochdale striker Will Buckley leads them with 11 goals. Joe Thompson and Kallum Higginbotham both have 7. We rotate Paulo back in at MC, and will be attacking today.
2': After some buildup down the right side, N'Guessan hits Cook who puts a perfect through ball to Harsanyi, he strikes it with his first touch from 15 yards out and should really score here, but puts it a bit wide... that was our first shot and was a clear cut chance.
4': They get forward and there's a pass to Buckley, their leading scorer, he immediately plays a through ball though and they end up with a shot from point blank range... in fact, too close, there was no way to avoid blastingthat right at Lynch.
6': Cook goes out wide, passes in to N'Guessan, a first touch through ball perfectly tracked down by Constantino, he shoots, and he isn't missing! 1-0 During the buildup for that goal Marc went down injured... he can stay in, we'll check on him after the match.
31': A long time between noteworthy highlights here. We've seen two shots from about 20 yards out from Constantino that both went quite high. Rochdale have 2 shots all match.
37': Cook with a nifty run by a defender to get into the area, a pass is played into the middle of the area, but they are able to clear it behind. We get a header from Taylor on the corner, its hit hard but is wide.
46': After very little buildup there's a shot from 30 yards out by Rochdale, Lynch has to dive to push it away. It falls to Buckley about 20 yards out, he shoots, Lynch was ready and dives again, this time pushing it behind. Off the corner there's a header, then the ball falls loose in the area, they manage a shot and Lynch dives again to make a save, we clear it away. The second shot in this little highlight by Buckley Lynch reacted to extremely well, the others probably looked better than they really were.
HALF: Whew, we preserve the lead going into the half. Rochdale ends up with 8 shots, 4 on target, 3 of them in that last flurry. We shoot 5 times, only putting 1 on target. Outside the one goal by Constantino things look very much even.
46': We'll start with a great pass from 40 yards out by Sam cook out left to Colin, its hard to describe, you'd have to see it, great great pass into an aggressive position down the left side. Colin controls and sends in a cross. Harsanyi is there but doesn't control it well. The ball squirts wide a little, Constantino is first to it, he flips a cross back into the center of the field, Cook is there about 15 yards out, he shoots and its by the keeper, into the right side of the net! 2-0
69': Wiggins in for Nikolaou, Alcock in for Ogogo, Zatara in for Colin. All three guys that need rest, Colin got hit earlier and has some fatigue issues.
81': Did i rest guys too early? There's a through ball into the right side of the area for MR Thompson, Wiggins just isn't quite there, Nikolaou gets it I'm sure... anyway, they get an easy shot out of it and Lynch is beaten for the first time today. 2-1
90': We're hanging back in defense to try to lock this down, they get a pass into the area but Vince Taylor clears it away with their attacker a step away from the ball.
We hang on here.
Rochdale 1 : 2 Woking
Man of the Match: Sam Cook (8.2)
Goals: Cook, Constantino (7.1)
Assists: N'Guessan (7.6) ... the other goal unassisted I guess. I really thought Constantino deserved it.
Notables: Marc (7.2)
Sam Cook picks up his 3rd man of the match award in his first 5 matches for Woking, the second one where his individual rating was significantly higher than anyone else. *pats self on back for bringing in Sam Cook*
-- Marc is fine, whew.
-- Sam Cook is named to the League 1 Team of the Week.
-- We had a big match on the 11th at home against 5th place Milwall, but our field is waterlogged and this has been moved to March 1st.
-- Zoltan Harsanyi reveals that he has forgiven the Woking management for treating him unfairly. Show up to practice and I don't care what you say about me.
Februry 18th, 2017
Woking (18-9-4, 1st) @ Preston(8-12-12, 19th)
We're 5:4 favorites on the road today, they're 7:4. We tied them 2:2 in our first meeting in October. We went up 2-0 in this one and gave up two goals in the final 15 minutes.
No change today, Paulo has been playing really really well lately, much better than Upson, I am beginning to settle on Paulo/Cook for awhile I think. Standard mindset on the road today.
15': We end up generating our first shot, a ball forward from Constantino to N'Guessan, its blocked and behind for a corner. corner is taken by Constantino to the far end of the 6 yard box... the keeper dives out for it and misses, Marc wins the header and its in the net!!! 1-0
25': defender Rees with a yellow.
36': We've controlled it in their end for awhile but aren't really getting it into the area, a lot of blocked crosses that get sent back forward.
39': They have a throwin on the left side, its taken and there's a quick pass over to the right side of the field, Colin goes for an interception, he misses, and the defense is still concentrated over left, how our AML ends up the last man in defense, well that's just ugly, there's a short break, a shot and its placed well into the left side of the net by Lynch. 1-1
HALF: They end up with 7 shots, we have 6. They put 4 on target, we put 3 on target. Each of us have 3 from long range though. We're winning in the air, winning 66% of our headers to just 44% for Preston, otherwise everything is really, really even right now. Harsanyi is struggling a bit on our end with a 6.1 rating, Ogogo 6.2, they'll turn it around.
48': A quick pass from Harsanyi to Constantino leads to the first shot of the half, but the keeper makes a save, it was contested by a defender as well.
60': They counter after clearing a cross away, Ogogo is trying to kill us here... he's way further back than the rest of our defense, the problem is that the ball is on the other side of the pitch, allowing their forwards to get behind Taylor/Marc for a clear cut chance... that's just botched horribly and sent wide, whew!
67': Some very nice passing between Paulo and Cook and Constantino set up a through ball that ends up going to N'Guessan in the area... a better first touch and we have an easy goal, but the way it ends up the keeper close down and dives on the ball.
71': Zatara in for N'Guessan who is tired and struggling.
72': Cook plays a ball ahead to Zatara, a pretty through ball to Harsanyi, he SHOULD stop and shoot from 15 yards out.. he doesn't, he tries to run to the right with the ball... I don't get it, he ends up allowing the keeper to set up for a stop.
74': Upson in for Paulo, Alcock in for Ogogo, in both cases our guys are tired and not playing quite as well as i'd hope.
78': Hopefully not too aggressive here, I turn on the attack for the final 12 minutes on the road.
85': Harsanyi goes down hurt... his fitness is in the tank, injury symbol and all, gulp!
88': We give up two corners, the second after they get a man open in the area and Alcock has to make a very tough tackle. After clearing the second we get the ball ahead to Constantino and try to counter, he gets down the field to the right and plays a ball in but they clear.
89': Nikolaou with a foul out to the left wide of the penalty area. They cross the free kick in, we head it behind for a corner. Upson gets his head to the corner to clear, they recover and push it back in, a shot is blocked, Alcock gets to it and sends it out wide for a throwin... A cross after the throwin is headed behind... another corner. Zatara gets to this one and finally we clear it out safely.
94': We get a throwin in their end, we get it into the area, Constantino earns us a corner, taken by Upson, headed out wide, Harsanyi gets to it and tries ot send it back in, but its cleared away and the whistle blows.
Preston 1 : 1 Woking
The first half was very evenly played, but I felt we were better in the second, we just really didn't take advantage of a couple great looking chances for N'Guessan and Harsanyi. A tie on the road is never something to get upset about though.
Man of the Match: Marc (8.3)
Assist: Constantino (7.8)
Notables: Nikolaou (7.1)
Most of the team was in the 6.7-6.8 range. Ogogo really struggled putting up a 5.7 today, and N'Guessan was not very effective either with a 6.0.
-- Harsanyi is going to miss about a week with a bruised thigh. He'll miss one match for sure, and he might miss our big one against Gillingham which is 7 days away.
-- Marc is named in the league 1 team of the week this week.
Februry 21st, 2017
Woking (18-10-4, 1st) @ Southend(7-11-15, 22nd)
We're even money favorites on the road today against a struggling Southend. They're 11:5 to win. We beat them 4:2 at our place back in September.
Subotic starts for Harsanyi, and we also rest Nikolaou, Ogogo and N'Guessan to balance out our fit guys for our match vs Gillingham in just 4 more days. We'll attack hard today, lets ge ta big lead early guys.
9': They attack early but can't generate a shot after a number of highlights, we counter finally with Subotic sending a long ball forward for Constantino who just outruns the defense to get an easy shot and a goal. 1-0
14': They build up an attack, there's a through ball into the area for their leading scorer Akinde who has an easy finish... Taylor takes the blame for being out of position there. 1-1
19': Wiggins goes down hurt in the midfield allowing an open run down the right side of the field for Southend, Taylor has to come out to pick up their wide attacker, he's able to pass it into the open area for a second easy easy goal... bad luck with the injury, but bad recovery. 1-2
37': Long time with no highlights, Subotic on the run, he passes it ahead, its off a defender but Constantino picks it up 30 yards out and continues the run, he puts it into an open space for Zatara who finishes cleanly, beating the keeper near post! 2-2
44': Its just chaos out there on both ends... their man Akinde breaks into a sprint towards the goal, Taylor just stands there to try to force him offsides, but the pass is made perfectly, and since Taylor wasn't doing anything at all, he's not in a position to go defend... its another easy, easy goal. 2-3
HALF: Wow, this is crazy. Alcock 5.8, Wiggins 5.8, Marc 5.5, Taylor has a good rating despite my impression that he's playing like crap. 5.8 from Paulo... maybe we can just outscore these guys here. And here's my problem... Southend has 3 shots, 3 on target, 3 clear cut chances, 3 goals. We can't let that happen.
47': We have a buildup from the left side, a pass to Subotic, constantino is hanging out in their back line just waiting to break, Subotic puts it forward, Constantino finds a hole between their two DC's, he receives the pass and drills it by the keeper to tie it up! 3-3
54': midfielder Pepper with a yellow for holding up Cook.
69': They have a long ball from behind the midfield stripe, Taylor just flat out misses an interception and their top scorer AKinde runs onto it in the area, he's trying to control it after a high bounce though and ends up volleying it high.
72': Taylor is hurt and forced to come out immediately, ugh! Chester is in. Paterson in for Subotic as well.
86': Constantino has it after a long buildup, there's a through ball to Zatara running in from the right, he's got a great look, he's got to give us the win here... but no, its off the right post.
That was the last chance, and its a draw.
Southend 3 : 3 Woking
If I start Nikolaou and Ogogo we probably win here, but 3 matches in a week, I didn't feel i could go best 11 today.
Man of the Match: Constantino (8.8)
Goals: Constantino 2, Zatara (7.1)
Assists: Subotic 2 (7.8), Constantino
Notables: Paulo (7.2), Colin (7.0)
Cook is noticeably missing above, a pedestrian 6.8 rating today. The defenders all play much better in the second half and recover from their embarrassing start.
-- Vince Taylor is out about a week with the thigh injury he picked up today. We've dodged a couple bullets with scary Taylor and Harsanyi injuries the last two matches.
-- A Crystal Palace winning streak puts them back in first place after our two draws, BUT, they have an extra match played and are just 2 points up.
-- Constantino's 2 goals in our last match broke the team record he set last year with 36 league goals. He's got 38 for us now and should end up with a lot more.
Februry 25th, 2017
Gillingham (16-14-4, 3rd) @ Woking (18-11-4, 2nd)
The bookmakers have this one really close, gillingham are 6:4 favorites, we're 13:8. We're 3 points ahead of the and their goal differential is actually better. We have 78 for/48 against for a +30, they have 61 scored/26 allowed for a +35. We're the two best in the league, we have the best offense, they have the best defense. They beat us 1:0 at their place and I remember feeling like it could have been a lot more and we could barely compete with them. I'm a little nervous about this one.
Gillingham has the #3 scorer in the league in Simeon Jackson. He has 28 goals which is incredible until you compare it to Constantino's 38. Paulo sits for Upson today. Nikolaou/Ogogo/N'Guessan are back in, and Chester starts for the injured Vince Taylor. Harsanyi is not available today. We will attack.
13': We have 3 shots, but only one has been shown in a highlight, a header way high... all are off target.
20': they intercept a ball as we try to build up the attack and counter, a couple passes lead to a run down the right side, there's a cross played in and Jackson runs onto it and puts a nice header by Lynch... 0-1
28': After a throwin a pass is played to Subotic about 20 yards out, he makes a defender miss and is into the area, he strikes a strong shot, but the keeper makes a reflex save and pushes it away, its cleared.
30': Cook goes down hurt... he can stay in but his fitness level is down, we'll see how he looks at the half.
45': Cook with a yellow.
HALF: This looks a lot like the first match. Gillingham just looks like a team that once they get a lead you are going to have a hell of a time scoring. We've generated some chances though, and at home I feel we have a chance to break through and get a goal here.... Cook probably can't go 90 minutes but he stays in for now. I'm worried about our chances without his speed.
58': We build up on offense but there isn't a whole lot there, Cook has it and is able to find a little space 20 yards out, its not an easy shot with two defenders on him, and his shot is just over.
67': they earn a corner and its a pretty scary one, Upson wins the header but can't head it out of the area... after that there are a total of 7 headers without the ball touching the ground or leaving the area, including one that hit the crossbar, we finally get it out though.
68': Cook with a tackle near midfield... oh damn, he's off. That's his second yellow. I bring Paulo in for Subotic, Constantino is alone up front.
70': Ogogo with a yellow.
81': Marc with a yellow.
85': We take out a defender (Ogogo) and bring in an extra midfielder (O'Sullivan) to try to generate an attack in the final minutes.
It doesn't work, Gillingham is hard enough to score on with 11 men, with 10 we had no chance.
Woking 0 : 1 Gillingham
Notables: Nikolaou (7.4), Upson (7.0)
They beat us 1:0 twice and both times it feels like it could have very easily been worse and that there's almost no way it could have been better.
-- Derby, Southend and Bradford all fire their managers. Derby is likely dropping out of teh Championship and the other two are fighting League 1 relegation. On all three I announce i'm not interested.
-- Liverpool beat Chelsea 2:0 to win the League Cup.
-- We play on the 1st, 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th this month.
-- Constantino is 3rd in the Young Player of the Month voting for February.
-- The board is delighted, our league play the highlight, Chester the lowlight. We lost a lot last month, $180k.
March 1st, 2017
Milwall(13-12-9, 6th) @ Woking (18-11-5, 3rd)
Milwall are huge favorites today, they're even money to our 11:5 at home. We played them twice this year, tying 1:1 at their place in leauge play and losing 2:0 in the 2nd round of the FA Cup. This is our makeup game so its just us playing today. They need the points to hang on to the last playoff spot, while we need them to get back into the auto-promote 2nd place.
Cook is serving a suspension for his red card today, so we go back to Upson/Paulo. Harsanyi is back and in the lineup immediately. We will again try to attack at home today.
6': We build up on the offensive end and get it to Harsanyi 20 yards out, he's covered very well but gets off a hard shot, its saved by a diving keeper and put behind for a corner, Chester heads a shot over on the corner.
20': Pass forward from Paulo to Colin, Colin looks offsides but its not called right away, Colin runs to the end line, closes in and shoots fro ma very very tight angle and beats the keeper... and finally the offsides is noticed, bah!
28': Colin is hurt and has to immediately come out. Paterson is in, Harsanyi to AML.
42': Free kick about 25 yards out, Upson takes it, the wall blocks the shot and it goes behind for a corner... corner is cleared.
45': A buildup down the middle, Paulo to Harsanyi, he puts a ball ahead for Paterson and he's a little bit out left but there's no defender on him, he's got a really great look here, its our first clear cut chance... and he puts it wide.
HALF: We shoot 6 times, only one is on target. Milwall hasn't shot yet. We saw one highlight for them, earning a corner that we clear out immediately. We have a 60/40 possession edge and are really in full control here, we just have to find a goal, they're very clearly packing it in to defend today. We need to not allow a counter goal, and have to find one ourselves, we need this win.
47': We quickly attack, Paulo to N'Guessan, he hits Constantino, Constantino turns by his man and takes aim near post, but his shot is saved. Its a clear cut chance and was on target but didn't have the pace we normally see from Constantino's shots.
55': Paterson is hurt and comes to the sideline for treatment... he comes back on but is noticeably slowed.
56': Milwall takes a couple shots but all off target.
61': We're getting it to Constantino more often, he's kinda tired, he gets another solid look that's put right at the keeper.
70': We work the ball forward, its passed into the right side of the area for N'guessan, and he's brought down before he can make any sort of move... penalty!!! Upson takes it, and buries it! 1-0
70': Zatara in for N'Guessan, fresh legs sub that was planned before the penalty.
83': O'Sullivan in for Constantino. Paulo to DMC, O'Sullivan MC and just one forward in Paterson. We drop to defend to hold this lead.
We easily hold this one.
Woking 1 : 0 Milwall
We only allow 4 shots all day today, we struggled to score and got the penalty that really bailed us out a bit. Its a huge win for us.
Man of the Match: Paulo (8.1)
Goal: Upson (7.5)
Assist: N'Guessan (7.4)
Notables: Ogogo (7.4), Nikolaou (7.4), Constantino (7.2)
-- Mickael Colin is out for 3-4 weeks with a pulled hamstring. Zatara will play more, so will Subotic most likely.
-- That was a huge win for us. We've all played 35 matches now:
1. Crystal Palace - 70 pts
2. Woking - 68 pts
3. Gillingham - 65 pts
4. Oldham - 60 pts
5. Stockport - 60 pts
6. Milwall - 51 pts
7. Wigan - 51 pts
8. Leyton Orient - 50 pts
9. Rochdale - 50 pts
10. Carlisle - 48 pts
11. Shrewsbury - 48 pts
12. Peterborough - 46 pts
Its not over yet, but the top 3 teams seem very very secure in at least seeing the playoffs, Oldham and Stockport have a nice lead, and then holy crap look at the battle for the last spot!
March 5th, 2017
Bournemouth(9-14-12, 19th) @ Woking (19-11-5, 2nd)
We're slim 6:4 favorites today, they're at 13:8. We played 4 days ago and have been on short rest for the last 2 weeks now thanks to that makeup game. Bournemouth have a week's rest here. We're 1-2-0 lifetime against them, tying 1:1 at their place back in October.
We're so tired today. Wiggins in for Nikolaou, Taylor is back from his short injury and in the lineup. Cook is back as well. Harsanyi, N'Guessan and Constantino are all in need of a rest. Constantino *really* needs a rest. If I have a lead at the half he almost certainly comes out. We will look to attack and try to get that early lead.
7': We have the first attacking highlight but nothing comes from it, then we see a long, slow buildup by Bournemouth leading to a pass that sneaks into the area and generates a really open look and a clear cut chance... Lynch is positioned well, and the shot goes wide, but that was a great chance.
25': We are seeing a lot of highlights where we earn corner kicks and either head shots way over or just see them easily cleared. We seem to mostly be in control but aren't getting great looks.
41': A highlight opens with Constantino charging down the right side, he goes down to the end line, plays a ball back to N'Guessan who sends it to the far end of the 6 yard box, Harsanyi gets his head to it and heads it down with quite a bit of force, but the keeper is able to make the save.
44': Well Marc just fell over after making a pass forward with no one within 20 yards of him... and he's down... and he has to come out immediately. Wow. Chester is in.
HALF: We manage 10 shots but 5 are from long range and 5 are blocked. Only 2 are on target, the shot by Harsanyi was our only real threat. We only allow 3 shots, all off target. We have a huge 64/36 possession edge, but haven't turned it into a goal yet. Constantino is not finishing the match today, its just a matter of how long I drag it out with him out there.
47': Chester.... uggggh. A ball is played back to Chester after a tackle but he doesn't clear quickly and they get an attacker to him who wins the ball away in our penalty area. He shoots but Lynch saves... they maintain possession and Lynch has to make another save of a strong header after a cross, and a 3rd shot is put wide by inches, 3 chances that never should have happened.
58': O'Conner for Bournemouth with a yellow for the most obvious dive in history.
68': Harsanyi was injured earlier in the half and I bring Zatara in for him, Paterson in for Constantino... that's all my subs.
80': They get a quick attacking highlight, there's a through ball to the right side of the area, a quick shot, and a diving save by Lynch to save the second clear cut chance of the match for Bournemouth. The first corner we try to clear but end up having to put it behind for a 2nd corner... the second one is taken short, there's a cross and a header that is in, Lynch is way way way out of position for that one... 0-1
We can't generate anything the rest of the way.
Woking 0 : 1 Bournemouth
Notables: Lynch (7.4), Ogogo (7.1), Taylor (7.1)
I'll take the blame for this one. Having a match rescheduled put us in an early season type spot where we played 4 matches in a row on short rest, this last one coming when our opponent had a week off. I wanted my best guys out there for Gillingham and Milwall, so I really forced it a bit and we were just gassed. Constantino probably shouldn't have started today, either given the day off or brought in for 20 minutes at the end if we needed a goal. And i probably should have balanced resting guys a bit better against tougher opponents. This was a really tough spot and we were just exhausted in that second half.
Gillingham wins today to even the points and we fall back to 3rd due to goal differential. Crystal Palace has a draw, so we're both 3 points behind them.
-- Marc is going to miss a week with a bruised rib he sustained today.
March 11th, 2017
Woking (19-11-6, 3rd) @ Shrewsbury(15-3-18, 12th)
They are 5:4 favorites today, we're at 7:4 to get a win. We beat them 2:1 at Kingfield Stadium back in October. Shrewsbury's record is pretty odd, just 3 draws all season!
Shrewsbury are led by dual threat of Joel Thomas(11 goals) and Andre Grey (10 goals). 6 days off helped us a ton. Marc can start today, and we're basically full strength outside of Colin's injury. Marc is tired but I'll take that over Chester. Standard mindset on the road today.
20': Their striker Thomas gets a yellow for a dive. we've seen a couple shots so far but nothing really threatening.
28': Subotic takes a pass about 20 yards out after a throwin, it looks like he's trying to find a through ball, but there isn't anything available so he keeps dribbling, eventually putting a nice move on a defender to get his own shot that's turned back for a corner, which of course we can't do anything with.
35': Cook finds Constantino who makes a great move to get by his man and generate an open look, its a clear cut chance from about 18 yards out... but right at the keeper.
41': We give up a corner after blocking a shot... first corner is headed behind for a second... that one is headed behind for a 3rd... the 3rd one is cleared out after a lengthy battle in the air, we head it out, they head it back in, finally we get a clearance.
43': They win possession back in the midfield and send it forward, there's a slip by a defender somewhere and one of their forwards is set up for a wide open look on lynch, their first clear cut chance... and Lynch makes an incredible save.
45': Constantino has it again 20 yards out after a simple pass to him, he turns by his man and gets our 3rd clear cut chance of the match... his shot is better placed than the last one, but the keeper is able to dive and save it.
HALF: A scoreless half, early on Shrewsbury dominated the highlights but wasn't shooting much. Each team got a couple breaks and wide open looks, we actually got 3... and no one has a goal yet. Both teams have 6 shots, we have 4 on target to their 2. We're not tackling very well at all while they are at 88%, otherwise things are basically even across the board. We just need to get a finish here.
46': We give up a corner right away, they march down the field and we block a shot. The corner is taken into the 6 yard box, there's a header... and lynch is out of position and the header is in the net. 0-1
52': defender Williams with a yellow tackling Cook just outside the area. We have a free kick from 20 yards out. Taylor takes it but the wall blocks it and they clear.
60': Ogogo with a yellow for a tackle in midfield. We are going to attack.
64': Zatara in for Subotic, Zatara AML, Harsanyi up to forward.
73': yellow for midfielder McDonald tackling Cook.
76': Ogogo has the ball taken away after a poorly played ball out by Lynch, it triggers a quick attack for them, a run down the left side, a cross to the far end of the 6 yard box and Lynch is waaaay out of position. They've got a man alone with a header about 5 feet from the net and he somehow puts it wide, keeping us barely in the match.
83': Alcock in for N'Guessan, Ogogo up to AMR.
85': We've gotten our shots this half but they are just so far off target I haven't bothered... Constantino is about to put up a 5.5 if there isn't some late game magic, just poor chances everywhere.
87': A long ball from Cook to Constantino, he's got a man on him but he once again beats him and gets into the area and generates a clear cut chance... but its just softly taken and sent right to the keeper. Just a poor, poor day for our star.
90': We get a free kick from 25 yards out, but nothin...
93': Its probably our last chance, and Constantino takes a pass 25 yards out and sends it immediately to Zatara... not exactly who I want trying to create last second magic. He does beat his man though, pulling up from 20 yards out... and its an incredible low line drive of a shot that's under the keeper and barely in the right side of the net!!!! The last guy I'd expect to create something on his own scores a great goal! 1-1
Shrewsbury 1 : 1 Woking
As time is called... "Constantino will feel like he could have won that for Woking" .. no shit, understatement of the year.
One of their defenders is man of the match.
Goal: Zatara (7.3)
Assists: Constantino (6.4)
Notables: Nikolaou (7.0), Marc (7.0), Cook (7.0)
Ogogo a 5.9 today, he struggled a lot, and he lost the ball that led to their goal, though really I blame Lynch for putting him in a tough spot unnecessarily, but Ogogo is the one who took the hit for it.
-- Crystal Palace didn't play today for some reason, while Gillingham got a tie against playoff contender Leyton Orient. We remain 3rd, tied in points but goal differential.
Good luck in the final matches! Been tough but your team's been doing great so far. Go get those playoffs!
-- So, just a couple off games for Constantino? Do I really really need Harsanyi up front with him to get the best results? Do I need to rest him a match or two somewhere? or just keep pushing through since we have a week off between most matches for awhile now.
March 18th, 2017
Woking (19-12-6, 3rd) @ Rushden(9-10-18, 22nd)
Rushden is in serious danger of relegation but they haven't lost in 4 matches and they are even money favorites today, we're 11:5 to win on the road. Rushden is 4 points behind the teams out of the relegation zone so they have work to do. We're 5 points out of first and tied for 2nd but getting killed in goal differential. We're 3-4-4 lifetime against Rushden going all the way back to the 10/11 season in the BS Premier League. We beat them at home 4:2 earlier in the season.
Rushden's Sam Smith leads them with 12 goals, but he's hurt. Next is Kiernan Hughes-Mason with 7. So we're resting Constantino today. He's avaialble and may play the second half if needed. We're going to attack.
8': We control the ball in the offensive end, after a couple tries to get a shot off are tackled away, N'guessan puts a ball into the area, Cook runs onto it, he doesn't really control it well but the keeper stays back, and Cook is able to recover and get a shot off from inside 10 yards, it hits the left post and bounces in! It wasn't pretty but its a goal! 1-0
16': Zatara is running down the left side, he sends it in for Harsanyi who tries a diving header, great save by the keeper, that looked a sure goal, there's a corner but we can't do anything with it.
21': Cook makes a run up the middle and puts a pass into the left side of the area, Zatara is there and he shoudl really score here... but saved... we get a throwin, Ogogo receives it and puts a cross into the area, Subotic is up above everyone for a header and he puts it in!!! His first goal of the season. 2-0
29': A highlight opens with Hughes-Mason running down the right side, he gets very deep and sends a cross into the 6 yard area, striker Mount is there but Lynch is able to make a reflex save, the ball squirts away and they have a trailer running in who gets to it first and puts it in the net. 2-1
31': Nikolaou goes down with an injury... he's forced to come out immediately, ugggggh. Wiggins is in.
37': We win a ball in the defense and kick off a counter attack, Taylor sends it to midfield for Harsanyi, Harsanyi sees N'Guessan streaking down the right side and gets him the ball. N'Guessan is in the right side of the area, he could shoot or feed Harsanyi who is open too... he shoots... it hits the keeper but he can't stop it, the ball deflects off him and into the net, goal!! 3-1
HALF: We look graet right now. 8 shots, 7 on target and 3 goals. We've allowed 5 shots but just the 1 goal. We've got a 63/37 possession edge and seem completely in control here.
56': Midfielder Kay with a foul just outside the area, he gets a yellow and Upson with a free kick... the net was open for him but he just missed wide left, so close.
66': They earn a corner, its taken short and they build up, there's a through ball to the left, Ogogo gets blamed here for a missed interception, and their best player Lee Tomlin is there and he beats Lynch near post. Tomlin is usually the playmaker but here he gets them back into the match with the goal. 3-2
78': Paulo is in at DMC, Subotic is out, we're going to defend to hold this lead and hope it doesn't backfire on us late.
They look to get forward a couple times but we do a good job of cutting out their buildup early on, we hang on to win this one.
Rusden 2 : 3 Woking
We only allowed them 2 shots in the second half, and only took 3 ourselves.
Man of the Match: N'Guessan (8.6)
Goals: N'Guessan, Cook (7.7), Subotic (7.3)
Assists: N'Guessan, Harsanyi (8.4), Ogogo (7.3)
Notables: Marc (7.0), Taylor (7.0), Upson (7.1)
Important win and its nice to be able to get one without Constantino.
-- Nikolaou is just going to miss 3-4 days.
-- #4 Oldham beat Gillingham today, that moves us back up into 2nd by ourselves:
1. Crystal Palace - 77 pts
2. Woking - 72 pts
3. Gillingham - 69 pts
4. Oldham - 69 pts
5. Stockport - 67 pts
6. Wigan - 57 pts
7. Rochdale - 54 pts
8. Milwall - 52 pts
9. Leyton Orient - 52 pts
10. Peterborough - 51 pts
Rochdale missed a match vs Colchester (21st) at some point so they could be tied for the last playoff spot with Wigan with a win.
-- Dany N'Guessan is named in the league one team of the week.
-- Mickael Colin resumes full training. He'll miss our Barnsley match but is good to go after that.
March 25th, 2017
Woking (20-12-6, 2nd) @ Barnsley(12-11-15, 15th)
Barnsley are 4:5 favorites today, we're 3:1 to get a win on the road. We tied them 4:4 at home, one of the craziest games we've played. They got a 6th minute goal, we tied it in the 7th. We go up 2:1 in the 28th, they score in the 52nd to tie, 58th to take the lead, and we tie it in the 60th. We look to win after an 86th minute goal but give up yet another in the 89th. Constantino got a hat trick for us, lets see what he can do today.
Barnsley's John Sutton leads them with 16 goals, Giovanni Paghera has 10. Standard mindset on the road for us.
4': We earn two early corners, on the second, Upson takes it to the far post, the keeper dives for it but doesn't reach it, Marc connects on the header and puts it into the open net!! 1-0
9': Paghera for them runs down the left side, he's got a tough angle shot on Lynch but tries a pass instead... its blocked by a defender and right back to Paghera, he shoots and Lynch has to make a diving save, whew.
16': Cook with a pass ahead to Harsanyi, he's at the 18 yard line in between two defenders, he turns and shoots, but its wide right, it was a really solid look.
18': Constantino is out wide right, instead of crossing he plays it back to Ogogo and cuts into the middle of the area, Ogogo to Upson, Upson puts it through to Constantino, Barnsley clearly feel he's offsides but its not called and Constantino has a very easy finish! 2-0
27': Poor clearance by Barnsley, Ogogo recovers the ball about 35 yards out, getting it quickly to Harsanyi, he cuts to the right and draws both central defenders, he puts a pass beautifully in between them to Constantino who is left wide open as a result of Harsanyi's move, another trivial finish that Constantino isn't' going to miss. 3-0
40': We give up a corner... head it behind for a second.. Taylor wins a header to clear after that.
HALF: We've got a 57/43 possession edge, 8 shots (6 on target) to their 5 (3 on target) but our chances have just been very easy ones, our passing is great and our finishing is where it should be. I'm not obsessing about it to the point of keeping the scores up at all times yet, but I notice Gillingham is losing today at the half.
48': Harsanyi down the left side, a pass back to Zatara, a ball into the area for Constantino who is left wide open again, another easy finish and a hat trick! Harsanyi gets the credit there, he drew the defense out with his run. 4-0
68': Wiggins in for Nikolaou, Chester in for Marc, Subotic in for Harsanyi, just resting.
80': We have a throwin in their end, there's a pass to Cook who burns one defender, draws a second and lays a ball off to Constantino. He's got another open look on their keeper and its his 4th goal!! 5-0
We put it away and run out the clock after that.
Barnsley 0 : 5 Woking
We only allowed them one shot in the second half of this utter stomp.
Man of the Match: Constantino (9.8)
Goals: Constantino 4, Marc (8.9)
Assists: Upson 2 (8.9), Cook (8.6), Zatara (8.0), Harsanyi (7.4)
Notables: Lynch (7.2), Ogogo (8.4), Nikolaou (7.8), Taylor (8.1), N'Guessan (7.5)
Gillingham drops one 2:0 to Bristol Rovers and all of a sudden are in 4th. Oldham has taken over the #3 spot with a 1-0 win.
With 7 to go (unless otherwise noted)
1. Crystal Palace - 78 pts
2. Woking - 75 pts
3. Oldham - 72 pts
4. Gillingham - 69 pts
5. Stockport - 67 pts (8 matches remaining)
6. Wigan - 60 pts
7. Rochdale - 57 pts (8 matches remaining)
8. Carlisle - 53 pts
9. Swindon - 53 pts
7 others have between 50-52 points and could get in the race with a long winning streak. Crystal Palace could clinch a playoff spot in the next match. I think we're 2 away from being able to do that.
Looking ahead in our schedule we play Wigan, Oldham, and Crystal Palace back to back to back in April. We may not have Sam Cook for all three of those as his loan will be ending.
Thanks! Playoffs are a near certainty now but dear god I don't want to have to get through Gillingham to promote. I have a feeling if I don't get 2nd my chances of getting through are very slim.
Really looking forward to the run out! Your team is performing so well that it's going to be really cool to see what happens if you promote up. One thing that generally concerns me about your club is it's inability to invest in it's infrastructure. Your getting up to the point where you want better training and youth facilities if you really want to improve. Is the club really going to be able to do that?
-- Barnsley fired their head coach after our 5:0 thumping of them. They offer me the job and I turn it down. Their 23,186 seat stadium makes them exactly the type of club I would want to take over to try to finish my run to the EPL if I ever decided Woking was not able to make it all the way... but clearly that isn't a concern yet.
-- Crystal Palace just took a massive hit. Constantino after his 4 goal performance now has 42 league goals. Palace's Chris Ojapah has 40, he's clearly the "other" best player in the league... but in their last match he tore a calf muscle and is going to miss 4-5 months. He's so integral to their success, I would not be surprised at all to see them drop and finish 3rd or 4th now.
-- Preston wins the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, they tie Crystal Palace 1:1 but win on penalty kicks.
-- After our 5:0 win nearly our entire team makes the team of the week: Nikolaou/Taylor/Marc/Ogogo/Cook/Upson/Constantino
-- We play on the 1st/8th/11th/17th/22nd/29th. 8th = Wigan, 11th = Oldham, 17th = Crystal Palace. Sam Cook's loan finishes on the 12th.
-- Constantino is the League 1 Young Player of the Month! Sam Cook is 2nd for this award.
-- The board is delighted with my leadership, and our league 1 performance is the reason. There's no negatives anymore. We lost $118,000 last month.
April 1st, 2017
Leyton Orient(13-13-13-, 11th) @ Woking (21-12-6, 2nd)
We're big favorites today at home, 4:7 to beat Leyton Orient. they're 4:1 to get a win here. We're 3-1-1 lifetime against these guys, winning 2:0 at their place in November.
Colin is back in the starting lineup today. We attack at home.
2': We earn a corner, Upson takes it and Marc heads it, we almost start just like our last match, but this one is just over the bar, close!
17': Free kick for Upson about 25 yards out, just wide left.
27': We win a contested ball in midfield, Upson plays it into the area, Colin gets behind his man and controls it very well. he's my least reliable finisher, but he's got it this time!! He sends it low near post and the keeper gets a finger to it but can't quite turn it wide... its in!! 1-0
38': Nikolaou with a yellow for a slide tackle gone wrong near midfield.
42': N'Guessan is hurt, his fitness tanks. He's played so well for me lately, I hope this doesn't last past this match.
46': Harsanyi has it near the penalty area, runs from left to right looking for an opening, he passes back to Cook, who sends it forward with his first touch. ogogo is there, he strikes it, near post, by the keeper, goal!!! 2-0
HALF: A big goal to end the half gives us a 2-0 lead, outstanding. We end up with 9 shots, 4 on target. We haven't allowed a single shot yet, we've seen one highlight of us in defense all game so far. Hopefully we put it away just that easily. Zatara is in for the injured N'guessan.
58': We've seen a couple Leyton Orient attacks, a couple corners, but still they haven't quite managed to actually shoot the ball yet.
66': Leyton Orient get it about 25 yards out, unable to turn by our defense one of their forwards just pulls up and shoots from there. Its way high, but its their first shot!
68': Cook plays a ball forward from near midfield, Harsanyi runs onto it and he's got a really great look here... its saved, the ball deflects out to the right, constantino sprints over to it and takes the shot before the keeper recovers from the last save, its in! 3-0
Leyton Orient manage another shot in the 89th minute as we easily run out the rest of the time.
Woking 3 : 0 Leyton Orient
Man of the Match: Colin (8.2)
Goals: Colin, Ogogo (8.0), Constantino (7.3)
Assists: Harsanyi (7.5), Upson (7.6), Cook (7.3)
Notables: Nikolaou (7.2), Marc (7.7), Taylor (7.6)
A great performance from start to finish.
-- N'Guessan is going to miss about a week with a bruised rib. He might miss the Wigan match but he'll be there for Oldham and Crystal Palace.
-- Our 3 main competitors all won today.
With 6 to go (unless otherwise noted)
1. Crystal Palace - 81 pts
2. Woking - 78 pts
3. Oldham - 75 pts
4. Gillingham - 72 pts
5. Stockport - 67 pts (8 matches remaining)
6. Wigan - 60 pts
7. Rochdale - 57 pts (8 matches remaining)
8. Swindon - 56 pts
9. Carlisle - 53 pts
10. Milwall - 53 pts
Crystal Palace have clinched a playoff birth. Stockport and Rochdale are both now sitting on 38 matches instead of 40 like the rest of us. It would appear that all of their makeup games are against teams 17th or below.
Next up, we host #6 Wigan. I'm clearly going to power through the rest of season tonight if I can, gonna take a break and get a bit of exercise and then sit back down for this huge 3 game stretch we have coming up.
This is a huge concern for sure. Selling 6,000 tickets for every home match is only going to take us so far. Only half of the stadium is seated. Training and Youth programs are non-existent. The board will have to be willing to lose some money to invest in these things for me to stay. Assuming these things don't start to happen overnight then we'll have some decisions to make.
If I do move on my goal would be to take over a team at a similar level with more resources.
-- Ogogo and Colin are named to the League 1 team of the week
-- I assumed based on the teams that still had matches left that Rochdale (7th) and Stockport (5th) were unlikely to play each other... not true! On the 3rd they play and Rochdale wins 1:0. This hurts Wigan immensely. Rochdale moves into 6th with 60 points and a +2 goal differential, Wigan has 60 points and a -2 GD. Rochdale still has 1 more makeup game to play and if they win it they could end up with a 3 point lead. Top 6 make the playoffs. We can really, really hurt Wigan by beating them this week.
April 8th, 2017
Wigan(18-6-16, 7th) @ Woking (22-12-6, 2nd)
Wigan still get the respect here, their 7th place standing is a huge disappointment really, they were considered sure things to promote. They're even money favorites to win at kingfield stadium today, we're 11:5. We tied Wigan 3:3 at their place in improbable fashion. Both teams got a goal in the first 6 minutes but Wigan went up 3-1 30 minutes in. We got two late Constantino goals to tie. That's our only ever meeting with Wigan.
Victor Moses leads Wigan with 18 goals, Yakubu has 11. I start Paulo at MC over Upson today, wanting to make sure both keep getting action. I also start Zatara over N'Guessan, who is back from his little injury picked up last week but not fully fit. He can play some if he must. We attack at home today.
15': We have the early possession, but don't manage a shot until Cook fires one wildly from 25 yards out that isn't even remotely close.
20': They get a free kick 35 yards out... its taken and its a shot by Martin, its around the wall, bending from right to left, Lynch dives... its in the upper 90 corner of the net, beautifully taken, can't really say anything about that, great goal. 0-1
23': Taylor picks up a yellow.
34': A cross from Zatara leads to a header from Colin, way high... we've got 3 shots, all well off target.
HALF: We're watching a solid defensive contest here. We have 4 shots, all off target, they have 3, just one on target. They just had an amazing strike from super long range, this really should be nil-nil. We just have to find a way to get a goal here.
54': N'Guessan is in for Zatara.
67': Constantino has it in the area after a pass from cook, its crowded in there though, he goes a bit wide and puts a pass through the middle, they turn it behind for a corner that we don't' do anything with. We have one shot this half that was blocked...
80': Colin is hurt, I didn't see it.
87': Desparation move, Upson in for Nikolaou, we add a midfielder to the attack and remove a defender.
91': We have a throwin deep in their end. Its thrown into the area, headed away for another throw. Here Colin gets a cross in, but its cleared, we try to push it back up again, but cleared.
93': Upson with a blast from 30 yards out, we should have tried for better there, that was stupid. Way off.
94': Cook with a ball into the area that N'Guessan is able to get to, he has a shot, its on target but saved easily, not the best.
Really a great defensive battle today, just that one free kick on the scoreboard.
Woking 0 : 1 Wigan
We hate Wigan.
We end up with 9 shots, most of them in the final desperate minutes, Wigan with 7. Their goal scorer is man of the match with a 7.7 rating.
Notables: Nikolaou (7.0), Taylor (7.1)
constantino struggled putting up a 5.9 today.
-- Crystal Palace squared off against Gillingham today, Palace wins 1:0. Oldham lost on the road to 18th place Preston in horrible fashion, 4:1. We really got a break with these two results. All three teams that lost today have to feel they missed a huge opportunity.
With 5 to go (unless otherwise noted)
1. Crystal Palace - 84 pts
2. Woking - 78 pts
3. Oldham - 75 pts
4. Gillingham - 72 pts
5. Stockport - 68 pts (6 matches remaining)
6. Rochdale - 63 pts (6 matches remaining)
7. Wigan - 63 pts
8. Swindon - 59 pts
Game of the year is next. We travel to #3 Oldham. We are up 3 points on them. Win and we're up 6 with 4 matches to play. Lose and we're tied. We have the goal differential edge and basically can't lose it (to Oldham, Gillingham is another story if they catch up).
We're 6 behind Crystal Palace, the loss of their best player hasn't hurt them yet. We play them still so 1st isn't totally out of the question, but 2nd is what matters most.
Forgot to check the news after the Wigan match. Mickael Colin pulls a hammy and he's out 3-4 weeks. He'll miss at least 3 of our final 5 matches and could miss all 5.
April 11th, 2017
Woking (22-12-7, 2nd) @ Oldham(21-12-8,3rd)
Oldham are huge favorites today, 4:6 compared to our 7:2. Back in November we took a 2-0 lead in the first 30 minutes, giving one goal back int he 62nd, and allowing the tying goal in extra time.
"Oldham Boss Sean Gregan has openly wondered ... whether head coach Richard Dixon has what it takes to ensure woking will be in the running for promotion"
-- I choose to respond to these comments by hyping the upcoming match in general, pointing out that this match is huge and we need players coaches and fans to give it their all for 90+ minutes to get a win.
Oldham's Billy Paynter leads them with 16 goals and Craig Davies has 12 goals. He scored the extra time goal to tie it in our first meeting. We bring Upson back in, Harsanyi starts at AML since Colin is out, and Subotic gets the start at forward. Standard mindset against a good team on the road today.
8': The first highlights show Oldham attacking, they take a wild long range shot for the first shot of the match that is way wide.
12': We earn a corner, its taken in and pushed back out wide, Upson recovers it and crosses to the far post, Marc is there, the keeper is out of position, he heads it, but heads it over towards the keeper instead of straight on and in, shoulda scored there.
14': They counter, Paynter puts a through ball into the area, midfielder Ambrose runs onto it perfectly and he's got a free look at Lynch, he goes near post and beats our keeper. 0-1
16': We try to attack but they win the ball as we're setting up, a long ball goes forward to their man Davies, Lynch aggressively comes out and blocks a shot all the way out past 15 yards from the goal.
17': We send a ball ahead ot Constantino, he gets free and takes a shot from about 20 yards out, the keeper has no chance... but it hits the crossbar and bounds away.
30': They're packing it in hard, we win a corner here, but its cleared easily.
34': Free kick from 25 yards out a bit left, Upson takes it, it deflects off the wall and goes out just wide, we almost got a lucky bounce there, but no. Corner is taken and we earn a second corner. We earn a throw after that but they get it away.
HALF: Like our last match we trail 1:0 at the half. Their defense has been solid, ours has too minus one critical mistake. They have 4 shots, we have 8, but just 2 on target. We have 67% of the possession and while they are really pulling their defense in tight we are getting forward so much I think we'll break through if nothing else changes. We'll change to an attacking mindset to try even harder here.
55': We earn a corner, its taken to the near man who sends it back out wide, Upson crosses, the keeper comes out but he doesn't get the ball, N'Guessan is there and he wins the header and its into the open net!!! 1-1
57': I drop back to the standard mindset. All out attacking scares me a little. I've also issued the "work ball into box" instruction, we're controlling it non stop, lets take our time and not settle for long shots.
61': After a few passes back and forth Upson hits N'Guessan with a ball into the area, N'Guessan has a clear cut chance but he's pretty close to the keeper and can't get it by him, the keeper makes a nice save.
64': Harsanyi has it out wide, he gets it to Constantino who sees an opening and shoots from 20 yards out, the keeper just gets his fingers to it and guides it up off the crossbar... so close.
70': Zatara in for a tired Harsanyi, Alcock in for a tired N'Guessan, Alcock to DR, Ogogo AMR. I trust those guys to play well but I want Upson and Cook doing more than them... I issue the "exploit the middle" instruction.
80': Vince Taylor collides with one of their attackers going after a ball and he has to come out immediately... Chester is in.
84': They get the ball forward after Ogogo loses possession in the midfield, we rush back to defend, they get it into the area, they have a man on the left side who should be able to get a shot but not from a great angle, Ogogo comes in and tries to tackle it away... and its a penalty... they score. Wow. 1-2
87': We try to attack, Upson has it, sends it wide right for Alcock, he tries to play a low cross, it hits an Oldham defender and bounces into the middle of the penalty area. It was a pretty shitty cross to be honest. But Constantino is the fastest man out there, and how often is he the first to the loose ball? He's there, and he finds the opening and blasts it by the keeper!!! 2-2
We tied at home thanks to an extra time goal from them. We tied on the road thanks to an 87th minute goal off a wacky deflection of a really poor cross. I guess we're even.
Oldham 2 : 2 Woking
Man of the Match: Ed Upson (8.4)
Goals: N'Guessan (7.6), Constantino (6.9)
Assists: Upson, Alcock (6.9)
Notables: Nikolaou (7.1), Cook (7.0)
Ogogo has a 5.3 rating, he really had a terrible finish to the match after we moved him forward.
Vince Taylor has an ankle injury. I can give him an injection that will allow him to play vs Crystal Palace or just leave him to the physios and he's out 4 weeks and probably doesn't play again this season. Who wouldn't want to play against Crystal Palace in this situation? Of course he gets the injection.
Woking have guarenteed themselves a Coca-Cola League 1 playoff place -- woooooohooooooooooooo
Crystal Palace and Gillingham both win today. That means our chances of winning the league are almost gone, and Gillingham remains a threat to try to take second.
With 4 to go (unless otherwise noted)
1. Crystal Palace - 87 pts
2. Woking - 79 pts
3. Oldham - 76 pts
4. Gillingham - 75 pts
5. Stockport - 71 pts (5 matches remaining)
6. Rochdale - 66 pts (5 matches remaining)
7. Wigan - 66 pts
8. Swindon - 60 pts
We know first is extremely unlikely but if they beat us next match they would clinch first outright. We don't want them to clinch the title in that fashion. Oldham goes on the road to play Wigan, Gillingham hosts #21 Rotherham next.
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