April 13th, 2013
Woking (25-9-8, 1st) @ Crawley (20-11-11, 4th)
We are favored 6:4 on the road, very slim. We are 1-2-2 lifetime against them, but that's after getting swept in our first year in the BS Premier. We won 2:1 at home this year.
Crawley is led by Charles Ademeno with 14 goals and Calum Willock with 12.
3': Pulis ot Main, Main turns his defender and gets into the area, he takes a shot but the keeper dives and pushes it aside.
10': Arter launches a shot from 30 yards out, its fairly close, but wide right.
13': Main loses the ball in midfield and sets up a quick counter with our guys out of position. They get the ball into the area, Fenton has a chance to make a tackle... he misses too, and they get a goal from a midfielder Lyskov. 0-1
19': Through ball to Main, Main is tackled in the area, goes down... and gets a yellow for diving. Between his mistake leading to the Crawley goal and this, he's just having an awful day so far.
40': Bleh, get this goal back guys!
44': Harry Arter with a rough collision in the midfield, he's hurt and laying on the sideline for the remainder of the half.
47': Crawley just controls the last 5 minutes of the half here... finally a through ball from the middle over to the right side as midfielder Webb runs on to it, Lynch deflects his shot but not wide enough, its into the right side... 0-2
HALF: Herd in for Arter. We are in some trouble here. Forest green is tied with Wrexham at the half.
56': a bit of a drastic move here. Subotic in for Harsanyi, Ademola in for Main. These guys up front are just playing awful.
58': Payoff, baby. Faster than I could ahve imagined. Herd gets Ademola the ball, he steps by a defender and generates our first clear cut chance, beating the keeper! 1-2
70': Ademola with a long range strike that is on target but saved... he took it quickly and surprised the keeper a bit, but not quite enough.
76': Wrexham takes the lead over Forest Green at Forest Green's house!
85': Overload baby, go get the tying goal.
90': 4 minutes of injury time.
91': A ball played forward into traffic starts it off, Ademola to Herd, out wide to Bennet, a cross into a very crowded area hits a Crawley defender, lays on the ground and Ademola is right there to put it in the net!!! 2-2
94': One last chance perhaps, McLaggon is fouled on the right side in their end. Free kick, cross, Ademola heads it... nope. Saved easily.
Crawley 2 : 2 Woking
A good result, a great feeling after falling behind by 2.
Ademola is man of the match, 2 goals in 30 minutes, 8.6 rating.
Assists from Bennett (7.4) and Herd (6.9).
Elsewhere: Nikolaou (7.0), Miquel (7.2), Pulis (7.0).
Harsanyi and Main had 5.6 and 5.5 ratings.
Arter has no long term injury. Wrexham held on to beat Forest Green, giving us a huge gift.
1. Woking - 85 pts
2. Forest Green - 79 pts
3 matches to go, 6 points up. We could potentially win the league any match now.
-- Joe O'sullivan resumes full training. hooray!
April 20th, 2013
York(19-18-6, 3rd) @ Woking(25-10-8, 1st)
We're underdogs and York truly outclassed us at their place early in the season. We're up 6 points with 3 games left, any kind of result would be spectacular here. Forest Green has a tough road match at Cambridge today too.
No lineup changes from our last match.
11': Pulis goes down hard in the area defending a corner. He's weakened a bit but doesn't have to come out.
16': York just has our number... a steal in mdifield, a counter, a great ball forward and a nice cross and header, their striker Donnelly puts it in. 0-1
17': Harsanyi gets free just inside the 18 yard line on the right side, he fires a shot but the keeper saves it.
46': A long ball forward from Arter to Bennett, Bennett with our first clear cut strike but he just isn't a finisher, we know that by now... keeper saves easily.
HALF: They take 7 shots, we take 4, but a lot of theirs are long shots and way off target. Harsanyi has a real shot for us early on but that was about it.
49': Bennett still can't finish but its ok! Pulis to Main, Main draws two defenders, off to Bennett, he shoots, blocked, but it falls right to Harsanyi who puts it in! 1-0
52': Forest Green takes a 1-0 lead over cambridge.
56': Arter picks up a yellow.
68': O'Sullivan in for Pulis, welcome back buddy! Sloma in for a tired Bennett.
77': Mike Williams with a yellow for a tackle out near midfield.
79': Arter goes down hard. He's hurt, he can stay in but he shouldn't.
83': Their striker Donnelly embarrasses Nick Fenton, burning him badly about 30 yards out, he has a free run to challenge Lynch after that move, gets into the area, and puts a low shot near post past Lynch. 1-2
92': Sloma takes a short corner to Mike Williams. Williams with the control of a forward! A little move stops a defender in his tracks, he turns and shoots, and beats the keeper! 2-2
Woking 2 : 2 York
Cambridge scored twice in the final 10 minutes to beat Forest Green 2:1. I think that does it, but more on that in a second.
York's George Donnelly has 2 goals and is man of the match.
Goals for us: Williams (7.0), Harsanyi (6.9)
Assists: Sloma (6.8).. no assist on the blocked shot from Bennett apparently that led to Harsanyi's goal.
Nikolaou (7.0) is our only other notable rating. Actually, Nick Fenton got dominated by Donnelly and gets a 5.2.
Harry Arter is out the rest of the season, 6-7 weeks.
Woking have clinched the Blue Square Premier Title and promotion to Coca Cola League 2!!!!
-- Woking fans are absolutely delighted after Richard Dixon and his team lifted the Blue Square premier.
-- The Woking board have issued a statement decaring that they are very happy with victory in the Blue Square Premier and are grateful to head coach Richard Dixon for doing the club proud.
-- Zoltan Harsanyi's 29 goals for Woking this season is a new record.
He had the previous record with 28 goals last year.
We'll relax a bit for our final two matches.
April 23rd, 2013
Woking (25-11-8, 1st) @ Ebbsfleet (18-13-13, 10th)
We're favored technically but we're going to give some of our reserves a chance at first team soccer.
Griffiths is the only name never mentioned before, random reserve. The only reserve I have that I think has a chance to ever play on a first team anywhere is cousins.
There's snow on the field today in mid april, whee. I drop to only showing "Key Highlights"
44': a through ball is played by ebbsfleet... holy crap that guy was like 2 yards offsides, wtfwtf. But its not called and they score. Really seemed *way* offsides. 0-1
HALF: Not much to talk about here. They take 8 shots but only a couple are shown, nothing on our offensive end is shown at all. Whee.
65': Coke and Cousins both pick up knocks and are slowed... sloma moves to AML, Subotic in for Cousins, Pulis in for coke.
And that's about it.
Ebbsfleet 1 : 0 Woking
Not much to report on with key highlights haha
Nikolaou was quite good today, 7.6. Fenton 5.9, Cousins 5.7. Everyone else in between. subotic created one chance pretty much for himself late in the match but put it well well wide and taht was it for us.
April 27th, 2013
Accrington (12th) @ Woking(1st)
I put Harsanyi and O'sullivan out there to start today to give the fans a chance to see at least a little of our best on the pitch, we've sold way more tickets than usual to this one.
25': We've taken 2 shots off target, they have 3.
HALF: scoreless, we have a 65/35 edge in possession.
46': Coke runs down the left sideline, puts a cross into the area. Ademola with a header, it hits the crossbar, the keeper dove for it and is on the ground. Harsanyi is first to the rebound and puts it in! 1-0
70': A long free kick by Pegler, Cousins gets his head to it from outside the area. The keeper had started to come out a little for it, he backtracks, but the ball ends up going off him and into the net. Its counted as an own goal. 2-0
80': Accrington get one back with an open look from about 18 yards out, poor defending by Griffiths. 2-1
James Oliver-Pearce picks up two yellows in the final 5 minutes and is sent off, but it doesn't matter, his second one game seconds before the final whistle.
Woking 2 : 1 Accrington
Ademola is man of the match today, 7.5 with an assist.
Harsanyi puts in our only goal (6.8) that wasn't an own goal. Pegler is cerdited with an assist for the goal kick somehow (7.5).
Elsewhere: Nikolaou (7.0), O'Sullivan(7.0).
And that's the end of the season for us!
I have to say, outside of Harsanyi, I have no idea who can play well in League 2. Stelios Nikolaou put on a good performance pretty much every time he was in defense. O'Sullivan, Arter, Pulis and Herd seem a solid MC compliment. Subotic better be able to cut it, and Lynch is still improving. But I really dunno. We re-signed most of our roster and will have a lot of decisions for next year. Hopefully we can get some PRM loaners next season, something that's rarely happened for us. And hopefully we start pulling in a little more money.
But there's a long offseason to figure all of that out.
**GA = Goals Allowed | SO = Shutouts
**GL = Goals | TCK = Tackles/game
**GL = Goals | TCK = Tackles/game
**GL = Goals | Drb = Dribbles/game
** GL = Goals | Drb = Dribbles/Game
I had to split that up to two posts to get it to show. I sorted by average ratings, including cup matches. Anson Cousins rating and goals were inflated a bit because of his success in our early FA Trophy matches, I went out of my way to get him in against the worst competition we played all year.. I put Sloma in with the central midfielders, though he really split his time between central and attacking out wide.
Even though we were much better this year as a unit, we didn't have anyone in that 7.50+ stratosphere for ratings.
2012-13 Blue Square Premier Table
1. Woking - 26-11-9 - 88 for/56 ag - +32 - 89 pts
2. Forest Green - 24-13-9 - 72 for/39 ag - +33 - 85 pts
3. Rushden - 23-14-9 - 77 for/47 ag - +30 - 83 pts
4. Cambridge - 24-10-12 - 72 for/55 ag - +17 - 82 pts
5. York - 29-19-7 - 73 for/51 ag - +22 - 79 pts
6. Alfreton - 22-11-13 - 77 pts
7. Crawley - 20-12-14 - 72 pts
8. Gateshead - 19-14-13 - 71 pts
9. Chelmsford - 19-13-14 - 70 pts
10. Ebbsfleet - 19-13-14 - 70 pts
11. Torquay - 19-12-15 - 69 pts
12. Wrexham - 19-8-19 - 65 pts
13. Barrow - 18-9-19 - 63 pts
14. Accrington - 19-5-22 - 62 pts
15. Cheltenham - 16-14-16 - 62 pts
16. Newport Co - 14-18-14 - 60 pts
17. Darlington - 15-14-17 - 59 pts
18. St. Albans - 12-18-16 - 54 pts
19. Eastleigh -11-15-20 - 48 pts
20. Kettering - 10-17-19 - 47 pts
21. Stevenage - 12-9-25 - 45 pts
22. Gainsborough - 11-11-24 - 44 pts
23. Southport - 6-10-30 - 28 pts
24. Maidenhead - 5-8-33 - 23 pts
This is Cambridge's 5th time in the BS Premier playoffs in the last 6 seasons.
Woking 2012/13 History/Leaders
2009/10 - BS South - 1st - 24 W - 12 D - 6 L - 62 for - 39 ag - +23 GD - 84 pts
2010/11 - BS Premier - 17th - 14 W - 10 D - 22 L - 60 for - 65 ag - -5 GD - 52 pts
2011/12 - BS Premier - 4th - 26 W - 12 D - 8 L - 87 for - 51 ag - +36 GD - 90 pts
2012/13 - BS Premier - 1st - 26 W - 11 D - 9 L - 88 for - 56 ag - 89 pts[/b]
Top Goalscorer - Zoltan Harsanyi - 30 goals
Top League Goalscorer - Zoltan Harsanyi - 29 goals
Most Assists - Joe O'Sullivan - 15 assists
Highest Average Rating - Stelios Nikolaou - 7.35 (28 apps)
Most Man of the Match - Curtis Main - 6
Lastly before we push on.
League Scoring Leaders
1. Zoltan Harsanyi - Woking - 29 goals
2. Frank Waife Danquah - Cambridge - 24 goals
3. Jason Walker - Barrow - 23 goals
4. Brian Wake - Gateshead - 22 goals
5. Sam Smith - Rushden - 20 goals
1. George Donnelly - York - 16
t2. Ben Smith - Crawley - 15
t2. Danny Mitchley - Newport Co - 15
t4. Joe O'Sullivan - Woking - 14
t4. Peter Leven - Forest Green - 14
t4. Matt Bowman - Rushden - 14
Man of the Match Awards
1. George Donnelly - York - 11
t2. Sam Smith - Rushden - 8
t2. Marco Paixao - Forest Green - 8
t2. Patrick Kohlmann - Cheltenham - 8
t5. Brian Wake - Gateshead - 7
t5. Jason Walker - Barrow - 7
t5. Neil Taylor - Wrexham - 7
Curtis Main is tied for 8th with 6 man of the match awards.
1. George Donnelly - York - 7.50
2. Sam Smith - Rushden - 7.44
3. Joe O'Sullivan - Woking - 7.33
4. Mike Brown - Forest Green - 7.31
5. Stelios Nikolaou - Woking - 7.30
Nikolaou's ratings were boosted from cup play, O'Sullivan bested him in the league it seems. Curtis Main was also in the top 10 in the league with a 7.20 rating in league matches.
Player of the Year Voting
oh yeah, this came up awhile back right when I was quitting for the night and I forgot it. Zoltan Harsanyi is up for player of the year, but I'm not allowed to vote for him.
Instead I vote for George Donnelly, York's Striker who led the league in assists and average rating (16 and 7.50). He also scored 18 goals. York gave us more trouble than anyone during the year so Donnelly's play stands out to me.
BS Premier Playoffs
Semifinal first leg:
Cambridge 4 : 3 Rushden
York 0 : 1 Forest Green
Semifinal Second Leg:
Forest Green (3) 2 : 1 (1) York
Rushden p (5) 2 : 1 (5) Cambridge
Cambridge fail again to earn promotion despite making the playoffs 5 of the last 6 years.
Rushden 4 : 3 Forest Green
Rushden will join us in League 2 next year!
FA Trophy Final
Torquay 3 : 0 Accrington
the team that took us out ends up 2nd.
-- York's George Donnelly is indeed named the BS Premier player of the year.
-- I am named the BS Premier manager of the year. I'm glad, but can't say its a surprise.
-- I'm notified about expiring contracts, a couple reserves, some coaches/scouts who won't sign with me again or who I have no interest in signing again... and Mark Ricketts, who I won't be re-signing.
We'll plow through June and figure out what we need to do to get ready for League 2 tomorrow.
Nice job on promoting.
FIFA World Cup arrived for the 360 and I played the heck out of it for awhile, but its time to get back to FM and push into League 2.
We're in June 2013 and World Cup Qualifying is underway.
The USA is off to a slow 1-2-0 start in CONCACAF qualifying. Draws at home vs Canada and at Guatemala. Haven't played Mexico or Costa Rica yet. Long way to go though, we'll check in after a couple June matches.
Most of the top European teams are leading their groups. Portugal and Greece are tied in their group through 4 games, and Spain is in 2nd behind Slovakia through just 4 games. Long ways to go again here.
I'm not planning on doing much this offseason. I'll hope to grab some high quality loaners for League 2 and will basically give everyone that was good enough to start last year a chance to prove they can succeed in League 2. Our expectations should be low next year so hopefully this is a strategy that can pay off for me.
The USA draws at home with Costa Rica and loses on the road at Mexico. After 5 matches:
1. Mexico - 15 pts (5-0-0)
2. Honduras - 9 pts
3. Canada - 7 pts
4. USA - 6 pts (1-3-1)
5. Guatamala - 4 pts
6. Costa Rica - 1 pts
The US travels to Canada for a key match in August.
Top 3 qualify, 4th place with a playoff (vs a South American team IIRC).
-- Woking earns a new primary shirt sponsorship. This will be a 3 year deal worth $60k/yr. Our previous deal was worth $41k/yr. Moving up in the world!
-- Joe O'Sullivan is named the fans player of the year for 2012/13. Last season Harsanyi got it when I thought that O'Sullivan was clearly better. This year O'Sullivan gets it when I thought Harsanyi was clearly better.
Woking Best Eleven - 2012/13
DL Stelios Nikolaou played 28 matches with a 7.35 rating, a solid new sighing for me. The players picked him as the best player on the team last year.
The rest of the team:
lol? Cousins has a 7.09 rating compared to Harsanyi's 7.01. Cousins only played in easy games for the most part, Harsanyi scored 22 more goals. Nifty.
Woking All Time Best Eleven
Two new players make the team this year. Here's how it looks:
GK: Lee Butcher (48 apps/6.73 rating)
DL: Jordan Clarke (53 apps/7.09 rating)
DC: Nick Fenton (105 apps/6.89 rating/3 goals)
DC: Mike Williams (62 apps/6.96 rating/8 goals)
DR: Ricky Anane (72 apps/6.87 rating/2 goals
ML: Nicky Nicolau (46 apps/7.10 rating/4 goals)
MC: Anthony Pulis (85 apps/6.98 rating/5 goals)
MC: Joe O'Sullivan (102 apps/7.30 rating/3 goals)
MR: Moses Ademola (142 apps/6.90 rating/36 goals)
ST: Mark Cullen (52 apps/7.11 rating/25 goals)
ST: Romone Rose (50 apps/7.05 rating/14 goals)
Mike Williams and Ricky Anane are new to the all time best 11, replacing current players Aswad Thomas and Mark Ricketts. Anane has been a very good sub and I'm content with him, but I'm surprised Ricketts is being forgotten so fast.
Harsanyi has 99 appearances/58 goals/7.02 rating for us, Rose and Cullen were both multi season loaners, wonder what has to happen for him to make it.
Season Schedule Released
--From the past to the future. Our first league 2 season is ready to start soon! A large number of our players got a 10% salary increase from promotion.
--We play our first ever league 2 match at home vs Tranmere on August 10th. They were relegated from League 1 last season.
--We receive $437,000 for TV Rights for league 2. Again, moving on up!
Our goals are simply to avoid relegation, and that's great, hopefully I can bring in loaners and add payroll to progress the team without doing anything drastic early on.
By accepting these lowly goals we have no transfer budget but a $25k/week salary budget allowed.
Our current Salary total going into the year is $18,491/wk. We have some room to spend here for sure.
League 2 Odds
Brighton - 6:4
Tranmere - 2:1
Northampton - 5:2
Leyton Orient - 6:1
Stockort - 6:1
Notts Co - 8:1
We are 20:1. That's a lot better than I would have expected. Hooray for us?
Our backup GK Lewis Martin will be going out on loan once again at the start of this season. I can recall him if I want. He'll be playing for Lewes in the BS South.
-- July 3rd: I sign 3 new scouts to replace the 3 that wanted too much money to come back for another season. I also fire my physio who was really a BSS level physio making $40/wk and totally sucked. I'll have a new one soon.
--My first round of loan offers all go nowhere. Apparently top Premier League reserves are not yet ready for loans to Woking.
-- I make my second round of loan offers, including an oldie but goodie in DL Jordan Clarke, a guy who posted 7.1+ ratings in the BS Premier for me.
Woking loan Jesus
So I'm having troubles getting a full compliment of loaners in but holy crap when I do get someone, yeah, I'm gonna try to not go with these jokes all season. At least he's not a goalkeeper, otherwise I'd probably make 20 "Jesus Saves" references per match.
18 year old AML with just the one name "Jesus" (accent over the u) is an Arsenal reserve valued at $700,000. He's the first player willing to come to Woking for a full season.
Jesus is a reasonably good athlete, 11 pace/11 accel, all other ratings in the 10-12 range. Determined and a good decision maker, his best technical abilities are dribbling (16) and crossing (13). Those are certainly things I like to see out of a winger.
The rest of my current loaner efforts are to find an AMR and a defender or two.
July 11th - My second loaner acceptance comes in, and its for another young AML. I could take that and have Sam Sloma focus on defense/central midfield this year. I delay for a week though as I have other outstanding offers.
League Cup 1st Round Draw
We're going to be hosting Charlton from the Coca Cola Championship in the first round, a home game will help the finances at least. This will be August 14th, pretty darn early.
With that, I go over and check on on the expectations:
League: Avoid Relegation
FA Cup: Reach the First Round
Johnstone's Paint Trophy: We aren't expected to win a game here
League Cup: We aren't expected to win a game here either.
July 13th, 2013
Fulham @ Woking - Friendly
The goal here is to run around some and not get hurt. They score in the 33rd minute. Harsanyi out wide left in the 41st minute, he crosses into the area, Anson Cousins is there and heads it by the keeper for a goal! We sub everyone out at the half that we can, and give up two goals in the second half. The last time we played in a friendly we lost 7-0. I'll take 3-1.
Woking 1 : 3 Fulham
-- Woking announces a loss of $425,000 for the last financial year, a worrying 20% of their turnover. We'll see if that comes to anything. The past year we basically broke even and it was almost entirely due to making the playoffs.
Free Transfer Signing
Welcome Christian Smith to the squad. Smith is a 25 year old who can play DC, DMC and MC nearly equally well. I'm bringing him in to be a central defender. He doesn't really have the pace that I want from a midfielder, though that ability might give me some flexability.
Smith is strong and a good leaper (16 str/14 jumping). He's determined, aggresive and brave, good off the ball, good positioning. Good heading, good tackling, decent marking. With Nick Fenton aging and Aswad Thomas showing long stretches of poor play, I wanted to bring in a new DC. I'd first looked at a loaner but i'm very pleased with this as well.
Smith is going to make $1200/wk.
GH Academy @ Woking - Friendly
We give up an early goal, never really threaten aside from a couple long shots by Harsanyi, but avoid injury.
Woking 0 : 1 GH Academy
That'll do for tonight.
So I've got 18 guys on my roster (19 counting GK Lewis Martin out on loan).
I've only brought in one loaner so far. Gonna briefly review my depth chart here:
Backup: Martin, sort of.
51 goals allowed in 41 games for Lynch last year seems great given my attacking formation and mindset. His ratings are really good and he's only 21 and improving. I am not looking to replace Lynch at all and am pretty attached to the idea of Lynch continuing to grow with the team. For now, I definitely feel like I can succeed in League 2 with Kevin Lynch in goal.
Backups: All guys who primarily play elsewhere. Thomas/Williams/Sloma. That's pretty much acceptable since I brought in an extra DC and MC/AML are loaded spots.
Rotation of Thomas/Williams/Fenton/Christian Smith.
I feel like Mike Williams is my best player here. The other three I'm hoping one stands out early in the year. Fenton is 33 and is unlikely to play a long string of games in a row, there's room for these four.
Starter: Ricky Anane
... backup Stelios Nikolaou. That's it. I like Anane a lot but the fact is that he was not even a starter in the BS South when I took over this team. I don't have depth here and I don't have as much confidence in my starter here as I do elsewhere. I've had a number of loaners rejected here, working on it, but yeah I *have* to do something here.
Starters: O'Sullivan, Pulis
Backups: Arter, Herd, Sloma
I have a lot of confidence here. I'm not looking for loaners/replacements here until these guys prove they can't cut it.
Backups: Steve Clapham, Sloma
i haven't discussed Clapham at all. He's a loaner ready to come in, I delayed a week, but I'm going to bring him in. more on that when its finalized.
This is the same with Anane. First off there is NO depth here. I assure you I have had countless loan offers rejected. Secondly, Ademola was on my roster in my first BS South season and did not start consistently. Ademola averaged a 7.00 rating in 30 matches last year. Still, I think this is a position I could find a massive upgrade loaner.
I have the opportunity to bring someone in here, but I feel like I need to focus more elsewhere. Subotic and Harsanyi are quite probably the two best players on the team.
This depth chart was done mainly for my own benefit as much as to report for the dynasty. Glancing through the roster I felt DR/AMR were my weak spots, I haven't looked for a second for GK or MC on the market, and I wanted to look closer to make sure I was comfortable with that.
I had originally wanted to bring in loaners specifically at AML, AMR, DC and DR. Signing Christian Smith on a free transfer has me set for now at DC. Now I *really* need to sign a DR and AMR, whether it be loaner or free transfer.
One last thing... this is the first time I've had room to play with the transfer budget slider. Right now I have a $25.5k wage budget with $0 transfer budget. I'm only spending $19,790 on salaries right now. I could obtain a ~$60k transfer budget by dropping my wage budget to $24.5k.
My scouts and coaches are recommending fellow league 2 players. The only ones I looked at closely before bed last night were strikers. I could actually bring in a striker for $8k right now who would be deemed to be my #3 striker. But I'm not doing anything like that until I fill AMR/DR in some capacity. Giving myself a transfer budget is an option that I'm exploring seriously though.
Summary: I need to sign an AMR and a DR rather desparately. I have another loaner that I had delayed confirming at AML that should come in during my next post. I can drop my wage budget a bit and get a transfer budget if I want. I'm considering it.
Welcome AML Steve Clapham to Woking, on loan from Blackburn for the entire season. He's young, just like Jesus, and the two will compete/share time at the position throughout the year. Clapham has a pace of 10 but accel 15/agility 14/natural fitness 14, seems pretty good there. A Jumping rating of 1, he rarely leaves the ground. Elsehwere 12 crossing/14 dribbling/11 passing hopefully means he'll do a good job of creating chances for the strikers.
July 20th, 2013
Woking @ Inglewood Utd - Friendly
We get on the board early as Cousins hits Harsanyi with a great through ball and he finishes. Harsanyi plays a long ball forward to Ademola who scores before halftime. In the second half Subotic heads a ball forward to Sole who scores. We give up a 90th minute goal on a corner. Christian Smith makes a bad mistake and fails to clear a ball that came right to him, the ball ends up at the feet of one of their guys from near point blank range and they don't miss.
Inglewood Utd 1 : 3 Woking
AMR Search Update
I found a couple players who looked intriguing but who I didn't have their entire ratings picture.
I offer a 2 week trial to AMR Marinos Andreou from Cyprus. I see someone with no gaping holes but no stellar ratings. I'll get him into a friendly but I was hoping to see something to make him stand out.
I offered a deal to AMR Aidan Downes, a 24 year old Irishman who had been playing for Yeovil in League 1 and then League 2 for the last few seasons. He looks pretty good and my scouts like him more than Ademola. But I have a couple other offers out there and I delay the signing a week. I was going to trial this guy too but he got two other contract offers so i jumped. But I'm not sure he's the best candidate.
Additionally I make a couple of offers to players after we do a ton of scouting on the England Trial matches that occur in mid July.
July 26th, 2013
Woking @ Waikato - Friendly
Next to last Friendly. I get a more reasonable starting lineup out there today (subotic in for cousins mainly), and want the guys to try for me today.
Great first half, and a great performance against an equal team today (they were just 6:4 favorites at their place). Jesus really did well, he fed Harsanyi for our first goal, and cut into the box to receive a cross from Subotic that he headed in for our second goal, both in the first 20 minutes. The third goal came in the second half as our trial AMR Andreou fed Subotic for a header. Their defense really seemed slow compared to our guys today.
Waikato 0 : 3 Woking
We make a big splash following the trialist match.
Welcome DR Abu Ogogo to the squad. He's a physical monster, 13 pace/15 accel/16 stamina/13 strength/13 fitness.
He's totally got it together mentally, not a single mental rating below 9 (flair and creativity are 9...), bravery/determination/work rate 13, everything else in the 10-12 range.
Technically he's a good marker and good tackler, his passing is only 6 and heading only 5, those things could be weaknesses. But this is a guy that I'm excited about.
3.5 stars, scouted as "would be a leading star for any League 2 side"
And boy he better earn it. I've pulled out all the stops to sign him, offering him the max salary I'm allowed to offer to anyone, $2600/wk. He's a league 2 vet, having played the last 4 years in a row for Dag & Red. It looks like they've used him as a midfielder though and he's had ratings in the 6.85-6.95 range for them. I'm assuming midfielder based on the fact that he had a 10 goal season and has more assists than I'd expect from a DR. I have very high hopes for him to be a star defender.
Lastly, he was born in England, so there's no worry about him struggling to fit in here(a concern w/ an African sounding name, I'm 1 for 2 bringing in guys from the African continent so far).
With this signing we are down to $2300/wk in extra wage budget. I'll be bringing in the AMR I'd mentioned putting on hold in my last post, he's not this expensive IIRC, and then will be looking for loaners to bolster the squad as the season starts. Past this if I decide to bring in new players it will almost certainly be at the expense of selling/giving away the players I'm replacing.
Welcome AMR Aidan Downes to Woking. Downes is Irish, 25 years old, and will be making $1000/wk.
Downes is rated better than Ademola by my scouts and doesn't appear to have major holes in his game. Decent speed, decent stamina, decent fitness(all 11 or 12). He's good off the ball (12) and a good decision maker. He is a decent dribbler, passer, crosser, and finisher, not great anywhere but in the 9-12 range in all of those areas.
I'm a lot more excited about the guys I have on loan on the left side of the midfield (Jesus and Chapman) but I feel like Downs and Ademola will be an acceptable compliment on the right side of the field and will not likely be stars or spectacular players but can hold their own.
With that, I have secured my opening day roster. I have a little salary to play with and I have room to bring in loaners wherever I find them. I really exhausted the list of guys available for loan at my big need positions which is the reason that I've made these big signings instead of trying to get a full compliment of season long loaners.
If I find that I have major holes in my roster, especially at striker/MC/GK where I haven't looked at all, I'll try to bring in a loaner who can be a star for me for a year while I figure out what to do.
Joe O'Sullivan is singled out for having trained well recently. His creativity(12), Work Rate(13), Accelleration(13) and Strength(12) have all improved recently. As good as O'Sullivan has been for me remember that he's only 21.
-- The board is pleased with my leading of the team. The positive atmosphere among the players is a big reason. The big downside in the eyes of the board is that I let Mark Ricketts go. I stand by that decision totally, and that feeling will fade with time.
August 1st, 2013
QPR @ Woking - Friendly
It's our last friendly before the regular season! I'm pleased to note that QPR earned promotion back up to the Premier Division last season, always a good thing for our parent club.
I open with what I intend to be my opening day roster:
Key subs will be:
AM Steve Clapham
ST Giuseppe Sole
AM Moses Ademola
MC Harry Arter
DR Ricky Anane
DC Nick Fenton
MC Chris Herd
MC Sam Sloma
Obviously in any given match I'll only be able to name 5 subs, usually as the season goes on its obvious who is more likely to need rest, etc.
We give up two first half goals to QPR. The first is directly due to an error by Christian Smith. The second they were just better and faster heh. Subotic and Sole both had a few chances but couldn't finish. Ogogo looked bad but everyone else on the team is pretty much ready for the season and this was his first warmup match.
Woking 0 : 2 QPR
And with that, we'll start the regular season next time I sit down to play.
Good luck in the new season!
-- For the first time I change the suggested captains. The game suggests Nick Fenton and Aswad Thomas. Fenton is a veteren on the defensive line, I like that. But Thomas really went through some periods where he struggled seriously last year and I fear he may be on the way out if that doesn't change quickly. If Fenton isn't in the game, I want GK Kevin Lynch to be my captain. He's been reliable in net for a number of years. We have about 6 guys with an influence of 11, all tied for tops on the team. But most of the others are much newer to the squad.
It begins early this year. MC Harry Arter hurts himself while weight training. He's out for 2 weeks.
August 10th, 2013
Tranmere @ Woking
Welcome to opening day at Kingsfield Stadium! We are 7-4 home dogs, Tranmere 5:4 favorites. Tranmere has spent 11 of the last 13 seasons in League 1, relegated in 09/10, they won the playoffs to get back up immediately, barely survived in 11/12, relegated back down in 12/13.
I don't usually discuss anything about press conferences, but the prematch conference before the first match was a long one. A couple key questions... I said that I don't want to be seen as the sole reason for teh success of my team when asked about my winning Manager of the year last year. I finger Brighton as my pick to win the league, and I state that Kidderminster, the other team promoted along w/ Woking last year, do not stand a chance at beating brighton in the opener.
And finally, we are ready!
Ooooo, league 2 allows 7 subs named, I did not know this. That helps me a lot, gives me more coverage for subs.
Opening Day lineup:
DEF: Nikolaou, Williams, Smith, Ogogo
MC: O'Sullivan, Pulis
AM: Jesus, Downes
ST: Harsanyi, Subotic
4 new players in my lineup on opening day (Smith/Ogogo/Jesus/Downes).
I really want to watch the team today to see how we manage physically in the league, I'm watching the full match.
9': First shot on target by either team comes from Abu Agogo, his profile says he "likes to get forward as much as possible" and he was way forward on a deep throwin, he took a solid shot too.
17': We're dominating possession so far, 82/18, controlling the ball well in their end, but the Ogogo shot is the only thing close to a threat so far. Jesus has sent a few crosses ripping into the area but we haven't gotten to them.
23': What an effort!! Pulis in the middle of the pitch, he feeds Subotic, who has two defenders close by, one misses a tackle, Subotic gets a bit of space and rockets a shot from the edge of the box into the upper left corner! 1-0
30': Pulis takes a small knock, enough to stop play but it seems he'll be fine to continue.
33': Subotic makes a run with the ball, turns, lays it back to Pulis, charges forward into the area and receives a great ball placed over the defense... his first touch is very poor, better control and he's guarenteed to score, but he can't control it and gives it away.
40': Tranmere has been incredibly defensive so far, just saw a message about them getting more men forward, lets see how we handle a bit of an attack for the first time.
HALF: I love what I'm seeing. We are winning everything in the midfield, everyone on the team but one person has a rating over 6.8, no one player is winning it for us, just stellar play everywhere. Aidan Downes stands out with a 6.4, the only outlier in all the numbers. We'll see what happens when we have to withstand more attacking in the 2nd half, but so far its great. We managed 10 shots, 5 of them on target. They took one long shot in ~20th minute and it was way over, that's it.
47': Downs with a long free kick from the right side of the pitch... 40 yards out? Its put beautifully into the box, Harsanyi heads it *just* over.
57': A bit of a scary moment as they get into the area, we win the ball but a clearance attempt hits Downes and falls into back into the crowded penalty area. We get it out of there though.
59': Tranmere Midfielder Hackett picks up a yellow. This is the first time we've heard his name today, and he's listed as their best player and we're closing down, I'm pleased.
60': Downes with a free kick that might as well ahve been a corner. He fires a low cross in, Harsanyi settles the ball down to the middle of the area, Jesus is right there with a powerful strike, the keeper had no chance at that, into the net! 2-0
63': We control possession in the mdifield after a short battle. Harsanyi plays a ball down the left sideline for Jesus, he crosses it in, Subotic with a powerful header that hits the keeper and ricochets back out, right to the foot of Zoltan Harsanyi who fires it into the net!!! 3-0
68': Ademola in for Downes, who played great in the 2nd half but he's my newest signing and didn't get fully fit in all the friendlies like everyone else. Herd in for Pulis.
72': Ogogo with the ball near midfield, he fires a long pass forward to Subotic, a through ball finds Harsanyi open, he strikes it by the keeper and into the net! Tranmere plead for offisdes, but no. What an opener!!! 4-0
76': Clapham in for Jesus, just to get the last remaining new guy into the game today.
90': After a Tranmere foul just outside the area, Clapham fires a free kick off the right post, the keeper dives for it but it bounces back into play. Subotic is first to the rebound and puts the ball into the essentially empty net! 5-0
Woking 5 : 0 Tranmere
WELL THEN. Welcome to League 2 fellows. I think that there is a very good chance that Jesus will be one of my favorite players ever by the end of this season. I won't make any other claims based on one game against what may well be a team crumbling after relegation. But Jesus and Christian Smith both really really stood out today. Jesus remember has a 16 dribbling rating and a 13 crossing rating. He was able to get free and cross the ball so damn often once we set him up. He's going to be deadly.
And Christian Smith won everything in the back, just one game but he and Mike Williams looked like rocks back there.
for the game, we took 24 shots, placing 10 on target. Tranmere took 3, all of them long, none of them on target.
Man of the match: Subotic (9.6!!, 2 goals, 2 assists)
Goals: Harsanyi (9.4, 2 goals, 1 assist), Jesus (8.5, 1 goal).
assists: Clapham (6.9, 1 assist), Pulis (7.1, 1 assist)
Others: Ogogo (8.0), Nikolaou (8.0), Smith (8.2), Williams (7.7), O'Sullivan (8.5), Downes (7.0).
Repeating to myself over and over: Its just one game. Its just one game. Its just one game :D
We play our first ever league cup match in just 4 days against Championship squad Charlton.
August 14th, 2013
League Cup Round 1
Charlton @ Woking
We're 9-1 dogs here, they're 1:4 favorites. Do we even try? We play our next league match in 3 days. I've never given up on a match that meant something before, but we play on the 17th and 20th in league play. We're playing our backups today.
I have to say, outside of our strikers, its really a decent lineup. Key highlights only today unless we look to have a shot at the miracle.
19': Oh horseshit. We're playing really well, we take the first 3 shots, two of them are key highlights and we look threatening... then they counter after a missed shot, cross into the area... Fenton commits a penalty. They bury it. Guh. 0-1
28': Scary, they center the ball outside the area and a rocket of a shot goes off the crossbar.
HALF: Things fly by after that, Charlton was scouted as a defensive team and appear to be able to shut us down after getting the lead. We'll give it our best though. We take 4 shots, they take 3. None of ours are on target though, and 2 of theirs are, one of them being the penalty of course.
46': We kick off, build up a bit, Clapham crosses to Ademola who puts a header off the crossbar, so close!
47': They counter after our shot and end up with a striker one on one against Lynch, and he buries it, ouch. From excitement to dread in just a moment. 0-2
54': We try to attack and it leaves us open. They get a nice through ball, Thomas doesn't defend it well, clear cut strike, easy goal. 0-3 It was fun guys but lets defend and dig in.
58': Breakaway.. wow great speedy run by a striker right by Fenton. Embarrassing. Dude just sprinted the last 40 yards in after receivign a pass and just ran right by our defense for an easy goal. 0-4
76': Harsanyi in for Cousins who may be a bit hurt here. Nikolaou in for Sloma.
90': Pulis with a great long ball from just behind the midfield stripe, Harsanyi runs past the defense and is first to it, he gets into the area and buries a shot, no chance for the keeper. 1-4
91': They pile on, basically doing the exact same thign to us. A long pass from midfield, great first touch by a forward, easy goal. 1-5
Woking 1 : 5 Charlton
Harsanyi earns a 7.2 for his goal in short work. Pulis a 7.5, he stood out as the only solid performer today really. Anane 5.4, Sloma 5.8, Thomas 5.6, Fenton 4.6, Sole 5.2.
Not unexpected, but that was rough.
-- In other news, the next game for North American World Cup Qualifying was today. The US only manages a 0:0 draw at Canada. Honduras and Mexico roll on and seem locks to make the world cup. The US missed their chance to put Canada in their place here and remains in a perilous 4th place.
After 6 matches:
Mexico - 16 points
Honduras - 12 points
Canada - 8 points
USA - 7 points
Guatemala - 5 points
Costa Rica - 1 point
US hosts Guatemala on 9/7 and travels to Costa Rica on 9/11. Their last two matches are against the top two, Honduras and Mexico. Best take care of business against the two lower squads.
-- In Europe, Germany, Holland, England, Italy, France, Slovakia and Croatia seem pretty safe to win their groups. Russia and the Czech Republic are locked in a tight race for a group. The big news though is with 6 out of 10 matches played, Spain sits in 3rd place in group 2 (need to finish 2nd for any shot at all to qualify). They are tied for 2nd in points with Turkey, same goal differential too, but Turkey has more goals. I assume they'll make it but that's the most excitement in qualifying in Europe by far.
-- In another group, Greece and Portugal are tied with 4 matches to play, Greece leads goal differential by one.
August 17th, 2013
Woking (1st) @ Oxford
Yeah, I don't expect us to be in first for a long time in League 2 after this, so I'm noting it right there!
Oxford are 4:5 favorites, we are 3:1 dogs. Could be worse on the road. Oxford were in league 2 for awhile early in the century, got demoted down to the BS Premier in 2005/06 and took 5 seasons to make it back up to league 2. They've done well, finishing 14th and 11th in league 2 the last two years since making it back up.
Oxford's last season in the BS Premier was our first season there. They beat us twice that year. They're coming off a 1:0 victory over Ipswich from the championship in the first round of the league cup. Hopefully they played their starters and are tired.
Same lineup from opening day with one change:
Downes is still finding his fitness, Ademola will almost surely need to be subbed out but he'll last longer at AMR. Pulis is another near guarenteed sub.
Note: I really enjoy typing Ogogo.
Oxford run a 4-1-2-2-1 with a DMC, two MC's and two attacking wingers. Left Winger Joe McCann, on loan from Leeds, has been identified as one of their biggest threats. He looks a lot like Jesus actually, with stronger mental attributes(17 flair wow), that worries me.
Extended highlights today.
8': A bit of a surprise, striker Taylor receives a pass 25 yards out and turns and takes a very quick shot. Lynch just can't react in time and it beats him to the left side of the net. 0-1
12': Short corner for their striker Taylor again, O'Sullivan makes a very poor effort to win possession, Taylor shrugs it off and fires a shot home. 0-2
19': Nikolaou is shaken up after colliding with an attacker, we'll see how he does after coming back in.
22': I'm noticing that we're scrambling to knock balls behind for corners where in our first match we were winning everything before it got dangerous.
30': Things are bunched up tightly but O'Sullivan feeds a nice ball through to Subotic. They are able to get the ball behind for a corner before Subotic can line up a shot. Nice play though.
43': Jesus with his first good cross into the area, Subotic heads it over though.
HALF: Subotic has a horrid half. Ademola isn't playing great either. This match could really easily be scoreless though, no clear cut chances, possession, shots taken, corners are all pretty much even but they had two outstanding finishes.
63': Sloma in for Nikolaou.
75': Herd in for Pulis, Downes in for Ademola.
85': Easily our best chance of the day, we win the ball i nthe midfield and Harsanyi with a quick counter, he runs down the left side, places a solid cross and Subotic with a powerful header low that the keeper has to dive for... close.
Oxford 2 : 0 Woking
That was a bit disappointing. They made two really good plays to get two early goals and then dug in and there was no recovering. possession even, shots about even, they only put 3 on target, we only put 1 on target (out of 10 and 8 respectively). Its really impossible to tell how we could have fared without the awful start though.
O'Sullivan puts up a 7.1. Subotic ends up with a 5.8, mainly for losing out on a number of headers. No one else really stood out as especially poor or anything.
We're up again in 3 days in a big game hosting Rushden, another recent promotee to League two.
Johnstone's Paint Trophy 1st Round Draw
So this appears to be a competition just between league 1 and league 2 teams. Alrighty then. 24 teams in a southern divisoin and 24 in a northern divisoin. 8 randomly draw byes in each division. We're one of them. I guess we've exceeded expectations, as we're into round 2.
August 20th, 2013
Rushden @ Woking
We are 6:4 favorites at home here, basically a coinflip. We're 1-2-3 lifetime against these guys, the only time we beat them was nearly 2 years ago in Sept of 2011. They are led by striker Sam Smith, a fairly prolific scorer who led them in the BS Premier league as well.
We make just a couple lineup changes since we're going on short rest for a stretch here:
1': We kick off, Jesus receives a pass, charges down the left sideline, feeds a great cross to Subotic, his header is barely saved by the keeper, winning us a corner, we can't do anything w/ the corner though.
9': Gorgeous through ball from O'Sullivan from a very long way out to Downes, Downes puts it into the near side of the net... offsides, it didn't seem offsides at all in real time, sad.
16': Pulis with a poor pass in the midfield, leading to a breakaway for Sam Smith, he gets into the box and fires a hard shot... Lynch is there and Williams clears. Great save.
22': Christian Smith gets a yellow for a challenge on a header.
35': A couple frustrating sequences have occurred where we are controlling possession but can't seem to advance the ball closer than 35 yards or so, just passing laterally until we lose it.
38': A counter for us after a corner, Subotic ends up deep in the right corner, he controls the ball well, fires a pass to Pulis who is about 20 yards out, he strikes it hard and it beats the keeper, going into the left side of the net!! Great goal, not an easy one at all. 1-0
46': Lynch scoops up a very long ball from one of their midfielders, he throws it to Nikolaou who launches a long pass ahead for Jesus, Jesus beats his man and races down the sideline with no one in front of him, creating some holes in the middle as the defense adjusts. He gets the ball to Harsanyi in the left corner of the penalty box, he fires a shot that goes JUST wide to the right. Great run by Jesus, close.
HALF: We are in control of the possession, but it really seemed like both teams had about the same number of threatening attacks, we had 3 or 4 trips where we just held the ball and couldn't find an opening at all. We do have 7 shots to their 4, just 3 on target for us, 2 on target for them.
48': A nice give and go between Jesus and Harsanyi leads to a shot from 15 yards out by Jesus, its aimed well at the left post, the keeper turns it away though, corner comes to nothing.
52': After some buildup, Rushden quickly reverse field from right to left, finding left midfielder Tomlin for a clean strike from the left side of the penalty area that just beats Lynch. 1-1
61': Clapham in for Jesus, who is pretty tired.
65': Sam Smith with his second clear cut chance after catching Smith out of position, Lynch with another great save... close.
69': Herd in for O'Sullivan for fresh legs. Sole in for Harsanyi to try to shake things up and generate some offense.
75': We switch from a standard to attacking mindset. We're playing to win at home dammit.
78': We steal possession in midfield, Sole receives the ball, places a nice pass forward for Clapham, who takes a very weak, poor shot that the keeper saves easily.
83': Subotic beats the offside trap, running on to a through ball from Pulis. He gets a clear cut chance and strieks a point blank shot wide to the left. Can't miss that one buddy.
86': Subotic takes a long pass, turns and puts a ball right to the foot of an onrushing Downes coming in from the right side. He strikes it hard, but its saved.
92': VERY lucky for us, our defense is lazy and Sam Smith runs on to a long ball played by the defense, our DC's just let him run by.. he gets a clear cut shot, and puts it over.
Woking 1 : 1 Rushden
We generated a lot of chances in the second half, ending up with 20 shots and 4 clear cut chances, Rushden only had 10 shots though they did have 3 clear cut chances of their own.
Anthony Pulis earns man of the match with our only goal and a 7.8 rating. Subotic with the assist puts up a 7.5. Elsewhere: Downes (7.1), Jesus (7.0).
Harsanyi struggled a bit with a 6.6 rating when most everyone was in the 6.8-6.9 range, but we had a hard time getting him the ball too.
August 24th, 2013
Woking @ Wycombe
Wycombe are 4:5 favorites at their house today. Wycombe got out of the equivalent of the BS Premier back in 1993 and haven't looked back. They went up from league 2 to league 1 in 1994, stayed in league 1 for a decade, and have been bouncing back and forth for the last 10 years. They've finished 21st, 17th, and 18th in league 2 the last 3 years.
Back to the opening day starting lineup for us, just with Ademola over Downes.
Our coaches, scouts, and the pregame report all identify different players as Wycombe's big threats, and they all look to suck... I feel like we ought to have more talent here.
We open up in a defensive mindset on the road.
5': Subotic picks up an injury, he's down under 70% fitness and is listed as hurt so this may be more than a one game deal.
8': Their left midfielder Atkinson is FAST. He's dominating Ogogo one on one
19': Their man Atkinson got by Ogogo again receiving a pass, their first clear cut chance, saved well by Lynch.
HALF: with extended highlights there were a couple things not worth noting before going into the half. They control possession 57/43, they take 6 shots to our 1, and their AML Atkinson terrifies me countless times.
I use two of my subs at the half. Anane in for Ogogo. Ogogo "likes to get forward whenever possible" and seems to be struggling to sit in a defensive mindset. Sole in for Subotic who is hurt and just playing poorly.
58': We beat them to a ball in our end after a corner, Pulis plays a long ball ahead, Harsanyi is first to it but has a defender right on his heels. He tries to slide it to Sole who is coming in hard from the right but the pass is just a little off and the defense clears it before we can generate a shot.
79': Herd in for O'Sullivan. We still only have one shot today. I'm terrified to come out of our defensive shell though.
93': We generate two attacks in extra time, the first one though Herd puts a long shot miles wide. The second one Sole tries to pass the ball back to a midfielder and misplays it, leading to a furious 2 on 2 attack for Wycombe. We are able to block a shot and force a corner, we end up desparately defending the final 2 minutes but hold on.
Wycombe 0 : 0 Woking
Man of the Match is DL Jordan Clarke, one of my favorite players that I've loaned in multiple times, he's now on loan with Wycombe.
On our side: Lynch (7.2), Smith (7.4), O'Sullivan (7.1), Ademola (7.1), Anane (7.1).
Anane in for Ogogo was a very key sub for me, Ogogo was going to cause us to lose there.
Subotic is out 5-7 days with a bruised rib.
Welcome MC Matthew Ball to Woking. He is a reserve on League 1 side Norwich. We scout him as "much better than our leading midfielder" (who that #1 midfielder is varies depending on scout between Herd/Pulis/O'Sullivan) and a player "who would be a leading star for a League 2 side"
Ball is 20 years old with good physical attributes, 10 pace/13 accel, 14 jumping/14 strength to help with those balls in the air in the midfield.
17 teamwork, 13 work rate, 13 determination are some great mental attributes, good positioning, good off the ball.
16 passing with a good first touch(12) gets me quite excited. Our midfield is crowded but this is too good to pass up.
And here's the controversial move of the season. I seem to take a leap of faith every year, and here it is. Even though I like my midfield, I like O'Sullivan and Pulis, Arter and Herd are acceptable backups who play very well at times, it seems like we have the chance to build a spectacular midfield, and I'm shaking things up and doing so.
Welcome MC Ed Upson, 23 years old, signed from League 1 side Preston. Our new loaner Ball was scouted as "a leading League 2 star", Upson is scouted as "a good signing for a League 1 side". A stronger physical speciamn than Ball, 12 pace/12 accel, 17 jumping (with 13 heading to go with it). A hard worker (13), good decision maker (13), 8-10 ratings everywhere else in the mental area.
His technical attributes are all around very very solid. 11 dribbling, 13 passing, 13 heading, 12 first touch, 12 technique, 9 marking/9 tackling for a potential to be slightly more defensive minded when O'Sullivan or Ball are in the Advanced Playmaker role. He really seems to not have weak spots.
This does open up the possibility of playing a 4-1-2-2-1 formation with a DMC, two central midfielders, two wingers and just one striker, though more likely we put Ball/Upson/O'Sullivan/Pulis in heavy rotation together and jettison Arter or Herd.
oh yeah, signing Upson puts me at my wage limit. Upson is going to earn $2600/wk and is now my highest paid player along with Ogogo. Upson was brought in for free with the promise to give half of his next sale money back to Preston.
--Woking's fans are thrilled about the signing of Ed Upson.
-- Harry Arter is 23 years old but much much less talented than any of these guys. I transfer list him.
And... 2 days before teh end of August we finalize our long term loaners for the year. I sorted for players listed for loan, told my assistant to sort out unreasonable candidates and offered the 4 best strikers still left loans. three rejected, but one is coming in.
Welcome 19 y/o ST Pablo, a reserve for Aston Villa in the Premiership valued at $1 million.
haha. Wow, usually (always) when I loan someone in the coach or a player for the team says something about how he's happy for his player to get a chance for first team football, some that I've loaned from multiple times state they have a good relationship with me... how about this:
Young Glad to see Pablo Leave
Aston Villa's Ashley Young has revealed that Pablo's departure on loan to Woking has brought a breath of fresh air to Villa Park.
Young told The League Paper that the striker was being blamed for a lack of unity in the Aston Villa dressing room and it coudl be best for all concerned if this move could be made permanent.
That's a first for me. We'll see what happens.
Pablo is fast, knows how to put himself in a position to score and can do so with a bit of flair. 13 pace/14 acce/14 agility, nothing else below 11 either there. 13 determination/11 flair/14 off the ball/9 teamwork/13 work rate. He's got a good first touch and a good header, his finishing isn't quite as good as some, just 9 there, but if he can get open and use that speed he'll be ok.
With the Pablo signing we now have 4 year long loaners and are at our max wage budget. We're likely done for awhile outside of probably selling off Arter if we can find a buyer.
August 31st, 2013
Crewe Alexandra(1-0-3, 20th) @ Woking(1-2-1, 11th)
Crewe are 5:4 favorites, we're 7:4 today at home. We've never met before.
29 y/o striker Clayton Donaldson has 3 goals so far, and their most dangerous player is identified by my coaches and scouts as MR Kyle Bennett, a strong overall player with a near 7 average so far for a team that is losing which is pretty solid. We'll attempt to close down on Bennett.
I'm starting two of my new guys tonight, Ball and Pablo(Subotic is not fully ready after his injury anyway), with Upson likely coming in off the bench:
25': Its been even so far, Harsanyi just had our first good chance, turning by a defender and taking a shot at the 18 yard line, but just missing. I've seen Ball get his head to some loose balls flying through the midfield that most players I would imagine would have to try to run behind and trap, maybe jjust b/c I'm looking for that though :D
38': A long ball from Nikolaou finds Harsanyi in open space... it would seem way offsides but they have a defender down on the other side of the field. Harsanyi strikes quickly and scores... but he is deemed offsides. Seemed too good to be true, and it was.
HALF: The numbers say Crewe is outperforming us, with 7 shots/3 on target. We have 3 shots, all off target. But i'm not really unhappy either, I'm liking what I'm seeing from Ball, I do wish we could generate some more offensive chances, and hopefully we will in the second half, but we're doing ok so far.
46': Crewe midfielder Webster picks up a yellow for a tackle on Ball.
46': Crewe striker zola picks up a yellow for a challenge almost immediately after our free kick.
49': Our two new guys hook up, Ball with a pass to Pablo who tries a shot from 20 yards out, it bends wide though.
58': Jesus clears a ball away from a defender and goes down hurt. He is on the sideline for awhile and down under 50% fitness. He's done as soon as i get a sub in.
58': Upson in for Ball, Ball isn't match fit and I knew he coudln't bo the distance here.
62': Clapham in for Jesus.
64': We counter quickly after an attack breaks down, Harsanyi charges down the left side with the ball, places a dangerous cross right through the 6 yard box, the keeper doesn't try to go get it, Downes runs onto it perfectly and taps it into the net. 1-0
79': I don't really want to use Sole here, so I sub in Chris Herd for Pablo, put Herd at DMC, Harsanyi alone at striker and go 4-1-2-2-1. I also change to a counter attacking strat.
88': Clapham is down in the box after going up to head away a corner. He stays on the pitch but looks hurt.
91': They're trying to pour it on, one good looking chance sees a poor shot go over, another is a fantastic save by Lynch.
We survive a 4 minute siege in extra time and pull this one off.
Woking 1 : 0 Crewe
One of their defenders, Patrick Ada, puts up a 7.5 and man of the match in the loss.
Scorer Downes earns a 7.2 for us. Assist man Harsanyi a 6.9. Elsehwere the defense came up really big: Lynch (7.3), Ogogo (7.2), Nikolaou (7.3), Smith (7.2).
Upson was 4 for 4 on headers but otherwise didn't do a lot in his 30 minutes. Ball put up a 6.8, winning 5 headers in the middle and completing 10 of 16 passes. Pablo took 3 shots and put one on target earning a 6.6, I didn't really see much of him in those extended highlights.
-- One general note on this team that I hadn't thought about going into the season. I complained a lot in past years about poor corner kick defense, guys just losing headers and allowing shots to come in at will off corner kicks. We have given up one corner kick goal on a short corner. I keep getting notes from my assistant about Christian Smith "winning everything in the air" and Smith, Williams, and today Ball and Upson all weer winning headers like crazy clearing corners. We seem so far to have gone from a team that had a very weak corner defense to a team that isn't going to allow the other team to touch the ball most of the time. Smith 13-16 in the air, Williams 7-10, each with 4 key headers.
Jesus has a twisted knee and will be out 2-3 weeks. This hurts our talent there for sure (he's averaging a 7.14 rating so far and looks great), but Sam Sloma is still on the roster so this gives Clapham a chance to show what he can do and we've got the depth still.
September looks super busy though we're out of the League Cup and tehre's a lot of international stuff listed in this report, so it should be fine for us.
-- Grimsby striker Tom Corner is young player of the month with a 7.36 rating in 5 matches. That's interesting because we could have had him, I made an offer to Grimsby but still had too many holes to fill and backed off. Joe O'Sullivan is 3rd in the young player of the month voting with a 7.40 rating in 4 appearances.
-- Nikolaou is called up for U21 Cyprus international matches on 9/6 and 9/10. He'll miss some time for us.
-- The board is pleased with my leading of the team. not surprisingly, our 5-0 win over tranmere is the highlight, our 5-1 loss to Charlton in the league cup is the lowlight.
-- Kevin Lynch is named in the league 2 team of the week. I'm really happy to see Lynch get some recognition, though in part that is because we are having to withstand massive attacks from some of these teams.
After one month we're 9th in the league, only 1 point out of a playoff spot (4 teams get promoted, 3 automatic and then the 4 team playoff). We've got a 7:3 goal differential and I am really really happy with our play so far and excited about this season.
-- Oh right I forgot about our bye in the Johnstone Paint Trophy, I saw on the schedule the round 2 draw but didn't see our game, duh. Nifty, round 1 was on 9/3 and our next league match is on 9/7, we'll be playing a team on shorter rest than us.
-- Ricky Anane has food poisoning and will be weakened for 4-5 days.
-- Nifty! Stelios Nikolaou picks up an assist and is dominant for Cyprus' U21 team, earning an 8.4 rating and man of the match in a 2-nil win over Kazakhastan.
Johnstone's Paint Trophy Round 2 Draw
We will travel to fellow League 2 side Exeter on October 9th.
September 7th, 2013
Woking (2-2-1, 9th) @ Notts Co(1-1-3, 16th)
Notts are favored here at home, even money to win. We're 11:5 dogs. We've never played them before.
With Jesus and Nikolaou out, Pablo and Ball not fully match fit we change things up a good deal today.
Notts Co runs a 3-4-3 formation with three FC's. I don't think i've ever played against that before.
We'll open up looking to counter attack.
18': notts puts a shot way over... noteworthy b/c its the first shot of the match for either team 18 minutes in.
26': We start out attacking, Upson takes a shot fro 20 yards out that's saved. Their keeper throws it in and starts a break, with a rright side midfielder getting very deep and firing a low cross into the far end of the 6 yard box where they get a forward onto it for an easy goal. Looked a ton like our goal in our last match. I missed all the names when watching it heh. 0-1
32': Smith with a yellow for us going after a long ball.
HALF: the half ends quickly after that. they manage 6 shots to our 1. We are really having a hard time generating shots right now. Fenton has an awful 5.5 half and I fear he is just too past his prime, I'm bringing Thomas in now.
46': Very disappointing start. They take the opening kickoff and go straight down the field with a very nice through ball played from one foward to another, the right side foward putting an easy shot in the net. 0-2
58': A great run down the left side from Clapham, a cross into the box, maybe slightly long, Subotic gets his head to it but its in the side netting.
62': All my subs are gone. Sloma in for a tired Clapham, Ball in for a tired Upson.
74': Mike Williams picks up a yellow tackling a guy who was speeding past him.
78': Ball plays a great ball foward for a cutting Downes who scores.. but he looked offsides in real time, and yeah, he was. No goal.
84': We crowd things up on offense, Pulis gets a nice pass to Ball in the area and he has a great chance but strikes it right at the keeper.
90': Sloma goes down hurt, ugh. Play stops, and we formup in a 4-3-2 to finish out extra time.
Notts Co 2 : 0 Woking
A disappointing one here, we looked totally outclassed. Ogogo played well (7.3), and that's it. Fenton and Thomas both looked terrible with 5.5 and 5.6 ratings, and there were a number of low-mid 6's as well. Downes, Upson Ball had 6.8s and 6.9s and were good today.
We are struggling to generate shots. outshot 13-5 today, and that's becoming a pattern.
Sam Sloma has a broken arm and is out for a month. Harsanyi is a competant AML, he may see some significant time there soon. That's it for tonight though.
September 14th, 2013
Port Vale (1-1-4, 21st) @ Woking (2-2-2, 11th)
We are 5:4 favorites at home against a team that is struggling quite a bit early on. Port Vale has been a mid-high table finisher in League 2 for the last few years, they won in the playoffs in 10/11 to get up to league one but immediately fell back down.
Jesus will be back soon for us, today I'm going with Harsanyi at AML though:
DEF: Nikolaou, Williams, Smith, Ogogo
MC: Ball, O'Sullivan
AM: Harsanyi, Downes
ST: Subotic, Pablo
2': Ball receives a pass in midfield, he skirts two defenders, runs 30 yards with the ball himself, there really isn't anyone avaiable so he tries a strike from 18 yards out... its wide, but that was really pretty.
13': Subotic with a thunderous free kick from 30 yards out, just off the crossbar, offsides on the rebound though.
14': They counter and cross, we head the cross out, they get to it from 25 yards out and a strike just hits our crossbar.
32': The first on target shot from either team comes from Subotic, Ball wins a header in midfield, feeds Ball who feeds Subotic, its not a real strong challenge but at least he made the keeper pick up a shot.
38': Port Vale earns a corner, they cross it in, we block a shot, they shoot again, we block a shot, the ball falls to Nikolaou who basically whiffs on a clearance it seems, and they put it in the net. 0-1
41': Downes a cross, Subotic a header, its by the keeper, hits the bottom of the crossbar... and bounces back out into play instead of into the net, urgh!
HALF: Frustrating half, woodwork 3 times for us, we take 7 shots but only 1 on target, they take 6, just one on target but its the goal. Possession is about even but we aren't really playing that great, I try to fire up some passion in the locker room and send them out for the second half.
48': They build up possession, work it down the right sideline, there's a cross and we don't defend well at all, their striker Barton heads it by Lynch and into the net. 0-2
50': Attacking mindset I suppose.
63': Really!? short corner taken by Downes to Williams, Wiliams plays it back to Downes, he lays a nice ball off to Ball, who strikes it from 15 yards out... and hits the crossbar. UGH!
69': Downes with a cross into the area, they head it away, O'Sullivan is there though and plays a quick through ball to Clapham who directs it with his first touch past the keeper and into the net! Finally. 1-2
90': O'Sullivan a yellow... 90, really? Yup, the last 20 minutes burned off without anything happening at all for an extended highlight.
Woking 1 : Port Vale 2
We outshoot them 14-9, each team only has two shots on target, they scored with both, we scored with one. But we hit the woodwork FIVE times. I've never seen that before. It feels like that's a game we clearly should have won, and losing at home to a bottom of the table team is not good for us. This one was frustrating to watch.
O'Sullivan puts up a 7.4 rating and earns man of the match even in the loss today with the assist.
Clapham only played 35 minutes but got a goal and a 7.2 rating.
On the negative Ogogo and Nikolaou put up 5.8 and 5.7 ratings, Subotic a 6.2. Subotic had 6 of our shots and only put one on target, a striker's got to do more.
--Reserve ML Josh Coke is released, he's 22 years old, he has some limited skills but would never play for us unless we were in big trouble. He started making noise this week about wanting first team soccer, so I give him his walking papers and wish him well.
World Cup Qualifying
With two games played last week the US have very slightly improved their standing. On 9/7 they beat Guatemala at home 1-0 as they needed to do. On 9/11 they were only able to manage a draw at Costa Rica. Costa Rica has fallen apart and is 0-2-6 in this qualifying, needed to win there.
The US was 1 point behind Canada, who beat Costa Rica and lost to Mexico. So the US gains a point and is now tied, but Canada leads by 3 in goal differential.
With 8 out of 10 matches played:
1. Mexico - 22 points - clinched world cup bid
2. Honduras - 13 points - clinched 4th for a playoff spot
3. Canada - 11 points, 14 goals for/11 goals against
4. USA - 11 points, 10 goals for/10 goals against
5. Guatemala - 6 points
6. Costa Rica - 2 points
The good news is that the US is at home for their final two matches. The... other news... is that the two matches are against the top two teams, Honduras and Mexico. Perhaps the US won't get a top effort from either since they've already reserved spots.
Canada travels to Guatemala and then hosts Honduras.
With 5 points on Guatemala and 2 matches to play, it would take an epic failure to not at least finish 4th which earns a playoff with a south american team for qualification. It'd sure be nice to somehow bump ahead of Canada for 3rd though.
Over to Europe, only 3 teams have qualified with one month to go, Croatia, France, and England.
Other notable teams:
Slovakia 19 points
Spain 17 points
Turkey 13 points
w/ 2 matches left, Spain needs some help to win their group but looks fine for the playoffs.
Russia 17 points
Czech Republic 15 points (+11 GD)
Slovenia 15 points (+3 GD)
Portugal 19 points
Greece 19 points
both teams have a +11 differntial. Awesomely enough, Portugal hosts Greece in the next match.
Italy 18 points
Switzerland 14 points
Italy should be fine.
Holland 19 points
Belgium 18 points
Scotland 15 points
Holland should be ok too but there is the danger of a slip.
Germany 16 points
Serbia 11 points
This is the 5 team group so they only play 8 matches. Germany is 5-1-0 with 2 left, they are in great shape as well.
In both North America and Europe, World Cup Qualifying finishes around October 16th.
September 21st, 2013
Woking(2-2-3, 14th) @ Brighton(0-4-3, 23rd)
Brighton are 4:5 favorites at home despite a 2:10 goal differential in their first 7 matches and no wins.
Jesus is back to full training, he probably can't go the whole match today but we'll start him to get him back out there. Anane gets some action over Ogogo as well.
12': Pablo shows some great control receiving a pass in the penalty area, dribbling through the defense, feeding the ball back out to Nikolaou, who crosses right back in and Harsanyi is there to head the ball past the helpless keeper! 1-0 This ends a long goal drought for Harsanyi.
30': Midfielder Crofts with a yellow for a hard tackle on O'Sullivan.
31': Upson with a hard strike from 20 yards out that the keeper is able to deflect.
45': Brighton win a corner, they take it low to the near side and we are not really defending well at all, there's a shot, its blocked by someone and Nikolaou is first to the loose ball to clear it, that was dangerous.
HALF: Not a lot of highlights here but we definitely have the upper hand today. 58/42 edge in possession, 4 shots for us with 2 on target, 3 shots for them, none on target.
64': After countless attacks that came to absolutely nothing for us, we control possession, go down the left side to Jesus, he cuts in a bit, O'Sullivan makes a run up the middle and no defender follows him at all, a completely free run into the area, Jesus plays a ball forward to him, O'Sullivan receives it and puts it by the keeper from about 10 yards out. 2-0
66': Brighton attack and win a corner. they get to this one, winning a header and directing it well by Lynch into the net. first poor corner defense for us all year. 2-1
71': Clapham in for Jesus.
76': Pulis in for Upson.
79': Clapham has a free kick from 30 yards out, he strikes it low just past the wall, the ball bends slightly and just goes into the left side of the net!!! 3-1
We defend the rest of the way and allow a couple corners but nothing dangerous.
Brighton 1 : 3 Woking
We needed this one, a solid road win after a disappointing home loss, outstanding!
Joe O'Sullivan is man of the match today with an assist and a goal, his assist must have been on the free kick (the man getting fouled?). He earns an 8.9 rating.
Goals: Harsanyi (7.4) and Clapham (7.3)
Assists: Nikolaou (7.6) and Jesus (6.9)
Everyone else on the team put up a 6.8 or 6.9 today, we really played well.
September 28th, 2013
Macclesfield (1-0-7, 24th) @ Woking (3-2-3, 12th)
We're even money favorites against the worst team in the league. Macclesfield boss Dean Thomas reveals in his press conference that he "fears" the threat Joe O'Sullivan brings and containing him is key to slowing us down.
We played Macclesfield twice 2 seasons ago in the BS Premier League, they got promoted a year before we did. We beat them at home and tied on the road.
We bring Ogogo back in on defense, otherwise keep the same lineup from our last match.
13': Harsanyi controls the ball in the area, lays it out left for Jesus who crosses it in, Pablo with a header.... it hits the right post, so close!
20': Macclesfield with a poor turnover in midfield, Upson with a quick long ball forward, Pablo is behind the defense, a solid first touch to set up a shot, he fires it from the right side to the far post by the keeper and in! 1-0 That's the first assist for Upson I think, and definitely the first goal for Pablo for us.
43': We win possession in our end and quickly advance the ball, Pablo has it 40 yards out with a lot of room, he moves up some before finding Harsanyi, Harsanyi has a defender on him but manages a shot... barely saved by the keeper, a nice move for us regardless.
HALF: In extra time we allow Macclesfield their first two corner kicks. Upson heads them both away. Macclesfield has not taken a single shot yet, outside of those two corners every single highlight was our attacks. Worth noting is that Ed Upson has a 7.7 rating at halftime, a rare thing with just one assist, he has a couple key passes, he's won 5 of 6 headers, including the 2 key ones in corner defense, and is just generally playing great.
52': Defender Draper for Macclesfield with a yellow while tackling Harsanyi.
56': O'Sullivan starts the attack, passing ahead to Upson who gets a great through ball to Pablo, Pablo strikes it from 20 yards out and its a good deal wide, but he made a great run to get open, perhaps he could have tried to keep going into the box, but ah well.
65': O'Sullivan a yellow competing for a loose ball.
76': Macclesfield take their first shot of the day, a header that is well wide.
77': Ball in for Upson, Ademola in for Downes
81': Jesus with a cross into the area, Pablo goes down while going up for a header... PENALTY! Jesus will take it... he strikes it, basically directly at the keeper, who blocks it without moving. Ouch.
87': Harsanyi gets hit and is a little hurt, hopefully not enough to matter long term, but I bring in Subotic anyway.
92': Macclesfield earn a corner, its taken, there is a header, Lynch dives and makes the save. The second shot of the day, the first one on target (though it really looked to be going wide and Lynch was just playing it safe...)
Woking 1 : 0 Macclesfield
We manage 11 shots, 4 on target, they take 2 and put just 1 on target. This one feels like we should have won by lots more, especially with the penalty missed by Jesus, but also since we had the ball in their end most of the match it seems and did generate a number of threatening looks.
Upson is man of the match today, he put up an 8.4 rating before being subbed out, he had the assist on our only goal.
Our goal scorer, Pablo, earns a 7.4 rating. Ogogo a 7.1, Nikolaou a 7.0. Downes struggled with a 6.1 today, everyone else was up close to 7.
--The board is pleased with my leading of the team. bringing in Jesus on loan is the high point, while our 5-1 league cup loss to Charlton still stings. We lost $152,000 last month. We're not making nearly enough to cover our increased expenses, despite the fact that our team's average salary is barely half the league average.
-- Wycombe's Jordan Clarke wins another young player of the month award. Joe O'Sullivan is 2nd this month.
-- QPR has offered striker Tommy Hicks to us on loan. He seems decent but i dunno if we can really take on another striker. He's deciding whether to come still...
October 1st, 2013
Woking (4-2-3, 9th) @ Exeter(4-0-5, 14th)
We're 7:4 dogs here, while Exeter are 5:4 favorites. I'm surprised its that close until I realize I had Exeter mixed up with Oxford and thought I was playing one of the best teams in the league, I'm not :P
Exeter Striker Luke Daley looks like a big problem. He's quite fast and has 4 goals and 2 assists in 8 matches so far. Exeter looks like a team that scores a lot but also gives up a lot of goals.
Anane is in today to help the defense against what looks like a quick offense (Ogogo getting too far foward could kill us here). A couple other subs are made for fitness reasons.
We'll try a counterattacking strategy today
4': Daley has two shots already, the second Lynch really made a spectacular diving save to get.
7': Harsanyi picks up an injury and is forced to come out... Subotic is in, hopefully this isn't long term.
14': The ball is headed around a couple times after an Exeter corner before one of their defenders gets off a strong volley that hits the crossbar. We're under heavy attack here heh.
30': We've switched to a defensive mindset and have settled things some.
HALF: Exeter manage 3 shots in the final 15 minutes, two way off and one a very weak effort that Lynch got easily.
We have 2 shots, neither on target, they have 11, 4 on target including 1 clear cut chance that Lynch made the great early save on. Our offensive guys are all playing very poorly the few times we have gotten the ball forward.
47': WTFWTFWTF. Lynch with a goal kick, their man heads it back towards the keeper. The keeper goes to scoop it up near the 6 yard box and... trips? just simply doesn't hold onto the ball. Pablo was tracking that way to pressure the keeper a bit. Pablo runs over and passes the ball into the empty net. Never seen anything close to that before. 1-0
51': WTFWTFWTF part 2. A long ball played forward by Exeter goes into the right corner of the penalty area. Lynch goes to scoop it up and apparently touches the ball inches outside the area. Or the ref is a moron, one of the two. Lynch gets a yellow card and is called for a handball, setting up a very dangerous free kick. They loft it into the area and Ball heads it out.
55': Subotic wins a ball in midfield, cuts right and blows right by a defender. He continues by himself, making it into the penalty area, taking a shot, but putting it just wide.
56': A counter from Exeter, they feed it forward to one of their strikers, Smith misses a tackle, allowing the striker to turn, play a ball through to Daley who runs onto it and puts it in. 1-1
65': After some Exeter possession they play a cross, Williams heads it out, but they get to it and head it back into the area, the ball hits the ground and striker Daghall is the first one to it, he easily puts it by Lynch. 1-2
65': Upson in for Ball, Jesus in for Clapham.
81': Two quick yellows for Exeter players rooney and uh, a defender whose name I forgot already.
87': Upson wins a ball in midfield, quickly feeds Subotic who plays a ball forward to Pablo, Pablo finds a big hole in the defense and makes it into the penalty area before easily beating the keeper! 2-2
92': O'Sullivan with a yellow for tripping Daley on a header. this was out near midfield though.
That'll do it, a very strange game here.
Exeter 2 : 2 Woking
We have to be pleased here, we got a fluke goal from a goalie mistake and pulled a draw despite being outshot 18-6 and Exeter having some very quick attackers that gave us a lot of trouble.
Pablo is man of the match with an 8.8 rating and both our goals.
Subotic had our only assist and a 7.0 rating.
Elsewhere: O'Sullivan 7.1.
Clapham was awful before coming out, 5.4 rating for him. Anane had a 6.2 and wasn't great either.
-- Brighton fire their head coach. I'm expected to be a top candidate for the job. I'm a little worried about Woking's potential in a 4500 capacity stadium. Brighton has a 25,000 arena. They are also in 23rd place after being predicted 1st by the media, which is terrifying. I decide I'll wait until our stadium actually starts limiting my advancement and issue a statement that I'm not interested in the job.
-- Harsanyi will be out for about a week, he'll miss one match, maybe two.
We're in 10th place with 10 matches down. Multiple teams still have 0 wins in league play and we are off to a great start for a team just expected to avoid relegation.
-- QPR Striker Tommy Hicks was willing to come to Woking but I guess the deal was going to default to "rest of the season" and we have reached our maximum for that already. Really with Harsanyi/Subotic/Pablo we don't need another striker anyway.
October 4th, 2013
Barnet (2-1-7, 21st) @ Woking (4-3-3, 10th)
We're pretty big 4:7 favorites here today against a struggling Barnet side. This is Barnet's 9th year in a row in League 2, their best finish being 12th in 2007/08.
Barnet striker Kofi Lockhart-Adams has 3 goals and 2 assists in 10 matches so far and is their highest rated player. His bravery sucks and we're going to close down and tackle hard to try to rattle him.
Some lineup changes today due to fatigue and Harsanyi's injury:
Pablo has 3 goals in our last two matches now.
3': O'Sullivan up to Pablo, Pablo runs right by one defender and strikes from about 19 yards out, the keeper makes the save, nice move to get open though.
14': Ogogo picks up a knock going in for a tackle, he doesn't have to come out but he's down to 70% fitness.
20': After a deep throwin, they get a header way up into the air, Lockhart-Adams gets his head to the ball in the 6 yard box and the trajectory of that header seems to have messed everyone up. His header gets by Lynch. 0-1
30': Our first clear cut chance comes after a bad throw by their keepr, Jesus steals it, charges down the right sideline, crosses to Subotic who heads it over... point blank basically...
39': Mike williams with a yellow going up for a header.
44': Striker beavon with a yellow for a foul near the penalty area on a corner kick
44': Jesus takes the free kick and it blasts off the left post and back into the penalty area. Subotic is in the right place at the right time and pokes the ball into the net while the keeper is down (he dove after the free kick). 1-1
HALF: A frustrating first half til the last minute there. Ogogo took much of the blame for the goal we allowed and Christian Smith is having a crappy half. We take 12 shots and put only 4 on target, they take 6 shots and put 3 on target. At least 2 of our on target shots were fairly weak efforts that had no shot of scoring, just playing catch with the keeper. Point being, I don't really feel like we've been *that* dominant despite the stats.
53': Barnet midfielder Sawyer gets a yellow for a tackle on Upson.
55': Pablo takes a pass about 20 yards out, he cuts by a defender... and instead of taking the ball into the area when he seemed to have an open lane, he shoots from there and puts it wide.
75': Upson with a great steal in their third of the field, he plays a nice ball forward to Subotic who takes a hard shot from just inside the penalty area, the keeper is able to deflect it. The ball falls to Downes but he isn't able to get a shot off before teh keeper recovers. We end up working it around for a cross and earn a corner. The corner comes to nothign.
77': Cousins in for Pablo, Thomas in for Nikolaou, Ball in for Upson, all done for fatigue reasons. We also switch to an attacking mindset.
90': Ball with a yellow for a bad tackle.
Woking 1 : 1 Barnet
The two chances I mentioned in the writeup above is pretty much all that either team generated all half. We only took 4 shots all half, they just took 2.
Subotic earns man of the match for his goal today, 7.2 rating.
Jesus earns a 6.8 rating and has the assist.
Other ratings: Nikolaou (7.0), O'Sullivan (7.0), Upson (7.1). Ogogo struggles with a 5.8.
The fans are pleased with our draw... funny, I'm not at all. Lots of times i'm happy with a result and the fans are mad, rarely the other way around.
-- DL Nikolaou will play for the Cyprus U21 squad on 10/11 and 10/15.
October 9th, 2013
Johnstone Paint Trophy 2nd Round
Woking @ Exeter
Well, we just played last week to a draw at their house. They're pickem favorites once again and we're going on very short rest and will play again in 3 more days, so we make the appropriate subs. We're not "throwing" this one but we can't run all our best guys 3 days in a week.
Luke Daley and their other striker Dagnall both threatened us a ton in the last match. We're not sitting back today to let their speed kill us. We're attacking, I kinda wanted to try this last game against Exeter, they seem like they score a lot but give up more. I'm a bit more comfortable trying it in a competition.
10': Daley with a clear cut chance on a great give and go from the right side of the area, Lynch with a great save.
19': Well if you allow 6 shots in 20 minutes don't be surprised if you give up a goal... midfielder Rooney puts one past Lynch in about as easy a goal as you'll see, the defense got out of position trying to defend the strikers and Rooney filled the open space. 0-1
27': And two of our newest players do it again! Upson with a very nice through ball past two defenders, Pablo runs on to it and hammers it by their keeper! 1-1
HALF: The final 20 minutes of the half FLY by. I'm really liking Upson and Pablo, this is looking like it could be a great combo for the rest of the season. Exeter takes 8 shots, putting 5 on target, we take 5 shots with 3 on target. All of them were in the first 30 minutes on both sides. Possession is about even and this is going to be an exciting second half, I'm continuing to attack, screw it.
55': After a long ball forward that is slowed nicely by the wet turf, Clapham takes a shot from the left side of the area, off the left post, argh. this actually generates a counter attack... no one got to it til nearly midfield.
68': O'Sullivan and Ball in for Pulis and Upson. "Upson is furious with being replaced" ... he was a bit tired heh.
74': Lynch with the massive fuckup. They take a goal kick, there's a header, the ball comes ALMOST into the penalty area but not quite, so Lynch has to come out and play it but can't pick it up. He misplays it and it falls right to Daley who puts it into the wide open net. 1-2
74': Ogogo in for Anane.
89': Ball wins a header in midfield, feeds Clapham ahead to the left side, he crosses, Subotic with the header... off the crossbar and straight up, a few crowd under it, keeper grabs it. AAAAAAAAAAGH
90': 5 minutes of extra time thanks to a couple injuries.
Lynch makes a number of great saves in the final 10 minutes as we go all out to try to score, but it doesn't help his awful mistake and we can't come through.
Exeter 2 : 1 Woking
Ed Upson earns man of the match in the loss, he played great and I learned to not take his ass out if he's playing well unless he's dying heh. 8.1 rating and our assist. 9 for 9 on headers for him.
Pablo has our goal and a 6.9 rating.
Clapham with a 7.0 and Nikolaou was great with a 7.6 rating. Lynch with a 5.9, Ananea 5.6. Fenton played well today in only his second appearance of the year with a 6.8 rating.
This wasn't a league match so the loss is fine but the error by lynch hurts. Also a couple guys picked up little injuries, I don't think it'll be long term for anyone but we are gonna be hurting for our next match.
-- Stelios Nikolaou played the second half of the U21 Cyprus vs Moldova match and earned a 6.9 rating, playing quite well.
October 12th, 2013
Woking (4-4-3, 10th) @ Morecambe(0-4-7, 24th)
Morecambe has fallen down to the last spot in the league and we are 4:5 favorites on the road. Morecambe is now the last team in the league without a win. Morecambe got knocked out of the Johnstone Paint Trophy early and they're going on a week's rest while we're going on 3 days rest.
Harsanyi is back from his short injury, Thomas is at DL with Nikolaou out for U21 duty.
13': We've got 5 shots but none on target, we seem clearly better so far. Harsanyi almost had a breakaway, the defender tracking him got in front of him at the last second to block a shot.
24': O'Sullivan with a nice feed to Harsanyi who plays an easy through ball to Downes who beat the offisdes trap and easily passes the ball into the right side of the net. 1-0
32': Upson with great control settling a ball that was cleared out by Morecambe, and a really nice pass forward to Pablo in traffic, Pablo takes a hard shot but the keeper saves it and it goes behind for a corner.
39': Jesus with a run down the left sideline, he plays a cross to the edge of the 6 yard box, the defense is just horrible, Pablo runs onto it and puts it into the net. A better defense would have sotpped that, we're getting multiple messages about Morcambe being totally demoralized. 2-0
47': Its the reverse of our last goal... O'sullivan gets the ball out wide to Downes, Downes charges down the right side, fires a cross into the area, Harsanyi runs onto the ball and easily places it into the net. 3-0
HALF: Its great to see this, Morecambe is just awful though, this is hilarious.
69': Pulis in for Upson. This is boring, we're gona win, etc.
79': Sloma in for Jesus, Fenton in for Smith, just using subs I don't usually get in.
Morecambe 0 : 3 Woking
Great win on the road today!
Aidan Downes earns man of teh match with a goal and an assist, great game for him and an 8.7 rating.
Goals: Harsanyi (8.1), Pablo (7.3)
Assists: Jesus (7.7), Harsanyi (8.1)
Others: Ogogo (7.4), Thomas (7.5), Williams (7.2), Upson (7.4)
The convincing win today moves us up to 8th, top 7 make the playoffs. We haven't played a lot of the top 7 teams and I expect a losing streak, but its great while it lasts!
Its a big day for US Soccer, results for North American Qualifying matches:
Costa Rica 1 : 3 Mexico
Guatemala 0 : 1 Canada
USA 2 : 0 Honduras
Standings with one match to play:
Mexico - 25 pts
Canada - 14 pts (+4 GD)
USA - 14 pts (+2 GD)
Honduras - 13 pts (+2 GD)
Guatemala - 6 pts
Costa Rica - 2 pts
The US is in third. They host Mexico on 10/16. The best part of this though is that canada and honduras play in the final match. If the US can get 1 point against mexico they clinch a world cup spot no matter what happens. With a US loss they can still clinch if Canada beats Honduras. And even if the worst happens the US at least make a playoff.
.. we don't play again til the 19th so lets see how the rest of qualifying shakes out.
Late to the party but got their shit together when it mattered I guess:
USA 4 : 1 Mexico
Canada 3 : 1 Honduras
Final CONCACAF qualifying standings:
1. Mexico - 25 pts
2. Canada - 17 pts (+6 GD)
3. USA - 17 pts (+5 GD)
4. Honduras - 13 pts
5. Guatemala - 9 pts
6. Costa Rica - 2 pts
Honduras is going to play defending world cup champions Paraguay in a playoff for the right to go to the world cup. Mexico, Canada, and the United States are in.
On to Europe:
Croatia, Spain, Czech Republic, France, Portual, Italy, England, Holland, and Germany qualify automatically for winning their groups.
Albania finishes 2nd but doesn't qualify for the playoffs.
Playoff draw amongst other second place teams:
Poland vs Switzerland
Greece vs Slovakia
Slovenia vs Belgium
Denmark vs Serbia
Group 3 stood out to me here, won by the Czech Republic with 2nd place taken by Slovenia. Noteworthy because Russia led the group every single time i checked it, but the Czech Republic and Russia played on the final day and a 3-1 win knocked Russia down to 3rd and out.
The playoffs occur on Nov 16th and Nov 20th
October 19th, 2013
Northampton (3-5-4, 16th) @ Woking(5-4-3, 8th)
We're very very slim favorites here, 6:4 compared to 13:8, basically even.
Northampton has bounced back and forth between league 2 and league 1 since 1967. They finished dead last in league 1 last year and are trying to work back up again. This is our first match.
We're playing what I currently feel is the best team we can field after a solid week of rest.
22': Northampton controls the early possession, they get a nice through ball to the left side of the area, the shot is taken, its off the crossbar, Nikolaou is able to scramble the rebound away while Lynch gets back into position.
25': Upson makes a run down the right sideline, dunno how he got down there, but the cross he plays is really nice, Jesus is there at the far end of the 6 yard box, the keeper dives out for the cross and jesus heads it down into the empty net! 1-0
39': PABLO. This guy owns. Upson wins a ball in midfield and fires it forward to Pablo. He bursts by one man, cuts left, defender goes with him, he plays the ball to the right into the area a few yards away, the defender is going the wrong way, Pablo gets there and drills it into the net. Great goal!! 2-0
We control 53% of the possession, pretty close, but we're passing better, crossing better, we seem to position ourselves better and are winning all the loose balls. Each team has four shots, we have 2 on target, both for goals. Upson is looking like a superstar. Pablo too.
46': We win a free kick 30 yards out, Upson takes it, fires a shot and its just off the crossbar.
63': Downes picks up an injury, down to under 65% fitness and is listed as injured so it might be multi-game. Ademola comes in for Downes, Subotic in for Harsanyi who is having a horrible game.
75': We're dominating everything now. Ademola twice swings in crosses that Subotic gets his head to but he hasn't been able to finish one.
Woking 2 : 0 Northampton
After 53/47 possession in the first half and each team taking four shots, the game ends with us having a 19-6 edge in shots and a 63/37 possession edge.
Upson is brilliant today, 2 assists, key headers, key passes, 11/11 on headers, 9.0 rating and man of the match.
Goals: Pablo (8.3), Jesus (7.8)
Others: Ogogo (7.5), Nikolaou (7.5)
Harsanyi putsup an inexplicable 5.7 when no one else on the roster is below 6.8.
I've been rumored for a few jobs before, but this is a first. And the scenario is pretty awesome too to picture. So after our game with Northampton today, they fire their coach. Before they hop on the bus to go back home, I receive a call officially offering me the Northampton job. Northampton would offer me $1,100/week to take their job. I currently make $950/wk. Northampton has a $38k/wk budget compared to our $25k/wk, and they have an $11,000 transfer budget compared to our zero.
I'm still committed to taking Woking as far as I can, and I turn this one down too, but its flattering to officially get an offer.
Before the season started I'd talked about not really being sure who could succeed in league 2 and who couldn't. We've played 13 league matches now, though really our schedule has been easy so far and i expect a drop soon. But anyway, I wanted to review who has done well and who hasn't.
Ed Upson - 10 games - 4 assists - 7.46 rating
Pablo - 9 games - 6 goals - 7.33 rating
O'Sullivan - 12 games - 1 goal/2 assists - 7.27 rating
Jesus - 11 games - 2 goals/3 assists - 7.11 rating
Nikolaou - 13 games - 7.08 rating
Harsanyi - 13 games - 5 goals/3 assists - 7.04 rating
Pulis - 10 games - 6.99 rating
Downes - 11 games - 6.96 rating
Smith - 14 games - 6.91 rating
4 of our top 9 guys were starters in our BS Premier winner last year. Upson, Downes, and Smith are new full timers for us as well, so I think we've done a great job setting ourselves up, better than I thought possible. Jesus and Pablo are the only two loaners on the list.
Ogogo has a 6.88 rating, I was hoping he would stand out a bit more since I am giving him $2600/wk.
Williams (6.88), Subotic (6.83), Lynch (6.73) are all doing fine as well.
Ademola (6.66) and Anane (6.35) are the two guys that worry me the most. They've gotten a chance to play a fair amount and have not done well.
Cousins, Sloma, Sole, Fenton and Arter are basically done for me. I'm not trying to get them into the lineup anymore to see how they do.
Also, we've played 13 league matches now, a bit over 1/4 of the season is done. Here's how things look:
1. Lincoln - 11-1-1 - 34 pts
2. Oxford - 9-1-3 - 28 pts
3. Rushden - 8-2-3 - 26 pts
4. Kidderminster - 7-4-2 - 25 pts
5. Stockport - 7-4-2 - 25 pts
6. Wycombe - 7-3-3 - 24 pts
7. Leyton Orient - 5-7-1 - 22 pts
8. Woking - 6-4-3 - 22 pts
9. Rochdale - 5-5-3 - 20 pts
10. Dag & Red - 6-1-6 - 19 pts
11. Grimsby - 5-3-5 - 18 pts
12. Chesterfield - 5-3-5 - 18 pts
13. Port Vale - 5-3-5 - 18 pts
14. Bury - 4-5-4 - 17 pts
15. Exeter - 5-2-6 - 17 pts
16. Crewe - 4-2-7 - 14 pts
17. Notts Co - 4-2-7 - 14 pts
18. Northampton - 3-5-5 - 14 pts
19. Tranmere - 3-4-6 - 13 pts
20. Hereford - 2-6-5 - 12 pts
21. Brighton - 2-6-5 - 10 pts
22. Barnet - 2-2-9 - 8 pts
23. Macclesfield - 2-1-10 - 7 pts
24. Morecambe - 0-4-9 - 4 pts
3 advance, 4 in the playoffs, we're 8th.
We have a 3 game stretch in December where we play Lincoln, Oxford, and rushden back to back to back. That'll be fun! But really our schedule coming up doens't get as scary as I thought. I expected us to be playing like 4 playoff teams in a row any day now. Nope.
October 26th, 2013
Woking(6-4-3, 8th) @ Rochdale(5-5-3, 9th)
Rochdale is barely favored 6:4 today, we're the 13:8 slight dogs. We'll see though, Right Midfielder Joe Thompson has a 7.47 average rating and 7 goals and they have a couple other noteworthy guys, this feels dangerous.
We replace Harsanyi with Subotic today.
We'll attempt to close down on Joe Thompson and MC Danny Whitaker, their two best players. On the road we'll go defensive as well.
8': On a cross rochdale attempts a header, its blocked by Lynch and out, falls to a Rochdale player who fires a shot off the left post and we finally clear.
10': Upson takes the blame on this one, he has a poor pass intercepted in our 3rd of the field, they get it to Striker Russell who rockets a shot from 25 yards out and its into the right side of the net. 0-1
24': there's a through ball from the left side of the midfield for Rochdale... wow the guy looks WAY offsides. but their man Moore runs onto it and puts it in. Jesus is furious and complains for the offisides, and I'll be attending the press conference to complain if I get the chance too. 0-2
36': Jesus makes a long run down the left sideline, he avoids one tackle, passes ahead to Subotic, there's a missed tackle there, allowing Subotic to run free into the area, he fires a shot and he finishes well, some relief before the half hopefully! 1-2
HALF: I have a hard time describing the last 10 minutes. I see Lynch make 3 different diving saves, I see him block a shot and dive the other way to save a shot off the rebound. I see our defenders ratings drop every time they update. I don't know how its 2-1. Seems like it could be 5-1 by now.
Rochdale take 20... TWENTY... shots in the first half. They put 8 on target and earn 4 clear cut chances, they hit the woodwork 3 times. We take 4 shots, 2 on target. We're lucky to be down just 1 and if we can have a better second half we're right in this thing.
49': their danger man Thompson gets down the right sideline and fires in a cross, its headed by MC Kennedy into the far corner of the net. Lynch stands and watches it go by, he had no chance. 1-3
We change to a standard mindset, maybe playing more aggressively gets the ball out of our end.
54': Upson plays a beautiful ball forward to Downes in the area, its our 3rd clear cut chance of the match, and he strikes it at the keeper...
73': Pulis in for O'Sullivan, Clapham in for Jesus, Ademola in for Downes.
75': Ademola runs into the penalty area with the ball, he slides a pass over to Pablo, he's got a point blank look, 8 yards out... and puts it at least 2 yards wide. The keeper was out of position due to the pass, wow what the hell buddy???
78': I was typing up the failed Pablo effort, they score. Didn't see how, don't care. 1-4
88': More good news from this shitpile of a performance. Ed Upson comes down hurt, his fitness drops to 50%, he stays on to finish it out but we'll see if there's anything long term afterwards.
Rochdale 4 : 1 Woking
Apparently we don't need to play playoff teams to start falling, wow.
Subotic earns a 6.8 rating with our only goal. I dunno why jesus didn't get the assist, maybe what I thought was a missed tackle actually was a change of possession in some way and Subotic won the ball back and took it in to score. Weird.
Ogogo (5.5), Nikolaou (5.8), Smith (5.4), Williams (5.9), Downes (5.9) all were terrible.
Upson was down at a 5.5 after his poor pass led to a Rochdale goal, but he recovered to play really well, winning 5 key headers and completing 48 out of 60 passes to put up a 7.1 rating, he did the best he could.
Could be worse for sure. Upson will miss about 2 weeks of action. We'd gone 6 league matches without a loss, so things are still looking great, but this was depressing to watch.
FA Cup First Round Draw
We're gonna go on the road to play BS Premier side York on November 9th.
--Stelios Nikolaou has trained well over the last month, always a good thing
-- Pablo is second in the mention for October Young Player of the Month
-- The board is delighted with the leadership qualities I am demonstrating. Our position in League 2 is a highlight. The loaning in of Steve Clapham is a disappointment. He backs up Jesus who is playing great, and has only done average himself when he has gotten the chance.
November 2nd, 2013
Woking(6-4-4, 9th) @ Grimsby(5-3-6, 13th)
We are 7:4 dogs today, Grimsby is 5:4 to come out with a win, we've never met before.
6': They get two early shots on target, then during some normal buildup 33 year old midfielder Matt Spring launches a shot from 30 yards out, it catches us totally by surprise and rockets by Lynch. 0-1
13': They work the ball forward to striker Tom Corner... he goes right by Williams as Williams misses a tackle and strikes it near post from just inside the 18 yard line. UGggh. 0-2
31': We win a corner, Downs with an in-swinging corner near post, Williams runs onto it pefectly and gets his head to it, guiding it by their keeper, beautiful. 1-2
35': A nice move ends poorly, Downes works it nicely down the right sideline, gets it to Pablo who finds Harsanyi with some space, but Harsanyi puts it weakly right at the keeper.
36': Another run forward, here Pablo does it himself after receiving a pass, he shows two great moves to get by a defender, earns himself a clear cut chance about 15 yards out, its a powerful strike... but the keeper parries it.
41': Our 3rd clear cut chance of the match, Jesus cuts inside and receives a pass in the penalty area from Harsanyi, he turns and shoots, the keeper is out of position if he can get any sort of aim on this one at all... no, its wide left.
HALF: We recover some after a horrible start.We allow 9 shots but generate 8 of our own, we have 3 clear cut chances but just one goal. Pablo really should have scored on his. Christian Smith has a 5.5 so far, he's off to a rough start. I tell the guys I want to see more out of them and get them back out there.
55': Clear cut strike #4, Downes with a beautiful through ball to a wide freaking open Harsanyi maybe 12 yards out? He fires it off the right post.
63': Pulis in for Ball who is hurt a bit. Subotic in for Harsanyi who can't find the net.
71': A through ball from the midfield to Tom Corner, he's behind the central defenders but someone out left was too deep from tracking back on a deep run, he receives the ball in point blank range and finishes. 1-3
We turn on the attack and see a couple of crosses attempted shown in the extended higlights but nothing more.
Grimsby 3 : 1 Woking
O'Sullivan and Smith with 5.9 ratings today. Williams has our goal and a 6.8, Downes our assist and a 6.7. Just a poor overall performance, we missed a lot of easy shots and allowed them just as many, they finished them.
That's two very poor road performances against mid-table teams in a row.
November 9th, 2013
FA Cup 1st Round
Woking @ York
We have not done well historically against these guys. 0-1-3 in two seasons in the BS Premier league. York is in the BS Premier now but is still favored over us today at their house. Lets see if there's some way to play the "no one respects us" card here.
We make a couple changes to make sure we get our best out there for a match 5 days later:
3': They get into our penalty arae, we clear it out and are off. Subotic runs by a defender around midfield and works the ball back and forth with Pablo, they get forward in a 2 on 2 situation and Pablo ends up with a shot from inside the area. Its not a clear cut chance but its a really strong, well taken strike and that's it, he puts it by the keeper! 1-0
38': Well 35 minutes have gone by. They have 5 off target shots, we have only taken 2 other shots and they weren't serious threats at all.
HALF: I'm glad we got out to the early lead but wow that was a boring half. We dominate possession 60/40, York takes 5 shots, all off target, 3 of them from long range. We take 4 shots, 2 on target, the one goal of course.
I feel good but would like another goal.
48': Speed kills. They cross the ball into the penalty area, Mike Wiliams with a long clearance, teh ball ends up past midfield near the left sideline... Subotic is simply faster than the defense. He gets to the ball first, sprints right by his man, as the second defender tries to come cover, cuts inside and gets into the area and fires a low shot to the near post that the keeper has no shot at. 2-0
62': Clapham in for Jesus, Herd in for O'Sullivan, Fenton in for Smith, we're just resting guys I want ready for the next match at this point.
We finish things off easily from there.
York 0 : 2 Woking
York manage 12 total shots but only put one on target. Both our goals really showed that we had these guys outclassed.
Subotic is man of the match, 8.3 rating, 1 goal/1 assist.
Pablo with yet another goal, 7.0 rating. The other assist to Mike Williams who put up a 6.8.
Elsewhere: Nikolaou had a great 7.8 rating, 7 tackles in 8 attempts, 10/11 in the air and lots of passes keeping the ball forward.
-- We receive $29,500 for our first round FA Cup win.
-- Stelios Nikolaou will play in Cyprus U21 matches on Nov 15th and Nov 19th.
FA Cup 2nd Round Draw
We will play at home against League 1 side Peterborough. Bad news there as Peterborough are currently 1st in League 1.
-- Giuseppe Sole is getting upset about his lack of first team soccer. Sorry bud, its just not in the cards. With Harsanyi/Subotic/Pablo and Ademola able to play the position and the ability to go midfielder heavy with a 4-1-2-2-1 formation if we have injury problems... its time to let Sole go. He's transfer listed.
November 16th, 2013
Leyton Orient(6-8-1, 8th) @ Woking(6-4-5, 11th)
We're heavy dogs at home here, this is an interesting matchup, mid-table team at home coming off two poor losses in league play. Can we win some of these and stay relevant or do we fall into 16th-20th place, not relegated but sucky?
They are 4:6 favorites, we're 7:2 home dogs, ouch.
Today's lineup with Nikolaou out on international duty:
Central Midfielder Marc Fitzpatrick is my biggest worry, 2 goals/4 assists and a 7.22 overall rating, extremely quick and determined and hard working. He could cause us big problems and we'll try to close down on him and force him to use his weak left foot.
7': Subotic with the first on target shot, a long effort after a nice Upson pass. We earn a corner, its taken well, the keeper dives out for it and the net is open, but Pablo misses on a header.
11': a fast counter led by Pablo, he runs the defense back into the area, passes the ball to Upson at the 18 yard mark, he fires a shot immediately and beats the keeper!! 1-0
23': Pablo with a nice run down the right side, he makes a couple nifty moves to get free and places a nice cross, Subotic is there but his header is well over.
34': Upson with a key header, the kind of challenge on a ball in the air we didn't have someone who could win and direct before... this was deep in defense, a clearance comes floating out, Upson gets to it, heads it forward perfectly to Jesus, Jesus plays it to Subotic just over midfield, Subotic and Pablo are on the same wavelength, Pablo breaks towards the goal, Subotic with a long through ball, Pablo runs onto it after being just a couple steps onside, and Pablo gets into the area and buries it. A really, really great goal. The shot itself was routine but the flowing forward from winning a ball in the air that could have easily ended up back in our penalty area to quickly and precisely getting it forward so Pablo could score... wonderful. 2-0
HALF: 7:2 dogs my ass. Pablo is having a hell of a game. Upson is looking awesome back from his short injury a couple weeks ago. Lets keep it up! We have 8 shots, 3 on target, 1 clear cut the other a great strike. Leyton Orient with 5 shots, all off target. They dominate possession 58/42 over us, but we are putting together some very nice moves.
65': Yeah, noting this b/c we just skipped from 46 to 65 without a highlight.
75': Ball in for Upson, his first game back, he is way more tired than anyone else on the pitch.
84': A long throwin for Leyton Orient, a through ball from fitzpatrick and a missed tackle from Thomas leads to a Letyon Orient goal. 2-1
84': Clapham in for Jesus, and we set out to stall these last 5-10 minutes away.
That'll do. They attack hard but don't get a shot off the rest of the way.
Woking 2 : 1 Leyton Orient
Its nice when teh ratings match what I saw in the highlights.
Upson with an 8.3 rating and man of the match for his goal. 5/5 tackles, 9/10 on headers, 5 key ones. Great game. This guy may be the new O'Sullivan as far as me lavishing constant praise on him.
Pablo has a goal and an assist, 8.2 rating. He is one of the first strikers I've ever had on my team who can make something happen from anywhere on the pitch if he has the ball. Its fun whenever he gets it.
Subotic with the other assist today, 7.1 rating there.
Elsewhere: Ogogo (7.1), Williams (7.0).
No one was below 6.7. Big win!
For now, this puts us in 9th, just 3 points out of a playoff spot. I don't consider us serious playoff contenders, but the longer we stay up here, the better off we will be.
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