Not surprisingly, the relegated teams are heavy favorites to move back up:
Bristol Rovers 5:4
and two that were up there near the top last year:
We are 40:1 to promote. That's much, much, much worse than the 20:1 last year.
The Group Stages of the World Cup are done. Its June 30th, players have returned and the transfer window is opening tomorrow, so there is a ton to do before we progress to see the rest of the world cup, but here's a look at what's happened so far.
Paraguay 2 : 1 South Korea
Italy 1 : 1 Germany
Germany 0 : 2 Paraguay
South Korea 0 : 2 Italy
Germany 1 : 1 South Korea
Italy 2 : 1 Paraguay
Italy 2-1-0, 7 pts - advances
Paraguay 2-0-1, 6 pts - advances
Germany 0-2-1, 2 pts
South Korea 0-1-2, 1 pt
Cameroon 0 : 1 Colombia
Serbia 2 : 0 Australia
Australia 1 : 1 Cameroon
Colombia 1 : 2 Serbia
Cameroon 3 : 2 Serbia
Colombia 1 : 0 Australia
Serbia 2-0-1, 6 pts - advances
Colombia 2-0-1, 6 pts - advances
Cameroon 1-1-1, 4 pts
Australia 0-1-2, 1 pt
Croatia 2 : 2 Bahrain
Portugal 3 : 2 Uruguay
Uruguay 1 : 0 Bahrain
Portugal 3 : 0 Croatia
Bahrain 1 : 3 Portugal
Croatia 2 : 1 Uruguay
Portugal 3-0-0, 9 pts - advances
Croatia 1-1-1, 4 pts - advances
Uruguay 1-0-2, 3 pts
Bahrain 0-1-2, 1 pt
South Africa 1 : 5 Chile
Slovenia 0 : 0 Spain
Chile 2 : 3 Slovenia
Spain 0 : 0 South Africa
Chile 0 : 1 Spain
South Africa 0 : 1 Slovenia
Slovenia 2-1-0, 7 pts - advances
Spain 1-2-0, 5 pts - advances
Chile 1-0-2, 3 pts
South Africa 0-1-2, 1 pt
Brazil 3 : 0 Iraq
Greece 0 : 2 Mexico
Mexico 0 : 0 Brazil
Iraq 2 : 1 Greece
Greece 0 : 0 Brazil
Mexico 2 : 0 Iraq
Mexico 2-1-0, 7 pts - advances
Brazil 1-2-0, 5 pts - advances
Iraq 1-0-2, 3 pts
Greece 0-1-2, 1 pt
Canada 0 : 2 France
Ivory Coast 0 : 0 Holland
Holland 2 : 1 Canada
France 3 : 0 Ivory Coast
Holland 1 : 1 France
Ivory Coast 1 : 0 Canada
France 2-1-0, 7 pts - advances
Holland 1-2-0, 5 pts - advances
Ivory Coast 1-1-1, 4 pts
Canada 0-0-3, 0 pts
USA 1 : 2 Ghana
Czech Republic 1 : 3 Argentina
Czech Republic 1 : 2 USA
Argentina 1 : 0 Ghana
Ghana 2 : 1 Czech Republic
USA 2 : 2 Argentina
Argentia 2-1-0, 7 pts - advances
Ghana 2-0-1, 6 pts - advances
USA 1-1-1, 4 pts
Czech Republic 0-0-3, 0 pts
Iran 1 : 4 England
Nigeria 1 : 2 Switzerland
Switzerland 2 : 0 Iran
England 1 : 0 Nigeria
Nigeria 2 : 2 Iran
Switzerland 0 : 1 England
England 3-0-0, 9 pts - advances
Switzerland 2-0-1, 6 pts - advances
Nigeria 0-1-2, 1 pt
Iran 0-1-2, 1 pt
Round of 16
Colombia vs Italy
Slovenia vs Croatia
France vs Brazil
Switzerland vs Argentina
Paraguay vs Serbia
Portugal vs Spain
Mexico vs Holland
Ghana vs England
-- I'm offered a new contract paying me $1000/wk until the end of the 16/17 season (that's a 3 year deal). I take it, I don't much care about my salary though I guess its a status symbol regarding my success level. Its a $50/wk raise.
We have our pre-season coaches meeting though I'm not sure why as in one day my assistant coach will be without a contract and I will be looking for a new one. But ok!
-- We are one of the oldest teams in the league. Bristol Rovers is the oldest.
-- Our squad is generally less aggressive than other squads in the league. Tranmere is the most aggressive, rochdale the least.
-- We have one of the least determined group of players in the league. Bristol rovers are at the top of this list.
-- We have more players with high flair than most in the league. I guess that gives us a number of spectacular goals but it didn't seem to help last year in generating consistent goals every game!
-- Our assistant believes we are most suited for a 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1, or 4-2-3-1 formation. We've never really built around attacking midfielders in the center, always with them on the outside, wanting guys good at delivering crosses while our MC's can generate play up the middle. I could see how our tactic recently leaves too many defensive holes open and a 4-5-1 with a DMC, two MC's and then the AML/AMR could be an intriguing direction for us. With Upson and O'Sullivan we definitely intend to build around the two MC's, that's non negotiable, its just where we want the rest of our defense and attack to come from.
-- After that diatribe i'm inclined to try a 4-5-1 formation. We have the support for that now and can just look for depth and improvements. On the heels of this decision I do an about face on Harry Arter and offer him a new deal. I pissed him off a good bit last year and won't be surprised if he doesn't take it. If he signs we have a core in place:
From there we go out on the transfer and loaner market and upgrade where we can and fill out depth where we need to.
After this review, we press the button to carry us over to July 1st where our roster will change drastically.
-- We look at a couple guys scouted early on, make a couple free transfer offers that aren't incredibly exciting or anything but I'm hopeful about.
-- We receive $33.63k as part of our partnership with QPR.
By July 2nd Ademola, Sam Sloma, and Ricky Anane leave the team as they are no longer under contract.
We lose a number of scouts and coaches too, most notably my assistant coach Jon Turner. He was not re-signed because I don't like his skill set at all. I lost a number of scouts because they thought they were too good for me.
So we've made some good progress here, its time to stop again and do a lot of scouting to try to find the rest of our team this year, and a new assistant coach.
New Assistant Coach
Jason Broom is a 44 year old Englishman. He boasts strong tactical knowledge(15), He's a good disciplinarian(17), adaptability and determination are pretty solid (13/11), and he's a decent at best motivator(7). He's not bad working with most players on the field as a coach, though i won't let him near my goalkeeper. He's a lot better all around than my last assistant so hopefluly that's a good thing.
We also sign a few scouts and put them to work immediately.
I make about 8 initial loan offers, probably aiming too high for most of them.
-- We re-sign Harry Arter, a last minute change of heart due to the decision to work on a 4-5-1 formation this season.
New Player Signing
We are still striking out on the loaners but we've brought in a new full time player who adds depth and talent in a couple key areas.
20 y/o D/DM Vince Taylor comes over to us on a free transfer from Notts. Notts Co is a fellow League 2 side so its a little weird to go grabbing someone off their reserve squad, but hey, if he looks like he can help me so be it. He is listed as DRC, DM/M RC. He can cover a lot of positions for us more than adequately. He's a natural athlete, all physical attributes are 12 or higher (16 jumping/16 sta/14 str/14 balance/all others 12 or 13). Teamwork 18, Work Rate 15, Determination 17, Bravery 17, Aggression 15, he has a strong mind for tough play on the defensive end. Marking 11, Passing 9, Heading 9, technically he could use some work but the physical and mental attributes are worth a very serious look. He was making $2200/wk at notts and we are going to pay him $2300/wk here for 2 seasons. He could instantly relegate Harry Arter to the bench, as I'll be starting him at DMC out of the gate, but I could see him playing a lot at DR as well and offering a little DC depth, though I think he's not ideal there.
The fans are initially thrilled at the new signing.
... Up to July 9th and we've had some loan offers accepted but so far no one wants to come play for us.
AML Joe Collins From West Ham has agreed to come play for Woking this season. After seeing what Jesus did for us last year I had one strict requirement at this spot as i looked for loaners... pace. Collins is fast, 15 pace, 15 acceleration. He works hard and plays off the ball well (12/11). He's a decent passer and crosser (10/12) and has a solid first touch(12). He has some holes, poor positioning and creativity, not very good dribbling the ball, but he's got enough that I really wanted to give him a look here. Welcome to Woking for the season!
That leaves us with 3 season long loaner spots still open, and $5k/wk in salary available.
I wanted to put together a quick depth chart showing who is currently on the roster, listing positions that might reasonably be played (Stelios Nikolaou can play DMR but will it ever really happen? Probably not, so he's not listed there). For our loaners we are simply looking for upgrades and guys that can hopefully come in and make a major impact for a season. With our wage budget should we choose to use it, I need to make sure I fill any depth holes.
DL: Nikolaou/Williams/Thomas (Williams/Thomas primarily DC)
Depth and/or a potential upgrade at AMR is our biggest need. Our backups behind Ogogo at DR are all starters at other positions. That's not the greatest thing in the world either.
Most of my feelers for loans so far have been Attacking Mids and Strikers, though I have looked at a couple defenders and have been shot down quickly.
-- July 11th, more loan offers rejected. It feels like we're having a harder time getting the type of guy we want in this year.
League Cup Draw
We draw a home game, but its against Championship League side Coventry City. We don't stand much chance of advancing, but hopefully we'll draw a bunch of fans in for the day.
We play 5 total friendlies this year. The other 4 are at home and will make us $20k+, tehy were all offered by higher up English sides wanting a warmup. This one sees us travelling across the world to make $25k ourselves, playing a team called Marist.
Ogogo, Herd, and Martin are injured and not playing today. Since we're still working on filling out our roster a few guys have to go 90 minutes, we tell them to take it easy.
Marist 1 : 1 Woking
We should have won, generating 3 clear cut chances to their 0. They took 5 shots, all from long range, but one Lynch mishandled. Our goal came in the second half, Pulis took a free kick, it deflected off hte Wall and Aswad Thomas was there to head it home. I only watched key highlights, Collins generated a couple very nice looks and Downes seemed to do pretty well.
Downes was hurt in the game today and he will miss 5-8 days.
The World Cup has completed.
Colombia 3 : 0 Italy
Paraguay 0 : 4 Serbia
Portugal 1 : 0 Spain
Slovenia 0 : 1 Croatia
Mexico 1 : 0 Holland
France (p) 0 : 0 Brazil
Switzerland (p) 2 : 2 Argentina
Ghana 2 : 1 England
Colombia 1 : 0 Croatia
Serbia 2 : 1 Portugal
Mexico 1 : 0 Ghana
France 2 : 0 Switzerland
Colombia 1 : 1 (p) France
Serbia (p) 0 : 0 Mexico
3rd Place Game
Colombia 3 : 0 Mexico
France 1 : 0 Serbia
France wins the world cup. No one is happy about this.
Just call us the West Ham Reserves, as we loan in our second youngster from West Ham today. AMR Charlie Kenny joins the squad for the season. Kenny has solid speed (13 pace/12 accel), his other physical attributes for the most part are above 10 (strength of 9), with a Balance of 16. He's a hard worker, decent off the ball, decent positioning, decently creative and determined, etc, all in the 9-12 range. Looking over at his Technical Ratings I like what I see. 15 crossing, 10 dribbling, 11 first touch, he can shoot a little, pass decently well. He can't hit a header for crap but otherwise he doens't have any big weaknesses. I'm sure Kenny and Downes will both see significant action this year, I like this pickup quite a bit.
Now I feel like we really need to land a striker and then we may save our 4th loaner spot until we see how things start out.
I have more loan offers out there, and I also have a few free transfer contracts for backups/depth waiting a response as well. We're about to play a flurry of 4 friendlies while we finish up.
Our third loaner comes on the 15th in the amusing name of AMR/ST Abdulai Bell-Baggie, a 22 year old Ghanan currently on Reading's reserve squad. Good stamina, pace, fitness and accelleration (14 sta, the rest 13). His Flair (17) and Determination (14) and composure (12) give me hope that he can create some shots and have the composure to drill them. He's good with the ball (11 dribbling), and equally adept at passing and finishing (10 each). When playing out on the right he can send a solid cross in as well. He'll get his shot first at striker for sure though.
Welcome DR Craig Alcock to the club. Alcock comes over from Rochdale, as they let his contract expire. He was asking for about $1200/wk but was willing to take $975/wk. He's 26 years old, and looks to be a solid backup for Agogo, covering the concern that i had that all my depth at DR came from starters at other positions. Adcock has solid physical attributes, everything over 9, his pace is only at 9 which is a bit of a worry. Mentally he's very strong, 16 aggression, 15 bravery, 12 determination, 12 positioning and 14 teamwork. 14 tackling and 11 marking, 10 heading, 10 first touch all seem very solid, and his 9 passing and crossing are acceptable as my DR's play up a bit and feed the ball forward a fair amount.
Ogogo had a period last year where he was very inconsistent. I'm happy to have a guy like this who I can insert into the lineup for a change of pace if I need to.
Likely to be our last free transfer signing for now, we bring on Midfielder Makhtar N'Diaye. He can play AML, AMR, and MC. He's 32 y/o and in the decline of his career. He has been a solid contributor in Leauge 1 for the last 5 years though, so hopefully there's a bit more he can do here.
I almost rejected this signing once we picked up AMR and AML loaners, but i just really like the looks of the guy. He lacks a little pace compared to out other AM's, just 9 pace/12 accel, but he's just solid across the board. work rate, teamwork, positioning, off the ball play, determination, creativity, aggression, bravery, composure, all between 12 and 14. Crossing 14, Dribbling 11, Passing 9, Long Shots 14 (interesting for an AM). He just seems like a guy we have a use for.
Most importantly, N'Diaye is willing to come on as a backup for $875/wk. So if he doesn't add a lot to the team, we haven't really lost a whole lot.
We give a look to most of our new guys today, starting Acock at DR, Taylor at DMC, Collins at AML, Kenny at AMR, and Bell-Baggie at ST.
QPR score twice in a very short span in the first half. We get one back after subs are made in the second half. Harsanyi at AML makes a great run and draws two defenders out of position before placing a good ball to Subotic who was able to beat the keeper. Lynch played well, stopping 3 clear cut chances and making many saves.
Woking 1 : 3 QPR
During our last match new loaner Abdulai Bell-Baggie is hurt and will miss 2-3 weeks.
The MK Dons in league one make a $30,000 offer for Kevin Lynch. He's valued at $28k. I don't even counter, I just flat out reject. Maybe I should have countered for like $1m or something stupid?
-- We've sold 826 season tickets so far. The board expects another 300 sales.
-- Our backup AML last year, Steve Clapham has gone on loan to Hereford, a fellow League 2 side. We'll get to face him this season.
On July 26th we host League 1 side Bradford. We get an early goal here as Collins places a cross in from the left side, their clearance is very very poor, nearly a whiff, and Subotic gets to the ball first and strikes it home. They tie it back up moments later as Smith misses an interception leading to a clear cut strike and easy goal.
We hold our subs until a little ways into the second half today, a little more of a workout for the starters. Collins hits Subotic with a cross for a nice headed goal around the 50 minute mark but Subotic is called offsides and it doesn't count.
Woking 1 : 1 Bradford
On short rest (July 29th, 3 days later) we host Hibernian, a Scottish Premier League side. I make a couple lineup changes, Ogogo back into the starting lineup as he's fully healed, and Harsanyi in at striker. Harsanyi earns a penalty 5 minutes in after a great dribble beating a man to get into the penalty area before being tackled hard. williams hits the PK. They even it up on a rather incredible 30 yard strike from way out right that surprises and beats Lynch. We score a second goal late in the first half, a long ball placed beautifully from ogogo to a breaking Kenny allows him to run in the penalty arae where he's tackled and we get our second PK of the day.
Early in the second half we generate a beautiful goal, Kenny coming in center, passing left to Collins, back to Upson, who finds Kenny in a perfect spot to take a strong strike. they get one back again on a breakaway in the 70th minute. We bring our subs in after that goal.
Woking 3 : 2 Hibernian
The board is pleased with my leadership. The club's growth in stature is cited as the biggest reason. No negatives are listed right now. We made $165,000 last month, primarily due to season ticket sales.
Currently we're spending $28,500/wk on salaries. Our budget allows for about $32,000 so we're in solid shape.
August 2nd we host championship side Fulham in our last friendly. We start what I expect will be my opening day lineup:
We put together a number of nice attacking moves in the first half. I don't know if its the formation or if these guys we have at AML/AMR right now gel better, but Collins/Upson/O'Sullivan/Kenny seem capable of generating some very strong plays in the offensive end. Kenny and Collins both have clear cut looks after give n go's that they put just wide. Collins hits O'Sullivan with a beautiful through ball around the 30 minute mark and O'Sulivan scores the only goal of the first half. We give up a tying goal in the 75th minute as we're beaten by a long ball leading to an easy shot. Most of the match we really seemed to be the better team today.
Woking 1 : 1 Fulham
Last year Nick Fenton was captain, Kevin Lynch #2, effectively making Lynch my captain. Fenton is really on the way out here and isn't on the field enough for this to matter. I make Lynch my captain and Ed Upson vice-captain.
With that it is time to begin the regular season!
August 8th, 2014
Crewe @ Woking
Crewe are slim 6:4 favorites at our place today. We're 13:8. Last year we beat these guys at home and tied at their house. Crewe ended up 7th in the league last year, earning a playoff spot.
5': New AML Joe Collins is weakened, but not hurt, when he goes down hard going for a header.
13': Defender O'Donnell with a yellow for Crewe.
33': 4 total shots combined, all off target so far. Their right midfielder Kyle Bennet has given us fits today.
35': Bennett with a cross, one foward with a header that isn't a shot, or if it is it was terrible... their other forward Zola is there and he heads it past lynch for the first goal of the season. 0-1
38': We will attack more to try to take the pressure off the defense, they have 6 shots to our 1 now.
42': We earn a corner, its taken short from Upson to Christian Smith. He beats a man and blasts it, the keeper dives but its perfect, goal! his first ever Woking goal. 1-1
44': We clear the ball long out of our end. Their keeper runs waaaay out for it, 30 yards or more, his first touch is terrible and teh ball shoots forward 10 yards. Subotic is there. He retrieves the ball, sidesteps the keeper charging forward to try to make up for his error, and fires it from 40 yards out at the empty net. He puts it on target, GOAL!!! 2-1
HALF: A crazy second goal gives us a 2-1 lead at the half! Kenny has a low rating, everyone else is looking solid and consistent. We only manage 3 shots, 2 on target, both goals. Crewe shoots 6 times, 5 are off target. Possession is even, we have just taken advantage of our few shots. We will continue to attack to start the second half.
58': Taylor with a nice ball forward to O'Sullivan, he is able to run into the area and shoot, its a tough shot from a tough angle though, saved.
60': Crewe earn a deep throwin, then a corner, then another corner after we try to clear but they send it back in... then finally a legit clearance. We try to counter attack with a long ball to Collins but they stop us, they dont' manage any shots out of the effort.
69': Long free kick for Crewe. a shot is off the wall and out wide right, hey recover it and cross it in, they get a head to it, Lynch saves/deflects it, its off O'Sullivan and falls to rest in front of the net, their striker Zola gets to it first and scores easily. 2-2
69': Harsanyi in for collins, Adcock in for Ogogo.
83': N'Diaye in for O'Sullivan
86': Harsanyi with a cross into the area, Kenny is there but heads it just over.
90': How did that happen!? Upson with a header to Subotic, Subotic is 25 yards out... he beats one man and has a free run at the net. They don't close down fast enough, Subotic into the area and a very powerful strike is buried past the keeper!! 3-2
We have to stave off one last minute attack and do so, picking up the win!
Woking 3 : 2 Crewe
Subotic scores two goals, earning an 8.8 rating and man of the match. Christian Smith a 7.6 and the other goal. Two assists come from Ed Upson, 7.4 rating from him. Our 3rd goal was unassisted. Lynch puts up a 7.0, everyone else in the high 6's.
Good start to the season!
So, you've already gotten me interested enough that I downloaded the FM11 demo... one thing I'm missing, though, is the loan market. What screens do you use to search for loaners to bring in, or to shop your own guys for loans?
In the transfer center when do a player search you can set a filter where Transfer Status = Listed for Loan. That will return a very large number of results so you can add additional filters to narrow down what you see based on what you're looking for, by position or if there is a specific set of attribute minimums you care about (in my recent search to loan in attacking midfielders I *really* wanted speed so I added a filter saying pace must be >= 12)
I don't loan out a lot of players, a few I'll list for loan and wait for teams to come to me. There's an "offer to teams" option somewhere on the player page, but I am not sure if you can offer your guy out for loan or if that's just when you're trying to sell off a player.
-- Our official season ticket sales end up at 1066. We sold 947 last year so that's quite the improvement.
August 13th, 2014
League Cup 1st Round
Coventry @ Woking
We are 7:1 dogs against Championship side Coventry. We play again in 3 days and there is a question as to whether we should rest some (most?) 1st teamers today and focus on league play.
I rest Subotic, Nikolaou and Kenny today. We come out with a standard mindset. If we tie and there's a replay its at their house. I have no interest in that. We'll get the gate receipts today and go mostly all out for a win and see what happens.
14': 3 shots total, all long shots. Bell-Baggie missed a long one for us just over.
20': They control possession on our end, there's a cross, it seems like we have 4 guys close, but not quite there. Keeper dives out to try to stop the cross, they control it and poke it inot the empty net. 0-1
29': WHAT A MOVE. Bell-Baggie receives an outlet pass, he kicks it back to... uh i don't know who, who lofts a long ball foward, O'Sullivan breaks perfectly and gets it ahead of the defense. He is able to run into the penalty area but their defenders catch up. Instead of taking a futile shot he finds Downes trailing the play on the right perfectly, Downes with a solid strike, and its by the keeper!! A really pretty play. 1-1
35': They get a goal but its super clearly offsides, disallowed.
42': A long shot on target that Lynch barely saves starts a long offensive stretch for coventry.. two shots and four corner kicks go by before we finally get it out of there.
HALF: I'm thrilled to be tied at the half. Our goal was really a thing of beauty... theirs seemed like quite the breakdown on defense.
47': Pulis in for O'Sullivan, Harsanyi in for Bell-Baggie. O'Sullivan I want rested for my next game. Bell-Baggie isn't playing well.
67': 18 total shots, just 3 on target between the two teams. Pulis is a bit banged up.
69': Lynch with two diving saves back to back, brilliant play, one was a clear cut chance for Coventry.
72': N'Diaye in for collins out left.
75': They are putting the pressure on, we are doing a good job clearing the ball out, they have 5 shots in the last 6 minutes though.
80': A quick attacking highlight for us, Pulis to Upson, Upson a through ball to Downes, Downes has a very good look, surprised its not a clear cut chance honestly... but he puts it off the right crossbar, so close to taking the lead.
82': They pass the ball into the penalty area, we fail to clear it, fail to intercept it(it seemed like we had guys in place to do so) and they end up with a very strong shot that Lynch gets his fingertips to and barely saves.
87': Thomas goes down hurt.
FULL TIME: Tied up, on to extra time! They ahve 18 shots, 7 on target. We have 9 shots, 2 on target. They really piiled on the pressure in the last 20 minutes. I will be surprised if we can withstand 30 more minutes.
99': Long shot... deflected by Lynch, rebound to Coventry, shot off the post... rebound to coventry... lynch saves/turns it behind for a corner. they earn two corners, finally we clear it.
101': Harsanyi and Downes seem to have something going, but as Harsanyi makes a run towards goal (instead of making the pass that seems a much better option) they make a good tackle to stop our attack.
ET HALFTIME: Thomas is really hurting. I've told our guys screw this, we are attacking. Maybe dumb but I dont want to clog the schedule with a road game against these guys. Win or lose boys!
110': Defender Osbourne with a rough tackle on Harsanyi, relevant because he earns his second yellow! We're a man up for the last 10 minutes.
111': Harsanyi ets into the area and manages a shot, but there are defenders near that likely harrassed him well, and he can't put it on target.
119': Some buildup but we can't get it into the penalty arae. Taylor takes a long shot, its off the keepers hands, off the crossbar, hits the keeper in the back... and rolls behind for a corner, which comes to nothing. Not 100% sure that's what happened but it really looked like it bounced a couple times.
OWAIT. I misunderstood how this was gonna work! I thought there were replays in league cup, I should have double checked the rules. We are on to penalty kicks!
Woking: Williams... right at the keeper, saved. 0-0
Coventry: Doyle... off the right crossbar and in. 0-1
Woking: Upson... off the right crossbar and out. 0-1
Coventry: Clingan... right side of the net. 0-2
Woking: Pulis... drills it by the left side of the keeper. 1-2
Coventry: Chando... left side of the net. 1-3
Woking: Harsanyi... off the right bar and in. 2-3
Coventry: Smith... beats lynch and wins the match.
Woking 1 : 1 Coventry (Coventry 4:2 penalties)
We played well, too bad we couldn't pull out the win especially after going a man up, but I'm very proud of the team for this performance.
Defender Vosselman for coventry is man of the match. On our side, Lynch (7.4), Downes (7.3), Upson (7.2), Ogogo (7.1), Williams (7.0), Smith (7.2) ,and Taylor (7.0) are noteworthy. Downes with the goal, O'Sullivan the assist.
We are completely gassed after this game. We are gonna have a terrible lineup for our next league match.
Attendence was not good, just 2800. Maybe it requires a premier side to get the big numbers.
August 16th, 2014
Wrexham (0-1-0) @ Woking (1-0-0)
We're 6:4 slim favorites at home today, they are 13:8 to win. Essentially even. Wrexham earned promotion from the BS Premier league last season. We spent 3 years there with them from 10/11 to 12/13. We are 3-1-2 against them in 6 matches. The road team has never won between us.
Thank god we rested the guys we did last game, allowing us to field at least something reasonable today.
We're attacking today. We also issue instructions at the suggestion of the coaching staff to show both of their fowards onto their weaker feet.
8': We spend about 5 minutes in their end as they earn 4 corners and a deep throwin. Somehow only one shot is attempted and we clear it out safely.
29': They're up to their 6th corner, seems every highlight is on their end... just 1 shot for each team still.
33': N'Diaye with a shot on target, the first of the game, it was a long effort that was pretty weak though.
34': Arter with a yellow, a poor tackle from behind after losing possession of the ball.
35': What just happened to our defense?! Free kick, through ball, clear cut strike, goal. Its like they were practicing a play against air. Wow. 0-1
40': Their turn to be pissed about the defense. Kenny with a cross, its cleared easily, but fall to N'Diaye, he feeds it back to Kenny, a low ball into the area... missed interception by one of their defenders, and Subotic runs onto it and easily puts it home! 1-1
46': Short corner taken by Wrexham... striker Marc Williams turns, two defenders rush him, he.. I dunno, beats them? They just run by him? And he strikes it hard, it deflects of Nikolaou guarding the goal line and in. 1-2
HALF: Disgusting half. 3 goals, all three seem like very easy goals thanks to massive mistakes by the defense. Both teams shoot 5 times, putting 2 on target. We control the possession slightly, 55/45. We're dominating most stats, better passing, crossing, tackling and heading, all of them quite decisively. Its just hideous mistakes leading to goals.
O'Sullivan is in for Pulis for the 2nd half.
47': Arter to N'Diyae to O'Sullivan, he has a good look at a shot from about 20 yards out, he blasts it of the crossbar.
58': Through ball from about 35 yards out... our defenders just are not there, they're trying to set up an offsides trap and get caught badly. Midfielder Graham runs onto it catching our defense running the wrong way, and he has a shot that even icould make. 1-3
66': This is awful. Another through ball, our defense is caught out of position, another easy easy goal. 1-4
68': Taylor is i nfor Fenton at DC.
70': Yellow for Smith for a bad tackle. Smith is in danger of seeing his rating drop under 5.
73': Subotic with a yellow.
75': Yellow for Alcock.
Well that was just awful.
Woking 1 : 4 Wrexham
Lynch 5.7. Fenton 5.9. Smith 5.3. N'Diaye 5.4. Subotic with a goal and a 6.6 rating. Kenny the assist and the best rating on the team at 6.7.
We'll just pretend this didn't happen.
-- We draw League 1 side Swindon at home in the first round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. This match will be September 2nd
August 19th, 2014
Woking (1-0-1) @ Northampton(1-1-0)
Northampton are favored at home, not surprising at all. They're big favorites though, 4:5 vs our 3:1 to win. We're 1-1-0 lifetime against them, winning at home last year, tying on the road. Northampton was 12th in league 2 last year, a little ways above us.
We start the best lineup we can today, a few guys will end up pretty damn tired, Nikolaou and Kenny mainly are very likely to not finish the match. We will of course defend here.
15': They're playing a lot of long balls and have earned two threatening looking shots that way, but Lynch has been there for the saves. We have had a few crosses put in by Collins, Kenny has a couple headers but both over.
23': Oh holy shit. Collins with a beautiful long cross up ahead to Kenny, eh's way behind the defense... he runs into the penalty area, the one defender back charges him, he places a pass right to Subotic who is unmarked 10 yards out with the keeper at the other end of the net preparing for a Kenny shot... Subotic drills it into the open net. That was just beautiful. We caught their defense out of position, one man on the left side was way too far back allowing Kennty to just sprint away from the defense on the right side, Collins saw the pass and made it perfectly, and Kenny and Subotic ran the 2v1 perfectly. 1-0
There was only one highlight in the final 22 minutes of the half, a long shot by Northampton that went way over.
HALF: Northampton has 7 shots, just 2 on target. 5 long shots that weren't even close. We have 5 shots, 2 on target. One was a header by Kenny, the other was the goal by Subotic. They have a 55/45 possession edge. We are having a lot of luck wtih our crosses, they haven't completed one yet. We also are winning 76% of our headers. They are winning 29% of theirs.
53': Through ball by Northampton... i'm stunned the guy wasn't offsides. He runs onto it and shoots, I'm stunned its not considered a clear cut strike, looked like a straight up shot against Lynch from about 10 yards out. Lynch makes a good save.
59': Midfielder Murtagh with a yellow for a tackle on O'Sullivan. That's the 3rd foul i've seen on him in highlights alone.
76': Harsanyi in for Subotic, N'Diaye in for Kenny.
78': A bit of pressure from Northampton. They earn a couple corners, one leads ot a diving header that's deflected away. A long shot is then saved by Lynch.
84': Yellow for Taylor for a tackle in the midfield
86': Yellow for Northampton's tierny for holding N'Diaye's jersey.
87': Smith makes a huge tackle as they get the ball to a man in the left side of the penalty area with a little space. Smith closes down fast and disrupts the attacker.
In the final minute Northampton puts two crosses in, one we turn behind for a corner, the other we clear out. That is it!
Northampton 0 : 1 Woking
Vince Taylor at DMC is man of the match with a 7.4 rating. He had 11 tackles and 6 headers, 3 key ones. Very solid performance! Subotic with the goal and a 7.2 rating. Assist to Kenny (6.9). Ogogo put up a 7.2 rating, Nikolaou 7.0, Upson 7.0.
This is a really, really solid road win, I'm very pleased with this. In our first 3 league matches we've scored 5 goals. 4 of them have come from Subotic. He is really playing great.
Ah dammit. Joe Collins hurts his back in the weight room and is going to miss 4 weeks. Harsanyi will be starting in his place
August 23th, 2014
Woking (2-0-1) @ Wycombe(0-1-2)
Same as our last match, Wycombe are 4:5 favorites, we are 3:1 dogs here. In 2 matches last year, we played Wycombe to two scoreless draws. Wycombe finished 5th last year before losing in the playoffs. They are off to a poor start this season without a win to date.
Thomas in for Smith, Pulis in for O'Sullivan, Harsanyi in for Collins are our lineup changes from the last match. We open things up defensively.
4': Nice move at the start, we control the midfield for some time, forward to kenny, a run down the right side... a long cross to the far post to Harsanyi, he's behind the defense but too deep, he lofts it back into the middle of the penalty area, Subotic with the header, saved easily.
23': After the opening sequence everything is in Wycombe's offensive end. They have a 60/40 possession edge. Only 2 shots, 1 on target, but the pressure is there.
30': A solid through ball by Wycombe after a quick attack, our players are bitching about an offsides... I am agreeing watching the replay! They generate an easy look and the first goal of the match with this through ball right up the middle. I didn't catch the name of the scorer. 0-1
33': We earn a corner and its taken to the far post to Subotic, he gets his head on it and the keeper is out of position, but its over the bar.
36': A great individual effort by Kenny, he beats two men with a long run down the right side, crosses, but Subotic heads it over again.
39': Long ball down the left side to Subotic, the defense is scampering to get back, Subotic runs hard into the area, two defenders converge, Subotic with a little cross to the other side of the arae, and Upson is there! GOAL!! 1-1
43': We earn a corner. Taken by Upson, its to the far post, Thomas comes charging in and times his leap perfectly, a very powerful header that blows by the keeper!!! 2-1
47': Goal kick by Lynch, Subotic heads it on into the penalty area. A defender picks it up... but just holds it instead of clearing it behind. Harsanyi charges him, takes the ball away and fires a quick shot that beats the keeper! Huge, huge mistake by the Wycombe defender. We score 3 goals in the final 15 minutes of the first half!!! 3-1
HALF: What a performance so far! Wycombe stlil dominates possession, 60/40. They take 7 shots, just 3 on target. We take 10 shots, 4 on target, only one is a clear cut strike, we've made some very very nice plays to get our goals, I love what I'm seeing here with 3 different goal scorers.
We have been in a defensive mindset the whole tiem. We obviously stay there, expecting them to push hard. I debate changing to a counter attacking mode, but why change what works. If they push too hard and we can stop them we will generate more chances.
72': We've only seen one highlight so far. A poor free kick effort from Wycombe.
75': Taylor is hurt. Arter is in for him. N'Diaye in for Upson, Bell-Baggie in for Subotic.
78': Our first offensive highlight of the half shows Harsanyi placing a nice cross into the area, Kenny puts a header just over.
I'm happier with the second half than the first! Up two goals, expecting them to press and shoot a ton on us... we somehow only allow one shot to be taken in the final 45 minutes. We completely shut them down.
Wycombe 1 : 3 Woking
Ed Upson is clearly man of the match today, 1 goal/1 assist, 9.0 rating. Other goals come from Harsanyi (7.7) and Thomas (7.9). Subotic has an asist and an 8.3 rating. One goal was unassisted. Other notables: Ogogo (7.1), Nikolaou (7.3), Kenny (8.1).
We are 3-1 to start the season. Remember we started hot last year and cooled off drastically. I really like the play I'm seeing so far though!
We currently sit in 3rd in League 2, the highest we've ever been I believe. Unfortunately...
DMC Vince Taylor was hurt in the 2nd half of the Wycombe game. He is out for 3 weeks with a knee injury. That's two starters out for awhile. I'm confident in Harsanyi at AML with Collins out. I am not as confident in Arter at DMC.
-- Aswad Thomas and Ed Upson are in the League 2 team of the week this week.
-- Transfer deadline is approaching. I had what would have been a rather big free transfer for a DMC fall through (he got a couple Laegue 1 offers and not surprisingly took one of them). I don't intend to do anything else right now.
August 30th, 2014
Nottcs Co(1-0-3) @ Woking (3-0-1)
This is considered to be even by the gamblers, Notts are technically 6:4 favorites but we're 13:8, meh. Notts are struggling early. Last year the home team won both games. Notts just missed the playoffs last year, finishing 8th.
Given the injuries we start our best healthy 11 today. We're coming out looking to attack today.
9': They ahve a free kick, they try a cross with it, we clear it and Subotic picks it up near their penalty area... he runs down the right.. past midfield... all the way to the penalty area... they are not defending well! It seems like he could ahve come in closer, he's coming in from the right and the angle is weird... and he pulls up and fires it short, aiming too much for the right side of the net i think and he pushes it wide. Crazy that they let him take it all the way down the pitch.
13': Mike Williams with a yellow, we had a free kick, took it short to williams, he went down and got called for a dive.
35': 3 total shots, none on target
36': Out of nowhere! Nikolau has the ball in our end, a pass up to Subotic, a ball through to O'Sullivan who cuts behind their defensive line. He shoots it low, the keeper dives and gets a finger on it ,but it brushes by him and into the net! 1-0
42': O'Sullivan with a beautiful through ball, between two defenders, Kenny runs onto it perfectly, fires a shot, its a clear cut strike from the right side, but he blasts it right into the keeper.
HALF: The shots haven't been there, 3 for us, 3 for them, extremely low. We have 2 on target, 2 clear cut chances, and have one goal. Notts haven't put any on target yet.
46': we kick off and play it forward nearly immediately. Subotic with a nice pass to Kenny, they tackle and clear behind. The corner is short to Williams, he turns and shoots, deflected... it sits in the area for a moment before they can get to it and clear it away.
50': Their right midfielder gets very very deep on our end, into the area near the end line, he passes it across the 6 yard box, a defender deflects it and they get to it first, easily putting it past a now out of position lynch. 1-1
60': After a shot and save, their keeper sends it to their left defender... who has a terrible first touch and simply loses control of the ball. kenny is there, picks it up, runs into the area and takes his second clear cut strike of the match, and for the second time hits it right at the keeper, saved.
68': Subotic receives a pass deep on the right side, runs into the area and earns us a corner. Upson takes the corner short to williams, williams passes to Kenny at the top of the penalty area, Kenny strikes it hard with his first touch, and its past the crowd in the area defending the corner and into the right side of the net!!!! 2-1
70': We clear out after a long ball, Upson with a long pass to a breaking Kenny, Kenny beats his man, the defense rotates to him, he makes a GREAT centering pass to Subotic, our 4th clear cut strike of the match, but Subotic's shot is saved by a diving keeper. Ugh!
78': we'll defend the rest of the way.
83': We control the ball in their end for a good bit of time, Ogogo to O'Sullivan, he comes forward, Subotic breaks to the goal, O'Sullivan places a perfect through ball, the defense is caught with their pants down, and Subotic takes our 5th clear cut chance of the match and buries it past the keeper. 3-1
A great second half performance. With all our clear cut chances it never sholud ahve been in doubt, we could have won this 6-1 easily, but I will take what we got for sure!
Woking 3 : 1 Notts Co
We generate 18 shots, putting 8 on target. We limit them to 7 shots with just 1 on target. Remember that at the half each team had 3 shots. We put so much pressure on them in the final half to rack up those numbers. Of our 18 shots, only 3 were from long range.
Joe O'Sullivan scores a goal and assists on another, earning an 8.7 rating and man of the match. Subotic does the same, 1 goal/1 assist for an 8.6 rating. Kenny with the other goal (7.8), Williams the other assist (7.1). Additionally, Nikolaou (7.2), Upson (7.3) played very well.
The fans will show up if we're winning, we drew 4117 people today. Last year our average draw was 3200 people, so far this year 3700, so over 4100 is a great showing for us.
The media are fawning over Danijel Subotic, and why not. I gave him over $2000/wk when no one else was making anywhere close to that, and he's been good... but really "just" good for us. 7 goals/8 assists 2 years ago, 9 goals/9 assists last year. In 5 matches this year he has 5 goals/2 assists. I know this is the first formation we've ever played to feature a solo striker, so maybe its not a completely fair comparison, but the guy is absolutely on fire and he will start every match possible as long as he keeps it up.
For the first time in league 2 we sit in first place!
-- O'Sullivan/Subotic are named in the league team of the week this week.
We open the month in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, in addition to 6 league games, its always busy at this time of year.
-- Crewe Striker Calvin Zola is player of the month. He had 4 goals and 3 assists. Subotic is 2nd in the voting.
-- Our 4-1 start earns me manager of the month!
-- The board is pleased with my leadership. Loaning in Charlie Kenny is seen as a strong point, while our 4-1 crushing loss ot Wrexham is a disappointment. We lost $69k last month.
September 2nd, 2014
Johnstone's Paint Trophy South First Round
Swindon @ Woking
Swindon are obviously heavy favorites here, 4:6. It could be worse from a higher level league. Swindon are currently in the middle of league 1, 16th. Their manager talked up a fear of Subotic before the match.
Lots of changes today on short rest. Thomas in at DC, Alcock DR, Smith DM, Pulis i nfor O'Sullivan and Downes in for Kenny. We play again on the 6th. Practically everyone that isn't rested today will be sitting in our next game on the 6th.
We open with a standard mindset today, not quite ready to attack but I'm not pulling back in to defend either.
10': Just 1 shot each so far but they have a 63/37 possession edge and we've had a lot of highlights in our defensive end.
35': Possession quickly evens out. Only 5 total shots, they have a clear cut chance but i guess i didn't see it as such, whatever it was either wasn't shown or i didn't think it was worth writing up.
43': A quick coutner attack by Swindon, a pass down the right side, our defense is not back good enough and a DC has to slide over to cover, there's a centering pass and a clear cut strike from the penalty spot... Lynch makes the save!!! Not a great shot, could have eaisly been buried.
HALF: Scoreless at the half and after that last play i'm very pleased with that. Thomas is having a rather down day so far, so is Pulis. Swindon has 5 shots, 2 on target, 2 clear cut strikes. We have 2 shots, 1 on target. Possession has evened out to 50/50, they are making every tackle, 82% success rate. We're in this one for sure, but we need to generate some more chances.
58': Subotic picks up a yellow for a tackle. Neither team has taken a shot this half so far.
63': Downes with a corner, Smith a header just over, our first shot of the half.
66': They earn a corner, its taken and we clear it but they push it right back in. Striker Greer receives it aboutg 20 yards out, turns, fires, and its by Lynch, he's a bit stunned I think, that was very very quick. 0-1
69': We are going to attack now. Pulis goes down hurt, and this looks pretty bad for him. They earn a corner kick, its taken short, Smith goes up to head it... and just outright whiffs. Their man gets his head to it and Lynch just isn't there, like not even close to the play. I guess it looked like it might go deeper into the area and Lynch positioned himself just wrong. 0-2
77': Arter in for Smith, N'Diaye in for Pulis, Bell-Baggie in for Subotic.
No more highlights on either side.
Woking 0 : 2 Swindon
The two goals we gave up were just quick and we couldn't do anything it seems. But our lack of offense was disturbing. We shot once in the second half, that's it. 3 shots/1 on target for the entire match. Pulis with a 5.9, Subotic a 5.8. Most other people in the low 6s.
September 6nd, 2014
Woking(4-0-1, 1st) @ Stockport(3-1-1, 5th)
We are 3:1 dogs on the road, they are 4:5 favorites. They beat us twice last year, 2-0 and 1-0, so we've yet to score against these guys. Stockport finished 10th last year. Their big threat is Striker Ben Hutchinson, he's got two goals on the year, and our coaches are recommending hard tackling.
We have a solid lineup here today minus injuries, despite short rest. They play a very defensive looking formation as well with a sweeper, 2 DCs, two wing backs, 2 MC's and just two men forward. I remember not having any success generating any kind of attack on these guys last year.
2': Jesus our offense is so pretty this year. We control the ball at the start, build up in the midfield, we lose it briefly but after a tackle the ball comes to Upson inside the midfield circle. He immediately lofts a ball into the left side of the area and Harsanyi runs perfectly onto it. He controls it beautifully and strikes it by the keeper!! 1-0
14': We lose the ball in our end, Smith with a tackle.. right at the edge of the area.. surprised it wasn't a penalty, surprised it wasn't a red card. Just a yellow. Free kick off the wall and out, corner comes to nothing. Whew.
21': wow, speed kills. williams misses an interception on a long ball and their man Pilkington runs otno it, he is faster than our entire defense and the one mistake in the midfield seals our fate, no one can come close to catching him, and he finishes strongly against Lynch. 1-1
And its a very, very boring half after that. Stockport shoots 7 times, 3 on target. We shoot 5 times, 2 on target. 6 of the 12 shots are from distance and all the ones I saw were very weak efforts. We'll continue to try to defend the rest of the way.
56': Awful defending by Smith, Hutchinson, their star striker, receives the ball 25 yards out, Smith goes after him, Hutchinson burns him and stops and fires from 20 yards out, he places a strong shot in the right side of the net past Lynch. 1-2
66': we move up to a standard mindset, lets try a little at least to get this goal back.
70': Our first shot of the half, Upson hits subotic 20 yards out, he genertes an open look from that distance but puts it way over.
72': Downes in for Bell-Baggie at AMR. He didn't play bad but was kidna invisible.
80': we'll try to attack now.
82': A solid attacking move sees Downes hit Subotic, he draws a defender and finds Harsanyi inside the area, he ahs a pretty solid look, but its saved.
We get the ball foward a couple times but are unable to get our key passes on target to find a good shot.
Stockport 2 : 1 Woking
Harsanyi is man of the match in the loss with his goal, he passed the ball well and made a number of good runs, 8.4 rating. Upson had a 6.8 and the assist. Smith and Williams both made mistakes that led to goals and they both got 6.3 ratings, bad days for both.
Stockport took 14 shots but 10 were long... We took 8 shots, 4 on target, we just didn't generate enough chances, we had two where I could ahve seen a goal happening and we managed to score on just one.
We fall to 3rd with the loss, still ridiculously early of course, but every early point we get makes it easier to do that whole "avoid relegation" goal.
-- Harsanyi is named in the League 2 team of the week.
-- DL Stelios Nikolaou continues to improve, the coaches tell me his strength is up. His passing and Marking are both up as well.
Short Term Loaner
My Scouts recommend that I acquire a Championship level DC/DMC, stating that he'd be a superstar on the team. I look at him and he's worth 100k, so yeah... good luck with a transfer, but, he's listed for loan, so I make the loan offer. Danny Hedley joins us from Southampton. Solid athlete, 13 pace/accel, 15 jumping, all attributes over 10. Passing 12, Tackling 8, Marking 7. Mentally he's very strong, positioning, teamwork, work rate, bravery, all very very good, 11-14 for each rating.
it seems like Hedley should immediately play but at DC or DMC?
September 13nd, 2014
Chesterfield (1-2-3, 20th) @ Woking(4-0-2, 3rd)
Pretty much an even matchup, we're 13:8, they're 6:4 to win. We played twice last year, 0-0 tie at our place, 3-2 loss at theirs. Chesterfield finished 4th last season, missing auto promotion by 1 point. Their striker Ryan Blackwell scored 30 goals last year and was one of the top players in League 2. He's got 3 goals so far this year.
Good news for us as Taylor and Kenny have both recovered from their injuries. Taylor isn't quite ready to start which makes our new acquisition Hedley an easy start at DMC. We're attacking today.
7': The highlight starts witha free kick from 25 yards out. Shot taken by Hackney, it barely misses our wall... and there must be less than an inch of room between the diving Lynch and teh ball, it is perfectly placed into the upper right corner. Stunning shot. 0-1
23': backpass to Lynch, and he puts it back in play right to a defender about 30 yards away... missed tackle by Smith, but Lynch makes the save.
26': Kenny with a great run down the right side but Subotic/Harsanyi are in bad spots.. a cross goes to Harsanyi but he's not able to get power on the header from the far left corner of the penalty area.
28': yellow for ogogo.
The rest of the half we see a highlight of Nikolaou committing a foul, and that's it. Subotic randomly has poor morale and he isn't playing well today, so I'm putting Bell-Baggie in at striker for the second half. Hedley isn't really match fit yet, Taylor will play the second half at DMC. We only take 2 shots, they only take 4. Hopefully we can attack a lot better inthe second half.
50': Foul on O'Sullivan a few yards outside the penalty area. Smith takes the free kick and puts it just over.
57': O'Sullivan to Bell-Baggie, he runs into the right side of the area and ends up taking a very difficult shot from a tight angle, hitting the post.
60': O'Sullivan a great through ball, Bell Baggie runs onto it... no defense there... wide left. clear cut strike, that was a goal, no excuse at all for missing it.
77': Bell-Baggie does not pass. If he gets it he is going 1 on whatever is in front of them to try to score. He dribbles into the area and goes down hard, he's hurt and I'm pulling him. Harsanyi to foward, N'Diaye AML.
86': Whoa! N'Diaye down the left side, a great cross to the far post, but Kenny isn't in a good position to shoot, he centers it to Harsanyi who heads it into the net! Pretty goal! 1-1
91': Free kick gets the ball in play for us, we move it forward quckly ,Taylor to O'Sullivan, he is into the right side of the area, he crosses it right across the face of the keeper and N'Diaye is there! He pokes it into the goal with the keeper out of position, GOOOOOOOAL!!!!!!!! 2-1
What a comeback! This is a game we should win so I would hve been disappointed otherwise, but the manner in which we pulled this one off was incredible.
Woking 2 : 1 Chesterfield
We shoot 8 times in the second half, putting only two on target, both goals. We do not allow a single shot all half. Kenny has a brilliant game, making a number of runs early on and getting both of our assists. He is man of the match with a 9.0 rating. Harsanyi played ok at AML and then got a goal at striker, 8.1. N'Diaye with his first goal for me out of the AML spot, a 7.4 rating in short work. Ogogo, Nikolaou, and Smith all put up a 7.0, as does Bell-Baggie for his work for the second half before he got hurt.
We're back up to 1st after this win, 5-0-2.
-- Harsanyi is named in the League 2 team of the week yet again, he's playing really well for us.
-- At the suggestion of our coaches we asked Joe O'Sullivan to work on his shooting power, he now feels his shot is powerful enough to be a bigger threat to opponents.
September 20th, 2014
Woking(5-0-2, 1st) @ Rochdale(4-1-2, 4th)
Rochdale are 4:6 favorites at their place today, we are 7:2 dogs. We beat these guys at our place 1-0 last year but got killed at theirs 4-1. Rochdale finished 5th last year.
Taylor is raedy to start again and I will give Hedley a look in defense. Joe Collins is healthy again and he gets the start at AML. Subotic hasn't scored in a couple matches now and Harsanyi is very hot, so I give him the start up front.
We'll play defensive today on the road.
4': We're defending and recover possession afer a corner. Some great passing between O'Sullivan, Kenny and Harsanyi advance the ball downfield. Kenny has it out wide, feeds it to O'Sullivan who puts a through ball out wide to Collins.. Collins has a look from the left side of the area, but he misses. Tough angle, very solid looking play on our part.
16': God Collins is so good, he doesn't have Jesus' speed but he can control the ball. A great move gets him a long run down the left, he puts in a good cross but Kenny heads it over.
28': Rochdale has 5 shots but 3 are long and off target. We have 3 shots, all off target. Their highlights are either long shots or our defense nicely breking up attacks.
45': A quick counter by Rochdale after we lose possession, they put in a nice cross form the left side, a striker with a header, Lynch makes a nice save.
HALF: Scoreless works for me. Hedley's rating is quite poor so far. We allow 8 shots, 4 long, they ende dup with 3 on target. We still have 3 shots only, none on target yet.
46': A bad pass by O'Sullivan near midfield triggers a break for them. There's a cross into the arae and a header that hits the crossbar. Scary.
54': Taylor with a yellow.
64': N'Diaye in for Collins at AML.
76': HARSANYI!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my god! He makes a logn run down the left sideline... we've got two guys that he can get a cross to. He goes into the area... doesn't cross it... two defenders converge, he somehow splits the defenders, finds himself just a few feet from the goal and puts it into the net!!! Possibly the best individual effort I've ever seen. 1-0
We hang on for the win!
Rochdale 0 : 1 Woking
Rochdale ended the match with 23 shots, but only 4 were on target and 16 were from long range. I did not see most of them in highlights. We only take 6 shots, 3 in the second half, HArsanyi just won this one for us by himself. The defense pitched the shutout but Harsanyi... holy shit.
Harsanyi earns an 8.3 rating and man of the match. N'Diay with a 6.8, but he had the assist. Upson 7.1, Ogogo 7.2, Nikolaou 7.3, and Hedley recovers nicely to put up a 7.3 rating. Hedley won 4 key headers and made 8 interceptions, both led the team.
first time i've ever fraps'd anything or uploaded anything to youtube. *crosses fingers*
I saved that footage in half resolution, the embedded clip is crappy but full screen i think it's solid
-- After a couple games on full rest we're back to 3 days off.
September 23th, 2014
Tranmere(3-4-1, 10th) @ Woking(6-0-2, 1st)
We get to be the favorite today at home but its super slim, 6:4 vs 13:8 again. Tranmere avoided relegation by one point last season, they finished 22nd and struggled terribly. We got one of our most dominant wins ever at home against these guys last year, winning 5-0. We tied 2-2 at their house. Tranmere are led by Dean Bowditch who has 6 goals already this season.
I don't much like this lineup. I could keep a couple guys in and just wear them out... well I am with Upson and Nikolaou, but we'll see how we do. We attack today at home.
12': First highlight of the game is Lynch making a great save on a clear cut strike after a solid through ball.
31': Lynch with another very good save... We've taken one shot, only 3 total highlights so far.
37': Poor pass by Tranmere, out near midfield while they are attacking, Downes with an interception, if he can make a good run and center the ball to Subotic its an easy goal... but he cannot control the ball during his run and gives it away.
HALF: Boring half. We take 2 shots, putting one on target. Subotic had a very weak header attempt at some point. Tranmere shoots 6 times, 2 on target. Lynch made the one great save. We control 55% of the possession and are dominant in the air so far. Downes has a horrible half and I want another starter back in, Kenny is playing the second half at AMR.
51': We've generated 3 shots already, but all are awful and off target, but we are getting the ball down there.
52': Smith with a yellow for a tackle.
59': Midfielder Worthington with a yellow for a hard tackle on Upson.
67': Wow, everything just went bad. Nikolaou passes back to Lynch but he gets under it and lofts it into the air. Lynch barely clears it of the line... they recover and get into the area and Thomas makes a hard tackle and earns a yellow. That's a penalty and they drain the PK. 0-1
71': Collins in for N'Diaye, Harsanyi in for Subotic. I want to get a goal here.
76': Smith... It seems like every 3 or 4 games Smith takes the blam for allowing a goal. A cross coes in from the right, Christian Smith is right thre and just flat out misses the clearance, their star Bodwitch is there and buries it. 0-2
80': After a deep throwin they clear poorly, Alcock ends up with it, a through ball to Kenny, he has to fight hard to control it but he gets off a strong shot, its saved and turned back for a corner, which we do nothing with.
86': Another buildup by Tranmere, Alcock misses a tackle out on the left side, they pass it into the penalty area, it deflects off Thomas, then Upson, and falls to the feet of a striker for Tranmere who buries it. Just not our day. 0-3
Woking 0 : 3 Tranmere
We played awful and deserved to lose. N'Diaye 5.7, Smith 5.4, Thomas 6.0. Some poor numbers out there.
Christian Smith will be losing his job as the default starter for a few games. Taylor will probalby start at DC for awhile(I like him at DMR but my coaches swear he's a great central defender) and will run Hedley and Arter at DMC.
September 27th, 2014
Port Vale(3-4-2, 13th) @ Woking(6-0-3, 1st)
Port Vale are 4:5 favorites at our house today, we're 3:1 dogs to win, 2:1 to tie. We lost twice to these guys last year, 2-1 at home, 1-0 at their house. Port Vale finished 11th last year. They are led again this year by James Lawrie, a name i recognize from our beatings last season. He has 6 goals, 3 assists, and 3 man of the match awards in 9 league matches so far.
We make lots of lineup changes due to our 3rd game on short rest, Smith sits for sucking, Taylor/Thomas at DC since we desparately need Nikolaou to have a day off and Williams moves out there. Harsanyi is up front today, Subotic could go but he's been a bit cold after the hot start. We're attacking today.
6': After a short back and forth for possession in midfield, Upson hits Kenny with a nice ball foward, Kenny into the area... shot is blocked. We keep possession and work the ball to the left for Collins, he's in the area, the ball is tackled away, he goes down... PENALTY! Williams is our kick taker, and he buries it. 1-0
10': A long buildup sees Ogogo on the right, the penalty area is quite crowded, he puts a low ball into the area, O'Sullivan with a solid volley.. off a defender and behind for a corner, but we can't do anything with the corner.
15': Port Vale takes their first shot, they are able to get a solid look in the penalty area but Lynch stops it.
17': A great through ball to Lawrie for Port Vale, he's in a perfect position to score... shoots... lynch with a diving save!!
24': We earn two corners, the first is crossed in dangerously and we had a guy with a good chance to score, but they clear it behind. No goal though.
30': Harsanyi makes a long run up the middle, juking one defender, taking a shot from about 19 yards out... its a good strike and the keeper barely gets a finger to it. Extremely good save. Corner comes to nothing.
39': Defender Signorelli with a foul just outside the penalty area. free kick by upson is struck off the left crossbar.
42': Kenny is hurt, he stays on but he's noticibly slowed.
HALF: We dodge two very dangerous chances and take our 1-0 lead into the locker room. We shoot 7 times, 3 on target. They shoot 4 times, 2 on target. We have a 56/44 possession edge, and as we very often are we dominate in the air winning 70% of our headers, just 53% for them. Bell-Baggie comes in at AMR for the injured Kenny.
55': Tons of possesion, tons of highlights all by us, but only one off target shot so far.
68': We skip ahead instantly to the 68th minute, port Vale on a free kick, they take it like a penalty, to the short man, he launches a strong ball to the far post which is volleyed in. 1-1 Very quick and impressive goal.
88': Subotic in for Collins, Subotic ST, Harsanyi to AML.
Very little in the way of highlights in the second half. A very quick strike by Port Vale to tie it up and only 2 shots taken by Woking all half.
Woking 1 : 1 Port Vale
Their assist man is man of the match. Mike Williams has our goal and earns a 7.5 rating. Harsanyi 7.1, Collins 7.0, Hedley 7.0. Both teams end up with 9 shots, 3 on target. We really controlled most of the game at least as far as the highlights that were shown, their attacks were all very quick and catching us off guard. We stopped two, but the third led to their goal. This is our first tie of the year, 6-1-3!
September 30th, 2014
Woking(6-1-3, 5th) @ Hereford(5-2-3, 9th)
We're now in 5th, 4 points out of 1st, only 3 points ahead of 11th. Hereford are heavy 4:6 favorites at home today. We're 7:2. We played twice last year, neither team managed a goal. Hereford finished 17th last year, 1 point ahead of us.
We're very tired today. A lot of our starters i'd like to rest but the backups need a week off too. This is the best we can do really. They are just as tired.
16': We've taken two shots, earned a couple corners, but nothing really scary looking.
HALF: No highlights from the 23 minute on. 4 total shots, 1 on target by us but it was a long range effort that had no chance. Possession 55/45 in favor of Hereford. Very, very boring. Of course, we're on the road against a heavily favored team, i should probably be pleased.
52': Seriously? Thorugh ball by Hereford... Arter is judged to have slowed their attacker charging to get to it... its a penalty, and they score. 0-1
55': We control the ball in their end briefly but can't manage to get it into the penalty area, Harsanyi ends up taking a long shot and its just over.
57': Hereford try to attack, a ball into the area is pushed away, one of their midfielders heads it back into the center, their leading striker is there and takes a quick long shot from 22ish yards out and Lynch is beaten... it wasn't particularly well placed, just blasted by Lynch nearly right down the middle. 0-2
74': Ball-Baggie in for Subotic, N'Diaye in for Downes who got hurt, Smith in for Taylor at DC.
Disappointing, I'm not sure about that penalty and the second goal was just quick and deadly, an unfortunate play after a good tackle that usually breaks up the attack.
Hereford 2 : 0 Woking
5.7 for Subotic up front today. In the few highlights on our attacking in I would have blamed the rest of our guys for not being able to get the ball to Subotic in any reasonable way.
Downes was hurt in the second half of our last match and is out 2-3 weeks.
--It looks like we get some rest in October, with only 4 matches scheduled.
--Harsanyi's goal is the goal of the month in league 2!
--The board is "very pleaesd" with my leadership. Taht's up from just pleased the last few months. Our performance in League 2 is a high, and the recent cold streak of Subotic after the super hot start is a low point. We lost $85k last month.
QPR offer us DC Jamie Cooper, and the kid looks great. 16 heading/14 marking/12 passing/10 tackling. Solid positioning, great teamwork, work rate, ok determination, and a solid athlete everywhere but acceleration (which is only 6). I only have one long term loaner left, this looks like a very solid upgrade in the back with my frustrations with Smith and the fact that Thomas is an average backup at best. I go ahead and bring him in.
October 4th, 2014
Woking(6-1-4, 9th) @ Leyton Orient(7-2-2, 2nd)
Our steady fall from an early 1st place start continues and now we go on the road to face a team at the top. They finished 9th last year, just missing the playoffs. We beat them at our house and pulled off a 3-3 draw at theirs last season. They are huge 1:2 favorites today, we are 9:2 to win. We'll be on the defensive here for sure.
Our new DC gets an immediate start. At my assistant's suggestion we're going in hard to tackle midfielder Simon Walton.
1': Kenny opens the match with a nice run down the right side. They clear out his cross though. We get it back, Harsanyi gets the ball 20 yards out, he turns by one defender and makes his way into the penalty area, I thought he had a good look to shoot but he ended up running out right and trying a tough angle shot that he puts wide.
9': They control the ball forever. Like, 4 or 5 minutes it seems, in our end. Striker Kermorgant ends up taking a long shot from 23-24 yards out... and he bends it left, it hits the left upright and ricochets into the net. Nothing we could do about that once the shot was taken. We missed a tackle to allow the shot though. 0-1
22': free kcik for us in their end, Ogogo crosses it into the area, Cooper with a header, but its over the bar.
28': Midfielder Walton brings down Upson and picks up a yellow. Taylor takes a shot with a verrrry long free kick and puts it over.
37': We intercept a clearance, Taylor gets it after a weird bounce and has a run into the area, he has a solid shot with no defenders bothering him.. but its saved, he isn't the best finisher. We regain possession and pass it around for awhile but show no ability to get it into a threatening position.
46': Harsanyi with a great through ball to Kenny, Kenny has our first clear cut strike, he's trailed by a dfender but he's got space to shoot... but its saved, no luck. A defender beats Collins to the rebound and clears it.
HALF: We have an amazing 63% of the possession. We generate 8 shots but only put 2 on target. 5 are just straight out off target bad and one is blocked. We only allow two shots, and the only one on target is the long effort that gives Leyton Orient the lead. Kenny is having a rough day.
49': We're attackign. I'm frustrated. It'll probably backfire.
52': Kenny's rating goes down more. Incredible long ball on a counter attack from Harsanyi down the left side to Collins. collins plays a perfect cross, Kenny is 6 yards from the goal, the keeper is way out of position, and he heads it over. That's his second clear cut chance and he missed both. This one is completely unforgivable, the keeper simply was not there.
61': Kenny loses possesion in our end, they take it, make a quick run down the left, a cross and a header and we are probalby goign to lose now. Everyone says its a handball. "The Woking players are surrounding the referee" 0-2
71': Oh my god... Kenny with a great ball forward to Harsanyi who is so open I thought he might be offsides. He has our 3rd clear cut strike of the day, and he blasts it into the body of the keeper. It deflects away, Kenny runs onto it. The keeper is not there, he is on the ground after deflecting the shot. Kenny can just pass the ball into the net from maybe 8 yards out. He hits the right upright and it goes out of bounds. UGGGGGGGGGGGGGH.
88': Harsanyi again with a solid foward pass, again to Collins. Collins has a good enough first touch and is ahead of the defense. He takes our FIFTH clear cut chance of the game. He puts it well wide.
I guess I could have pulled kenny? I really don't konw.
Leyton Orient 2 : 0 Woking
7.2 for Collins, 7.1 for Taylor. Kenny 6.3, Cooper 5.7(a missed header was blamed for their second goal), 6.3 for Williams. We took 15 shots, they took 9. We led possession 58/42. We generated 5 clear cut chances, two of them there was literally no goalkeeper between the man and the net. We did not score a single goal. This one was overwhelmingly frustrating to watch.
-- Bad news in training on back to back days. AMR Kenny plays in a U19 match for Ireland and suffers a bruised rib. He's going to be slowed for a week. Nikolaou collides with DR Alcock in practice and bruises his shin and will be out 3-8 days. Luckily its a slow month for us so that should just be one match.
October 11th, 2014
Bury(5-4-3, 9th) @ Woking(6-1-5, 11th)
Bury are very heavy 4:6 favorites at our house today. We tied both times we played last year, 0-0 and 2-2. Last year Burty finished 14th, just 3 points ahead of us.
All changes today are due to injury. We currently have 5 players injured (Nikolaou/Herd/Downes/Kenny/Cousins) and backup GK out on international duty. At the recommendation of our coaches we will go in hard tackling MR Danny Green and ST Nathanial Medez-Laing. We'll try to attack hard today.
6': We allow 3 corner kicks, and the third one is a short corner to a guy named Smith who immediately puts it near post between Lynch and our man guarding the post. Sigh. 0-1
22': Not another highlight until we see Bell-Baggie run through the defense to get into the area, earn a corner, which we do nothing with.
24': Collins controls a loose ball in the attacking end, passes over to the right side, O'Sullivan makes a run and puts in a solid cross, we earn a clear cut strike as Collis makes a great leap andgets a solid head on the ball, it hits the crossbar and goes over, so close!
32': We work the ball foward, build up our offense, Ogogo with a cross, Collins heads it... off the crossbar again! Gah!
38': Taylor plays a beautiful long ball from the midfield line, Collins receives it in the penalty area, his first touch is terrible and the ball squirts 5 yards away, somehow the defense cannot clear, Collins chases it down and fires it into the net!!! His first Woking goal, he's put himself in great spots today and I'm glad he got that goal. 1-1
HALF: We recover to tie it up after allowing the early goal. We only allow 3 shots, 2 on target. We take 7 shots, only putting 2 on target, but finally got our goal. Dominant in the air so far today, 75% of our headers won, 40% of theirs won. Our new DC Cooper is the only player struggling at all, 6.5, which is fine, but its the lowest on the team.
49': Smith gets a yellow for us for a tackle in the midfield.
53': We win the ball nicely in the midfield, O'Sullivan is 45 yards out and plays a strong low pass foward that Collins runs on to perfectly, he takes his 4th shot, our second clear cut chance of the match, but blasts it right at the keeper, doh!
55': O'Sullivan a ball to Harsanyi who is open, but he cuts the wrong way. We don't let them clear it out, Ogogo recovers and plays it to Harsanyi who is 20 yards out. HArsanyi turns, sees 3 defenders in front of him, strikes it hard, and its by the keeper!!! Great shot! 2-1
61': Harsanyi scores a goal after a great O'Sullivan pass but he was 3 or 4 yards offsides, waaaay offsides heh.
78': There's a run down the left side, a cross and a header... its not headed hard, but its placed very well towards the left side of the net... Lynch dives and grabs the ball, good save.
80': Ogogo with a yellow for a tackle deep in their end. We clear out the free kick nicely.
83': Thomas in for Williams at DL, N'Diaye in for Bell-Baggie. Both fatigue related.
85': We earn a corner, Upson takes it short to Cooper who fires a low shot, the keeper deflects it away, nice shot though. We earn a second corner, its cleared out. We move it back foward, Harsanyi takes another shot from 20 yards out, the same spot he scored his first goal, its struck very well and barely saved.
93': Taylor goes down hurt, we have been kickign the ball around wasting time for a few minutes, stalling and hoping the ref blows the final whistle soon. Taylor makes a cross foward and just falls over. He's listed as injured and we'll see after the match.
Woking 2 : 1 Bury
Good win! We allow 3 shots in the 2nd half, they end up putting 4 of their 6 on target. We take 11 shots, putting 6 on target. DMC Vince Taylor has a great game today with an assist, an 8.2 rating and man of the match. Goals from Collins (7.8) and Harsanyi (7.6). Assist from Ogogo (7.9). Cooper ends up with a 7.1 rating, and O'Sullivan a 7.0. I'm happy to see Cooper end strong. He made 5 tackles, 9 iterceptions and won 11 of the 12 headers he went for.
I was afraid of this, Taylor is going to miss 3-4 weeks with the pulled hamstring he picked up today.
We move back up to 5th in the standings.
-- Ogogo is named to the League 2 team of the week this week.
-- Our backup Goalie Lewis Martin started for the Scottish U21 squad, putting up a 6.8 rating in a 1:1 tie against spain.
October 18th, 2014
Woking(7-1-5, 5th) @ Brighton (8-4-1, 2nd)
Brighton finished 19th in league 2 last year. They appear to have made vast improvements. They are 1:6 favorites at their home field today, we're 10:1 to win, the worst odds I've seen in a long time for a league match. We beat them 3-1 at their place last year but lost 2-0 at ours.
Kenny and Nikolaou are healthy again but not quite ready to go. Hedley DMC, N'Diaye AMR, otherwise the same as our last match.
00:23 - We lose. Two passes and they have their star striker Ocak behind our defensive line with a clear cut chance. 0-1
11': Collins with a great move to lose his man to get a run down the left, a cross is cleared though. Moments later we earn a corner, cleared but they foul near the penalty area. Smith takes the free kick and shoots but the keeper collects it.
14': Davies for Brighton with a yellow.
23': Harsanyi "needs a lengthy treatment" after an injury. Brighton Midfielder Tillen gets a yellow for his tackle.
30': Collins tries a cross, its deflected but right back to him, he runs by his man, into the area, its a tough angle though and he can't put his shot on target.
32: We've seen a few highlights where Brighton attacks hard but settles for a poor long shot. They have some veyr, very fast players that we can barely mark.
40': N'Diaye makes a nice run and earns us a corner. Its taken short to Cooper, his shot is just high.
HALF: Hey look Christian Smith appears to take the blame for their goal, he's put up a 5.4 so far. Harsanyi is coming out, he doesn't look to have a long term injury but he's gassed. Bell-Baggie in a striker. We take 4 shots but none are on target. They have 7, the only one o ntarget is their goal.
54': Midfielder Tillen brings down N'Diaye, he's booked, that's his second yellow, RED CARD! We get to play a man up the rest of the half.
68': Hedley with a yellow on our end. Subotic is in for N'Diaye. Bell-Baggie moves to AMR, Subotic striker. We'll try to attack.
81': For having a man up and trying to attack to get a goal back, a hell of a lot of time is going off the clock without a highlight, and when i do see one its them attacking.
87': Mike Williams loses the game for us. They loft the ball deep into our end, Williams tries to clear it and just boots it up in the air a few feet. They take possession and there's an immediate cross to an open man for a header, goal. 0-2
89': Smith with a yellow.
Brighton 2 : 0 Woking
Collins 5.9, Smith 5.3. I tell Smith I'm angry at him. He is just not with it this year. He hasn't been as good as i wanted when I signed him but he's just been godawful this season so far. The fact that we couldn't generate a single noteworthy attack after they had a man sent off shows how overmatched we were today.
Smith is banned for a match after picking up 5 yellows. 5th place has 24 points, 11th has 21. We're tied for 9th with 22 points right now in a huge pack of teams trying to establish themselves as playoff contenders. I don't believe we are a playoff contender, but the longer we stay up here the better. Last year the teams that were relegated had 22 poitns and 38 points. Other years there haven't been teams quite that bad and it will take 40-45 points to avoid relegation, we are halfway there 1/3 of the way through the season.
October 25th, 2014
Barnet (2-9-3, 16th) @ Woking(7-1-5, 5th)
Barnet are 5:4 favorites, we're 7:4. Last year we tied at our place and lost 2-1 at theirs. They're picking up draws in almost every match while we only have one all season so far. Last year Barnet finished 21st. Foward Stuart Beavon is their leading scorer with 4 goals so far this season.
We've got what may well be the best lineup we're capable of fielding out on the pitch today. At the suggestion of the coaching staff, we are marking MC Ashley Kington tightly today, and tackling ML Neil Powell hard.
4': A quick counter attack after clearing the ball out of their end sees Harsanyi with a breakaway, he runs inot the area, its a shot he almost always puts away... but the keeper saves, he fires it right at the keeper really.
24': Free kick taken by Upson about 35 yards out. He sends out left and that surprises me, and everyone on the field it appears. Nikolaou runs onto it, pushes the ball to Collins in the penalty area, he passes it across the 6 yard box and Harsanyi is there and he pokes it into the goal!! 1-0
HALF: We see two more highlights, a deep throwin by us that is cleared out quickly, and a long shot that is well over for them. Possession is even, we shoot 3 times, putting two on target. They shoot 3 times, none on target yet. Lets finish this one off!
49': Midfielder Sawyer gets a yellow for a tackle about 25 yards out, Harsanyi takes the free kick but his shot is blocked by the wall.
55': Nikolaou with a nice ball out of our end down the sideline, Collins with a strong run and cross.. Kenny is there, but he heads it over.
59': We make a nice tackle to cut out a counter attack, as we turn back on offense, MC Sawyer tackles Upson hard, he's called over by the ref, and given his second yellow!! RED CARD. We play with a man advantage the rest of the way again. This time we have a lead though.
64': N'Diaye in for Kenny.
68': We have a deep throwin, the ball is worked aorudn to Cooper about 30 yards out and he blasts a shot that is deflected behidn for a corner. Corner is taken to cooper, one of their defenders is blamed for missing an interception there, Cooper centers to O'Sullivan who shoots from close range and scores! 2-0
79': Hedley with a yellow.
90': Hedley with his second yellow, very very stupid. We have this win nearly locked in already but what the hell!
Woking 2 : 0 Barnet
Nikolaou plays great as always, he has an assist and a 7.6 rating and is man of the match. Cooper with our other assist, 6.9. Goals from O'Sullivan and Harasnyi (7.4 each). Ogogo (7.2) and Upson (7.5) are noteworthy as well. Barnet took 8 shots today but 7 of them were from long range and 6 were off target. The other two were blocked. Fantastic defensive performance.
-- The FA Cup 1st Round Draw is held towards the end of october. We get a crap draw, hosting League 1 side Crystal Palace. We'll play on November 8th
Catastrophic Injury Update
There's only one player I'd use the word catastrophic for here. Our Goalkeeper Kevin Lynch breaks a finger in practice and is going to miss 6-7 weeks. I refused to loan out my backup keeper this year, something I'd been tempting the fates by doing in recent years. backup Lewis Martin will play our next 7-9 matches.
AMR Charlie Kenny is also hurt in practice, he's going to be out 2 weeks.
November 1st, 2014
Woking(8-1-6, 9th) @ Kidderminster(2-6-7)
We have more history with these guys than any other team. 7 games played without a tie. We have 4 wins, they have 3. The road team won 2-1 both times last season. Today Kidder are even money favorites, we are 11:5 to win on the road.
With injuries to Lynch, Taylor and Kenny, and Hedley serving a 1 match suspension for his red card, this is the best we've got today. We'll be defending today.
6': We give teh ball away at midfield, they push it down the right side, Nikolaou runs with their man but can't tackle it away... a cross comes in, awe've got a defender their but they win the header from near point blank range... the header hits the crossbar, whew. clear cut chance for Kidderminster to open it up.
16': Every highlight is in their end, we are givign teh ball away like crazy.
27': 7 shots for Kidder, 5 off target. 3 corners earned. Another highlight starts with us turning the ball over in their half of the field.
42': The highlight opens with Harsanyi running down the left sideline. This is the first time I've seen a highlight where we have possesion in their half of the field. A cross earns us a corner which we give away immediately.
HALF: I have to be pleased to be tied today. We take 1 shot, its off target, it wasn't shown in a highlight. They take 8 shots, only putting 1 o nraget. They are passing, crossing, tackling and heading better than us. They are really dominating in every way but the scoreboard.
50': We change to a standard mindset, maybe get the ball out of our end a bit, I dunno. Subotic comes in for collins who is hurting and slowed as a result. Harsanyi to AML, Subotic striker.
80': 30 minutes just went by without a highlight. Downes in for N'Diaye at AMR.
85': Subotic to Downes, he tries to put a ball in the area but they tackle it behind for a corner. Corner is cleared out, we force it back in... cleared out again. Cooper freaks out in midfield and blasts the ball backwards for a corner kick to them instead of trying to control possession.
91': We control the ball in the offensive end, Arter, to Upson, a very nice through ball to Harsanyi, he runs perefctly on to it, blasts it... off the keeper. Its our 3rd shot of the day, the only one we put on target and a clear cut strike. It would hve been sweet to get a win with that, but alas.
Kidderminster 0 : 0 Woking
I'll take a draw on the road to be sure, but our lack of chances in offense was a bit shocking. One of their defenders is man of the match. Nikolaou with a 7.4 for us, Cooper 7.4, Ogogo 7.0. Collins and Subotic with 5.9s on the negative side. Martin with a 6.6 in his first start. They took 10 shots but only put 2 on target, so Martin wasn't challenged too greatly.
-- This was Nikolaou's 100th league appearance.
-- We play 5 matches in November, 4 league (including the one on Nov 1) and one FA Cup Match. If we were to somehow beat Crystal Palace we'd play another FA Cup Match before the end of the month.
-- The board is very pleased with my leadership. Our league 2 performance is a highlight, no negatives listed at all! We did lose $126k last month. With that we have already given back all our TV and season ticket revenue and are negative on the balance sheet for the year. That makes sense, we're spending more money with a higher wage budget but aren't making much more money. I'd mentioned high early attendence but its come crashing back down to normal.
-- Vince Taylor has resumed full training.
-- 35 y/o DC Nick Fenton requests that I put him on the transfer list. I kept him around b/c he was cheap but with the new guys I brought in this year there is no room for him even as super deep depth. I grant his request, no reason for him to not have a shot to play out the last year or two of his career at a lower level.
-- The press is reporting that Woking's fans are very excited for the upcoming FA Cup. We have an average attendence of 3192/game right now, we are expected to have over 5000 here.
I'd posted a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup, but I had a power spike before I saved after the match. We're back on November 1 after the Kidderminster match, so we have to replay that.
November 8th, 2014
FA Cup 1st Round
Crystal Palace (2nd, League 1) @ Woking (10th, League 2)
They are 4:7 favorites to win today, we are 4:1 dogs. That could be a lot worse at home. Sadly this is the second time playing this game due to a power failure. We lost 1-0 in the first one. I'm going to keep my lineup and strategy the same. I kinda think the speed of Bell-Baggie might be better at striker but I'm sticking with the d
We will start defensive today
4': Stupid power. This is gonna be bad. Long pass out right, centering pass, their striker beats Cooper and places a solid shot near post past Martin in goal. 0-1
18': We generate some offense, Collins gets a cross into the area, but they clear, it can't quite find Harsanyi. We push it back in and earnaa corner but they clear it out for good.
41': A good amount of time passes before we see Crystal Palace take a couple long shots that are blocked, they earn two corners and a deep throwin before a foul finally allows us to get it out of their end of the pitch.
HALF: This is similar to what happened the first time, they got a 1-0 lead and shut down so we couldn't do anything at all. We take 2 shots, one is on target but both are long. They take 5 shots, only one on target as well. Possession is a huge, huge worry, 61/39 in their favor. We will switch to a standard mindset to come out of our defensive shell a bit and see if we can get a few more chances.
46': Taylor picks up a yellow "for his persistent fouling"
58': We get a shot after a nice cross by Nikolaou, but Harsanyi puts the header over.
66': Williams with a backpass to the keeper. Martin "pases it out 25 yards towards ogogo" but it doens't really go out right or to Ogogo... it goes back to Williams who isn't ready for it. The ball ricochets off him into the penalty area, they have a striker trailing pretty close and he rushes on, takign advantage of the critical mistake and scoring an easy goal. 0-2
75': Bell-Baggie in for Harsanyi, Downes in for N'Diaye.
81': Hedley in for Taylor
Woking 0 : 2 Crystal Palace
Most of our team is in the 6.4-6.6 range. Harsanyi 6.0 was our worst. Martin with a 6.5 in goal. I guess neither he nor Williams took the blame for that second goal. Based on the play by play and what happened on the field, I would have blamed Martin for an errant ball. We had a few highlights in the 55-70 minute range where it seemed our guys would stand around with possession in the midfield, unable to figure out what to even try to do to advance the ball, leading to a long backpass to the keeper.
We draw over 5800 fans to our FA Cup match, breaking a gate receipts record we set last year in the FA Cup against Peterborough. We took in $190k today.
November 15th, 2014
Walsall (3-5-8, 20th) @ Woking (8-2-6, 10th)
One of those rare days where we get to be favored, but not by much. We're 6:4 to win today, Walsall are 13:8. We played these guys in a friendly in 2010, and in the first round of the FA Cup in the 12/13 season, losing both times at home. Walsall were relegated out of league 1 last year and are not doing well here so far. They were 2:1 favorites to promote back up at the start of the season.
Kenny is back from injury today, though he likely won't play the entire match. Bell-Baggie gets a shot at striker as well as we try to rotate guys in whenever we don't have a super hot hand. Based on suggestions in the coaching meeting, we will try to play wide today and push our defensive line high up. We're told Walsall doesn't do well against either of these setups.
6': We can't clear the ball out as they control it in our end for a good long while. Cooper commits a foul inches outside the penalty area. Free Kick is off the wall and cleared out.
18': I thought we were about to get our first offensive highlight but instead some aggressive tackling gives Walsall the ball back, there's a long shot earning a corner, but we clear it out nicely.
21': Upson has a free kick 20 yards out, didn't see how we earned it. He puts it off the wal and behind for a corner,which is taken short to Cooper, he loses possession.
32': Nikolaou with a cross into the area, they head it out but not well, Upson runs onto the loose ball and fires a shot from 20 yards out... just over.
45': Collins receives a pass deep in their left end, he places a cross, kenny gets his head to it, its our first on target shot of the match... but saved by the keeper.
47': Williams goes down hurt... we'll see if he can keep going in the second half.
48': Attacker Mason with a yellow for a hard tackle.
HALF: Scoreless, I want to yell at our guys "STOP TURNING IT OVER". In the highlights that have been shown we are constantly losing possession, they are tackling very well. I guess we are too according to the stat sheet (over 70% success rate for both teams). Both teams shoot 5 times, both teams put 1 on target only. My biggest concern is that 4 of our 5 shots are from long range. Williams is not looking good, I'm putting Thomas in at DC. I hope Williams isn't hurt too badly, we'll see postgame.
46': We make the key tackle this time.. we control possession at the start of the half, Bell-Baggie sends it wide for Collins, Collins tries a cross but its deflected, they have a defender get to it first, but Upson rushes in and pokes the ball away, gaining possession about 20 yards out, he takes a quick, decisive hard shot and beats the keeper with it!! 1-0
56': Taylor makes a long pass from the midfield stripe, its perfectly played into the penalty area, Collins runs onto it and takes a shot, but drills the keeper with it, saved.
64': Ogogo must have seen me typing, he shrugs off two tackle attempts to get the ball forward, a cross is turned back for a corner... they head the corner away for a throw-in for us, but we turn it back over right away.
69': Another long pass for us, Taylor plays a very long ball out of the defensive end down the right side, Kenny fights a defender for it and wins the ball, he takes it into the penalty area, tries a low cross, it deflects off a defender but comes to rest right at the feet of Bell-Baggie, who takes advantage of the gift and puts it home! 2-0
75': N'Diaye in for Kenny, Pulis in for O'Sullivan. We will play defensive to just hang on to our 2 goal lead the rest of the way.
79': Martin makes a solid save, they had a guy turn and fire a shot from 30 yards out, it was well placed and Martin had to dive to stop it.
81': Collins brings the ball up the left side, crosses it in but they head it out of the penalty area. Upson runs onto the ball about 30 yards out and puts some serious power onto his shot. It hits the right crossbar and bounces wide, so close!
We hang on for the good win!
Woking 2 : 0 Walsall
We only allow 3 shots in the second half, a great day for us really.
Ed Upson is man of the match with a goal and an 8.2 rating. Bell-Baggie with a 7.0 rating and a goal. Assists from Kenny (7.7) and Collins (7.2). Ogogo with a great 7.7 rating as well. Nikolaou 7.3, O'Sullivan 7.2 and backup GK Lewis Martin earns a mention for the first time with a 7.2 rating today, solid all around.
-- We move up to 9th with the win and more importantly we now have 29 points in league play. We're 19 points clear of relegation and really if we can earn about 15 more points we will almost certainly be safe. Perhaps I'm underestimating my guys but I expect that the same thing will happen to us that happened last year, we get off to a strong start and come back to earth. If we're still in 9th in mid-January I'll start seriously talking about making the playoffs. But for now I expect to fall back to 15-18th or whatever eventually.
-- No mention of Williams having a long term injury. I am surprised and relieved.
We're a bit over 1/3 of the way through the season. Easier to post a screenshot of the standings than to type it all out. Here's how things look right now:
November 22nd, 2014
Hartlepool (4-3-10, 18th) @ Woking (9-2-6, 9th)
We get to be the favored team two matches in a row, again we are 6:4 to their 13:8, but still! This will be our first ever meeting with Hartlepool. This is another team that was relegated last year out of League 1, got great odds to go back up (7:5) but can't seem to cut it and are struggling greatly.
We will open in an attacking mindset today at home.
11': We earn two corners in the 4th minute, they earn three corners in the 11th minute. Neither team actually manages to take a shot.
19': First shot as there is a long free kick played into the box, O'Sullivan heads it over.
31': Harsanyi receives a pass 25 yards out, he makes a great move to split two defenders and earn a shot but its blocked by the keeper.
35': Collins with a run into the penalty area, he's brought down... PENALTY. Mike Williams takes it... and blasts it inches wide right.
43': Harsanyi heads one over. Every higlight is ours but we haven't managed a goal yet.
HALF: We are completely dominant so far but just cannot seem to put it in. Missing the penalty is of course awful. We have a 59/41 possession edge. We're passing better, crossing better, tackling better, and are better in the air. We have 8 shots, just 2 on target. They have 1 shot, long and blocked. We'll break through.
53': Collins with a short run down the left side, he places a beautiful cross to the far corner of the 6 yard box, but Kenny heads it over, can't keep it down.
56': Ogogo crosses in from the right, its headed to the left side... Collins crosses in from the left, Harsanyi goes up for it and their defender is deemed to have jumped unfairlly for the ball, PENALTY #2!!! Williams takes it again, and he isn't missing a second. He puts it in the left side of the net. 1-0
71': Wow, great header by Harsanyi, he is 35 yards out and heads a ball foward so perfectly that it may as well have been a through ball, Collins runs onto it but its tackled behind befoer he can shoot. Corner comes to nothing.
80': Bell-Baggie in for Kenny, Thomas in for Nikolaou, both are tired.
90': We're passing the ball around the midfield, stalling for time, all of a sudden Thomas lofts a long ball foward, Collins runs onto it, he's way behind the defense, but his first touch is awful and he pokes it foward to the keeper.
Woking 1 : 0 Hartlepool
Its an interesting final. We generate 13 shots and dominate the game in every way, but only put 3 shots on target and only score on a penalty kick. We only allow 4 shots, 2 on target. Harsanyi is man of the match today, he gets the assist for being fouled, passed well, took 3 shots and put 2 on target, he played well, 8.6 rating. Goal to Williams but only a 6.5 today. Ogogo (7.0), Nikolaou (7.1), Cooper(7.0), Taylor (7.0) and Collins (7.0) all played well. Williams was the only one under 6.8.
-- We remain 9th after the win but we're actually only 6 points out of first, while we're 7 points clear of 12th. I still don't expect it to hold up but we are a lot closer to the top than I could ahve hoped for now.
I notice two things in the schedule. One, we play on 3 days rest and will have to start shuffling players around again. Two, 5 of our next 6 matches are on the road.
November 25th, 2014
Woking (10-2-6, 9th) @ Accrington (4-8-6, 16th)
Despite being relegation favorites, Accrington are pick'em favorites at home today. They haven't lost in 7 matches straight now. We haven't played these guys in awhile now, but we do have long history with them. We're 3-1-2 against them from our BS Premier days.
Tons of subs today since we're on short rest.
14': Upson with a free kick from 25 yards out, its just wide.
19': They get a free kick from 25 yards out, Martin dives and pushes it behind for a corner. The corner we head it out but they head it right back in... Martin goes up to secure the header and misses somehow... they poke it in. Martin is blamed for the goal, he basically was there and osmehow allowed them to get a shot off from poitn blank range instead of aggressively going to get the ball. 0-1
31': Long ball foward to their right midfielder... Thomas misses a tackle and he runs into the area, he takes a shot from a tough angle and bends it wide.
HALF: No highlights in the last 10 minutes. We start out strong, controling much of the first 15 minutes, but we take just the one off target shot. That's our only shot of the half. Accrington takes 7 shots, putting 3 on target.
55': We change to an attacking mindset, anything to get more men foward and to try to do something here.
58': We lose the ball in midfield, they get a break down the left side, a very nice low cross is played by our defenders and their striker runs onto it and puts it in. 0-2
62': Collins in for N'Diaye, O'Sullivan in for Pulis.
73': Bell-Baggie in for Subotic, who just got caught offsides out of what appears to be laziness and disinterest. Get off the field.
92': From bad to worse, Thomas is hurt.
Accrington 2 : 0 Woking
Martin 5.7, Thomas 5.9, Williams 5.4, Pulis 5.9. Just terrible today. We shot twice. Ouronly shot in the second half was a wild effort from Pulis from 20+ yards out. Just an unbelievably terrible job today.
Could be worse. DLC Aswad Thomas is out 1 1/2 - 2 weeks with the injury he picked up in the closing moments today.
-- We play 6 matches in December. DMC Danny Hedley is on a short term loan and his loan is going to finish on Dec 12th. He's played 6 matches for us, he's been fine with a 6.85 rating, he's also racked up 3 yellows and a red card.
-- The board is delighted with my leadership this month. Up from Very Pleased, the new management likes me! Thanks to hosting an FA Cup match we only lose $28k in December. Concerns over Mike Williams are the negative mentioned this month. Just problems all over our defense.
December 2nd, 2014
Woking (10-2-7, 9th) @ Oxford(6-6-7, 14th)
Oxford are pick'em favorites at their place today. We're going to be tested on the road constantly this month, we need to get a win somewhere and a few draws if we want to stay up in the top half of the league. We've played Oxford 4 times in our history, losing 3, winning 1. Last year we got our win at home vs them, losing on the road.
We're rested up today, Lynch will be back reasonably soon, but he's not quite resumed full training yet. On a whim sort of I give Bell-Baggie the start up front. We set out to defend on the road today.
20': Oxford on the attack, we appear positioned just fine, there's a through ball, Cooper and Williams seem to be there but allow the attacker to get to it first. Shot... defleted by Martin, picked up by their striker Taylor, he puts it home. I don't understand what happened there at all, how did we not clear that away with ease. 0-1
32': Collins made one interception in defense and a great run to earn us a corner but we couldn't do anything with it. Otherwise it appears to be all Oxford right now.
36': Ogogo makes a good interception i ndefense, he passes it foward to Bell-Baggie, he makes a great move and begins a run, a pass foward to O'Sullivan... and he pulls up and shoots from 30 yards out. I don't see why he did that! Ugh! Wide, no luck.
46': Striker Taylor for Oxford gets his second goal, Williams is getting crushed today, he was leaning the wrong way as Taylor broke for the ball. 0-2
HALF: They shoot 7 times, putting 3 on target and generating 2 goals. They have a 59/41 possession edge. We take 2 shots, both from long range, neither close.
47': Collins makes another good move and gets the ball downfield to earn a corner for us. Its taken short, passed back to the kick taker Upson, who works it to O'Sullivan for a hard shot from 20 yards out. Its wide, a better look than our first half ones though.
61': We earn two corners and two deep throwins, we don't get anything even remotely close to a shot... they clear one of the corners, we push it back foward and get a 3rd corner. Williams gets a head to this cross but its well wide.
74': After a deep throwin, Collins ends up with the ball, he evades a tackle and gets a pretty solid look from the edge of the penalty area... and he blasts it well over.
91': We earn a couple free kicks, Taylor takes one and crosses it into the area from a good distance, Williams gets his head to it and puts it over.
Oxford 2 : 0 Woking
Collins got hurt today, lets see if its a long term thing or not.
When I watched the replays Williams stood out as not reacting well to both of Oxford's goals. But he earns a 7.1 rating and is the only acceptable defender on the team really. Ogogo 5.8, many others in the low 6s. We failed to put a single shot on target today.
No injury notes on Collins, whew.
December 6th, 2014
Woking(10-2-8, 9th) @ Luton(6-9-5, 14th)
Luton are 2:5 favorites today, we're 13:2. Luton got relegated from League 1 last year. We lost to them in the FA Trophy 3rd round 4 years ago, our only ever meeting.
We'll try to defend. This road stretch is starting to feel hopeless, we need something to go our way. David Ball is their leading scorer with 7 goals, their 2nd leading scorer is a favorite of mine, Curtis Main. I had him as a loaner for awhile and loved him.
1': God, seriously? They just go straight down the pitch and send a through ball to Main who scores on a very easy clear cut strike. 0-1
3': A through ball into the left side of the area gives Luton their 2nd clear cut strike... its from a tough angle and i'm surprised it gets that distinction. Martin makes a solid save.
7': N'Diay with great control, feeding a pass to Ogogo, Ogogo to O'Sullivan in the box.. back out to Ogogo, cross into the area, Harsanyi runs onto it, its a clear cut strike, he's got a great look... and he puts it in!!! 1-1
20': Things settle a bit, each team has 2 shots right now.
23': We earn a corner, Upson plays a nice ball in on the corner, Williams heads it just over.
HALF: We watch them take a header and watch an offsides... that's it. They have a big 59/41 possession edge, but otherwise things look good. Each team with 3 shots only, they have 2 o ntarget, we have 1 on target. We are dominant in the air, winning 78% of our headers, they have 36% only.
47': Goal kick by their keeper, taken really long, they win a header and push it into the box, Main beats our defense to it, horrible defense... Martin makes an incredible save on their 3rd clear cut strike of the day.
58': Another through ball, a great run onto it by Curtis Main... and he's onsides, clear cut strike #4, Martin had no chance. Williams gets a yellow complaining about the fact that he thinks it should be offisdes. 1-2
66': Bell-Baggie in for a tired and semi-hurt Subotic. Pulis in for Upson.
73': Taylor on for Hedley.
87': A missed interception that I don't see leads to a long ball to Bell-Baggie, he runs out wide, the keeper follows him and is way out of position, Bell-BAggie crosses into the area, they have 3 defenders theer but the keeper isn't there... N'Diaye controls the ball and he puts it into the net!!! 2-2
92': We have possession, Taylor plays a great ball into the right side of the area for Bell-Baggie, he's able to generate a shot with a defender harrassing him.. its on target, but the keeper makes a diving save and pushes it behind. We can't do anything with the corner.
Luton 2 : 2 Woking
Great result for us today! I'm thrilled to get a tie on the road, we badly needed some points in this stretch. Their striker Main gets man of the match with his two goals.
N'Diaye and Harsanyi have our two goals, both put up a 7.2 rating. Assists from Ogogo (7.4) and Bell-Baggie (7.4). Nikolaou earns a 7.0, Mike Williams a 5.7.
-- Kevin Lynch resumes full training. Lewis MArtin did ok for us, 6 goals allowed in 6 league matches, 3 shutouts, 6.60 rating. Lynch has given up many more goals per game, 22 goals in 15 matches, but his rating is a 6.71.
-- Danny Hedley's loan finishes so he will be leaving the squad. Harry Arter will see more time at DMC now.
December 13th, 2014
Bristol Rovers(11-7-3, 4th) @ Woking(10-3-8, 9th)
Bristol Rovers are 4:6 favorites at our place, we're 7:2 to win. Nice to have a home game but this is against the favorite in the leauge, and unlike the other teams that got relegated into League 2 last year, they are actually playing well and looking like they could make it back up, they're currently 1 point out of an auto-promote spot and 3 points out of first. This is our first match ever against them.
Aaron McLean is a name to look for today, he's got 11 goals in 21 league matches so far for Bristol.
5': We calmly work the ball around in our own end before finding a lane forward, Collins ends up making a great run down the left side before crossing into the area, first shot of the game is a header by Harsanyi, its over though.
8': They clear a ball back to their defenders hanging out at midfield... Harsanyi times a tackle perfectly, pokes the ball away from the defender and makes a break for it. He's got no one between him and the keeper... keeper starts to come out, Harsanyi forward... he lines up his shot, obviously a clear cut chance... but he shoots it right at the keeper.
11': Harsanyi into the area, he evades a defender, its tackled away, he goes down... and its a dive by Harsanyi, yellow for him. We dominate everything so far today, 6 shots to none.
12': A counter attack from Bristol rovers... a centering ball, midfielder has it 20 yards out, he shoots, and beats Lynch with a shot put nicely into the left side of the net. Ouch! Their first shot of the match. 0-1
18': An attack by Bristol Rovers, some very neat passing in our defensive end, striker O'Donovon jukes by Williams, and sets himself up with a close range shot that he buries. Ugh. 0-2
21': Williams with a yellow for a tackle in the midfield.
28': We control possession in their end, can't generate a good shot though, Cooper recovers the ball after a clearance, passes to Taylor, up to Harsanyi, he turns and fires from 30 yards out, and its a great strike, but it just hits the left post and ricochets back into play, they clear it.
34': Long pass up ahead on a counterattack by Bristol Rovers, their star MacLean gets the ball ahead of the defense, blasts a shot from just outside the penalty area, and beats Lynch. 0-3
HALF: They're killing us, Maybe Lynch wasn't quite ready to go today, or maybe this is just a much better team owning us. they only take 5 shots, 4 of them from long range, but they lead 3-0. Lets just get out of here ASAP and move on imo.
No goals in the second half, nothing major enough to make me not rush it to conclusion.
Woking 0 : 3 Bristol Rovers
We can't allow crap like this to happen at home.
Harsanyi 5.8, Cooper 5.2, Lynch 6.2 today. Ed Upson randomly plays way better than everyone else on the team earning a 7.2 rating.
EDIT: ugh. I kicked my damn power cord and lost another game (a 2-1 road loss at Wrexham). I updated my auto save preferences from monthly to weekly, I wish I could have it auto save after a match but thats not an option.
Much worse than losing the game is that I was typing up a huge post about contract negotiations as I'd just gotten the mid-season messages indicating who was expiring and was going through each player's status. I'll pick it back up this weekend.
-- Replaying our Wrexham match after I accidentally shut off my PC.
December 20th, 2014
Woking(10-3-9, 10th) @ Wrexham(6-10-6, 14th)
Wrexham are 4:5 favorites at their house today. We're 3:1 dogs. Despite this, our coaches feel we have advantages in height, flair, passing and speed. We played Wrexham earlier this year, getting crushed 4-1. With a long BS Premier history behind that we're 3-1-3 against them in 7 matches.
Smith starts at DC. Cooper has been struggling so I'm willing to give Smith another shot and am a bit less annoyed and mad at Smith. Bell-Baggie with the start up front. Wrexham's leading scorer Marc Williams, and MC Mike White will be met with hard tackling.
We'll try to defend today.
5': They control the ball for a good deal of time in our end, a through ball to Keith that we don't defend well at all... he has a clear cut strike from close range... and pushes it wide!
7': Ball-Baggie receives a pass 22ish yards out and makes a great move to beat his man, he gets into the area and its our first clear cut chance, but its right at the keeper and saved.
18': O'Sullivan forward to Bell-Baggie 25 yards out, he's got two men on him this tiem, but shows great control of the ball and again beats both men, he takes a shot from the 18 yard line and its just barely wide, great effort though.
26': We win the ball in midfield, O'Sullivan up to Ball-Baggie, right to Kenny, Kenny dribbles back into the center and hits Ball-Baggie with a good through ball, he takes our second clear cut strike of the match and buries it this time! 1-0
41': Taylor with a yellow for a tackle near midfield.
HALF: They take 4 shots, but 2 from long range and all off target. We take 3 shots, all by Bell-Baggie, all in the penalty area and manage to score on one of them. I'm quite happy with our play so far. We are dominating possesssion 60/40 and winning well more balls in the air as usual.
51': Upson with a long ball forward to kenny who is sprinting in from the right side, he blasts a shot from 10 yards away out at a tough angle but its saved.
64': Harsanyi in for Collins, Downes in for Kenny
69': Wrexham are trying to put on the pressure now, they just had their first on target shot but it was from 30 yards out.
70': Wrexham MC White with a yellow for a tackle trying to keep the ball in their end.
73': I change to a counter-attacking strategy.
76': Upson brings the ball forward, passes to Bell-Baggie who runs across the front of the penalty area, spots Harsanyi cutting in from the left, great through ball... Harsanyi strikes, and it hits the far post and bounces back into play. They clear it, that was really close, feels like we should have clinched it there.
93': We are basically running out the clock but hold the ball for so long that we can't help to push foward. Bell-Baggie makes a great pass to Harsanyi on the left side, Harsanyi runs deep, nearly to the 6 yard box, before stopping on a dime and passing it back to Bell-Baggie, he controls it well, jukes a defender and generates a wide open look from close range, he buries it! 2-0
Wrexham 0 : 2 Woking
Abdulai Bell-Baggie is clearly the man of the match with two goals and a 9.1 rating. Assists from Harsanyi (6.9) and Kenny (6.8). Ogogo (7.5), Nikolaou (7.4), Williams (7.0) and Smith (7.0) played very well today too. Collins with a 6.1 for our only poor performance.
Bell-Baggie showed an ability to generate a good shot that none of our other guys have today. I thought that was there when i brought him in on loan but hadn't really seen it. i think he's going to get a nice long stretch starting at striker after today.
Big contract update
We have 20 contracts set to expire. Lets quickly go through them:
-- Coach Dean Emerson - 20 working with youngsters, willing to stay on at the same rate, deal.
-- DC Nick Fenton - he's old and not playing, sorry buddy, but you're done. He makes $800/wk.
-- DLC Aswad Thomas - Makes $825/wk, will take $800 for another year. I'm good with this, he's averaging about 6.65 as a backup and is content to do that. I'm content to pay him $800 for that.
-- ST Giuseppe Sole - Sole is actually out on loan right now, I don't think I even mentioned it when it happened. He's not fit for this level of play, he only makes $500/wk but I'll let him go.
-- MC Anthony Pulis - will turn 31 before next season starts, is getting limited playing time right now and his skills have started to erode a little. His $1200/wk will be gone.
-- DLC Mike Williams - Williams is averaging only 6.67, every match he's played has been a start. He's part of a huge hole we seem to have at DC. But, he makes $800/wk and will take the same in an extension. I
would love to make him a backup by hiring on someone better, either way though, he's worth keeping at that rate.
-- DC Christian Smith - Average rating 6.48 in 10 starts this year. He makes $1200/wk. I'm leaving this decision for later.
-- MC Ed Upson - key player with a 7.13 avg rating. Makes $2800/wk. He wants $3300/wk, I offer $3000, I'll do what I have to to re-sign him though.
-- ST/AML Zoltan Harsanyi - leading scorer this year and a 7.16 avg rating, highest on the team. He makes $2000/wk and will sign an extension at the same amount. I offer it.
-- MC Chris Herd - Makes $1200/wk, has played one league match. Not bringing him back.
-- DR Abu Ogogo - Makes $2800/wk, will extend at the same rate. He's got a 6.95 rating in defense, next best defender behind Nikolaou. I'll gladly do that and try to shore up my defense in the center.
-- AMR Aiden Downes - playing poorly in limited minutes this year so far. I keep bringing in other guys at this position, I'm not sure if I want to keep him or not. I'll hang on and ponder this one.
-- DL Stelios Nikolaou - Averaging 6.96 rating this year, a solid consistent starter for me. He's very young and content to not make all that much, kinda like O'Sullivan. He'll play another year for $725/wk, ok!
December 27th, 2014
Woking(11-3-9, 10th) @ Grimsby(10-5-8, 11th)
Grimsby are 4:6 favorites at their place today. We lost to Grimsby both times we played them last year, 3 goals for/6 against in two matches. We sit 3 points out of a playoff spot, and 1 point ahead of Grimsby. They are led by Rene Howe with 8 league goals and Richard Peniket with 7.
Collins hasn't been doing as well lately, he's solid with the ball but he's been in a ton of positions to finish this year and he sucks at it, I'm starting to think that Harsanyi left/Bell-Baggie up front is our most potent lineup. We'll defend today.
10': Bell-Baggie receives the ball 30 yards out with just one defender near and a little space, he makes a couple moves and eventually generates an open shot but its from range, its a strong shot but it hits the crossbar and goes over.
22': An exciting up and down game but only 1 shot on target from each team so far.
23': As i'm typing that above they have a throwin, a quick through ball to striker Howe, he gets left wide open and buries a shot by Lynch. 0-1
24': Ogogo misses an interception on a long ball forward, their other striker gets a clear cut chance from the left side.. he hits the post, its back into play and Smith clears it behind.
33': Long ball forward to Bell-Baggie in space, he has to make a run to get into the penalty area, he pulls up a little shorter than he'd like to shoot I think, but its still a clear cut chance... but the keeper dives and saves.
42': Harsanyi has the ball, passes ot O'Sullivan, give and go is played perfectly, Harsanyi runs into the area, cuts wide and crosses it into the 6 yard box. They have 3 defenders near but Kenny is there as well, he gets up and gets his head to it, its off the bottom of the crossbar and in!! 1-1
HALF: Huge goal at the end of the half for us. They have a 55/45 possession edge, 8 shots to our 5, but they only have 2 shots on target and 5 long shots. We've put 3 on target. Headers and tackles are huge in our favor, 77/50 and 78/40 respectively.
49': a long free kick for Grimsby, its taken into the penalty area and Taylor is called for a handball... that's a penalty and they bury it. 1-2
53': Highlight starts with us taking a corner, the corner is cleared out wide, Upson is there to cross it back in, Williams gets his head to it, directs it goalward, their keeper with a great reflex save, pushing it behind for a corner, that we can't capitalize on.
56': Bell-Baggie receives a ball in the penalty area, he has to go wide with it, he generates a shot but its not a clear look and he can't get it by the keeper.
65': We control the ball in midfield, a pass goes to Bell-Baggie 35 yards out. He turns and fires... the ball beats the keeper, hits the bottom end of the crossbar, but bounces back in play, not into the net.
70': taylor with a yellow for us, they pick up a yellow immediately after.
71': N'Diaye in for Kenny, Arter in for Taylor. We'd switched to a 'standard' mindset but we'll try to attack the rest of the way.
86': Free kick just outside the penalty area... Smith takes it but uts it wide.
89': Makeup call? Long free kick for us.. its put into the penalty area, we go up for a header, and they are called for a foul for bringing our man down! Not even sure who it was. Williams takes the PK and buries it. 2-2
92': Williams gets a yellow for a tackle near midfield.
93': They get a free kick near the penalty area... we turn the cross on the free kick behind, and clear out the corner. Full time is called as we try to buidl up a counterattack.
Grimsby 2 : 2 Woking
One of their goal scorers is man of the match.
Bell-Baggie can't get a goal for us today but he has an assist (for the penalty I guess) and a 7.7 rating. Goals by Williams (7.3) and Kenny (7.2). Harsanyi a 7.4 and the other assist.
-- That ends our 5 road game in 6 matches stretch. We went 1-2-2 on the road, but lost our home game, going just 1-2-3 in that stretch.
-- Pulis is hurt and will miss about 2 weeks.
December 30th, 2014
Northampton (5-5-14, 21st) @ Woking(11-4-9, 8th)
We're favored at Kingfield Stadium today (that's our home stadium, I almost never refer to it for some reason). Its a slim favorite, 6:4 for us, 13:8 for them. Our tie last match bumps us up a bit, we're tied for 7th but our -4 goal differential hurts us. 9th and 10th are just 1 point back.
We make a few subs due to being on short rest today. Taylor actually has a game suspension for yellow cards, so Arter is at DMC.
12': Arter with a yellow for a foul in midfield.
21': We get a quick attack after a throwin, Harsanyi to O'Sullivan, he takes a shot that is counted as a clear cut chance though I don't agree really... its parried away by the keeper. Harsanyi gets to the rebound and its clear cut chance #2, but he blasts it over.
29': Arter with a tackle in midfield... its a foul, he's called over by the ref... and warned. Whew. No red cards please!
40': We earn 2 corners but can't generate a shot.
44': Bell-Baggie goes down in the penalty area... no foul is called but he's hurt and is over o nthe sideline. On the corner that we earn, Cooper goes down... and he's hurt too. Guh.
HALF: I'm taking Bell-Baggie out now, he didn't recover much with the halftime rest, he could be hurt kinda bad. Subotic is in. We allow 6 shots but all off target and 5 long range. We shoot 5 times, 2 on target, we should have probably gotten a goal.
51': Subotic gets the ball 25 yards out, he turns by his man, sprints into the area, he has a great look, its our 3rd clear cut chance of the match... and its off the right post.
70': N'Diye moves to MC, O'Sullivan out, Downes in at AMR.
75': Smith in for Arter at DMC
75': Harsanyi is down and hurt. We've only managed 3 shots this half, northampton playign good D.
89': Sigh. Upson ahead ot Subotic, he turns by his man and 20 yards out has open space between him and the keeper. Instead of going into the area he pulls up and shoots... no chance.
90': Throwin for us, Smith ahead to Subotic... there's a terrible/blatant missed interception by one of their defenders. This allows Subotic the ball 10 yards out, he dribbles into the 6 yard area (I cringe omg just shoot this time man!) but the keeper sits back and lets Subotic put it in. 1-0
We hold them off in extra time and its not pretty at all but we pick up a much needed home win.
Woking 1 : 0 Northampton
We end up with 10 shots to their 12, but they only put 2 on target all match. We put 5 on target and have a whopping 4 clear cut chances, just one goal though.
Nikolaou earns a 7.2 in defense today and is man of the match. Subotic has a 7.0 with his goal, Smith a 6.9 and the assist. Alcock had a 7.2 on the right side today.
Bell-Baggie will miss 3-4 weeks with a pulled hamstring he picked up today. Frustrating because I was really hoping to give him a long run at striker.
We've played 25 out of 46 matches, so we're slightly past the halfway point.
1. Crewe - 52 points
2. Leyton Orient - 52 points
3. Port Vale - 51 points
4. Bristol Rovers - 48 points
5. Stockport - 46 points
6. Brighton - 44 points
7. Woking - 40 points
8. Rochdale - 37 points
9. Hereford - 36 points
10. Grimsby - 36 points
11. Bury - 34 points
12. Wrexham - 34 points
13. Tranmere - 32 points
14. Luton - 32 points
15. Oxford - 31 points
16. Wycombe - 30 points
17. Kidderminster - 26 points
18. Accrington - 26 points
19. Hartlepool - 25 points
20. Walsall - 22 points
21. Barnet - 22 points
22. Northampton - 20 points
23. Notts Co - 15 points
24. Chesterfield - 12 points
We are the best team with a negative goal differential. We have 30 goals for/33 against. Everyone else above us are +13 or better, a couple are +20.
-- We've got 5 matches on the schedule for January.
-- The board is delighted in my leadership. Our league 2 performance is a highlight, Christian Smith's poor play a lowlight. We lost 80k last month.
January 7th, 2015
Woking(12-4-9, 8th) @ Crewe(15-7-3, 1st)
Crewe are 4:7 favorites today, we're just 4:1 to win. We're 2-1-0 against Crewe the last two years. We did beat them at our place 3:2 earlier this year.
Star striker Calvin Zola scored both goals against us in our win earlier this year. He has an incredible 20 goals this season.
9': Crewe's other striker, Hylton, receives a through ball and scores. First shot of the match, first highlight, very fast. 0-1
24': Crewe has 6 shots... we just took our first, a header after a free kick/cross in by Taylor, but it was over the bar by a good bit.
39': A quick attack for Woking, Subotic receives a logn ball, controls it well, plays a ball up ahead to Harsanyi who has beaten his man, he drills it near post by the keeper! 1-1
46': Ogogo is hurt and over o nthe sideline.
47': Cross for Crewe.. a header hits the crossbar, Lynch dove after the ball and couldn't reach it. The ball comes back into play and is easily poked into the net. Disappointing way to end the half. 1-2
HALF: Possession is even but they are attacking non stop it seems. 11 shots for them, 3 for us. They just have 3 on target, we just have 1. That goal to end the half was crushing. Ogogo and Cooper are both hurt. Ogogo is coming out, he doesn't look great.
53': O'Sullivan gets the ball forward to Subotic, he has space and runs into the penalty area. A defender gets over to challenge, Subotic shoots... maybe he rushed it, he pushed it way way wide and high.
59': N'Diaye gets a yellow.
83': Guess hey are doing a good job of delaying thigns here... 20 minutes just flew by. Nikolaou is hurt... Taylor is hurt...Kenny in for N'Diaye, Smith in for Taylor.
89': Upson with a yellow
93': Nikolaou with a pass into the penalty area, they deflect it out, it falls to Smith about 20 yards out, they're a bit out of position due ot the deflection but it doesn't matter... Smith blasts it into the 30th row.
Crewe 2 : 1 Woking
They just basically killed the final 45 minutes. We managed 5 total shots, just 2 in the second half, both off target. They didn't really shoot much either, only 2 second half shots. We just could not get forward and could not generate any sort of attack.
Subotic has our assist and a 7.2 rating. Harsanyi with the goal and a 7.1 rating. Upson puts up a 7.1. Mike Williams has a 5.6 rating today. Cooper and Taylor were running in the low 5's for awhile but ended better than that in the low-mid 6's. N'Diaye with a 6.0 at AMR. Crewe are just a class above us.
-- James Cooper is going to miss 2-3 weeks after picking up little injuries in each of our last two matches, this one got to him apparently.
-- Our next match is Fan Day or whatever, and we expect a good crowd but not quite a sellout.
January 10th, 2015
Wycombe(7-10-9, 16th) @ Woking(12-4-10, 8th)
Wycombe are even money favorites against us at Kingfield Stadium today. We're 11:5 to win. We've never lost to these guys, 1-2-0, we won 3:1 at their house earlier this year.
changes due to injury/fatigue today as we're playing on short rest. We're attackign at home here.
14': We counter-attack hard after a backpass to Lynch, a long ball foward from Harsanyi to Kenny. Kenny gets down the right side quickly and puts a low cross to the far post, Colins is there, he gets his head to it, a clear cut strike, and he delivers! Collins heads it in, helping to redeem him a bit after missing 75 straight point blank shots. 1-0
24': Harsanyi!!! how the hell. Upson with a ball foward to Harsanyi. He has to fight to win the ball, he has 2 defenders tracking him, he runs parallel to the penalty area, he stops and fires, there are 4 defenders in front of him... somehow he gets it through them and the keeper cannot get to it, it curls to the left, past the keeper and in!!! 2-0
41': More great work from Harsanyi keeping the ball alive against 3 defenders, he earns us a throwin. Throwin taken long, O'Sullivan heads it into the middle of the penalty area, Harsanyi is there, he controls the ball well, again there are like 4 defenders nearby, and he calmly strikes it and somehow beats the keeper! 3-0
HALF: Harsanyi having one of the best days he's ever had in league 2. We have 5 shots, 3 on target, only one clear cut chance. Harsanyi has made two spectacular efforts for our other goals. Wycombe shoots 4 times, all from long range, all on target.
54': A long buildup leads to Harsanyi passing to Arter, he fires from 20 yards out, just over.
67': Ogogo picks up a foul inches outside the penalty area. We defend the free kick well.
69': Another foul, this one by Collins. This one is 35 yards out, its struck very well, Lynch dives to his left, gets his hands on the ball but its deflected through and into the net. 3-1
76': Alcock in for Ogogo, N'Diaye in for O'Sullivan, Downes in for kenny.
79': A long run down the left by Collins, he crosses it in, Downes is a good way out, 10 yards and well over ot the right? But he gets his head solidly onto it, the keeper is rushing to the near post and he directs it far post and lofts it in. Not struck very hard but perfeclty placed. 4-1
92': A long low pass foward leaves their striker wide open in the area. Wowwowow, totally offsides!!! But not called and he puts it in. 4-2
Woking 4 : 2 Wycombe
Each team shot 8 times. Each team put 4 on target. We score every time we put it on target, they score half the time. 6 goals in 16 shots, just a bad defensive day i guess!
AML Joe Collins scores once, has one assist and an 8.8 rating and is man of the match. Harsanyi has two goals and an 8.8 rating. Downes with a goal and a 7.3 rating. Other assists from Kenny (7.7) and Upson (7.9). One of Harsanyi's goals must have been considered unassisted. Ogogo puts up a 7.4. Everyone else was 6.9 or 6.8.
-- We pull back up to 7th and are in the last playoff spot after the win.
-- We drew 4234 fans for fan day today, we gave them a really good show!
-- Joe Collins is named in the league 2 team of the week.
-- Joe O'Sullivan hurts himself in weight training and will miss 9-12 days. Good timing I guess as he will only miss 1, maybe 2 matches.
-- Zoltan Harsanyi hurts himself in training and will miss "between 13 days and 2 weeks" ... so either 13 or 14 days?? It seems really bad to have a great game and score a couple goals for us, immediate injury coming!
January 17th, 2015
Woking(13-4-10, 7th) @ Notts Co(4-6-17, 23rd)
Notts Co are 5:4 favorites today, we're 7:4. Notts are 23rd and fighting relegation, 2 points behind Northampton. We can't even find ourselves favorites here. We're 2-0-1 against them, having won 3:1 in August at our house this season.
The only other player that can even play striker for us that isnt' hurt is Downes.
5': We counter quickly after recovering in the defensive end. A ball is played to the midfield to Subotic, he plays it long to to the right, kenny outruns the defender and gets to it first, he controls it well, is into the area, a clear cut chance.. the keeper makes a reflex save. We get two corners but can't do anything with it.
14': long ball by Notts, they get a man to the ball, Ogogo comes flying in and makes a great sliding tackle to take it away.
19': Notts earns a corner, its crossed in, they get a head to it, its directed by Lynch... Williams was there but i dont' think he takes the blame for the goal, just a nicely aimed cross in. 0-1
26': Whew, through ball leads ot a shot and a goal for notts but its called offsides. I wasn't sure about that one, not really a clear offsides.
27': Kenny with a short run down the right side, he spots Collins with a step on his man across the pitch, puts a perfect cross to him... the keeper seems well positioned, Collins heads it, it seems like its right a tthe keeper if it just lifts his arms up... but it goes over his head and into the net! 1-1
40': A long pass ahead by Upson to collins, Collins receives it at the left edge of the area, a great pass really, he makes a little run towards the center of the area and fires a shot, its saved and turned behind. Corner comes to nothing.
47': Nikolaou up to collins, the defense is not positioned well, he has a free run towards the penalty area, the keeper comes well out to cut off the angle, Collins seems like he doesn't know what to do with it, he tries a shot but the keeper easily deflects it. Subotic gets to it but the defense has recovered and he can't do anything.
HALF: Williams has a 5.8 in the first half and isn't doing great. Otherwise we're holding up just fine. 9 shots for us, 4 on target. They have only 3 shots, 2 on target. We need to keep pressuring them and we need to convert more.
47': And they get it right away, a short control of possession, a pass into the midfield, a through ball into the area, our defense is caught out of position, and they get a very easy goal right away. 1-2
65': Most of the possession is in their end, we're having a hard time generating anything at all.
70': Kenny with a run down the right side, he plays a cross, Collins heads it down into the center of the area, N'Diaye... well, I don't know if he mishit it or if it was just a beautiful pass, but it ends up being a little give and go back to Collins, collins runs onto it at the 6 yard line and buries it! 2-2
75': NOOOO. They attack, a pass comes in to a man about 15 yards out, Smith is right there but their striker gets his boot onto it and beats Lynch. 2-3
82': Thomas in for Williams, Pulis in for N'Diaye, Downes in for Kenny, we need to get it tied back up.
I was so excited when we tied it up, it was such an unexpected goal, and so dejected when they got the 3rd goal right back.
Notts Co 3 : 2 Woking
Our defense is just terrible. Ogogo 6.1, Williams 5.7, Smith 5.2. Awful, awful awful. Collins earns man of the match with 2 goals and a 9.0 rating in the loss. Assists by Kenny (7.7) and N'Diaye (6.9). Upson 7.2.
-- We fall to 8th losing to one of the worst teams of the league.
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