-- Joe Collins is named to the league 2 team of the week for the second week in a row.
-- Arsenal beats Sunderland and Tottenham beats Aston Villa in the semifinal of the League cup, they'll meet in the finals.
-- MC Chris Herd is out for 3 weeks. Bell-Baggie resumes full training.
January 24th, 2015
Stockport(15-6-7, 5th) @ Woking(13-4-11, 9th)
We are 6:4 favorites today, they are 13:8 dogs. Favorites over a playoff contender! We've not done well against them at all. 0-0-3 over the last season and a half. We lost 2:1 at their place earlier in the season.
Stockport have dual threats up front in a 4-4-2, Ben Hutchinson has 13 goals, Danny Pilkington has 12. After that they have a random guy with 3 goals. Bell-Baggie will start but almost certainly won't be able to go the whole way.
7': Upson with a ball foward to Bell-Baggie, he places a nice ball foward for N'Diaye, he gets off a nice looking shot but its saved.
30': Thorugh ball for Stockport to Hutchinson, Smith is out of position as he cuts towards the middle and allows a very easy strike for a goal. 0-1
38': Kenny is injured, he can stay on but our injuries are piling up.
45': Taylor with a hard tackle on a free kick, yellow.
48': COLLINS! He's just all over it. Taylor with a ball to N'Diaye, he plays it foward to Kenny who is cutting to the center, he draws some defenders and plays a great ball through the crowded area to Collins who puts it in from point blank range! 1-1
HALF: We get a critical goal at the very end of extra time in the first half. Critical goal that should give us the advantage back at home.
48': Nikolaou with a cross from the left side, Kenny puts a solid head onto it and sends it just inches wide.
55': Collins is brought down hard making a run down the left side, he's a bit hurt and slowed... ugh.
57': Hutchinson for Stockport gets a ball with no defenders near him... I throw my hands up in the air when I see, HOW IS HE THAT OPEN... but Lynch makes a brilliant save.
69': Downes in for Kenny, Subotic in for Bell-Baggie.
89': No serious higlights for 20 minutes... then... a cross into the area by Stockport is deflected, one of their attackers picks it up at the edge of the penalty area, N'Diaye goes ot tackle it away and brings his man down... its a foul, and a penalty. They drain it. 1-2
Woking 1 : 2 Stockport
We get the tying goal in the final seconds of the first half... we give up the winning goal with a penalty in the final minutes of the match.. Very, very frustrating loss at home. Losing these last two matches after putting ourselves in a position to make the playoffs in the first half of the season is super, super disappointing. These are the types of games where we need points.
Collins yet again is man of the match in a loss. He puts up a 7.5 rating with our only goal. Kenny with the assist and a 6.8 rating. Ogogo put up a 7.1, N'Diaye a 6.0 on the other end.
-- Kenny is going to miss 9-12 days with the injury he picked up today. Collins is fine.
-- We drop to 9th in the loss.
-- The transfer window opened back up in January, I looked at some short term loan options but never really found anything I liked, we have a lot of players on the roster and it would take a massive upgrade to want to acquire someone new.
-- Harsanyi has resumed full training coming off his recent injury. He probably won't be ready for our next match, but glad to have him back obviously.
-- Chris Herd had been pretty much abandoned as someone of value to Woking, He signs an agreement to transfer to "FH" in Iceland once his contract ends in June. FH stands for Fimleikafelag Hafnarfjaroar, by the way. Right... FH it is. Good luck to Chris Herd.
January 31th, 2015
Woking(13-4-12, 9th) @ Chesterfield (3-8-18, 24th)
Chesterfield are 4:6 favorites today. We lost to the #23 team a couple weeks ago, we cannot lose to the worst team in the league here. We're still just a point out of the playoffs, and there's a long way to go, but this feels like the type of game where we must find at least a point and preferably 3. We're 1-1-1 against them over the last season and a half, winning 2:1 at our place in September. Ryan Blackwell leads them with 12 goals.
Cooper in for Williams who has a 6.28 avg rating over his last 5 matches. O'Sullivan is back from injury and Downes is in for Kenny who is hurt. Harsanyi won't play today.
1': We have the ball to start, buliding up an attack quickly. Upson ahead to Collins who cuts behind the deefnse. He has a close range shot, but its at a tough angle and the keeper saves it.
12': Collins a cross in that O'Sullivan puts over the bar. We've had a number of highlights in their defensive half of the field but I hven't seen Bell-Baggie touch the ball yet.
26': Chesterfield had a little flurry where the earned a couple corners, then the higlights come back to our end, but we're putting everything off target.
36': More corner kicks for Chesterfield, they have 6 so far, most earned as they cross it into the area and we head it behind. Over and over and over.
HALF: We lead possession 55/45, each team ends up with 5 shots, they have 2 on target we have juts 1 on target, Collins early strike. Most of the highlights have us on offense, but we really haven't done much with it since the opening minute.
55': Its another flurry of 3 corners for Chesterfield, they don't get a single shot here though.
64': Bell-Baggie receives a pass about 18 yards out, he turns and fires, its on target but saved. Credited as a clear cut strike but I don't really see why, not that easy! Nice to see him touch the ball at leas.t
69': A free kick for chesterfield from mdifield, there are two quck passes before a through ball to Blackwell. He receives it cleanly and scores easily. Yuck. 0-1
86': N'Diaye in for a tired Downes, we are trying to attack obvoiusly to get a goal back.
91': A logn ball from Taylor is played foward to Bell-Baggie, great control, he pushes the ball into the area, beats the keeper who came out of the net to pressure... but hits the right upright. doh!
93': Long pass ahead form Nikolaou, Bell-Baggie receives it in the midfield circle, two defenders close down on him, he pushes the ball foward and breaks into a sprint, leaving both defenders in the dust! He makes a run, the keeper again comes out, Bell-Baggie pulls up 20 yards out, takes aim, he fires and again gets it by the keeper, this one is in! Struck nicely into the left side of the net!!! We get the tying goal! 1-1
Chesterfield 1 : 1 Woking
We should really be getting 3 points against these bad teams but hey, at least we salvaged one. Stats are very similar to the first half, we take 8 shots, they take 7, possession 57/43 in our favor, they end up with 11 corner kicks but its just the one through ball/defensive letdown allowing the goal. We get the late breakaway for the last second tie. Nikolaou has the assist, he was great in defense as well today and earns an 8.1 rating and man of the match. Bell-Baggie ends up with a 7.0 and the goal. Taylor (7.2), Upson (7.0) and Ogogo (7.0) stand out as well.
-- We lose ground today as the teams around us get wins. We fall to 10th and are 3 points out of the playoffs now (we were just 1 point out).
-- We play 5 matches in February. 3 of them in short order from the 21st to 28th to end the month.
-- Grimsby's Tom Corner scored 6 goals in January to earn the league 2 player of the month award. Woking are all over this list though, with Joe Collins 2nd and Zoltan Harsanyi 3rd. Both had a couple really solid matches. Collins is also 3rd in the young player of the month voting. Lastly, Bell-Baggie's goal against Chesterfield is the 3rd best goal of the month.
-- The board remain delighted with my leadership. Our league 2 performance is the highlight, Christian Smith's poor play is the lowlight. These DC's are just getting killed for me this season.
February 7th, 2015
Rochdale (14-5-11, 7th) @ Woking(13-5-12, 10th)
Rochdale are 4:6 favorites at our house today, we're just 7:2 to win. We're 2-0-1 against these guys, including a big win at their place earlier this year, 1:0 on a 76th minute Harsanyi goal. They're holding the last playoff spot and are 3 points ahead of us. Key game. Rochdale's Joe Thompson has 11 goals, Will Buckley has 9 goals.
Harsanyi starts at AML today, even though Collins has been playing great. Kenny is training again but not ready to start. He could come in off the bench. We're attacking at home.
19': There hve already been 5 shots but I've only seen one in a highlight. Rochdale has controlled possession so far.
25': Upson controls the ball in midfield, Harsanyi cuts by his man coming in from the left, Upson with a great ball to him. Harsanyi controls, shoots near post and there's no way the keeper could possibly have stopped that! Harsanyi with the goal! 1-0
27': Quick shot from 35 yards out from Rochdale, Lynch turns it behind for a corner, we clear out the corner.
34': Downes with a corner, crossed to the far edge of teh 6 yard box, Taylor gets a head to it but puts it over.
43': O'Sullivan with a through ball for Harsanyi, their defender is able to clear it behind. Nice pass but they defended it well. We had 3 attacks come up without a shot in the final few minutes, this was just the last one as they clear out the corner.
HALF: We're thrilled to be up 1-0. Keep the pressure on and attack, settle into defense to try to hold the lead? I tend to default to attacking in these spots, and I'll do so here. Rochdale has 6 shots, but 5 are from long range. Just one on target. We have 5 shots, 2 on target. Possession has evened up, 52/48 for Rochdale (it was 60/40 rochdale early).
49': O'Sulliavn to Bell-Baggie 20 yards out, he turns by a defender, it seems like he could have attacked and gotten closer but instead he fires a quick shot, its off target.
58': O'sullvian plays a ball foward to Downes, Downes is in the area but at a real tough angle, he shoots, deflected back for a corner, which they clear.
59': Nikolaou with a rough looking sliding tackle out on the right side. Its a yellow. I was a little worried that could have been a straight red card.
62': Rochdale on the attack, a cross comes in from the right, the ball deflects off smith and falls to one of their fowards, Thompson. He fires a shot but its wide.
63': We push teh ball foward but they clear...surprise blast by a midfielder from probably 40 yards out. Its struck with great pace and Lynch is able to save it but its scary looking.
69': we drop back to defend, they are putting the pressure on hard now.
71': Downes centers to O'Sulllivan who takes a good shot from about 20 yards out, its saved by the keeper and turned back. We can't do anything with the corne, but its nice to see the ball foward to take a little pressure off the D.
75': Pulis in for O'Sullivan who has been involved a lot but has misplayed a lot of balls. Kenny in for the tired Downes.
79': Corner for Rochdale, they cross the ball through the penalty area 2 or 3 times before we finally get the ball out of there.
88': Extended higlights in our offensive end, again keeping pressure off our defense. They try to counter after winning the ball but there's a foul in the midfield that gives it back to us.
We do a great job of keeping possession late and not allowing Rochdale to attack.
Woking 1 : 0 Rochdale
I know its at home... but this is the type of win a playoff contender needs! We shoot 10 times, they shoot 13, but 7 of their shots come from long range, only 2 of ours are. We put 4 on target, they put 3 on target. Their keeper actually earns man of the match today with an 8.2 rating. With only 4 shots on target and one clear cut strike i'm not exactly sure why. Our goal comes from Harsanyi, he earns a 7.5 rating. Assist from Upson, 7.4 for him. Lynch (7.1), Ogogo (7.3), Nikolaou (7.2) also shine in defense. O'Sullivan struggled with a 6.1 rating before coming out.
We remain in 10th despite the win. We knock Rochdale down to 8th, remember the playoffs are the top 7 spots. We're still 3 points out of 7th but now we're in a 3 way tie for 8th/9th/10th. Our goal differential of -3 is still the worst of the playoff contenders by quite a bit. Even with 15 matches still to go it seems highly unlikely that we'd be winning any tiebreakers this year.
League Record Upadte
I glance around at the stats in the league and I notice something pretty amazing. Port Vale striker James Lawrie has 31 goals in 31 matches so far this year. That's the most in League 2 in my history, though he needs a few more for the all time record set by Andy Morrell of Wrexham back in the 02/03 season with 34 goals. Seems like he's a lock to get it.
February 14th, 2015
Woking(14-5-12, 10th) @ Port Vale(19-7-5, 2nd)
Port Vale are 4:7 favorites at their place. We're 4:1 to win. We've never beaten them, 0-1-2 in the last year and a half. We did manage a tie at our place earlier this year. James Lawrie has 31 goals for them, Massimo Fischnaller has 11 goals.
I don't want to bench Harsanyi but I want to get Collins back into the mix, so this is where we end up. We'll come out defending today.
16': James Lawrie scores his 32nd goal. Way too easy, a pass to the penalty spot in from the right, he's unmarked, way to go defense! 0-1
20': Cross in from the left by Lawrie, Signorelli, a right midfielder, beats Nikolaou for the header... and directs it near post for their second goal. 0-2
36': We have our first offensive highlight, earning a corner, its taken short to Williams, he controls it but doesn't shoot, passing instead and earning corner #2. Second corner is a header over the bar by Cooper. That's our first shot of the match.
40': Yellow for defender O'Hanlon, a tackle on Harsanyi just outside the area. Free kick goes nowhere.
HALF: They are just far better than us. Our defense except for Cooper are all in the 5.5 range, just playing poorly. They shoot 9 times putting 6 on target. We shoot twice, none on target yet.
48': Mike Williams with a foul just outside their area, they earn a corner on the free kick. We manage to clear away the corner.
56': O'Sullivan with a ball up the middle to Harsanyi, he turns on his man, he's defended pretty well but he does manage to get into the penalty area and fires a shot, saved though.
62': Nikolaou with a long ball down the left, we work it into the area, they clear... Upson puts it back into the box and Kenny makes a gret run, he fires a shot, its parried away but O'Sullivan jumps on the rebound and puts it in the net! 1-2
78': We have a couple attacks that dont' really threaten. Here Collins earns us a corner but they clear it right out. We fight winning a number of headers to try to keep it in the attacking end but eventually they tackle it away from Nikolaou and counter.
84': Bell-Baggie in for Harsanyi who hasnt' been very effective today.
92': We work hard trying to build up the offense, finally generating an attack. Kenny with a good move to get us foward, up to O'Sullivan, ahead ot Bell-Baggie, he controls the ball well and sends it left to Collins. Collins is into the area, he fires a shot... but it goes over, not very well struck. Full time is called before the ball is put back in play.
Port Vale 2 : 1 Woking
This is one of the best teams in the league, no surprise that we couldn't challenge them on the road. One of their goalscorers is man of the match.
On our end, Kenny has our assist and a 7.5 rating. Joe O'Sullivan has the goal and a 7.2 rting. Upson 7.2, Collins 7.1. On the other end, Mike Williams has a poor day, 5.6 rating.
-- We remain in 10th but for the first time in a long time we're not within 3 points of a playoff spot. Hereford has 53 points in 7th, we have 47 points. We're 32 matches in, 14 to go.
February 21th, 2015
Leyton Orient(17-7-8, 5th) @ Woking(14-5-12, 10th)
Leyton Orient are favored today but its close, 6:4 vs 13:8. We're 1-1-1 over the last year and a half against these guys. We lost 2:0 at their place earlier this year. I remember this game looking back at the stats... we had 5 clear cut chances and never managed a goal. They're led by Yann Kermorgant with 14 goals and Michael Higdon with 11.
Collins sits today in favor of Harsanyi out wide and Bell-Baggie up front. We're attacking these guys hard today.
3': Kenny with a clear cut chance after a cross by Bell-Baggie, he heads it right at the keeper.
7': We earn a free kick near the penalty area. Smith takes it, passing it just left to Kenny, Kenny makes one quick move then shoots, its his second clear cut chance of the match already b/c the defense somehow didn't seem ready for the short pass.... and Kenny drains it! 1-0
14': There's a long ball forward fo rLeyon Orient, Smith races to the ball and goes for a quick slide tackle, he catches the attacker too though and picks up a yellow. They can't do anything with the free kick.
16': Bell-Baggie with a couple nice long runs but they end up in bad passes.
22': Midfielder Fitzpatrick with a yellow.
24': They have a corner, we clear it and are on the quick counterattack, Bell-Baggie with a long run, he cuts out wide and passes to O'Sullivan, O'Sullivan with a blast, but its just wide left.
31': Leyton Orient has 5 corners now... 6... we finally clear, they had 4 in a row there, but didn't manage a single shot.
38': Another quick counter after we clear a abll out of the defensive end. Kenny makes a long run, comes into the area, places a short cross over to Bell-Baggie who volleys it but the keeper saves it.
41': Ed Upson with a yellow, complaining about what he thought should have been a penalty. Shut up and play dude.
HALF: We are dominating possession 59/41, we also have 8 shots, 3 on target while they just have 3 total shots, only 1 on target. They attacked quite a bit in the final 15 minutes but it mainly ended up in counter attacks for us.
53': We pressure a number of times, finally we have the bal lin the midfield, Upson with a quick ball foward that finds Harsanyi with a small hole about 17 yards out, he controls it well, fires a shot into the upper right corner of the net, by the keeper, goal! 2-0
62': Upson with a foul abou 40 yards out... the ref calls him over and shows him his second yellow card. Upson is out and we're down to 10 men. We drop back to a straight 4-4-1, Pulis comes in for Taylor, Downes is in for Kenny. We'll defend the rest of the way.
65': We give up a corner after a long free kick. The corner is taken to the far end of the 6 yard box, Lynch comes out to try to punch it away, can't quite get to it, they win the header and put it in. 2-1
71': Lynch stops a long shot, he punts it deep, Harsanyi wins the ball and pushes it immediately forward to Bell-Baggie, he wins the ball from the defender and scoots into the penalty area, its a clear cut chance and Bell-Baggie isn't going to miss! He puts it near post and in. 3-1
81': Fluke fluke fluke, a pass into the middle, they take a quick shot from 20 yards out. I really dont' think it would have had a chance, it deflects off a defender though and a shot aimed for the right post ricochet's off of Smith and perfeclty settles into the left corner of the net. Disgusting. 3-2
83': I drop into a contain strategy to try to hunker down with our 10 men and preserve this win.
85': Who needs contain!!! We earn a corner while i'm changing the strat... Downes takes it, crosses it in low towards the near side of the 6 yard box, Smith is there and blasts a header in! 4-3
90': Oh my dear lord. We are caught massively out of position, Lynch has to come WAY out to block a shot, he does parry it away but it falls to one of their strikers and he puts it into the empty net.
93': Another attack by Leyton Orient, Smith wins a critical header on a cross, he went up at the same time as an attacker, if he loses out i'm sure its a clear cut chance for the attacker.
Woking 4 : 3 Leyton Orient
Craziness. Ed Upson is gonna get bitched out big time, if he doesn't whine about a call then he doesn't get the first yellow. That's simply unforgivable. Kenny ends up man of the match, he has a goal and an 8.0 rating. Other goals from Harsanyi(7.6), Bell-Baggie (7.6), and Smith (7.4). Smith had an assist as well. Upson (6.9) with an assist, Downes (6.9) also. One goal was unassisted, Bell-Baggie's I guess since Harsanyi didn't get credit for one. Taylor put up a 7.0.
-- We're up to 9th after this win. Good win vs a playoff team! We remain 4 points out of a playoff position, one point behind Rochdale for 8th.
-- Ed Upson will miss our next match. We played that last one on the 21st, next 2 are 24th and 28th, so we will be going on short rest for a bit here.
-- AMR Charlie Kenny is named to the league 2 team of the week.
-- We were about to play a super critical match vs 7th place Hereford on the 24th but its postponed due to poor field condition and is rescheduled for March 11th. It'll be on short rest then as well.
February 28th, 2015
Woking(15-5-13, 9th) @ Tranmere(13-13-7, 14th)
We're 1-1-1 lifetime against these guys, they embarrassed us 3:0 at our house back in September. They scored 3 goals in the final 22 minutes. They're 4:5 favorites today, we are 3:1 to win, 2:1 to tie. Tranmere have 3 players with 10+ goals, Dean Bowditch with 14, Patrick Nzuzi with 12 and Sam Wood with 10.
Arter is in at MC for Upson (Pulis is hurt and Upson suspended). We set out to defend today.
4': We get a bit of a breakaway, Kenny receives a pass in the right side of the penalty area, he has a clear cut strike but its aimed right at the keeper and saved easily.
18': We see a few highlights in our defensive end, but they can only manage two shots well off target so far. They have shown some good ball movement and i'm worried about them eventually catching us out of position.
24': We have a corner, they claer it easily, Arter picks it up 35 yards out and fires... its a strong shot and it hits the crossbar, good effort there.
30': Nikolaou goes down and looks to be fairly badly hurt. He has to leave the field for some time.
31': Bell-Baggie has it out left, he goes wide and crosses it in, kenny gets to the header but its off the crossbar.
36': Long pass for Tranmere from 40 yards out into the penalty area, Cooper gets turned around and they get Nzuzi to it and he easily scores... 0-1
47': We get a free kick in their end, then a throwin, then a corner... they take care of everything without us getting a shot off.
HALF: Each team takes 5 shots and puts 2 on target. They got a very very easy goal sadly. Possession is about even, so are all of the other stats really, we just didn't generate any chances quite as good as the one they got, we had one where we probably should have scored and Kenny couldn't finish. Collins is in for Harsanyi who had a very bad half.
51': Thomas in for the injured Nikolau.
55': Collins with a deep run down the left side, a cross into the middle, O'Sullivan is there, he heads it and it hits the crossbar, close.
60': Great through ball for Tranmere, they get a clear cut chance and Lynch makes a great save to keep us within striking distance.
70': We'll try to attack to get that goal back.
86': There's a fight for possession naer midfield, we eventually control the ball and O'Sullivan gets it foward to Bell-Baggie, he shoots from 20 yards out and the keeper just saves it. Corner comes to nothing.
90': N'Diaye in for Taylor and we have him move up to AMC to try to get really aggressive in extra time.
Tranmere 1 : 0 Woking
Just the one goal, but it was enough. Ogogo puts up a 7.1 rating and is our best player today, Arter a 7.0 in midfield. Christian Smith with a 5.6, a poor day from him. They do a good job defending in the second half and limit us to just 3 shots.
-- We fall back down to 10th in the loss and the guys ahead of us keep winning. We are now 7 points out of 7th for the final playoff spot.
-- DL Nikolaou will miss 2 weeks with the injury he picked up today.
I'm playing a number of games currently and FM has fallen by the wayside a bit. Can't sleep tonight though so lets knock out a game.
-- Arsenal beat Tottenham 3-1 to win the league cup. Tottenham scored in the 2nd minute but Arsenal had 3 by the end of the half. The game winning goal was an own goal.
-- We play 5 matches in March. We seem to be settling solidly into a mid-table finish, the playoffs aren't totally out of the question still but they seem more unlikely every day.
-- The board is delighted with my leadership, highlighted by our league 2 performance. We did lose $68k last month.
March 7th, 2015
Woking(15-5-14, 10th) @ Bury(11-12-12, 13th)
Bury are pick'em favorites today, we're 11:5 dogs at their place. We've not yet lost to Bury, tying them twice last year and winning at our place 2:1 back in October. Bury's scoring is pretty even, 11 goals each from strikers Jack Hill and Scott Rendell.
Nikolaou was hurt in our last match and is out for this game and probably our next one. We'll be defending today.
13': A long clearance leads to Bell-Baggie out wide with the ball, he crosses it in, header from Harsanyi is saved, the ball is headed up, Kenny with a header... off the crossbar, one of those was a clear cut chance. Those were the first two shots of the match.
33': Ogogo picks up a yellow for a tackle out near the midfield after a throwin. Bury has 3 off target shots, nothing really threatening. We've earned a few corners but other than that one flurry of shots we haven't seriously threatened either.
45': Taylor picks up a yellow for a tackle... that didn't look like much. Free kick to Bury 30 yards out, its curled around the wall and is just barely wide. Close one.
HALF: As usual, I'm ok with a scoreless tie on the road. Each team has 4 shots, Bury's are all off target, we've put 2 on target. We have a huge 60/40 possession edge. We've been called for 9 fouls to just 1 for Bury, they have a lot more set pieces but no one is really doing much here.
46': They try to attack out of the gate, we win the ball deep in our end, Harsanyi with a long ball foward, Bell-Baggie picks it up 25 yards out at the left sideline, he cuts through two defenders, works his way into the box, sets up to try to cross the ball to the other side of the penalty area, it hits a defender and deflects towards the goal, the keeper is out of position and its in!!! Its credited an own goal. Bell-Baggie gets an assist. 1-0
53': Bell-Baggie collides with a defender going up for a header. He's hurt and we are immediately forced to sub him out. Ugh. Subotic is in.
60': Subotic is charging down the right sideline, he draws a defender and passes to O'Sullivan, who shoots... off a defender and over. Corner comes to nothing.
65': We have a long run of possession, O'Sullivan works it out wide, Ogogo cuts foward past Kenny and receives a pass deep in the right corner, he plays a cross, Subotic with the header, its in!!! A missed interception is shown as the main reason for the goal. Subotic has fallen out of favor a bit and hasn't played much, its great to see him get a goal. 2-0
73': CLUTCH goalkeeping. They get two shots from very close range, Lynch with two brilliant looking saves, one a reflex save on a strong blast from 10-12 yards out. Herd in for O'Sullivan, Collins in for Harsanyi, both for rest as we play again in 4 days.
Bury 0 : 2 Woking
Huge road win as we try to stay within 3 games of a playoff spot(7 points out currently). Bury takes 11 shots today but only puts two on target, both in the same attack, Lynch making two solid saves to keep our lead at two goals in the final 20 minutes. We shoot 8 times, putting 4 on target and scoring twice, one on a fluke ricochet but we'll take it.
Ogogo puts up an 8.6 rating and an assist and is the clear man of the match. Subotic a goal and a 7.1 rating off the bench. Bell-Baggie a 6.9 and the other assist. Thomas (7.2), Cooper(7.2), Smith (7.2) and Taylor(7.0) come up big on the defensive side of the ball, Upson puts up 7.0 as well.
Abdulai Bell-Baggie breaks his arm today and is going to be out for 4 weeks. He'll miss half of our remaining matches.
Most teams have played 36 matches. We've played 35, 7th place Hereford has played 35. Here are the urrent teams hanging around the playoffs, remember we need 7th to make the playoffs:
6th: Bristol Rovers - 60 pts
7th: Hereford - 60 pts (1 less match played)
8th: Rochdale - 57 pts
9th: Oxford - 55 pts
10th: Woking - 53 pts (1 less match played)
Our next match is the makeup match against Hereford. We'll be at home. Win and we're in 9th, 4 poitns out of the playoffs. Lose and we stay where we are, 7 points back with 10 to go.
March 11th, 2015
Hereford(17-9-9, 7th) @ Woking(16-5-14, 10th)
We're 7:4 dogs today, they are 5:4 favorites, both teams are playing well above expectations going into the season. I'm not going to change my tackling instructions I don't think, but I do take note that today's ref has handed out 32 yellow cards in 6 league matches this year... this one could be messy. We've never beaten these guys, and in fact have never scored against them. Two scoreless draws last year and a 2:0 defeat at their place in September.
Our pre-game scouting tells us that Hereford has a large number of injuries and is missing many starting players today, but leading scorer Mathieu Manset (14 goals) is available.
Thomas isn't fit to go back to back at DL, so Mike Williams starts there. Collins starts at AML and Subotic at ST. "standard" mindset coming out of the gate.
7': We control early possession, O'Sullivan with a pass foward that's intercepted but not controlled well, Upson runs onto it 20 yards out and fires a shot that is just wide right.
16': A nice through ball for Hereford gets their star Manset open, but he's pushed out pretty wide to the left, he takes a shot but Lynch is in good position to make the save.
22': Kenny earns us a corner with a good run down the right. Upson takes it, its cleared but Smith puts it back foward, O'Sullivan with good control of the ball and we're attacking hard, he makes a great pass across a number of defenders, Subotic runs onto the ball and has a look from just outside the 6 yard box, he fires it hard near post under the diving keeper!! 1-0 O'Sullivan looked brilliant there in really heavy traffic.
39': A long stretch with nothing happening, we earn a free kick and O'Sullivan shoots, deflected out for a corner. Subotic gets his head on the ball after the corner but it hits the bar and goes over, so close.
HALF: We take a 1-0 lead into the locker room, we're playing pretty well and need to hold on here, possession is slightly in their favor, 56/44, but we have 8 shots to their 4. We've only managed to put 2 on target. We could easily be up 2 or 3 goals here, hopefully we can keep pushing and get a cushion in the second half.
47': Almost immediately after the second half starts striker Maccollum takes a hard shot from just outside the penalty area, it hits the right post and bounces across the face of the goal, Ogogo clears it.
48': Counter attack... there's a great ball forward to Collins, he's in the penalty area and has a one on one look against their keeper... and drills it at him, saved easily. This is why I have been starting Harsanyi, despite all of Collins' positives.
53': Two quick yellows, one on Bidwell of Hereford, a midfielder, and one on O'Sullivan.
63': Pulis in for a tired O'Sullivan, Harsanyi in for Collins.
67': Yellow for midfielder Maccollum holding on to Upson's jersey.
72': Hereford earn a corner, its taken short and a hard shot is fired at Lynch, he's able to get a hand to it and push it aside.
81': Taylor with a great tackle in midfield, I assumed a foul but non called, he gets it to Subotic and we have a few guys pushing foward, Subotic pushes it out right to Pulis who makes a run and centers it to Upson coming into the penalty area, he's open and has a great look and is able to beat the keeper!! 2-0. Very pretty play every step of the way.
81': N'Diaye in for a tired Subotic, Harsanyi up to striker, N'Diaye AML. We'll defend away the final 10 minutes as well hopefully.
Woking 2 : 0 Hereford
Great win today, Hereford may be depleted by injuries but we still had to earn it on the field and we showed great composure. 16 shots, just 4 on target but we got two of them in. We allowed 9 shots, but only 2 of those were on target. 3 were from long range and their star striker only got the ball in a really dangerous spot one time.
Upson is man of teh match today with a 7.9 rating and 1 of our goals. Subotic the other goal (7.0). Assists from Pulis (6.9 off the bench) and O'Sullivan (7.5). Ogogo (7.2), Williams (7.3), Smith (7.0), and Kenny (7.0) were noteworthy as well.
Everyone is now evened back up with 36 matches played. With 10 to go:
6th: Bristol Rovers - 60 pts
7th: Hereford - 60 pts
8th: Rochdale - 57 pts
10th: Woking - 56 pts
9th: Oxford - 55 pts
We get another chance to make a huge statement in 3 days as we host 5th place Brighton. They won't be on short rest like we are unfortunately though.
-- a "good crowd, but not a sellout" is expected for our next match, good to see the fans showing up for some key matches down the stretch run.
March 14th, 2015
Brighton(17-11-8, 5th) @ Woking(17-5-14, 8th)
And all of a sudden after assuming Woking were likely not really in the playoff hunt we get two huge wins in a row. Brighton are even money favorites here, we're 11:5 to win and 11:5 to draw. We're 1-0-2 against these guys, losing 2-0 on the road back in October. Striker Ugur Ocak scored twice against us. Our assistants want me to mark him tightly. Perry Wells leads them with 15 goals, Ocak is 2nd with 11.
We make a couple changes due to the fact that we're playing our 3rd match in a week. Downes at AMR, Alcock at DR, Harsanyi up front. Ocak isn't starting for them today.
4': They're on the break, down the left side, a pass into the area, then a pass across the face of the goal that is somehow not intercepted by Smith.. Perry Wells is tehre and walks it into the net. 0-1
9': Free kick from midfield, there's a long ball foward, Wells heads it from over 20 yards out... Lynch is... well I honetsly don't know where Lynch is but he's not guarding the net and somehow a lofting header from 20 freaking yards out goes in. 0-2
23': Harsanyi controls it, back to Upson a ways out, a ball forward to O'Sullivan, he gets a decent look but slams it into the side netting.
29': N'Diaye is in for Taylor, and I'm moving him up to AMC, removing the DMC spot. Lets go crazy to try to tie this up. Our goal differential sucks comapred to the teams near us anyway.
HALF: No noteworthy action for the rest of the half. Alcock picked up an injury late in the half, Ogogo is coming in for the rest of it. We have 7 shots but 5 are from long range, only one is on target.
49': After a corner by Downes the ball is headed around a few times, O'Sullivan picks it up and sends it out left to Downes (who is coming back from taking the corner so on the 'other' side from usual). Downes runs into the area, he's brought down hard and he's hurt, they clear it and there's no penalty given. The match is stopped immediately and 3 physios rush onto the field. Downes has to come out. Kenny is in and we're out of subs.
70': O'Sulivan clears a ball out of our side and Harsanyi races for it, he beats the defense but his first touch is not the best, allowing a defender to come push it behind for a corner. First corner the ball is tackled away from Smith and we want a penalty but aren't getting it. Second is cleared, we push it back in and earn corner number 3. Third one they just tackle away and clear it.
86': they have it in our end, thomas with a ver ylong clearance, Harsanyi picks it up and rushes down the left sideline, its a bit of a breakaway, he puts a cross in, we have 3 players converging, O'Sullivan is theer, he heads it in! 1-2
91': O'Sullivan gets it to N'Diaye 20 yards out but he puts a shot just over.
92': Midfielder Crofts for Brighton picks up a yellow for a poor challenge on a header. Its his second, and he's gone!
We can't do anything though.
Woking 1 : 2 Brighton
Its incredibly demoralizing to watch 2 goals in 8 minutes like that out of the gate. Downes put up a 5.8 before getting hurt. Smith a horrid 5.2 allowing the first goal, there was no excuse for it, a pass through the 6 yard area with Smith right there, there is no way they should have been able to score at all on that first goal.
-- Our attendance was 4945 today, very impressive. They may not come back after the show we gave them though.
Backup AMR Aiden Downes tears a calf muscle and is going to miss 4 months.
We get a week off after this flurry of matches. We're stlil only 4 points out of the playoffs but we fall to 10th and have 2 teams between us and 7th now.
March 21st, 2015
Woking(17-5-15, 10th) @ Barnet(4-15-18, 22nd)
We're pretty big favorites on the road here, even money to win, Barnet is 11:5. Barnet have not won a match in 12 games. We're 4 points out of the playoffs still, Barnet is only 2 points above relegation. Big game for both teams. We're 1-1-1 lifetime against Barnet, winning 2:0 at our place earlier this year.
Nikolaou is back into the lineup today, Subotic up front, Harsanyi at AML again today. We start in a "standard" mindset, we're not backing off to defend against these guys.
17': Subotic puts one over the bar, the first shot taken by either team, lots of highlights so far, most with us on offense, but we're struggling to generate an attack.
32': Kenny with a good centering pass to Subotic for a quick shot, but its saved well.
44': Barnet just took their first shot.
HALF: We need to win this. 3 points or failure. We take 4 shots, they take 1. We put 2 on target but one was from long range and didn't really have a chance. Stats are pretty even, we're winning in the air by a decent bit. We turn on the attack.
50': A very poor clearnce by Barnet allows Nikolaou to put it forward to Harsanyi. He takes a shot from 20 yards out, its not an easy shot at all but he places it perfeclty, it hits the right post and bounces in, goal!! 1-0
85': A solid 20 minutes fly by with no highlights and I get some subs in for the last few minutes... Pulis for O'Sullivan, Herd in for Taylor, Alcock in for Ogogo.
91': Barnet on the attack, they get a man into the area and we tackle it away and clear it out to the side. Their attacker goes down like we stabbed him, no penalty.
We hold on for the win.
Barnet 0 : 1 Woking
We're supposed to win here, but its always in question on the road imo, so I'm happy we pulled it out. Nikolaou is man of the match with a 7.6 rating and the assist. Harsanyi 7.2 with the goal. Elsewhere, Ogogo 7.2, Upson 7.0, everyone else 6.8-6.9 or thereabouts.
-- Zoltan Harsanyi's goal today was his 75th English League Goal.
With 8 matches left here's how things look:
1. Port Vale - 81 pts
2. Crewe - 73 pts
3. Stockport - 72 pts
4. Leyton Orient - 71 pts
5. Brighton - 66 pts
6. Hereford - 66 pts
7. Bristol Rovers - 61 pts
8. Rochdale - 59 pts
9. Woking - 59 pts
10. Oxford - 58 pts
Nothing is officially clinched yet, but Port Vale is going to win the league. The other two auto promotion spots are still up for grabs, most likely between 3 teams. Bfrighton and Hereford seem relatively solidly in the playoffs but again there's still room for error there, while more realistically 4 teams, including Woking, are competing for the final playoff spot, barring a collapse from Brighton or Hereford.
Our goal differential is 0 (51 for/51 against). Everyone else is +10 or better. We won't be winning any tiebreakers.
March 28th, 2015
Kidderminster(8-15-15, 18th) @ Woking(18-5-15, 9th)
We are favored two days in a row, 5:4 at home, Kidderminster 7:4. Probably our longest history is now with Kidderminster. We're 4-1-3 against them going back to the BS Premier league in 2010. We tied them 0:0 at their place back in November. Another game where if we're a playoff quality team we win this.
AMR Charlie Kenny is out for an international U-19 match. With Downes and Bell-Baggie hurt, we're incredibly thin at AMR. We start N'Diaye and if he can't play 90 minutes we have a pretty big problem.
Standard mindset again today for us.
2': Two corners and 3 shots by Kidderminster, one of them i'm stunned didn't go in, a very scary start for us.
10': We get two shots, Harsanyi puts one on target, before earning our first corner, we get nothing out of it though.
20': A brilliant long pass foward by Upson from near midfield to a cutting Harsanyi, he receives a pass behind the defense and has our first clear cut chance... but the keeper makes the save and Harsanyi really doesn't direct his shot very well.
42': We have a free kick from midfield, Smith sends it into the penalty area... the keeper catches the ball as Harsanyi comes charging in... and DROPS IT. Harsanyi is right there to poke the ball into the net and their keeper suffers a horrific mistake to give us our first goal. 1-0
HALF: We've pressured them a lot, taking 11 shots, but 6 of them are from long range and until the breakthrough gaol I was pretty disappointed with our inability to do anything but shoot wildly from 25 yards out. Only 3 of our shots on target, they have 5 total, 2 on target. Kidderminster actually have a 55/45 possession edge, but as we often do we dominate the air, winning 76% of our headers while Kidder only connects on 38% of theirs. Lets get a second goal and put this away guys!
47': O'Sullivan with a long ball forward.. Subotic is there in the area and gets his head to it, its over the keeper and into the net... but offsides. I dunno about that. That was damn close at best, and if we don't win I will seriously consider calling out the refs in the press conference afterwards if given the chance.
52': Kidderminster get their first clear cut chance, blasting a shot from 15 yards out that Lynch barely saves. Whew. There's a rebound but a player was offsides and that ends the threat.
60': Kidder has the ball wide right, crosses it to the left side of the penalty area, midfielder Pinney turns by Ogogo and fires from the edge of the penalty box, and beats Lynch. Ugh. 1-1
66': We're attacking the rets of the way.
86': we take our first shot of the half... a wide free kick. Pulis in for Upson, Thomas in for a tired Nikolaou, Collins in for Subotic/Harsanyi moves to Striker.
88': Taylor with a yellow.
We get one nice long ball from Thomas to N'Diaye but he's exhausted and can't do anything with it... really wish Kenny was there today.
Woking 1 : 1 Kidderminster
Dissapointing finish for us today. Their scorer is man of the match. Harsanyi puts up a 7.5 on our end with his goal, Smith 6.9 for the assist, no one else over 7 today. We only shot once in the second half and it was a poor long range free kick effort. Very, very disappointing.
Here's the full postgame description:
"An error from Tommy Forecast allowed striker Zoltan Harsanyi to score a close range header. Woking also saw their 47th minute strike disallowed in controversial circumstances.
Winger Nathan Pinney then equalized for Kidderminster after 60 minutes with a real poachers effort. Then followed controversy as Woking were denied claims by striker Danijel Subotic for a penalty.
Then followed controversy as Woking were denied claims by full-back Stelios Nikolaou for a penalty"
a goal disallowed that looked onsides and two potential penalties. Oh boy.
No option for a post match press conference. Damn!
Bristol Rovers got a win today and we failed to keep up:
5. Brighton - 66 pts
6. Hereford - 66 pts
7. Bristol Rovers - 64 pts
8. Rochdale - 60 pts
9. Woking - 60 pts
10. Oxford - 58 pts
7 matches to go.
-- League 1's Middlesborough beats League 1's Bournemouth in the finals of the Johnstone Paint Trophy. Whee.
-- I get another round of mails about expiring contracts. most that are still left are guys I'm parting with, the only potential exception is DC Christian Smith. I still don't know what to do about my defense, but Smith is willing to take a pay cut from $1200/wk to $1000/wk for another year. I lower his appearance fee that he's requesting and make him an offer.
-- We play 5 matches in April and one in ealry May. Our last match of the year is @ Bristol Rovers, the team currently in 7th. Lets see if we can have a solid April and make that game mean something!
-- The board is delighted with my leadership. Our league 2 play is the highlight, no downsides. We lost $47k last month, less than usual this time of year, a couple solid home attendences is the main reason I believe.
-- Abdulai Bell-Baggie resumes full training on April 1st. We play on April 6th. I'd love to have him at striker.
-- Christian Smith signs his new contract, so i've got the DC for another year, for better or worse.
April 6th, 2015
Woking(18-6-15, 9th) @ Hartlepool(15-7-17, 13th)
Hartlepool are big 4:7 favorites at their place today, we are 4:1 dogs for a win and 5:2 dogs to even get a draw. They've only scored 42 goals this year though and are one of the lowest scoring teams in the top 20 in the league (the relegation candidates are much, much worse). We beat them 1:0 at our place earlier in the year.
Kenny is back in at AMR. Otherwise no changes to the lineup, Bell-Baggie will sit out today and be fully rested for our next match. We set out to defend today.
21': Tough save by Lynch as striker Wright gets a good look inside the area. 6 total shots today but that's the first one that's been worth noting, the ones we've seen for Woking are way over and long.
30': Harsanyi crosses in and O'Sullivan with a header, its over, decent look though.
32': Hartlepool with a great through ball and the first clear cut chance of the match by one of their strikers... just flat out wide.
HALF: Hartlepool has been on the attack, 10 shots, just 4 on target though and 5 from long range. We have 4 shots, not a one on target or even blocked yet. Possession is even, Hartlepool is passing extremely well today, completing 80%, we're winning in the air, lots of shots and we need to shut that down as a couple have looked very dangerous.
54': We get the ball on the attack a coupl times but just cannot get it into the penalty area, they clear/tackle etc before we can do anything aggressive.
58': Ogogo has gone down hurt twice this match, he's toughing it out so far.
61': Harsanyi with a nice run down the left side, gets it to Subotic who puts our first shot on target, but its a weak header and saved easily.
66': Alcock in for the injured Ogogo, Collins in for Subotic, Harsanyi striker/Collins AML.
68': A solid strike by Hartlepool, nice save by Lynch, we push it back for a corner and clear the corner. They're up to 15 total shots, 6 for us.
76': Harsanyi with a great turn deep on the left side, he plays what looks like a cross.. it kinda is way to close to the goal and looks more like a shot that cuts right across the face of the goal... its just out though, nice play to get something but poor result.
92': One last attack for us on a deep throwin. Collins ends up with a header that's saved, and we leave with a scoreless draw.
Hartlepool 0 : 0 Woking
Hartlepool takes 16 shots and puts 7 on target, 7 from long range too. We shoot 7 times, putting 2 on target but both were weak headers.
Subotic is somehow man of the match, passing I guess, 25/33, trying to help generate offense forward. He puts up a 7.2 rating, Nikolaou 7.0, O'Sullivan 7.0 today as well. We need 3 points more often but this wasn't a bad road draw I don't think.
5th: Hereford - 69 pts
6th: Bristol Rovers - 67 pts
7th: Brighton - 66 pts
8th: Rochdale - 63 pts
9th: Woking - 61 pts
5 points out of the playoffs and Bristol Rovers are now in 6th.
Abu Ogogo pulled a hammy in that last match. He's going to miss 3-4 weeks. Our backup, Craig Alcock, will be getting full time minutes at DR the rest of the way, here's your chance to step up new guy!
An April 11th Match at home vs Accrington is postponed due to a waterlogged field. This is pretty bad for us I think, instead of matches on the 11th/14th/18th/25th, now we have matches on the 14th/18th/22nd/25th. It does mean that we'll have 3 in a row at home, fwiw, after this next road match.
Everyone around me wins except Brighton who gets a draw. We've played one game less due to our "rainout" so here's how we look now:
5. Bristol Rovers - 70 pts
6. Hereford - 69 pts
7. Brighton - 67 pts
8. Rochdale - 66 pts
9. Woking - 61 pts (1 less match played)
April 14th, 2015
Woking(18-7-15, 9th) @ Walsall(10-11-20, 20th)
We beat these guys 2-0 back in November at our place. They're considered big favorites despite the disparty in the standings. They are 4:6, we're 7:2 to snag a win here today.
Bell-Baggie is back into the starting lineup, Alcock takes over for Ogogo for the rest of the year. Standard mindset today, we're not defending, lets take a few more risks for 3 points here.
16': Kenny picks up an injury, he can keep going for now.
29': Each team has 1 shot so far. A very nice long ball from Taylor set Harsanyi up with some space but the defense came thorugh... Smith with a header on a corner for our second shot, we earn corner #2... put behind... corner #3... cleared out finally.
38': Nikolaou plays it long down the left side ,Bell-Baggie is there, he holds it up, turns and crosses into the area, kenny with a header, JUST over.
44': Taylor with a yellow for a hard tackle in midfield.
HALF: We only allow one shot, but we only take 4 with 2 on target, neither seemed particularly dangerous. Things are very even, even the headers today. We'll try to keep pushing and might even look to attack to get a goal here.
47': Corner for walsall as we deflect a cross behind. They get a shot out of it but its very well defended and we clear.
53': We will turn on the attack.
54': Great tackle by O'Sullivan in defense, he plays it foward to bell-Baggie, to Upson, long ball to Kenny, Kenny has it in the penalty area with no deefnders near, its the first clear cut chance of the match... right at the keeper and saved. Disappointing finish there.
59': Clear cut chance to Walsall after a ball forward is met by a very poor interception attempt. Lynch makes a solid save and pushes it wide, we clear it.
65': Bell-Baggie collides with a defender and he's not listed as injured, but he is slowed greatly. I'm making a change asap.
67': Subotic in at Striker.
73': N'Diaye in, taylor out, no more DMC, he's in at AMC to try to put more pressure on the defense.
77': Subotic with a great ball foward to N'Diaye deep in the penalty area. He is immediately dispossessed though.
81': Nikolaou with a long run foward, a cross, the keeper gets to it though, not a bad look, Subotic was there, the keeper just came out for it.
85': O'Sullivan with a shot in traffic to earn us a corner, its cleared easily.
88': Alock startsthe attack off a goal kick, foward to Kenny, centered to O'Sullivan, foward to Subotic, he plays a through ball up to N'Diaye who runs onto it beautifullly, stops, aims near post and puts it past the keeper!!!!! 1-0
Walsall 0 : 1 Woking
Christian Smith wins 5 tackles, 9 headers (6 of them key headers), makes 7 interceptoins and earns himself man of the match with a 7.6 rating. Our goal by N'Diaye earns him a 7.2 off the bench. Subotic a 7.2 off the bench as well with the assist. Nikolaou 7.3, Cooper 7.2, solid win on the road today when we just can't afford to lose at all.
5. Bristol Rovers - 70 pts
6. Hereford - 69 pts
7. Brighton - 68 pts
8. Rochdale - 66 pts
9. Woking - 64 pts (1 less match played)
Everything works in our favor today. Brighton with a draw, Bristol Rovers, Hereford and Rochdale all lose. We're 4 points out of the playoffs with a game in hand, 4 matches to play for everyone else, 5 left for us. 4 of our last 5 are at home.
AMR Charlie Kenny will miss a week with a bruised rib he suffered in our last match. Unfortunately that may well mean he misses 3 of our last 5 matches at this point.
April 18th, 2015
Oxford(17-10-15, 10th) @ Woking(19-7-15, 9th)
We're even money favorites today at home against Oxford. I haven't been including Oxford in the playoff updates but right now they're only 3 points behind us (with 1 more match played of course). We've done awful against Oxford in our history, 1-0-4, losing 2-0 at their place earlier in the year. Oxford are led by Paul Taylor who has 20 goals, no one else on their team has more than 7. He scored both against us in that 2-0 loss.
Collins and N'Diaye at AM today, Harsanyi is available off the bench. Bell-Baggie will start again today. We're going to try to attack and get an early lead.
10': Nikolaou with a cross in from the left side, O'Sullivan heads it, the keeper saves but can't hold on, N'Diaye races to the ball but they have a man get to it and clear it just in time.
18': Defender Tunnicliffe picks up a yellow for a foul on Bell-Baggie.
24': We earn our 4th corner, its taken to the far post and the keeper is out of position... but Collins heads it over the bar.
28': They earn their first corner and take their first shot off of it, but Lynch saves easily. Smith makes two good tackles to clear attacks out during this stretch of highlights.
31': Long through ball from Oxford, AML Mustoe blows by Cooper to run onto it and puts it into the left corner of the net. 0-1. We've got a lot of work to do now.
41': Lots of highlights with us on offense, Bell-Baggie ending up with it on the left side of the attack multiple times, playing the cross himself, and we just have no one that can head the ball in, everything is wildly over or wide or whatever.
HALF: we generate 7 shots but only put 2 on target. I'm going to tell the guys we need to go up the middle, these crosses... we just aren't connecting at all, and Bell-Baggie is way out of place on many of them, leaving N'Diaye or O'Sullivan to be our scoring threats. They have 3 shots, but one clear cut chance that they took advantage of, so we're in pretty poor shape here.
48': O'Sullivan forward to Bell-Baggie, he beats his man and turns but another defender clears the ball behind for a corner. Corner is taken to the far side of the area and headed well over.
59': Harsanyi in for collins, Subotic for Bell-Baggie, I'm happy that we're getting foward a bunch but not happy what we're doign with the ball, lets give someone else a try.
64': Two strong attacks from Oxford, one leading to a good shot and tough save by Lynch, the other a corner that we clear.
67': Yellow for Defender Smith for Oxford for holding back Harsanyi.
68': We turn it over poorly and they have a bit of a breakaway, O'Sullivan makes a hard tackel and gets a yellow for his troubles. I would not have been surprised if it had been red.
70': Yellow for Oxford's Norwood tackling O'Sullivan. we have a long free kick and its taken well but a header is put well over. How many times will I say that today?
77': Nikolaou with control, Harsanyi breaks behind the defense and Nikolaou finds him, he crosses it into the 6 yard area, Subotic heads it, saved but not well held, O'Sullivan comes charging in and puts it into the net!!!! 1-1
77': We stay on the attack, win it win it!
The only noteworthy event of the final 15 minutes or so is that N'Diaye comes up hurt, play didn't stop for it, we'll see how bad it is.
Woking 1 : 1 Oxford
We needed 3, but in the end feel lucky to have salvaged 1 point there. Their scorer is man of the match today. On our side O'Sullivan has a 7.2 rating and the goal. Harsanyi gets the assist (I thought Subotic, I may have misread the action on that goal) and a 6.9 rating. Upson 7.1, Nikolaou 7.0. N'Diaye struggles greatly and earns a 5.8 rating.
No one else in key spots did anything today either.
5. Bristol Rovers - 70 pts
6. Brighton - 69 pts
7. Hereford - 69 pts
8. Rochdale - 67 pts
9. Woking - 65 pts (1 less match played)
Hereford and Bristol Rovers lose, Brighton and Rochdale pick up 1 point just like we do.
AMR Makhtar N'Diaye has a pulled groin and will miss 3 weeks. Bell-Baggie can play AMR well, and about to be releaed Giuseppe Sole is an "unconvincing" AMR. That's enough for now to list him as a sub and have him ready to go.
Next up is our makeup game with Accrington. A win would put us in 8th, 1 point out of the playoffs, with 3 matches to go.
-- Port Vale has clinched promotion from League 2, while Leyton Orient and Crewe have clinched playoff spots. Leyton Orient can clinch promotion in their next match, while #4 Stockport can clinch a playoff spot in theirs.
April 22nd, 2015
Accrington(11-13-18, 18th) @ Woking(19-7-15, 9th)
We're 5:4 favorites today, they're 7:4 dogs. Attendence is expected to be only around 3000 fans today, a bit low but it is a rescheduled match. We're 3-1-3 in our history with Accrington, the number of times we've played is bosted by a meeting in the 2 leg FA Trophy Semi-Final back in the 12/13 season. We lost 2:0 at their place earlier this year.
Kenny is actually back to full training today, but he's really not ready to play anything close to 90 minutes. I stick to my plan of starting Bell-Baggie at AMR, but Kenny is available to play 20-30 minutes if need be. We're attacking today, and I tell the team pre-game that I expect them to win this one.
17': Almost all the highlights show us on offense so far, we seem to be out-hustling them and getting to every loose ball, maybe the "you'd better win!" helps on rare occasions.
20': Bell-Baggie to O'Sullivan, he passes it foward to Subotic, Subotic turns by a defender, he's 18 yards out with two men close by, he lets a shot fly though, and it beats the keeper!! One of the defenders takes the blame for the goal missing a tackle. 1-0
22': Accrington will try to get that goal back, we drop back into a standard mindset at least for now.
23': Taylor saves the day, Accrington earn a corner and a shot is blocked but the rebound sits in the penalty area... Taylor is able to get to it first and clears it out wide.
HALF: We see a couple highlights in the midfield and then blow through the final 15 minutes without anything at all. We take a 1-0 lead into the locker room. We manage 8 shots, Accrington 6 shots, we've only put 2 on target and they've only put 1 on target. Outside of our dominance on headers, everything else is relatively even.
51': After we clear out a cross, Accrington has a midfielder take a wild shot from the midfield circle... it sails through the defense and is only a couple yards wide.
58': I put the attack back on, I'm not going to sit back and let a weaker team try to put pressure on us the rest of the match for free.
61': I almost pay for it immediately, there's a long through ball and a shot from a striker of theirs about 25 yards out, its over Lynch but hits the crossbar.
66': Bell-Baggie receives a pass on a counter attack, he's one on one with a defender, and he's tackled hard, no foul is given but Bell-Baggie is hurt. I bring him out immediately, Kenny is in. Pulis in for an exhausted O'Sullivan at MC too.
69': Ok maybe attacking isn't the right thing to do. Counter attacking makes a lot of sense though.
77': Lynch with a great save after what i was sure was an offsides on a through ball... it wasn't called that way, and they got a man into the penalty area. Smith came back to pressure and Lynch saved the short range shot attempt.
89': We fly ahead to the 89th minte where we see Accrington earn a corner. We are able to clear it out easily. Subotic gets to the ball first and takes it all the way down field, stalling a bit in the corner before starting an attack, a shot is blocked though. We kill a couple minutes of extra time in this stretch.
93': Pulis commits a foul going after a loose ball and is hurt in the process. We clear out a ball on the free kick, they try to get it back in, Smith boots it well out of play. They bring it back in again...Cooper with a clearance... why isn't this game over... ok finally as Charlie Kenny makes a run into our offensive end the final whistle blows and we get the 3 points!
Woking 1 : 0 Accrington
Subotic is great today with a 7.7 rating and the only goal. O'Sullivan a 6.9 rating with the assist. The defense is strong, 7.0 Alcock, 7.2 Nikolaou, 7.3 Cooper, 7.1 Smith. Upson puts up a 7.0 in midfield as well.
Accrington took 14 shots but only put 4 on target, for a good stretch of the second half it seemed most of the highlights involved Accrington trying to get long balls foward, occasionally catching us off guard, Lynch made a couple key saves, though most of the time Smith and Cooper were right there.
3 matches left in the season for everyone now, only we played today, making up last week's delay due to our field getting waterlogged.
5. Bristol Rovers - 70 pts
6. Brighton - 69 pts
7. Hereford - 69 pts
8. Woking - 68 pts
9. Rochdale - 67 pts
I really thought only one playoff spot would be up for grabs, Brighton and Hereford have both fallen on very hard times. We've got 5 teams competing for 3 spots with 3 games to go.
Our final 3 matches:
vs #16 Luton
at #5 Bristol Rovers
vs #12 Grimsby
-- Today we expect closer to 4000 tickets sold, hooray gate receipts.
April 25th, 2015
Luton(11-19-13, 16th) @ Woking(20-7-15, 8th)
Luton are favored 6:4 at our place, we're 13:8, essentially on equal footing. We're at a disadvantage b/c of our make up game 3 days ago. We're going on extremely short rest here, Luton has had a chance to rest up a little. We're 0-1-1 lifetime against these guys, getting a 2:2 draw earlier in the year at their place. The other match was in the FA Trophy back in 2010.
We change both of our attacking mids today, Collins and Kenny are in, Harsanyi needs to rest. Nikolaou and Alcock on our back line are both pretty damn tired but I need them both badly. We'll come out on the attack again today.
13': Collins with a long run down the left, a cross, headed by Kenny.. but over.
31': Collins again... this time Subotic gets his head to the cross, and again its over. Not a lot of highlights here.
33': O'Sullivan a through ball into the penalty area, Kenny runs onto it, its a clear cut chance, open net from what can't be more than 10 yards out... and he puts it wide right, aiming too much or something, that hurts, a lot.
38': A cross comes in from the left, Subotic heads it... keeper saves but can't hold it, Collins gets to the rebound but a defender is there to block it.
HALF: We manage 8 shots in the half but only put one on target. Luton with just one shot, we are dominating everything here except the scoreboard. 7th place Hereford are losing so far today and we have a chance to move into a playoff position with a win should everything else stay the same.
50': Luton comes out stronger, earning a couple corners early in the half, and a couple throwins very deep in our end... we finally get a save from Lynch on a shot and put an end to the danger.
58': We have a throwin in their end, Nikolaou ends up putting a cross into the area, O'Sullivan gets a head to it and its inches over... again.
59': O'Sullivan with a ball foward to Subotic, he shoots from just ouside the penalty box, and its just wide.
69': Subotic receives a pass from Kenny, jukes by two defenders, an incredible move to get a good look... its our THIRD clear cut chance(I missed the second I guess), and its off the right post.
76': We bring in fresh legs for the attack. Harsanyi in for Collins, Bell-Baggie in for Subotic, Arter in for Upson.
83': Bell-Baggie with a long run down the left... he gets into the area, crosses to the far post, Kenny with the header, he's got a really really great look, our FOURTH clear cut chance, but he puts it right at the keeper.
89': We earn a corner... 3 minutes of injury time coming. Corner is taken poorly and cleared.
And nothing happens... so so many missed chances.
Woking 0 : 0 Luton
Nikolaou was everywhere today, he puts up a 7.8 rating and earns man of the match. Lynch 7.1, Alcock 7.1, Cooper 7.2, Collins 7.2. O'Sullivan and Kenny both struggled with 6.2 ratings. Kenny took 6 shots, but only put 1 on target. We pressured them like crazy, its ridiculous to not get a goal today. 15 shots, 57% of the possession, we even completed an amazing 42% of our crosses, but only 3 shots on target... less shots on target (3) than clear cut chances to score (4)!!!! Massive, Massive disappointment.
5. Bristol Rovers - 73 pts
6. Brighton - 72 pts
7. Rochdale - 70 pts
8. Hereford - 69 pts
9. Woking - 69 pts
What I didn't notice was that Rochdale was playing Hereford, and Rochdale got the win, we would ahve been a point ahead in 7th had we won there. We're still in this thing. Next up is Bristol Rovers at their place. We're 4 points behind them with 2 to go, with a couple others even closer. A win would make things crazy exciting for the last game.
I think its safe to say 6 points would get us into the playoffs. Not mathematically, but there are so many teams so close I imagine it would do it for us.
-- Ed Upson hurts himself lifting weights. We get the option for a shot to get him through the next match. It changes his recovery from 4 weeks to ~7. Either way he's done for the rest of the year, so we give him the shot so he can play against Bristol Rovers. He's done after that.
-- We go to Bristol Rovers on the 2nd and host Grimsby on the 9th. Playoffs start on the 16th. Even if we don't have a big shot at promotion, the semifinal game to a packed house would be really good for the wallet.
-- The board is delighted and our position in the standings is the reason why. With so many home games in April we only lost $2,140. That's really rare late in the season for us.
May 2nd, 2015
Woking(20-8-15, 9th) @ Bristol Rovers(20-13-11, 5th)
Bristol Rovers are massive 4:7 favorites today, we're 4:1 to win on the road. A win clinches a playoff spot for Bristol Rovers, so they have a lot on the line here too. They can't make it up to 3rd. These guys killed us at our house 3:0. This is a tough test.
Ogogo is right back into the lineup, I don't know if he can go 90 so Alcock is ready to come off the bench. Harsanyi starts again at AML. Bristol Rovers striker Aaron McLean has 24 goals and 12 assists this year, we will try to mark him closely to limit him a bit and to make him use his very weak left foot. We set out to defend at least early. I'm worried about falling behind right away in this one.
17': We try to drape ourselves all over McLean but it stil only takes 17 minutes for him to break through. They've already shot 5 times, 4 on target, his goal is a tough one from a tough angle. 0-1
30': O'Sullivan with a beautiful through ball to Subotic, he runs onto it and has a look at the keeper from about 10 yards out... keeper makes a diving save, that was a clear cut chance, our first on target shot, we needed that badly.
32': Nikolaou down the left sideline, he gets it to Subotic about 20 yards out, slides it left to Harsanyi, he turns and fires from about 18 yards out with a man on him... and its by the keeper far post!!! Amazing strike. 1-1
36': McLean gets free for another shot, this one is a clear cut chance on their end, and Lynch is there to save it.
37': Taylor misses an interception, McLean appears offsides but its not called, and McLean buries his second clear cut chance, he's got 2 goals and that was demoralizing as hell. 1-2
43': A cross in from the right, their "other" striker O'Donovan gets his head to it and probalby ends the game... sigh. This team is just too good. 1-3
HALF: Smith 5.7, Taylor 5.4, Nikolaou 6.1. I guess that's what happens when you give up 3 goals in the first half. They take 10 shots and put 7 on target. We take 4 and put 2 on target. We have to come out attacking in the second half now, and it'll probalby only make it worse, but our goal differential is irrelevant anyway.
47': We get a free kick 20 yards out, Smith takes it and puts a shot just barely wide. So close!
60': Subotic gets the ball on a counterattack after we clear it out. He makes a 50 yard run before the ball is tackled away in the penalty area. We earn a throwin, turn that into a corner... and they clear it out.
There were more highlights but nothing coming anywhere remotely close to a goal for us so lets get this over with.
Bristol Rovers 3 : 1 Woking
This really could have been much worse. Our goal by Harsanyi was a really tough one, and they put 11 on target and could have easily scored 5 or 6. 7.2 for Harsanyi with the goal, 6.8 for Subotic and the assist. Upson 6.0, everyone else at least pulled back up to 6.4 or better. Just a much, much better team than us.
7. Rochdale - 70 pts
8. Hereford - 69 pts
9. Woking - 69 pts
Bristol Rovers and Brighton clinch playoff spots. rochdale and Hereford both fail to get wins so we're still alive. Our goal differential is not up to par though, so we have to win our last match against Grimsby and have neither Rochdale or Hereford win to make the playoffs.
Leaving your devoted following hanging? Very cruel :)
Good luck in your last match. It has been an exciting season to follow, regardless of the outcome of this game.
hah, I was too tired to play that last one last night, it will most certainly happen today. Thanks for reading!
-- #7 Rochdale plays on the road at #2 Leyton Orient. #8 hereford hosts #10 oxford. We host #11 Grimsby. None of our opponents have anything at stake anymore, but at least none of them are playing the worst teams in the league.
Rochdale: In with a win, in with a tie/loss and Hereford & Woking tie/loss.
Hereford: In with a win + Rochdale tie/loss.
Woking: In with a win + Rochdale tie/loss & Hereford tie/loss
The only way we make the playoffs is by winning and having both our competitors fail to win.
May 9th, 2015
Grimsby(18-10-17, 11th) @ Woking(20-8-16, 9th)
We've never beaten these guys, 0-1-2. We tied at their place in December and lost both times last year. We are slight favorites today, 6:4, Grimsby is 13:8. Grimsby's striker Tom Corner has 12 goals and is out today due to a bruised shin, we're happy to see that. They do have pretty balanced scoring though with 13 goals from Rene Howe and 12 goals from Richard Peniket
Upson is out now with his long term injury, Pulis will start in his place. Grimsby runs a 4-4-2 with Peniket and Howe as their fowards. We're attacking today, win or else.
3': Defender Ben Gerring for Grimsby picks up an early yellow.
4': Kenny makes a run into the area and earns us a corner kick. Its taken to Smith, he turns with it, fires a shot, its a great dviing save by their keeper... a second corner is cleared easily.
7': They attack and we clear a cross, triggering a counterattack, a ball is played forward to Kenny, he goes down after a tackle but O'Sullivan is there, he crosses to Harsanyi.. keeper comes out and grabs it.
10': No score in the other matches we're watching yet.
11': Harnsayi with a cross, Kenny a header... off the crossbar, cleared behind for a corner. No luck on the corner.
14': Grimsby take their first shot, a poor wide effort from 25 yards out.
20': Still ties in both the other matches.
27': Long run by Kenny, he beats two men to put a cross into the area, but Harsanyi heads it over.
30': O'Sullivan gets a shot form 20 yards out but its saved. Still no action in the other two games either.
39': Taylor makes a tackle to win us the ball in our offensive half of the field, he plays it foward to Subotic who takes a strong shot from 20 yards out, saved by the keeper and turned behind, we can't do anything with the corner.
HALF: No score in any of the 3 matches that will determine the playoffs. We are attacking well but we just haven't broken through yet. Kenny has been getting more than his share of shots but he's not the best finisher. I bring Bell-Baggie in at AMR and hope he can get those same shots but put them away. We have a 56/44 possession edge, 8 shots to their 4, we have 3 on target though, they have none on target. We've earned 8 corner kicks and done nothing at all with them. We'll keep the pressure on and expect a lapse on their end at some point here.
46': Harsanyi with a strong run into the penalty area, he blows by his man and takes a shot, the keeper is in good position to turn it behind though, we earn a corner which of course leads to a header 50 feet over.
49': Throwin grimsby on the left side in our half. They cross it in immediately and midfielder Bryant gets free for a header which easily beats Lynch. Uh-oh. 0-1
58': Harsanyi receives a pass from Subotic in the penalty area and he looks like he should score easily... but the keeper blocks his shot, ugh we needed totie that up.
66': We've had a couple more corners with no luck so far.
76': Bell-baggie receives a pass in a graet position on the right side... but he's offsides.
77': N'Diaye in for Taylor and up to AMC.
81': Ogogo with a yellow.
83': Free kick near midfield, its taken quickly foward to N'Diaye, he plays an immediate through ball to Bell-Baggie who blasts a shot off the keeper and in! 1-1
85': Rochdale losing, Hereford tied, if we could get a miracle goal here we could make the playoffs still.
89': 4 long minutes fly off the clock with no highlights. We earn a throwin in their end but nothing doing. 3 minutes of extra time.
92': Throwin for Grimsby in our defensive end. Its thrown into the penalty area, Smith goes to head it out... and is called for a foul, its a penalty. ST Howe converts and we're done. 1-2
Woking 1 : 2 Grimsby
We pick up a tie and a loss in our last two home games, winning either one would have put us in the playoffs. We have performed WELL above expectations this year and I'm thrilled about our position going into next season, but we really, really blew it in this final 2 weeks of the season.
Their keeper is man of the match today. Subotic 7.0, Bell-Baggie 7.2 and the goal. Joe O'Sullivan comes up short with a 5.8 today. Pulis was alright in for the injured Upson today.
Leyton Orient beats Rochdale 1:0, while Hereford plays Oxford to a scoreless tie. Rochdale and Hereford both end the season with 70 points but rochdale has a significantly better goal differential and they earn the final spot in the playoffs.
I'll update the rest of the season and end of season stuff later on, so disappointing!
**GA = Goals Allowed | SO = Shutouts
Lynch played about the same this year as last, Martin with a little more action as Lynch was hurt for a time.
**GL = Goals | TCK = Tackles/game
Nikolaou is down a little from last year (was 7.12 last year) but still he is very good in defense and very good coming foward when we attack. Ogogo's rating improved some but mainly he averaged nearly a full tackle more this year than last. I felt like he settled in with the rest of the guys this year, I remember being frustrated with him at times last year, not this season.
The DC's remain an issue. Cooper was a loaner, Smith and Williams were both worse this year than last.
**GL = Goals | TCK = Tackles/game
The overall ratings for the midfield were down this year, the attacking mids were up though, I expect this is mostly due to the formation change. I'm quite pleased with Taylor in his first season for us, O'Sullivan had his worst year ever but still was a consistent performer for us. We made such little use of reserves here and will be making some changes, I think Arter/Herd/Pulis are all gone soon?
**GL = Goals | Drb = Dribbles/game
Collins was the impressve one early on but Kenny was the more consistent performer. The default 4-5-1 formation has the AML attacking and AMR supporting, and Harsanyi is just much better than Collins as an attacking AML. Collins would have been better if we had some truly dominant guys in the air (Subotic is our best but he isn't enough to take advantage of Collins crossing skills).
** GL = Goals | Drb = Dribbles/Game
Harsanyi is back as our leading scorer, half of the season was at AML and I will go into next season expecting him to start there.
One thing I've noticed the last few seasons is that we really don't find guys to bring in on loan that just carry the team to another level, no superstars, but we seem to consistently get guys that can start and are very solid contributors. I'm not sure if i can really do better with that or not, or if I need to look to bring in a $3k/wk DC who could be up there with Upson and Harsanyi as "consistent 7.0+ performers" to take us to the next level.
-- We receive $115,000 for our finish in the league. Hooray income!
I don't remember seeing a message about a 10 point penalty for Tranmere, it showed up awhile ago. Turns out it was huge as they finished w/ 62 points and would have had 72 otherwise. That was not the case for most of the year either, they were further behind than that and made a strong run I think.
Also, if this were baseball, we'd look at our goal differential compared to other teams around us and claim quite a bit of luck, assuming that we finished way higher than we really should have based on our ability to score compared to others. Not sure if that kind of Pythagorean metric exists in soccer or not, but we definitely seem out of place.
Woking 2012/13 History/Leaders
2009/10 - BS South - 1st - 24 W - 12 D - 6 L - 62 for - 39 ag - +23 GD - 84 pts
2010/11 - BS Premier - 17th - 14 W - 10 D - 22 L - 60 for - 65 ag - -5 GD - 52 pts
2011/12 - BS Premier - 4th - 26 W - 12 D - 8 L - 87 for - 51 ag - +36 GD - 90 pts
2012/13 - BS Premier - 1st - 26 W - 11 D - 9 L - 88 for - 56 ag - 89 pts
2013/14 - League 2 - 18th - 12 W - 17 D - 17 L - 50 for - 54 ag - 53 pts
2014/15 - League 2 - 9th - 20 W - 9 D - 17 L - 57 for - 58 ag - 69 pts
Top Goalscorer - Zoltan Harsanyi - 15 goals
Top League Goalscorer - Zoltan Harsanyi - 15 goals
Most Assists - Charlie Kenny - 10 assists
Highest Average Rating - Ed Upson/Zoltan Harsanyi - 7.06
Most Man of the Match - Stelios Nikolaou
League Two Playoff SemiFinals
Bristol Rovers 2 : 1 Brighton
Rochdale 0 : 1 Stockport
Brighton 0 : 1 Briston Rovers -- Bristol Rovers advances 3 : 1
Stockport 1 : Rochdale 1 -- Stockport advances 2 : 1
League 2 Playoff Finals
Stockport 0 : 1 Bristol Rovers
Bristol Rovers scored on an own goal in the 92nd minute of extra time. Ouch!!!!
Bristol Rovers promotes back up to League 1, making it right back up the year after their demotion.
We're informed that our 9th place finish is a record high for Woking, breaking the league 2 18th place we earned last year. Duh.
Chelsea beats QPR 1:0 to win the FA Cup.
-- The Board is delighted with my performance. Our league 2 performance is a highlight, Joe O'Sullivan's performance is a lowlight, a first for him I'm sure. We lost $70k last month.
Nick Fenton announces that he will retire on June 30th. I was not going to re-sign him, and the 35 y/o defender is not going to look for another deal. Fenton came up in Man City's youth program in the 90s (according to his history sheet). He spent most of his career in League 1 with Notts Co, Doncaster and Grimsby. He joined Woking in the 10/11 season when he hit 30 years old.
Fenton played 505 league matches in his career, scoring 21 goals. He started for Woking for 3 years in the BS Premier league, in 10/11 earning a 7.12 average rating.
We're up to about June 20th, we'll start scheduling friendlies soon and all the end of season reports are about to come out, almost there for next season! Done for tonight though.
Tough loss. Good luck going forward! Will be reading along myself.
QPR made the FA Cup final? Am I getting confused with the Scottish version in thinking that that's crazy?
After a disappointing 2:1 loss to Guatemala in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup (won eventually by Mexico), the United States head coach job has opened up. I go ahead and apply for it though I assume I'm not anywhere close to being on a big enough stage to get serious consideration.
My last chance to try to re-sign these guys if I want them...
ST Giuseppe Sole - definitely not
MC Anthony Pulis - 30 and skills eroding
ST Anson Cousins - Nope
AMR Aiden Downes - The one worth considering. The thing is that I'm going to bring in a loaner here no matter what, so I may as well let Downes go and bring in another full time guy too and see if I get a better result out of a new hire. I do make an offer to Downes, if he'll take a pay cut I'll keep him.
They're my parent club in the English Premier League.
England Year in Review
The season summary showing what happened in all English leagues is one of my favorites.
Winner: Man City
Relegation: Nottingham Forest, Hull, Ipswich
Top Scorer: Carlos Tevez (Man City) - 26
Promoted: Stoke, Southampton, Charlton
Relegated: Preston, Gillingham, Scunthorpe
Top Scorer: Adrian (Stoke) - 26
Promoted: Doncaster, Bournemouth, Middlseborough
Relegated: MK Dons, Aldershot, Rushden, Lincoln
Top Scorer: Scott McDonald (Middlesborough) - 29 goals
Winners: Port Vale
Promoted: Port Vale, Leyton Orient, Crewe, Bristol Rovers
Relegated: Northampton, Barnet
Top Scorer: James Lawrie (Port Vale) - 38
Blue Square Premier
Promoted: Macclesfield, Droylsden
Relegated: Grays, Gateshead, Crawley, York
Top Scorer: Kyle Hendry (Droylsden) - 30
Fans Player of the Year
Ed Upson is the fans player of the year for the 2nd year in a row. Not as big a runaway as last year but he's still deserving.
Woking Best Eleven
No surprise here either.
D: Nikolaou, Smith, Cooper, Ogogo
MC: Upson, O'Sullivan
AM: Harsanyi, Kenny
Bench: GK Martin, ST Subotic, AML Collins, AM N'Diaye, DC Williams, DR Alcock, DC Fenton
Woking All Time Best Eleven
Abu Ogogo, Sam Sloma(the year after he leaves... wtf), Ed Upson, and Zoltan Harsanyi are all new additions to the Woking All Time Best Eleven. Nick Fenton, Nicky Nicolaou, Anthony Pulis, and Mark Cullen lose their "starting" spots to make way for these new four.
GK: Kevin Lynch (236 apps/6.72 rating)
DL: Stelios Nikolaou (104 apps/7.13 rating)
DC: Mike Williams (139 apps/15 goals/6.81 rating)
DC: Mark Ricketts (153 apps/3 goals/6.86 rating)
DR: Abu Ogogo (81 apps/6.88 rating)
ML: Sam Sloma (84 apps/4 goals/6.70 rating)
MC: Ed Upson (83 apps/7 goals/7.15 rating)
MC: Joe O'Sullivan (185 apps/13 goals/7.13 rating)
MR: Moses Ademola (167 apps/37 goals/6.85 rating)
FC: Giusepe Sole (130 apps/62 goals/6.94 rating)
FC: Zoltan Harsanyi (176 apps/79 goals/6.98 rating)
We host Wrexham August 8th in our opening match of the season.
TV Rights Money
We get $437,000 for TV Rights for the season, same as last year.
For "achieving a safe position" (a mid-standing finish) we can get a payroll allowance of 29.5k/wk. This is the lowest we're allowed to go, whereas last year just barely avoiding relegation was considered an acceptable goal.
We're currently at $26,655/wk in salaries. I want more money though, and I think we should be able to achieve similar success to last year, so I bump things up to a "top half finish" which will allow us to spend $34k/wk.
-- We set a new attendance record last year, averaging 3637 fans per match. This crushed our old record of 3236.
Recently Relegated MK Dons are 5:4 favorites to promote out of league 2.
Other contenders: Rushden (5:2), Aldershot (5:2), Lincoln (5:2), Stockport (6:1), and Brighton (8:1).
We are 33:1, a value that is always super low since we rely so heavily on loaners to be some of the better players in the lineup at this level.
... July 1st rolls around and the transfer window is open and all of our expired contracts officially leave the club. A list of "notable" players released around the country are given and I see Frank Lampard on that list, he's 37 now, he's not interested in giving it one last go in league 2, believe me I checked just in case ;)
The board is 'pleased' with my leading of the team. I guess I have to earn my way back up to delighted by coming out winning again this year.
After a number of contracts ending we are now spending $24,287/wk on salaries. We're allowed up to $35,000, so we have a lot of room to grow.
Before I decide where I want to try to spend my money, lets look at what's on the roster.
GK: Lynch, Martin - A+.
DL: Nikolaou, Williams, Thomas - A+
DC: Smith, Williams, Taylor, Thomas - C - We need to bring in a stud here imo.
DR: Ogogo, Alcock (taylor/nikolaou can play here too tho i never want them to) - A
DMC: Taylor, Arter - C+ - Taylor was good here but we need better depth and I want the option to try Taylor out at DC, my scouts feel he'd be better there.
MC: Upson, O'Sullivan (Arter/N'Diaye/Taylor) - B - love our starters, hate our backups
AML: Harsanyi, N'Diaye - A - Harsanyi is a stud here, need a little more depth though, N'Diaye gets put in too many different positions to be theonly other guy that can play here.
AMR: --------, N'Diaye - F - #1 need.
ST: Subotic, Harsanyi - B - Need more depth and would love to try to find a star to get us 25 goals at this level.
I've made two contract offers already, one to a DMC, one to a striker, hopefully they come through. Neither are max contracts or anything, both are in the $1500 range.
Our needs, in order: AMR, DC, AML depth, MC/ST depth
Our coaches are fine but we need to bring in a couple scouts. I seem to be able to find really high quality guys for a year and then they realize they're high quality and above my level.
More than any other period of the season, I have to be in just the right mindset to get through early July, sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat and I really want to sit down and do tons of scouting and really try hard to improve my team in this period. I finally found that right mood tonight and am trying to bolster my scouting staff and I look into loaning in guys at the key positions I need, AM, DC, and trying to find that elusive star striker.
In recent years we've found scouts near 20 in both evaluating talent and potential but all those guys ditch me after a year. This year that's not available and we bring in a few scouts in the 13-15 range for both abilities. That'll work, and maybe they'll stay on long term. My max contract allowed for a scout is $600, I sign 3 guys all in the $400-$600/wk range.
27 year old Scottish DM/MC Simon Ferry has agreed to a $1500/wk deal with Woking. This isn't a loaner, its a new acquisition. This isn't a monster splash or anything, but its a guy that adds much needed depth and looks like someone who will be a solid rotation guy that will benefit the team.
He can't jump. His jumping rating is a 3. I kinda imagine that myself, as an overweight 35 year old, might have a jumping rating of 1... so a 3... embarrassing! Its worth pointing out b/c its his only rating below 8 on the entire card. Passing 13, creativity 14, teamwork and work rate both 15. Nearly every other rating he has is between 10-12. He looks like a solid all around option. He'll get into the rotation with Taylor(DMC) and Upson and O'Sullivan and will hopefully merit a lot of time on the pitch this year.
Welcome free transfer ST Matthew Paterson to woking! Another solid, but not huge splash signing. Paterson is 25 years old and will make $1600/wk. Similar to MC Ferry above he doesn't have a lot of huge holes in his game, he's got solid and consistent numbers all the way around. He's incredibly strong (16) with very solid composure and bravery which I'm hoping will make him a poised player with the ball in the penalty area. Off the Ball, Creativity, Flair, Work Rate are all 13, Finishing, Passing, First Touch, Heading all in the 11-12 range. I don't expect we've got a star on our hands here but hopefully we've got a solid consistent contributor.
Loan Acquisitions and a Suprise Shift in Focus
So in the past I've made a lot of loan offers where the players would never, ever consider me. So this year I looked at a lot of guys valued in the $2M range with skills where it just seems like I have zero shot at getting them to come to Woking for a year... but this year, mass acceptance!!! I have a few very very tough decisions as 3 guys that could be stars, two straight strikers and one AML/ST are all willing to play for me for the year. I still need to do something at AMR and something about my defense, but I just can't turn this away. In the end I decide to accept all three offers and to change my formation back to a more aggressive 4-2-2-2, without the DMC and with two strikers. Vince Taylor is rated highly at DC and he'll play a ton there, and if I go back to the 4-1-2-2-1 later I've got Taylor and Ferry to fill the role.
I don't know how well this will work but it seems to me like we have a chance to have an overwhelmingly good offense with these guys as long as Upson/O'Sullivan/Ferry can hold the middle and get the ball foward reliably.
AML/ST Mickael Colin is a frenchman currently on Burnley's reserve squad. His strength is only 9 but everything else in the physical section is 13+, pace 15, agility 16, accel 15. Determination 20, Work Rate 15, Teamwork 15, technically he's solid but not an automatic stud, passing, crossing, first touch, finishing all in the 9-11 range. He could play some AML with Harsanyi or just be part of the striker rotation, we'll see. He's valued at $2.1M, something that isn't necessarily a measure of skill but would have been an automatic reject in the past.
Spanish ST Constantino is an Aston Villa 20 y/o reserve who will be here for the season. Greased Lightening is the first term that comes to mind. Strengthof only 8, but he'll be the fastest player ever to play for Woking I think. Pace 17, Accel 18, Agility 16, Balance 15 is just so much better a physical specimen than we are used to seeing and I can't wait to watch him on the pitch. Off the Ball 13, Teamwork 14, Determination 14, Bravery 10, he has pretty good skills for this level too... Finishing 11, Dribbling 12, First Touch 13, Heading 11. He's a poor passer, and I'd love to see slightly higher flair(only 8) but seriously I can't complain about this guy being willing to play for me for a year. This was the guy that made me decide that I need to make room in my formation for more than one foward.
FC Dan Taylor comes to us from the Fulham reserve squad, a 19 y/o valued at $1.6M. Pace 14, everything else physical above 10, he's not the superstud Constantino appears to be but he looks solid. Technically, he's the best of all the guys i'm bringing in I think. 16 determination, 16 teamwork, 14 off the ball, 10 flair, 11 composure. 14 first touch, 14 dribbling, 12 finishing, 10 passing... slight but noticible upgrades over Constantino in the technical attributes section.
When I looked at Taylor and Constantino, I already have Subotic, I just signed Paterson, but how in the world could I tell one of these guys that I didn't have a spot for them on my team. I'll also point out that I have another acceptance on hold for a striker from Man City valued at $1.1M that is not quite up to this level that I'm going to reject.
I have a free transfer offer out for a guy I feel could be a superstar AMR. My defensive line worries go down slightly knowing I can put Taylor in the rotation, but doing something there is still an option. Its no longer a requirement, Smith/Taylor/Williams/Thomas.... it still leaves me with guys that have slightly disappointed me in the past but its not a gaping hole in the roster.
Final Loan Acquisition
We loan in our 4th guy for the season, an aggressive "gets foward whenever possible" MC Zak Middleton off of Ipswich's reserve squad. I'm taking a risk here and maybe should have delayed this transfer to be honest, but I want this guy. This is a case of "Upson and O'Sullivan, I love you both, but you have to fight for the other MC spot this season, I'm sorry", because Middleton is going to play, and play a lot.
I had a short tinge of fear bringing in those strikers that I might not have the quality at midfield to consistently control the middle and feed the attack, and Middleton makes me feel better about that. Lets start with speed, we're a FAST team now all of a sudden. 16 pace, 12 agility, 14 stamina. Many of his mental traits are in the 13-15 range... influence, teamwork, work rate, determination, composure, bravery, with aniticpation, flair, creativity all in the 11-12 range.
A solid first touch (12), a solid ability to pass the ball(12) are critical for me, decent dribbling(8) tho a little weak to be honest, but if he can find those passing lanes it'll work out.
Now, the potential mistake I've made is that I'm assuming the stud AMR that I'm going after is going to sign. If he doesn't, well, I've got to keep looking and I've got money to spend but my only option now will be short term loaners or free transfers. The loan market at AMR was very very dry, but perhaps I should have kept that option open. The backup plan i'm hanging my hat on is that Ogogo is a competant AMR and my backup DR Alcock is not happy with his playing time, so I do have an option there. Its not an ideal one, but I do have options.
We've struggled to score in League 2 so far compared to the top teams. 50 goals our first season and 57 last year, where every single playoff team in those two seasons scored at least 65 goals and all but a couple of them scored 70+. This was not my plan going into the off-season, but I feel like an opportunity fell into my lap and I have the makings of a very potent and fun offense if I can make use of these guys properly.
The stud AMR that I'm going after gets an "11th hour offer" so i've got some competition. This guy becomes the first player that I've literally pulled out every trick I've got for. He was asking for $2900/wk and I offered it, but after seeing the competition, I'm $8k/wk under budget and I want this player more than I've ever wanted anyone that I've gone after due to the combination of talent/scouting and need... I bump him up to a Key Player and offer him the maximum the board will allow, $3500/wk. He's not like... a guy that's going to singlehandedly win me games, but he's strong in every area I care about and this has been a problem position for years for me. Its the only position where I've started a loaner consistently for 3+ years.
I'm starting to regret letting Aiden Downes go outright.
League Cup Draw
We are going to have to go on the road to League 1 side Swindon Town for the league cup this year. I guess it'd be ok to just get it over with, but these cup games if I can get an extra round and a home game out of them provide some nice revenue.
Our first friendly is against a random Argentinian side that gives us good money. This is just a bad team though. We lead 4-1 at the half and win 6-1. Harsanyi scores 2 goals and is man of the match. Other goals come from Middleton, Taylor, Colin and Subotic. N'Diaye and O'Sullivan each have 2 assists, Ferry and Paterson 1 each. We tried to get everyone on the roster 1 half of play here to get warmed up a little.
-- We announce a $450,000 loss last season. We hope to do better this year. Maybe if we're highly successful. I don't really expect to do better this year, as long as the board lets me lose a bit of money I'm going to keep spending what I feel I need to.
After much fanfare, we get our man. Welcome 27 y/o AMR Dany N'Guessan to Woking. Now there is a downside here. Dany is a frenchman. But he has British Nationality and believe it'll work out just fine. I compared N'Guessan to last year's AMR starter Charlie Kenny and N'Guessan is superior in almost every way. He's got very solid pace(14) and accelleration(13), both keys for my attacking mids who I want to make their way up the lines quickly to create offense. He's strong(15) and should be difficult to take off the ball. Solid flair(13), aggression(13) and creativity(10), good off the ball(10) play should hopefully see him finding ways to both create and score goals from time to time. He can shoot from range as good as most anyone at this level(11), dribbles very well for this level(13), and is an acceptable passer(10) and crosser(11).
As I said before, he's not a super stud, but my scouts instantly fell in love with the guy, and my supreme need for an AMR made me trust my scouts and fall in love with him too. We beat out Notts Co, another league 2 side, to sign him. He's the first guy I've ever offered a straight up Max contract to outbid another team for. Hopefully he proves to be worth the money.
N'Guessan spent the last 4 years in league 1 with MK Dons and Southend, putting up 6.8 ratings in a higher leave while getting noticible playtime (33 games last year, 41 three years ago).
Ed Upson is valued at $60k, N'Guessan comes in as my second most valuable player at $45k (tied with Ogogo and Harsanyi actually). Again I know value isn't a direct correlation to skill, but that's 3 every day starters and 3 of the highest rated players on the pitch with a lot of consistency, so I'm pretty pleased to see that.
I'd posted a depth chart before going into the standard mass player acquisition mode in July to pick up loaners and a few new signings. I feel I basically have a complete roster now, finding a free transfer stud DC is about the only possible move I'd make now I believe, so lets see how things look now.
GK: Lynch, Martin (unchanged)
DL: Nikolaou, Williams, Thomas (unchanged)
DC: Smith, Vince Taylor, Williams, Thomas (Taylor will get a solid shot to start now that we won't run a DMC)
DR: Ogogo, Alcock (unchanged)
MC: Middleton, Upson, O'Sullivan, Ferry (two new signings, one a clear starter)
AML: Harsanyi, Colin (exciting loaner)
AMR: N'Guessan, N'Diaye (new guy better be a star after all my talk)
FC: Constantino, Dan Taylor, Subotic, Paterson (two very exciting loaners)
I just realized I have two guys named Taylor on the roster. I'll try to distinguish but one is a foward and one is a defender. It will hopefully be obvious which one I'm referring to if I leave out the first name. If Vince Taylor picks up a goal/assist I'll go out of my way to mention the first name of course since it'd be an oddity for him.
Matthew Paterson picks up an injury in training and is going to miss about 6 weeks. That gives me less tough decisions about what to do up front with my fowards I guess!
I hold a press conference to introduce N'Guessan after there's an immediate message from the fans that they love the signing. Might as well hype him up. I talk about how great a pull he is for us and how I'm hopeful he'll be a part of taking us to the next level. After the presser, N'Guessan is very happy, but MC Simon Ferry is unhappy with my comments. Maybe he wanted a press conference too. Too bad, buddy.
Much better competition as we play Hull from the Coca-Cola Championship. This one will be at home. We get a great early goal as Dan Taylor takes the ball up the left side and plays a great cross to the far post, Constantino with the header past the keeper. Hull ties it up, but we get a free kick towards the end of the first half from near midfield, Smith takes it, plays a ball into the box, Vince Taylor with the header... its off the keepers fingertips, hits the crossbar and bounces in! We make our halftime subs and no one scores in the second half. Martin makes a couple really nice saves.
Christian Smith is man of the match with a great effort in defense (he's also the only player to play 90 minutes). Zak Middleton was hurt near halftime and i'm worried about what I'll see there.
Woking 2 : 1 Hull
MC Zak Middleton will miss 3-4 weeks with a pulled hamstring. Its July 18th, he'll miss our first couple matches but that's about it.
-- We announce 892 season tickets have been sold so far. We estimate we'll hit about 1200 by the time we're done. This is a reasonable improvement from the 826 we'd sold last year at this time.
We've only got 4 friendlies this year, the last two are over the next few days, then a bit over a week off to get ready for our opening match.
The first of two we expect to lose badly, we host Sheffield United from the premier league and they get two easy first half goals, both from the same striker getting a breakaway as Christian Smith finds himself out of position on a through ball. I start half of my expected first team, the rest will start in my next match in a few days. They get about 65 minutes before being subbed out.
Woking 0 : 2 Sheffield Utd
-- Lots of South American national jobs are open after the completion of the Copa America, won by Brazil in extra time over Argentina. Uruguay, Ecudor, Venezuela, and Boliva all have jobs open.
-- We're up to 1116 season tickets sold, still expecting to hit 1200.
Our last friendly is on 3 days rest and I start basically a completely different lineup as a result. We've got about 10 days rest after this before the start of the new season. We're playing QPR's reserve squad at home today. We get a goal 22 minutes in as Vince Taylor blasts a 25 yard free kick into the upper left corner of the net. Constantino shows why I got so excited about him in the 34th minute taking a long pass from O'Sullivan and basically outrunning their defense before placing a perfect strike by the keeper for our 2nd goal. The exact same thing happens on the other end of the field in the 57th minute. 6 minutes later O'Sullivan to Constantino again, this time in a crowded penalty area, constantino breaks first on a pass and hits it first touch by the keeper.
Woking 4 : 0 QPR Reserves
Constantino showed us everything I hope he can be against league 2 competition today with a hat trick.
We play 5 league matches in August, opening up with Wrexham on August 8th. Our League Cup match is on the 11th. Things will be quite busy with matches on the 8th/11th/15th/18th/22nd. If we were to win our League Cup game somehow we'd also play on the 26th in round 2.
-- The board is pleased with my leadership. Our growth in stature is the main reason. The disappointment listed is the loss of favorite Giuseppe Sole.
-- We made $228k profit last month. $365k from season ticket sales was the main reason. After that it'll be a long decline into the red the rest of the year.
-- Team Captains remain the same as last year. Kevin Lynch is captain, Ed Upson is vice-captain.
We'll be missing starting MC Zak Middleton for opening day, he should be ready to help in the rotation during our busy stretch though. ST Matthew Pateroson is out for a couple more weeks still.
-- With that, its August 5th and the next update will be for opening day!
August 8th, 2015
Wrexham @ Woking
We're very slim 5:4 favorites in our opener. Wrexham are 7:4. We're 4-1-3 against Wrexham lifetime, with most of that being in the BS Premier league a few seasons ago. We played twice last year, the road team winning each match.
D: Nikolaou/V. Taylor/Smith/Ogogo
FC: D. Taylor/Constantino
Wrexham are led by Striker Marc Williams, he's been at Wrexham his whole career (since 04/05). He scored 24 goals 2 years ago i nthe BS Premier league and scored 13 last year in his first Leauge 2 season. We're recommended to go in hard tackling him and will do so.
10': N'Guessan frees himself up in the penalty area for a shot, its over the bar, nifty move though.
11': Constantino drives down the middle after a turnover in midfield, he draws the defense and passes to Taylor, its our first clear cut chance, but he sends it right at the keeper.
35': Almost no action for a very very long time. Wrexham earns a corner but we defend it well and force a poor long shot.
HALF: One more highlight of us earning a corner and that's it for the half. They shoot 4 times, we shoot 3. We control possession 57/43 and our ratings are a little higher on average, perhaps we have a very slight edge, but that's it.
64': the first highlight of the half, literally... throwin for us, Ogogo heads to O'Sullivan, a pass ot Upson, he drops a little ball through the center of their defense, Constantino runs onto it and strikes it quickly, beating the keeper!! 1-0
64': Upson was hurt and we were waiting for a sub at this point. New MC Ferry is in for Upson.
85': Long highlight for Wrexham, we see Christian Smith clear the ball out of the defense twice before they take a poor long shot.
88': Quick move for Woking after crossing midfield, Ferry receives a ball about 40 yards out, he passes it forward to Constantino, who turns, gets a little space from his man at the edge of the penalty area and blasts a shot that the keeper has no chance at stopping! 2-0
we get one more attack as we're runnign the clock out but its stopped pretty easily.
Woking 2 : 0 Wrexham
Wrexham shoots 9 times but only puts 2 on target, 4 are from long range, not a serious threat to be had that i saw. We only shoot 6 times but our new striker is deadly,or at least was today. Constantino shows exactly why I got so very excited about him when I saw he was willing to come here. A great 2 goal debut, an 8.8 rating and man of the match. Assists from Ferry (6.9) and Upson(7.6). elsewhere, Lynch(7.1), Ogogo (7.8), Nikolaou(7.3), O'Sullivan(7.2) all had outstanding games.
3675 people came to see our opening day win.
-- Zak Middleton resumes full training.
August 1th, 2015
League Cup Round 1
Woking @ Swindon
Swindon are a level above us and are expected to win big at their place today, 2:5 favorites to our 13:2 chances. We actually drew these guys at home last year in the Johnstone Paint Trophy. They beat us 2-0.
D: Thomas/Williams/V Taylor/Alcock
FC: D. Taylor/Harsanyi
We're coming as close to giving up as we possibly could today, replacing every starter that's reasonable ot make sure we're as rested as possible for the rough early season league grind. I just don't feel like throwing all our energy into such a difficult match to win.
We're clearly trying to defend today.
2': WOW. We start with the ball, pass it arond a bit, and our first pass goes foward to HArsanyi... they tackle it away, there's a long pass down the left side, and the counter is on. Its a quick run down the left side, a cross, and a devastating powerful header into the net. 0-1
9': A steal in the midfield, a pass ahead, a great individual effort to make Williams look bad and Lynch is beaten badly... 0-2
34': Ther's a free kick by Swindon about 40 yards out to the far right side of the field, Vince Taylor is given the blame for missing a header, they get an attacker to the ball to head it in. 0-3
42': Williams is beaten by a good individual effort, Swindon gets their 3rd clear cut chance and 4th goal. 0-4
44': Ferry has the ball in the midfield and launches a long ball towards the other end... Harsanyi is still playing hard, he runs onto the ball, gets to it first and strikes it near post past the keeper, we get on the board. 1-4
HALF: Lets just get past this.
67': We get a decent look as Colin takes a through ball on the left side but a defender gets to him and clears it before he can shoot.
67': Arter is in for a tiring Upson.
A couple highlights but no goals. Lets get out of here and pretend this didn't happen.
Swindon 4 : 1 Woking
Ferry plays a strong game in the midfield and actually earns a 7.9 rating, very imprssive. Subotic 7.0. Alcock 5.0, Thomas 5.6, N'Diaye 6.0. We're just outclassed here. I'm maybe a little worried that a Laegue 1 team dominated us this badly, this is just one level up!
August 15th, 2015
Woking(1-0-0) @ Lincoln(0-1-0)
Lincoln are even money favorites at their place today. We played these guys two seasons ago in our first league 2 season. They won both matches 2:0. They promoted to league 1 last year and relegated right back down.
D: Nikolaou/Smith/V Taylor/Ogogo
FC: D. Taylor/Constantino
Middleton will get his first action today, Harsanyi will rest after playing the last two. Standard mindset today, until proven wrong I don't want to play defensive with this formation too often.
13': We get a good corner kick, Vince Taylor is called for a foul as the ball sails through the 6 yard box though.
19': We win a ball in the midfield, Ogogo to Middleton, middleton tries a through ball to Taylor, but its deflected by the defense, the deflection falls to constantino who was rushing foward as well and he places a great shot to the left side of the net, goal! 1-0
26': We have a poor clearance, their man Stewart picks it up 30 yards out and sprints to the goal, between two of our defenders rushing to get back into the right position and he beats the keeper. 1-1
38': Corner kick, Lynch rushes out for it, we get it out of the area but not out safely... Hutchinson, a lincoln striker ends up with it about 20 yards out, he fires a shot, and something is wrong with Lynch. He is still recovering from charging out for the ball, and he I guess realizes he is horribly out of positoin, he makes it worse by taking a step out towards the attacker before trying to get back, and it leaves a huge portion of the net wide open. They nail it. 1-2
HALF: We make two huge mistakes after taking a 1-0 lead and trail 2-1. Lynch has a 5.8, O'Sullivan 5.9, Colin 5.9, some poor play here today so far. We only have 3 shots, just 1 on target, the goal obviously. They have 5 shots, 3 on target. We dominate possession today so far, 59/1, we dominate in the air, but we've just given away two goals.
47': N'Guessan gets deep down the right side and makes a very nice cross, Colin heads it, and its just over.
57': Smith with a free kick from 25 yards out, a couple yards wide.
61': Ferry in for Middleton, he's not fit enough to go 90 minutes yet. N'Diaye in for N'Guessan, he looks hurt, something happened a couple minutes ago that I didn't see.
67': V. Taylor with a ball forward from the midfield line, O'Sullivan chips it into the area from 40 yards out, Constantino has a little space, he shows a great first touch, controls, turns and shoots and its by the keeper!! 2-2
72': We give up a near point blank shot after a through ball, Lynch with the stop, corner comes to nothing.
73': After clearing that last corner, there's a long ball into space. Constantino's superior speed shows. He gets to the ball first, sprints toward sthe area, beats one defender, a second defender gets the ball loose but doesn't clear. Constantino sticks with it, rushes to the ball and pokes it into the net!!!! An INCREDIBLE individual effort!!!! That's a hat trick, and 5 goals in 2 matches. 3-2
82': We control the ball on the offensive end, a nice long ball to get the attack going by Ferry, Colin earns us a corner, but we can't do anything with ti.
85': Lynch clears a ball out, they recover it naer midfield and send a long ball foward, Lynch is rushing back into position, he turns around and charges the attacker who has the ball... shot... Lynch dives and makes a great save!
87': Lincoln tries the offside trap, Constantino beats it and Ferry gets a nice through ball to him, he gets into the area, no one is catching him if he gets space, but the keeper makes the save this time.
90': Nikolaou is slow to get to a long ball and has to put it behind for a corner. N'Diaye makes a nice tackle after the corner to clear the danger. They do get a throwin, O'Sullivan commits a foul as they try to build up the attack, free kick from 30 yards out. The wall blocks it and it goes behind for another corner. The corner is taken well, they get a header, and its inches over. WHEW. On the play, Ferry is hurt.
That was their last chance. We should have shown a more dominant win today but we made it exciting!
Lincoln 2 : 3 Woking
We only shot 9 times, but again today Constantino is deadly, he manages a hat trick. Lincoln shoots 12 times, Lynch made a couple nice plays in the 2nd half to hold them to 2 goals.
Obviously Constantino is man of the match with 3 goals and a 9.5 rating. Assists from Ferry (6.9), O'Sullivan (6.9) and Middleton (6.8). Lynch never did get his rating up, finishing with an awful 5.8. Ogogo (7.0) and Taylor (7.4) put up the only other solid numbers after Constantino.
AMR Dany N'Guessan twisted his knee today and is out 2-3 weeks. MC Simon Ferry "sustained a bruised head" and is out 5-8 days.
-- We draw League 1 side Dag & Red for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy South 1st round. Dag & Red avoided relegation by 6 points last year out of league 1, we have a little better chance of beating them than Swindon. Its a road game though.
-- Constantino is, to the surprise of no one, named to the League 2 team of the week.
August 18th, 2015
MK Dons(2-0-0) @ Woking(2-0-0)
MK Dons were relegated down from League 1 last year. They're slim favorites at our place, 5:4 vs 7:4. This will be our first ever meeting.
D: Nikolaou/Smith/V Taylor/Ogogo
FC: D. Taylor/Constantino
Middleton is tired, still getting back to full fitness following his injury. N'Guessan is hurt for awhile so N'Diaye is in there. We're attacking today. MK Dons runs a very defensive looking 4-1-4-1 formation.
11': We take the first two shots, one generated by a long ball out of our defense than Constantino just beats everyone too, but its in a corner and he can't go shoot, he crosses in for a header that's high.
13': Vince Taylor with a yellow card.
20': Smith takes a free kick, crossing it into the box from 40 yards out wide, we earn a corner... but do nothing with the corner.
24': Most highlights are in our offensive end but we are finding it hard to crack all the defenders they have in there. 3 shots, all off target.
34': Defender Doyley with a yellow card, that's the third foul i've seen of his today.
39': Dan Taylor is tripped and goes down hard, his fitness drops all the way to 30% which is terrifying. He is forced to come out immediately. Subotic is in.
46': N'Diaye goes down on a tackle and he's hurt as well. He can stay in but I'm thinking i may sub him at the half anyway.
HALF: We shoot 3 times, they shoot 3 times. They put one on target, none for us. Their on target show was from very long range and had no chance. We've got a 55/45 possession edge, we're tackling better and winning more headers but really its anyone's game. They are packing it in so tight that it seems like we need a breakaway or a great individual play from Constantino to get a goal here. I bring Alcock in for N'Diaye. Ogogo moves up to AMR, Alcock at DR. I'm down to 1 sub.
53': MK Dons earn 3 corners straight and they've now had 9 of them... still only 5 total shots now and just one on target.
61': We have a throwin, Ogogo to O'Sullivan, he pushes it foward to Harsanyi who is past the defense and puts it in... but he's offsides. ugh.
75': Middleton in for O'Sullivan who is tired.
86': Ogogo puts our first shot on target but the keeper easily saves it. Yawner, can anyone steal it at the end?
88': They commit a foul just outside the penalty area. Christian Smith wil take it... its over the wall, but doesn't quite bend down into the net, just barely over. Good effort.
90': Ogogo earns us a corner with a nice cross. Its taken short to Smith who blasts one off a defender and wide, corner #2. The second one is taken to Smith as well. Two defenders converge... Smith goes down... and gets a yellow for diving. Oof.
93': With 3 minutes of overtime scheduled, we're at the 92:45 mark. Lynch takes a goal kick and blasts it long. Somehow Constantino receives it about 3 steps outside the penalty area... he controls it well, takes a few steps into the box, shoots... and its wide. It was just him and the keeper. That's the first time I've seen him have a look like that and miss. That would have been an epic ending. Alas.
Woking 0 : 0 MK Dons
They have a defender put up a 7.4 rating to earn man of the match. On our side, Nikolaou (7.3), Taylor (7.3), Ogogo (7.0) and Smith (7.0) all do well for us. Each team put one shot on target all match, and neither of those shots were anything close to a threat.
No injuries are reported after the match. That's a huge win for us with the two guys we subbed out today that looked quite hurt.
August 21th, 2015
Woking(2-1-0) @ Hartlepool(0-1-2)
Hartlepool are 4:5 favorites at home, we're 3:1 dogs. They finished 12th last year. We're 1-1-0 against them, winning at home and tying on the road last year.
D: Nikolaou/Smith/V Taylor/Alcock
Lots of changes today mostly due to fatigue. Harsanyi at foward where he'll expend a bit less energy, Colin at AML. Ogogo I liked what I saw in stretches last game so he gets AMR duties while Alock defends. Standard mindset today.
6': A blocked shot earns us a corner. Middleton takes it and sends it near post. Smith gets in and heads it, the keeper gets his fingers on it, it hits the crossbar, and a defender clears it off the line.
19': Some nice buildup, Ogogo puts in a cross, Harsanyi heads, the keeper is able to make the save. We've got 4 shots, they have none.
25': First Hartlepool shot is blocked , they earn a corner. Header off the corner is way over.
27': Ogogo with a great run down the right side and a really really solid cross, Harsanyi heads it but its just over. Harsanyi could have done better there.
32': Colin takes a pass from Middleton, gets into the penalty area... I expect him to be looking for a through ball, he shows some brilliant footwork, jukes two defenders, and fires a shot across the face of the goal by the diving keper!!! Incredible move to get by two defenders, I have no idea how he found a shot there. 1-0
HALF: Not much action the rest of the half. I'm thrilled, we're outplaying them and Colin with an amazing goal. We have 7 shots, just 2 on target but one is the goal. They have 2 shots, none on target. Lets see if we can keep this control into the second half.
47': Hartlepool gets the ball into the penalty area, their striker shows a very very poor first touch and the ball squirts out wide, he tries to recover and shoots but at a bad angle and its a terrible wide shot.
50': We clear out a corner and Constantino is on the run, he goes wide to the right and gets a cross into the area. Harsanyi gets his head to it but its over the bar.
54': Nikolaou with a tackle near midfield, he gets the ball ahead to HArsanyi. Harsayi can't find Constantino and pulls it wide, passes it back a bit to Nikolaou. Nikolaou crosses into the area, Constantino with the header, and its perfectly headed by the keeper into the right side of the net!! Great cross and great finish. 2-0
65': N'Diaye in for Ogogo, Taylor in for Constantino, Upson in for Middleton, all subs to rest guys assuming we're going to get a win here.
80': We're still attacking, Harsanyi way wide, he passes the ball to Colin deep near the goal line, Colin makes another graet individual move to make a pass to Upson, Upson can't get a good shot off though.
82': We throw it in deep in their end, a pass to Upson, Upson runs all the way through the penalty area from the left to right side, turns, makes a little omve, passes to O'Sullivan in heavy, heavy traffic, and O'Sullivan blasts it into the net!! This was a long slow play and their entire defense was back there clogging things up, an amazing play by Upson and great finish! 3-0
91': They're going all out to attack, there's a turnover and Harsanyi plays the ball forward to Colin. There's really no defense near, Colin makes a 45 yard+ run with the ball and the defense never does recover to get into position. Colin runs into the penalty area and calmly strikes the ball past the keeper!!! 4-0
Hartlepool 0 : 4 Woking
WOW! We shoot 14 times, putting 5 on target. They only get 5 total shots, not a single one on target. 60/40 possession, the average rating for Hartlepool was 5.88. 7.72 for Woking. Just a crazy dominant performance.
Mickael Colin at AML is the clear man of the match. He put on an amazing show today, scoring twice and really he was better than just that, some great great individual plays there. 9.3 rating for Colin. Other goals from O'Sullivan(8.3) and Constantino(7.3). Assists from Nikolaou(8.8), Middleton(7.0), Harsanyi(8.0), and Upson(6.9). Alcock put up a great 7.9 at DR, Taylor 7.3, Smith 7.5. Ogogo's rating was just 6.9, the highlights I saw I really liked from him at AMR though.
-- Nikolaou and Colin are both named in the League 2 team of the week.
August 29th, 2015
Bury(1-2-1) @ Woking(3-1-0)
This is an even matchup according to the oddsmakers. We're 6:4 favorites, they're 13:8. We've not lost to these guys in two seasons, 2-2-0. We won both matchups last year, when Bury finished 14th.
D: Nikolaou/Smith/V Taylor/Alcock
After a week off I leave my lineup exactly the same to see if the magic we found against Hartlepool could be duplicated. We're attacking at home.
1': We take the opening kickoff, feed it up to Constantino, he passes to AHrsanyi, Harsanyi blasts a shot and its barely saved.... we almost scored a goal 18 seconds in.
9': We have the ball in their end for what seems like forever, 3 corners, they can't clear it all the way, we keep pumping it back into the offensive end... and we still only have 1 shot. They're packing it in pretty tight and we're all over the place and all over the ball but that one final connection to get a shot isn't quite there.
13': A crushing shot by Bury , Lynch barely gets a finger to it and directs it high... by an inch, it hits the crossbar.
17': We give up a corner, they cross it in, we get a head to the ball... there's 3 straight headers in the penalty area won by Bury to keep it alive before they finally head one by Lynch and into the net. We never let that happen, we always dominate the air!! 0-1
20': Constantino receives a pass in the penalty area, makes a move and generates our first clear cut strike mostly on his own. But he drills it at the keeper and its saved. We earn a corner, Harsanyi gets a shot but its saved as well.
22': They counter after our last failed corner... a long ball leads to a breakaway, they try a shot from outside the area, and Lynch dives and tips it wide. Corner is cleared out.
25': Mickael Colin almost did it again... he takes a pass on the left side of the area, he dribbles by one man, by a second, splits two defenders, and fires a shot from a great spot... and it hits the post and goes wide. SO close.
35': After a cross Bury clear to midfield. Vince Taylor isn't having any of it, he tackles the ball away, passes to Middleton. Middleton makes a long run into the penalty area, stops, places a short pass that beautifully slips between two defenders, constantino meets it and strikes it with his first touch, and he puts it in!!! Just a great, pretty looking play. 1-1
44': A Bury attacker is 1v1 against Christian Smith, he burns Smith in embarrassing fashion before firing a shot, Lynch makes another diving stop.
HALF: Wow, what a half. This has been awesome. Somehow Lynch only has a 6.9 rating, I'd give him an 8 for the saves he's made. Middleton has been brilliant and there are shots coming from everywhere. 6 for us, 5 on target. 7 for them, 4 on target. 58/42 possession edge, they are actually winning the battle in the air today, by quite a bit. We're not completing many crosses either.
48': Huge defensive lapse on a throwin for us. Somehow... maybe we think we've set up the offside trap succesfully, but there's a cross by Bury into the area and they get two men behind our last line of defense to receive it. Its clear cut strike #3 on the match for Bury but they put it wide. We got very, very lucky there.
56': No!! How did we not score. Colin tries two crosses, both blocked, before getting a pass in to Harsanyi, he hits O'Sullivan who plays a great pass to Ogogo, his shot hits the keeper, and it floats up into the air for anyone to go head in... fail, headed over by Harsanyi.
60': Constantino takes a pass in the penalty area, he goes down.. PENALTY! Middleton is going to take it, and... he hits it straight at the keeper, its saved. Dreadful. Just awful.
61': Yellow for defender Westlake deep in their end. Smith crosses into the area, headed behind for a corner. They clear the corner.
68': Upson in for the tired Middleton
76': O'Sullivan with a yellow.
78': N'Diaye in for Ogogo.
80': Alcock to Upson, Upson to Harsanyi 20 yards out, he turns to the right, I'm 100% expecting the through ball to constantino, but no, he just blasts a shot between two defenders, and it shocks everyone as it rockets into the left side of the net. There's an audible "WHOA" that would make Joey Lawrence proud as I watch that shot. 2-1
93': We give up a corner but clear it easily, turning it into a counter attack, the ball gets ahead to Constantino who takes it into the left corner before dropping a pass back to Nikolaou, a cross is put in, N'Diaye heads it inches over. The match is called soon after.
Woking 2 : 1 Bury
This was a thrilling game, filled with chances. Graet keeping? Horrible shooting? We took 17 shots, put 10 on target, generating SIX clear cut chances. They took 10 shots, putting 4 on target, generating THREE clear cut chances. That's 9 instances where a goal really should have been scored, yet its 2-1.
Harsanyi is man of the match today with a goal and an 8.0 rating. Constantino with our other gaol and a 7.3 rating. Assists form Upson (6.9) and Middleton(7.5). Lynch 7.1, Alcock 7.0, Nikolaou 7.0, Colin 7.0.
-- Last year we got 15 goals from Harsanyi, 9 from Subotic, 6 from Bell-Baggie, the rest spread around amongst the midfield. After just 5 league matches Constantino has 7 goals for us. Two guys have 6, Constaintino is currently leading the league in goals scored though. Its early, cold streaks will happen, players get shut down... but I'm so thrilled with our offense so far this year.
-- Mickael Colin is really making me question what I'm going to do with Zoltan Harsanyi. Colin has put in 3 great games for us and he seems capable of individual plays that are just stunningly good. Harsanyi seems to thrive in the second foward role in a very limited sample more than Dan Taylor. We may run Colin AML, Harsanyi and constantino up front for awhile.
-- September is goign to be another crazy month. We start off with our Johnstone's Paint Trophy match on the 2nd, then we have league matches on the 5th, 12th, 19th, 22nd, 26th, and 29th.
-- Constantino wins August Young Player of the Month in league 2!! Mikael Colin was actually the #2 for this spot!
-- I win Manager of the Month for August. Woohoo! The first time I've won the award since we got promoted up to League 2 I believe. We are 4-1-0, we dominated August.
-- The board is pleased with my leadership. constatino is the highlight our 4-1 League Cup collapse the lowlight. We lost $73k last month.
-- N'Guessan resumes full training, he won't play today though.
September 2nd, 2015
Johnstone's Paint Trophy South First Round
Woking @ Dag & Red
The league 1 side is heavily favored at home, 4:6 to our 7:2 to get the win. I think we can compete with these guys though. They're near the bottom of league 1. We played them twice our first year in League 2, losing at home, tying on the road.
D: Williams/Smith/V Taylor/Alcock
I rest Nikolaou, Ogogo, Middleton, and Colin today since we've got 3 matches in a week. Mike Williams gets his first start of the year and Alcock has been playing well at DR. Standard mindset today, defense is for pussies.
5': O'Sullivan loses the ball about 30 yards out, they pass it ahead, and there's a random quick shot from 25 yards away.. Lynch isn't ready for it, and its placed nicely into the upper left corner of the net, its a quick goal for Dag & Red. 0-1
12': After a corner, Harsanyi crosses to the far post, Vince Taylor is there but heads it just over. That was our first shot, Dag & Red still only have one.
17': There's a long pass foward to Constantino. He's at the penatly box edge, he turns by one defender, streaksinto the area, a second defender misses a tackle, a third is trying to close in but he shoots, the keeper dives and deflects it, but not far enough, it squirts into the right side of the net!!! Incredible individual effort. No idea who got the assist. 1-1
22': A through ball from O'Sullivan into the area, Constantino runs onto it, turns, its a clear cut chance... I don't think it shoudl be tbh... keeper makes the save. it was a weird angle.
28': We get a quick counter attack, a long ball foward comes out of the defense, Constantino heads the ball foward, sprints, he beats the defender to it and has a free run into the penalty area, its a total breakaway... constantino into the area, a shot driven low, past the keeper, goal!!! 2-1
40': Ferry plays a long pass foward, Harsanyi runs on to it and gets into the penalty area, but he doesn't have the same speed as our other foward just quite. The defense recovers and tackles it behind. Corner goes nowhere.
44': Defensive lapse, big time. They get a man into the penalty area, I guess we thought he was offsides and let up, I honestly don't know. There's a pass in the box deflected off one of our defenders, the ball sits free 10 yards out, it seems like we have two guys that should get to it, neither does, and they have a foward rush onto it and drive it home. That was a weird play. We complain of an offisdes afterwards, butthat's jut bad. 2-2
HALF: They shoot 8 times, just 2 on target, both are goals. We shoot 7 times, just 3 on target, two for goals. We're deemed to be playing much, much better, avg rating for our team 7.01, 6.55 for them. I guess a League 1 side at home has higher expectations by a large margin.
49': We give up 4 corner kicks.. the last one is cleared out, but they push it right back into the area. Christian Smith tackles the man with the ball.. and is called for a foul, its a penalty. They aren't going to miss. 2-3
61': I want to win this, those rested guys will still be semi rested! Ogogo in for N'Diyae, Upson for Ferry, Colin in for Harsanyi.
67': Every highlight is a quick Dag & Red shot. They're up to 14 total, we have 7, same number we had at the half. We're falling apart a little here.
70': A breakaway for Dag & Red, they get a defender behidn our lines and have a free run at Lynch... the shooter pulls up a bit short and fires a shot wide though. Poise isues there, that should have been a very easy goal.
76': We get a shot as Colin makes a nice run and cross, Ogogo puts a header wide though.
82': Throwin to Constantino, he crosses, Colin is there, its a clear cut strike, he has an open net to head the ball into basically... and he whiffs it, into the post.
92': 4 minutes of extra time. O'Sullivan found a little space for a shot, saved but a corner... they clear the corner out. Mike Williams fights to send the ball back in but commits a foul. They'll stall and secure the win here.
Dag & Red 3 : 2 Woking
A disappointing loss after brilliance and speed gets us a lead going into the half. But we gave a great effort against a higher league team on the road.
Constantino is again amazing, 2 goals, 9.0 rating. He's man of the match even in the loss. Assists came from Alcock(6.9) and Subotic(7.4).
September 5th, 2015
Woking(4-1-0, 1st) @ Walsall(1-3-1, 12th)
This one is considered to be about even, Walsall 6:4, we're 13:8. We're 2-0-2 lifetime against these guys, but our losses were in a friendly and the FA cup 3 years ago. We beat them both times we faced them in league play last year.
D: Nikolaou/Smith/V Taylor/Ogogo
N'Guessan is back today, he won't make it 90 minutes but I'm ready to get him back on the field. Standard mindset for us today.
5': The first few highlights are their offense throwing away corners and free kicks. We get a counter attack that has Constantino earn us a corner, but we can't do anything with it. They counter off our corner and get into the penalty area, Vince Taylor makes a key tackle in the box.
8': Colin with a yellow.
12': Our first shot is a poor header after a long free kick.
23': Nikolaou with a nice pass to Harsanyi... to Constantino, he turns by his man and looks to rush the keeper, he's brought down... just a tackle, we lose possession.
25': Free kick from 20 yards out, Smith takes it and just barely misses.
27': Middleton keeps the ball after two attempts to tackle it away, he feeds it foward to Constantino, he jukes his man, looks like a fake left/go right type of move, he's into the area, its a clear cut chance... but the keeper makes the save.
39': Free kick for Walsall, we block it for a corner, a shot on the corner is tipped over for a second corner. We clear that one out.
48': They earn a corner as we deflect a cross attempt behind. Ohh horrible luck. Its a cross curling towards the 6 yard area, they have two attackers there, one heads it, Lynch is in position for it, and it deflects off the second man and into the net. Just horrid luck. 0-1
HALF: There have been a ton of shots, 9 for us(2 on target), 8 for them (3 on target). It seems like tons of stuff is getting blocked, most of the shots are not from logn range tho, just 3 total.
49': Lynch with a great stop as we let a through ball get them way too close. We counter and earn a free kick 20 yards out after a foul but can't do anything with it.
50': Lets try to attack and see if we can keep a little less pressure on our defense that way.
56': Midfielder Sean Geddis gets a yellow for Walsall. That's the 4th foul I've seen of his, should have happened a long time ago.
63': we earn a corner, taken short to Smith, he fires a shot that's just saved, Taylor goes for the rebound but commits a foul trying to get it. He's given a yellow for his troubles.
63': O'Sullivan in for Middleton, N'diaye in for N'Guessan.
71': They hav ea man run down the edge of the penalty box.. likely looking for a through ball, he spots an opening and fires a shot... Lynch doesn't react at all, and the shot sails in. We're in big trouble now. 0-2
We don't get close at all the rest of the way.
Walsall 2 : 0 Woking
Can't win em all. In the end we shot 14 times but just couldn't find the net. They also shot 14 times. We had our chances here, but its our first loss in league play.
They have a defender put up an 8.5 ratign for man of the match. On our side Lynch gives us a 7.5 since he faced so many shots, Taylor 7.2, Constantino 7.6. N'Guessan struggled with a 6.4, it was his first game back and he was tired early.
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