FM10 - From the Bottom Up
Add me to the list of people who have seriously gotten into FM for the first time in a long time thanks to the world cup. I just completed league play in my second season, so we'll pick up in May 2011 entering the offseason. But first, a little history to catch up:
Welcome to Woking FC. As a diehard Cubs fan, I never thought I'd manage a team nicknamed the Cardinals in any game ever, but here we are.
When I took over Woking, they had just been relegated out of the Blue Square Premier league. I found them in Blue Square South with the hopes of earning promotion right back up.
I had one great gift already in place when I took over. Woking had a loaner at GK for the entire season, a reserve from a higher squad by the name of Lee Butcher who was 4 or 5 times better than anyone I was paying full time. I brought in a striker with my second year long loan option, paired him up with one of my own full time guys, ST Giuseppe Sole (bolded as that one is gonna be worth remembering), and worked the short term loan market to keep talented guys in the midfield and defense during the rest of the season.
2009/10 record: 24-12-6, 62 for-39 against (+23 differential) - 1st BSS
We were in the top 3 of the Blue Square South from start to finish, ended the season on a nice tear and had clinched the top spot with about 4 matches to go, earning promotion without having to fight through a playoff. we met our goals in the FA Trophy and FA Cup competitions.
2009/10 Stats Leaders
Goals: ST Giuseppe Sole - 22
Assists: ST Giuseppe Sole - 11
Avg Rating: ST Giuseppe Sole - 7.14
Yeah, a name worth remembering.
A comedy of management errors. I fired most of my coaching staff and learned how hard it was to find better. I ended up with an average at best GK coach, a fitness coach(which I didn't have in my first year), two general coaches and an assistant. Only two scouts, and a physio who wasn't rated all that well at all. This was a smaller staff than I had in season 1, primarily done as an effort to lose less money.
I didn't renew contracts of a lot of my backups, letting 7 or 8 guys leave the squad, and attempting to bring in a couple big impact free transfers. Instead of taking on another loaner GK, I brought in GK Kevin Lynch to try to develop into a full time goalkeeper. Two other offseason signings that I thought would have a major impact, I brought on 32 year old DC Bilal Sidibe, who looked better than anyone I had on defense, and FC Zepherim Zoko, a veteren Forward from the Ivory Coast. Sidibe was decent but not a starter by the end of the year. Zoko was a complete disaster. He never settled in with the squad and was unhappy to not have any countrymen to hang out with. I ended up giving him away in the middle of the season to clear his salary.
I started out in a relegation position after just a few matches and stayed there most of the season. It took a couple months for me to work out any loaners at all, but they finally started coming in and helping. I made two stellar free transfer signings, MC Joe O'Sullivan and DC Nick Fenton. also, I finally came to the realization that my star scorer from last year, ST Sole, could still play at this level too.
At around the 30 match mark I got out of bottom 4 spots in the table and never looked back. I only made it up to 17th (21st-24th get relegated), but I slowly built up a lead over the dreaded 21st spot and secured a stay in the Blue Square Premier league with about 4 matches left.
2010/11 Results: 14-10-22, 60 for/65 against, -5 diff, 52 points - 17th BSP
I didn't win a single game in FA Cup or FA Trophy qualifying, disappointing the board.
One last key point about last season. One of the turning points was when I had brought too many players onto my roster, was running about 1k/week over my salary budget... I took 5 guys who weren't regular first teamers and offered them all away for free. I dropped a good bit of salary, renegotiated a bunch of my guys cheaply, and my smaller squad seemed to gel much easier as a result.
Hopefully, I have learned from my mistakes and will keep my team more settled and will get off to a better start next season. I think I brought in some quality full time guys during the year and if I can get some quality loaners in around them a top 10 spot in the table should be very reasonable, a playoff position not impossible.
Goals: ST Giuseppe Sole - 20
Assists: MC Joe O'Sullivan - 9
Avg Rating: MC Joe O'Sullivan - 7.13
Next up, we'll go over the roster. At the end of the 10/11 season I'm still carrying my loaners, a couple of which I'd love to have back, but that seems unlikely.
This is what I have currently on my roster as of the end of the 2010/11 season.
By the end of last season, I tended to play a 4-4-2 diamond formation with a DMC, AMC and two wide midfielders (4-1-2-1-2) or a 4-4-2 attacking formation with two central midfielders and an AML/AMR (the game called this a 4-2-4, or perhaps a 4-2-2-2).
GK Kevin Lynch - 19 y/o - $150/wk - 16 handling/16 reflexes is what attracted me to Lynch as a free transfer last year. 6 anticipation and 10 positioning (not bad for this level but not the best) led to some silly goals allowed on occasion. 6.64 rating in 44 league matches last year, with 62 goals allowed but 10 shutouts. He's scottish and made one appearance for the Scottish U21 squad last season.
DL: Sam Habergham - 19 y/o - on loan from Norwich - I won't spend much time on Sam since I don't expect him to be back next year. He was a key loaner, averaging a 7.08 rating over 26 league matches. He's way better than anything else I've got available here. If I can't get Sam back for another year on loan then this is a key hole to fill.
Other options: Aswad Thomas (natural DC), Sam Sloma (natural ML)
DC Nick Fenton - 31 y/o - $1300/wk - I brought Fenton in after I cleared off a ton of salary. Fenton was a free transfer and I was desperate to stabilize my defense and took a big risk to make him my highest paid player. It worked, Fenton put up a 7.12 avg rating over 21 matches. Easily my best defender with 14 heading/12 tackling/12 marking ratings, with no mental or physical weaknesses, all of his key mental attributes are between 10-13, great for this level.
DC Aswad Thomas - 21 y/o - $750/wk - Thomas has been with me since the start. He put up a 6.84 avg rating in league play this year. He can play as my left side fullback but I prefer him in central defense when possible. He's nowhere near as strong technically as Fenton, but he has good teamwork, he's aggressive, brave, strong, and fast.
DC Bilal Sidibe - 32 y/o - $625/wk - aging vet who is slowly losing his physical attributes. No speed at all, his mental attributes are stellar (17 teamwork/14 concentration/10 positioning... decent at least there).
A couple other players can fill in if there are injuries but are better off elsewhere.
DR: (c) Mark Ricketts - 26 y/o - $700/wk - Ricketts put up a 6.80 avg rating in 40 matches this year. He was better when playing the right full back position. He can also fill out a MC/DMC role reasonably well and I used him there at times when I had a great DR loaner in. But he's a natural in the back line and I plan to keep him here from now on. He's been the team captain for 2 full seasons now.
Other DR options:
DR Ricky Anane - 21 y/o - $425/wk - Anane is a decent backup. He doesn't get pissed off when he goes awhile without starting, he has decent technical skills, good pace/accel(13/12), and good mental attributes. His left foot is terrible and he can play MR but is "unconvincing". I may see if I can do something to improve that to make him more of a utility guy. Played 11 matches with a 6.6 rating this year, mostly off the bench.
ML Sam Sloma - 28 y/o - $550/wk - I am torn on this guy. Sometimes I feel he's a weak spot. His stamina isn't great, he's not a speedster, and he doesn't have spectacular technical attributes to make up for that. But he's... ok... everywhere (9 passing/8 tackling/9 dribbling, etc), and he's really the only guy on the squad who has a decent rating taking corners and sending in crosses. 6.61 rating/1 goal/4 assists in 24 matches last year with injury issues.
Others that can play here: MC Harry Arter, AM/ST Ramone Rose(loaner)
MC Joe O'Sullivan - 19 y/o - $150/wk - Solid physical abilities (13 pace/12 accel, 15 jumping/all other phys abilities 10+). Good work rate, good teamwork. He's my best passer in the midfield (12 rating) with acceptable dribbling/tackling/marking ratings. O'Sullivan and Fenton were my two best free transfers last year, and its hard to say which is better. I have a strong affinity for O'Sullivan though, he's one of my favorite guys. 7.14 avg rating, 1 goal/9 assists/4 MoM in 29 games last year.
MC Anthony Pulis - 26 y/o - $1000/wk - 12 passing is up there as the best among the team, solid physical ratings, solid mental attributes, minus a 6 determination which worries me a little when it comes to chemistry/effort. I brought Pulis in very late last year, after I'd purged my roster a good bit. 7.03 avg rating with 2 assists in 8 matches.
MLC Harry Arter - 21 y/o - $725/wk - Arter is one of those guys who doesn't stand out anywhere but has tons of ratings in the 8-9 range, a few in the 10-11 range, without any huge weaknesses. The fact that he can play the left side is a big reason I keep him around. 6.69 avg rating/1 goal/2 assists in 24 matches last year (12 off the bench)
MC Jamie Hand - 27 y/o - $775/wk - Similar to Arter, except a lot more 8-9 ratings and a lot less 10-11 ones. also he's limited to the middle of the pitch and offers less utility. He was important in year one but with O'Sullivan and Pulis coming in last year Hand may end up odd man out in a stuffed MC rotation. 6.75 rating in 21 matches last year.
MC Jerome Maledon - 23 y/o - $450/wk - Worse than Hand and Arter, but cheaper, and he is a natural DMC which gives me a little more options when I use a diamond formation.
MR Moses Ademola - 21 y/o - $900/wk - Ademola is someone I've struggled with. He's a natural Striker but there's rarely room for him. He's poor technically, 5 passing for someone in the midfield makes me cry, and none of his other technical attributes stand out. But he has 12 pace/14 accel and when he's in the lineup he finds ways to score. 6.86 rating with 9 goals and 1 assist in 27 matches(13 off the bench).
Other options: MC Pulis can play here too, great for depth but I think I prefer Pulis starting in the middle.
ST Giuseppe Sole - 23 y/o - $775/wk - Decent all over, not great anywhere. I stick him in the Poacher's role and he does it better than anyone else I've tried there. 12 pace/11 accel, 10 str, no physical weaknesses but not a physical monster either. 11 composure/10 flair/10 creativity/10 determination... all good but not spectacular. 10 finishing/9 first touch/9 long shots. See where this is going? I kept thinking I had better options, faster players, better finishers, and kept Sole out of the starting lineup early on. Huge mistake. The guy gets the ball into the net. 45 appearances/10 off the bench, 20 goals/5 assists/6.85 avg rating.
I have 3 loaners at striker right now. two of them I like a *lot* and will try to bring back next year but I'm doubtful.
AMLR/ST Romone Rose - 21 y/o - 15 pace/12 accel, 14 dribbling/13 finishing, 10 creativity/10 flair. I may have a shot at this guy because he is from QPR. They're my parent club, so if they don't need him next year I will request to bring him in again. I love him either paired with Sole up front or in an attacking midfield/inside forward role on either side. 7.02 avg rating/9 goals/4 assists in 34 matches(31 starts)
ST Mark Cullen - 18 y/o - On loan from Hull, I'll try to bring him back too if I can. 12 pace/accel, 14 off the ball, the best on my entire roster I think, 14 finishing, creativity/decisions/determination/dribbling/heading/technique all 10+. 7.02 avg rating/9 goals/4 assists in only 23 matches(18 starts)
Assuming i lose all my current loaners, I'm perfectly content and happy with my GK(Lynch), both DC(Thomas/Fenton), DR(Ricketts), both MC(O'Sullivan/Pulis), and one striker(Sole). That's not to say I wouldn't consider a loaner if I can get someone who blows me away at those positions. DL will be a spot I *must* fill and I'll need to bring in a striker or two to pair with Sole. My wingers are ok but I could use better.
I currently am spending $12,597 on player salaries. I'm allowed $15,250. I spent much of the year at about $16k/wk and offloaded a lot of salary to get where I am. I'm still in the 2010/11 season though, we'll see where things stand after flipping over to the next year.
like most any dynasty I run, things may start out a little crazy but hopefully I'll refine things and find a formatting I like as we go. :D
2010 World Cup
Just a quick review, since we're in the midst of world cup fever right now anyway.
Group A provides us with an insane coincidence... we see Slovakia and Paraguay advance, while Italy finishes 3rd and doens't make the group stage. If the 4th team was New Zealand instead of Togo, I'd be really creeped out(this is exactly what happened in group F in the real world).
The USA drew group C with France, South Africa and Chile. They earned only 1 point as France and South Africa advanced.
Group D brought more weirdness where Ghana and Saudi Arabia advance over Greece and Holand.
Mexico failing to make it out of their group with Argentina and Switzerland is the only other noteworthy group event.
The second round sees the world powers start to fall as Slovakia beats Brazil on pk's. Paraguay beats Germany.
In the quarters, Ghana beats Slovakia, Paraguay over France, Spain over England, Argentina over Ivory Coast.
Ghana takes down Argentina 2-1, Paraguay beats Spain 1-0 in extra time.
Paraguay beats Ghana 2-1 to win the world cup. Spain over Argentina for 3rd.
Oh also... leagues. I have a new PC with 8 processors and 9 gigs of ram. 9 gigs? Yeah, I lol'd at that too. It makes FM fun though.
So I'm running:
Mexico, USA, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Holland, N. Ireland, Portugal, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Wales, Argentina, and Brazil.
I started with the USA/England/Germany/Italy/Spain/Holland/France and just kept adding nations until it said the speed would start to suffer.
I did the mod to fix Holland and brought in a logo pack, but other than that didn't make any big changes. I haven't done anythign to england, with BSN/BSS the bottom leagues there, etc.
Oxford won the Blue Square Premier League and earns promotion
York finished 2nd, only 3 points out of first, and wins the playoff to advance.
of note is Cambridge, they finished in the playoffs for the 3rd time in 4 years but have not been able to win the playoffs to earn promotion. They are stuck here for one more year at least.
Forest Green, Hayes & Yeading, Eastbourne Boro and Fleetwood will be relegated.
Coming into the BSP next year will be Macclesfield and Accrington, the two sides relegated out of league 2.
Northwich wins the Blue Square North, Southport comes from 4th place to win the playoffs.
Maidenhead wins the Blue Square South, Eastleigh finishes 2nd and wins the playoff.
Those will be the 6 new teams we face next season.
Arsenal wins the Champions League, defeating Real Madrid 3-2 in the finals. Barcelona and Chelsea were the semifinalists.
Tottenham wins the EPL with 80 points (24-8-6). Chelsea 2nd, Liverpool 3rd, Man U 4th, Man City 5th, Arsenal 6th.
My parent club, QPR, finishes dead last, scores 27 goals in 38 matches, has a -46 goal differential, and drops down to the Coca-Cola Championship. Ouch.
Inter wins Italy's Serie A, Barcelona crushes La Liga (29-4-5, 91 points, 7 better than Real Madrid).
The board is "very pleased" with me. They, like me, love the O'Sullivan and Fenton signings I made last year. Perhaps scaring them with relegation then ending the season strong makes 17th look better than it really is too.
I have 3 coaches that I can't/won't re-sign. Two want more money than I can offer and one sucks. One is a regular coach, one my keeper coach, and a scout.
Paul Moore signs on to be my new goalkeeping coach. He's rated 13 in Goalkeeper coaching, 13 motivation, just 9 adaptability. He's also decent with youngsters(11), i'm not sure if that helps since I have a U21 keeper, but hopefully it does a little.
New Scout Michael Patrick is rated 13 at judging current ability/14 at judging potential. Like most scouts I can get at this level, he knows England and not much else.
New Coach Martin McMenemy is rated 11 in attacking, 10 in defending, 10 mental/12 tactical. Mid-range disciplinarian, 14 adaptability. His Man Management and technical knowledge are terrible, but I've never had a coach who is a good attacker/defender coach(good being relative, of course, so I went this way this time.
Along with my current returning staff, I'm pretty much set for next year now.
During June, the board provides a $110k cash injection. This has been happening pretty consistently. We're a very low level club, and we lose money. So far though, as long as i stay under our wage budget, it has yet to be an issue at all. The second I went over last year Salary Allowances went way down until I purged a bunch.
the European club rankings are out:
2. Man U
7. FC Bayern
8. Real Madrid
My first friendly is set up, a required one with QPR, our parent club, that pays out $24,000. I reject a few other CPU offered friendlies since they won't generate any cash.
A year end report by Football365.com has some fun info in it:
Woking is estimated to be valued at $750,000. this is 102nd in England, ahead of most other Blue Square Premier sides and a couple League 2 sides.
We rated 98th in England with 705 season ticket holders (this is out of 160 teams ranked)
End of Season Recognition
Joe O'Sullivan is voted Woking player of the year by our fans. He was my favorite new player too, so I'm thrilled the fans like him.
Our Best 11 somehow doesn't include 20 goal scorer Giuseppe Sole...
GK: Kevin Lynch
DL: Sam Habergham (loaner)
DC: Aswad Thomas
DC: Nick Fenton
DR: (c) Mark Ricketts
DMC: Sam Sloma
MC: Joe O'Sullivan
MC: Harry Arter
AMC: Jamie Hand
ST: Mark Cullen (loan)
ST: Romone Rose (loan)
this terrible narrow formation with no one in the middle playing wide was something I experimented with early in the year when I was sucking horribly, mainly b/c I had such an overabundance of central midfielders. Its immortalized here to shame me.
Start of New Season notes
We receive $49,500 for TV Rights. Woohoo?
The board expects me to achieve a safe position in the Blue Square Premier. For this they'll give me $12,500/wk for salaries. I'm currently spending $11,716/wk.
I'm seriously tempted to state that Woking can finish in the top half of the table, which would bump me up to $14,000/wk... but I'm a little too new to the game and don't quite have the balls to do that. I accept our mid-standing finish and feel confidant we can meet or exceed that goal.
The two teams taht got relegated from League 1, Accrington and Macclesfield are 3-1 favorites to advance.
Other top teams are Cambridge at 12-1, Wrexham (12-1), Eastleigh (14-1) and Rushden (14-1).
We are listed as a relegation possibility at 40-1.
As we near the end of June I still can't make loan offers, and that's going to really determine where we go this year.
Pre-season Coaches Meeting
My assistant tells me we suck at everything and are young. I'm used to hearing this.
Interesting to me this year is the recommendation of a 4-1-3-2 or 4-1-2-1-2 formation as our best formations. This is based on current players though. I've only got 14 players on the first team roster at the moment, I'll bring up a backup GK from the reserve squad and bring in (ideally) 5 loaners to get us up to 20. I may well look to sell off one of my backup MC's and sign someone elsewhere, but I really want to wait until I shape the team up with some loaned in players first.
I finally get a few semi-lucrative friendlies scheduled, but I seem to remember making more off them last year. Ah well, I'm getting 15k+ for them this year at least. And our first one comes up on June 30th, I'll call up some reserves and just let everyone run around for a half here.
June 30th, 2011
Woking @ Morelia B - Friendly
I'm not going to spend much time on the friendlies, at least until I bring in a couple loaners and have some decisions. I know what I've got right now.
I start in a generic 4-4-2 formation:
** not starting where I forsee them playing once I have a full compliment of players, covering holes for now until the loan season opens.
I tell my guys the result doesn't matter, and I tell them not to work too hard today, not to tackle too hard and not to close down too hard. First friendly of the year, lets just take it easy and get used to playing again.
20': Joe O'Sullivan takes a hard knock and has to go off the field for treatment
22': We're building up possession as O'Sullivan wanders back onto the pitch. He takes a pass just outside the 18 yard box, lofts up what I might have called a cross if it didn't flutter into the top right corner of the net. 1-0
31': Pulis with a short pass to my poacher Sole, he times his run behind the defense perfectly and beats the keeper 1-on-1 for an easy goal. 2-0
36': Pulis is brought down hard in the box. Its a penalty, but at this point I'm much more concerned that Pulis' fitness went down to 40%. Sole is good on the penalty though. 3-0
We lead 3-0 at the half and I sub out my entire team. A couple guys took hits that hurt their fitness levels, I'd hate to see anyone hurt right off.
So much of the team in right now are reserves, I'm not really interested and turn the match engine to commentary only.
Final Result: Woking 3 : 0 Morelia B
We out-shoot them 16-9, only generating 1 clear cut chance, but putting 5 shots on target for 3 goals. Morelia B shoots 9 times, only twice on target.
Anthony Pulis is man of the match with 2 assists and an 8.9 rating.
O'Sullivan earns an 8.2 for his goal and solid passing in the midfield (21-24 passes completed). Sole has 2 goals and an assist for an 8.5 rating.
Starting MC/R Anthony Pulis pulls a hamstring and is going to miss 4 weeks. He shouldn't miss the start of the season but he'll need a little while to get fully fit and that will have to come during league play now.
The board is satisfied with my coaching. Nick Fenton's signing remains a high point.
As July opens up I make countless loan offers. Some of them are probably aiming a bit high, but we'll see what comes in.
I accept a year extension to my current contract. I make $950/week. It was set to expire in June of 2012, I'm locked up until June of 2013 now.
Loan Rejected: The only one worth mentioning here is that QPR's Romone Rose is not available this year to me. He was a versatile and skilled player for me last year, I would have loved to have had him back.
July 4th, 2011
Woking at Juv. Antoniana - Friendly
While we wait on loaners to come through, we've got our next friendly set up. Another random team that looked like I'd make about $18k for playing.
Sam Sloma scores in the first half, Sole with the assist heading the ball to him in the box.
We sub out everyone at halftime again and concede a goal in the second half.
Woking 1 : 1 Juv. Antoniana
Sloma earns man of the match honors and an 8.2 rating. No one plays poorly, and Aswad Thomas and Moses Ademola earn ratings over 7 in their half of play.
After our friendly on July 4th, we get two guys committing to loans for us:
ST Mark Cullen - 18 y/o - Valued at $40,000, Cullen is a reserve player at Hull in the Championship league. Cullen is a known entity which is what makes me most excited. 12 pace/13 accel, 14 off the ball, solid mental ratings elsewhere. 11 dribbling, 10 heading, 12 technique, and 14 finishing. Cullen came through with 9 goals and 4 assists in 23 games last year for me. Sole as a Poacher and Cullen an advanced forward up top seems to generate lots of goals if my midfield is solid.
AM LR/ST Antonio German - 19 y/o - German is on QPR's reserve squad and I'm really excited to see him sprinting up the flanks to generate offense for us this season. 15 pace/13 accel, strong, fit, he will be outrunning a lot of opponents hopefully. Determined, good off the ball, good teamwork, no mental weaknesses at all. His technical abilities aren't bad either though its the rest that will make him shine. 11 finishing/12 heading, 10 long shots, 9 passing, 8 dribbling... he's definitely an offensive player, very poor marking and tackling, so I'll need to account for that. I'm *very* excited about German.
One day later a 3rd loaner comes through:
D LR Jordan Clarke - 19 y/o - Clarke played on the right side of my defense for 3 months last year. He's accomplished on the left side as well though and will be playing there this year. Another speedster, 14 pace and solid physical attributes everywhere. Determined, Brave enough, good work rate and teamwork. 8 marking and 12 tackling aren't spectacular, but combined with speed and hard work he'll be where we need him most of the time on defense I believe.
I'm still waiting to hear from one more guy when my next Friendly comes up:
July 8th, 2011
Woking @ RC Riviere Pilote - Friendly
Another random click on a team that would make me some money.
Sole picks up a knock in the first 5 minutes, frustrating and I'll be crossing my fingers when I talk to the doc after the match.
We give up a goal in the first half. I sub out most of the team at halftime, but a couple guys are starting to get their legs and get to play til the 60th minute.
We never threaten in the second half.
RC Riviere Pilote 1 : 0 Woking
ML Sam Sloma twisted an ankle badly in the second half and is going to miss between 6 and 7 weeks. Sloma is a bit injury prone, he seems to miss a solid 6 weeks every season.
ST Giuseppe Sole has a thigh strain and is going to miss 4 weeks. He's gotten a little work and hopefully will only miss our first couple matches in league play.
Around July 15th I lose out on my last loaner hope. I've got about $500/wk left in my budget, so I could also look to bring on one free transfer if I see something I like, and I'll send out a few more loan feelers. For now though, the 3 additions that I've made have me just about where I want to be for the start of the season.
July 17th: I breeze through a friendly with QPR, most of my starters make the 60-65 minute mark, keepers and defenders who don't run quite as much are starting to show their fitness. We lose 1-0, not really bad for us. No one plays exceptionally well for us, but no one does too poorly either, and no one gets hurt.
July 22nd Another friendly to breeze through, this one against Melbourne Knights, another random click that looked profitable. We get a first half goal from Antonio German, starting at Striker for Sole today. Melbourne ties it up after we sub out our starters. 1-1 draw. Ricketts, Ademola, O'Sullivan, and German are all noted as putting up 7.0+ performances today.
Free Transfer Signing
Taking a risk here... last year when a risk bombed I was easily able to offload the player I botched.
AML/ST Zoltan Harsanyi - 24 y/o - $1100/wk - At this salary I'm clearly hoping/expecting to make a Fenton like splash in the transfer market, pulling in a guy who needs to make a strong impact for the squad. Harsanyi is Slovakian but he does speak English. He's 2/3 of the way to British Nationality after spending 5 years as a reserve player for Bolton.
He's quite pacey, 14 pace/14 accel, 14 agility, good stamina, so there's that to be excited about. Determined(12),solid flair(12) and creativity(10). A good first touch(11), good dribbling and finishing and a solid enough passer.
I expect to start Harsanyi on the left side of my midfield. The reason to bring someone like this in was for depth and coverage. the only strikers I had on the first team were Sole/Cullen/Ademola/German. But the only MR's I had were Ademola and German, and the only accomplished ML's were German/sloma/Arter... just too much overlap there, and too many holes when one person goes down, which will happen. Harsanyi adds coverage in two of those positions.
With this signing I'm about $575/wk over my wage budget. We're gonna lose money either way but the board is happier when I stay under. Jamie Hand will be the man to go if I can find any takers for him. He's valued at $20k, but i'll give him away for free if I need to. Hand can only play MC, and we've had a rocky relationship the entire way. He was my highest paid player when I first took over and i didn't even want him starting, and he's never really liked me. Easy choice.
Now that I've brought in a number of guys, here's what I'm looking at as my healthy best 11 (pending Sole/Pulis being back in time for opening day):
July 29th - Our last friendly. We're playing at Juv. Antoniana again. I didn't realize the game would let me schedule 2 friendlies against the same team, and I was just going through looking for the biggest payouts. Whoops. I moved us to a 4-2-2-2 formation for this match, moving Harsanyi and Ademola up into AML/R slots. We generated tons of chances, 14 shots, but most were off target. 3 on target and 3 off the woodwork though. We let a goal in on a free kick late in the first half, and they scored late after I'd pulled the starters. We fall 2-0.
O'Sullivan puts up a superb 7.7 rating despite no goals/assists. He completed 65 out of 77 passes, 8 out of 9 tackles, and 9 out of 11 headers won. Also 9 interceptions. He's just all over the place in this attacking formation. I believe he and Pulis in those MC slots are good enough to let us try this attacking formation. Well, I hope that's the case at least :)
The board remain satisfied with me. We pulled in a hefty profit of $201k in July. That's a good thing because we'll lose money every month the rest of the season.
Jamie Hand is now gone, off to Morecambe in League 2. I have to wonder about giving a guy away to a higher league club... but the other options I have are so much better, I don't see it at all in him.
From here we've got a week off before our league opener. I'm very hopeful and feel like I've had a great offseason, excited to get the season started and really get this rolling. But it probably won't happen until later tonight.
August 6th, 2011
Woking @ Southport
Southport are very slight favorites (6-4 vs our 13-8, virtually even). This is our first ever meeting. Southport won promotion last year out of the Blue Square North. Sole is healthy but not really match fit. I'm going to bring him in as a sub to get him some minutes if I can.
20': We're dominating possession but have only managed one shot. German is SO fast its crazy. His speed should generate a lot of goals this year.
31': Our first good chance, O'Sullivan finds Cullen who gets by his man and shoots from 15 yards out, but the keeper makes a good save.
HALF: we have 3 shots, they have 2, our one attempt from Cullen was the only serious chance on either side. We have 63% of the possession, but our new guys seem to struggle finding each other up front. That'll improve with time I'm sure.
Harsanyi has a bad half. I move German to the left wing and bring Sole in up front.
51': O'Sullivan with a precise long pass up to Cullen, but his first touch is poor. We keep possession, Ademola finds him and he takes a long strike which goes wide. Meh, but looking a little better.
62': We get lucky, a couple nice runs by southport, both due to Clarke missing a tackle for us on the left side. We concede a corner on a cross, they get a good head to the corner but its just over.
68': After minimal buildup, O'sullivan finds Cullen 35 yards from the goal, he makes a run with the ball, the defense reacts terribly and lets him get into the box unopposed, he shoots from 15 yards out and easily beats the keeper!! 1-0
72': Harry Arter comes in for a tiring Antonio German. I pull back to a standard 4-4-2, mainly b/c without German and Hansanyi I don't have the personnel for the attackers, but also to defend a little more late with the lead on the road.
76': Defend, Retain Possession, and Maledon in for a tired Pulis.
80': We concede a corner but Arter defends it well, and a long shot goes way over.
82': O'Sullivan with a surprise shot from the corner of the box after a throw-in, its closer than I thought it could be and just off the post.
86': A breakthrough for Southport, Thomas challenges but their striker gets a solid shot off, Lynch lays out for the ball, deflects it, and Fenton gets the rebound out of there. WHEW. Their first on target shot of the day.
We hold for 3 minutes of extra time and get a win in our opener!
Southport 0 : 1 Woking
Cullen is man of the match with an 8.3 rating and the only goal.
O'Sullivan misses too many passes today (36/53) but hits on 4 key ones including the assist. He's otherwise great in the middle and has an 8.2 rating.
Our entire back four (Ricketts, Clarke, Fenton and Thomas) put up 7+ numbers. Fenton specifically is great in the air, he wins so many headers.
I kinda feel like if once our offense has a little more experience together we score 3 or 4 here, but we'll see how that goes along.
We announce 705 season ticket sales this season.
August 9th, 2011
AFC Wimbledon(23rd) @ Woking(9th)
Its only one match so our place in the standings means nothing yet. Both teams are going on 3 days rest. This will be my 100th match as the Woking skipper I am told before the game today.
We played Wimbledon 3 times last year, We are 1-0-2 against them, scoring 4, conceding 8. One of those was in the first round of the FA Trophy, a loss.
I start Arter for Pulis in the midfield today, and switch German (to AMC) and Harsanyi (to ST). Sole still isn't really fully match fit and I don't want to start him yet. We're gonna be tired by the end of this one, but hopefully they will too.
11': Harsanyi with the first shot on target of the match, but right at the keeper. We dominate possession early again today (70/30 so far).
15': Clarke with a throw-in, gets the ball back, puts a very nice ball to the Arter just outside the box, he places a perfect through ball for Harsanyi who runs on to it and beats the keeper! 1-0
21': Arter with a foul on our end. Free kick from 25 yards out leads to a corner, but we get the corner out of there cleanly... last year we gave up TONS of goals on headers off of corner kicks, so that's a concern for me.
25': Yellow for Wimbledon midfielder Moore after a contested header.
27': Good possession for us in their 3rd. Arter gets it to Harsanyi just outside the box, he does it himself with two defenders closing down on him and puts a great shot past the keeper. His second goal! 2-0
32': German wins a ball in midfield, heads it ahead to Harsanyi, he attacks and draws the defense, does a great job in finding Ademola streaking in from the right wing, delivers a perfect pass and Ademola finishes well! 3-0
HALF: We take a dominant 3-0 lead into the locker room. We have 7 shots, 6 on target. AFC Wimbledon has 1 shot and it was blocked. No changes at the half.
46': A Yellow for Defender Kennedy Adjei, tripping O'Sullivan. A free kick from not too far outside their box.
47': Arter passes to O'Sullivan on the free kick, O'Sullivan lays the ball into the box, Cullen is the first to it, and he beats the keeper! 4-0
52': Ricketts with a horrible mistake in our penalty area, no one near him after a long ball by Wimbledon, but he misplays a header(trying to head it back to the keeper I think), and the ball falls right to a Wimbledon attacker who strikes it cleanly past Lynch. 4-1
62': Arter picks up a yellow for a rough tackle in midfield.
65': Pulis in for German, Arter moves to ML, Pulis MC. Sole in for Harsanyi.
70': O'Sullivan with a yellow. I dunno why, I was in the tactics screen.
72': Ricky Anane is in for Ademola. Anane is weak at MR, but I'm having him actively train to improve there, and maybe game experience speeds that along?
I tell the team to retain possession and we do just that, keeping the ball in their half of the field for most of the final 20 minutes.
Woking 4 : 1 AFC Wimbledon
Harsanyi is man of the match with 2 goals and 1 assist and a 9.2 rating.
Harry Arter had two assists and held the ball very well in the midfield, 8.6 for him, while Ademola's goal earned him a 7.7 rating.
Ricketts (7.5), Clarke (7.3), O'Sullivan (7.5), and German(7.2) also stood out today.
The original scouting report I got on Zoltan Harsanyi listed his main weakness as "He is a selfish player." That may well be true but at this level that selfishness turns him into the most decisive player on the pitch. If he had a lane to the goal, he fired it in. And he was on target every time. Antonio German, for all his wonderful speed, doesn't seem to want to shoot.
Harsanyi will be one of my starting strikers for the foreseeable future. I'm pretty sure I'll give Sole the other starting job over Cullen, at least for now as soon as he's fully match fit.
Early in the season I tend to watch my full matches. Once I get comfortable with what we do well and what mistakes we're likely to make I drop back to extended highlights and eventually key highlights as I want to knock out the remainder of the season later on. That'll end up impacting the pace of things a lot, slow buildup before I start to tear through the season I hope.
August 13th, 2011
Woking (2nd) @ Kidderminster (3rd)
Kidderminster are fairly heavy favorites today at home and off to a start just as hot as us. this is the 3rd match in 8 days for each team. We're 1-0-1 against them.
Of note for Kidder is Forward Darryl Knights, he was one of the finalists for player of the league last year, scoring 24 goals and 12 assists in 39 matches. I instruct my guys to tackle him hard and close him down.
Sole starts over Cullen for me today:
5': Sole with a nice interior pass to Harsanyi, his first shot is on target. We win a corner but can't do anything with it.
17': There's my poacher! O'Sullivan with a pretty ball foward to Sole, he's got a tough angle on the left side of the box but has no defenders in front of him, he blasts the ball by the keeper! 1-0
HALF: We took a few more shots, all by Harsanyi, all off target. We take a 1-0 lead into the locker room, controlling 63% of the possession and only allowing one shot all match so far, a poor long range effort. The defense and midfield have been brilliant for us, not allowing Kidder to come close to getting anything going.
'45: Their star striker, Knights, gets a ball in a good position to shoot, Lynch makes a nice save.
47': 3 shots this half already from Kidder, they're trying to even it up quickly. I change my instructions from defensive to counter-attacking
64': Ademola goes down hurt after being challenged on a header. I move German from the left side to the right and bring Arter in on the left. Maledon in for a tiring Pulis.
67': Foul by Thomas just outside the box. Kidder's free kick is off the wall for a corner. First corner is headed behind. Second corner is cleared cleanly.
71': Sidibe in for a tired Sole. Sidibe is a DC, and I change to a 5-4-1 to try to withstand the assault on the road.
89': We have the ball in the midfield wasting some time, Arter finds Harsanyi well outside the box, the defense tries to win the ball away, fails horribly, Harsanyi with a good run by his defender, setting up a finish to put the game away! 2-0
Kidderminster 0 : 2 Woking
Joe O'Sullivan delivers 1 assist and dominates the midfield as usual, good for a 7.9 rating and man of the match today.
Harsanyi has a goal and a 7.5 rating, Clarke (7.3), Fenton (7.1) also stand out. Sole gave us our first goal but struggled some after that.
We were the second worst road team in the league last year. I am pretty thrilled to get such a solid win here.
3 matches in and only Woking and Cheltenham have won all 3. We're listed first in the Blue Square Premier for the first time in my tenure.
Harsanyi and Arter are both named in the BSP team of the week.
August 16th, 2011
Histon (0-1-2, 20th) @ Woking (3-0-0, 1st)
We're very slight favorites at home today. We're 0-1-1 lifetime against Histon, they finished 13th in the BS Premier last year.
4 matches in 11 days now... a grueling start for everyone to kick off the season. Cullen and Arter start over Pulis and Sole, fatigue issues. Sam Sloma is back from injury and available off the bench, he's not match fit yet. If I can, I'll work him in just to run around some.
Histon looks set to play a very defensive 4-1-4-1 formation. Their fitness is much worse than ours it seems.
10': I love O'Sullivan. Even with 10 men defending he puts the ball in the perfect spot for Cullen. Cullen with a nice move to make a little space, beats the keeper! 1-0
30': Arter is down after a hard challenge... but he's still listed at 75% fitness, hopefully he's fine.
33': Ricketts with a long throw, O'Sullivan with a great through ball for German who strikes it past the keeper! 2-0
46': Their best midfielder, Bosner, makes a good run down the left side after a free kick, he gets a cross into the box and their striker heads it home past Lynch. 2-1
HALF: The late goal to keep this interesting was disappointing. Histon mainly went for long balls and a couple times we committed fouls in their half going for headers, allowing them to get a couple attacks, the last one resulting in the goal. still, we are way more fit than they, and they should be too tired to generate anything else I hope.
Pulis in for the injured Arter at the half. It seems Arter can still go but why risk it.
48': Ademola with a nice cross, German gets a head on it from very close range but right at the keeper. Its listed as a Clear Cut chance that we didn't finish, that's always disappointing.
52': German's speed draws a yellow card, a bad trip by defender Holden as German went flying by him.
57': Fenton gets beat on a long ball, commits a foul and draws a yellow. There's a free kick near our penalty area, but it comes to nothing.
67': Sloma is in for a tired Antonio German.
71': Anane in for a tired Ricketts, and we are done with subs for the day.
79': After a clearance, Histon's foward tried to pass the ball back to a defender. It was way wide, Harsanyi ran on to the stray ball and struck it past the keeper for an easy gift goal! 3-1
Woking 3 : 1 Histon
In a game where the opponent was content to let us control possession and just fire long balls whenever they could, its no surprise that Joe O'Sullivan dominated the match. He has 2 assists and a 9.0 rating and is the clear man of the match.
Our 3 goal scorers each put up nice ratings, German(7.3), Cullen (7.1) and Harsanyi (7.0). Ademola(7.1) and Thomas(7.2) are noteworthy as well. No one really played poorly, though Fenton had a couple mistakes/fouls that gave Histon some chances.
We're 4-0-0 with 10 goals and just 2 against. Cheltenham is the other team to watch early, they've scored 7 and not allowed a single goal yet.
We play Gateshead (11th currently) in 4 days time before finally earning a little rest with a week off.
ISP troubles yesterday had FOFC unavailable, took notes on a couple games in notepad though:
August 20th, 2011
Woking (4-0-0, 1st) @ Gateshead (2-0-2, 12th)
Gateshead are very slight favorites at home over us. One of the few teams that didn't beat us last year. We're 1-1-0 against them in our short history.
Pulis is back in the lineup over Arter, Sole back in for Cullen.
11': Gateshead earns a corner and takes a short corner and don't defend it well at all. We get lucky as a shot goes off the crossbar.
21': O'Sullivan has picked up a yellow and a number of fouls in the midfield. This is concerning me. We haven't managed a shot yet today, Gateshead is giving us a good challenge early.
42': We get a breakaway after 40 minutes of nothing, Ademola with a nicely placed ball for Harsanyi, but he strikes it right at the keeper. Our first shot of the match is a missed clear cut chance.
45': O'Sullivan with a through ball, the keeper is indecisive about running out for it, Sole gets to it first.. and hits the post.
HALF: We get two chances late that hopefully help to swing the momentum. Gateshead outplayed us most of teh half. Around the 25 minute mark I switched from a standard mindset to a defensive one. This may be one where we need to just make sure we don't give up a goal and be happy with a draw. Gateshead had 3 early shots and then we held them out of our area completely for the last 30 minutes or so.
56': Harsanyi with a long run through the Gateshead defense, he takes a strong shot from just inside the box... great save by the keeper.
58': Fenton picks up a little injury and he's playing like crap. Ricketts moves to DC, Anane in at DR.
63': Harsanyi on a counter attack, runs up the right side, plays a beautiful pass to Sole in the middle of the box, seems like an automatic goal, but a poor first touch gives it away.
70': Whoa! I'm in the tactics screen making a sub and see GOAL FOR WOKING start flashing. We earn a corner, O'Sullivan ends up with teh ball in the box... I'm really not sure if he made an impossible pass or the 4 defenders made the worst clearance ever(I suspect the second), it falls to Thomas who volleys it into the net! 1-0
70': Cullen in for Sole, Sloma in for Ademola.
74': Free kick gateshead, a swinging cross, Sloma goes up with one of their forwards, loses out horribly on a header, they put it in the net. 1-1
Gateshead 1 : 1 Woking
The last 15 minutes are extremely boring.
I feel pleased to get a draw here, even though we scored first. Possession was about even, but it seemed like Gateshead were threatening way more than us.
Aswad Thomas(DC) is our goalscorer and he picks up the slack in defense for Fenton having a crap game, he's the man of the match with a 7.8 rating.
DL Clarke puts up a 7.1, and no one else is really noteworthy. Fenton and Ademola are under 6, Fenton with a 5.4 rating, awful in the air (5/13 headers, he's usually 10/13).
Cheltenham loses today and we remain in 1st, 1 point ahead of Rushden and Cheltenham, 2 points ahead of Kettering.
Aswad Thomas and Joe O'Sullivan are named in the team of the week.
August 27th, 2011
Barrow (2-1-2, 11th) @ Woking (4-1-0, 1st)
We're pretty heavy favorites at home here. Barrow finished 18th in the leaugue last year, we are 1-1-0 against them. At home I open up attacking, I want to put this away early today.
23': Very simple poachers goal, Sole scoots behind the D at just the right time, O'Sullivan delivers it perfectly, Sole puts it home. 1-0
42': We earn a deep throw in and 4 corners and can't even manage a shot.
HALF: We dominate possession, but struggle to set up shots. Harsanyi and German keep losing the ball where one little move gives them a look. We take 6 shots, the only on target one is the goal. Barrow only manages 3 shots. Our 63/37 possession edge and Barrow's 47% pass completion rate favor us in a huge way.
55': Yellow for Fenton in the defensive midfield.
61': A little poachers effort for Barrow to get an attacker a free shot at Lynch. Lynch runs at him and blocks his shot, nice save, nice decisive decision by Lynch.
66': There's the move by Harsanyi to beat his man! He's one on one with the keeper and puts a shot just wide to the right. ERGH!
66': Cullen in for a tiring Sole, Sloma in for a hurt German.
73': Harsanyi may be selfish but he fires a beautiful pass to Cullen around midfield on a counter attack. Cullen does the rest himself, makes his way into the box and beats the keeper! 2-0
80': Anane in for a tired Ricketts.
Woking 2 : 0 Barrow
Each team generates 10 shots, each team only puts 2 of them on target, but we generate 4 "clear cut chances" and both of our on target shots end up in the back of the net.
Joe O'Sullivan puts up a 7.8 and earns man of the match honors. This is our 6th match and 3rd man of the match award for O'Sullivan. He delivers an assist and connects on 39 of his 50 passes.
Cullen's goal earns him a 7.1 in just 20 minutes on the pitch. Ricketts(7.2), Fenton(7.0), Thomas(7.1) and Harsanyi(7.0/1 assist) stand out as well. Sole had the first goal but nothing else for a 6.8 rating.
Joe O'Sullivan is once again named to the league team of the week.
Aug 31: Harry Arter twists a knee in training and is going to be out for 4 weeks.
Sept 2: Nick Fenton twists a knee in training and is going to be out for 4 weeks.
Bad week for practice...
Cheltenham's Patrick Kohlmann(DL) averages a 7.87 rating in August and is the league's player of the month. Joe O'Sullivan has the exact same average rating and is 2nd in the player of the month voting.
Rushden's 21 y/o Sam Smith scores 7 goals in 6 matches and is the young player of the month (why isn't that player of the month, wow!). Joe O'Sullivan, only 19 , is second here as well.
I am named manager of the month for August! Rushden's manager is 2nd and Cheltenham's is 3rd.
The board is pleased with me as we go into the month. We lost $61,750 on the month, about what I'd expect. Zoltan Harsanyi is seen as a good signing.
September 3rd, 2011
Rushden (5-0-1, 2nd) @ Woking (5-1-0, 1st)
This could end up being a key matchup if we both stay near the top as we go along. We are very slight favorites at home. Rushden has qualified for the playoffs in the BS Premier each of the last two years. We haven't beaten them yet (0-1-1 last year).
Bilal Sidibe will be taking over for Nick Fenton until he's back from his injury. Rushden's star striker, Sam Smith, hurt himself this week and is out for awhile so we catch a big break not having to face him.
8': Harsanyi to Sole for a solid strike, but Rushden's keeper makes a nice save. That's the first on target shot for either side.
15': Sole shakes off a defender to generate a solid shot in the box, its just wide, and he ends up injured by the time he's done(I really dunno how...). His fitness is down and he'll probalby only play the first half, if that.
20': O'Sullivan with a rare run by himself, a great move to beat a defender and he fires an on target shot but its blocked by the keeper. We seem in control here... 7 shots already but just 2 on target.
28': A quick counter for Rushden leads to a breakaway, ST Hilliard beats Sidibe and scores his first goal of the season. 0-1
HALF: Our first halftime deficit. Cullen replaces Sole, Anane replaces Sidibe (ricketts to DC/Anane DR). We've dominated possession (63/37) but Rushden countered well. They manage 8 shots, 7 for us, only 1 on target for them/2 for us. I think getting Sidibe out will help us. He's not match fit and wasn't really ready to take over for an injured player and got beat constantly.
56': The first shot of the half for either team... Clarke runs down the left side, slides a ball into the box for German who strikes it from a very narrow angle and beats the keeper! A really nice goal 1-1
62': Rushden gets the lead back quickly. A cross into the middle, an attacker with a header, and Lynch just stands there as it slowly goes by him. He got caught out of position a bit and that looked pretty bad. 1-2
64': Ademola down the right side, a nice pass to Harsanyi. Instead of striking at a tough angle, he fires a center pass to Cullen who runs onto it and puts it into the net. 2-2
67': A big chance for Rushden... Thomas with a last second saving tackle in front of the goal, Ricketts blocks a shot and we clear. Whew.
70': Yellow card for Rushden defender Downer. We hav a free kick just outside the left corner of the box, but its taken poorly.
84': Sloma in for a tired German. Perhaps I should settle for the tie but at home with this kind of team I don't like it. I tell the guys to attack and we'll take the risk.
91': A poor pass in the midfield by Rushden is intercepted and quickly fed to Cullen. He runs down the left side, turns and puts a great cross in front of the net. Ademola is there and heads it by the keeper! 3-2
We don't lead until extra time, what a great win!
Woking 3 : 2 Rushden
Rushden Midfielder Lee Tomlin got 2 assists today and put up an 8.8 rating. He gets man of the match in the loss.
Our goals come from Ademola(7.2), German (7.5) and Cullen (7.7). Cullen, Harsanyi(7.7), and Clarke(7.8) with the assists. Clark was very strong in defense, helping to make up for the terrible play by Sidibe in the back. O'sullivan doesn't have a part in any goals but put up a 7.2 rating just for his control in the middle.
Sole was bad today, 5.8.
We're 3 points clear of 2nd at this point. Ebbsfleet is 4th in the league, 3-4-0... they're the only other team left besides us without a loss.
Heh, in a coaches meeting my assistant says that our current formation "isn't really suitable at all." Talk to me after we lose, buddy.
September 6th, 2011
Woking (6-1-0, 1st) at Wrexham (4-0-3, 8th)
Last season we won once and lost once against Wrexham in two high scoring affairs. Wrexham have one of the best goal scorers in the league in Marc Williams. 19 goals last year and already 7 in 7 matches this year. We will attempt to close him down and force him to use his weak left foot.
3': Left midfielder Reuben Noble-Lazarus (great name) for Wrexham controls the ball well just outside our penalty area, moves well with two defenders very close to him, and puts a shot right by Lynch from 20 yards away... 0-1 Well that is unfortunate.
8': Ricketts is brought down hard in midfield... no foul despite him staying down for a bit. The turnover leads to a 2 on 2 situation, and a nice pass frees Marc Williams in the box, Lynch runs at him and makes a good/lucky save. whew.
12': An outlet to Harsanyi starts a counter attack, he passes wide to German, back to Harsanyi near the penalty area, he could have come in to shoot, but centers for Sole instead.. Sole should have scored I would have thought, but instead loses possession in the middle of the box.
18': Thomas with a yellow about 30 yards out for a rough tackle. the free kick leads to a corner... and a second corner.. before they put a header over the bar for a goal kick.
25': Ademola with a poor pass in the midfield starts things for Wrexham, they move it forward quickly, get it to a man in front of Sidibe, the dude runs right by Sidibe and fires a strike straight in past Lynch. 0-2
40': Yellow for defender Obeng bringing down Harsanyi just outside the box. We can't do anything with the free kick though.
HALF: Just terrible. I was hoping maybe we could get one back before the half but not even close. Wrexham has more shots on target than we have total shots (4 to 2).
49': Ricketts with a yellow for a hard sliding tackle deep in our end. Free kick leads to a corner which we clear easily for once.
51': Brilliance from Sole! He takes a pass 40 yards out, turns by his man, runs into the box where a tackle is attempted, he manages to keep the ball and fires a shot with two men draped all over him, GOAL! 1-2
56': A long bounce after a blocked shot triggers a break for us. Harsanyi runs from midfield towards the goal, cuts wide and hits German with a pretty pass, but German takes a very weak shot and the keeper blocks it easily.
62': Anane in for Sidibe, who played terribly again.
65': Ademola hasnt' seemed to recover from the fact that his poor pass led to Wrexham's second goal, plus he's tiring... Sloma in for Ademola, German to the right side/Sloma on the left.
70': Wrexham with a quick counter, their right back wins the ball deep in his own end, fires a long ball past our defense, a fresh midfielder named Batt runs onto it and is able to put it past Lynch... 1-3
70': Cullen in for Sole, who spent some time on the sidelines after being fouled hard.
92': Lynch comes off his line to try to pick up a through ball, he gets to the ball first but doesn't pick it up cleanly, the ball falls to a Wrexham attacker and he happily puts that one in. 1-4
Wrexham 4 : 1 Woking
Can't win 'em all.
through all of that mess, O'Sullivan picks up the assist, has 5 key headers and completes 27 of 33 passes and has a 7.9 rating.
Sole's goal gives him a 6.9. Lynch (5.5), Sidibe(5.0), Thomas(5.2), and Ademola(5.8) and Harsanyi(5.9) embarrass themselves today.
Oof! Sidibe stuck in there without being match fit and struggling in general anyway after Fenton got hurt has really caused problems the last couple matches.
September 10th, 2011
Eastleigh (3-2-3, 13th) @ Woking (6-1-1, 2nd)
Eastleigh earned promotion out of the BS South last year. They're holding their own so far up in the baby Premier league. We've played them twice and drew both times, that would have been two seasons ago though. We're heavy favorites and I get Sam Sloma into the lineup in place of German to get him some work. Sidibe starts yet again in the back of the defense.
20': Harsanyi with the ball well outside of the box, he draws the defense, gets it to Sole who takes it up a bit further, he gets it back to Harsanyi in the box, if he could have shot immediately he had a clear look... but he needs a touch to control it and the defense gets it back for a corner. It was pretty looking though :/
24': Near breakaway by Eastleigh. Thomas hurries back and forces a tough shot. That's Eastleigh's first shot of the match. We have 7, but only 1 on target.
30': A very quick counter by Eastleigh leads to a thunderous shot off the post. Whew.
33': Sole with a poachers cut to the goal, O'Sullivan hits him, our 2nd clear cut chance of the match, but its saved and put behind for a corner. Corner comes to nothing.
HALF: Still scoreless. Ricketts and Thomas both picked up little knocks to their fitness. We're going to be very worn out in the back by the time this is over. O'Sullivan and Clarke have looked pretty good, Harsanyi and Sole both have had more than 1 legit scoring chance. Hopefully the pressure we're putting on will wear them down and get it done.
50': Counter for us, Harsanyi runs down the right side, hits an open Sole with no one between him and the keeper... and a shot goes right off the keeper. Seriously needed to finish there. 0 for 3 on clear cut chances.
55': Pulis hits Sole about 30 yards out, Sole runs right up the gut and makes one nice turn, he's got 3 defenders closing but finds the space for a shot just as he gets into the penalty area.. this is WAY tougher than his other chances but he puts this one by the keeper! 1-0
55': Ricketts moves to DC, Anane in for Thomas.
61': Maledon in for O'sullivan, who is both tired and has a yellow. German in for a tired Sloma.
69': Some buildup in the middle, a ball forward to Harsanyi who makes a good run with a defender draped on him. He centers for Sole who puts home a very nice volley into the left side of the net. 2-0
Woking 2 : 0 Eastleigh
We hold the ball, fend off some desparation attacks, and kill the final 25 minutes successfully.
Sole's 2 goals earn him an 8.8 and man of the match.
Ricketts and Clarke put up a 7.2 and 7.3, everyone else in in the 6.7-6.9 range. Pulis and Harsanyi earn the assists today.
we take first back over with our win. Wrexham, who beat us 4-1 last match, beat Rushden, another top squad, 6-0 today. Holy crap! Their star striker, Marc Williams, scored 4 goals today. He now has 11 in 9 matches.
A nice recovery for us today after our first loss.
Mark Cullen picks up the flu. I send him home so he doesn't infect the whole team and he'll be unavalable for a couple matches.
September 17th, 2011
Woking (7-1-1, 1st) @ Accrington (1-4-4, 18th)
Accrington aren't allowing many goals, just 9... but they've somehow only managed to score 6. they got demoted from League 2 last year and don't seem motivated to get back up just yet.
Accrington are very, very slight favorites at home regardless (6-4 vs our 13:8). German starts at the AML slot today.
11': Accrington get two men ahead, Lynch with a great job to block the first shot, and our defense catches up to clear the rebound... we should be down 1-0.
13': Midfielder Proctor for Accrington picks up a yellow tripping Sole.
28': Accrington catches our defense totally by surprise on a long ball... they get a striker one on one with Lynch, Lynch comes off his line and deflects a shot behind. We should be down 2-0. I give the "drop deeper" instruction to hopefully prevent this from happening again.
33': Thomas with a missed interception on a cross coming in from the left side. Accrington Striker Fletcher does a great job running onto it and putting it into the right side of the net. 0-1
HALF: What a terrible half. Sidibe, Thomas, Harsanyi and Sole are all under 6.0, we're really playing awful here. We're being outshot 9-3 and we haven't put a single shot on goal yet. Lynch has really saved us today, we could be down 3 or 4. Ricketts moves to the middle of the defense, Anane in for Sidibe.
56': We have some very nice buildup near the box and things get very crowded... in the end Ademola is trying to pass the ball across the box and one of Accrington's defenders gets a leg on it and it richochet's into the net!! Own goal! 1-1
62': I've mentioned it before, but if German had better control over the ball he'd be unstoppable. O'Sullivan finds him in acres of space as the play by play tells us, but his awful first touch sends the ball to the keeper.
75': Corner for Accrington, Lynch rushes out to try to pick up the cross, he misses, they have a header on the open net.. and hit the post.
76': Sloma in for Harsanyi. German moves to the striker position, Sloma AML.
79': Ricketts misses a header on an in swinging cross, Accrington midfielder Burgess heads it by Lynch. 1-2
81': WOWOWOW. Sloma with a cross into the middle. Its headed away down to the right corner. Anane busts his ass to run onto it and crosses it back in on a fully volley. Its a gorgeous cross and German gets his head on the ball inside the 6 yard box and it goes into the back of the net! The cross by Anane is one of the best plays I've ever seen at this level. 2-2
Accrington 2 : 2 Woking
Accrington manages 18 shots, 7 on target, and somehow only comes away with 2 goals. They generate 5 clear cut chances and don't finish well enough. By contrast we only have 5 shots, just 1 on target, just 1 clear cut chance. There's an own goal... I said it multiple times during the match, we should have lost 4 or 5 to 1 here.
German(7.4) and O'Sullivan(7.3) and Anane(6.9 in only a half) are worth pointint out... Lynch only managed a 6.5 despite his saves. Thomas and Sidibe were both embarrassing and I gave them the "disappointing" pep talk.
We stay up in first.
Every team has played 10 matches now:
1. Woking 23 pts
2. Cheltenham 23 pts
3. Wrexham 21 pts
4. Kettering 19 pts
5. Rushden 19 pts
6. Newport 18 pts
7. Cambridge 17
8. Macclesfield 17
9. Stevenage 17 pts
10. Kidderminster 16 pts
September 20th, 2011
Stevenage (5-2-3, 9th) @ Woking (7-2-1, 1st)
Stevenage are our top rivals. They are favored on the road based on reputation, we're considered quite lucky to be in first right now. Sadly Arter, Fenton and Cullen are still just a few days away from being ready. We're going to be at a pretty severe fitness disadvantage today.
Stevenage owned us last season, outscoring us 5-1 in two decisive victories.
I start Ricketts at DC today and leave Sidibe out of the lineup. Anane is my right side defender, and I have 3 guys from the reserve squad ready to come in off the bench to provide some fresh legs if necessary. I can't say I'm thrilled to be doing this for a rivalry game but it seems necessary on such short rest.
I open the match in an attacking mindset, willing to take risks at home early while we're still fresh.
2': Brilliant run by Harsanyi down the left side on a counter, brilliant pass across the box to Ademola, brilliant save by the keeper... doh!
5': Great turn by Harsanyi to get free near the box, he runs into the penalty area but doesn't strike it... he hasn't scored in a few matches, his confidence may be suffering? Instead he runs deep and lays it off for Anane who can't finish.
21': Yellow for midfielder Bostwick for a hard tackle on O'Sullivan. There will be more cards coming, that's 9 fouls between the two teams already.
26': O'Sullivan gets the ball to Harsanyi about 25 yards out, Harsanyi with the same great turn to get by the defense and generate a chance. This time he lines it up and fires a shot towards the far post by the keeper! Great goal. 1-0
29': While I'm writing this up, Stevenage earns a corner, Lynch comes out to try to punch away the cross, he fails, and the ball is headed into the net. 1-1
33': Sole with a hard tackle in the midfield... that's a yellow.
HALF: Exciting few minutes there as we each score quick goals. The last 10 minutes was a lot of fouls in the midfield. Sole and Ademola are struggling, Harsanyi is looking great.
65': Sloma in for a tired German. Reserve Anson Cousins in for Sole. Cousins is probably my best reserve player... my coaches don't think he is worth a damn but his numbers are decent imo, I've wanted to get him a little action.
79': Ademola is out, Maledon in. Pulis moves to the right side, Maldeon in the center. I back into a standard 4-4-2 based on the guys I have left out there.
82': O'Sullivan gets us going on a little break, he feeds Cousins who has some room just outside the box on the left side. He could have run at the keeper but it looks like he just panicked and shot from where he was, way wide.
88': Pulis picks up a yellow for a hard tackle.
89': Through ball from about 50 yards out by a Stevenage midfielder... a foward dives onto it and directs it into the net, urgh! 1-2
92': O'Sullivan feeds it into the box after a throwin, Sloma with a great look directly in front of the keeper, but he puts it right on the keeper...
93': Another throw in, Clark with a deep swinging cross from 40 yards out on the left side of the field, it drops to Pulis in the box who strikes it near post, PAST THE KEEPER! 2-2
Woking 2 : 2 Stevenage
I will take that! The downside is that Stevenage only puts two shots on target and they both go in, while we had 14 shots/6 on target/4 clear cut chances... we controlled the match and could have won. But with our depth and fitness issues I am certainly fine with a draw here.
O'Sullivan has an assist, key passes, key headers and dominates as usual, 8.0 and man of the match.
Clarke has an assist and a 7.7 rating. Pulis(7.3) and Harsanyi(7.5) score teh goals. Sole is the only true poor performer with a 5.7 rating.
Wrexham and Cheltenham both win and drop us down to 3rd.
September 24th, 2011
Woking (7-3-1, 3rd) @ Newport Co(5-4-2, 6th)
Newport were our main competition in the Blue Square South the year we won. They finished 2nd and won the playoffs. They finished 15th last year in the BS Premier, a few places ahead of us. We're 2-1-1 with 4 goals for/2 against over our two years with Newport.
Newport are 5-4 favorites at their place today.
I start the same lineup from last match, but Cullen/Arter/Fenton are available... just not fully rested up yet. There is a very good chance that Fenton and Cullen play at least 30 minutes heh.
35': Each team with 4 shots, we dominate possession but are really not getting good looks, struggling to break down the D at all. I try the rarely used(by me at least) Control strategy... trying to frustrate and draw out the defense to get some openings.
HALF: Yeah, still the same. Sloma in for a complacent German at the half.
58': Pulis is hurt on a challenge in the midfield... I have a bad feeling about this one, his fitness got knocked down to 45%. Arter in immediately for him.
73': Best chance i've seen all day... Ademola with a beautifully threaded pass to Sole who is running into the box, he has a half step on his man but the defender makes a great sliding tackle to save the chance.
77': Great give and go by Newport, Lynch makes a fingertip save on a tough shot.
78': I really want to bring Cullen in... but I have to sub a midfielder. O'Sullivan is exhausted, Maledon in for him.
89': 3rd match in a row we've conceded a goal on a corner I believe. Cross, header, poor defense, poor positioning by the keeper. Bad all the way around. 0-1
Newport Co 1 : 0 Woking
Disappointing loss today. No one stood out as having a good match at all here. We only put 2 shots on target all match. We controlled 57% of the possession but Newport generated more chances, more shots on target, more clear cut chances and obviously the only goal.
I am very pleased to see Arter, Cullen, and Fenton all available again. Fenton will shore up the defense right away I hope and the other two will allow me the chance to sit a player if he isn't doing well, or just needs a break.
Newport jump to 4th with the win today. We stay in 3rd but are not 5 points out of Cheltenham in first. There isn't a whole lot of room for a mediocre run if you want to stay near the top of the table, so we need to snap out of our little funk here right quick(1-2-2 in our last 5).
Anthony Pulis is going to miss about 2 weeks after the bruised thigh he suffered from a hard tackle in our last match. We've got a little bit of a breather here so he might only miss two matches.
October 1st, 2011
Altrincham (1-3-8, 24th) @ Woking (7-3-2, 3rd)
We are, no surprise, massive favorites here and need to avoid a letdown against a weaker side as much as anything. We've played them 3 times, winning 2 and losing 1.
Cullen starts for Sole - Sole hasn't been doing great so far, Cullen has the same amount of goals in far far less time
Arter starts at MC for the injured pulis
Fenton, thank god, is back in the lineup. Ricketts back to DR, Anane back to the bench after some useful work.
2': Fenton goes to close down a man at midfield when there's another guy running free... one very simple pass and an attacker runs 30 yards behind the defense by himself, beating Lynch one on one. 0-1 Ridiculous.
7': Throwin deep i nour area... a pass to striker Kalala in front of the net, he stands there seemingly forever(just a moment in reality I'm sure) without getting closed down on, strikes to the far post, goal. 0-2
10': Cullen runs in front of the penalty area, draws the defense a little out of position, passes back to O'Sullivan, who puts a good ball forward for Ademola, near post strike, GOAL. 1-2
31': A quick counter after an attacking attempt... Rickets to O'Sullivan who lays a ball nicely into the box. Cullen runs onto it and takes a good angle to the far post by the keerp. 2-2
34': O'Sullivan to Cullen for another easy goal, but he was very clearly offsides, meh.
41': O'Sullivan feeds Harsanyi who puts a shot on the keeper despite two defenders on him, but a nice save.
44': O'Sullivan to Arter after a throwin, nothing special here, just movign the ball around... Arter strikes from 30 yards out and surprises everyone, including the keeper. Its in the net! 3-2
46': Harsanyi feeds Cullen for another offside goal. Again, clearly offsides.
HALF: WHEW. Well then, that was fun. Conceding two terrible goals in the first 7 minutes, getting the ball into the net FIVE times the rest of the way, though only 3 counted. So yeah, 3-2 halftime lead.
46': German gets a yellow for a rough tackle on the wing.
49': Clarke with a nice long pass to Harsanyi, he hits German cutting in from the left wing, German with a beautiful strike just barely inside the far post! 4-2
54': Yellow for Kalala, one of their goal scorers. A minute later he commits another foul, oh to be red, but nope.
64': O'Sullivan with a pass from just within midfield forward for German, a missed interception by a defender, the ball settles in the perfect spot for German to run on to, he dribbles once and puts it past the keeper. 5-2
69': Free kick for us from the left side, practically a corner kick really, after a foul. German passes to Thomas, essentially a short corner. Its not defended at all, Thomas lines up a shot and puts it past the keeper to the near post. 6-2
74': Anane in for Ricketts, Sloma in for German, Sidibe in for Fenton. "German receives a standing ovation" as he comes off.
Woking 6 : 2 Altrincham
Well I'm more than a little annoyed that we were so flat at the start, but luckily this is a terrible team and once we woke up we were able to do this to them...
Antonio German scores 2 goals and has 1 assist for a 9.2 rating and man of the match.
Joe O'Sullivan has FOUR ASSISTS for a 9.1 rating.
Harsanyi (8.3/1 assist), Cullen (8.1/1 goal), Arter(8.1/1 goal), Ademola (8.0/1 goal), Thomas (7.8/1 goal), Ricketts(7.4), Clarke(7.4), and Fenton(7.0) are noteworthy as well. Only the subs and the keeper(6.9) didn't put on a good showing today.
As we enter October, the board is "Very Pleased" with my leadership of the team. Concerns about Sam Sloma's performances are mentioned as the only negative. We lost $70k last month but no one seems to care about that.
My job status is "Very Secure"
In addition to our clearly superb BS Premier run, we'll see the FA Cup and FA Trophy start for us this month, we have expectations to win a game or two in each.
Woking dominate the team of the week in the BS Premier League. German, Arter, and O'Sullivan make up 3/4 of the midfield, and Harsanyi is in at striker.
ugggggggh. "Joe O'Sullivan has suffered a groin strain after the central midfielder attempted a sprint during training today"
Out 4 weeks. There isn't a single player on the team more important imo. The only other guy I come close to trusting in his role is Pulis, who is out for another 10 days or more himself.
October 8th, 2011
Woking (8-3-2, 3rd) @ Kettering(6-5-2, 5th)
We played Kettering twice last year, winning one, losing once. They are slight favorites at their place, both teams are considering to be overachieving at this point.
Great News going into the match, Anthony Pulis returned to training earlier than expected and is fit enough to come in off the bench if need be today. Maledon and Arter start in the midfield though. I give Arter a supporting role instead of the attacking one that O'Sullivan is allowed.
I open in a defensive mindset and tell our boys to retain possession. This works great with O'Sullivan, we'll see if Arter/Maledon working it around can give us 65% possession and find openings at the same time.
7': Arter gets it to Cullen who makes a great cutback move to generate an open shot. Its deflected wide by the keeper, we fail on the corner.
10': Ricketts is way forward... especially given the defensive strategy. But he puts in a great cross and German gets his head to it... off the left post.
19': Corner to Kettering.. a cross into the box, midfielder Dempster heads it in, Lynch is nowhere near the ball at any point during that play, and no one was anywhere near Dempster. 0-1
21': A random shot from 25 yards out before we can close down is put into the right side of the net... ouch. 0-2
24': A long pass is deflected very slightly by Arter before settling near the penalty spot in front of Kettering's top striker O'Flynn. I think our entire team assumed he was long offsides? Thomas and Fenton appeared to be standing around watching the grass grow as he put it into the net. 0-3
After falling behind early here, I switched to commentary only, as this is my last game of the night and I'm pushing it a bit for this one, so the early deficit was good excuse to just end this one ASAP.
Boy did it get out of hand. Ricketts scored a goal before the first half ended, but then Kettering score on a counter attacking goal, then a penalty, then a corner... to crush us 6-1. This is one of those places where I should probably play for the closer loss instead of attack like its do or die, but I always forget about that until things are out of hand :)
Kettering 6 : Woking 1
Nick Fenton puts up the lowest rating I can ever remember seeing in a FM match... 3.9. Thomas 4.9, most others in the 5's. Oof.
I'm out of town tomorrow til Friday, so this should pick back up next weekend.
If I got a 3.9 on my team, the very least I would do is warn them, if not fine them a week's wages. (interact with player)
ohh i hadn't thought about that. I saved it immediately after the end of the match, still haven't done post match press conference or anything. I'll definitely be doing that and seeing what happens heh.
I'm pretty sure I've seen a sub four rating for a player in '09. In my case, I was playing a friendly or perhaps a cup match against a team three or four leagues above my own. Their strikers had a field day against my relatively slower defenders, and their ratings suffered.
Nice Dynasty so far. Sloma is a guy that has played on a couple of my teams, and always seems to perform. I like his versatility, as he has played up and down the left side of the pitch for me.
Thanks for reading!
Sloma has been a bit weird for me. He starts the game with Woking, so I've had him from the start. My first season I ended up finding success with a very narrow formation and having my play go right through the middle, so Sloma got left out. These last two I've found very good loaners and he's been a versatile reserve, but also a bit injury prone. As long as he's happy with not starting too often I'll be happy to keep him.
FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying Draw
Our opening match in the FA Cup will be at home against lowly Hampton & Richmond. They were in the BS South with us in 2009/10 but got relegated down. Our expectations are only to make the first round, which I believe we will do if we win this match in a couple weeks.
October 11, 2011
Cambridge(7-6-1, 3rd) @ Woking(8-3-3, 4th)
We are level with Cambridge with 27 points, but we only have a +8 goal differential, the lowest of all the playoff contenders. Cambridge are +14.
Cambridge were expected to be playing this well, we were not, and it shows in the lines, we're a 7-2 dog to win, Cambridge is a heavy 4-6 favorite. We are 0-0-2 against cambridge, losing both times we faced off last year. We have in fact not yet scored a goal against them.
Ademola is a bit tired coming into the match today, I move German to AMR and start Sloma on the left. Pulis and Arter start in the midfield.
I open the match with a defensive mindset.
11': Harsanyi breaks behind his man on a counter and gets far ahead down the right side of the pitch. Cullen is open in the box but Harsanyi's pass isn't quite right... Cullen still gets a shot off but its blocked. A better pass and we lead.
22': Ricketts misses a tackle fairly far out and our defense breaks down. One of their forwards ends up with a clear cut chance inside the box. Lynch rushes out and deflects the shot away, lucky for us.
39': A second clear cut chance for Cambridge, a second fingertip save by Lynch... a poachers cut behind the defense that we defend poorly. A shot on the ensuing corner is off the post.
42': Harsanyi with a good run into the box, the ball is well tackled away though. It falls to German who fires a cross over the crowd. Sloma takes it on the other side of the box and makes a GREAT pass to Harsanyi. He fires a shot that is saved, Harsanyi is fouled after the deflection though!! PENALTY! Sloma takes it and buries it. 1-0
We'll take the 1-0 lead to the locker room. Cambridge has 8 shots, but only 3 on target. We have 4 shots, all 4 on target, 3 of them clear cut chances on goal. We are tired today and I am worried about the second half. I issue the 'retain possession' instruction to try to spend a little more time with the ball.
55': Ricketts and Pulis with good defensive plays to get the ball out of the box after a dangerous through ball and a subsequent short corner.
58': Lynch again! Cambridge forward Frank Wiafe Danquah breaks behind the defense and Lynch has to make a 1 on 1 save. Wiafe Danquah has 8 goals in 12 matches for Cambridge and is a huge threat, Lynch is making some huge saves today.
61': Ademola in for a tired German, Maledon in for Arter
68': Fresh sub Willmont charges down the right side of the field for Cambridge, makes a great cross and Striker Lindfield heads it into the net... a very clean run and clean cross and great header that we just don't seem to generate ourselves. Yuck! 1-1
68': Sole in for Cullen, who isn't playing well at all. I was considering subbing into a 5-4-1 to try to hold the lead, but yeah, not now.
74': I move into a standard mindset, we haven't taken a shot all half.
75': WHOA! Pulis with a free kick from midfield, he lays it off to Maledon, Maledon with a great long pass to Harsanyi just outside the box. Harsanyi has tons of space, has a great first touch to control it, and fires a shot past the keeper from ~20 yards out!!! 2-1
80': After another long run by Willmont for Cambridge that we barely cut out, I decide its time to turtle. Contain/retain possession.
Woking 2 : Cambridge 1
We hold on for a big win against a playoff favorite!
Zoltan Harsanyi is clear man of the match winner today with an 8.5 rating. Ricketts (7.2) and Pulis(7.0) are the only others that stand out. I don't see how Lynch doesn't rate more highly.
Harsanyi is credited with a goal and an assist. Sloma has our 2nd goal, and Maledon our other assist. The difference in the number of chances we generate without O'Sullivan in the middle is striking. He's the only MC we have that can send through balls up the middle with any success. We shot 7 times, 6 on target. Cambridge managed 18 shots but only 7 on target.
After the match, we move into 3rd. We're 5 points out of first and tied with Wrexham for 2nd, but behind on goal differential.
October 15th, 2011
Woking(9-3-3, 3rd) @ Gainsborough(5-7-3, 10th)
Gainsborough are slight favorites at home today. We're 1-1-0 in our only two matches so far against them.
We luck out a bit, striker Bob Davidson has 8 goals and 5 assists for Gainsborough this year so far, but he's hurt and is going to be out for awhile.
Pulis/Arter start again in the MC slots. German/Ademola back at AML/AMR, and Sole is back in at striker instead of Cullen, who has not done well his last couple starts.
MR John Melligan seems the player to watch for Gainsborough, he's their top rated player and scores and passes well.
9': Gainsborough shoot 3 times in the first 5 minutes, we get out first look after short buildup, Harsanyi takes the ball about 25 yards out, he's got a man on him, but he turns and fires a rocket that hits the right post. Sole gets a look after we get possession back but has a shot blocked.
12': Boulding, a very average striker in for their injured star, gets a step on our defense and has a breakaway. he perhaps shoots a little too soon, but Lynch makes another great save after our defense fails us.
uh yeah... HALFTIME: We officially have 1 shot, Sole's second shot mentioned above was offsides. Gainsborough has 6, but only 1 on target.
Anane comes in for Ricketts at the half.
48': Pulis with a yellow, he's picked up about 6 fouls today, it was due.
53': Sole takes a throwin just past midfield and makes a brilliant run through the defense, getting all the way into the area by himself and generating a pretty darn good chance... but its saved.
61': Sloma in for a tired(and carded) Pulis. We still need to find a way to generate more shots today.
65': Our second shot on goal... sole with a nice little cross to Ademola in the box who fires a shot on target, but easily saved.
81': Maledon in for German, Maledon in the center/Sloma moves out wide.
84': Defender Taylor for Gainsborough picks up a yellow for tripping Sole.
Gainsborough 0 : 0 Woking
They take 7 shots, we take 5. Each puts only 2 on target all match. The end. James Taylor, one of their defenders, takes man of the match honors.
Thomas(7.5), Clarke(7.2), Pulis(7.0) and Sole(7.0) stand out for us.
Gainsborough tackled amazingly well. Sole's poacher cuts to the goal were not there. We didn't have possession of the ball in spots to try to feed him, they just took the ball away from us whenever we got close. We didn't defend them the same way... we defended the mdifield well and forced bad through balls up ahead that we easily took over... but if they did get past our midfield they usually managed a shot.
Either way, we will take a draw on the road against a decent team.
A loss by Wrexham moves us up to 2nd for now. Its very very tight though:
1st: Cheltenham - 38 pts
2nd: Woking - 31 pts
3rd: Rushden - 31 pts
4th: Cambridge - 30 pts
5th: Wrexham - 30 pts
6th: Newport Co - 29 pts
7th: Macclesfield - 29 pts
8th: Kettering - 27 pts
9th: Kidderminster - 27 pts
8 teams within 4 points of 2nd. Cheltenham threatening to run away with things, but we're barely 1/3 of the way done.
We get a bit of a breather, a week off before our FA Cup match.
October 22nd, 2011
FA Cup 4th Round Qualifying - Hampton & Richmond @ Woking
We're massive 1-6 favorites here. I make sure to get anyone who is losing match fitness into the lineup today. Hopefully it won't matter. H&R plays a flat 3-4-3 format.
2': Right, of course. 60 yard pass with a perfect run up the left side by H&R attacker Onwubiko. He is a step onside when the long ball is lifted and is 10 yards behind the defense when he picks up the ball and beats the keeper. 0-1 A poor pass by Ademola is said to lead to the counterattack... but it was well in their end, I don't like the "mistake led to goal" declaration there.
21': Lord... a through ball makes it to an attacker for H&R for a clear cut chance that luckily is pushed wide. A missed interception in the back by Fenton is the reason.
36': Right again. Sidibe misses a tackle in the box and that leads to goal #2. We are not doing well at all here. We have 4 guys "playing nervously" and "playing without confidence" 0-2
39': Yellow for Anane near midfield.
HALF: Down 2-0 i question the team's passion. Thomas in for Sidibe. Sidibe was a fine backup last year for a little while... he's turned into a complete disaster this year.
56': Cullen breaks by a defender and earns our first clear cut chance on goal, but the keeper does a good job to deflect his shot. Sloma goes after the rebound but doesn't get there first. He picks up a yellow.
62': Arter in for Ademola, German in for Sloma. I go for a more aggressive 4-3-3 to try to generate some offense.
64': Sole hits German for a breakaway goal, but he's offsides. I was 90% sure he was offsides before it was announced, ah well.
70': Pulis with a great ball into the box for Cullen, Cullen gets behind the defense and lays the ball past the far post! 1-2
After the goal... which I also expected to be called back due to offsides when I saw it, H&R protest wildly. Three H&R players get yellows before the kickoff. I don't think Ive ever seen that before!
82': Time to press hard on offense and take risks... this is embarrassing.
85': Second goal for Onwubiko, cross/header/goal/sigh. 1-3
86': Cullen runs down the right side with the ball, he crosses it into the middle, German uses his speed and gets there first a step before the defense and finishes! 2-3
90': Counter goal for H&R. this is goofy. 2-4
92': We hold the ball very briefly after kickoff to get men forward, Cullen finds German again for a goal. this is really goofy. 3-4
Woking 3 : 4 Hampton & Richmond
I did two things I don't usually do before this match. First, I brought in 4 subs simply to get them playing time. second, I told the team I expected them to win pre-match. I did of course, but I wonder how badly that tightened them up.
Pulis plays great in the middle and earns a 9.0 rating and man of the match in the loss. No goals/1 assist but a number of key pases.
Cullen has 2 assists and a goal for a 9.0. German with 2 goals and an 8.6 rating in 30 minutes.
Fenton (5.9), Sidibe(5.7), Ademola(5.8), Sole(5.6)...
This is the second year in a row that my team has choked horribly in our opening FA Cup match, failing to meet expectations.
We set a record for $70k in gate receipts from our match against H&R. Oops. The fans were out today and will be very disappointed.
Our next match on October 29th against Darlington has been chosen for our fan day to attract new fans. Hopefully we show the fans something better than the crap we just put out there.
Hey look, Sam Sloma is hurt in training. He's going to miss 4 weeks with a thigh strain. Sloma offers such good utility but is so injury prone.
October 29th, 2011
Darlington(5-6-5, 12th) @ Woking(9-4-3, 2nd)
we're at home but our form has dropped off a little bit and Darlington is favored against us very slightly. We've never beaten Darlington. We're 0-1-2 against them.
The best news of the week.. Joe O'Sullivan is back to full strength. He probably can't play the whole game today but I really dont' care, he's in the lineup. We're back to an ideal lineup with O'Sullivan and Pulis at MC, German/Ademola forward, and Cullen/Harsanyi at striker.
7': Darlington is playing a very defensive match so far. O'Sullivan, welcome back buddy. He's had a shot just hit the crossbar and go over, and placed a pass to Cullen in the midst of about 17 defenders(probably 4, but yeah...) for an effort that I don't think anyone else on the team can generate.
25': We have 4 shots, they have 1, all off target. We're dominating possession and such but no really great chances.
27': Cullen lays a ball off for Harsanyi, he gets it behind the defense but has a poor first touch on the ball, he still gets a clear cut chance out of it but its about 2 yards closer to the keeper than it needed to be... deflected and we come away empty.
43': Crazy corner for Darlington... its played to the far post, headed to someone on the near post, headed at Lynch, he saves it but deflects it out in front of the net, and its put into the net. 0-1
HALF: We're down 1-0, we dominate possession but can't get shots on target, just the one by Harsanyi. Darlington has the one good corner for a goal.
51': Yellow for Darlington Midfielder Byrne. He'd committed a bunch of fouls and was due.
59': Cullen with a bit of a breakaway, he has to take a shot from 20 yards out though and its nicely saved. corner comes to nothing.
74': Sole in for Cullen, Ricketts is tired, Anane in for him, we start to attack more.
81': O'Sullivan with a nice forward ball, Ademola centers it and Harsanyi with our second clear cut chance but he puts a header wide... we really should have scored there. O'Sullivan is tired and comes out after that, Arter is in.
84': Harsanyi with a great pass up ahead to Ademola, Ademola cuts to the goal from his right side position and puts a shot to the far post by the keeper! 1-1
87': Pretty much the same play, Ademola with a great run from the right side, but this time he's offsides. I don't buy it, looked clean to me!
89': Harsanyi with a yellow trying to win the ball back deep in their end.
93': One last corner for us in injury time, Thomas with a header well over the bar. Oh well.
Woking 1 : 1 Darlington
I'd like to get the win here at home, but after falling behind early I guess I have to take the draw.
Ademola earns man of the match with his goal and an 8.0 rating. Harsanyi's assist earns him a 7.6, Clarke, Thomas, Pulis 7.0 each.
Each team had 3 clear cut chances, 3 shots on target, and 1 goal. We dominated late to get 14 shots to their 8, but just not enough close range/on target.
Today was our fan day, and we drew 3278 fans, around 950 people more than our average. An exciting match is thought to be a good thing for fan interest.
Cambridge and Rushden wins drop us to 4th.
We get some good training reports coming into november. Our keeper, Kevin Lynch, raises his positioning ability up to 11, and composure to 9. He's got great reflexes and handling, its great to see him improving on his mental abilities.
Additionally, the board remains very pleased with my job overall. However, there is some slight concern that Lynch, Sole, and Ademola are slumping a little, and major concern over Nick Fenton. I think some of this is due to the aftereffects of our horrible 6-1 loss and once we get past that we'll be fine again.
November 1st, 2011
Maidenhead(5-4-8, 16th) @ Woking(9-5-3, 4th)
We're on a long home stretch here and not doing well enough during it IMO. We're only small favorites here but its a home match against a team not playing well. We've played these guys twice, a 1-0 win and a 0-0 draw.
With the short rest, I make a couple changes... Harsanyi/German AML/AMR, Sole and Cullen strikers. Reserve ML Josh Coke will probably get into the game for a bit.
14': Antonio German goes in hard on a guy from behind... no need, just possession in the midfield. its a RED CARD. Down to 11. I change us up into a 4-3-2 formation. Arter comes in for Cullen. Arter ML/O'Sullivan MC/Pulis MR. Sole and Harsanyi up front.
18': Sole with a great run, he's got a defender draped all over him but runs into the box with the ball, cuts across the goal looking for a shot. He finally takes it from the left side of the penalty area, but its saved. A corner comes to nothing.
33': Despite 10 v 11 we're really in control here. We've managed 7 shots, 3 on target, just 1 put on target by Maidenhead so far. Of course if we don't manage to get ahead the longer it goes the more we'll wear down.
36': There it is! O'Sullivan is controlling things in the middle, he hits Pulis on the right side, a great poachers cut by Sole, Pulis threads the ball by two defenders to Sole who finishes well. 1-0
HALF: Given the red card I have to be real pleased with how we're doing so far. Maidenhead is very timid and we're taking the 'good offense is the best defense' approach. No changes at the half.
49': O'Sullivan finds Harsanyi who places a great shot from about 22-23 yards out, the keeper makes a great save though. Corner comes to nothing.
50': Pulis with a yellow on a challenge in midfield.
58': Thomas takes a free kick from just outside the box after O'Sullivan is fouled. He fires the ball into the wall. It falls to Fenton in the right side of the box who fires an on target shot but its not going to score... interesting connection on offense between our two central defenders.
65': Great pass by Sole into the box for Harsanyi, he gets our 4th clear cut chance of the match but doesn't do anything at all with it, just fires it right into the arms of the keeper. Another "really should have scored" moment.
69': O'sullivan and Harsanyi are tired and sit. Coke in at ML, Arter to the center of the midfield. Ademola takes over at striker for Harsanyi. I consider a 4-4-1 but I really think if we don't keep pressing that we're going to start giving up shots constantly and will let them tie it up.
83': Terrible backpass by a Maidenhead defender. Sole charges the ball and has a one on one with the keeper starting outside the box, and I really want to just strangle the dude right now. No confidence? He just ran at the keeper and he's been a great finisher for me for 2 years now but he just loses it here and keeps running til its too late and pokes it like 3 yards wide.
Woking 1 : 0 Maidenhead
We're way way better than Maidenhead, and managing to win with 10 men on the field for almost 80 minutes is a good sign of that.
Pulis is player of the match with an 8.2 rating today. O'Sullivan 7.5, Thomas 7.3, Lynch 7.3, Ricketts 7.3, Clarke 7.2 Our goal scorer, Sole, only puts up a 6.9.
Back to second with our win today. Cheltenham loses on the road to Kidderminster, we're still 6 points behind them though.
GK Kevin Lynch is named to the BS Premier team of the week for the first time ever(I think at least!). Anthony Pulis played great this week as well and is on the team.
Antonio German is suspended two league matches for his red card. Reserve ML Josh Coke will stay up with the senior team but won't start.
I get a message that the loan and free transfer window is about to end for this period. I was confused, apparently, because i thought it was already closed. Apparently that was just the regular transfer window... I thought I was waiting for the new year to try to snag a couple extra players to cover holes left by injuries and such. I make a few loan offers and look to sign one new player, more on that if it happens.
November 12th, 2011
Woking (10-5-3, 2nd) @ Crawley(4-6-8, 19th)
Based on performance so far, I'd expect to be favored, but the oddsmakers like Crawley at home today. They beat us twice last year. Crawley has been in this league since 04/05, finishing as high as 8th and as low as 17th.
Harsanyi is AML, Ademola AMR, Sole/Cullen up top with German serving his suspension.
Striker Charles Ademeno leads Crawley in goals(6) and is up there in assists(5). He has no bravery and a very weak left foot, we'll try to exploit both of those and keep him off his game today.
25': 5 shots for us... all from long range. 3 of them were on free kicks from 20-25 yards so that's defensible. I tell the guys to work it into the box though. Nothing remotely close to a threat yet.
45': Midfielder Quinn collides hard with O'Sullivan. He rolls over and isn't getting up. He's not coming back from this one today. Arter is in for O'sullivan and we'll keep our fingers crossed for the injury report after the match.
HALF: This is boring! Neither team has placed a shot on target yet.
50': Arter takes a knock after a hard challenge... he can stay in and only loses a little fitness, hopefully he's fine.
52': Yellow card for midfielder Quinn, the guy that hurt O'Sullivan. :P
55': Crawley put the first shot on target all match. I was in the tactics screen and missed it. Harsanyi moves to striker, Sole is out, Coke is in at AML. Sole playing like crap lately.
58': O Lord. Cullen is tackled hard on a run down the left sideline... he's hurt and needs treatment.
63': 30 minutes left and I've used all my subs... Maledon in for Cullen who is hurt worse than Arter. I drop back to a classic 4-4-2, Coke/Arter/Maledon/Pulis. Ademola/Harsanyi strikers. Hope no one else gets hurt.
71': Crawley has dominated this half, maybe because they've injured nearly 1/3 of our side. They have 5 shots on target to our zero.
75': Thomas gets a clear look off a short corner but puts it barely wide. Still no on target shots today.
78': Ademola finds Harsanyi who runs by his man and has a solid strike at the near post, fingertip save by the keeper, so close! Our first on target shot all match. Corner comes to nothing as usual.
Crawley 0 : 0 Woking
Arter is hurt further on a sliding challenge late in the match. We spend most of the rest of the way defending, though neither team puts another shot on target in the final 15 minutes.
Jordan Clarke earns man of the match honors in defense today with a7.3 rating. Ricketts 7.2, Thomas 7.0. Ademola and Sole are slightly under 6, both seem to be struggling a lot lately.
Joe O'Sullivan will need to be sent to a specialist for a hip injury he suffered today. He's out for 3 months. If treated by the team it could have been up to 6 months, so that's good i guess??
Harry Arter sustains a gashed leg following the late tackle and is going to miss 3-4 weeks.
Mark Cullen is out for about 2 weeks with a bruised thigh.
Luckily, I'd taken steps to fill some gaps recently and they come through after the match.
AM RC Lee Keehan - 3 month LOAN from Bournemouth
I wanted someone who could play in Ademola's place besides Antonio German. Ademola has been struggling and needs some pressure(or perhaps a replacement on the right side for awhile). Keehan isn't the best passer i nthe world(7), but he can place a great cross(14), dribble well(11), has a nice first touch and can take free kicks. 11 pace/12 accel, great natural fitness. He's also determined, a hard worker and exhibits good teamwork, plays well off he ball, a guy who shows some promise. He's very young, only 17. We'll see how that plays out.
AM RL/ST Romone Rose - 3 month LOAN from QPR
Rose is a guy who played extremely well for me last season. I tried to loan him in at the start of the year but QPR said no. They've had a change of heart and I fully welcome it. 15 pace/12 accel, determined, creative with decent flair. 14 dribbling/13 finishing. 11 long shots. A little lacking in other mental areas, but at this level rose has proven to be great. He scored 9 goals and averaged over a 7 rating last year for us in 34 matches.
MC Chris Herd - FREE TRANSFER
Herd is a 22 year old. In 09/10 he spent 25 matches with Lincoln, puttig up a 6.51 rating. In 08/09 and last season he spent the entire time as a reserve with Aston Villa. They finally decided he won't ever succeed in the EPL and cut him loose.
Herd is a very good athlete. 12 pace/14 accel. 12 agi/12 bal/14 fitness. He's strong mentally, not a single mental attribute under 8. Work Rate 15, Teamwork 12, Decisions 11, Determination 10. Positioning/Off the Ball 9 each. Technically he seems just as solid. 11 dribbling, 11 passing, 12 tackling, 12 technique.
SO, before the injuries last match, I intended to only loan in one of Keehan/Rose, and hoped to sign Herd. Herd is going to make $975/week. I was going to try out a rotation of O'Sullivan/Pulis/Herd, keeping my central midfield fully fresh at all times. Another option would be to convert Pulis fully to the right side of the midfield and run all three.
One last note, the Herd signing puts me ~$900 over budget. Eventually i'll have to deal with that. Selling off Ademola, a guy who makes $1000/wk, 3rd highest on the team (behind Fenton and Harsanyi) seems likely at some point. I'm done for the night though, we'll have a bit of an adventure going forward with 3 big injuries and 3 new players to acclimate in the lineup.
November 18, 2011
Woking (10-6-3, 3rd) @ Macclesfield (10-6-3, 5th)
Macclesfield is a 4-6 favorite at home. They got relegated from League 2 last year. We've never played them before. Their top striker, Lewis Guy, has 8 goals in 19 league matches.
Our other new acquisition, Keehan, is available from the bench. Sloma is training again, he's not available today but could get back into the mix soon.
On the road against a good team we will play defensive.
26': Ademola with the first on target shot of the match as he runs across the top of the box trying to find space. We have 3 shots/1 on target. We haven't allowed them a shot at all yet, defense is looking great. I'm really happy to have Rose back too, he seems to fit in so well.
35': Macclesfield take their first shot. They got a good run into the box, Fenton with a sliding tackle to force a corner, they go nuts, i'm sure that will come up post game. They take a shot off the short corner that is wide though.
44': Some serious pressure by the opposition... a shot off the post, a shot saved by Lynch, another shot deflected for a corner... that was a scary minute there.
HALF: Not much so far. 7 shots for Macclesfield, 4 for us, just 3 on target between us both. I sub Maledon in for Herd, who was not playing much soccer (the free transfer) and not match fit.
54': New AM Keehan is in for Ademola
58': We fail on a couple attempts to make clean tackles and clear the ball just outside their box, the ball squirts away from a few guys to their striker Guy who scores a pretty goal from the edge of the box. 0-1
68': Pulis threads a nice pass through the defense to a cutting Keehan. He is onside(barely) and picks the ball up with space, he places it by the keeper! 1-1
69': Harsanyi moves to striker alongside Rose. Sole out, Coke in at AML.
Macclesfield 1 : 1 Woking
Fenton picks up a bit of an injury and we go defensive after that.
Pulis with the assist and a number of key passes in the middle earns him an 8.0 and man of the match. Keehan's goal is worth a 7.2. 7.3 from Clarke, 7.0 from Ricketts.
With the 3 new guys seeing significant action, and with a road game against one of the better teams in the league a draw is a fine result here.
FA Trophy 1st Round Draw
Bad luck for us, we're on the road against another Blue Square Premier side. It's Maidenhead, we're a lot better than them, but I'd rather play a total nobody at home(even though that didn't work out so well in the FA Cup)
November 22nd, 2011
Cheltenham (14-3-3, 1st) @ Woking (10-7-3, 4th)
Cheltenham have only allowed 12 goals in 20 matches. They're slim favorites in our house. Antonio German is still suspended, this is his last match out. I hate to do it but we're on short rest so I make a couple subs... Josh Coke starts at ML. Harsanyi Striker/Rose Striker. Also, Anane is in for Ricketts. Ricketts would be a guaranteed halftime sub if he played.
Cheltenham is led by aging Striker Zephirin Zoko, he's got 7 goals in 16 appearances this year. Noteworthy because I signed Zoko on a free last year but he never settled and played poorly and I was paying way too much to wait on him, so I gave him away to clear his salary. This allowed me to sign O'Sullivan, so no regrets here, but sucks facing him now.
I refuse to play for a tie from the start at home, we're in a standard mindset today.
18': Harsanyi with a quick long attempt from 25 yards out, a rocket that the keeper barely saves... first on target shot for either team.
36': Pulis with a nice pass to Harsanyi about 35 yards out, he puts a ball forward for Rose who runs onto it and strikes it quickly before the defense can close down. He puts it past the keeper for the lead! 1-0
38': Ademola controls the ball wide, fires a cross into the 6 yard box. Their keeper doesn't rush out for it and gets stuck out of position, Harsanyi is first to the ball and heads it into the essentially open net!!! 2-0
43': Herd with a nice ball forward to Ademola. He could have shot, dunno why he didn't, he lays the ball off to Harsanyi for what seems like a much tougher shot to me, but Harsanyi strikes it from the edge of the box with a defender bearing down and nails a solid strike into the back of the net! 3-0
HALF: Well that is one of the best 10 minutes of soccer I have seen in this dynasty! Ricketts comes in for Herd at MC(remember Ricketts is a natural DR but can play the midfield well). Keep it up boys!
50': Fenton picks up a Yellow for a worthless foul way out on the right side of the pitch, yuck.
54': Keehan in for Pulis at MC... he's a better AM but can play central midfield as well. Pulis went down hard in defense a bit ago and I don't want to risk anything with him.
62': After a throwin into the box is deflected away, Ricketts is first to a loose ball about 30 yards out. He drops a pass about 12-15 yards in front of the net, the defense is way out of position, the first one there is Reserve Josh Coke, he strikes it cleanly into the back of the net!!! 4-0
67': While writing up the last goal I see things blinking again. rose is running down the right sidelline, centers the ball for Harsanyi with one defender between him and the keeper. His first touch is great, allowing him to get a clear shot on goal which he easily puts into the net. 5-0 That's a hattrick for Harsanyi!!!
74': Sole in for Rose, who picked up an injury.
75': Cheltenham score off a short corner. 5-1
82': Thomas misses a header on a cross, Clarke with a very, very poor clearance attempt, right to a Cheltenham attacker for a goal. 5-2
Woking 5 : 2 Cheltenham
Quoting from my pre-match notes: "Cheltenham have only allowed 12 goals in 20 matches." .... make that 17 goals in 21 matches :D
With 3 goals and an assist, Zoltan Harsanyi is the clear man of the match winner, 9.6 rating. Rose has a goal and an assist for a 8.4 rating. 2 assists for Ademola earn him an 8.2 rating.
Josh Coke scores his first goal and has a 7.6. Ricketts(7.2/1 ast), Fenton(7.1), Clarke(7.0), and Anane(7.0) also stand out.
We're back to within 5 points of 1st after this win.
Nice dynasty (still reading through to catch up). I like your game report formatting much better than when I went with in my WSM09 dynasty.
You mention team size early in the thread. Have you found a preference in any of your time playing, few players versus many? I still haven't found a team size that I like, it seems that no matter which I go with the reverse would have been better (if I have a lotof signed players I end up seing fewer injuries and players getting upset about playing time while if I have few players I end up having to bring players up from reserve or youth quite a bit because of injuries).
Thanks! I had expected to speed things up a bit by now but I am enjoying watching full matches more this year than usual... usually by now I'm dropping back to extended or key highlights to try to plow through things a bit faster.
At these low levels I have a definite preference to a smaller team size. After the three new signings I mentioned just a couple nights ago, I think I have 20 guys on my roster, so for the first couple months I was running with just 17. That was a mistake on my part though, as I confused the initial "transfer deadline" that hits early in the season with a loan deadline and free transfer deadline too and thought I had screwed myself. I was intending to start small and add a couple players pretty early on as I saw weaknesses or a need for depth.
When I get a rash of injuries I do have a general preference to add depth with 1* high morale guys off my reserve team than with deep bench guys who are pissed off because they are stuck on my bench and can't get any playing time.
A great example is a guy that scored in my last game last night, Josh Coke. He's not really any good, but when Sloma gets hurt and German misses 3 games due to a red+suspension, his morale is superb and he plays his ass off for a couple weeks before giving his spot back up.
I assume at higher levels this won't work at all but in the Blue Square South and Blue Square Premier it seems to work really well.
November 26th, 2011
Woking (11-7-3, 4th) @ Northwich(2-6-13, 23rd)
What's worse than road trap games against horrible teams? Please don't let down please don't let down ;) This is actually the first time we've played Northwich. We're obviously big favorites today.
Harsanyi's explosion last match finally gives us a team leading scorer. Cullen/Sole/Harsanyi all had 6 goals before, now Harsanyi leads us with 9.
German is back from his suspension. He's at AML. Keehan starts at AMR for the first time, Harsanyi/Rose up front.
3': Rose gets the ball at the edge of the box, makes a move to beat his man for an open look, but he puts it wide. Shoulda scored, that was a clear cut chance.
20': Harsanyi receives a pass just past midfield on a counter and has a free run all the way into the box. He gets there, lines up his shot, and the Northwich keeper gets a hand on it to turn it just wide. Should be 2-0.
22': Pulis gets it to Rose in the box, right side of the next at a 45 degree angle and he is unable to put it past the keeper. Deflected away and cleared... that's our 3rd clear cut chance. Finish guys!
HALF: yup... lots of shots actually, including 8 for Northwich, but not a single one on target for them and we had our 3 clear cut chances and really nothing else remotely close. Sloma is in for Herd and we're going to attack harder this half.
49': Midfielder Grand for Northwich picks up a yellow in midfield.
59': Pulis with a ball forward to Harsanyi, he guides it to the left side of the box onto the foot of a charging German who fires a shot that hits the keeper but he can't fully hold onto and it bounces off him and into the net! 1-0
61': Ademola in for a tired Keehan.
70': Maledon in for Pulis to get us a fresh midfield for the final 20 minutes.
74': "Ademola is in a lot of pain. He's on the ground and calling for the trainers" ... and I just used my last sub. Down to 10 for the last 16 minutes. 4-4-1 the rest of the way. German/Sloma/Rose/Maledon midfield...
78': Our 5th clear cut chance on the match. Sloma with a great feed to Harsanyi in the box... shot wide.
80': There we go, Sloma with a low ball well forward from the other side of midfield. Harsanyi is faster than their defense, he breaks from an onside position and gets to the ball first, giving him a 1 on 1 run at the keeper, our 6th clear cut chance, and finally we put the game away! 2-0
84': 7th clear cut chance, a long bending free kick by Thomas that falls to German in the box, a bit of a tight angle, this fell to his feet VERY deep, and he slides it across the front of the net instead of directing it in.
Northwich 0 : 2 Woking
We end up with 7 clear cut chances on goal and only manage 2... but yeah a nice road shutout, getting the win against the poor opponent.
Harasanyi with 1 goal/1 assist for a 7.8 rating and man of the match.
German with a goal and a 7.7 rating. Sloma had our other assist in a 7.3 performance. Rose(7.3), Ricketts(7.5), and Clarke(7.5) great as well. No one is bad by any stretch.
Ademola is only going to miss 6 days after coming off in a ton of pain in our last match.
Ademola and Harsanyi are named to the team of the week this week.
Heading into December, the board remains very pleased. We're about $900/wk over our budget after signing Herd. Transfers won't go through til Jan 1 so I'm still kinda thinking about what to do there, but I am absolutely intending to drop some payroll.
December 3rd, 2011
Southport (5-5-12, 22nd) @ Woking (12-7-3, 3rd)
Another game we really ought to win, and we're nicely favored here. This is the 23rd game of the season, the halfway point. We beat Southport 1-0 at their place earlier in the season, our first ever meeting.
Same lineup as last match. Arter is back to full training and he's avalialbe as a sub for Ademola who is just coming off his short injury.
8': Lynch comes out of the box to pick up a loose ball after a long clearance. He passes forward to Thomas who has a horrid, horrid first touch, the ball bouncing many yards away to a Southport attacker. He's 30 yards out but the net is empty, but he manages to lift the ball over the net and can't put it in. Very very lucky.
23': Harsanyi with the first on target shot of the match, its a long one from a number of yards outside the box, not troubling anyone really.
24': Pulis with a 20 yard pass ahead to Harsanyi, their defense breaks down a bit, its not an easy shot, its another one deep outside the box, 25 yards maybe? But a clean look, the keeper barely saves it. Corner comes to nothing.
32': Herd forward to Harsanyi, he lays a great ball into the right side of the box, Keehan runs onto it and strikes it well but right at the keeper. Corner, shockingly, comes to nothing.
HALF: We've got double the shots, 4 on target shots and 1 clear cut chance, but haven't been able to finish one yet. I give the "disappointing" halftime talk, we really should dominate these guys at home.
63': And this is the worry when we can't put them away early. A deep run by the left side midfielder, a missed tackle by ricketts, a cross into the 6 yard box is headed home past Lynch. 0-1
65': Sole and Sloma in, German and Herd out. Rose moves to AML, Sloma MC(he did well here last match /shrug). Sole at forward along with Harsanyi. German picked up a knock and might be a bit hurt. Herd is just tired.
72': Rose with a cross into the box, its off a defende,r Harsanyi with a seriously forceful strike as it falls to him 18 yards away, but its off the keeper yet again.
75': Rose with a ball in for Harsanyi, again turns and has a solid open look, strikes it very poorly though and the keeper makes the save. Our 2nd clear cut chance, very frustrating!
77': We're building up possession. Pulis with a ball forward. A defender attempts to clear, but he blasts the ball off the body of a midfielder right in front of him. The ball ricochets backwards, the keeper isn't really ready for it, and its off his hands and in. Its credited as an own goal for the keeper. One of the strangest things I've ever seen. 1-1
81': Anane in for a tired Ricketts.
91': Thomas comes well out to try to tackle a Southport attacker 30 yards away. He misses the tackle, their other striker fills the hole that Thomas left, there's a pass, a shot, and a goal. 1-2
94': Ridiculous! Sloma is just a step inside midfield. He launches a ball to the middle of the penalty area. Sole cuts behind the defense, gets to it first and strikes it past the keeper!!! 2-2
Full time is called seconds after the restart.
Woking 2 : 2 Southport
Not good enough boys. It was exciting. Thrilling, even. But against this team, at home, that's not ok. Southport striker Steve Daly scores the first goal and assists on the second, he's man of the match.
Sole with our only goal, 7.1 rating. Sloma with the assist. Clarke puts up a 7.1, and Rose has his first poor match for us with a 5.8. Meh.
I had a huge mid-season writeup disappear last night during the flakiness of OS from NCAA11 day or whatever. Here's another go at it, but I'm sure its shorter.
We're 23 games into the league season, that's the halfway mark.
1. Rushden - 16-1-6 - 49 pts
2. Cheltenham - 15-3-5 - 48 pts
3. Cambridge - 12-8-3 - 44 pts
4. Woking - 12-8-3 - 44 pts
5. Newport Co - 12-7-4 - 43 pts
6. Macclesfield - 11-9-3 - 42 pts
7. Kidderminster - 12-5-6 - 41 pts
8. Wrexham - 11-6-6 - 39 pts
9. Kettering - 11-6-6 - 39 pts
10. Accrington - 9-7-7 - 34 pts
11. Darlington - 7-10-6 - 31 pts
12. Ebbsfleet - 7-9-7 - 30 pts
13. Gainsborough - 7-9-7 - 30 pts
That's pretty much a good cutoff for teams in playoff contention. I'm thrilled that we only have 3 losses but we need to turn just a couple of those draws into wins. Of course our expectations going into the season were much lower than this so contending for the playoffs is making everyone really happy anyway.
Sam Smith - Rushden - 16 goals
Marc Williams - Wrexham - 16
Stephen O'Flynn - Kettering - 13
Brian Wake - Gateshead - 12
Frank Wiafe Danquah - Cambridge - 11
Craig Lindfield - Cambridge - 11
Zoltan Harsanyi is amongst a group with 10 goals.
1. Joe O'Sullivan - Woking - 12
2. Obi Anoruo - Wrexham - 10
t3. Ben Harding - Rushden - 9
t3. David McDermott - Kidderminster - 9
t3. Zoltan Harsanyi - Woking - 9
I had no idea Harsanyi was responsible for creating so many of our goals. O'Sullivan has been hurt a lot and only played 16 matches, so leading the league in assists is awesome.
Other Woking Notables:
MC Anthony Pulis has an 81% pass completion rate, 2nd in the league
DL Jordan Clarke averages 5.26 tackles/game, 4th in the leauge
Joe O'Sullivan's 4 Man of the Match awards is 2nd in the league, as is his 7.60 overall rating.
Zoltan Harsanyi - 10
Giuseppe Sole - 7
Mark Cullen - 6
Antonio German - 6
Moses Ademola - 4
Aswad Thomas - 2
7 others have 1 goal
Joe O'Sullivan 12
Zoltan Harsanyi 9
Harry Arter 4
Moses Ademola 3
Anthony Pulis 3
Jordan Clarke 2
Sam Sloma 2
Many others have 1.
O'Sullivan and Harsanyi have 4 Man of the Match awards. Pulis 2. No one else more than one.
Joe O'Sullivan - 7.60
Zoltan Harsanyi - 7.20
Romone Rose - 7.10 (4 mtches only)
Jordan Clarke - 7.07
Harry Arter - 7.00 (12 matches)
Antonio German - 6.98
Mark Ricketts - 6.96
Anthony Pulis - 6.96
Mark Cullen - 6.89
Lee Keehan - 6.88 (4 matches)
Moses Ademola - 6.78
Chris Herd - 6.78 (4 matches)
Aswad Thomas - 6.77
Giuseppe Sole - 6.74
Sam Sloma - 6.72
Kevin Lynch - 6.69
Ricky Anane - 6.68
Nick Fenton - 6.62
Jerome Maledon - 6.51
Bilal Sidibe - 6.27
Thomas and Fenton as my DC's are a bit low, but I think its fair for my aggressive offensive style to account for that a bit? If I played defensive more often or played a 4-4-2 standard instead of wha the game calls a 4-2-4 the defense would be rated higher I assume...
I'm currently $825/wk over my allowed budget, so I've got to chop some salary. I found some guys willing to take pay cuts when I started looking, so maybe I'm not going to have to unload anyone after all.
I posted about this in the FM thread today before going forward. I'm not quite sure how it will go yet though, I'm not allowed to offer the full appearance fee some of these guys want.
DC Nick Fenton - Fenton makes $1300/wk now. He's 32, but he hasn't shown signs of his skills degrading yet. He's only asking for $650/wk, but he also wants a $325 appearance fee. Board only allows $250. OFFER: $700/wk - $250 appearance fee
AMR Moses Ademola - 22 years old. Athletic but not very skillful. I like him at this level though generally. Makes $1000/wk right now. Willing to take a pay cut but wants an appearance fee more than I'm allowed to offer. OFFER: $700/wk, $240 appearance, $65 goal bonus.
DC Aswad Thomas - Also willing to take a small pay cut to help the team's finances. Making $825/wk now, willing to re-sign for $650/wk. I offer it.
ST Giuseppe Sole - Very similar to Ademola. making $850/wk now. Willing to drop to $650 but wants an appearance fee bigger than I can offer. I offer $700/wk and $240/appaerance.
MC Anthony Pulis - Makes 1k/wk now. Wants $950/wk going forward. He wants a $500 signing bonus, doesn't much care about appearance fees. I offer it.
I leave it at that for now. I'm hoping enough will accept that I get under budget. These are all 1 year extensions. I've got a few others guys to work with still, including O'Sullivan, Ricketts and Arter. But these first.
Everyone signs their new deals. Maybe I should have tried harder to keep appearance fees down. So far though, the club has been willing to lose money to win as long as we aren't hemorrhaging through salaries. This gets me ~$200/wk under budget. If I could do one more thing I would like to sign another central defender and jettison Bilal Sidibe who is just not working out at all for me.
December 10th, 2011
FA Trophy 1st Round
Woking @ Maidenhead
A push according to the bookies, or thereabouts. 12-8 for Maidenhead, 13-8 for us. Maidenhead are 14th in the BS Premier right now and we beat them 1-0 despite German's red card early in the first half in our only meeting so far this year.
I start Pulis and Arter in my midfield today. Herd will get in on the second half.
22': We're playing defensive on a snowy field today. Maidenhead has generated one clear cut chance but done nothing with it. We only have 1 shot so far, a long shot well wide.
37': Arter with an indirect free kick from 50 yards out. He lays it to Pulis who fires a low ball into the Box. Keehan runs onto it, makes one cut and jukes a defender and puts the ball past the keeper at the near post! 1-0
HALF: Maidenhead has 8 shots, just 1 on target, 5 of them have been blocked by our defenders. We only have 3 shots, also just 1 on target, but ours went in. We're in counter-attacking mode and will probably stay that way.
52': Some buildup by Maidenhead, our defense seems fine. Striker Berry receives a pass about 20 yards out with just a step of space, he turns, fires a ball into the top left corner of the net. Lynch dives but can't get there. 1-1
52': Herd in for Pulis, who got hurt and is a bit ragged.
67': Harsanyi steals a backpass by Maidenhead and starts the coutner attack. He feeds rose and gets it back, charges down the left sideline with the ball, centers it for Herd who fires a quick shot, but the keeper saves. Its considered a clear cut chance, the angle was tough but a striker probably puts it in.
We stay in counter attacking mode, I really just don't want to give up a goal here on the road. Maidenhead only manages 1 second half shot. We get a few more but outside of the one clear cut shot for Herd, we don't seriously threaten.
Maidenhead 1 : 1 Woking
Antonio German earns a 7.7 and man of the match.
Keehan with a 7.6 and our goal. Pulis with a 7.6 and our assist. Clarke(7.2), and Arter(7.0) are worth noting as well.
There's a replay at our place in 4 days. we'll get 'em then.
FA Trophy 2nd Round Draw
The winner of our replay will get a home match against either Bath in the BS South or Ashford at the lower division level.
December 14th, 2011
FA Trophy 1st Round Replay
Maidenhead @ Woking
We're even money to win today, Maidenhead is an 11:5 dog. There has to be a winner today, not based on road aggregates or anything, just today's match. Extra time/PK's if its tied.
Herd starts for Arter today, Ademola starts for Keehan. Cullen starts for Rose.
2': A nice move for us, a little buildup, Pulis with a ball into Ademola, he heads it down for Cullen who takes a nice strike, its eaisly saved but an early threat is nice.
7': Harsanyi with a great ball fowrad to Cullen on a counter, Cullen with our first clear cut chance of the match, but he can't quite beat the keeper. Its saved, corner comes to nothing.
9': Herd passes the ball and falls over. I didn't see anyone near him. He's got to come off straight away. I bring Sloma in and with no one near him fear an ACL or something. We'll see.
23': We've taken 7 shots, 5 on target/2 blocked. We should have scored one by now, but we're pressuring like crazy.
43': Harsanyi picks up the ball on the left side, he sprints out wide and delivers a beautiful cross into the 6 yard box. Cullen runs onto it and puts it easily into the net. Cullen deserved that, he's been all over the attack today. 1-0
46': Ricketts goes down after a tackle and he has to come out. Ricky Anane is in at DR the rest of the way, and we're down to 1 sub.
HALF: Nick Fenton has committed a number of fouls and is playing pretty poorly. We've had two of our better players injured and are down to 1 sub on 4 days rest. Other than that though, we've got the lead at home and are more talented on short rest. I'm not going defensive or anything, I want another goal here.
51': Cullen with another clear cut chance, Sloma with a beautiful ball forward, Cullen barely on side and he takes a shot from the right side of the area, its saved though.
65': German goes down making a cross... again, he turned, no one nearby. He could stay in but he dropped to 41% fitness, he needs to rest. Romone Rose gets some AML time.
71': Seriously??? cullen goes down near the corner and he's gotta come off. 4-4-1 time.
76': Ademola with a cross to the far side of the goal, Rose gets a solid head to the ball, their keeper makes a really nice looking diving save, alas.
We attack well with 10 men, or at least we control possession well. Just a 1 goal win but a dominant performance.
Woking 1 : 0 Maidenhead
Harsanyi earns a great 7.9 and man of the match with the assist. His passing from his deep lying forward role was very good today.
Cullen with a 7.2 and a goal. 5 shots, all on target.
Clarke (7.4) and Thomas(7.0) held up well in the back. Fenton recovered from his awful first half and did ok.
Divisional level team Ashford wins their replay over BSS Bath, and we'll face them in round 2.
Mark Cullen eases my worries about an overcrowded striker role in a very unfortunate way. He's out for 3 months with atorn groin muscle.
Chris Herd strains ligaments in his knee with his early injury. 2 months.
Mark Ricketts has a bruised rib, 9-12 days.
German is fine.
Joe O'Sullivan is out 5-7 weeks still, so we've got 2 key central midfielders out for awhile. One nice thing i've found here is that Sam Sloma seems adequate (perhaps better) in a MC role, he's better down the left side but the ability to use him in the middle will be helpful here.
In an effort to speed the season along a bit I drop to "extended" highlights instead of full matches. I typically do this once I'm comfortable with my team.
Dec 21, 2011
Woking (12-8-3, 4th) @ Wimbledon (7-6-10, 15th)
We're even money to win here, favored on the road. We crushed them 4-1 at our place early in the season and are 2-0-2 and very even against them over the course of my career.
Here's our lineup with 4 players out injured now
Snow on the ground again today.
3': Rose brings the ball into the far right side of the area, lifts a centering ball that Harsanyi runs onto and he strikes it far post for the goal! 1-0
27': 4 shots for us/2 on target, we're dominating today so far.
34': After some buildup, Harsanyi receives a pass 30 yards out, turns and fires a powerful strike. The keeper has to dive for it but he turns it wide. Corner comes to nothing.
39': German with a through ball into the box, Harsanyi runs onto it and puts the ball past the keeper... but its offsides. I actually couldn't tell on that one
43': Thomas with a free kick from just outside the area on the left side. He swings in a cross, and there's a foul in the box! PENALTY! Ademola will come up to take it... and its SAVED. Ouch.
HALF: 1-0, should clearly be more with a missed penalty.
54': Wimbledon with a cross into the box, we head it clear, they feel there should have been a penalty and protest a bit. no dice.
57': Quick counter by us after clearing a ball.. Rose runs down the right side, he turns into the box, gets extremely deep and lays a ball off for Harsanyi. Harsanyi shoots, the ball strikes the left post and comes to rest inches from goal before a defender clears it out. DOH!
69': Pulis out, Sloma in. Ademola out, Keehan in. Ademola wasn't tired but the missed PK seems to have devastated him. He comes out with a 5.1 rating and was awful.
78': Harsanyi picks up a little knock...he continues for a bit but I don't want him hurt worse, I sub in Sole.
88': We concede a corner, they take a short corner and we aren't defending it well. They get off a clean shot but its right at Lynch, he saves it and doesn't allow a rebound. That'll secure our victory.
AFC Wimbledon 0 : 1 Woking
A nice road win, though we should have scored more.
Jordan Clarke earns man of the match with a 7.1 rating. Fenton and Anane also with 7.1 ratings. Harsanyi with our goal, Rose our assist, but no one on offense is over 7 today. Wasted chances.
We've now gone 10 straight leauge matches without a loss!
Cheltenham and Rushden both struggle today, creating an interesting logjam at the top:
1. Cheltenham - 49 pts
2. Rushden - 49 pts
3. Cambridge - 47 pts
4. Woking - 47 pts
December 28, 2011
Ebbsfleet (7-10-7, 13th) at Woking (13-8-3, 4th)
We're 5-4 favorites, fairly slim at home for this one. We should have a big edge here. Ebbsfleet was forced to play on the 26th and are going on just two days rest here, due to an FA Cup match or some other scheduling oddity I assume.
We are looking for our first win over Ebbsfleet, we're 0-1-1 against them. This is our first meeting this year.
Ricketts is healthy and back in for Anane. Keehan starts for Ademola.
9': Harsanyi goes down hard in the box on a challenge on a cross... we earn a corner and no penalty is given. Harsanyi stays in for now.
14': Clarke takes a wild shot from 35 yards out after a ball is cleared on a corner kick... nice effort, he hits the crossbar, close!
23': We are dominating possession and the attack, we've got 5 corners and 67% of possession. Sadly we can't do shit with it so far. only 2 shots, including the long range one by Clarke.
30': Brilliant run by rose! He takes on two men as he progresses from 40 yards out, generating the first on target shot of the match, but its saved.
32': Pulis finds Rose after a free kick, Rose turns by one man, runs cleanly into the box and strikes the ball by the keeper into the right side of the net! 1-0
35': Rose beats another man, runs into the box, he could shoot from a tough angle but instead shows great composure to find Pulis who strikes it from 15 yards out. The keeper gets a hand to it but that's all! Into the net! 2-0
42': Rose to Harsanyi who easily runs by the defender trying to mark him and gets a 1 on 1 with the keeper, he beats the keeper easily! 3-0
HALF: I don't know if this is a talent gap or is due to the fact that Ebbsfleet played 2 days ago, but we are just owning them terribly. Rose is running through their defense at will it seems, and Harsanyi just ran right by a charging defender for his goal too. Keep it up!
Sole in for Harsanyi to start the second half. He isn't showing injured but I'm not taking any chances.
46': We steal the ball shortly after kickoff... Keehan works it down the right sideline, feeds rose. rose takes a shot from a tough angle, the keeper deflects it. It falls right to Pulis who gets a very rare two goal game, striking the rebound into the net with the keeper out of position following his save! 4-0
59': Pulis with a yellow
80': Anane in for Ricketts, Sloma in for German
Woking 4 : 0 Ebbsfleet
It doesn't get a whole lot better than that!
Pulis with a spectacular performance, 2 goals and 1 assist, 8.9 rating.
Rose with 1 goal/2 assists and an 8.6 rating.
Harsanyi puts up a 7.2 with our 4th goal. Ricketts (7.6), Clarke(7.7), Fenton(7.3), Thomas(7.2), Arter(7.2), Keehan(7.2), and German (7.2) are all awesome today too.
Cheltenham and Rushden both lose. Rushden loses to Cambridge, giving us a new look:
1. Cambridge - 50 pts
2. Woking - 50 pts
3. Cheltenham - 49 pts
4. Rushden - 49 pts
Still 21 matches to go, but for now this is pretty cool!
December 31st, 2011
Kidderminster (14-5-6, 6th) @ Woking (14-8-3, 2nd)
This will be a key matchup for both teams, we're only 3 points apart. We beat them 2-0 this year earlier. We're 2-0-1 against Kidder in our lifetime. We're very, very slight favorites today (6-4 vs 13-8)
On 3 days rest, Anane will give Ricketts a rest, Ademola in for Keehan. Sloma gets a rare MC start for Pulis.
1': Rose gets by a defender shortly after the opening kickoff and challenges the keeper, who makes a nice save.
2': Midfielder Smirkle for Kidder picks up a yellow.
15': We have 6 shots already, just the one on target though. 80/20 possession early on.
20': We've seen some great long balls from midfield up to the forwards in a position to shoot. Sloma with a long pass that Harsanyi picks up perfectly but he can't beat the keeper.
29': Sloma to German to Harsanyi, some very nice passing right near the area. Harsanyi turns and gets a great look but misses from 15 yards out.
33': Sloma with a header to intercept a clearance. It falls to Rose who turns and places a very nice ball to Ademola who is charging in from the right side. Ademola strikes it far post and beats the keeper! 1-0
36': I mentioned some great long balls earlier... Sloma with a ball that travels 60 yards easily, rose sprints by the defense and runs onto it perfectly just outside the area. He isn't missing this one on one shot! 2-0
39': A nice cross by Kidder leads to a through ball to ST Knights, I swear to god he's offsides... but nope, the ref doens't call it, and he strikes it by Lynch. 2-1
46': Romone Rose is so damn good at times. German with an easy pass to Rose just outside of the box, he places a great shot before the defense closes down, upper left corner of the net from 20-22 yards out! 3-1
HALF: We have 68% of the possession, 12 shots, 5 on target, 3 clear cut chances. We've only allowed 3 shots. Total dominance.
Arter picked up an injury late in the half. I bring Pulis in for him. German is exhausted, I don't think b/c of injury, just short rest... Harsanyi moves to AML, Ademola to ST, Keehan in at AMR.
53': Harsanyi with a great pass to Ademola who has a clear shot on goal, but the keeper makes the save.
55': Clarke with a yellow in the midfield.
83': Maledon in for an exhausted Sloma.
We nearly allow a goal in the 92nd minute, but yeah, great job here guys!
Woking 3 : 1 Kidderminster
Rose is clearly player of the game today. 2 goals and an assist, 17/20 passes completed. 9.2 rating
Sloma plays really great in the midfield, earning an 8.4 with an assist.
Ademola with a 7.0 for his goal. Clarke(7.3), Fenton(7.2), German(7.1), Anane(7.0)
Cambridge loses today and we are in first place!
1. Woking - 53 pts
2. Rushden - 52 pts
3. Cambridge - 50 pts
4. Cheltenham - 50 pts
Our midfield takes yet another hit. Arter's injury, I don't even think it was part of the extended highlights that I'm watching, but he's out for 4 weeks.
3 of our top 4 MC are now hurt... O'Sullivan, Herd, and Arter. Anthony Pulis, knock on wood buddy. Pulis and Sloma for now become my default starters. Rose, Keehan and Ricketts are all accomplished at the central midfield role, all guys in positions where we have sufficient depth so I am not really desparate.
We're into January, the transfer window is open again. I'd like to sign a young DC. I'm pretty content everywhere else.
I am third in manager of the month voting for December. Cambridge and Wrexham's coaches are 1st/2nd.
The board is very pleased with my running of the team. The fans love pretty much all my moves. Romone Rose loan, Harsanyi signing, and Antonio German loan are all maxxed at superb. Cullen, Clarke, Keehan and Herd are all loaners rated very highly. They love me! For today at least.
January 3rd, 2012
Woking (15-8-3, 1st) at Histon(6-5-14, 20th)
Histon is only 1 point out of relegation. We're even money on the road, Histon is nearly 2-1 dogs to get the win here. We beat them 3-1 at our place back in mid August. We're 1-1-1 in 3 matches against them. They've got one threat. Danny Wright has 9 goals for them, no one else has more than 3.
Another game on 3 days rest. This is gonna be rough. Ricketts at MC (Sloma is exhausted). Keehan AMR, Sole ST. Sloma/Ademola/Rose are off the bench today.
3': Fenton with a yellow 50 yards from the goal. way to go buddy.
3': I'm attacking early, I usually wouldn't on the road but I want a halftime lead so I can defend late once we're tired.
13': Fenton picks up a little knock. I don't need that today haha.
22': There's a long ball 40 yards forward. The keeper comes out to get to the ball, but their defender heads it away. The header ends up in the box, the keeper ends up 20 yards away from the net. Harsanyi gets to it first and puts it into the wide open net! 1-0
27': There's a foul in the box on a German cross! Penalty!! Sole... drives the penalty right at the keeper. Ugh. Saved.
32': Clarke with a yellow.
45': Defender Gwillam picks up a yellow for a tackle on Keehan. Keehan had picked up a ball ahead of the defense. That was a solid 45 yards out but Threre wasn't any defender between Keehan and the keeper. no red!?
HALF: Always happy to be up 1-0, but when we miss a penalty... yea. Lets go get another goal before I sub people out guys!
56': Defender Abnett picks up a yellow.
72': Maledon in for a tired Pulis. Rose in at striker, Harsanyi moves to AML, German comes out.
87': Sidibe in for Fenton who is about to pass out out there.
89': Gwillam for Histon picks up his second yellow, for the last 4 minutes they're down to 10.
Histon 0 : 1 Woking
Backup ricky anane picks off 12 passes and completes 42/55 passes, and that's good enough for a great 7.7 rating and man of the match.
Fenton earns a 7.6, Clark a 7.2, Thomas 7.0.
Harsanyi with a 6.7 and our only goal. No assist b/c of the weird header by the defense I guess. Missing penalties kills ratings... Sole a 5.3.
We've got another match in 4 days, what a bad time to have 4 starting caliber players hurt.
January 7th, 2012
FA Trophy Round 2
Ashford Town @ Woking
We are massive 1-6 favorites over divisional level Ashford here. Sidibe starts over Fenton. Anane earns another start in the DR role. Pulis and Maledon start in MC. German/Ademola (Keehan resting). Back to Harsanyi/Rose up top.
Sidibe is the clear weak link, but I need to give Fenton a bit of a rest.
7': German takes a knock and is hurt and down under 70% fitness.
14': Sloma in for German, don't want him to get hurt worse.
23': Rose with a nice cross in from the right side, Harsanyi gets his head to it and the keeper can't get to it. That would not be a goal against anyone above this awful divisional level. 1-0
35': Defender Lever with a yellow outside the left side of the box, fighting with Sloma for possession. Free kick isn't taken well.
HALF: That really flew by. Faster than any "extended highlights half" I've ever seen.
51': After a deflection in our own box, an Ashford player gets a nice head to a ball and puts it just off the crossbar... Lynch was not going to get that one were it 6 inches lower, whew. First shot of the match for them (9 for us)
61': There's the Sidibe breakdown. A wide open run for an attacker after beating Sidibe in defense. Lynch charges aggressively and deflects the shot. Thomas clears.
74': Ricketts in for Pulis in the midfield
80': Maledon feeds Harsanyi in the box who is wide open and beats the keeper... but the flag was up. Almost!
89': A short corner to Thomas, he's got space in the box, but he puts it just over the bar. Disappointing!
Woking 1 : 0 Ashford
DL Jordan Clarke earns Man of the Match in defense today with a 7.3 rating.
Sidibe, despite his error, is otherwise solid, 7.2. Anane 7.1, Thomas 7.0.
Harsanyi and his goal are good for a 7.0 rating, the assist to Rose who has a 6.9.
We advance to the third round of the FA Trophy, which was the goal set by management.
We've got a whole week off after this match, whew! And German has no long term injury.
Arsenal have offered Carols Vela to Woking for $7,750,000. We took some random shots to try to loan some top level reserves, because what's the worst that happens, they say no? So I guess I'm on the list for Vela.
FA Trophy 3rd Round Draw
We're going to be on the road for our next match, against either Eastleigh who is 18th in the BS Premier, or Lewes, who is 6th in the BS South.
... (1 day later) ... Lewes in the BS South crushes Eastleigh. We're going to their house next.
January 14th, 2012
Gateshead (6-7-14, 20th) @ Woking (16-8-3, 1st)
We're 1-3 favorites here. We tied Gateshead 1-1 at their place early in the season. We're 1-2-0 against them.
Gateshead is led by Brian Wake. He's got 12 goals in 23 appearances.
Ricketts is back at DR today. Sloma/Pulis in the midfield. German/Keehan AML/AMR and Harsanyi/Rose up front. Oh yeah, Fenton in, Sidibe out.
5': Well then! Pulis with a ball up front to Harsanyi. He's 23-25 yards out, moves a few steps laterally, fires a shot into the upper right corner of the net! Very surprising, great long strike. 1-0
16': Harsanyi with the ball around where he put our first goal in... here he lays a ball slightly forward for Rose. Rose has a step on his man and fires far post, goal! 2-0
21': Sloma with a through ball to Keehan, he's onside, no one runs with him, he picks the ball up just before the keeper and puts it by the keeper again! 3-0
43': We've got a throw in deep in their end. Its thrown to Sloma near the left sideline, he crosses it in, Ricketts does a great job to get his head on it, just off the right post!
HALF: Dominance. 7 shots for us, 3 on target, all in. 1 for Gateshead.
67': Maledon in for a tired Sloma.
73': Striker Armstrong for Gateshead gets a goal to get them on the board, their scorer Wake puts a nice ball into the box for him as we are trying to close down on Wake. 3-1
Woking 3 : 1 Gateshead
We are on fire!
Harsanyi is man of the match, 7.6 rating, 1 goal/1 assist.
Keehan with a 7.4 with his goal. Rose 7.0 and a goal. Assists to Sloma (7.3) and Pulis (7.1). The defense is strong too, Ricketts(7.4) and Clarke(7.0) stand out.
We've now played 15 matches without a loss, and have 7 straight wins. Both are records for our team.
Free Transfer Signing
Mike Williams is a 25 year old defender, left or center. He played very well for Wrexham in recent years in the BS Premier but was released this year for some reason.
Heading (11), Marking (12), Tackling(11), very solid for a center back. Determined, good positioning, decent off the ball, a good worker. He's not that pacey, but that's alright for a DC. He's strong and a good leaper. He really looks like an ideal center back for us.
Aswad Thomas is only 22, but Fenton is 32 and Sidibe is 33. I'll be pushing Sidibe out ASAP now and trying to work a rotation with these 3 to see how Williams will work out.
The Woking fans are delighted that we got a real bargain in Williams. Oh right... $650/week, I should mention that :)
Joe O'Sullivan is back in full training and available!!
January 21st, 2012
Woking (17-8-3, 1st) @ Barrow(7-5-15, 19th)
We beat them 2-0 at home earlier in the year. and are the favorites on the road against yet another team fighting relegation. We're 2-1-0 against them.
Barrow Striker Jason Walker has 9 goals, 17 bravery and great athletic ability. Quite a worry actually if they have anyone to get him the ball.
I don't change my starting lineup, but O'Sullivan and new DC Mike Williams are available off the bench today.
6': Harsanyi with another long shot, similar to his goal last match, off the crossbar.
7': Rose with a long low pass on a quick counter, a defender misses an interceptoin, Harsanyi picks it up 35 yards out, runs towards the box and places the ball by the keeper! 1-0
9': Christ Harsanyi, another shot off the bar from 30 yards out.
13': Rose feeds Harsanyi again, another open look, but this one is saved.
16': German with a yellow.
24': A cross comes into our box from the left side. Its deflected near the keeper. Thomas tries to head it out instead of letting Lynch collect it. Its a poor header and their star Walker picks it up with space in the box. He beats Lynch for a goal. 1-1
32': Sloma picks up an injury on a challenge in the midfield. He's down to 41% fitness... uggh, I don't think O'Sullivan is quite ready for 60 minutes. No sub just yet. Sloma is just that much less valuable that I'm wliling to risk him.
38': Their man Walker strikes again. A great pass from 30 yards out, Walker times his run perfectly and beats Lynch again. 1-2
47': midfielder Mozika with a yellow for going in hard on Sloma.
HALF: The second Barrow goal was beautiful. The first was bad luck mostly, a deflection on a cross creating some chaos. Thomas, Pulis, sloma and Keehan all look pretty bad out there. My boy O'Sullivan is in for Sloma. No other changes, I implore the team to play with some heart out there. Barrow with 5 shots, 2 on target. We have 10 shots, 3 on target, 3 clear cut chances. They just finished better.
50': A very nice ball from Clarke into the box for Harsanyi. He's got a man closing in hard and fires his shot just over the bar.
55': O'sullivan with a long pass forward to Harsanyi in the perfect hole to find a clean shot, but its a long one and he puts it wide. The pass though... 40 yards, in the only spot on the pitch where Harsanyi can beat the defense to it.
61': A long ball forward by Pulis, its intended for rose, the defense intercepts it, but a pass to get it away from rose is terrible... really terrible, and Harsanyi runs onto it 10 yards from the keeper and puts it into the left side of the net! Rose putting pressure on the defender even though he wasn't first there made that happen 2-2
80': A graet Barrow move. Rickets is beaten by a midfielder, he can't quite get a clean run on goal for a shot but it causes a lot of chaos. He pulls the ball out, sends in a little cross, midfielder Rutheford heads it over Lynch. 2-3 Oof!
80': Ademola in for German, Ademola to ST, Harsanyi AML. Williams on for clarke. I brought him in to play DC but Clarke hasn't sat a single minute this year I don't think and he's ready for a rest.
93': One last chance, Harsanyi runs down the left side and puts a cross into the 6 yard box. Ademola tries to get there but the defense is all over it. We'll suffer out first loss in 15 matches today.
Barrow 3 : 2 Woking
If we're gonna go down, its going to be exciting. Harsanyi really could have scored 5 goals today. He came so close so many times. And that isn't really a failing on his part, those early shots off the woodwork were brilliant long attempts.
Their man walker with 2 goals is clear man of the match.
Harsanyi has 2 goals and an 8.8 rating. Rose with an assist and an 8.4 rating. The other goal was unassisted.
O'Sullivan is right back in form with a 7.1 rating, 24/27 passes completed, 2 key passes.
Thomas was awful, Sloma and Keehan average at best, and Lynch with a 6.1.
We did allow 13 shots, 6 on target. We had 19, 6 on target. We had 4 clear cut chances to their 2, and we really should have scored more than we did. But we need to defend better, can't allow a team like this to get 3 on us.
The headline after the match in our news is "Cardinals made to rue missed chances" so I guess the fans and reporter(s) saw it like I did.
We remain in first even with the loss.
1. Woking - 59 pts
2. Rushden - 58 pts
3. Cheltenham - 56 pts
4. Cambridge - 53 pts
5. Macclesfield - 53 pts
6. Wrexham - 52 pts
7. Kidderminster - 51 pts
January 24th, 2012
Woking(17-8-4,1st) @ Rushden & Diamonds(19-1-9,2nd)
Showdown! We won the first meeting 3-2 at home this year, and we're 1-1-1 lifetime against them. In their house Rushden is a pickem favorite. We're 11-5.
On 3 days rest I'll try to take advantage of our depth a little.
Williams starts for Fenton. Anane starts for Ricketts. Ademola starts for Keehan. Everything else is the same, including Sloma/Pulis in the middle and O'Sullivan off the bench.
Rushden has the best player in the league, by the numbers. Sam Smith has 18 goals and 5 assists in 21 league appearances for a 7.61 rating. He's simply great, everywhere. Speedy, good with the ball, good off the ball, a great teammate, very determined and smart. I'm very worried about him. We'll try to make him use his left foot which is weaker.
We're also going to attempt to close down on their two best assist men, ML Tomlin and MC Harding. I hope this doesn't create chaos and open space and backfire on us. We shall see.
We open looking to counter-attack.
15': What's worse than an O'Sullivan injury? "Kevin Lynch is going to need the Physio on" ... he stays in. and I do have a backup keeper that I haven't mentioned b/c he's out on loan and never plays. Fingers crossed after this one is over.
36': Lynch with a great save diving for a ball after a corner.
40': Sloma with a nice ball to a charging German, German runs onto the ball in the box and he's immediately tackled. FOUL, PENALTY!!! New guy Mike Williams is my best PK taker, and he steps up and buries it! 1-0
HALF: Our counter strategy seems to be working well. Bend but don't break so far, we've allowed 9 shots though most didn't even warrant the extended highlight trigger I guess. I've only seen a few and only 2 were on target. We've only gotten 3 shots but we're ahead.
51': A corner for Rushden, they get a decent header just over.
53': a give and go to the "other" striker Bowman. He's on the right side just outside teh box, catches Lynch leaning the wrong way, fires a long shot to the far post and its a great finish for him. 1-1
65': Uh, simple pass to a midfielder, McNamara, he shoots from 35 yards out and Lynch just can't do anything with it. 1-2
71': A throw-in, a header into the box, a header into the net. I really have to wonder if Lynch is suffering badly here and would normally get to these. 1-3
74': Its way too late, the last 10 minutes have flown by in extended higlight mode + writing up the slaughter... Pulis/Sloma out, O'Sullivan/Ricketts in. Sole in for German also, up to Striker/Harsanyi at AML.
Rushden 3 : 1 Woking
Sub Nick McNamara is man of the match for Rushden. The guys we wanted to stop we did, but everyone else killed us. Two of their strikes were just from such distance...
Mike Williams earns a 7.1 for us with our only goal.
Harsanyi and Rose are both poor performers today with a 5.8 and a 5.3.
Kevin Lynch is going to miss a month with a groin strain.
I brought in backup GK Lewis Martin on a free transfer early in the season. I don't thikn I even mentioned him. 16 jumping/17 balance. 11 positioning/12 determination. 9 reflexes/11 handling. He's alright. He's not Lynch for sure. But he's an 18 year old Scot making $80/wk happy to be a backup and to go out on loan some.
Speaking of that... I was careful when I loaned him out to include a "can be recalled" provision, and I triggered that immediately after the match. Martin is our keeper for 5-7 matches depending on exactly how long Lynch is done for.
Bilal Sidibe has been picked up by Nuovo Campobasso, a team who is 0-3-18 with a -45 goal differential in Serie C2/B. Sorry it didn't work out like we'd both hoped, Mr Sidibe.
The signing of Williams and transfer of Sidibe keeps us right in line with our overall wage budget. We're spending $12,912/wk out of an allowed $13,000.
January 28th, 2012
FA Trophy 4th Round
Woking @ Lewes
We're better than even money to win here, but I'm not quite that confidant on the road with a new goalie. He is match fit at least and has been playing in the BSS so he's used to this level of competition.
O'Sullivan still isn't quite ready to start. We play again in just 4 days and everyone isn't fully fit. Sloma stays in at MC along with Pulis. Sole in for Rose, Fenton is back in for Williams at DC. Ricketts could go but I'll leave Anane at DR.
1': They try to open the attack, we block a shot and counter fast. German to Harsanyi who takes a strike from just inside the box, but a very nice save is made.
9': Sole must miss the BS South, where he could receive a pass and just watch two defenders miss as he ran into the box for an easy goal. Fun to see! Ademola on the assist. 1-0
HALF: We do an awful job generating more chances, Lewes with one on target show and Martin is there to stop it.
50': Harsanyi with a run up the middle, he draws 3 defenders, dishes it off to Sole who runs into the box and puts it into the right side of the net! 2-0
55': Sole collects a clearance, runs deep to the right corner and sends a cross into the box. German is unmarked and gets a head onto it and puts it into the net. 3-0
62': We sub entirely for fitness and rest here. Keehan in for German(Keehan AMR/Harsanyi AML/Ademola Striker to adjust). Ricketts for Sloma, Williams for clarke.
64': Thomas misplays a ball on a low pass into the box, nudging the ball back towards his own net instead of clearing it... a striker runs onto it well and finishes easily. 3-1
Lewes with a couple poor shots in desparation and that is really it.
Lewes 1 : 3 Woking
Sole is man of the match with 2 goals and an assist, 9.2 rating.
German has a goal and earns a 7.7 rating. Harsanyi an assist and a 7.3 rating. Clarke (7.2) and Anane(7.1) also play quite well. Ademola with the other assist but just a 6.8.
We advance to the quarterfinals.
FA Trophy 4th Round Draw
We'll be hosting Salisbury, the #13 team in the BS South in the quarterfinals. About half the teams left are in the BS Premier (depending on a couple replays still), including Rushden and Macclesfield, other playoff contenders. So a home match against a lower league team seems lucky. Feb 18th for that match.
If you'll remember, a couple of our loans were for 3 months only. Keehan and Rose both have loans finishing February 11th. We'll try to renew both. We'll have to play 3 matches on short rest this month (one of them the less important FA Trophy).
The board remains very pleased with us. Our league performance is going to carry us. We lost $94k last month but it really doesn't seem to matter to the ownership as long as we don't overspend on salaries and make a real effort to win.
Feb 1, 2012
Wrexham(16-7-7, 5th) @ Woking(17-8-5, 3rd)
We're underdogs at home, Wrexham is even money, we're 11-5. We're 1-0-2 against them in 3 matches. They destroyed us at their place, 4-1, back in September.
Wrexham have two powerhouse goal scorers. Marc Williams has 20 goals in 27 matches and is a force to deal with. their other top player, Obi Anoruo, has 14 goals/12 assists in 27 matches but is hurt and will miss the match today.
I didn't see a notice for it, but Romone Rose is part of the U23 United States squad and is unavailable today.
Minus rose we're back to a stronger lineup today. Ricketts DR, O'Sullivan/Pulis in the midfield, German/Keehan attacking and Harsanyi/Sole strikers.
Harry Arter is back from his injury and we are very slowly returning to full strength here. Arter is available today.
7': Thomas picks up a little knock, he's not listed as injured, just a bit slowed.
13': Great long shot atempt by Harsanyi, he beats his man and shoots from 22ish yards out, fingertip save by the keeper, corner doesn't go anywhere.
20': Clarke with a very long shot after a corner is cleared out. Just over. We've earned 5 corners and seem to dominate possession early but no luck and only the one decent legit chance to score by Harsanyi.
26': Harsanyi receives a pass 25 yards out, turns and fires. Its deflected, the defender, Edwards, hangs on to the ball just outside the 6 yard box, poor control? indecisive? I dunno, but Harsanyi charges him, takes the ball away and places it right into the net from point blank range. Very odd! 1-0
31': Two fine saves for Martin. One on a nice through ball generating an open shot, its deflected and cleared by Fenton. A second on a nice long strike shortly after, Martin dives and turns it away from the goal.
33': German with a nifty run with the ball, he gets in front of the goal about 20 yards out and fires a shot in, it deflects just off the crossbar and back down into the field of play. Its cleared away, close!
HALF: The difference between Martin and Lynch is apparent. Martin has made some nice saves but has been unable to hold on to the ball a couple times where I am pretty sure Lynch would have. So far we have been there to clear it out.
The defense has issues though. Fenton is complacent and has been for a few matches. But Thomas isn't quite full strength after getting knocked around early on and is playing poorly. I can only sub one really. For now... neither, we'll see how the second half starts.
59': Sole is the scorer but O'Sullivan once again... 40 yards out, their defense isn't out of position or anything, but O'Sullivan places a through ball in the perfect spot to give Sole a chance at it. He gets to it first 15 yards from the keeper and strikes it into the net. 2-0
65': Williams in for Thomas, Arter in for O'Sullivan, Thomas is playing poorly, O'Sullivan tired.
I switch to defensive/retain possession strategies and it works perfectly. We take 5 or 6 more shots but they're all off target the rest of the way, but Wrexham doesn't have any attacks at all.
Woking 2 : 0 Wrexham
Jordan Clarke earns a 7.8 and man of the match today, lots of passes finding their mark, winning all 5 tackles he tried, 4 key headers in defense and 7 interceptions. He's forward a little to keep the attack going and just stellar in defense.
O'Sullivan has an assist and a 7.7 rating in his first start since injury.
Harsanyi(7.1) and Sole(7.0) deliver the goals. Ricketts(7.1) is worth noting too.
Thomas played poorly(5.7) but I give him a pass since he seemed to be slow after getting hit early on.
Two matches in a row, Nick Fenton has been described as complacent on the pitch. I need my DC's working their butts off, especially with a backup keeper. Mike Williams will start our next game and hopefully our next couple games to wake Fenton's ass up.
February 4th, 2012
Woking (18-8-5, 2nd) @ Eastleigh (8-8-13, 17th)
Eastleigh won't be coming in on short rest. The game we just played was rescheduled b/c we're still in the FA Trophy. They're very slightly favored today (6-4 vs 13-8).
We're 1-2-0 in our history against Eastleigh. We beat them 2-0 at our place earlier this year.
Williams in for Fenton,as discussed above. Sloma at AML for German. O'Sullivan will start but he's definitely going to have to come out at some point. Ademola in for Keehan. Harsanyi/Sole up top, rose is still in the USA.
1': Ademola with a cross in, Sloma is foward but heads it into the side netting.
8': Mike Williams takes a bad angle trying to mark their leading scorer, Armstrong. He beats our defense and Martin makes a really nice save.
13': Armstrong makes Thomas miss a tackle, gets into the box and beats Martin to the near post. 0-1
21': Pulis intercepts a corner and tries to start a counter attack. Sole is charging down the right sideline, he's tripped and goes down very hard. He has to come out of the game immediately... German in at Striker, I suppose, for now.
26': Thomas misses an interception that leads to a point blank strike from Hatch, the other Eastleigh attacker. 0-2
30': Ricketts moves to DC along with Williams. Anane in at DR, Thomas out. This is a disaster but Thomas has to go. Two subs used by the 30 minute mark and we're tired and on short rest.
HALF: The rest of the half breezes by. Eastleigh take 5 shots, 4 on target. We take 4 shots, none on target. We'll attempt to attack to make this back up but it seems bleak.
58': Ademola with the hustle play! Eastleigh defense tries to head the ball back to the keeper to cut out some danger, but its terribly done. The keeper rushes out but Ademola gets to the ball first, gets behind the keeper and walks the ball into the empty net! 1-2
70': O'Sullivan has to sit. Sloma to MC, German to AML, Ademola to striker, Keehan comes into the game at AMR.
73': Tons of possession, ending with German finding Ademola just outside the area, but a long shot is parried wide. corner comes to nothing.
82': Yellow for Sloma
Good second half effort, but we can't find the tying goal.
Eastleigh 2 : 1 Woking
Its tough when you are on short rest and your opponent isn't.
Ademola earns an 8.2 rating today with the only goal we generate. Clarke(7.1), Sloma(7.3) and Anane(7.0) also play well.
German(5.5) and Thomas(5.8) are weak spots. german hasn't played striker for us since our first few games, we got mixed up a little there with Sole's early injury and Thomas playing so poorly.
Additionally, a complaint: An eastleigh player goes down hurt. They have possession and kick it out of play. Clarke takes the throw-in and gives it back as per fair play standards. Eastleigh attacks well and scores their first goal. "Clarke's poor throw-in led to the goal" and his play in the rest of teh half is deemed to have suffered. That is very annoying.
Wait what? Rose? Yup, romone rose suffers a torn groin muscle while playing for the USA's U23 squad. He is out for a month.
Giuseppe Sole has a groin strain. He's out 4 weeks.
Cullen is still hurt, though he could be back in a week or two. Welp.
The good news is that on the same day Chris Herd resumes full training. So we're down 3 strikers, but our midfield is back to full strength. This lets Sloma move out wide and allows Ademola to play striker until Cullen is healthy.
Most of the top teams are now at 32 games played. 14 to go.
1. Cheltenham - 65 pts
2. Rushden - 64 pts
3. Woking - 62 pts
4. Cambridge - 59 pts
5. Wrexham - 58 pts
6. Kidderminster - 58 pts
7. Macclesfield - 57 pts ****31 games played instead of 32
8. Kettering - 55 pts
9. Newport Co - 53 pts
10. Accrington - 52 pts ****31 games instead of 32
That would appear to be everyone with legit playoff chances. We are in a great spot, but have to finish off the season. Thomas is struggling badly and Fenton seems bored or something. A crisis in defense is not what I need right now.
But new DC Williams is motivated, DR Anane is playing great as needed, and GK Lynch could be back before the end of the month with any luck.
With the encouragement of coaches recommending it, I critisize Aswad Thomas' poor play in the media. Thomas says he knows he's playing like shit and isn't happy about it.
Romone Rose and Lee Keehan's loans end. If I am reading the rules right I can't loan them in again. I try to with Keehan anyway. Rose's long term injury defeats the purpose for him.
I try to bring in a new loaner but really didn't prepare well enough here, I should have had someone ready already.
January 11, 2012
Newport Co(14-11-7, 10th) @ Woking(18-8-6, 3rd)
We are 5-4 favorites here today. We're 2-1-2 lifetime vs Newport, two of those meetings in the BS South. We lost 1-0 earlier in the season at their place.
A bit shorthanded with Keehan gone and our injury problems unfortunately.
Chris Herd is available for the first time since his injury. We have no strikers available off the bench. German can play ST or we'll have to drop to a 1 striker formation if we needed to make subs for some reason. Cullen will be back very soon.
Newport Striker Luke Powell has 16 goals in only 18 matches. His ratings don't look that special at all, though some are hidden i guess. We'll close him down I hope.
11': Thomas with a yellow for a foul about 35 yards out. Even matchup so far.
30': Thomas takes a bit of a knock, a hit to his fitness for now, doesn't seem injured. Each team has 2 shots both off target.
40': Thomas misses an interception and Newport get a clear cut chance, thankfully not by their ace striker.. this guy kicks it right at martin who makes the save.
HALF: 0-0, not a lot to see. They have 3 shots, 1 on target, their clear cut chance that was poorly taken. We've got 5 shots, only one on target. Everything is pretty much even.
61': yellow for midfielder O'Leary for Newport.
69': Herd in for a tired O'Sullivan
72': O'Leary charges into Harsanyi recklessly and picks up a second yellow! That's a red and a man advantage.
82': Arter in for Sloma, we have to drop back to a standard 4-4-2 to fit our personnel, but we are trying harder to attack with the man up.
86': Anane in for Ricketts
88': Ademola runs with the ball through the box, beats a defender and is just a few feet away from the keeper, not really enough space to try to beat him. Shot is saved and we can't do anything on the corner.
Woking 0 : 0 Newport Co
Meh. They've got a defender earning man of the match today.
On our side its all about the defense. Ricketts(7.2), Clarke(7.3), Williams(7.1), Thomas(7.0), and Pulis(7.0).
Possession was 52/48, we controlled the attack in the second half, ending with 13 shots to their 4, but we just couldn't generate solid chances.
AMR/ST Kayne McLaggon - a 21 year old reserve for Southampton. He's fast. 15 pace/14 accel. Determined, decent dribbling the ball, decent flair. He's just coming off and injury so he'll need a little time, but he'll be involved in the offense as soon as possible.
A good one this time! Mark Cullen has resumed full training. Kevin Lynch has resumed full training. Yay!
January 15th, 2012
Accrington (15-11-7, 9th) @ Woking (18-9-6, 3rd)
Accrington is favored heavily today, we're actually 4-1 dogs at home. We tied 2-2 on the road back in September, our only meeting. Accrington was demoted from League 2 last year and is going to be upset if they can't make it back up.
Anane starts for ricketts today, Arter starts for O'Sullivan. 3 days rest, we have to unfortunately. Lynch/Cullen aren't ready just yet.
13': Pulis is injured and needs a lengthy treatment off the field...
16': I go ahead and bring Herd in for Pulis. my second straight short rest game where I'm accounting for injuries in the first half
HALF: 0-0. We generate 5 shots but only one on target. We only give up 3 shots, 2 of them very long and silly, one a poor header off a corner.
I switch up German and Ademola, maybe German will have more success up front while Ademola is more used to the AMR role.
48': Very poor defense on a counter. They get the ball out wide quickly and it pulls us way out of position, two nice passes lead to an easy goal for striker Ryan. 0-1
52': We look better at least, some nice ball movement, a very nice feed from German to Harsanyi up front, a solid strike but the keeper is there to make the save.
55': Sloma out, Arter moves to ML, O'Sullivan in at MC.
74': A long clearance from Clarke... Harsanyi is way ahead of the defense on this one, a free run at the keeper coming in from the left side, a strike, but the keeper gets a hand to it and it hits the post and bounces away instead of going in. Our second clear cut chance missed.
Woking 0 : 1 Accrington
Very disappointing result. I bust out the very rarely used "show your anger at the team" talk.
Clarke's 7.0 is the only good rating.
Harsanyi missing two clear cut chances is a clear problem and earns him a very poor 5.5
We've got an FA Trophy match coming up to help get some guys fit and get things back on track.
Anthony Pulis went out very early in our last match and is going to miss 4 weeks with a thigh strain.
That loss dropped us to 4th and potentially worse as we now have some teams who have played fewer matches than us. This is due to re-scheduling for the FA Trophy, I think it will get back to even very soon.
January 18th, 2012
Salisbury (9th, Blue Square South) @ Woking (4th, Blue Square Premier)
FA Trophy Quarterfinals
We're 4-5 favorites at home today.
Kevin Lynch is back in goal today. Cullen starts at striker. O'Sullivan/Arter i the midfield. German gets a rest. Our new loaner McLaggon is available, he'll likely come in for Cullen if things work out.
5': A quick counter against our attacking offense... forward Tubbs runs right by Thomas to beat our high defensive line and ears a one on one shot against Lynch. Lynch can't get the stop. 0-1
14': diving!? O'Sullivan runs around with the ball in the box, goes down, and is given a yellow for diving. Well then.
18': Thomas with a yellow going for a header all the way up at midfield...
26': Cullen with a yellow trying to win the ball back deep in their territory
41': O'Sullivan with a ball forward to Harsanyi. He turns and gets off a shot but doesn't have his normal power to it and its saved easily. Perhaps due to the rain.
HALF: We trail by 1 here, we've generated some decent looks today, putting 4 shots on target in the half, but nothing has beaten their keeper yet. We ought to be able to pull this one off.
50': Salisbury finally gets in on the card party with a yellow for midfielder Jeff Ho.
57': Our new man McLaggon is in for Cullen at striker.
63': Herd in for O'Sullivan
74': Old problems here... Lynch comes out for a corner but can't get to the cross as it goes by and they head the ball easily into the net. 0-2
They turtle and we can't do anything the rest of the way.
Woking 0 : 2 Salisbury
For this one I don't really care, we got some new guys in and hopefully started getting them in shape to finish the league season strong. HOWEVER, that's 3 home games in a row with 0 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses. That is scary bad.
As everyone catches up in matches in league play we are still in a very tight race but are now on the bottom end of the playoffs instead of the top:
1. Rushden - 67 pts
2. Macclesfield - 66 pts
3. Cambridge - 65 pts
4. Cheltenham - 65 pts
5. Woking - 63 pts
6. Kidderminster - 61 pts
7. Accrington - 59 pts
8. Wrexham - 58 pts ***has played 1 fewer game
9. Kettering - 58 pts
10. Newport Co - 57 pts
10 points separate 10th from 1st. 12 matches left.
I think I've said it before but I don't necessarily expect promotion but as well as we've done all year it would suck if we were to fall out of the playoffs in the final 2 months.
There are some things I would just never in a million years think to try to account for.
The headline: "Two Players called up for international duty"
Oh? two, wow, that's neat, i wonder who?
Kevin Lynch AND Lewis Martin have been called up to the Scotland Under 21s to face FYR of Macedonia Under 21s. Hmm, that's both my keepers.
There's a silver lining though. They're called up for a match on the 28th. They are available on the 25th for our next match. But that could really come back to bite us heh.
January 25th, 2012
Woking(18-9-7, 5th) @ Stevenage(11-9-13, 15th)
We've yet to beat these guys. 0-1-2 lifetime, including a 2-2 tie at our place earlier in the season. we're heavy underdogs today.
Stevenage has one threat to score, Michael Mackay. He's got 14 goals, no one else has more than 4.
Fenton starts for Thomas on the back line today. O'Sullivan and Herd in the middle, German/Ademola attacking mids, Cullen is the striker alongside Harsanyi.
12': Mackay strikes the ball from 25 yards out and Lynch can't get to it... terrible defense, too much space given despite our instructions to close him down and tackle him hard, and Lynch should have gotten that anyway, it was straight on just over his head it seems. 0-1
29': German receives the pass deep in our own end as we clear the ball out of the box. He sprints with it to midfield, delivers a ball nicely to an onside Cullen who runs into the box with the ball and beats the keeper! 1-1
40': Ademola with a gorgeous cross from the right sideline into the box. The defense is poor, no one marks Harsanyi who heads the ball into the net! 2-1
46': There's a header into the box for Stevenage. Fenton could have easily headed it away it seemed but instead Lynch comes out and Fenton runs the other way... the way it looked for Lynch to pick the ball up cleanly. But a Stevenage attacker hadn't given up on the ball yet and as Fenton runs away the striker gets there first and pokes it into the net. 2-2
HALF: Well that was exciting... we were in a defensive mindset the entire half, didn't seem that way I am sure.
50': Harsanyi is challenged hard and doesn't seem injured but seems slowed significantly for the moment.
61': We possess the ball 30ish yards out, O'Sullivan places a beautiful ball between two defenders that Mark Cullen runs onto and strikes first time past the keeper! 3-2
71': All three subs at once... Sloma and Arter in for O'Sullivan and Herd in the middle. McClaggon in for Ademola at AMR.
78': Clear cut chance as German gets the ball into the box for McClaggon, he's beaten the defense but can't control it well enough for a strike, he pokes it poorly right at the keeper.
Stevenage 2 : 3 Woking
That's the way to get back into the win column!
We take 11 shots, they take 10. We put 4 on target, they put 3 on target, we just finish one more time than them.
Mark Cullen is the man of the match with an 8.8 rating and 2 goals.
O'Sullivan with an 8.5 and an assist. German 7.8 and an assist. Ademola 7.0 and an assist. Clarke 7.0 in defense as well. Harsanyi with our other goal but just a 6.9 rating today.
11 matches left. We're in 4th now, 4 points behind first and 5 points clear of 6th(ie out of the playoffs).
Huh, its march now. I just noticed that on my last ~5 updates I thought it was January. Oops :D
Now that Kevin Lynch is healthy again I've let backup GK Lewis Martin go back out on loan, this time to Eastbourne Boro in the BS South. I have a recall clause in there again.
Mark Cullen is named the BS Premier team of the week.
--Kevin Lynch has trained well this month. Always glad to see that.
--March is going to be busy. It looks like we have 7 matches this month.
--The board is very pleased with my leadership. Our BS Premier results remain the high point. The fans are concerned that Harsanyi is in a bit of a slump though. He's only got 2 goals and 1 assist in our last 8 matches(following a heater of a stretch of 7 games/7 goals). Its hard to decide if we aren't playing well as a whole on offense because Harsanyi has been off or if others have dragged him down.
Sole is available again after recovering from his latest injury. Pulis is the only player hurt right now.
March 3rd, 2012
Woking(19-9-7, 4th) @ Altrincham(4-8-22, 23rd)
Altrincham is very slight favorites today. We're 3-0-1 against them in our history, delivering a crushing 6-2 performance at home earlier this year. Hopefully our players are offended to be underdogs against a team with 4 wins in 34 matches.
Same lineup from our last match. Sole is available.
15': We take our 6th corner, all 6 laughably bad. We really suck at the set pieces.
31': O'Sullivan with a long shot that hits the crossbar and bounces back into the field of play. Harsanyi is first to it and puts it into the net... but he's offsides. It was close.
35': O'Sullivan with a great pass to the left side of the box that German picks up, he makes a move to turn by his defender and strikes it into the right side of the net! 1-0
46': We can't take a corner and we can't defend one either. Lynch makes a bad decision on a corner through the box and gets caught way out of position. We lose out on a header too and the ball is headed into an open net. 1-1
HALF: We dominate outside of one very poor corner defense. We take 7 shots to their 4, control 61% of the possession and have 11 corner kicks. Hopefully the offense picks up in the second half.
46': A great move right off the kickoff. Cullen feeds Ademola for a solid effort charging into the box put he puts it just wide.
74': Our 3rd shot on target all match... seemed like a great breakaway. German steals the ball at midfield and we have 3 guys forward, Cullen feeds Ademola who decides to try to pass it back instead of challenge the keeper, a poor pass, Cullen gets to it and does take a shot but its a poor one. Ademola had a great run at the keeper I thought. Missed opportunity.
76': Three subs all at once today again. Arter/Sole/McClaggon in, Herd/Cullen/Ademola out.
79': Some bulidup on the right side gets the defense slightly out of position, a pass is made to O'Sullivan from the right. O'Sullivan finds the hole i nthe defense and Harsanyi gets to the ball and fires a very nice shot from 18 yards out. He beats the keeper near post and gives us the lead! 2-1
86': German has picked up an injury and has me worried, erg. He'll finish the match but he is hobbled badly(40% fitness)
One last shot for Altrincham, a cross and a header in the 93rd minute but its way over the bar.
Altrincham 1 : 2 Woking
two road wins in a row, it feels like we are really back on track now.
O'Sullivan is man of the match with an 8.7 rating and assist on both of our goals.
German earns a great 7.9 rating and one goal. Harsanyi a 7.0 rating with his second goal in two games. Clarke(7.4) and Ademola(7.2) played well too.
Antonio German is out for 6-7 weeks. It's March 3rd, our final match is April 21st. Maybe he'll be back for the playoffs?
10 matches left:
1. Macclesfield - 72 pts
2. Cambridge - 71 pts
3. Rushden - 71 pts
4. Woking - 69 pts
5. Cheltenham - 68 pts
6. Kidderminster - 64 pts
7. Kettering - 64 pts
8. Wrexham - 61 pts
9. Accrington - 60 pts
10. Newport co - 60 pts
Our next two are against Kettering and Cambridge. Huge stretch coming up. Macclesfield and Cheltenham are both still on the schedule too. We'll have a lot to say about our own destiny here.
Joe O'Sullivan is named in the BS Premier team of the week.
March 6th, 2012
Kettering(19-7-10, 7th) @ Woking(20-9-7, 4th)
Again we're the underdogs at home. They're pick-em favorites. We're 1-0-2 against them. Our first game was by far our worst league performance this season. We fell apart on the road and lost 6-1.
They've got two big time scorers, Stephen O'Flynn with 17 on the season and Adam Boyes with 15.
3': ricketts win a ball in midfield, feeds to O'Sullivan who hits Sloma. Sloma into the box but he puts a shot well over.
10': Throwin from Sloma to O'sullivan, he feeds Herd 25 yards out. Herd turns and strikes, GOAL! Defense out of position and a great strike into the upper left corner! 1-0
30': We're in a defensive mindset, have been since the start actually. We've done great so far, 3 shots/2 on target, and haven't allowed a single shot yet.
33': Its never simple, is it? Ademola picks up a knock, he's not hurt, just slowed.
38': Short corner... I think from Sloma, to Fenton. A defender makes a sliding challenge and Fenton turns away from it and shoots near post, GOAL! 2-0
45': Beautiful through ball from O'Sullivan to an on-rushing Ademola. Ademola strikes quickly but the keeper makes a good save.
HALF: We have 8 shots, they have zero. Our team's average rating is 6.97. Theirs is 6.09. McLaggon in for Ademola who doesn't seem like he's going to fully recover from the hit he took early.
51': Their first shot is on target and a really decent look but Lynch is right there to make the save.
57': A truly poor back pass by an attacking Kettering. Their defender at the midfield line can't handle it and it sprays wide. Harsanyi is first to it and takes it all the way by himself, into the box unopposed and he beats the keeper! 3-0
59': Kettering with a strong attack, there's a header that Lynch barely gets his hands to. Boyes, one of their stars gets to the rebound and puts it in, but he was offsides. WHEW.
72': Sole and Arter in. O'Sulivan and Cullen out. O'Sullivan needs the rest and Sole needs some time on the pitch after his injury.
85': arter picks up an injury, hopefully not a bad one, his fitness isn't harmed too badly and he stays on.
Woking 3 : 0 Kettering
Spectacular in every way. A key win over a team fighting for playoff position. A nice revenge performance against a team that killed us at their place, and Chris Herd and Nick Fenton both score their first ever goals for us.
Joe O'Sullivan with an assist and a dominating midfield performance for an 8.0 and man of the match.
Fenton and Herd each with 7.7 ratings and a goal each. Harsanyi with a 7.4 and a goal, Sloma 7.1 and an assist. Ricketts(7.7) and Clarke(7.5) were outstanding as well.
Arter will miss one match, 6 days out.
Harsanyi's goal was his 20th in league play. He's tied for 3rd in goals scored this season and seems back on track after a poor stretch that I'd mentioned earlier.
Joe O'Sullivan will be a serious contender for player of the year in the league. His 17 assists lead the league, his 6 Man of the Match awards lead the league, and his 7.53 overall rating leads the league.
Sam Smith of Rushden with 24 goals and a 7.49 rating will probably win it, but O'Sullivan is in the conversation.
9 matches left, we're 3 points behind first and 5 points clear of 6th. Next up is a critical match with Cambridge who is 2 points ahead of us and in second.
Anthony Pulis resumes full training.
March 10th, 2012
Woking (21-9-7,4th) @ Cambridge(22-8-7,2nd)
Cambridge are huge 1-2 favorites here. We're 9-2 dogs. We are 1-0-2 vs Cambridge, earning our first win against them 2-1 at home back in October.
Harsanyi is tied for 3rd with 20 goals in the league this year. He's tied with Cambridge star Frank Wiafe Danquah. Cambridge's other star Craig Lindfield has 18. We'll try to hold them down as well as we did the scorers for Kettering last match. Through 37 matches in league play only two teams have scored 70 goals. Cambridge has 72 for/37 against. We have 70 for/43 against.
Ricky Anane starts in the back right for Ricketts today. Pulis isn't 100% but he can go today if needed.
4': Lynch comes out to the 18 yard line to go for a long ball. Wiafe Danquah gets to it first and gets a head on it. Its headed for the net but Fenton is there and puts it off target for a corner.
15': O'Sullivan with a great ball through to Ademola who could have scored it if shot it on his first touch. Instead he possesses it and gets too close to the keeper, no luck.
21': Great cross by cambridge, a header goes just wide. Its a clear cut chance missed, Lynch was not there.
30': O'Sullivan again, drops a ball onto Cullen's foot. We have our first clear cut chance, and Cullen's shot is saved. He could have placed it better, there was a lot of room.
33': A solid Cambridge attack leads to a good look by Lindfield. Williams is there and blocks his strike behind for a corner.
38': O'Sullivan with another beautiful run and through ball to cullen. Cullen with his second clear cut chance of the game, and for the second time he strikes it right at the keeper.
HALF: Scoreless on the road, I'm ok with that so far, though Cullen really needed to put one of his two chances home. We have 4 shots, 2 on target, the two chances by Cullen. Cambridge has 3 shots, one on target. We have 62% of the possession and are completing 73% of our passes compared to just 60% for Cambridge. We are doing great on the road but need to score.
53': Confusion as a pass is deflected, leaving Lindfield with a good look for Cambridge in the left side of the area, but Lynch makes a very fine save.
67': Sloma is out. Harsanyi AML, Cullen and Sole up front.
73': Cambridge have all the attack this half it seems. We're doing very well to hold them off so far but we need to generate something.
79': Pulis in for Herd, mcClaggon in for Ademola.
85': Cullen with a long strike just off the post. You'll never guess who fed him the ball.
88': Wiafe Danquah draws the defense and lays it off to the right side of the area, a midfielder comes up and strikes it by Lynch. We couldn't hold them off forever. 0-1
Cambridge 1 : 0 Woking
Unfortunate, we had two great chances to lead early on when we were in control. Cambridge attacked the entire second half and Lynch did great but finally let one in at the end.
Fenton earns a 7.2, O'Sullivan a 7.3 today.
With the loss today we fall 6 points out of first. We're still 5 points clear of being out of the playoffs, but 6th place Kidderminster is in the FA Trophy semis and didn't play a league match today. They have a chance to cut it to 2 points. Still 4th though.
Mark Ricketts is named in the BS Premier team of the week.
March 17th, 2012
Gainsborough(15-12-10, 11th) @ Woking(21-9-8, 4th)
We're favorites again in a match finally, 5-4 at home, 7-4 for Gainsborough. We're 1-2-0 against them, including a 0-0 draw at their place in October.
Today's lineup, since we've re-shuffled a bit after 3 matches in short order early in the month:
Bench: Herd, Sole, Thomas, Anane, McLaggon
1': O'Sullivan gets it forward to Cullen who turns to try to beat his man. He works for a shot but its not really a clean one and he puts it wide.
4': We counter hard after a corner, Cullen receives the ball on the right side of the pitch, centers for O'Sullivan who puts it forward perfectly for Harsanyi, who beats the keeper! 1-0
26': O'Sullivan hits sloma beautifully but he can't finish, a shot is blocked by the keeper. We retain possesion and build up again, this time, oh hey, O'Sullivan hits Sloma beautifully again, but he can't finish, again. The second one is a clear cut chance that he really needed to score on. The first a striker scores on but Sloma couldn't quite control it as well.
47': Clark saves the day after a nice long ball to their tough scoring midfielder Melligan, a tackle in the box to save a point blank scoring chance.
HALF: We lead 1-0. We take 6 shots, 2 on target, controlling 59% of the possession. Gainsborough only has 2 shots, and is only completing 52% of thei passes. We need to extend the lead though to feel safe.
47': Fenton saves a clear chance after a through ball to midfielder McMahon. They get a corner though. A shot is blocked by Sloma but falls to an open man 18 yards away. He strikes it and it ricochets off of Fenton and in. 1-1
55': Defender Reffin with a yellow for Gainsborough tackling Cullen hard.
59': Pulis with a yellow trying to win a ball in the midfield.
74': Graet save by Lynch to stop a breakaway. Sole in, Sloma out (Harsanyi to AML). McClaggon in for Ademola.
77': Corner for us. Its cleared but the ball falls to Pulis. He feeds it to O'Sullivan in the box, O'Sullivan with a strike to the left side of the net, IN! 2-1
84': After much buildup, McClaggon gets the ball just outside the box. He makes a great move to beat his man and turns on the jets, frees himself up for a clear cut strike on goal... and puts it just wide.
84': Herd in for a tired Pulis.
Woking 2 : 1 Gainsborough
O'Sullivan earns a 9.0 with a goal and an assist today, man of the match.
Harsanyi has a 7.0 with a goal. Pulis with a 6.9 and an assist. Other notables: Ricketts (7.0), Clarke(7.0), Fenton (7.1).
We took 14 shots, put 6 on target and 4 of them were clear cut chances to score. We controlled nearly 60% of the possession, only allowing 5 shots and nothing easy. A couple passes that seemed to be turning into easy chances were tackled away nicely.
We move up into 3rd with our win today but that was due to Rushden playing in the FA Trophy semis. We're 6 out of first and 8 points clear of the playoffs, but Kidderminster in 6th has also played one less match. We haven't secured a playoff spot yet but at this point it would be a severe disappointment if we didn't.
Joe O'Sullivan is named in the team of the week.
March 24, 2012
Woking (22-9-8, 4th) @ Maidenhead(9-9-20, 20th)
We're big time 4-7 favorites here. Maidenhead is only 3 points ahead of relegation, they're desperate for points today. With two BS South matchups and two FA Trophy matchups we've played Maidenhead more than anyone. We are 3-2-0 against them, but just 4 goals for/1 goal against in those 5 matches.
Same lineup as last match except McLaggon in for Ademola.
30': 30?? yup. Header off the bar by Maidenhead off a corner.
33': Little cross for striker Wall... Lynch should have charged him I think, this was just a couple feet away, instead Lynch stays on his line and Wall puts it in from point blank range. 0-1
40': Wall with a second goal on a nice through ball... but offsides, whew.
HALF: We just are not looking good. A bunch of players below 6.0 for the half. We take 5 shots but not a single one on target. they put 3 on target and their goal is pretty nice. We'll try to attack a bit more, we need points, not goal differential right now.
57': Yellow for Fenton in midfield.
72': After 70 minutes of crap we have a moment of pure brilliance. OSullivan forward to McLaggon, he could shoot from the right side of the area but instead feeds Harsanyi. Defenders are all around but he has enough space for a clear shot and puts it in! 1-1
73': Sole in for Harsanyi. Ademola in for McLaggon. I was making those moves to try to find a spark before that last goal, just a coincidence that it is the assist and goal scorers heh.
86': Nice cross from Ademola, attempt from O'Sullivan is put behind for a corner. Short corner to Fenton who strikes it and the keeper isn't there but a defender blocks the ball and clears it away from the net.
Maidenhead 1 : 1 Woking
A point on the road I suppose. I would have liked more against such a bad team.
McLaggon is man of the match today with a 7.8 rating and our assist.
Harsanyi with a 6.9 and the only goal. Ricketts(7.4), Clarke(7.0), Pulis(7.0), O'Sullivan (7.0).
Sloma was really off with a 5.9 rating today. Fenton could have been better too.
6 matches to go:
1. Macclesfield - 84 pts
2. Cambridge - 83 pts
3. Rushden - 80 pts
4. Woking - 76 pts
5. Cheltenham - 75 pts
6. Kidderminster - 71 pts
7. Kettering - 70 pts
8th has only 65. This is the competition with 6 to go. All 7 are at 40 games played.
Next up is a huge one... we host #1 Macclesfield.
March 27th, 2012
Macclesfield (24-12-4,1st) @ Woking (22-10-8,4th)
We're 11-5 dogs at home here. This is a huge match for us. If we don't win we really have no chance at first anymore. But if we can pull a point or three here when we're really not expected to it will really help our playoff position. We did manage to earn a draw on the road in november against them, but Macclesfield were under performing then IIRC. They are not underperforming anymore, to put it mildly.
Macclesfield has two scorers worth nothing, Lewis Guy(16 goals) and Curtis Main(13 goals).
Thomas and Fenton start today in defense. Just a rotation with Mike Williams to keep everyone fit. Ademola starts at AMR, no other changes.
14': We're playing defensive today. We are in control early but haven't really seriously threatened.
16': Ricketts with a ball up to Ademola who has our first clear cut chance of the match, but he fires it right at the keeper.
24': Sloma gets Cullen the ball, Cullen with a long shot that hits the crossbar, not a bad try.
35': Ademola runs down the right sideline and fires a cross in. Cullen gets his head to it, it takes a lucky ricochet off a defender that's right there, and finds the back of the net! Cullen does get credit for the goal. 1-0
HALF: A great half here. We get 9 shots off, control nearly 60% of the possession, 3 shots on target and a clear cut chance. Macclesfield takes 4 shots but none are on target.
48': A through ball for one of their stars, Main, who beats Lynch. He's offsides and we catch a big break, but Lynch was a little indecisive there. He came halfway out and froze instead of charging the ball.
63': O'sullivan with a long ball forward, cullen is first to it and gets a clean strike at the keeper from 15 yards out. Its saved but not held, Ademola runs onto it and puts it low past the keeper! 2-0
66': Sloma beats his man down the left sideline and fires a cross in. The keeper is out of position, Cullen runs onto it and heads it in! We suck at crosses and suck at headers, two goals in this fashion in one match!? 3-0
74': I make 3 subs based entirely on getting my key players some rest here. Anane in for ricketts, Arter in for O'Sullivan, Sole in for Harsanyi.
Woking 3 : 0 Macclesfield
I didn't see this coming at all. Macclesfield doesn't put a shot on target the entire match.
Cullen has a great game with 2 goals and an assist for a 9.3 rating.
Ademola with a goal and an assist, 8.6 rating. Sloma with the other assist has a 7.2 rating.
Clarke (8.1), Ricketts(7.4), Pulis (7.3), Fenton(7.3), O'Sullivan (7.3), Thomas (7.0) stand out. Clarke has the ball more than anyone, even o'sullivan today. He completes 39 out of 55 passes and wins a few tackles in the back as well.
5 matches to go, 5 points clear of the playoffs. We're not going to win the division outright (still 5 behind Macclesfield and 4 behind both Cambridge and Rushden, we can't catch them all), but we could clinch a playoff spot any day now.
All of my first team players are taken care of, I hadn't mentioned every signing along the way, I'll focus a little more on that when I update the roster going into next year.
I do have a few coaches and scouts unsigned, all of them feel like they're better than Woking and want more than I can possibly offer. I'll be hiring a GK coach, two coaches and a scout to replace what i'm losing in the offseason.
March 31st, 2012
Crawley (16-10-14, 13th) @ Woking (23-10-8,4th)
We're 5-4 favorites at home today. We have never beaten Crawley, 0-1-2 lifetime, including a 0-0 draw in november.
Anane in for Ricketts today, a sub due to the short rest. Williams in for Thomas for the same reason.
4': A counter attack, Cullen gets the ball at midfield and launches a nice long ball forward for Harsanyi, he's onsides... barely it appears, and not marked at all. He controls the ball well and beats the keeper! 1-0
10': Sloma is hurt. He can stay in but he's gonna be slowed badly.
14': We clear a ball out of the area up to midfield, but we get stuck out of position. They win a header at midfield and feed it to a striker very quickly for an easy goal. 1-1
29': Awful defense for Crawley. Ademola with a pass to Cullen 30 yards out, the defense is there but Cullen runs right into the box between the two DC's and strikes it into the net. 2-1
HALF: A wild start that slows down quite a bit late. We only take 3 shots, 2 on target, both clear cut chances that we finish. Crawley takes 8 shots and controls the ball well, but only puts 1 on target. Every on target shot has ended up in the net so far.
Arter in for Sloma. We back into a normal 4-4-2 to account for Arter's inability to play AML.
60': Fenton completely misses an interception of a long ball about 40 yards out. Ademeno for Crawly runs onto the ball and easily runs up and beats Lynch for the tying goal. 2-2
67': McLaggon in for Ademola.
Woking 2 : 2 Crawley
Well that was dull for the 2nd half. All there was to write was "we take a long shot and miss by a mile" and "look at that corner kick, boy do we suck at corner kicks."
Their first goal scorer earns man of the match.
Cullen puts up a 7.5 with a goal and an assist. Harsanyi has now scored in 6 of his last 8 matches. Only a 6.8 rating with his goal here. Ademola with the other assist but that's only good for a 6.8 as well.
that leaves O'Sullivan, 7.5 rating, 30/38 passes including 3 key ones, 6/6 tackles, 8/8 headers.
After the match we learn that Sloma will miss 9-12 days. I actually hadn't looked ahead into April yet. That'll just be one match.
4 matches to go:
1. Rushden 86 pts
2. Macclesfield 85 pts
3. Cambridge 83 pts
4. Woking 80 pts
5. Kidderminster 77 pts
6. Cheltenham 75 pts
7. Kettering 73 pts
We're in the same spot, we can't go out and lose the rest of our games, but we're in a damn fine position.
Joe O'Sullivan is the March BS Premier player of the month! O'Sullivan played 7 matches in march, putting up 4 assists and a goal. His worst rating was a 7.0, and his average for the month is an incredible 7.83.
We play on the 9th(Darlington), 14th(Cheltenham), 17th(Northwich) and 21st (Ebbsfleet).
Cheltenham on the 14th really stands out. They're currently in 6th, just barely out of the playoffs.
The board remains very pleased with my leadership. There is no negative mentioned at all in their roundup(unlike the last few months where a slumping player would be mentioned).
We remain right around our salary budget, and we lose money constantly. The board continues to inject cash to keep our balance between -300k and -400k and taht never seems a problem. It keeps the players scared enough that they take lower salaries but its never been mentioned that I need to start making money, thank god.
April 9th, 2012
Woking(23-11-8, 4th) @ Darlington(16-14-12, 12th)
Darlington is a pickem favorite here. Here's another squad that we've never beaten, 0-2-2 against them. We tied 1:1 at our place in October.
German is healthy again but not quite full strength. I'll have him ready to come in anyway. With Sloma hurt I go with a standard 4-4-2, Arter on the left/Ademola on the right.
We'll go defensive on the road.
5': Arter picks up a yellow trying to win a ball back deep in their end.
12': O'Sullivan with a ball to Ademola, he puts a shot just barely wide.
25': Very close to a goal for Darlington, a cross from a long way out, they get a head to it in the box but its over.
29': We earn a corner, Ademola takes it, they miss a header to clear badly. Mike Williams runs up to it and puts it far post past the keeper! 1-0
34': O'Sullivan with a great through ball to Harsanyi past their entire defense. Harsanyi puts it home! 2-0
HALF: 6 shots, only 2 on target but both were clear cut chances and we finished on both. Darlington has 4 shots, they were more aggressive early but we dominate the second part of the half.
77': They're trying to attack but not doing well at it. Nothing to mention... until O'Sullivan is forced to come off injured. Uggggh. Herd in for O'Sullivan. German in for Arter and McLaggon in for Ademola.
We hold them off easily.
Darlington 0 : 2 Woking
The defense earns the marks today, Ricketts earns a 7.8 in defense and man of the match. Williams 7.4 with his goal, Harsanyi 7.0 and a goal. O'Sullivan 7.0 and an asssist. Clarke(7.2) and Fenton(7.0)
Brilliant, but injury prone. *sighs* Joe O'Sullivan is out for the rest of the season (2 months).
With just 3 matches to go, we're now 7 points clear of a playoff spot. So we've lost O'Sullivan but we're pretty much in.
1. Rushden - 89 pts
2. Macclesfield - 88 pts
3. Cambridge - 86 pts
Woking - 83 pts
5. Kidderminster - 77 pts
6. Kettering - 76 pts
7. Cheltenham - 76 pts
Rushden, Macclesfield, and Cambridge have clinched a playoff spot. We should be next.
Mike Williams collides with Giuseppe Sole, Sole is out for 9-12 days.
Player of the Season Voting
O'Sullivan isn't on the list. I guess he didn't play enough matches this season. Sam Smith of Rushden is the obvious choice. He's got 32 goals and 10 assists in 35 matches. He has a 7.64 average rating. No one else on the list has above a 7.23 rating.
April 14th, 2012
Woking(24-11-8, 4th) @ Cheltenham(23-7-13, 7th)
We're 5-4 favorites. Cheltenham and Kettering are tied at 6th/7th, 1 point behind Kidderminster in 5th. If we tie here I believe that's enough to clinch a playoff spot, but they're fighting for their playoff lives today.
We're 2-1-0 vs Cheltenham including a fun 5-2 victory earlier in the year at home.
Thomas/Fenton start in defense today. Pulis and Herd MC with O'Sullivan out. German/Ademola AM's, and Harsanyi/Cullen in their usual striker roles.
2': Pulis hurt. "He'll need a lengthy treatment."
18': Pulis hits German for a nice clear cut chance, but nope. The keeper makes a nice save.
29': A cross comes in from the left side, Ademola is deep trying to help the defense and he deflects it, but doesn't clear. It floats into the box and we're all out of position now, they get a head to it and put it in easily. 0-1
35': Cullen has a decent shot at goal in a crowded penalty area, saved. Harsanyi with a long range effort soon after. Saved.
39': Lynch with long clearance after a back pass. Cullen has a bead on it, their defenders are either not paying attention or are just slooow. Cullen runs on to it and beats their keeper easily. 1-1
HALF: Hate giving up the early goal but I'm glad we got it back.
49': Pulis with a pass through to Ademola who puts it home but he was inches offsides. Close!
57': Through ball by Herd to Harsanyi. its a clear cut chance that Harsanyi can't quite get in. Its saved for a corner.
64': Pulis out, Arter in. We'll see if Pulis is hurt long term after this.
67': Nice save by Lynch following some nice passing leads to a clean strike on goal by Cheltenham.
73': Cullen gets into the area and has a great chance, our 4th clear cut chance of the game, their keeper somehow makes a great save, I can't believe cullen didn't find the net.
80': Throwin Cheltenham. A cross comes in from the left, striker Brooker gets a head ot it and gets it past Lynch. 1-2
84': As I'm looking for subs to amke for a last ditch effort, Arter takes a short corner to Fenton. Fenton evades a defender and strikes it home!!! 2-2
89': cullen picks up a late injury, ugggh.
93': Ademola picks up an even later injury. uggggggggggh.
Cheltenham 2 : 2 Woking
Their striker Brooker scores both their goals and is man of the match.
Cullen 7.6 and a goal, Fenton 7.4 and a goal. Assists from Lynch(7.5) and Arter(6.8).
That's it as far as notables. Three injuries today, I'm kinda afraid to click continue.
Mark Cullen sprains a wrist, 2 weeks.
Ademola, Broken Ribs, 2-3 months.
Pulis, twisted knee, 4 weeks.
Phyrric victory, we clinch a playoff spot, but lose 3 starters.
With 2 matches to go:
1. Rushden - 90 pts
2. Cambridge - 89 pts
3. Macclesfield - 89 pts
4. Woking - 84 pts
5. Kidderminster - 80 pts
6. Kettering - 77 pts
7. Cheltenham - 77 pts
We'll call up a number of reserves for our last two matches just to make sure we don't suffer any more key injuries.
Its April 14th, our last match is april 21st in the regular season. I am not sure how long a break there is before the playoffs start.
At present Pulis, O'Sullivan, Ademola, Cullen and Sole are all injured.
April 17th, 2012
Northwich (6-7-31, 24th) @ Woking (24-12-8, 4th)
Worst team in the league at home. We beat them 2-0 on the road earlier in the year.
Here's the lineup:
DEF: Williams/Fenton/Thomas/Anane (Clarke/Ricketts resting)
MC: Billy Hussey/Maledon (Arter/Herd resting)
AM: Josh Coke/McLaggon (German/Sloma resting)
ST: Harsanyi/Ola Sogbanmu
Two guys I'm curious enough about to actually want to see from the reserves... Josh Coke has done decently well for me when he's had to. Striker Anson Cousins is considered expendable/bad by my coaches but I think he has a lot of talent. Of course, he's hurt and won't be able to play.
I drop down to "Key Highlights" only so don't expect a lot here.
41': After a short coner the ball ends up wide to Ricky Anane. He fires in a cross into the 6 yard box and Ola Sogbanmu, a man without a contract, gets a head to it and puts it in! 1-0
45': Anane with another long run forward down the right side, he places a great pass for Harsanyi, first touch is perfect into open space, shot, goal! 2-0
HALF: Way to go guys! Northwich can't get out of relegation, they're devastated and playing for nothing, and our young guys want to show off.
German in for Harsanyi at the half. Out of everyone on the pitch, Lynch and Harsanyi are the most important. I'll protect Harsanyi from injury.
65': Penalty in the box during a corner by the Northwich defense! DMC Jerome Maledon is up to take it, and he puts it low and left of the keeper. 3-0
Woking 3 : 0 Northwich
Ricky Anane is brilliant on offense today when he was able to get foward. He's man of the match with 2 assists, 8.2 rating.
goals from Sogbanmu(8.1), Maledon (7.3), and Harsanyi (7.0). The other assist from Nick Fenton who earned an awesome 7.9. Elsewhere:Williams(7.5), Thomas(7.2), Hussey(7.3), McLaggon(7.1), and Coke(7.5). Lynch with a 6.9, our worst rating.
With one match to go first place is still not decided:
1. Cambridge - 92 pts
2. Macclesfield - 92 pts
3. Rushden - 90 pts
4. Woking - 87 pts
5. Kidderminster - 83 pts
We could finish 3rd with a win and a rushden loss, but Cambridge/Macclesfield/Rushden are fighting it out still for auto promotion.
Awesomely enough, Rushden @ Cambridge for their final match. Macclesfield hosts #10 Accrington.
April 21st, 2012
Woking (4th) @ Ebbsfleet(15th)
Its our last regular season match. We are 1-1-1 lifetime vs Ebbsfleet and beat them 4-0 at home earlier in the year. We don't have much incentive here.
sole is healthy again but lacking match fitness. i start him in an effort to fix that before the playoffs. Harsanyi will rest. Otherwise, same starting lineup as last match. Lets not get anyone hurt.
15': They get a man in the box open who fires a shot, Lynch sells out for it but its off the crossbar and back into play. Thomas is there first to clear.
17': Striker Henry fouls Sole... Sole is hurt. *sighs*.
35': Sole isn't that hurt! Hussey feeds Sole 22 yards out, he turns, runs right by his man, into the box and strikes it past the keeper. 1-0
HALF: Lets finish this!
48': Maldeon is hurt. Arter is in for him.
60': They feed Henry the ball 25 yards out. He stops and takes it, its perfectly hit to the lower left corner of the net. 1-1
70': Josh Coke picks up an injury but he can play on. German in for Sole.
87': Coke runs down the left side, he hits McLaggon who goes into the corner before firing a cross. Sogbanmu is there and heads it in! 2 games, 2 goals! 2-1
Ebbsfleet 1 : 2 Woking
Their man Henry earns man of the match.
On our side:
Sogbanmu (7.5/1 goal), McLaggon (7.4/1 ast), Williams (7.3), Sole (6.8/goal), Hussey (6.8/ast).
Maledon is out for 3 weeks. Not normally an issue, but with O'Sullivan and possibly Pulis out, that hurts my midfield bench.
Whew, we've got some time.
Rushden @ Kidderminster - May 1st
Cambridge @ Woking - May 3rd
Woking @ Cambridge - May 7th
Kidderminster @ Rushden - May 8th
So we've got 10-14 days to try to get some of these guys off injuries.
To finish off league play:
Cambridge 2 : 3 Rushden
Macclesfield 1 : 0 Accrington
Final Regular Season Standings
1. Macclesfield - 95 pts
2. Rushden - 93 pts
3. Cambridge - 92 pts
4. Woking - 90 pts (26-12-8, 87 for, 51 agaist, +36 diff)
5. Kidderminster - 86 pts
6. Wrexham - 77 pts
7. Kettering - 77 pts
8. Cheltenham - 77 pts
9. Newport co - 74 pts
10. Accrington - 71 pts
11. Gainsborough - 69 pts
12. Darlington - 68 pts
13. Crawley - 67 pts
14. Stevenage - 62 pts
15. Ebbsfleet - 52 pts
16. Barrow - 52 pts
17. Eastleigh - 52 pts
18. Gateshead - 49 pts
19. Maidenhead - 47 pts
20. Southport - 43 pts
21. AFC Wimbledon - 41 pts
22. Histon - 40 pts
23. Altrincham - 28 pts
24. Northwich - 25 pts
Sam Smith - Rushden - 33
Zoltan Harsanyi - Woking - 25
Marc Williams - Wrexham - 24
Frank Wiafe Danquah - 22
Craig Lindfield - 21
Final Assists Leaders
Joe O'Sullivan - Woking - 19
Obi Anoruo - Wrexham - 15
Jai Reason - Cambridge - 14
Chris Simm - Southport - 14
Phil Turnbull - Gainsborough - 13
Man of the Match Awards
Sam Smith - Rushden - 8
Joe O'Sullivan - Woking - 7
Obi Anoruo - Wrexham - 7
John Melligan - Gainsborough - 7
3 tied w/ 6
4 players, including Anthony Pulis, tie for first with an 80% pass completion %. Ricketts and clarke are both at 77%, tied for 14th. O'Sullivan is at 75%, 24th.
Sam Smith - Rushden - 7.57
Joe O'Sullivan - Woking - 7.53
Frank Wiafe Danquah - 7.28
Patrick Kohlmann - Cheltenham - 7.26
Joseph Oastler - Kettering - 7.23
Sam Smith is the best player in the league, I'm ok with that. But Joe O'Sullivan is the 2nd best dammit.
Chris Herd has sustained a bruised head following a collision with Aswad Thomas in a training session. He will be out for between 9 days and 12 days. We're going to be playing reserve players in our damn midfield.
-- Lewis Martin trained well in goal. His one on ones improved, as did his teamwork and work rate.
-- I am second in voting for top manager in April. Macclesfield's manager wins it.
-- The board remains very pleased.
Kidderminster and Rushden tie 1:1 at Kidder in the first leg of the other semifinal.
My scout finds a number of cheap/free players as he finishes up scouting the UK for the year. We bring on defender who can play the left or right side of the defense in Stelios Nikolaou. He's an 18 year old from Cyprus but he's been playing for Leyton Orient. He's very gifted physically (16 pace/13 balance/13 jumping/11 agi/11 accel). He's a good teammate and hard worker, fairly determined. Technically he's ok, 9 passing, 9 tackling, only 6 marking, 12 heading. A good, solid athlete. We've relied on loaners entirely at the DL position the last two years. It'll be nice to have a young guy available. $475/wk, affordable. This is clearly for next season.
Blue Square Premier Playoff Semifinals, First Leg
Cambridge (28-8-10, 90 for/50 against/+40, 3rd) @
Woking (26-12-8, 87 for/51 against/+36, 4th)
We're 1-0-3 against Cambridge in our history. this year we won 2-1 at home in October and lost 1-0 on the road in March.
We've got our injuries, but so do they. 22 goal scorer Frank Wiafe Danquah is out with a twisted ankle. That leaves Craig Lindfield(21 goals) as the primary threat. MC Jai Reason is their playmaker, he's a big concern too.
BENCH: Mike Williams, Ricky Anane, Giuseppe Sole, Billy Hussey, Ola Sogbanmu
Yup, I'm serious about the last two. Depressing. Herd, Pulis, O'Sullivan, Ademola, and Maledon are unavailable due to injury.
We're going come out with a standard mentality and try to score some here. We'll turtle it up on defense on the road if we can afford to.
Playmaker Jai Reason gets tight marking for this one.
For the playoffs i'll watch the entire match.
3': We get a counter attack, Cullen with the ball 45 yards out, he puts a ball forward for Harsanyi, he runs onto it and takes a shot from the penalty spot, its straight past the keeper!!! 1-0
7': Arter with a yellow, a tackle from behind after a misplayed ball, I was worried about a red there.
9': A long ball up for Harsanyi, he pulls it wide to set up our offense. Arter finds Cullen for a long shot outside the box, its struck well but just wide right.
11': Thomas misses a tackle on Lindfield but Fenton covers quickly and clears it away.
13': Reason with open space past midfield, he places a nice ball forward and Lynch has to make a good save to force a corner. Corner comes to nothing.
15': Arter with a pass to Sloma, Sloma makes his man miss, comes forward and makes a graet pass to McLaggon coming in strong from the right side. McLaggon goes near post with a shot and SCORES! 2-0 The missed tackle allowed Sloma to advance and pull the defense out of position.
24': Thomas with a foul 20 yards out. They take a shot off the free kick but it goes wide.
29': I change to a counter-attacking mindset. Cambridge has 60% of possession and 5 shots to our 3, maybe we can take advantage of some desperation, while defending a bit better at the same time.
36': They do it the opposite way i'd expect.. Lindfield runs down the left side, plays a great low cross into the 6 yard box that jai Reason runs on to for an easy goal. 2-1
38': Near disaster as Lindfield is way faster than Fenton, he beats Fenton to a long ball, Thomas comes roaring in to tackle away before he can shoot.
40': German runs the left sideline, places a ball very nicely ahead into the box. Cullen gets a head to it and the keeper makes a great save to turn it over the bar. corner comes to nothing.
45': Cambridge midfielder Partridge picks up a yellow.
HALF: Giving up that goal sucked after the quick start, but we're still ahead and we've played very well. No changes at the half, but Sloma will have to come out for sure at some point.
46': Fenton with a quick yellow challenging for a header.
48': Back to a standard mindset for us.
54': Sloma with a ball up ahead to Cullen. Cullen turns left, jukes by a defender, makes his way deep into the box to the left side of the area and strikes it by the keeper! 3-1
55': Holy crap really? A ball ahead to midfielder Winn, a cross to the box and a header from lindfield... instant offense. 3-2 I just gave a defensive order to hold the 2 goal lead I'd built. Damn!
59': Right back to standard for me. We seem to do worse when we're defending...
65': Normally i'd be bringing sloma out now but he's playing great and a reserve is his backup...
67': Counter for Cambridge, the first man draws the defense and feeds Lindfield with some room, he shoots, Thomas is there just in time to deflect it for a corner. Nothing doing on the corner.
69': A foul on a long ball by Lynch just outside the box... free kick blocked, we get it back, pass ot McLaggon in the area, he shoots, just saved by the keeper...
72': Long ball from German, Harsanyi is to it first... I dunno how he wasn't offsides but ok! He has a poor first touch though or its a goal every time. Instead he shoots from a tough angle and can't finish.
77': Anane in for Ricketts in defense.
79': Hate to do it, but Sloma's gassed. Hussey in for Sloma in midfield. Go Go Reserve Team.
83': This will seem nuts, but the dude has 2 goals in 2 matches... Sogbanmu in for Cullen at striker.
91': Reason with a long strike, just over the bar. During the same play, defender Bennet felt he was fouled and goes a bit nuts, drawing a yellow himself.
Woking 3 : 2 Cambridge
A great win!!!
Sloma is man of the match today, 8.5 rating and 2 assists!
Cullen with a goal and an assist for a 7.8. 7.3 from McLaggon and a goal. Harsanyi 6.8 but a goal. Arter put up a 7.3 in the midfield, as did Antonio German.
We ended up evening out possession, 50/50 by the end. 10 shots for us, 6 on target, 2 clear cut chances. 12 shots for Cambridge, 4 on target, 2 clear cut chances.
Our gate receipts from the playoff game are $110k off of 5728 fans. A new high for income!
The FA Trophy finals are on may 5th. Rushden and Gateshead play to a scoreless draw, Gateshead ends up winning on penalties. That's 120 minutes of football for Rushden in between their two semifinal matchups. That seems horrible.
May 7th, 2012
Blue Square Premier Semifinal Leg 2
Woking (3) @ Cambridge (2)
I doublecheck the rules. There's no away goals rules for the semifinals. If Cambridge is ahead by 1 after 90 minutes we play extra time.
Herd and Pulis are both available but not nearly full strength. I make Herd a sub over Hussey, thanks for filling in though buddy. On second thought, scratch that. Herd and Pulis are both available. Sogbanmu is off too. My midfield will be so tired by the time we're done.
The only starting lineup change I make is Mike Williams in for Nick Fenton. Fenton is aging and will tire faster on short rest.
Sole/Fenton/Anane/Herd/Pulis available off the bench. Normally I would find a way to not start Sloma today but he played so well last match I keep him in, he'll be off by the 60 minute mark though at best.
We start defensive today.
6': A long ball to Harsanyi who is onsides... he runs freely into the box but a Cambridge defender is there just in time to clear the ball away before Harsanyi sets up his shot.
12': Reason with a corner, its fired hard into the 6 yard box, Whitwell gets a head to it and puts it in. 0-1 that's the only shot of the match so far.
13': Midfielder winn with a yellow for cambridge.
21': Reason with a foul just outside the box. Thomas comes up to take the free kick and its an extremely rare beauty. The keeper has to make a diving save to prevent the goal. corner comes ot nothing.
23': 2nd corner for cambridge, another cross and this time the header goes inches over. Scary.
28': long pass forward from Clark into the left side of the penalty area. German gets to it and takes a shot, the keeper makes a solid save. Good pass though!
40': A couple long off target shots is all we have to show for the last 12 minutes.
HALF: We trail 1-0 here, which make us tied 3-3 aggregate. I stayed defensive all half but will come out of that shell some in the second half. Herd is in for Sloma at halftime. We took 5 shots in the half, 2 on target but both saved. Cambridge only placed one on target for their goal, taking 4 total shots.
49': Reason picks up a yellow, its his 4th foul, about time.
50': Nice tackle by Arter in the midfield, he feeds Cullen who gets it ahead to Harsanyi. Harsanyi has the defense on him though and can't place his shot, its well wide.
54': Speed kills... counter for cambridge, Lindfield is so much faster than our guys and he is one on one with Lynch. Lynch comes out to challenge but the shot is placed well. 0-2 Now we have to score.
65': Time to account for our tired guys. Anane in for German, Pulis in for McLaggon. Remember Ricketts can play MC. I set my midfield to Arter/Herd/Ricketts/Pulis and go with a straight 4-4-2, Anane DR, attacking mindset, lets go score.
70': Anane is hit hard goign for a header and is hurt... he comes off briefly but will be able to finish the match.
73': Ricketts forward to Cullen, Cullen with a nice ball to an onrushing Pulis, he strikes, but the keeper saves.
81': Overload boys, come way up, get a dang goal!
86': HOLY CRAP. Throwin... Harsanyi gets it to the middle of the pitch for Ricketts. ricketts takes a shot from 30 yards out, the keeper is shocked to see it coming and its placed into the right side of the net!!!!! 1-2 We are level in aggregate goals!!! That was a stunning goal.
Back to standard mentality.
88': Pulis ahead ot Cullen... just offsides or he was off to the races.
3 minutes of injury time.
END OF REGULATION: I hate that I had to use all my subs early but I felt it was what we needed to do once we fell behind by 2. Unbelievable by Ricketts, he pulled that out of his ass completely.
Ricketts and Arter are so so tired. Oh well, lets see what we can do.
93': Anane with a free kick from beyond midfield. He puts it into the right corner, Cullen runs onto it, three Cambridge defenders are charging, he threads a pass into the box for Pulis, Pulis fires near post, GOAL!!!!! 2-2 We lead by one!!!
95': Defend! Hold the ball and play with a deeper defensive line, no letting them run by our tired defense.
99': Herd with a yellow.
101': Ricketts drops back into defense. Harsanyi drops back to the midfield. We are in a defensive 5-4-1.
105': Cullen goes down hard after a tackle... 45% fitness. He's lucky he doesn't have to leave the match.
107': Quick pass into the box for cambridge, a shot is saved by Lynch.
EXTRA HALFTIME: Ricketts 53%, Areter 56%, Cullen 50%, anane is hurt but 73%, the only player above 70%. 5-4-1, defend, retain possession, lets wipe out this last 15 minutes!
106': Lindfield ends up with the ball in the box after a cross from the left side. He puts a shot just over.
108': Midfielder Marriot puts a shot wide from 20 yards out.
111': Lindfield puts a shot way over from 30 yards out.
114': Nice buildup by Harsanyi and Cullen... they don't find a way to generate a shot but they kill 3 minutes with us in possession.
115': Shot from lindfield from 20 yards is turned over by Lynch... first corner is headed behind by the defense, second corner is cleared out.
119': Foul by Reason just outside the area. We stall a bit before Thomas takes a poor shot.
Cambridge (4) 2 : 2e (5) Woking
An amazing comeback after falling behind in the first half. I still cannot believe ricketts even took the shot that he did, much less that it went into the net. A cambridge player earns man of the match, but that's ok.
Cullen places 5 key passes and makes a number of key runs, and has an assist, he earns an 8.8 rating.
Pulis earns a 7.8 off the bench with a goal today.
Ricketts with a 7.7 and a goal.
Harsanyi only a 6.7 but he has our other assist.
Clarke(7.1), Williams(7.4), Arter (7.0) and Anane(7.0) also stand out.
8600 fans came to Cambridge's stadium to see this one.
Ricky Anane was hurt in the match and is going to miss the final.
After the match... not due to my praise at all here... the media report on how amazingly well Mark Cullen has been playing. Cullen tells me that he's feeling the pressure by the press and that it is unsettling. Thanks, guys.
Kidderminster dominate Rushden on the road, possibly due to the severe fitness difference that must be felt after the FA Trophy Final?
This seems like a good thing for me. I haven't checked the results, but I seem to remember Rushden owning us badly.
We will play Kidderminster in the finals on May 13th for the right to earn promotion up to League 2!
May 13th, 2012
Blue Square Premier Playoff Final
Woking(26-12-8, 87 for/51 aginst/+36, 4th)
Kidderminster(26-8-12, 74 for/37 against/5th)
We have a great history against Kidderminster as far as things go, we're 3-0-1 and have won our last 3 games against them. In August we beat them 2-0 on the road. In December we beat them 3-1 at home.
Kidderminster are even money favorites to win today. We're 11-5 dogs.
BENCH: Sole, Herd, Sloma, Maledon, Williams
Too bad Anane is hurt... Ricketts is not fully rested from his 120 minutes of action a few days ago. I could move Clarke to the right side if I need, but he hasn't done that a single time this season I don't think.
Kidder ST James Spencer has 14 goals and 8 assists in 34 matches. He's a loaner from Huddersfield.
ST Darryl Knights has 16 goals and 7 assists in 43 matches.
ML Nathan Pinney has 12 goals and 10 assists in 41 matches.
those three guys are the scoring threats it woudl appear. Pinney has a 7.24 avg rating and seems their best player. He's very speedy.
None of these guys are particularly brave so Im going to tackle them all hard and try to get them off their games. I'm not going to close down or anything, with 3 good players like this I fear getting dragged way out of position due to those instructions.
Wow, we're in Wembly for this? Well damn. I got a news item saying 38,000 tickets had been sold.
10': We've got the only shot so far, an off target long range strike. We are dominating possession though.
13': We win a ball in midfield. Harsanyi feeds it to German, a DC is a little late getting back, German back to Harsanyi. He's 19 yards out but has room to shoot. He fires a shot into the left side of the net!!! 1-0
15': Spender (kidder ST) gets by Fenton and has a clear cut strike on Lynch. Lynch gets up and makes a great save on a point blank attempt!
17': Short corner by Kidder to Dolman.. a defender I think. Pulis mises a tackle, he takes a shot, Lynch gets his body in front of it but it ricochets off him and into the net. 1-1 Sad.
20': Pulis attempts a shot from 20 yards out, its just over.
28': Clarke is challenged hard trying to win a ball in midfield. He needs the trainer out but stays in the game.
39': Spencer gets some space in the box after a clearance attempt by Thomas is blocked. He's got a tough angle from the right side though and his shot hits the right post and is cleared.
HALF: Thomas is having a poor match, 5.5 rating and he's made mistakes that allowed some of those chances above. We have 57% of the possession but only 4 shots, and just the 1 on target. 7 shots from Kidderminster, 2 on target.
No halftime changes for me.
46': Knights runs by Thomas to get into the area but Ricketts comes over and clears nicely.
49': A counter attack by Kidder after a corner. Pinney with a long pass ahead to Knights. We are way out of position and Knights takes a free run at Lynch and puts a shot by him into the net. 1-2
52': Williams in for Thomas... a lot of times a bad first half will be turned around and the player will play much better in the second... but Thomas is just not on today.
62': Knights beats Fenton and earns another claer cut strike... but puts this one over. their defense is outstanding. We cannot get through to get any sort of looks. Just one shot all half and it was a joke.
65': Attacking mindset.
69': A counter attack after we try to break down their defense and fail again. Knights down the left side, he crosses it into the 6 yard box and midfielder McDermott heads it home far post. 1-3
69': German moves to AMR. sloma in for McLaggon to take over on the left side. Herd in for Pulis in midfield. McLaggon playing poorly, Pulis tired.
79': They clear out a corner.. Williams heads it back forward, Cullen picks it up 19 yards out, he's covered well but manages to get a foot to the ball and somehow it finds the net! A hard, low strike past the keeper! 2-3 Perhaps its not over yet.
87': A long throw in comes to Arter, its his turn to shoot from 20 yards out, its a solid strike but the keeper saves it. There's a rebound, another shot, corner that does nowhere.
89': Arter with a through ball to sloma on the left side... offsides, he took a poor shot anyway.
3 minutes of extra time.
91': Sloma with a rocket cross from the left side, defender koncks it out for a throw in. We give the ball away though.
92': Arter places a nice through ball into open space but Harsanyi didn't time his run well.
Kidderminster 3 : 2 Woking
Their defense was just far, far superior to ours today. We had two very lucky long shots to make it close, this could have just as easily been 3-0.
Kidder striker Darryl Knights is man of the match with an 8.3 rating today.
Harsanyi earns a 7.2 rating and a goal. Cullen 6.8 with a goal. Assists from German and Williams. Arter played fairly well too (7.0), while Thomas was awful(5.3).
Disappointing, but remember we were picked in the middle of the table. Its been a very good season and we've built some nice pieces for next season.
Our full season loaners end tomorrow, so I'll do a review of the season before I advance any more(so I can pull the loaner's stats, etc) and prepare for our next offseason.
I don't suspect much will happen in the offseason though. We're right at our current wage budget and I pretty much like the team. It'll just be a matter of bringing in the right loaners again next year to push us over the top.
Woking 2011/12 Season in Review
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
Top Goalscorer - Zoltan Harsanyi - 28 goals
Top League Goalscorer - Zoltan Harsanyi - 27 goals
Most Assists - Joe O'Sullivan - 19 assists
Highest Average Rating - Joe O'Sullivan - 7.51 (32 apps)
Most Man of the Match - Joe O'Sullivan - 7
**GA = Goals Allowed | SO = Shutouts
**GL = Goals | TCK = Tackles/game
**GL = Goals | TCK = Tackles/game
** GL = Goals | Drb = Dribbles/Game
The list of strikers above is so short b/c we had Romone Rose loaned for awhile before he had to go back home, and also Antonio German and Moses Ademola are both AM/ST, they primarily play AM for me but sub up to striker a lot as needed.
Fiorentina defeat Celtic in one semifinal of the Champions League.
Chelsea defeat Atletico Madrid
Chelsea defeat Fiorentina 1-0 on an 80th minute goal from Luis Suarez in Germany to win the Champions League.
The Euro Championship begins in a couple weeks.
I have a couple friendlies scheduled.
I also have a number of coaches who feel they are above Woking now and aren't willing to re-sign with me for a reasonable rate. I offer them all mutual termination so I can go ahead and start my coach search now.
New Scout Lee Ford has a 20 in judging ability and 15 in judging potential. That seems pretty awesome to me. 575/wk
New GK Coach Wayne Edwards has a 14 rating in coaching goalkeepers. 1 higher than my last coach. $575/wk
New Coach Dean Emerson is rated 20 working with youngsters, decent determination and motivating and man management, not really terrible anywhere other than fitness and keepers.
That's enough for May, on to June, rolling through the offseason.
The board remains very pleased with us. Making the playoffs, specifically the final I assume, brought in massive gate receipts for us.
In 2010/11 we earned $742k in gate money, our first season in the BS Premier league where we were quite mediocre. In May alone this year we earned $573k from the gate. On the season we earned $900k more in gate money than last year, and "match day income" was up $120k.
In May we had a $412,105 profit and are only in the red $58,000 now, after running in the red by $300,000+ for the last 3 years. Hooray for that!
--backup GK Lewis Martin logs 25 minutes on the pitch in a Scotland vs Portugal U21 match, earning a 6.9 rating and playing well.
Its a lot smaller than the World Cup:
Euro Championship Group Results
Belgium 1 : 0 Poland
Greece 0 : 3 France
France 1 : 0 Belgium
Poland 1 : 1 Greece
Belgium 1 : 1 Greece
Poland 0 : 1 France
France 3-0-0, 5-0 goals, 9 pts
Belgium 1-1-1, 2-2 goals, 4 pts
Greece 0-2-1, 2-5 goals, 2 pts
Poland 0-1-2, 1-3 goals, 1 pts
Ukraine 1 : 1 Germany
Russia 1 : 1 Sweden
Germany 1 : 2 Russia
Sweden 1 : 2 Ukraine
Russia 0 : 0 Ukraine
Sweden 1 : 2 Germany
Russia 1-2-0, 3-2 goals, 5 pts
Ukraine 1-2-0, 3-2 goals, 5 pts
Germany 1-1-1, 4-4 goals, 4 pts
Sweden 0-1-2, 3-5 goals, 1 pts
Germany fails to advance. Poland and Ukraine are sharing hosts of this tournament, so home field and all.
Bosnia & Herz 2 : 0 Portugal
Italy 2 : 0 Czech Rep
Portugal 2 : 1 Italy
Czech Rep. 1 : 0 Bosnia & Herz
Bosnia & Herz 1 : 1 Italy
Portugal 3 : 3 Czech Rep
Italy 1-1-1, 4-3 goals, 4 pts
Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-1-1, 3-2 goals, 4 pts
Portugal 1-1-1, 5-6 goals, 4 pts
Czech Republic 1-1-1, 4-5 goals, 4 pts
Insane. +1 goal differential decides who advances. Portugal's 2-0 stunner loss to Bosnia in the opening match seals their fate.
Serbia 1 : 4 Croatia
England 2 : 0 Spain
Spain 2 : 0 Serbia
Croatia 0 : 4 England
England 1 : 0 Serbia
Spain 2 : 0 Croatia
England 3-0-0, 7-0 goals, 9 pts
Spain 2-0-1, 4-2 goals, 6 pts
Croatia 1-0-2, 4-7 goals, 3 pts
Serbia 0-0-3, 1-7 goals, 0 pts
England In Review
nifty little single page review of the prior season is available:
Relegated: Portsmouth, Stoke, Fulham
Top Goals: Steven Fletcher (Burnley) - 20
Top Assists: Gareth Berry (Man City) - 12
Avg Rating: Yury Zhirkov (Chelsea) - 8.01
Promoted: Southampton, Wigan, Reading
Relegated: Scunthorpe, Barnsley, Doncaster
Promoted: Preston, Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday
Relegated: Exeter, Hartlepool, Stockport, Port Vale
Promoted: Brighton, Southend, Aldershot, Mansfield
Relegated: York, Torquay
Blue Square Premier
Promoted: Macclesfield, Kidderminster
Relegated: AFC Wimbledon, Histon, Altrincham, Northwich
O'Sullivan is given recognition here for top assist man and highest average rating. Woking are the overachievers in the league, and Zoltan Harsanyi is named the best signing of the season. Not bad, minus the part where we did all that and didn't get promoted.
Blue Square North
Promoted: Alfreton, St Albans
Relegated: Guiseley, Kendal, Cambridge City
Blue Square South
Winners: forest Green
Promoted: Forest Green, Chelmsford
Relegated: Hayes & Yaeding, Sutton Utd, Majdstone
FA Cup: Man City
League Cup: Chelsea
Community Shield: Tottenham
Johnstone's Paint Trophy: Sheffield Wednesday
FA Trophy: Gateshead
Champions League: Chelsea, Man City, Aston Villa, Tottenham
Euro Cup: Man U, Blackburn, Liverpool
Whew, I like having all of that on one page, kinda cool.
Woking Fans Player of the Year
I may be in love with Joe O'Sullivan (in case you haven't noticed ;) ), but the fans want goals, and they name Zoltan Harsanyi our player of the year. I have no qualms with that either, he's been a great signing for us.
Woking Best 11
Joe O'Sullivan was the pick of the players, hooray.
GK: Kevin Lynch
DL: Jordan Clarke
DC: Mike Williams
DC: Nick Fenton
DR: Mark Ricketts
MC: Anthony Pulis
MC: Joe O'Sullivan
AML: Antonio German
AMR: Moses Ademola
ST: Mark Cullen
ST: Zoltan Harsanyi
wow, there is some serious hate for Aswad Thomas here. Williams played 19 matches for us, I'm a bit surprised to see him named over Thomas.
Woking Overall Best 11
I guess this is a "lifetime Woking best team" ... that team has only existed for 2 years though, so yeah, it should change a lot. 5 players are added to our all time best team.
GK: Lee Butcher (BSS 1st season)
DL: Nicky Nicolau (BSS 1st season)
DC: Aswad Thomas
DC: Nick Fenton
DR: Mark Ricketts
ML: Antonio German
MC: Anthony Pulis
MC: Joe O'Sullivan
MR: Moses Ademola
ST: Romone Rose
ST: Mark Cullen
GK Kevin Lynch
DL Jordan Clarke
ST Zoltan Harsanyi
MC Harry Arter
ST Matthew Wright (BSS 1st season)
DC Tom Hutchinson (BSS 1st season)
ST Giuseppe Sole
looking at this list... Cullen and Rose have been multiple season loaners, interesting that they are our starting strikers on our all time best team. Harsanyi will likely have something to say about that next year.
Nicolau had one awesome season in the BS South, 46 games/4 goals/7.10 rating. Clarke has been great but that will be hard to top I guess.
3 guys on this list have over 100 matches for me:
DR Mark Ricketts - 131 matches, 3 goals, 6.87 rating
ST Giuseppe Sole - 115 matches, 53 goals, 6.90 rating
MR Moses Ademola - 113 matches, 27 goals, 6.83 rating.
The schedule is announced, we open up at Wrexham on August 11th. I've held off on my last friendly (or maybe 2) until I saw that date, I will finish up with friendlies now.
$49,500 in our pockets throughout the year for TV. Hooray? Better than 0 I guess.
Currently we spend $12,464 on salaries. I dunno when raise clauses take effect, that'll go up, and we have one defender coming in when the new season starts that we signed on a free.
The minimum expectation we can choose is a top half finish for a payroll of $13,250 wage budget.
Huh, "playoffs" is not an option... top half, promotion, winner. If I choose promotion and finish 6th i wonder how bad that hurts me?
No guts, no glory. I tell the board that my goal is to earn promotion this year. With that, our wage budget is $15,000/wk. Still no transfer budget.
Blue Square Premier Odds
Torquay are the favorites at 2:1.
York, 3:1. Forest Green 8:1, Chelmsford 10:1, Cambridge 10:1, Wrexham 12:1.
We are 25:1 dogs to earn promotion. I disagree completely with this assessment given how much of our team is still together from last year and how well we played. Forest Green and Chelmsford just got promoted up here!
New Coaching Contract
I accept a new contract to coach the team for $950/wk for 3 more years. I dunno if i'll take this team to the Premier League but I will take them up at least a couple levels more, and I don't care about my own salary.
Like I did with Harsanyi last year, I decide to make an immediate, major, potentially risky splash right away.
Welcome to the team Swiss Striker Danijel Subotic. 23 years old, 6'2", we've got a man to aim crosses at for the first time ever perhaps. Good physical attributes, everything but agility is 12-14, 13 jumping/14 balance. No Mental attribute below 7, 9 of those ratings are in the 10-14 range. Good teamwork, determined, good decision maker, brave and aggressive. Acceptable passing and dribbling for a guy up front, good first touch and finishing, 15 Heading. that's just something I have never had. Crosses into the box are an embarrassing event for my team, one of the reason joe O'sullivan and his straight forward through balls are such a key part of our attack.
Why is this such a risk?
The report I got on him was that he is better than Harsanyi and would be a star in League 2. If he bombs or doesn't fit in it could be terrible, but I'm very optimistic.
Also remember that the only strikers I have on my roster right now are Harsanyi and Sole.
New Signing #2
This one isn't exactly new. This is the defender I signed before the end of last season, but after the transfer deadline.
D LR Stelios Nikolaou - 18 y/o - $475/wk
Nikolaous is a speed demon, 16 pace, the rest of his physical abilities look ok. Good worker, good determination, great teamwork (15, which I hope will help a lot in defense). 14 flair from a defender is interesting.
Technically he's ok but not great. 9 tackling, 9 passing, 7 dirbbling, 6 marking, 12 heading. Not great at all, but I'm expecting his speed to make up for an awful lot. $475/wk for a youngster seems fine too if he ends up just as a backup.
July 1, 2012
Woking @ Kelantan - Friendly
I'm not going to spend much time on friendlies at all. I do set up my initial/ideal lineup, at least until I pull some loaners in:
DEF: Nikolaou, Fenton, Williams, Ricketts
MC: O'Sullivan, Pulis
AML: Sloma, Ademola
ST: Harsanyi, Subotic
Harsanyi is a deep lying forward, that's where I had him set for about 2/3 of last season. Subotic is an Advanced Forward. I tried last year w/ German to be an Inside Foward, but had better results with all my AM's being Wingers. O'Sullivan an attacking Advanced Playmaker, Pulis a defending Central midfielder. Those roles stayed fairly static for me once I got settled into last season.
Kelantan 1 : 1 Woking
We give up a first half goal when our back line falls asleep in a long free kick by their keeper, an attacker runs by the defense, Fenton/Williams don't try to stay with him, he's onsides by a mile and scores easy. In the second half Anane controls the attack, crosses the ball into the box, there's some confusion and Sole strikes a loose ball in.
The single elimination stuff took awhile, I waited for it to finish to report so I could do it all at once:
France 3 : 2 Ukraine
Russia 3 : 1 Belgium
Italy 2 : 0 Spain
England 3 : 2 Bosnia & Herzegovina
France 3 : 0 England
Italy 1 : 0 Russia
France 2 : Italy 1
France scores in the 20th minute, Italy ties in the 62nd, France's Samir Nasri scores in the 72nd minute for the game winner.
I work to fill out the rest of my coaching staff.
Mark Hirst has a 19 in judging ability and 13 in judging potential and joins as a scout.
Alan Watson is rated 20 in judging ability/16 in potential and is my 3rd and final scout.
Dan Law works great with young kids (18), will be my best attacking and defending coach (12/11), and joins as my final coaching hire.
I spend a good deal of time looking over available players to loan. My biggest holes/lack of depth are at the attacking midfield positions so I make a number of offers to guys who could fit AML or AMR roles.
I'm very interested to see that Mark Cullen was released by Hull and is available for free. I'm sad to see that he isn't interested in playing for me. But not surprised.
Jordan Clarke is a guy I've loaned in multiple times, he's on Coventry's senior squad this year not listed.
Antonio German was released by QPR, but also not interested in playing in the BS Premier full time.
Romone Rose, a striker I had very good luck with the last two years, was sold by QPR to Chivas USA after his loan ended with me last year. He is an American and has already made some MLS appearances, no goals yet though.
AMR Kayne McLaggon is available for loan again. He didn't play bad last year but I loaned him in so late that it took him until the final few matches to become fully match fit. I do offer him another shot to play with me (as a loaner that it).
Anyway, just a little walk down memory lane there, I found the screen for prior year transfers and went to look at where those guys were now :)
July 8th, 2012
Woking @ Hong Lok - Friendly
We fall behind 1-0 on a freak goal, a lofted cross from the right sideline that kinda appears to roll along the crossbar and fall in. Weird. Subotic gets his first goal for us to even it up. Its on a cross, and its headed in, but yeah, guess what, O'Sullivan had run wide and he was the one to lift the pass into the box. :D Subs at the half, Nikolaou with a cross to reserve Sogbanmu for a header in the 84th minute.
Hong Lok 1 : 2 Woking
Wheeee. This was a low level team, we were 1-33 favorites, lolz??
A few of the flurry of guys that we target have no interest(I aimed high on a number of targets but picked a few safe ones too). Here's a safe one coming through at a key need position:
AML Kieran Bennet - Crystal Palace Reserve - 18 y/o - Full Season Loan
Bennet is a pretty exciting young player. Great physical abilities. 13 pace/14 accel top the list with no weaknesses. Great teammate, good off the ball, 17 flair which could be fun to see, determined and brave. Very poor positioning but I think for an attacker off the ball is more important. 13 Crossing, 11 dribbling, so hopefully he can set up a lot of crosses into our new striker down the left side himself. He won't be much to look at when he has to go back to defend, but I want him to help generate goals.
And second, a name from last year:
AMR/ST Kayne McLaggon - Southampton Reserves - 21 y/o
Very speedy (15 pace/14 accel), not as impressive elsewhere but determined and decent all over, an ok passer, ok finisher, ok first touch/dribbling. Not good with the crosses. McLaggon scored 1 goal and generated 2 assists in 14 matches last year loaned to us, with a 6.84 average rating. That was despite coming into the team very late and not match fit. I'd be happy with similar ratings this year over a longer term obvoiusly. McLaggon is with us all season.
And lastly, we'll continue the tradition of grabbing a striker from our parent team, QPR:
ST Curtis Main, 20 y/o, QPR Reserves
Main is a decent athlete, his best talents are his ability to put himself in a position to score... 14 off the ball/12 positioning. Good enough creativity and flair, finishing, long shots, etc, all in the 10-12 range. No major weak spots.
Main is also a known quantity to me. He played 10 matches for me in the 09/10 season in the BS South on loan, scorign 2 goals and notching 3 assists. Also, I faced him last year, as he played the full season for BS Premier winners Macclesfield, scoring 16 goals in 36 matches and earning a 6.78 rating. We know there will be injuries, and Harsanyi can pull out to AML at times, Main gives me depth up front that I can really use.
The only significant depth issue I have now with these three loaners coming in for the full season is on the left side of my defense. I have coverage there, mind you, with Nikolaou being a natural DL, Thomas, Williams and Sloma can play there as well. But none of those guys will bring me the level of play that Jordan Clarke has for the last two years. I'm going to hold off for any other moves in my midfield or attack, but if I can find a quality DL loaner I'll jump all over that.
GK Kevin Lynch hurts a shoulder while lifting weights. He's going to miss 4 weeks, which puts him right in line to return in time for opening day.
July 13th, 2012
Woking @ Waterhouse FC
DEF: Nikolaou, Williams, Fenton, Ricketts
MC: O'Sullivan, Pulis
AM: Bennett, Ademola
ST: Harsanyi, Subotic
We score first, Subotic heads a ball forward, Harsanyi picks it up after a defender misplays it, charges into the box and scores. They tie it up shortly after as a striker outjumps Nikolaou in the box for a header. We get a second half goal as Sole plays a ball forward on a counter, Curtis Main runs on to it and beats the keeper.
Waterhouse 1 : 2 Woking
D LC Ignasi Miquel - 19 y/o, Birmingham Reserves
Perhaps I could have waited to see if someone else would open up, this guy is no jordan clarke. But he should be better than Nikolaou. Only 9 pace/9 accel, he's going to rely on his good positioning (12), and his ability to work hard and be a good teammate to help form a solid defense. 13 marking, 12 tackling, 14 heading should help out well in the back. 17 fitness, great leaper. I expect him to be very good in defense, but I expect Ricketts and Anane to have more impact tracking up to support the offense. That's where Clarke was so great for me.
July 18th, 2012
Woking @ Sport Ancash - Friendly
I didn't mention it, but Lewis Martin was called up for a Scottish U19 match. Reserve GK Matt Pegler will sit back in goal today.
Scoreless first half. This team is better than us(from peru) and they attack like crazy. We get two shots off to their 8 or so. Scoreless til the 86th minute, Main to Sole, who is brought down in the box. Red card/penalty, Sole with the PK and goal. We get a second a minute later, Main takes it to the right side of the box, passes to the center nicely, Sole runs on to it and scores. Two goals for Sole!
Sport Ancash 0 : 2 Woking
Ater was hurt during the match but nothing long term, just slowed a bit for the day.
England's U19 team beats up on Scotland's, 5-0. Lewis Martin plays and plays poorly.
June 24th, 2012
QPR @ Woking - Friendly
Our annual friendly with our parent club, where they come to our house and dismantle us but pay us for the privilege.
Harsanyi just occasionally pulls something out of his ass that I rewind and watch 3 or 4 times. This time O'Sullivan hits him with a pass, he turns off a defender, but hell, he's 25 yards out. He hits a shot with a noticible bend in it that bends just into the right side of the net. We allow the tying goal 10 minutes later, no comment on that as I was too busy writing up my own beauty of a goal to care. Only one more friendly to go so I get the starters in there a bit for the 2nd half today too. The backups give up an 85th minute goal.
Woking 1 : 2 QPR
My new defender Miquel was hurt during the match, but luckily nothing long term.
I haven't changed for 2 years, why change now... Mark Ricketts and Nick Fenton are captain and vice captain of the squad.
The board is satisfied with my coaching of the team.
The signing of Mike Williams is a high point from back to last season... the release of Bilal Sidibe is a disappoitnment. I find that rather odd, as I brought in Williams specifically to replace Sidibe. Perhaps because my other DC, youngster Aswad Thomas, seemed to struggle at the end of last year and the fans got on him hard.
July is always a good month financially between friendly payouts and season tickets. We made a profit last month and are, for the first time ever, in the black!! We have a balance of $65,744. Expect that to not so slowly go down every month during the season, but its great to see.
August 1st, 2012
Woking @ Espanol - Friendly
Our last friendly before 10 days off and the start of the season against Wrexham. Anthony Pulis picks up a straight red card in the 25th minute for a professional foul... WTF buddy. Scoreless at the half. A missed tackle by Mike Williams in the 46th minute leads to a goal for them. A nice through ball leads to goal #2 in the 67th minute. We make our subs around the 70 minute mark.
Espanol 2 : 0 Woking
Our signings in the offseason + reserve contracts put us $250 over our weekly budget. I end up offloading my senior squad player who plays the least, our 5th best MC, Jerome Maledon. Behind O'Sullivan, Pulis, Herd and Arter, and even sometimes behind Sloma and Ricketts if there was depth at their primary postions, if Maledon was in the game something was wrong. He signs to be a backup for a League 2 squad, Yeovil. Maybe I missed out? Maybe I have a better midfield than Yeovil :P
His $525/wk off the books puts me slightly under budget again. Only slightly.
Maledon was with me from the start in the BS South, and lists me as favored personnel. There's a media note after the signing that it was tough for Maledon to leave his favorite coach, and he feels like he learned a lot from me.
Opening Day Lineup
GK: Kevin Lynch (lacking fitness, a bit concerned on that)
DEF: Miquel, Williams, Fenton, Ricketts
MC: O'Sullivan, Pulis
AM: Bennett, McLaggon
ST: Harsanyi, Subotic
BENCH: Nikolaou, Sloma, Ademola, Herd, Main
That leaves guys like Arter, Thomas, Anane and Sole not even available today. We're definitely prepared for some injuries this year heh.
August 11th, 2012
Woking @ Wrexham
We start out where we left off last year, 3-1 underdogs. Wrexham are 4-5 favorites at home. We're 2-0-2 in our history against them. Actually, maybe they should be favored big heh. The home team has won every match by at least 2 goals in this series.
Wrexham Striker Marc Williams is a BS Premier star. 24 goals last year, 19 the year before, ratings over 7.0. Turning 24 he's entering his prime and is a huge threat.
I'll watch the full opener. I want to see the new guys a bit. But I will try to get through this season a bit faster than the last, mainly by dropping to extended highlights a lot earlier in the year.
5': A long strike from Williams, Lynch saves but can't hold it. Williams clears.
8': Forgot to set us to defensive, definitely needed for this one I think.
18': Subotic with a ball into the box for Harsanyi, he strikes it first touch but the keeper is there... its listed a clear cut chance even though the defense was tracking him pretty well.
21': Miquel with a tackle just inside the box... its called a foul, it strikes of a lot of bullshit to me! Guh. Penalty, Marc Williams takes it for Wrexham and he isn't going to miss. 0-1
24': Have I mentioned lately that I love O'Sullivan? He's at midfield, lifts a beautiful ball forward that lands right at McLaggon's feet inside the penalty area. He controls it nicely, dribbles once and puts it home!!! 1-1
26': Some dude for Wrexham hits the post from 35 yards out, heh.
36': Harsanyi with a great 30 yard run to set up a shot, but its saved, it was a long strike, he took it from midfield well forward, nifty try though.
42': Harsanyi receives a pass 30 yards out, seems to have a step on a defender, and instead of advancing forward he takes a long strike. Seems like he gave up on trying to create a great chance and took something very average.
HALF: They have 12 shots, we have 7. 9 of the 19 are harmless long efforts though. I'm pretty pleased to be tied though we definitely will have chances to go ahead. Miquel has recovered from his foul leading to the penalty and is playing well. Mike Williams isn't doing so hot though. No changes at the half.
46': Bennett steals a pass in midfield, gets it ahead, Subotic runs on to it and has a free run at the keeper... he stops at the 18 yard line as the keeper starts to rush out and simply puts it over the bar. Clear cut chance there, gotta finish.
48': I give the "work ball into box" instruction... less long shots guys.
50': A couple nice moves by Bennett, his speed at that AML position is obvious today, he's made great runs down the line multiple times. Two crosses come to nothing after some buildup for us though.
58': O'Sullivan with a midfield tackle, a pass up to Harsanyi, he plays a great give and go with Subotic, Subotic feeds it back to Harsanyi and he has a free run at the goal, this time he isn't going to miss, he puts it low and to the right by the keeper and in! 2-1
61': Defender Edwards with a yellow, he stopped what looked like a breakaway for Harsanyi and Subotic, I wanted a red but they won't do that at midfield I suppose.
73': Herd in for O'Sullivan, pretty sure I play in 3 days, resting my stars.
75': Main for Harsanyi, Ademola in for McLaggon. McLaggon is exhausted, Harsanyi/O'Sullivan could finish the game but any extra seconds of rest for our next match for them.
82': After a deep throwin, Bennett makes a very nice cross, Ademola gets his head to it but puts it just over.
84': Herd to Subotic, Subotic turns by his defender and takes a solid strike from 16 yards out, the keeper makes a diving save though.
92': Oh my. we clear a ball out wide, Bennett tries to pass it back into the middle for Pulis to move foward. Its a very poor pass, they steal it about 25 yards out. A quick strike from there, Lynch gets both hands on it and it slips away and into the net. Just disaster from every angle. Lynch HAD the ball, and its credited as an own goal. :( 2-2
94': One last chance for us. Subotic with a nice long run into the left corner, he gets it back to Miquel, a cross is put in, Ademola again is there to get a clean head to the ball, but right at the keeper.
Wrexham 2 : 2 Woking
How very sad. We get two well earned goals, give up a penalty and an own goal to allow for the tie.
Joe O'Sullivan picks up where he left off last year before he got hurt... 7.9 rating, assist, man of the match.
Goals from Harsanyi (7.4) and McLaggon (7.3). Subotic with a 7.4 and our other assist today. Bennett (7.0) and Miquel (7.0) also stand out.
We played well, just a couple dreadful mistakes.
One last note, after playing on dirty fields in the rain for seemingly 3/4 of the previous season, we open up on a fresh field in nice weather. It was amazing to see how much faster the match played. Lots of long bounces, chances for breakaways from long balls and the like. The soft, well placed through balls that we score so much from weren't really there as the ball moved much faster. I dare say we'll get better as the season goes along, we are one of the best passing teams in the league** and will benefit from wet grass and slower turf I do believe.
** That came from the pre-season coaches meeting where they review how our team looks compared to everyone else. Our passing is one of the best in the league, and our first touch is better than most everyone. We fall off in other categories and don't compare quite as well, but we excel there.
I'm pleased to be into the next season already, I really have high hopes for this one and can't wait to make a ton of progress over the weekend.
August 14th, 2012
Stevenage @ Woking
We're very slight favorites at home against our arch rivals, 6-4 vs 13-8. We're 1-1-2 against them in our history now. they are 0-1 on the year, after a 0-1 defeat at Cambridge.
I take advantage of my depth and make a number of subs:
5 different starters this match (Thomas, Anane, Herd, Sloma, Ademola).
8': O'sullivan with a through ball to Ademola, its a little near the keeper and Ademola can't put it past. Huh, considered a clear cut chance... seemed a very tough angle to me.
12': Subotic goes down hard on a header attempt just outside the area... he's hurt, and he's forced to come out. Main is in.
22': Herd receives a pass outside the area after a throwin, no one in front of him, he tries a long shot and puts it just over.
24': Harsanyi with a shot from 20 yards out after making a quick turn to get a little space, its wide though.
26': On a counter, Harsanyi lays a ball back a bit to O'sullivan, he comes forward with it, through ball to Herd who picks it up 15 yards out and puts it into the left side of the net by the keeper! 1-0
28': Anane on the right side about 10 yards i nfrom midfield, he passes a ball forward to Main... it appears a defender misses an interception there, the ball falls to Main just in the area and he strikes it low and in! 2-0
32': Main with a nice move near the area, Harsanyi ran forward and just stands there... doesn't ever attempt to get back onside (he's 'looking complacent' today). main ends up trying a shot from 20 yards out that goes over.
35': Sloma with a cross into the box. We've got a man up to try to head it in and he's been pulled down by a defender. Penalty!! Harsanyi takes the PK and he isn't missing. 3-0
HALF: Our fans will enjoy beating our rivals like this, assuming we can keep it up. We have 8 shots, 5 of them clear cut chances. They have 5 shots, all off target.
47': Sloma with a great ball forward from midfield to the edge of the box. Harsanyi runs on to it but his first touch is very poor or he had a sure goal.
50': We fail to clear a cross well, the ball falls to Bostwick 20 yards out, its not an easy shot but its one that he takes very well and puts into the net. 3-1
55': Free kick just outside the area, Thomas sends it wide.
57': A cross into the area, another foul, another penalty!!! Mike Williams takes this one instead of Harsanyi, and its an embarrassment... over the bar by a mile.
58': Defender Mark Roberts with a yellow fouling Harsanyi as he tries to run onto a through ball.
61': O'sullivan feeds Harsanyi in a nice position... he runs on to it but doens't take a strike, its tackled away.
63': Williams to Herd, Herd to O'Sullivan, O'Sullivan to Main in between two defenders... he shoots and scores!!! 4-1
63': Harsanyi is out, McLaggon in at Striker. Harsanyi is listed as complacent and has been since it was 2-0 and it really shows. Seems like if he was trying harder he could have had 3 goals by now.
77': O'Sullivan out, Pulis in.
91': Mike Williams is injured, didn't see how. down to 44% fitness on the fall though.
Woking 4 : 1 Stevenage
Curtis Main earns Man of the Match, he scores 2 goals and has an assist after coming on for Subotic early. He picks up a 9.3 rating.
O'Sullivan with 2 assists and a 9.0 rating. Herd has a goal (7.7), Harsanyi a goal (6.8), and Anane an assist (7.3). Miquel(7.0) also stands out in our dominant win.
Subotic will miss ~2 weeks from a concussion he picked up going for a header today.
DC Mike Williams is going to be out 4 weeks with a groin strain. Ugh.
Nothing will make the fans happier than a crushing victory over a rival.
So I've got this guy from my reserve team, ST Anson Cousins. My assistants and scouts hate him. I think he's the only potentially good player ever to come out of my reserve program. Decent athlete, 10 pace/11 accel, good agility and such. Hard worker, good teammate (13/16), great off the ball, great flair (both 13). Creativity is only 7. Passing 11, long shots 11, Finishing 13, dribbling 11. I just can't find why he's rated a very low talent.
Anyway, I know I have depth, but Cousins is 20 years old and I need to figure out if he can play for me now.
August 18th, 2012
Woking @ Eastleigh
Eastleigh are very slight 6:4 favorites today, we're 13:8. We're 1-1-0, Eastleigh 0-1-1. They haven't scored yet.
In four matches we are 1-2-1. Last year the home team won both matches.
Short rest again, here's today's lineup:
DEF: Miquel, Thomas, Fenton, Ricketts
MC: O'Sullivan, Pulis
AM: Bennett, McLaggon
ST: Harsanyi, Cousins
Cousins, Sole, Main are all not match fit quite yet. Main is tired as a result.
Extended highlights for awhile.
8': McLaggon with a great cross just outside the 6 yard box.. Harsanyi gets to it but heads it just over. Clear cut chance, he needed to score there.
25': 63/37 possession edge, 3 shots to 0, but all off target.
HALF: Well then. 63/37 possession edge but we can't do anything with it. 7 total shots between the two teams, not a one on target. The missed header by Harsanyi was a serious chance to score, nothing else has been close.
48': Harsanyi with a good pass from the midfield over to the left edge of teh box for Bennet. Bennet lines up a shot but puts it over.
58': Eastleigh puts a header off the bar, we put a couple headers just over.
71': Sole in for Cousins, who didn't play well. Sloma in for O'sullivan who is tired.
75': Nokolaou in for Miquel who is exhausted.
76': After a throwin, Sloma crosses into the 6 yard box, McLaggon is there and heads it home! Their keeper froze, he could have come out possibly. 1-0
83': Easleigh into the box twice, we make two nice tackles(fenton once, dunno the other) to withstand the attack.
91': Sloma with a ball foward that Bennet runs on to in the box. He's got a defender harrassing him but does manage a shot, unfortunately saved.
93': Beautiful move. Nikolaou with a long ball foward, Harsanyi gets to it first, cuts by a defender and places a perfect shot from 16 yards out. His first touch and dribble to turn the defender the wrong way in full stride looked perfect. 2-0
Eastleigh 0 : 2 Woking
Kevin Lynch earns man of the match today with an 8.3 rating! I'm not quite sure why, the other team had 9 shots, zero on target.
McLaggon with a goal (7.8), Harsanyi a goal (7.2), Nikolaou assist (7.0), Sloma assist (6.8).
Other notable ratings come from Ricketts (7.6), Miquel (7.1), Fenton (7.1), Thomas (7.1), Bennett (7.1).
I threw Cousins into the fire on the road, bad move. 5.6 from him.
Curtis Main is named to the team of the week for the league.
August 21st, 2012
Cambridge @ Woking
Cambridge is favored slightly here, 6:4, we're 13:8. We are 2-0-4 against Cambridge lifetime. We've won the last two home matches against them. We have history here obviously as we played two extremely exciting games against Cambridge in the playoff semifinals last year.
Like always, its a flurry of matches to open the season. After a couple changes today:
DEF: Nikolaou, Thomas, Fenton, Ricketts
MC: O'Sullivan, Arter
AM: Bennett, McLaggon
ST: Harsanyi, Main
Cambridge still has their 3 star players from last year. Frank Wiafe Danquah and Lindfield are the strikers and Jai Reason in the midfield. All three are major threats.
14': Wiafe Danquah with a nice move to get into the box. Before he can take a shot though Thomas makes an equally nice tackle.
19': Countering after a corner attempt, we rush foward, Bennett with a long ball into the box. harsanyi is first to it but at an awkward angle on the left. He tries to go near post but puts it a bit wide.
30': Jai reason with a graet through ball to Wiafe Danquah, he easily beats Lynch. Lynch came halfway out and stopped, I've seen that before, seems like he could have come all the way out and made it very tough to score. 0-1
33': Midfielder Vincent with a cross into the box for Cambridge. Its off the back of ricketts and falls harmlessly in the box for a second, Vincent runs into the box and puts it into the net. 0-2
35': We'll try to attack here.
45': Main with a yellow.
HALF: A couple minutes of disaster there. Thomas 5.4, McLaggon 5.9, Harsanyi 5.8 for the half. We need a huge turnaround here.
45': Reason with a hard foul on O'sullivan immediately after halftime... yellow for Reason.
47': arter with a yellow, no idea why.
49': Ricketts with a great cross into the box, Harsanyi runs on to it and heads it in! A cambrdige defender is blamed for misplaying the cross and allowing the easy header. 1-2
61': Bennett beats his man and makes a great run down the left sideline. Nice cross, header by Main... just wide.
62': Ademola in for McLaggon, tired and playing poorly both.
72': Sole in for Main. Miquel in for Ricketts. Miquel DL, Nikolaou DR. both of these subs are simply for fatigue.
76': A quick counter sees a ball go to Harsanyi at midfield, he beatshis man and is off to the races. The only available defender closes in, Harsanyi with a great pass to Sole, Sole hits it first touch... it hits the right post and bounces in. That was VERY close. 2-2
80': O'Sullivan feeds Harsanyi, he makes a run into the box and shoots, but its saved. Nice control to generate the shot but it wasn't an easy one.
90': Corner for us, its cleared, but right to Nikolaou. Nikolaou gets it forward to Arter, Arter with a low cross into the box, Sole strikes it first touch and powers it into the net!!! 3-2
The match ends soon after. What a comeback!!!!
Woking 3 : 2 Cambridge
Sole plays 20 minutes and earns man of the match. He has two brilliant first touches, the second one was in a ton of traffic and he got all his weight behind it and rocketed the ball in. 8.5 rating/2 goals.
Harsanyi with a 7.5, goal and assist. The other two assists come from Arter (7.9) and Ricketts(6.9). O'Sullivan earns a 7.0 as well out there in the midfield.
We only put 5 shots on target all match, making the most of them big time. A dominant second half, that was crazy.
We unlock the "Comeback King" FM10/Steam achievement. Whee.
August 25th, 2012
Woking @ Chelmsford
Chelmsford just earned their way up into the BS Premier league and already they're favored over us in our first meeting, and given better odds to earn promotion than we are. We are 0-1-1 against Chelmsford, both games back in 2009 when we won the Blue Square South.
Chelmsford are off to a hot start, they are 3-0-1, we're 3-1-0. We may both end up title contenders after all! Its slightly early yet, I am convinced my squad belongs up here though. Their top player so far, striker Lewis Alessandra, has 3 goals/3 assists in 4 matches. However, he's injured and won't be playing today.
19': A long free kick by Lynch... Harsanyi outruns the defense, runs on to it well, a nice first touch, a clear cut chance from 10 yards out... and a brilliant save by their keeper. Doh!
29': Bennett picks up an injury, didn't see how.
41': A long clearance leads to a wide open run from Harsanyi. It seems like he could have run into the box easily to challenge the keeper, instead he shoots from 25 yards out with no one in front of him... why buddy?
HALF: A scoreless, and very quick half in extended highlight mode. Most cut ins were long enough for a long strike nowhere near the goal and that was that. Sloma in for the hurt Bennett at the half.
48': Ricketts up to O'Sullivan, O'Sullivan with a long ball forward from behind midfield. Harsanyi is first to it and this time goes all the way into the box, placing the ball into the left side of the net. 1-0
63': Fenton forward to O'Sullivan, O'Sullivan plays a ball back to Fenton but its very poor, easily intercepted and put right into the net. A rare goal costing error by my favorite player. 1-1
68': Anane in for Ricketts.
75': Subotic in for Sole, Subotic isn't full strength yet but Sole is having a pretty poor game today.
82': they earn a corner, its taken well but a header is just off the post. We clear, but they win it back. A shot it blocked by Lynch but the rebound falls to an attacker who puts it in. 1-2
82': We'll try to attack...
We get one more chance in the final minutes, sloma gets a nice look inside the box but he can't beat the keeper.
Chelmsford 2 : 1 Woking
Despite the critical mistake, O'Sullivan does everything else right today, picks up an assist and earns man of the match even in the loss, 7.7 rating.
Harsanyi has a 6.9 and the only goal for us. That's it.
Disappointing road loss today. We should do better than this.
Harsanyi has 5 goals in 5 matches so far this year and looks like a threat to be one of the league's top goal scorers for a second year in a row.
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