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Thread: [FM11]Deltablue Rising II: Delta's Darlings.

  1. #301
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackJCFC View Post
    Such a shame, sounds like a close final. Theres always next year
    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    So unlucky missing out on promotion.
    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    Unlucky on missing out,hopefully a full season will be more beneficial for you.
    Painful as well, definitely very excited about next season though. Massively up for what may be a very strong promotion season.

    Summer 2031
    Promotion. That was my only goal, backed by the board, with over 500k for transfers, and loads of spare wage budget to fiddle with. It’s as clear cut as that. Despite being shorn of our key loanees (though parent club Chelsea sent us another one) we still had a very strong squad for this level, that would be kept mostly intact, and with the three relegated sides from the Championship being Swindon, Notts County and Rochdale, they weren’t as tough new competition as they might have been, though I was still expecting a fair bit of fight from some of them, and others. Maintaining squad consistency (though not finding new players given there were a few areas we needed to improve in) was helped by the fact that most of the squad were well developed, so low CA youngsters, even with good potential, were a very unattractive option. Those that were made were mostly defensive, and for very little, along with a badly needed quality winger for quite a lot. There were more changes than I intended but a few of those were to plug gaps rather than be first teamers.

    Hopefully it would help our consistency, as we had been imperious at home (as Bury found out), only dropping 2 points since I arrived, compared to just 4 away wins out of 10 (counting the playoff semi) and plenty of ‘should have done better’ including the infamous Shrewsbury game, 2 defeats to Cardiff and the Sheffield Wednesday hammering, plus the playoff final which wasn’t officially an away game but which the match engine treated as such. All in all though, I was raring to go for this season. I was very hungry for that promotion and to vanquish the pain of last year.

    Arthur

    Pratt

    Wagstaff

    Wallace


    Transfers

  2. #302
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    Good luck for this season! I've got a tenner on promotion!

  3. #303
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deisler26 View Post
    Good luck for this season! I've got a tenner on promotion!
    We're 10-1 to win if I remember correctly

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    Looks like you've made an instant impact! Shame about the playoffs, and missing automatic promotion by a point, but still an encouraging start.

  5. #305
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Looks like you've made an instant impact! Shame about the playoffs, and missing automatic promotion by a point, but still an encouraging start.
    Yep, not quite building on it as I'd hoped, form has dropped off a bit after the events below.

    Aug 2031
    Crawley 0-2 Brighton (L1)
    We first went to Crawley, the only side we failed to beat at home after I arrived last season. Unfortunately we had our keeper, Smit, out injured for over half the season with a broken leg. We quickly look control, and Robinson picked up where he left off last year, scoring a penalty (which also saw them get a red card) after half an hour. Our failure to turn dominance into more goals could have cost us as Crawley suddenly started to push hard midway through the second half, though we felt much more comfortable after new winger Arthur marked his debut with a 68th minute goal. It wasn’t spectacular, but a very good start.

    Ebbsfleet 4-2 Brighton (LC)
    The away day demons struck again at promoted Ebbsfleet in the League cup, as they scored after 10 and 20 minutes to go 2 goals up. Robinson got a 5-minute brace to pull it back by the 40th minute but we couldn’t quite hold it together before the break and they retook the lead. We raced out in the second half to try and equalize but they got a 77th minute winner. Still, it was a good day to have a bad day. As beneficial as cup runs (with big games) are, my league focus was particularly overriding. After that we at least managed to do some late transfer activity, including getting a loan keeper (with a groin strain) to cover for Smit’s injury.

    Brighton 0-0 Doncaster (L1)
    We hoped we’d be able to rely on our strong home form, with the first visitors being Doncaster. They made a strong start, and though we just about managed to gain the upper hand for a lot of the first half, they came close again a few times before the break. The second half was pretty quiet, and Doncaster looked strong enough that on balance I was happy with the point.

    Luton 1-4 Brighton (L1)
    Pratt made his debut at Luton. He wasn’t particularly busy for a lot of the game, then again nor was his opposite number for the first half, however Frank (stepping out of his strike partner’s shadow) gave us a 40th minute lead. Arthur missed a penalty 5 minutes into the second half, to tremendous jeers from the Luton fans, but as we started to take control he got his revenge soon enough. He scored 10 minutes later, followed by Robinson 5 minutes after that. They started to test Pratt very strongly for the first time, and got a goal back in the 70th minute, but Arthur’s revenge was completed when a few minutes later his cross found his right-sided counterpart, Duxbury, who finished off a great 4-1 win. So much for our poor away form, just needed to start grabbing the home wins again.

    Brighton 2-2 Swansea (L1)
    We seemed to have a bit of a problem with that part, though Swansea were another reasonably tough opponent. Robinson seemed to set us on our way after 37 seconds, though they had already given us a scare. Rus’s own goal equalized, setting the scene for a mediocre performance from a lot of players, and they grabbed the lead shortly before the break. Our attempt to come back in the second half was unimpressive, though there as much relief when Robinson’s second goal of the game gave us a point.

    League Table

    Sept 2031
    Brighton p2-2 Ebbsfleet (JPT)
    We faced another cup game with Ebbsfleet, this time at home in the JPT (I wonder if the FA cup will complete the set?) They scored in the 8th minute, but after that we got better, Robinson getting a brace before the 25th minute to give us the lead. We were rather worse in the second half, and they got a 57th minute equalizer. We faced a shootout, and they missed their 2nd and last penalties while we scored all 4 of ours to go through.

    Brighton 2-2 Cardiff (L1)
    It would be very timely if we could get our first home win against Cardiff, after losing twice at theirs, plus they were a point ahead of us so it would be a great leap. It didn’t go much different from the previous home games. They gradually took control on the first half, having a goal disallowed in the 32nd minute. Robinson set Arthur up to equalize, but they were stronger than ever in the second half, retaking the lead early on, and having another disallowed just before Robinson drew is level again, after which the game became more even, we both could have snatched a win. Yet again I was glad to have survived a tricky test, which hopefully would pay off when we could take advantage of easier home games.

    Notts County 4-1 Brighton (L1)
    In the meantime the away games were getting harder, as we went to relegated Notts County, who were second, hadn’t conceded yet, and had some very strong players. They were pretty quiet for a lot of the first half, then it was as bad as I feared. They took the lead in the 32nd minute, and got another just after Wallace equalized, with enough time before the break for a 3rd. We failed to get a goal back when we had the chance in the second half, and eventually succumbed to a long-awaited 4th.

    Gillingham 0-4 Brighton (L1)
    Gillingham had made a good start as well when we went there. However we had no time to worry about that, we needed wins and fast. It was a joy to see us play as we knew we could. Right winger Grieve gave us the lead in the 18th minute, then Robinson took centre stage. He extended the lead in the 37th minute, grabbed another (assisted by Grieve) before half time, and finished off his hat-trick at the beginning of the second half, in a welcome return to form for us. However we were still outside the top 6, and as you can imagine I wouldn’t be looking forward to being subjected to the playoffs again so wanted a top 2 finish very badly.

    Brighton 3-2 Bradford (L1)
    We finally got a home win, but against relegation candidates Bradford we made it harder than it should have been, starting off with going behind in the 6th minute. Later in the first half we were able to come back, Grieve equalizing after half an hour and Robinson giving us the lead 10 minutes later. In the second half they were far more of threat than a side being sent to the bottom of the table should have been, and while Robinson got another goal in the 72nd minute, they got one back 10 minutes later that made for a nervy ending.

    Charlton 2-3 Brighton (L1)
    I wasn’t looking forward too much to going to Charlton, who were up in 3rd. It didn’t start too well, they pushed very hard and took a 19th minute lead. Again we equalized (through Grieve in the 26th minute) only to quickly go behind again. Arthur (yet again showing why I thought splashing 500k on him was a good idea) made it 2-2 in the 57th minute, but it looked like that was the best we could expect until we started challenging in the final minutes, and Wagstaff got a very timely first goal (and it had taken long enough, as while Robinson was swimming in goals whoever was playing alongside out of Frank or Wagstaff seemed to have a phobia of them) in stoppage time to give us by far the most important win yet.

    League Table

    Oct 2031
    Stockport 2-1 Brighton (L1)
    The next trip, to Stockport, didn’t go anywhere near as well. They had battered us for a lot of the first half before Robinson gave us a surprise lead. What was far less surprising was that they equalized, then took the lead, either side of half time, though they quietened down a bit and we had a few good chances to equalize.

    Brighton 0-3 Brighton (JPT)
    We were at home to Luton in the next round of the JPT, and after they took the lead in the 15th minute, not even I could be bothered to try. They got another before the break, and held it in a boring second half before grabbing a late 3rd.

    Brighton 1-0 Yeovil (L1)
    Robinson was one of a few people away on internationals when we played Yeovil, a bit of a blow in what would have been an otherwise easy match. They had a goal disallowed after 7 minutes, then our players embarked on a series of chances that bordered on the comical. In the second half they unleashed a storm of chances that we somehow survived, and even more improbably, we got a late win thanks to Frank, whose only moment of competence of the match came when he converted a Duxbury cross 10 minutes from time.

    Brighton 0-0 Wrexham (L1)
    We were also rather lacking against Wrexham, being slightly on the back foot for a lot of the game, but came to life late on. We failed to grab a winner like against Yeovil, not helped by Arthur going off injured (and would be out for 4 weeks) with 20 minutes left, reducing us to 10 men.

    Brighton 5-3 Sheff Wed (L1)
    Sheffield Wednesday had given us trouble before, and gave us more now when they had the upper hand in the first half. They took the lead in the 16th minute, and though an own-goal levelled it, they quickly retook the lead. Frank equalized before half-time, and we suddenly took control in the middle of the second half with a goal from 35yr old Malian Diakite, followed by Grieve. They got a third goal but a Robinson penalty in stoppage time made it safe.

    League Table

  6. #306
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    Nov 2031
    Stevenage 1-0 Brighton (L1)
    We struggled again when we went away, to Stevenage. We were just about the better in a dull first half, but faced a torrent of pressure in the second, very nearly holding out before they got a deserved winner right at the end.

    Southampton 0-0 Brighton (L1)
    The reverse seemed to happen at Southampton, though they were far more dominant in the first half, and our second half pressure period petered out too early, so in a perfect compromise, we got a 0-0 that neither side could be too happy with.

    Brighton 2-0 Bromley (FA)
    We had a trip to Bromley in the FA cup and found that far more manageable, though after Frank’s second minute goal we only got another from a Wallace header right at the end. Form was drastically drying up, and we went behind against MK Dons in the second minute, and were lucky they had another disallowed. We started taking the game to them, but barely got an equalizer from Grieve in stoppage time.

    Ebbsleet 0-2 Brighton (L1)
    We got a welcome win at Ebbsfleet, who we had already tangled with twice in the cups, but were bottom in the league. It wasn’t impressive, but Pitman headed a pair of goals in the 35th and 42nd minutes to make it pretty easy.

    Brighton 2-0 Kingstonian (FA)
    Our next cup match was against Kingstonian. We easily dominated them in the first half, though only made a breakthrough from Robinson in the 37th minute. The second half was rather more even, though we remained reasonably comfortable, and Wagstaff made it look much better in the 85th minute.

    League Table

    Dec 2031
    Brighton 0-0 Swindon (L1)
    We had a tricky game with Swindon (who I could have joined before BATE), who were just below the top 6, like us. We were probably the better side despite the calibre of the opposition, and it felt like a bit of a missed opportunity.

    Brighton 2-2 Brighton (L1)
    Plymouth, up in 3rd, would be tougher. Wagstaff set us on our way in the 3rd minute, though they hit back immediately. Wallace restored the head with a 25th minute header but in the 36th minute they managed to equalize again. We were still undefeated at home, but there had been far too many draws, and despite being on top in the second half, this was another that would have made a big difference.

    Barnet 1-3 Brighton (L1)
    We had a couple of easier games to try and pick ourselves up, starting at Barnet. We struggled to get anywhere in the first half, and even could have been behind at the break. However the second half saw us burst into life. In the space of 6 minutes, from the 64th, Wallace, Flavell and Wagstaff scored to put us 3-0 up, though a 74th minute consolation took the shine off it a little.

    Brighton 3-2 Salisbury (L1)
    As the busy festive period approached, we had promoted Salisbury at home, doing pretty well in 12th. Robinson set us on our way in the 2nd minute, followed by Wagstaff (who was getting the hang of this ‘scoring’ lark) in the 21st. Wagstaff had another disallowed in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but Flavell gave us a third goal in the 67th minute, and it was just as well that we did as they hit us with a pair of late goals which wasn’t enough.

    Wycombe 0-5 Brighton (L1)
    A potential banana skin trip to Wycombe was the last pre-christmas game. However Wagstaff tore them apart, scoring in the 7th minute. Flavell extended it on the stroke of half-time. It wasn’t until the second half that really ran riot. Wagstaff scored a quick double after the 64th minute, and Robinson finished them off in the 82nd minute.

    Brighton 2-2 Crawley (L1)
    We failed to follow it up on Boxing day, against of all sides, relegation battling rivals Crawley. The first half was uneventful, but they suddenly took control at the beginning of the second half, with a pair of goals in 5 minutes. We started to push to try and avert what would have been a poor first home defeat, and just about managed it thanks to Wagstaff getting one back a few minutes from time, and Grieve snatching a stoppage time equalizer. It was a lucky escape.

    Doncaster 2-2 Brighton (L1)
    I was slightly worried ahead of the last game of the year, at Doncaster, but in the middle of the first half, Arthur and Wagstaff gave us a 2 goal lead. It was far from comfortable, and we were under high pressure from that point, They got a goal back in the 37th minute, and equalized in the 52nd, keeping it up afterwards. That said, we did manage to gather ourselves enough time to attack (and had a penalty claim turned down) that we could easily have grabbed a winner ourselves. And indeed that was the problem, so many draws (the most along with Doncaster), compared to having the joint fewest defeats, costing us a far better chance of automatic promotion.

    League Table

  7. #307
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    Good first half of the season, still in touch of the automatic promotion places.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JackJCFC View Post
    Good first half of the season, still in touch of the automatic promotion places.
    Sadly rather less so right now. Won the first and last games of January, unfortunately the rest didn't go quite so well.

  9. #309
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    It's far from over but should be better.

    Jan 2032
    Brighton 1-0 Rochdale (L1)
    The one side we hadn’t played yet was Rochdale, struggling to avoid a second relegation on the trot. We laboured to it for a lot of the first half, but Frank gave us the lead right before half-time. They were a surprisingly spirited bunch in the second half but weren't that big a threat in the end.

    Brighton 1-6 Luton (L1)
    All good things must come to an end, and after a year I finally lost a home game (and also lost the first game for 2 months), but it came in such crushing style. They got a pair of goals within a minute after 15 minutes, and they got a third in the 34th minute. Arthur got a goal back in the 51st minute, but after he was carried off injured with a broken leg (ending his season) things got even more downhill, with one of their forwards getting a late hat-trick.

    Brighton 0-2 Rotherham (FA)
    The cup draw was again kind, with Rotherham at home, though as they were challenging for promotion in League 2 they wouldn’t be a walk in the park. So it proved, as we were on top in the first half but without a goal, and they picked us off with a couple of goals early in the second half as we lost our attacking momentum.

    Swansea 4-1 Brighton (L1)
    We didn’t improve at Swansea either as they grabbed 3 first-half goals. Robinson got a 70th minute goal for us but they easily finished us off with a 4th.

    Brighton 0-3 Notts County (L1)
    It wasn’t a great way to go into a game with Notts County. That didn’t go no better, not that I expected it to, as we went down in the 15th minute. They got another 5 minutes before the break. They weren’t actually dominant, just efficient, and they efficiently got a third after an hour.

    Cardiff 4-0 Brighton (L1)
    When it rains, it pours, and at Cardiff we were completely swept away. It took until the 32nd minute for them to score first, though the writing was on the wall even before they got another just before half-time. For a dominant side they weren’t in much of a rush to rack up the goals. Their third came in the 64th minute, before right-back Harrison gifted them another a few minutes later. They could have had a few more and I wouldn’t have complained about it being unfair, that’s how bad it was.

    Brighton 5-1 Gillingham (L1)
    Having lost 5 on the bounce (including Rotherham), I needed to make sure that Gillingham wouldn’t be a 6th. A fit-again Smit was back in goal in place of a thoroughly demoralized (though not as much as you’d think after 19 goals conceded in 5 games) Pratt, and it seemed to help, as did the own-goal that gave us the lead after 10 minutes, which was jolly decent of them. They equalized in the 17th minute, but we took control, Robinson finally giving us the lead again in the 42nd minute, with Wallace getting another in stoppage time. Wagstaff made it 4-1 a few minutes into the second half. We were much quieter after, but Wagstaff got another in the last minute, showing that we could win in as great a style as we could lose. What a way to end the run of defeats!

    League Table

    Feb 2032
    Bradford 2-0 Brighton (L1)
    We were back to being lacklustre at Bradford, conceding after 5 minutes. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as our recent disasters, but bad enough that we conceded again later in the half. Grieve had a goal disallowed in stoppage time, which would have helped immensely, but while we had some chances in the second half, it was the resilience that we most relied on as they were very much on top but couldn’t get anything else.

    Brighton 1-1 Stockport (L1)
    We looked to be restoring our home fortunes at least against Stockport, who were in the last playoff place. Robinson gave us a 9th minute lead but we couldn’t hold onto it before the break. We huffed and we puffed in the second half, easily deserving a winner, but their brick house held firm.

    Yeovil 2-2 Brighton (L1)
    We survived a difficult first half at Yeovil, but they broke through in the 53rd minute. The rest of the match seemed just as one sided but in the 79th minute, Moldovan winger Valikaev (our left wing hope in the absence of the far superior Arthur) equalized. It looked like we’d blown our chances for an unlikely point when they retook the lead with a couple of minutes left, but Valikaev grabbed it in injury time. Yet another narrow escape.

    Brighton 3-1 Charlton (L1)
    I was worried when conceding after just 3 minutes at home to Charlton. But it turned out to be an early blip. Rosso headed in an 11th minute equalizer, and with the game in the balance for most of the first half, Robinson gave us the lead just before the break. We were dominant for most of the second half and finally got a third in the last 10 minutes, just as they were looking like they might threaten to equalize.

    Wrexham 1-1 Brighton (L1)
    Our spirits were definitely up, and at Wrexham we battered on their door for almost all of the first half. It was very nearly very costly. We weren’t as good in the second half, but nevertheless I wasn’t expecting them to take the lead in the 78th minute. We had a few chances to equalizer, and thankfully Robinson did just that in time added on.

    League Table

  10. #310
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    ahhh disapointing drop in form. Still plenty of time to get back into the playoffs.

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    Incredibly tight from the playoff positions down to you, no reason why you can't make it. As for the lottery that follows... best of luck.

  12. #312
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    This is going right down to the wire,hope you can make it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JackJCFC View Post
    ahhh disapointing drop in form. Still plenty of time to get back into the playoffs.
    Quote Originally Posted by snootyjim View Post
    Incredibly tight from the playoff positions down to you, no reason why you can't make it. As for the lottery that follows... best of luck.
    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    This is going right down to the wire,hope you can make it.
    Only one minor drawback, I lost the next game and was sacked. Been pretty downhill since BATE. Perhaps what I need is another Sportist (unless I can bypass the promotion bit), so time for another odd career move, maybe.

  14. #314
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    Pretty harsh sacking seeing as you still had a chance of going up.

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    Hmm, don't think you deserved that either. It's not a crazy decision by the board if they still think they can make promotion, but it is very harsh. No reason why you couldn't have been the person to take them there.

    Hopefully there's more of a longterm opportunity out there somewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JackJCFC View Post
    Pretty harsh sacking seeing as you still had a chance of going up.
    Quote Originally Posted by snootyjim View Post
    Hmm, don't think you deserved that either. It's not a crazy decision by the board if they still think they can make promotion, but it is very harsh. No reason why you couldn't have been the person to take them there.

    Hopefully there's more of a longterm opportunity out there somewhere.
    Well, I know I was disappointed with how we were doing, board and manager expected promotion (which may have meant automatic), and we were getting much closer to the bottom half than we were the playoffs so not unjustified, though I was hoping we'd hold on to have a better go with a more settled squad (I know I said that last year but I did bring in quite a few players in the end) next season. Such has missing out on promotion last year damned our fortunes, but I had already experienced the flip side at Sportist. Definitely seeing if I can get that sort of opportunity, rejected Bohemians Prague on the grounds that despite high expectations, they were in the bottom half of Second Div, and not been in the First Division for years, while Leixoes in Portugal had massive debt (something in common with every lower league club I've encountered in that nation for a while), though they have been by far the best opportunities so far, with rejections for things similar or worse, so might settle for something similar later on. In the meantime I at least have my first competitive games with Ghana coming up.

  17. #317
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    Tough sacking. I agree with JackJCGC and snootyjim; they could have at least given you to the end of the league to prove you could make the playoffs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Tough sacking. I agree with JackJCGC and snootyjim; they could have at least given you to the end of the league to prove you could make the playoffs.
    As it happened they did make the playoffs, and lost in the final for the 3rd year in a row. In a way I'm glad as had they gone up I'd have been wishing that I was still there making it happen, and being the one enjoying Championship life. Very nearly jumped back into club management with Peterhead, but decided that while I'll still keep looking and going for club jobs, I'll probably only be at Ghana for the time being, and that may help improve my chances of something interesting, rather than stay stuck in a rut for even longer. Oh and Deisler, I'll refund you that tenner

  19. #319
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    Another sacking? Already? This is turning into quite the tale!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Another sacking? Already? This is turning into quite the tale!
    Not a very happy one either, this is definitely the worst spell I've had on FM for some time (though I do have blips every so often). My post-BATE record stands at 3 clubs in 5 years being sacked at all three without doing a full season at any of them. However that doesn't change the fact that I wasn't happy there, they returned to mediocrity and even eventually got relegated so it's not like I left when they were on the verge of great glory (though they did win the title the year after I left, as the exception). Next Brighton manager in serious trouble early in the new season, and while I always like to see former club's doing well, I'm still in the 'satisfaction at seeing how wrong they were to ditch me' stage. I'm still sure that I could have delivered promotion soon.

    Internationals 2032
    Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Brighton (L1)
    The next match, at Sheffield Wednesday, was my last, and I’m not surprised given how it went. They scored after 10 minutes, then again after 15. Not for the first time we were hopeless against them, and conceding a 3rd 5 minutes from time was fully deserved.

    At least the sacking meant I could concentrate on Ghana, who after a bad ACN had slipped out of the top 50 in the rankings when they hired me (which was a bit of a surprise) shortly after I joined Brighton, though they'd only had friendlies (which I leave to the Ass man both at club and international level, hence the lack of news) so far. Among everything, it was great to be reunited with my former Sportist defender Boateng, who had ended up having a very strong career both in La Liga with Almeria and now the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg. I faced the first stage of the World Cup qualifiers. Sao Tome & Principe and Gambia would be easy, Mali less so. They didn’t quite have our strength in depth, but did have the most dangerous forward in Africa, so getting the top spot we needed to be sure of progress (though a lot of runners up would as well) wouldn’t be easy.

    Ghana 2-0 Sao Tome (WCQ)
    The first game was at home to Sao Tome, ranked 199th. For all our dominance, goals were rather hard to come by, but we managed it eventually, getting a couple in the last 10 minutes of the first half from young forward Eshun (one of a couple we were blessed with), and the Lens full-back Owusu. That was it despite outshooting them 37-2.

    Gambia 0-5 Ghana (WCQ)
    We were rather better in Gambia. Our other young forward Frimpong scored in the 6th minute, followed in short order by playmaker Taylor, and Boateng to put us 3 goals up after 25 minutes. Things quietened down a little more, but the 54th minute saw left-winger Mantey score another, with Eshun getting the last one in the 77th minute, with plenty of time to have many chances for a 6th. That set us in good stead for the trip to Mali.

    Mali 0-4 Ghana (WCQ)
    I needn’t have worried about what they could do to us, as with the kinks worked out of the system against Sao Tome, we were on fire. Eshun was clearly a star on the rise, and one clearly wasted in Saudi Arabia. He got a pair of goals in the first 20 minutes so set us on our way. Frimpong decided to join in after half-time, though he spaced his brace apart, in the 54th and 76th minute.

    Sao Tome 0-1 Ghana (WCQ)
    After that, we met the Sao Tome brick wall again, pushing them just as much as before, with just a Taylor goal late in the first half to show for it, but it kept up a great record so far.

    Ghana 4-1 Gambia (WCQ)
    Eshun was one of a couple of players injured when we played Gambia at home, but his replacement Owusu (another Saudi-based player) scored in the 7th minute, then the 17th. He had a 3rd disallowed after 20 minutes, though we did get it through Taylor in the 27th minute. It looked like this would be a massive scoreline, though it wasn’t as we stopped scoring, aside from Owusu getting his deserved hat-trick with 5 minutes left, and they broke our run of clean sheets by heading in a stoppage time corner.

    Ghana 2-2 Mali (WCQ)
    The final game of this group stage was against Mali, but they were the tough opponents they weren’t in the first game. They started off the stronger side, but Taylot gave us a 21st minute lead, Frimpong extending it in the 37th minute. They came back in the second half, their mega-awesome forward Cisse getting a goal back 10 minutes in, then an own-goal equalized it. However we had the late dominance, and should have got a winner, but it didn’t matter as we were comfortably group winners (not that I’d done anything that good so far), sending us through to the last stage, and I hoped to qualify for the finals, to be played in China. Oddly enough an awful lot of other games in this round finished 4-0 to the home team.

    The Ivory Coast would be a tough obstacle in our quest to qualify, though Kenya and Togo weren’t so bad.

    Final Group Table

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    Good start with Ghana, keep it up!

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    Well, the international side of things is going well! Good for that at least

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    Perhaps club management isn't for you?! Your international record is much better!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JackJCFC View Post
    Good start with Ghana, keep it up!
    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Well, the international side of things is going well! Good for that at least
    Very, it's really a nice change from recent events.

    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Perhaps club management isn't for you?! Your international record is much better!
    Actually until about a year ago, my international record was one of miserable failure. Perhaps the lowlights being a 3 day stint with Serbia that simply involved a playoff second leg loss to Montenegro (though it wasn't my fault that they failed to win the first leg at home), and a World Cup challenge on one forum when I chose Spain and just picked up a single point in the group stage (though was very unlucky in all three games), then I learned that clearing the squad and national pool (which has always been cluttered up with too many players I'd never want) and picking a new one from scratch (often with quite a few changes to the squad) wasn't a good way to go about things.

    Being someone who relies on making the right purchases I've always felt far better with club management where I can make a difference in that way, recent events just being a far worse patch than usual. It's not like i've done that much better than expected anyway. Normally wouldn't go 'international only' (and technically still doing lots of club applications for things I might like, just not often those I think I have much chance of getting) for any length of time, but after recent events I think a bit of a break from club failure with a strong international side like Ghana isn't the worst of moves right now.

    ACN 2033
    I was much looking forward to a hopefully strong ACN, hosted in Cameroon. We had Togo, Egypt and Burkina Faso in our group, with the latter up first.

    Ghana 2-1 Burkina Faso (ACN)
    They were tricky to break through at first, but defender Mohammed gave us a 17th minute lead. Taylor soon extending it. However they put us under a great deal of pressure for the rest of the half (though we had a late missed penalty on our side of things). The second half was fully of close shaves for each side, and a few minutes from time they got the goal they had been threatening for a while, but we still grabbed the all-important win.

    Ghana 3-3 Egypt (ACN)
    We next played Egypt, and we started out struggling before an own-goal gave us the lead. We were able to get our act together and push on, with Owusu making it 2-0 in the 21st minute, and Mohammed getting a third early in the second half. However getting a goal back just a couple of minutes later really got their spirits up. In the 63rd minute they narrowed it further with a penalty, and just grabbed an equalized a couple of minutes before the end, which was more than fair given the balance of the game. It's not often you lose a 3 goal lead and feel the opposition perhaps even deserved to win but this was one of those times.

    Ghana 1-1 Togo (ACN)
    The last group game was Togo, who were in our WCQ group, and had lost both of the other matches. Not a lot happened in either group game in the first half, though we were starting to push before half-time. Shockingly they took the lead from a 57th minute penalty but Owusu hit back immediately. We threw ourselves forward in search of a goal that would put is top of the group, and thought we got it very late on only to see it disallowed.

    Ghana 3-2 Angola (ACN QF)
    We would avoid the hosts in the quarter-finals, playing Angola (who had another former Sportist defender of mine) instead. We didn’t start well, as we went behind after 5 minutes, but we slowly started trying to rescue the situation. Mohammed headed in an equalized in the 22nd minute, then 4 minutes later, an Owusu penalty gave us the lead, but we were never in that strong a position. We just about deserved another in the second half, and an own goal gave us one a couple of minutes from the end, but we had a close shave as they scored a second in stoppage time.

    Ghana 1-0 Algeria (ACN SF)
    Algeria awaited in the semis. It was an incredibly close and tense game. We alternated having short periods of pressure from the start, until Frimpong gave us the lead after 63 minutes. The game quietened down until they really ramped the pressure up in the last 10 minutes, and the relief at the final whistle was considerable.

    Ghana 1-2 Egypt (ACN final)
    We faced a rematch against Egypt in the final. We started out by far the brighter, with Frimpong scoring in the 11th minute. However a penalty drew them level 5 minutes later. We had a penalty of our own which was saved immediately after, and as we surged forward, they headed in a corner to take the lead in the 23rd minute, and our defence was making me very nervous indeed. In the second half, Mantey’s injury reduced us to 10 fit men, and we couldn’t put up much of a fight after that. Still I was very happy with our run to the final, a vast improvement from a group stage exit just before I joined. Another good sign was that the Ivory Coast, who I was worried about facing in the last stage of World Cup qualifiers (which would soon be starting), lost all 3 games in what was admitedly a bit of a group of death, so could be overcome.

    Immediately after that I had my first ‘favourite’ link to a non-English job, though as it was in the Spanish Second Division B I wasn’t exactly jumping at it, but it’s a sign of a step in the right direction, the first for some time.

    Group Stage

    Knockouts

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    unlucky on the sacking at Brighton, nothing will be sweeter than eventually beating them with another club though! Good work with Ghana in the African Nations, Egypt always going to be tough to beat in that tournament so no shame in losing to them in the final.

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    Unlucky in the ACN final, I hope you get a decent job and are given time to build up something good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    unlucky on the sacking at Brighton, nothing will be sweeter than eventually beating them with another club though! Good work with Ghana in the African Nations, Egypt always going to be tough to beat in that tournament so no shame in losing to them in the final.
    I'd already found out Egypt were tough in the group stage. It's a pretty competitive continent with the real life spread of strong players being taken even further, and while I felt we could win the final, I was more than heppy with how we did so didn't mind too much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jpr View Post
    Unlucky in the ACN final, I hope you get a decent job and are given time to build up something good.
    If only the penalties had gone differently... will be staying at Ghana for a while so will probably have another couple of cracks at it, an a couple of World cup experiences. It's doing me the world of good. On the club side... I think I could be on the verge of something decent.

  28. #328
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    Good job with Ghana, should give your rep a bit of a boost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JackJCFC View Post
    Good job with Ghana, should give your rep a bit of a boost.
    Not at first, rejected the link with a Spanish 2B club that I got just after the ACN, decided I might go for the level after all and got rejected by another, however after a month of things looking no different I'm starting to get quite a bit of interest for the first time in the career (well, from non-English clubs) from a variety of places. Was always going to wait until the end of the season to officially accept something, and in the meantime the variety of options I have to choose from is very interesting. Greek B Division (which looked like being my destination before the other interest started appearing), Spanish 2B (with a club who had previously rejected me), the Austrian, Belgian, Serb and Croat Second divisions, Top Division sides in Hungary and Slovakia.. and time for more to come. I do have a favourite right now but plenty of time for things to change before seasons start finishing and it's decision time. Definitely interested enough in a few of those that I will be making a return to club management.

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    Spring 2033
    Ghana 1-0 Kenya (WCQ)
    The final World Cup qualifier group stage began at home to Kenya, just before facing all three away games, though they would be much later in the year. They were tricky, and despite very much being on top, we were almost lucky not to have gone behind when Owusu gave us the lead a few minutes before the end of the first half. The second half was quieter and more relaxed, so while it wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be, I was happy with the win, especially with Togo-Ivory Coast ending in a draw.

    Ivory Coast 1-1 Ghana (WCQ)
    In June we faced the Ivory Coast trip I was worried about. Owusu gave us the lead after a few minutes, but they soon came back to level it. They were just about on top in the first half, including having a penalty claim turned down, but were completely on top in the second half. I was delighted that we somehow held on to get a point.

    Just before the Kenya game, job offers started to appear. That started off with Panserraikos in Greece, which seemed decent enough that I wanted to have a go, but having decided not join while the season was going on, the delay time until the end was ample time for rather a lot more offers to come up. Albacete had previously rejected me, but wanted me now, and having decided against returning to the Spanish 2nd Div B (rejecting Gimnastica just after the ACN) I was more in favour now, especially as they looked a far better prospect than Gimnastica of Ferrol, second level jobs in good-to- middling nations kept coming up, as did another crack at top-flight football (and maybe trophies) in Hungary and Slovakia, so quite a selection, though for a while Albacete remained favourites.

    It was very much a battle between them, as strong long-term prospects of the sort I’d been chasing for a while, and the Slovakians, Michalovce, who seemed a good bet if I wanted to return to challenging for rep-boosting trophies. Two options that would be good for very different reasons then. A tempting offer from Ural threatened to sway me, but all three original options I decided to pursue came back on the same day. The Greeks were easily out of the running, and in the end I went for...

    Michelovce

    There were quite a few reasons why I did so, aside from having a reputation for unpredictable career moves to keep up.

    The first was that the ‘long-term in a big nation’ approach had been a bit of a failure recently, and I fancied changing course again. As much as BATE wasn’t enjoyable I at least got a cup (my only trophy to date) out of it so it was worth having another go at getting trophies in a smaller (and potentially easier) nation, especially with MTK in the last career showing the potential rewards (from being laughed off by Austrian First Div clubs before, to be courted by the likes of Shakhtar, Zenit, and eventually getting Lazio a few titles and a couple of cups later).

    There was also the fact that I had never been there before, while wanting to join Emgergo and Jpr there. As a small league there wouldn’t be an awful lot between the teams in a small top flight, so I judged my chances of a cup or two to be as good as I could expect them to be for doing anything anywhere. The one exception to this was that Zilina had just won their 21st league title in a row!

    As a club themselves, they had a pretty good amount of money (1M) for a small nation so I would have relatively good budgets to work with, the contract offer including a 750k transfer budget (admittedly irrelevant late in the season), which was far more than I thought I’d ever need in a year, and using 12kpw of a 14.3kpw budget, which relatively speaking was rather a lot spare, and with plenty that could be added to it from the transfer budget. I found some very good youths in the squad and U19s as well. All things considered, not a bad place to pitch up. Plus I was feeling better at having options if this didn’t work.

    Like with Sportist I arrived just before the last match (the game having a slightly inaccurate definition of ‘end of season’), the club already certain to be 10th out of 12. It was at mid-table Presov, and though looking far weaker due to playing quite a few promising youngsters (and a few injuries), we were reasonably competitive despite eventually going down 2-1.

  31. #331
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    Interesting move, looking forward to seeing how it works out

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    Just caught up with the final season with Brighton, ouch.. that actually didn't start too bad and I am a bit surprised it went downhill late on, as you made progress up until then. Much better with Ghana, good luck in Slovakia. I'm not entirely sure how that works out, having enough rep to manage one of the biggest international sides in Africa but at the same time can't get past a minor club in Slovakia club-wise.

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    Good stuff with Ghana, nice to see you winning some matches!

    Let's hope that Slovakia is a good place to return to club management

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    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeXe View Post
    Interesting move, looking forward to seeing how it works out
    At the moment, not too bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by noikeee View Post
    Just caught up with the final season with Brighton, ouch.. that actually didn't start too bad and I am a bit surprised it went downhill late on, as you made progress up until then. Much better with Ghana, good luck in Slovakia. I'm not entirely sure how that works out, having enough rep to manage one of the biggest international sides in Africa but at the same time can't get past a minor club in Slovakia club-wise.
    They were on a bit of a low point, out of the ACN in the group stages, down to about 60th in the rankings, much like I was able to jump from Airdrie to West Brom last time as they were way down in League 1, but that would only make a small difference. Considerable experience on FM11 has shown that your actual record (and nationality) matters more than rep bar, I could still do League 1/Championship level just my own rules about not being in a nation twice in a row prevented me from going for them (otherwise I'd have focussed on doing for a while) and I couldn't manage anything anywhere near as good outside England.

    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Good stuff with Ghana, nice to see you winning some matches!

    Let's hope that Slovakia is a good place to return to club management
    It's definitely great to be back in club management and early signs are most promising.

    Summer 2033
    It was good to have a transfer fund and be scouting players again. I had considerable access to young Czechs which was a great bonus to all the local young talent. I was also going to go for the tried and tested tactic of going for African youngsters (I could have 5 in a match squad) as a good way to bring in young talent for very little and have a large income stream when the board started selling a few of them over my head occasionally. It was clear from very early on that this would be a summer of heavy investment, as it looked like I’d put the money we had to good use after all. There were also a surprising number of strong free agents so it didn’t even involve spending money so often.

    We ended up incredibly well stocked with potential, especially (in fact maybe overly so) up front, and running pretty much the same wage bill as when I arrived. There would still need to be a lot of rationalization in the next couple of years with excess players for most areas of the side. Both the extensive changes and very green players would probably mean little progress for now, but I couldn’t wait to see what happened when things came together.

    It would be a low pressure first season (aside from just having a couple of weeks pre-season before the first league match), the board just expecting mid-table, and with only one side going down. That made me feel more relaxed about just how many changes I was making that hopefully would pay off before long. I had a good feeling about this club.

    Bilek

    Diaby

    Farkas

    Hanousek

    Kessou

    Kovac

    Tetteh

    Valenta

    Vavra


    Transfers

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    Kessou and Tetteh look great! And Czech talent is a great asset (no language barrier, no settling problems), too in Slovakia.

    But why, oh why Mihalovce?

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    Quote Originally Posted by emgergo View Post
    Kessou and Tetteh look great! And Czech talent is a great asset (no language barrier, no settling problems), too in Slovakia.

    But why, oh why Mihalovce?
    It's just business

    July 2033
    Michalovce 1-0 Nitra (D1)
    In the midst of the transfer frenzy we kicked the league off at home to Nitra. I didn’t make too many changes with the players I had already, but we were very much on the back foot, and it was a minor miracle that we weren’t a few goals down at half-time. The second half was far quieter, but luckily for us they had a goal disallowed in the 65th minute. Even luckier was that on a rare break, one of our very young forward pairing (both 1 star CA and 4.5 PA, admittedly only both playing because our main senior forward broke his leg at the end of last season), Duris, gave us the game’s only goal 5 minutes later, and even then there was a slight bit of holding out to do at the end. It was about as lucky as wins get.

    Ruzomberok 2-2 Michalovce (D1)
    The side was pretty much all together when we went to Ruzomberok. Again we rode our luck early on, though it was nowhere near as bad as against Nitra. They broke us early in the second-half, but we were starting to find our groove, left-winger Toth equalized in the 52nd minute. They retook the lead in the 71st minute, but with the game finely balanced, we deserved to get a point from new playmaker Farkas in the 82nd minute.

    Michalovce 1-1 Vranov (D1)
    We hoped to continue the decent start at home to the promoted side, Vranov, who had lost both games so far. We seemed more comfortable at the start, though they hit us with a goal after 18 minutes. We levelled it from Ghanaian winger Tetteh in the 27th minute shortly after having a goal disallowed. We were rather unlucky not to get a winner from many chances in a strong second half.

    Slovan Bratislava 3-1 Michalovce (D1)
    A trip to Slovan Bratislava would be one of the toughest we’d face. It didn’t help that we were rather short-handed in central defence. As usual we were strongly up against it from the start. They took a 34th minute lead then switch off. We took advantage by equalizing from Duris during a goalmouth scramble just before half time. Things were more even for a lot of the second half but we couldn’t keep it up. A quick brace from the 72nd minute gave them a comfortable victory.

    League Table

    Aug 2033
    Presov 5-1 Michalovce (D1)
    We had a rematch at Presov, who beat us in my first game in charge. Unfortunately our luck was very much running out. They took a 2 goal lead in the first half an hour, and quickly restored the margin when defender Orsula headed one back for us in the 32nd minute. The grabbed another pair of goals early in the second half, then let us be to tend to our wounds.

    Michalovce 2-0 Dubnica (D1)
    I made a couple of changes before we played Dubnica, who seemed more manageable. We were on top in the first half, and Duris gave us a well-earned 40th minute lead. They threatened quite a bit in the second half, but in the 66th minute Duris got another goal to make it safe, and a very important win it was too as we needed to avoid having an extended slump.

    Senec 2-0 Michalovce (D1)
    A trip to Senec was a great chance to get another win, but Duris had a goal disallowed after 9 minutes, especially frustrating given how balanced the game was. As I feared, they made the breakthrough in the 39th minute, and I already knew we weren’t doing enough to come back when they got a second in the 72nd minute.

    Michalovce 2-2 Banska Bystrica (D1)
    Early on against Banska Bystrica, we got a massive shock when our keeper Bubenko (who had been nothing short of heroic so far) blundered badly and gifted them the lead. We were at sixes and sevens trying to come back until a Bilek goal levelled it late in the first half, calming things down considerably. We faced heavy pressure in the second half, though another Bilek goal gave us a 65th minute lead. It was a bit of a lucky lead, which made an eventual added time equalizer easy to take.

    League Table

    Sept 2033
    Just as I was getting used to being in Slovakia, internationals returned, not just with a pair of World Cup qualifiers, but the first ACN qualifier in Botswana (with Burundi and Kenya also in the group).

    Botswana 0-5 Ghana (ACNQ)
    We had a couple of suspensions, but they were never going to be hard. Mohammed set us on our way with a header after 8 minutes. Owusu got another within 5 minutes, then had another disallowed 10 minutes later. That didn’t stop him completing a hat-trick before half-time. We weren’t trying too hard in the second half, not helped by an injury sustained by Diallo, who was pulling the strings on the right-wing, but Eshun got a 5th in the 79th minute.

    Togo 1-1 Ghana (WCQ)
    Togo (and to a lesser extent Kenya) wouldn’t be much more of a challenge. It started evenly enough, but suddenly they took firm control, eventually taking the lead after an hour. We were heading for defeat when they were given a red card with 10 minutes left, allowing Boateng to give us a desperate point.

    Kenya 3-1 Ghana (WCQ)
    Kenya hit us hard in the other game. They scored in the 3rd minute, then after half an hour. Owusu got a goal back in the 67th minute but they were too far on top, adding a 74th minute goal to clinch a win. That left us a point behind them, and three behind the Ivorians, though thankfully we had the latter as one of two remaining games, which would both be at home, so we still had a shot at qualifying.

    I was rather glad to return to Slovakia after that, though board interference meant I was about to lose one of our best young forwards (who admittedly had done sod all in a number of poor showings) Michalik, to Slovan Bratislava for a measily 300k. However we wouldn’t be too short handed, especially with a Ghanaian coming in January.

    Kosice 4-1 Michalovce (D1)
    We went to Kosice, and things didn’t improve. We conceded in the second minute. Tetteh showed off his talent by equalizing in the 8th minute, and looking like he would give us the lead, but they retook the lead in the 33rd minute, and got another in the next 10 minutes to go 4-1 up by the break, thankfully sparing us further.

    Michalovce 3-3 Trnava (D1)
    We almost made up for it against Trnava. Bilek set us on our way in the 5th minute, followed by Duris (who soon went off injured). However just a few minutes later they got a goal back, and a nervous defence conceded an equalizer before the break. On the hour mark, a Diaby penalty gave us a deserved lead back, but it was blown by left-back Augustini who made it 3-3 with an own-goal. We still pushed forward, and could have won if Diaby hadn’t missed another penalty.

    Lipany 0-4 Michalovce (SC)
    We went to non-league Lipany in the cup. We got off to a slow start, taking the lead through an early own-goal. Orsula made it look better in the 38th minute, and in the second half Tetteh and Sterba gave us a strong 4-0 win.

    And was just as well we did as next we had the game I wasn’t looking forward to, the first trip to Zilina. While they had a very long run of titles indeed, they had been far from invincible, so were capable of being dethroned (hopefully by us) one day, however they had some of the strongest youths around (who I couldn’t get at yet) as well as a first-team that would be difficult to match on paper (though again, they weren’t overwhelmingly superior to their closest rivals), and that was very much a mission for another day, and that’s if things went well. For now I just wanted to avoid being heavily beaten.

    Zilina 7-0 Michalovce (D1)
    That wasn’t going to happen this time. They took the lead in the 4th minute, having already had a few chances, got a quick brace after 15 minutes, got a 4th in the 26th minute and had a 5th before the break. Just over an hour in and they were up to 7-0. It was a dire ‘performance’ all round, where everybody was to blame.

    League Table

    Ouch, just 2 wins and a titanic-load of goals conceded. Mind you this was always going to be a bit of a work in progress since they were hardly on the verge of glory when I arrived, and I had introduced a lot of raw youth so we weren't going to be racing out of the blocks. A lot of the league was close enough that anything more than 'not too close to relegation' was pretty irrelevant as positions changed so much. More of the same will just about do (with maybe slightly better win and goals conceded ratios) for now I think and hopefully everything will come together in the next year or two, and that I'll be around to see it.
    Last edited by deltablue; 15-04-2012 at 19:38.

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    Not a great start, a big defeat against Zilina. lets hope things improve!

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    Tough start to life at Michalovce,not done to bad with Ghana.

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    very inconsistent times for you in Slovakia, hopefully you can find some form.

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    Not going a lot better, unfortunately!

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    Tough start to a new league. Hope it turns around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JackJCFC View Post
    Not a great start, a big defeat against Zilina. lets hope things improve!
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    very inconsistent times for you in Slovakia, hopefully you can find some form.
    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Tough start to a new league. Hope it turns around.
    I've had to wait a while, and finally been getting a bit of a reward.

    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Not going a lot better, unfortunately!
    With a horrific amount of growing and gelling to do I wasn't expecting it to yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    Tough start to life at Michalovce,not done to bad with Ghana.
    Slight reversal of fortunes going on.

    Oct 2033
    Nitra 2-1 Michalovce (D1)
    The middle third of the season started at Nitra. Surprisingly despite having Diaby going off injured near the start, it wasn’t the extreme survival mission that our last encounter was (the fact that we won not really changing that). Bilek thought he’d given us the lead in the 37th minute but it was disallowed, and they took the lead instead a couple of minutes later. Cue massive frustration! Gabriel equalized in the 49th minute, but they were the far better side after that. We couldn’t quite hold on, but we’d already robbed them blind on the opening day, and doing it a second time was always going to be an unreasonable thing to expect.

    Ghana 3-1 Burundi (ACNQ)
    Internationals returned to the fore, with 3 home games (with 2 in Slovakia afterwards making it 5 for me personally) this time instead of 3 away games, and our world-cup qualification finely in the balance. Again the ACN qualifier was first, against Burundi. Gyamfi set us on our way in the 5th minute, followed by Boateng in the middle of the half. However the predicted big win didn’t really emerge. They had a gift of a goal on the stroke of half-time, but we were always going to get the win which was sealed by Owusu in the 62nd minute.

    Ghana 3-3 Ivory Coast (WCQ)
    The Ivory Coast was a critical game we needed to win to have a chance of qualifying for next year’s world cup. Unsurpringly we raced out of the blocks, getting an own-goal in the middle of the first half. They levelled it just before the break, but we took control in the second half, Owusu and Mohammed giving us a 3-1 lead (just putting us ahead of them on GD as things stand, whith Kenya failing to beat Togo) before the hour mark. However it fell apart after that, they not only a goal back (which put them back ahead of us), but equalized, and even had a goal disallowed almost immediately. The reasonably favourable Kenya-Togo result did mean that we could still qualify if we beat Togo and they beat the Ivorians, but that was the only way it would mathematically happen.

    Ghana 1-0 Togo (WCQ)
    We eventually made a breakthrough from Diallo in the 32nd minute, though they equalized almost immediately. In the second half the Ivory Coast took the lead in their game, and as we needed them to lose, that meant our fate was pretty much sealed, though Owusu gave us a consolation win in the 70th minute. Thankfully the FA weren’t demanding qualification so I wasn’t under much pressure, they still weren't too pleased though.

    Final WCQ Table

    Michelovce 1-1 Ruzomberok (D1)
    That would be the last of internationals for a while and next we had Ruzomberok at home, which I felt we could get something from. Sure enough, Gabriel gave us the lead in the 20th minute. However the second half took a painfully predictable course, as they snatched an early equalizer, and soaked up all our pressure to hold on to a draw. And we lost Tetteh to injury having just got him back from another.


    Michelovce p0-0 Duslo Sala (SC)
    We returned to cup action against Second Division side Duslo Sala. A poor first half meant that they were the unlucky ones in not having taken the lead. Things were a bit better in the second half but we still had to survive to penalties, where after they finally missed their 5th penalty, Bilek scored ours to send us through to the Quarter-finals.

    Vranek 1-1 Michelovce (D1)
    Going to Vranek, a vital game in terms of keeping out of trouble, I saw they keeper was on a run of a few clean sheets. That lasted just 10 more minutes, then Gabriel gave us the lead from a penalty. Never do I feel most vulnerable than when a goal up, as 6-pointers and cup games aside you then have the most to lose by conceding a single goal. The game was quiet until they started pushing for a lot of the second half, eventually equalizing with 10 minutes left, but this time it wasn’t sods law as much as them deserving it (and more) as the only team doing anything. Still, failing to hold on to win either of the past couple of games was very costly.

    Michelovce 1-2 Slovan Bratislava (D1)
    I didn’t expect anything against Slovan Bratislava, and not did we get anything. The first half was very one sided, and it took a while for them to take the lead, just over 5 minutes before the break. Valenta headed us level early in the second half, and while they retook the lead, we had a bunch of late chances so could have snatched a sneaky point.

    League Table

    Nov/Dec 2033
    Michelovce 2-0 Bardejov (SC QF)
    We had non-league Bardejov in the cup quarter-finals, at home in the first leg. Toth gave us the lead after 8 minutes, but despite periods of pressure, a bigger win never really materialized. We did at list have right-winger Petreus head in a stoppage time goal to make it much more comfortable.

    Michelovce 3-3 Presov (D1)
    Presov was another game that looked like heading in a bad defeat, and they had plenty of chances in the first half an hour, with a goal disallowed. However after that Bilek got a brace to give us a very surprising 2-goal lead. They kept at it, getting a goal early in the second half, but we were determined to mock them and quickly got another Valenta header. After being heavily besieged, I couldn’t begrudge them the quick double they got to make it 3-3 with 10 minutes left, and while a draw wasn’t useful for us (even less for them), I couldn’t complain even had they got a winner.

    Michelovce 4-1 Senec (D1)
    After failing to beat fellow strugglers Ruzomberok and Vranek, Senec needed to be 3rd time lucky. It helped that we were welcoming Tetteh back from injury for the second time in as many months, and we looked a very different side, taking advantage of the relatively beatable opposition. A corner led to an own-goal lead in the 14th minute, but we were very much on-top in the entire half so it was deserved. Against Ruzomberok we conceded at the beginning of the second half and failed to restore the lead, this time we extended it after 90 seconds from Valenta, who was turning ‘early second half headers’ into his speciality. They had a goal disallowed in the 55th minute (which they wouldn’t’ have deserved anyway), then Duris, having come on for Bilek for his first appearance in a while, celebrating by giving us an almost immediate 3rd, then a 4th just after the hour mark. They showed good life after that, getting a goal back and deserving another, but the day was always going to be deservedly ours, giving us our first league win in 11, which is 1/3 of a season, though much better than Ruzomberok were managing as they hadn’t won since the opening day!

    Interestingly enough, having been favourite for a few jobs in better leagues (a sign that my stock was definitely rising in the past year), by far the best of the lot was when I was favourite to take over at Gyor (2nd in the Hungarian League at the time) when their manager resigned. Not going to happen anytime soon but really comforting.

    Bardejov 2-1 (2-3) Michelovce (SC)
    We went to Bardejov for the second leg in the cup. I didn’t expect too easy a ride on the night (though we didn’t need one with a 2 goal advantage), and nor was it aside from Bilek scoring 10 minutes from half-time. We looked reasonable value for another in the second half, but instead an own-goal from right-back Luptak in the 76th minute inspired a comeback from them. They quickly made it 3-2 on aggregate and really came close numerous times at the end to levelling the tie. We’d hardly been impressive with a generous set of games in the cup, but being in the Semis is still being in the Semis. And indeed the easy draws continued with a 3rd non-league side in 4, in an embarrassing contrast to Zilina and Presov (1st and 3rd in the league) in the other tie.

    Dubnica 2-4 Michelovce (D1)
    We looked like getting back-to-back wins for the first time at Dubnica, who were in the top half but with a side that didn’t look that good, when Bilek gave us a 13th minute lead. However they were completely dominant for the rest of the half, unsurprisingly taking a 2-1 lead, and it should have been more by the time the half-time whistle blew. The second half was very different, as Duris once again became a super-sub, drawing us level in the 52nd minute and giving us the lead 12 minutes later, helped greatly by Luptak who wasn’t only making up for Bardejov but also for the fact that it was his own-goal that gave them the lead after half an hour. They started coming back to life, but Bilek’s second goal gave us another strong win.

    Banska Bystrica 1-2 Michelovce (D1)
    Banska Bystrica was our last trip before the winter break. We were strongly on the back foot for all of the first half, but our resilience was rewarded when Toth gave us the lead in the 55th minite. Bilek followed it up 10 minutes later. They eventually resumed their pressure, getting a goal back, and very nearly equalizing. That Bubenko in goal was MOM with a 9.1 rating says it all about how lucky/hard-fought that was. After 10 games in a row without a win we now had 3 on the bounce. I wasn’t expecting this to be the start of a longer-term run of fantastic form, but when you’re hot, you’re hot.

    League Table

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    Nice to see improvement as well as the fact that you've pulled away from the relegation battle.

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    Good to see some better results, how many games in a season?

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    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    Nice to see improvement as well as the fact that you've pulled away from the relegation battle.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    Good to see some better results, how many games in a season?
    We have lucked out a lot but also been a bit unlucky at other points. So glad to have an experienced and excellent keeper in my otherwise inexperienced and unfamilar side. And there are 33 games so a bit after halfway (and approaching 2/3) now.

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    Springs are usually much easier (more space between matches) - how do your players get through the almost constant Wednesday-Saturday rhythm?

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    A good mid-table level now. With half the season left, a move into the top 5 is a good goal. The higher ups are probably too far toff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emgergo View Post
    Springs are usually much easier (more space between matches) - how do your players get through the almost constant Wednesday-Saturday rhythm?
    There isn't one. The season starts very early so there's plenty of time to fit a number of rounds in with very fairly few midweek games, even including the cup, though have been a little tired admitedly when it has happened. Haven't seen any pattern to how we've done following midweek games, and actually our worst form was at the beginning and end of the the season when we didn't have midweek cup games much so it was hardly a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    A good mid-table level now. With half the season left, a move into the top 5 is a good goal. The higher ups are probably too far toff.
    Was delighted to grab what we did, higher ups seem far away for now though.

    Feb/Mar 2034
    In the winter break we enhanced our firepower. I was already expecting a Ghanaian who just needed to turn 18 first (and another coming in the summer), then was offered a Cameroonian I couldn’t refuse. It flooded us even further with forwards, but being even more spoilt for choice was a good problem to have.

    Takang

    Yakubu

    Michalovce 2-1 Kosice (D1)
    The league resumed in late-Feb with Kosice at home. They were 3rd so another win wasn’t too likely. We started well enough, but they headed in a corner after 10 minutes. Two could play at that game, and 5 minutes later one of our corners gave us an own-goal equalizer. We moved into a position of vulnerable superiority, but Kovac gave us the lead with a 57th minute header. They pushed us hard late on, which was especially worrying when Kovac was injured (giving us a gaping defensive hole) with 4 minutes of regulation time remaining but it wasn’t a problem as we got a 4th win in a row.

    Trnava 0-0 Michalovce (D1)
    We couldn’t quite make it 5 at Trnava, where we had bursts of hectic activity but could never maintain it enough to break them, having to settle for a draw, but were still 6 games undefeated.

    Michalovce 0-3 Zilina (D1)
    We had a massive job to extend that to 7 without defeat as next was the second Zilina game, though we had clearly clicked since that 7-0 defeat so even if we weren’t at home, a repeat was very unlikely, which was just as well as I reached 700 career matches. Unfortunately we never got the chance to do anything. They already had a few close chances by the time they took a 9th minute lead, and they just went on pounding. We conceded one more goal in each half, which was probably a case of getting off a bit lightly if anything.

    Michalovce 2-4 Nitra (D1)
    We looked to bounce back against Nitra, as we began the last third of the league season. We were a little on top but admittedly we lucked out a bit when given the 23rd minute penalty that allowed Diaby to give is the lead. That was well compensated when the defence completely collapsed 11 minutes later to give them 3 goals in 4 minutes. Gabriel got one back a few minutes from half-time. They got a 4th early in the second half, pretty much ending the contest, though we did have a late push after they had a player sent off.

    Ruzomberok 0-2 Michalovce (D1)
    Ruzomberok had finally won a second league match (their first since the opening day), but we weren’t going to give them a third. Petrus gave us the lead after 4 minutes, but even though they had a player sent off (the first of two) after 15 minutes, we struggled to follow it up. Amidst reasonable resistance, Petrus’ cross found Bilek who made it 2-0, and we might have pushed on but Toth had third disallowed just after the hour mark. After drawing with them twice we finally got a win against them.

    Slovan Bratislava 3-3 Michalovce (D1)
    It was just as well that we got that win, as a trip to Slovan wouldn’t give us another. They overran us in the first half, one of their forwards getting a hat-trick in the space of 12 minutes. We mounted a second half comeback, not matching their first-half pressure but going slow and steady. Kovac headed in a goal back in the 49th minute, Toth gave us hope in the 68th minute, and with 10 minutes left Petrus gave us a point I was delighted to have salvaged, and which the Slovan manager had every right to be furious about.

    Kenya 1-0 Ghana (ACNQ)
    The following day internationals made a brief return, and we faced a trip to Kenya hoping to avoid a repeat of last September’s 3-1 defeat. We started very well, but they took the lead after 25 minutes. We battered them so hard after that, and it beggared belief that we failed to win, let alone lose.

    League Table

    Apr 2034
    Michalovce 4-1 Vranov (D1)
    My pains were eased with a home game against bottom side Vranov. Farkas scored after 2 and a half minutes, but dominance did not mean more first half goals. It looked costly as they headed in an equalizer at the beginning of the second half, and came close a couple of times as it looked a more even game. Yakubu restored our lead with his first goal for the club in the 72nd minute, which was of great relief to me, remembering Ghana-Kenya, and aided by a red card for them, the Ghanaian set Duris up in the 86th minute, Toth’s injury time goal making it look as easy as it should always have been.

    Spisska Nova Ves 0-0 Michalovce (SC SF)
    We were full of confidence when we went to Spisska Nova Ves in the first leg of the cup semi final. They were extremely spirited, and we had a lot of chances to survive in the first half. Things improved in the second half, and we had chances near the end, but knew that time, (and home advantage in the second leg) was on our side.

    Presov 1-2 Michalovce (D1)
    We faced as much pressure at Presov as I expected, but seemed to be able to hold out for ages until Duris gave us a shock 36th minute lead. We survived for ages, though after the70th minute, they got a pair of goals to get an admittedly deserved win, though we still had work to do to avoid shipping more.

    Michalovce 3-1 Dubnica (D1)
    We were stunned at conceding in the first minute at home to Dubnica, and quickly set to work pushing back. They couldn’t hold out forever. Yakubu equalized in the 22nd minute, and Farkas giving us the lead within 10 minutes. They tried to hit back after that, and we were at great risk of shipping an equalizer for a lot of the second half. Valenta made it safe with a couple of minutes left.

    Michalovce 5-0 (5-0) Spisska Nova Ves (SC SF)
    Afterwards we had the home leg against Spisska. They were initially as tough as they were at their place, creating a very real away goals danger. Yet again Bubenko kept us in it to a very strong degree, while we took an own-goal lead. Their threat vanished after Toth gave us a second goal in the 39th minute. We took control after that. Orsula and Yakubu scored in the first 10 minutes of the second half, with another own-goal later making it look very easy, as we went through to the final! Presov beating Zilina in the other tie gave us slightly more chance of success, but it was still nothing to get hopes up about.

    Senec 1-1 Michalovce (D1)
    We were a little drained from that, which is why we weren’t as strong at Senec as we should have been. They very much had the upper hand for most of the match, eventually breaking through in the 77th minute, though Yakubu salvaged a point 5 minutes later.

    Banska Bystrica 3-1 Michalovce (D1)
    A superior Banska Bystrica side gave us much the same story. They very comfortably battered us in the first half, scoring in the 7th minute, and again just before half-time as we were shockingly bad. We improved in the second half, Toth getting a goal back after the hour mark. As we pushed on, the following 10 minutes saw us deprived of a penalty, then a Yakubu equalizer was disallowed. They finished is off with a late third. That was so nearly a great comeback.

    League Table

    May 2034
    Kosice 1-0 Michalovce (D1)
    I wasn’t expecting too much from a trip to Kosice, however we were just about on top in the first half. They struck after the break, and held on to the lead as the match went very quiet after that.

    Michalovce 5-2 Trnava (D1)
    Trnava was a mid-table 6-pointer, as winning would give us a shot at 6th (top half), and help secure 7th, which looked far more an improvement over last season’s10th than 8th would be. Unfortunately we were woeful in the first half, and they easily took a 2-0 lead. However in the last 5 minutes before the break, Toth and Bilek (who had just come on) struck to level the scores. An otherwise woeful Sterba (who was only still on the pitch because I had to use my sub central defender on an injured Kovac instead) headed us into a 52nd minute lead, followed by Bilek a couple of minutes later. We had to play most of the last half an hour a man down after an injury to Kessou (who would miss the early stages of next season), but not only held firm but got a 5th after 70 minutes from Toth. What a turnaround!

    Michalovce 1-2 (aet) Presov (SC Final)
    Before the final league game, we played Presov in the club’s 3rd ever cup final. As expected, we had a lot of chances to resist for a lot of the first half. We had a late surge, having a penalty claim rejected before Duris gave us the lead on the stroke of half-time. They equalized early in the second half, which was pretty much always going to happen, and while we had a few shots, generally we were lucky to survive to extra time, where they got a long-awaited winner halfway through.

    Zilina 4-1 Michalovce (D1)
    The last league game was at Zilina, who had clinched their 23rd title in a row in impressive style, so just wanted to avoid being hammered. A very poor first half should have seen us rather worse than 2 goals down. It did get a bit worse in the second half when Bubenko switched off and put the ball into his own net, but we at least got a goal from Duris 15 minutes from time before they finished off a 4-1 defeat. Results elsewhere meant we just about held on to 6th and a top half-finish, which I wasn’t expecting at all.

    Final League Table

    Ghana 5-1 Botswana (ACNQ)
    Before the summer, I had an ACN qualifier against Botswana, which was always going to be easy. We were on top completely in the first half. Frimpong and Taylor scored in the first 20 minutes, but the goals dried up a bit. Eshun’s goal to make it 3-0 was just before half-time. In the second half that threatened a little. Boateng gave us a 4th goal in the 73rd minute, and after we had a 5th disallowed, they got a goal back before Eshun gave us a final goal in added time.

    Throwing together so many youngsters in at once was always going to have its problems in the first season, I wasn’t too surprised at starting the season as poorly as we did, but suddenly strong form either side of the winter break helped us settle into ‘uninteresting reasonableness’ for most of the rest of the season, late blip aside, and at the end of the day, a finish of 6th was a pretty good step forward already, from last season’s 10th, with hopefully a lot more to come in the next couple of years. Easy draws or not, a cup final appearance was also something to be very pleased about, and for me personally it was the first time in 7 years that I’d completed a season with a club!

    I wasn’t sure how much we’d improve next year, only that we probably would. Hopefully strong top half, but having sneaked in already this year we might be able to challenge for a European place, though that would be tough as we were quite a bit behind the top few teams. Having stocked up well last year, I didn’t expect to be too much out there in the summer, and we wouldn’t have much to sign them with anyway, which was just as well as it would be the lack of changes with the squad just gelling as they were that would see us progress for now.

    Squad Stats

  49. #349
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    Poor end of the season club wise but overall not a bad season. Great win for Ghana though

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    Quote Originally Posted by JackJCFC View Post
    Poor end of the season club wise but overall not a bad season. Great win for Ghana though
    I know, amazed we got up to 6th with just a win and a draw from the last 5 league games (Presov were always going to be too good in the cup final), but Trnava was the right game to win.

  51. #351
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    Summer 2034
    I was right about lack of money, after setting expectations (top half, which was a very risky move) and budgets I only had 65k, and less that 1kpw to play with. However I saw that as a positive, either I’d find players worthy of spending that on, or I’d be able to enjoy the benefits of a more settled (and developed) squad, ideally both. There was always going to be one new arrival, a Ghanaian winger (who was actually my first choice signing ahead of Tetteh, who I initially went for as I wouldn’t have to wait a year, then decided to sign this chap as well when other clubs showed interest.

    It was just as well that I did go for him, as our financial situation very much changed when a 625k bid for Tetteh from Romania was accepted by the board, which admittedly I saw coming in January when I was getting strong 6-figure bids for him. Still it was a good deal given not only did we have his compatriot now, but Petrus has been strong enough last year to keep him out of the side quite a lot, so we were hardly weakened on the pitch. For the most part, even being able to target more expensive players didn’t throw up too much, though there were a couple I went for, as well as going to Africa again, even though that meant being over the limit of how many non-eu players I could have in a match-squad, as we were at the limit of 5, even though there would be age-enforced waits for a couple of them. In the end there were a few new signings coming in during the first few weeks of the season, enough to add plenty more potential without overdoing the changes.

    Abbey

    Abdul

    Amoako

    Drahno

    Stochl


    Transfers

  52. #352
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    Didn't do too bad during the season and 6th place could give you some good foundation to build upon.Made some nice transfers as well during pre-season and good luck in the new season.

  53. #353
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    Zilina is a powerhouse! Still a mid-table finish so something to work with )

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    Abbey looks like quite an impressive player.

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    Your African connections are really paying off then. Hopefully you can push on this season with the new signings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    Didn't do too bad during the season and 6th place could give you some good foundation to build upon.Made some nice transfers as well during pre-season and good luck in the new season.
    Thanks, the potential in this side is now considerable, though clearly may take a while to be realized.

    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Zilina is a powerhouse! Still a mid-table finish so something to work with )
    So far it's proving hard to build on it, hopefully I can hold on enough to see if we can. Even in a best-case future scenario Zilina will be tough to compete with.

    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    Abbey looks like quite an impressive player.
    He is indeed, far from the only one.

    Quote Originally Posted by snootyjim View Post
    Your African connections are really paying off then. Hopefully you can push on this season with the new signings.
    Still need a bit of gelling time with a side only just getting over last year's massive influx, might be able to get those players even if I wasn't Ghana manager but it probably helps a little.

    Jul/Aug 2034
    Senec 0-0 Michalovce (D1)
    International call ups played havoc with my selection plans (mostly up front, which made me very glad for having too many forwards in the squad) for the opening game, at Senec. That explained why we managed the not-inconsiderable achievement of being second best in a lifeless first half. We had a burst of life at the beginning of the second half, before they applied the pressure, and I was glad to get a point in a tricky away start.

    Michalovce 2-2 Presov (D1)
    We had everyone back for a bit of a test against Presov. If nothing else we were definitely capable of resisting pressure. We somehow survived a first-half-long siege of Bubenko’s goal. In the second half, Takang gave us a 52nd minute lead. 5 minutes later he restored our lead after they equalized. We were so close to holding out to a win, but having battered on our door almost all game, I couldn’t begrudge them the equalizer they got with a couple of minutes left, as by rights they should have won easily.

    Slovan Bratislava 1-1 Michalovce (D1)
    Slovan weren’t going to be a bundle of laughs either. The game started in familiar fashion, though we did managed to have a good spell of our own before the break. Takang gave us the lead after 51 minutes, but like against Presov, we couldn’t hold out forever, conceding an equalizer with 10 minutes left, and being lucky to hold on for a point. We had none of that resilience at Kosice, going down in the second minute, and being three behind at half-time. We were rather better in the second half, but only managed a Duris goal after 82 minutes.

    Michalovce 3-2 Banska Bystrica (D1)
    The first game after everyone arrived was Banska Bystrica, and we needed to win a couple soon or my ‘raising expectations to top half’ gamble would well see me fired soon. It was the first game all season where we weren’t on the back foot. Quite the reverse in fact. However chance after chance came and went and it was almost inevitable that they’d be the ones taking the lead, which they did in the 33rd minute. They suddenly took control and got another 10 minutes later! I couldn’t believe this was happening to me!!!!! We finally scored from Takang in the 49th minute, but had to face a bit more pressure before we started attacking again. The Cameroonian couldn’t be accused of not doing his bit, as he equalized in the 71st minute with his 5th goal in 4 league games so far, and Duris gave us a winner in the 79th minute. Fully deserved but very nearly thrown completely away.

    Zilina 4-0 Michalovce (D1)
    I was hoping we’d be able to go on a good run, but that would have to wait until after we went to Zilina. They had only won 3 of 5 so far, and were in the middle of a CL tie with Sheriff. Predictably that didn’t help us one bit as they dominated again. They took the lead after 15 minutes, getting another a few minutes from half-time after having one disallowed. We actually showed quite a bit of life in the second half, and this was far from our worst showing against them, but it wasn’t saying much as they picked us off with a couple of goals. Thankfully we had a few more manageable games coming as we desperately needed them.

    League Table

    Sept 2034
    Burundi 1-3 Ghana (ACNQ)
    Before that, Ghana had a routine trip to Burundi. However it wasn’t so routine as it seemed when they took the lead after 9 minutes. While we kept pushing to equalize, they had chances to get another. Thankfully young forward Mohammed scored just 12 seconds into the second half to level it, Gyamfi gave us the lead in the 58th minute, and another Mohammed goal wrapped up a 3-1 win that set us on course to qualify if we could beat Kenya at home in October, and given we dominated the away game (albeit scandalously losing 1-0) I felt we’d do that.

    Vranov 0-2 Michalovce (D1)
    We really needed to take advantage of a trip to bottom side Vranov who had just 1 point), followed by Ruzomberok at home and another trip to the promoted side, Zlate Moravce, to get a couple of wins at least or I’d be in serious trouble. I was very relieved when Abbey gave us the lead in the 16th minute, having already had a number of chances and been worried that ‘sod’s law’ would strike yet again. We weren’t very safe until Duris got another late in the first half. Very little happened in the second half until the last 15 minutes when we both had a few chances.

    Michalovce 0-0 Ruzomberok (D1)
    Against Ruzomberok, we had a numerical advantage for almost all of the match, but failed to do much to take advantage until late on, so it wasn’t too surprising that we failed to get a win.

    Zlate Moravce 0-7 Michalovce (D1)
    Even when beating Presov we hadn’t really been firing very well, but thankfully that changed when we went to Zlate Moravce. Vyborny gave us the lead in the 8th minute, followed by Kessou after half an hour. Before halftime Takang m ade it three, then had a shot deflected into the net for an own-goal. Takang dominated the second half. He got his second goal in the 54th minute, completed a hat-trick with a penalty 5 minutes later, and got a 4th in the 66th minute. It was a pity we eased off after that or we’d probably have gotten a couple more. Otherwise it’s fair to say that even against relatively weak opponents, 7-0 away was an excellent result, indeed the club’s record win.

    Ziar nad Hronom 0-3 Michalovce (SC)
    We went to Ziar nad Hronom in the first cup game. Duris scored after 3 minutes. We had another disallowed before Duris got another in the 22nd minute. Amoako headed in his first goal to make it 3-0, but we couldn’t get any more in the second half despite being very much on top.

    Michalovce 1-2 Trnava (D1)
    Trnava, again mid-table rivals, would be trickier, especially with Takang and Abbey absent on international duty. Kessou scored a penalty in the 4th minute, but we couldn't stay on top for long. They equalized in the 8th minute, and we were fairly lifeless afterwards, conceding a costy Trnava winner in the 55th minute.

    League Table

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    I'd like to say you're improving, but I'm not sure that you are!

    At least you've got a positive goal difference, I suppose!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    I'd like to say you're improving, but I'm not sure that you are!

    At least you've got a positive goal difference, I suppose!
    I know what you mean, but probably shouldn't read too much into our top-half finish last time since we moved up into 6th with just 4 points from the last 5 games, which really boggles the mind. Plus having started really badly and not had much of a good run to really make up for it that well. This season at least seems more solid and consistent, so if we do repeat last season's finish I feel it would be on the back of a far stronger showing. Plus managed to get the result against Nitra (in a very similar game) that we couldn't against Trnava, which went a long way to making up for it.

    Edit: Just had quite an amazing month!
    Last edited by deltablue; 23-04-2012 at 14:10.

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    Your away form seems better than your home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    Your away form seems better than your home.
    Having the 2 worst teams in the league away (plus a non-league side in the cup) may help make it look better. Actually been reasonably lucky with the fixture list as they make up 2 of the sides we have to play away twice (along with Slovan and Zilina who we wouldn't get anything from anyway), while we have second home games against sides who may well be mid-table rivals, and where it would make a massive difference.
    Last edited by deltablue; 23-04-2012 at 14:09.

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    Interested to see how you progress with Michalovce remember managing them for a couple of years in a save in FM11

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    Quote Originally Posted by powells_red_army View Post
    Interested to see how you progress with Michalovce remember managing them for a couple of years in a save in FM11
    Very well for now. This has been a most excellent couple of months, and probably the most positive update I've done for some time.

    Oct 2034
    Michalovce 3-1 Nitra (D1)
    We needed to make up ground against Nitra, especially as they were occupying the all-important (for my job security) 6th spot on goal difference from us. Duris was injured, but Takang and Abbey were back, and it was the latter whose cross was converted by Kessou after 6 minutes. Like against Trnava, it looked as good as it was likely to get as the rest of the half was one-way traffic, though while they equalized, we managed to avoid going behind. The second half was quieter, but then we took control in the second half. Abbey set Kessou up again in the 68th minute, then made it a hat-trick of assists 4 minutes later when setting up Gabriel. They pushed hard again with a few minute left but were unlikely to get a point, and didn’t even get a goal back.

    Ghana 8-2 Kenya (ACNQ)
    The judgement day against Kenya arrived. The maths was simple. Win and we top the group, with equal or better head-to-head and better goal-difference. We owed them twice over for the defeat in the World Cup qualifiers a year ago, and earlier this year when they scraped victory in a game we dominated. Boy did we pay them back! We were just as dominant in the first half was we had been in Kenya, this time getting the goals to go with it. Frimpong scored in the 6th minute, the 21yr old Feyenoord forward, who shone at the last ACN, getting another in the 10th minute. Taylor made it 3-0 after just 12 minutes. Having got his first pair of goals on his debut against Burundi, Mohammed got another here in the 23rd minute to give us a 4th. They started coming to life late in the half, getting a goal back a few minutes from half-time, and were pretty strong in the second half, but our goals kept coming. Frimpong completed his hat-trick in the 47th minute, and own-goal arrived in the 54th minute, then Mohammed completed his own hat-trick (taking him to 5 in just 2 international appearances) with a pair of goals in 5 minutes before the 70 minute mark. They got a second goal (which they had been threatening for a while) in the 84th minute, but that took nothing away from the fact that we had well and truely crushed them in a most satisfying revenge win.

    Final Group Table

    Michalovce 2-0 Senec (D1)
    Back in Slovakia, we had a few of the trickier games again in the league. Senec had been early pacesetters, and still sat in a relatively strong 4th. Abbey headed us into a 5th minute lead. Although we didn’t face the pressure that other teams had thrown at us, occasional chances for each side left me very on edge. We were a bit more comfortable in the second half, but tension wasn’t relieved until Gabriel gave us a winner in the 77th minute, which took us up into a short-lived 4th, and I felt I could breathe a little easier.

    Michalovce 2-0 Moldova (SC)
    In the next round of the cup we were at home to Moldova. We were slow and steady rather than overwhelmingly good. We had plenty of chances but only scored from Gabriel and Takeng midway through the first half.

    Presov 3-5 Michalovce (D1)
    Trips to Presov and Slovan in the league were expected to knock us down a bit. We actually started well and Gabriel (assisted by Abbey) gave us an 8th minute lead. We kept up the pressure and Amoako made it 2-0 a few minutes later, which I was definitely not expecting. It looked like they’d start to come back, but Takeng made it three after 20 minutes! This at a side who I felt weren’t much easier than Slovan and Zilina. They weren’t too much of a threat for the rest of the half, though did have a goal disallowed right before the break. Gabriel extended the lead in the 56th minute, and having come on for an injured Takang, Bilek (who had been very poor this season so far) added a 5th in the 68th minute. They very nearly spoiled the party, getting a very quick pair of goals around the 75 minute mark, getting a third in the 85th minute, and coming very close to more, which took quite a bit of a shine off it having been 5-0 up, but it was still an excellent victory as I wasn’t expecting to be able to get close to beating the top few sides yet, especially away, and in such style. Like against Senec, we replaced them, in 3rd! Well I was right about not being 4th for long. I’ve had worse months.

    After that I got a staggering offer from Fehervar, 3rd in Hungary. 4.8M transfer budget, 86kpw (8 times what I have here) wage budget, but while I knew it wouldn’t be too hard to have a tempting offer (and I was linked to many bigger and better places quite a lot now), and how long I’d stay at Michalovce was an open question (especially with such an obstacle to trophies as Zilina), now was definitely not when I fancied leaving, plenty of time to chase that sort of thing whenever I was more open to it. It hadn’t been easy going so far but I definitely feel I made the right choice of club, having gathered an incredibly promising young side, which was just starting to burst into life (though probably only sporadically at first), I was very excited about the future, and seeing what we could do, I was definitely staying for a while, whoever came in with an offer.

    League Table

    Nov/Dec 2034
    Slovan 2-1 Michalovce (D1)
    Slovan would be another matter entirely. They were a full 8 points ahead, level with the all-powerful Zilina at the top. Gabriel seemed keen to upset the predictions yet again when he scored after 10 minutes. We were never going to go 5-0 up again, as though we did have some more chances, they made a better go at fighting back, and the scores were level at the break. It looked like we’d hold out in the second half, but Valenta’s injury gave us a defensive hole that they finally took advantage of to get a winner right at the end, though such a narrow defeat at theirs wasn’t too much of a disappointment.

    Senec 0-2 Michalovce (SC QF)
    Senec were the first top flight side I’d face in the cup, and we went to theirs for the first leg of the quarter final. We were nursing no fewer than three central defensive injuries. We kept it pretty even in a tough first half, but Duris (back from injury) gave us the lead after an hour, and we were looking more comfortable when Abdul gave us a second in stoppage time, something that meant we were now looking very good to progress into the semis, given I thought Senec would be far more difficult to beat.

    Michalovce 2-2 Kosice (D1)
    Kosice were far tougher. We were on top in the first half but had a goal disallowed after half an hour. Predictably they headed in a goal early in the second half, but Duris levelled it in the 55th minute. An own goal in the 79th minute seemed to have cost us the game but Duris saved a point in the 84th minute, though I felt we should have had all three.

    Banska Bystrica 2-3 Michalovce (D1)
    A trip to Banska Bystrica was another game that had the potential to go wrong, especially as our keeper Bubenko was injured until the Winter Break, though we had a pretty good backup. Duris joined him on the injury list a few minutes in, then they took the lead after 15 minutes. We fought back, and Takang levelled it before the break. They were 7th, so the result would determine the top half cushion we had, currently 5 points. Orsula headed us into the lead 10 minutes into the second half. They were a strong threat. A Takang penalty extended the lead in the 69th minute, but they got one back almost immediately and it was tough holding out for the three points.

    Michalovce 5-4 Zilina (D1)
    One thing we probably couldn’t count on was getting anything against Zilina, but we had a good go, Kessou giving us a 3rd minute lead. They were slow in responding, and Gabriel got another in the 15th minute. We were up for more, Abbey getting a third after half an hour. However they had scored more in all our encounters so far, not even then did I feel safe and they suddenly reverted to type, not helped by young keeper Duga not being up to the task the way Bubenko might have been, getting a goal back immediately, a second shortly after, and equalizing before the break. I still wasn’t giving up. We kept the second half quiet for a while. They took the lead in the 68th minute, but it wasn’t over, and Vyborny headed in an equalizer in the 74th minute. With 5 minutes left, Abbey gave us the most incredible win. The win gave us our first points against Zilina, done in an epic game. Even had we eventually lost I’d have considered it a warning shot that we were no longer easy points even for them, we made an even bigger point by winning. Doing it at theirs would be another matter entirely, but this was the latest and best of a few epic results the past couple of months.

    Michalovce 2-1 (4-1) Senec (SC QF)
    We followed that up with the home leg against Senec. The game started quietly, but Gabriel extended our aggregate lead after 25 minutes. They got a goal back in the 63rd minute, but Vyborny gave us the win in the 79th minute, sending us to the semi finals. We drew second division Spartak Myjava, while the other semi final saw Presov face Ruzomberok, making it likely we’d have a rematch of last season’s final, a game I felt we would have much more of a chance in this time, but that was a matter for another day.

    Ruzomberok 4-3 Michalovce (D1)
    Not for the first time, we weren’t at our best when we went to Ruzomberok. Gabriel gave us a 12th minute lead, but the defence wasn’t having a good day, and they had a 2-1 lead at the break. We clawed it back, Gabriel and a Takang penalty put us ahead by the 71st minute, but they equalized, and after Abbey went off injured (don’t worry, he was ok afterwards), they got a winner, a sign that as much as we had improved of late we were still vulnerable in what should be comfortable games.

    Michalovce 2-1 Vranov (D1)
    The last game before the Winter break was Vranev at home, bottom with just 5 points. Gabriel gave us the lead in the 9th minute, but if I was expecting a big win (and I was), I was to be very disappointed. After we missed a number of chances, they started to threaten up until half-time. Gabriel extended the lead from a 49th minute penalty. They were far quieter until late on. They got a goal back after 77 minutes, and actually pushed hard enough that I wasn’t disappointed at the lack of a big win as I was relieved we didn’t slip up.

    League Table

    Well AK22, I think you can say we're improving now. And I should just say that Abbey's been an utter star, with 4 goals and 11 assists in 15 league games, and 3 more assists in 4 cup games.
    Last edited by deltablue; 24-04-2012 at 08:05.

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    Good start to the season, keep going like this and Europe is a possibility. Fantastic win over Zilina, would have been a tense game to watch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    Good start to the season, keep going like this and Europe is a possibility. Fantastic win over Zilina, would have been a tense game to watch.
    I wasn't thinking about it too much but now you mention it... Looks tight for 4th at the moment, especially as we'll probably drop more silly points, but if we can we should do it, I reckon we'd beat Ruzomberok if we got them in the final, would have a chance if it was Presov and even if we lose to them (though not Ruzomberok), 4th in the league would be enough, but still a couple of strong 'ifs' both in league and cup. As for Zilina, I was almost too excited to be tense like I was for a few other games (The Senec league win being one of the strongest examples oddly enough).

    For some games (especially the eventful ones), I update as I go along (which probably showed in the first line of that report, as I wasn't expecting our good start to be anything more than a good bit of early fight), and after we went 5-4 up I initially wrote 'but I wasn't expecting it to last long the way Duga was playing', however our young backup keeper getting better for the final minutes, and no more goals meant I was able to change that. I was expecting to lose when they equalized, let alone took the lead (which is probably why I wasn't so tense, compared to games I felt we needed or were expected to win) but also felt 'Come on, lets have a good go' at the same time. I could go on longer about that win, it was just amazing.

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    Nice win against Zilina! They are dominating in my save as well, six titles in a row now - only Nitra has been able to stop them once. They made it thrice into the CL group stage and are able to financially overpower every other team.

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    Nice improvement there and a great way to end qualifying with Ghana.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emgergo View Post
    Nice win against Zilina! They are dominating in my save as well, six titles in a row now - only Nitra has been able to stop them once. They made it thrice into the CL group stage and are able to financially overpower every other team.
    Not quite at '23 in a row' levels yet. Presov's 2011 win (which would have been the first in-game season) being the only thing preventing it from being a run of 25 since 2010. Slovan pushing them hard but as they're only a point ahead because we beat Zilina I still feel it's likely to be 24.

    Quote Originally Posted by powells_red_army View Post
    Nice improvement there and a great way to end qualifying with Ghana.
    No kidding. Couldn't have been more satisfying. Good ACN as well.

    ACN 2035
    I wasn’t short on things to do over the winter break. Firstly I ended up renewing the contracts of far more players than I needed to, and there were a few players I fancied securing on pre-contract deals, though had to be careful not to overdo it. There as compensation to be paid in a few cases, but while it wasn’t small change, it was still fairly small. I had nothing to grab him and felt someone else would before the summer. Unsurprisingly I had been fielding bids for Abbey, and I would be amazed if he was still here at the end of the summer. Malaga and Chelsea raised the bid bar to 400k, then Monaco to 500k (his current value gradually rising to 160k at this point) very early on in January, and I hoped I’d least keep him for the season. I must admit I was very much looking forward to the windfall I’d get when he went, but otherwise you just don’t let a player like that go voluntarily. I’m generally supportive of board interference for that reason, to counter my incredible stubbornness in selling and providing great financial benefits. I was thinking of trying to set his asking price very high, but I wouldn’t be able to keep him for long (Takang as well) if I tried so might as well let someone pay a large sum for him.

    There was also the ACN. Even matching our appearance in the final last time would he hard, let alone winning it, given that aside from the final Kenya game we had been unimpressive for the past 2 years, plus holders Egypt (always very strong in the competition anyway) were now the hosts, and pretty clear favourites. In our group we had Sudan, Mali and South Africa, all beatable but not necessarily easily.

    Ghana 6-3 South Africa (ACN)
    South Africa were first, and unsurprisingly I made no changes from the side that hammered Kenya, with the exception of an injury sustained by a young winger who was making his (excellent) debut in that game. Having starred 2 years ago (and I made a massive mistake not putting him back in after his injury afterwards until more injuries let him back in last autumn), Frimpong took just 6 minutes to score in this tournament. They tried to come back but Frimpong got another just 6 more minutes later. They quickly got a goal back but right-winger Diallo made it 3-1 in the 22nd minute. We had another disallowed 5 minutes later, but kept piling on the pressure. Taylor got a long-awaited 4th in a 55th minute. Mohammed joined his strike partner on the scoresheet (the 22yr old’s 6th goal in his 3rd appearance) in the 68th minute. They started fighting back more, getting a second goal a couple of minutes later, and a third after Frimpong completed his hat-trick, so it didn’t quite look as big a win as it could have, but nevertheless it was a fantastic opening win against a side I thought would give us problems. The one cloud being that both Mohammed and Frimpong got booked so we may well be without one or both when we’d need them later on.

    Ghana 4-1 Mali (ACN)
    Mali still had one of the best forwards in the world, though the rest of the side, while still pretty good, wasn’t anywhere near as strong. They took the lead in the 6th minute. Frimpoing equalized a few minutes later, then had one ruled out in the unlucky 13th minute. We failed to do too much more in the first half, but more than made up for it in the second. Frimpong finally got the chance to give us the lead in the 51st minute, completed his second hat-trick in as many games in the 76th minute, and if that wasn’t enough, got his and our 4th near the end. With the other 2 group games having been draws, that meant we were already guaranteed top spot with our 2 wins.

    Ghana 2-1 Sudan (ACN)
    We faced Sudan (who had surprisingly drawn both game so far) already knowing we’d play Morocco in the Quarter-finals. Sudan actually had some strong players, but was had Frimpong, who gave us the lead with his 8th goal of the tournament (the record is 10, which he could very well beat or at least match) after 10 minutes. We couldn’t really push on, and instead they had a number of chances, eventually equalizing in the 76th minute. However I very much wanted a 100% group record, especially in contrast to no one else winning a game, which would make it even more commanding, and so did the players as we resumed the offensive for the rest of the game, Gyamfi (who also got booked in the first game, and as clear first-choice left winger was another player I was worried would be suspended when we needed him) gave us that win in the 84th minute. Great stuff so far this tournament.

    Ghana 3-2 Morocco (ACN QF)
    Morocco seemed like manageable opposition, but I already knew beforehand that if we beat them we’d face Egypt, which I wouldn’t be looking forward to. Morocco were tough themselves, taking the lead in the middle of the first half. Mohammed grabbed an equalized on the cusp of half-time. That gave us the confidence to push forwards, Mohammed’s second goal 5 minutes into the second half gave us the lead. They equalized in the 66th minute, and I feared they’d go on to win, but Frimpong gave us a 76th minute lead, and we held out against tremendous pressure, squeaking through.

    Ghana 2-1 (aet) Egypt (ACN SF)
    Unfortunately when it came to Egypt not only would Taylor and Frimpong serve suspensions, but Gyamfi was injured, making an already tough task far worse. However they weren’t as dangerous as I thought I’d be for a lot of the match, however it wasn’t that easy keeping them at bay until we suddenly burst into life late on. In extra-time Diallo gave us the lead, and Eshun (in for Frimpong) extended it around half-time. They got a goal back with 8 minutes left but a strong rearguard performance sent us through to the final.

    Ghana 0-1 Nigeria (ACN Final)
    The final was against Nigeria. Michalovce had beaten Wisla in a friendly the previous day which helped my mood even more. They were very much on top in the first half. They took the lead after 20 minutes, and had 2 goals disallowed in the following 15 minutes. We improved a little in the second half, but after 12 goals in 6 internationals this season, Frimpong’s finishing deserted him, and again we had to settle for being runners up to a side that definitely deserved victory. On the plus side, as well as having been a great showing, we moved to 16th in the World rankings, compared to around 60th when I took over, and 30th before the tournament.

    ACN Group Table

    ACN Knockouts

    Meanwhile, just in case I haven’t done so (since I rarely to with international player), here's Frimpong. Not quite as good as the best players at a lot of other national sides (we lack world-class players but have very good strength in depth, and a few future stars), but his record's excellent enough. A downside of this U21’s thing is it means hardly any opportunities to sign former or international favourites. Chances are that before he starts declining I’ll be somewhere I could attract him to (it certainly wouldn’t be in Slovakia) and would otherwise be very much wanting to get him. He’s turning into that sort of player that I feel massively in love with (in a footballing way of course). Luciani at Dortmund was the last major one though there were a few Sportist players that mildly qualified, and some of my Michalovce side are definitely heading that way, especially Abbey and Duris (who will last far longer).

    Frimpong

    During the ACN, I lost Takang to Feyenoord (where he would partner my Ghana star Frimpong) for 650k, but there were 2 positive things about that. After a fantastic start he’d been more patchy than Abbey so not so much of a loss, plus it meant that having used up all the remaining transfer budget on the pre-contract compensation, I was now able to go for a 17yr old Ghanaian defender who would already be easily our best when he came, and would quickly become an international regular under me, a very fortuitous development as one of my first choice international defenders was retiring, and my former Sportist player Boateng (the other first choice) was 33 now. How time flies. This 17yr old, Donkor, was just that good, and for just 45k it was probably one of the best deals I’ll ever make. Plus we were able to keep Abbey for now.

    Donkor

    Oh and just before the league resumed (which is where I've stopped), I got an offer from Zilina of all people. 6M transfer budget, 155kpw wages (using 117kpw), in contrast with what was an initial 129k transfer budget here (and that with a lot of budget adjustment), 12.1kpw wage budget (using 11.6kpw) here at Michalovce. Just the fact that it's 'same nation' rules that out, and as I wanted to stay at least another full season, there wasn't even a twinge of 'wish I could take it'.
    Last edited by deltablue; 25-04-2012 at 16:14.

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    Much better! You are definitely improving now

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    Shame on losing in the Final but overall a good tournament.

  70. #370
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    Good showing with Ghana and unlucky on losing in the final.Nice to see improvements with Michalovce.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Much better! You are definitely improving now
    Very much, will be interesting comparing this season's points total to last to see just by how much. 6th to 4th won't look like a big improvement but the points will probably show otherwise. By itself, the fact that last year's tally was equalled with a third of the season left is a good sign, as long as things don't drop off too bad after, and so far they haven't much.

    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    Shame on losing in the Final but overall a good tournament.
    Yep, but better than expected, that said after 2 final defeats I'm definitely in the mood for third time lucky in the next one, no matter how tough the competition.

    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    Good showing with Ghana and unlucky on losing in the final.Nice to see improvements with Michalovce.
    Like Egypt 2 years ago, they were definitely worthy winners on the night, unfortunately for us, so not too many complaints, aside from it being one of what's becoming a regular series of near-misses. Not had the best of luck in finals recently. This being the second ACN final defeat in a row, added to last season's Slovakian cup final defeat, and could well be heading for another this time, though seriously up for breaking the run of defeats soon. There was also the playoff final with Brighton a while back.

    Internationals taking a back seat for now, with no World Cup (or qualifiers) coming up there should only be three competitive games until next summer, and none until the autumn.

    Mar 2035
    Trnava 1-2 Michalovce (D1)
    Going to Trnava was a tricky way to resume after the winter break, not helpful was a Kovac own goal after 3 minutes. We were very lacklustre, but Boateng (who due to the ‘5 non-eu players in a match squad’ rule and the consistency of the regulars hadn’t even made the bench this season until Takang’s departure restored him to favour now) equalized right before half-time. The second half was a fairly dull affair, with occasional chances for each side, but in stoppage time Abbey’s cross found Duris who gave us a surprise winner.

    Michalovce 4-2 Zlate Moravce (D1)
    We were very much expecting to build on that against a Zlate Moravce side who hadn’t won a single match this season, though had enough draws to avoid being bottom. It took us time to get going, but after 20 minutes we got a quick brace from Duris and Abbey. Amoako made it three before Duris got his second goal late in the first half. We dropped off pretty badly in the second half, they got a pair of goals with around 15 minutes left, perhaps taking advantage of Bubenko getting an early knock, but they were very unlikely to cost us any points.

    Nitra 1-2 Michalovce (D1)
    I had a slight problem regarding Bubenko’s injury as a) he would be out for almost 2 weeks, though would just miss a trip to Nitra which wasn’t great but far from the worst game to miss him and b) as I was getting a new young keeper in the summer, I took advantage of interest to sell the backup, Duga, who I hadn’t expected to need so soon after last time. As it happened, the 17yr old I plucked from the youth sides did a pretty good job, having made a couple of saves before Kessou’s penalty after 20 minutes. Not everyone was doing that well, Abbey being a very surprising culprit, but in a tense second half, it was Yakubu’s 70th minute goal that gave us a win. We had also matched last season’s points tally with a full third of the season left.

    Michalovce 2-2 Presov (D1)
    The next two games were very important for me. They were home games against Presov and Slovan. The first were just 2 points ahead in 3rd, which would guarantee European football. While I wasn’t expecting to get it I wanted to have a strong chance. Slovan were 4 points clear of Zilina, but while it wasn’t the most important thing in the world, I was thinking how satisfying it would be if we were the ones to break their run of titles, which we couldn’t very well do if Slovan did so. Bubenko was just about back, but Abbey and Yakubu were absent at internationals. We were up against it from early on, but after they took the lead after half an hour, Kessou quickly equalized. We were able to hold them off in the second half, surprisingly taking a late lead through Amoako. However we weren’t going to be that lucky and unsurprisingly an equalizer wasn’t long coming.

    League Table

    Apr 2035
    Michalovce 1-0 Slovan Bratislava (D1)
    Interestingly Ghana played Slovakia (sadly losing 3-2) before we played Slovan, and in the game itself Hanousek (probably the most disappointing of all our forwards and at the bottom of what had been a very long list since he joined almost 2 years ago) gave us a shock lead in the 10th minute, his first goal for the club in his 10th appearance. We weren’t facing a hailstorm of chances but still was tough after that, and we got the win, our 5th in the past 6 games.

    Senec 2-2 Michalovce (D1)
    Before we went to Senec, I found out that Abbey was out for a few weeks just as he was due to return from international duty, and going behind in the 11th minute, in a game I felt might be difficult, didn't improve my confidence. It took us most of the half to do anything, but when we did, Petrus equalized 5 minutes from the break. Duris gave us the lead in the 62nd minute, but our bright spots were few and far between, and after they equalized, a draw was about right a result as the undefeated run continued.

    Myjava 1-2 Michalovce (SC Semi)
    We went to Myjava in the first leg of the cup semi. They started stronger, but Petrus gave us the lead in the 23rd minute, with Yakubu having another disallowed. A penalty levelled the scored in the 57th minute, but Yakubu gave us a winner with a penalty of our own 5 minutes later, putting us in a great position with the home leg to go.

    Kosice 3-2 Michalovce (D1)
    We went behind early on at Kosice, but Amoako and Kessou put us 2-1 up by half-time. However midway through the second half we had a penalty claim turned down. I had a feeling they’d equalize after that, sods law applying regularly in this game, and sure enough they did so with 15 minutes left, but I didn’t expect them to chip Bubenko at the end to get a winner, giving us our first defeat in 8.

    Michalovce 2-1 Banska Bystrica (D1)
    We hoped to bounce back against Banska Bystrica, especially as they were just behind us (though admitedly with a 7 point gap) in the league. In the 4th minute, Petrus (perhaps mindful that Abbey was returning to fitness) set up Duris. We kept up pressure for a bit then they started coming back, with a disallowed goal midway through the half. They did equalize soon after the break, but Orsula (oddly playing not in defence but in midfield after a few injuries in my ‘defensive’ midfielder slot) restored the lead. Yakubu had a goal disallowed which made for a tough end to the game as they hammered on the door to equalize, but thankfully we held out. This took us 10 points ahead of them with 6 games left, almost ensuring we’d be 4th, though we still had a chance of catching Presov 4 points ahead.

    Michalovce 4-2 (6-3) Myjava (SC Semi)
    The month ended on two very different games, the first was the home leg against Myjava. Duris paid Petrus back for the assist against Banska by setting the winger up in the 8th minute. They were still far from beaten, and peppered us with a number of first half chances before fading away. A Yakubu penalty in the 54th minute made it look comfortable, but suddenly they really stepped up the pressure again, getting 2 goals back. Just as it looked close, we put them in their place with a Petrus goal following on almost immediately, and Duris securing our passage to the final in the last minute. We’d face a rematch with Presov. That meant we’d almost certainly be in Europe next year as even if we lost the final we’d have the last European spot by finishing 4th, which was near-certain now.

    Zilina 4-2 Michalovce (D1)
    We had to go to Zilina next, despite our epic victory last time we met, they were still massive favourites, especially as in the past month the title-race tide had turned dramatically and they looked good for number 24 in a row. They scored after just 18 seconds, and pounded us for more. But normal service wasn’t resumed, at least not yet. Petrus (justifying my decision to keep him in instead of restoring Abbey) set Kessou up to equalize in the 15th minute. They retook the lead in the 20th minute, their pressure paying off when they got another 5 minutes later. They eased off a bit after that, but not so much that they couldn’t have got a 4th goal before the break. We had some chances in the second half, but they hit us with that 4th goal in the 69th minute, before Kessou headed in a second for us, which couldn’t cover up that we’d been properly taken apart once again. Still we’d progressed far from that 7-0 in our first encounter. A win for Presov meant 4th looked like where were pretty sure to finish.

    League Table
    Last edited by deltablue; 27-04-2012 at 09:48.

  72. #372
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    Solid couple of months there delta and good work getting to the Final .

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    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    Solid couple of months there delta and good work getting to the Final .
    Thanks, turned out better this time. 100% record for the rest of the season without a goal conceded! Admitedly Presov in the final was the only remotely challenging opponent.

    May/June 2035
    Michalovce 3-0 Ruzomberok (D1)
    Kovac got us off to a good start against Ruzomberok, heading us into the lead after 6 minutes. By the 12th minute Petrus has assisted an own-goal and got in the scoresheet himself. Given the trouble they caused last time (being the last team we lost to before the 8-match unbeaten run, even more unlikely than the fact that it was Kosice that ended it), I was surprised they were this easy, though we relaxed a bit, not getting more goals.

    Presov 0-1 Michalovce (SC Final)
    It was good preparation for our second cup final against Presov. It was far from a classic. We had a couple of early chances, then were on the back foot for most of the first half. We burst into life again before the break, and Abdul gave us the lead just before the half-time whistle. The second half was us under pressure throughout, and they had an equalizer ruled out. We also had Stochl and Duris going off injured, but held out to win.

    It was fantastic for a number of reasons. Firstly it was a the club’s first major trophy, always a nice achievement for a club and manager. Secondly it was a revenge win over the side the beat us in last year’s final. Thirdly, given my recent record with finals it was great to win one at last. Fourthly, the match engine gave Presov the home weighting and as they were one of the strongest sides in the country, it was another side we could beat the likes of them on a more regular basis, which we needed to in order to challenge for the title soon. Fifthly, it guaranteed European football, though by the time we reached the final that was pretty much certain, and finally it was just my second trophy in the career.

    Vranov 0-2 Michalovce (D1)
    After that, we could now relax. At relegation-bound (probably) Vranov, we took it easy, perhaps a bit much, but Yakubu and Gabriel gave is a 2-0 lead in the first half. They had the (few) second half chances. The win guaranteed 4th (at least, 3rd wasn’t out of the question).

    Zlate Moravce 0-1 Michalovce (D1)
    We continued the lackadaisical approach at Zlate Moravce. For such a poor side they had a number of chances, perhaps even the upper hand, but Petrus gave us a win in the 83rd minute.

    Michalovce 2-0 Nitra (D1)
    We had 2 winnable home games left, and with Presov 2 points ahead, 3rd was still achievable. Against Nitra, an own-goal gave us the lead in the 21st minute. Kovac headed in another 5 minutes later. We remained firmly on top, though had another disallowed near the end.

    Michalovce 1-0 Trnava (D1)
    The last game was against Trnava. The main event in the first half was Duris pouncing on a rebound of his own shot to score in the 25th minute. In the second half they pushed back rather strongly, and it probably epitomised our season that this win, like so many others, was pretty hard fought rather than being comfortably on top that much.

    Final League Table

    I was very worried early in the season, a slow start combined with my raising of expectations to ‘top half’ looked like cutting short my Slovakian stay, but we quickly found our stride, despite the occasional slip against teams we should have beaten. We had a cup to our name now, looking forward to a a (brief) European run. 6th to 4th didn’t seem like much, but 41 points (which would only be enough for 8th this year) to 64 definitely was, compared to finishing 10th with 31 points after my first match 2 years ago.

    This time last year I identified Presov, Slovan and especially Zilina, as the three sides that seemed too far ahead. This season we beat all of them at least once in the league. I felt that if we could avoid a slow start next season, we could be challengers, though whether we’d win was another matter entirely. If I felt Zilina were too far ahead, I might be leaving in a couple of years, but unlikely before then plenty of time to see how things go.

    Squad Stats

    Cup Final

  74. #374
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    Decent improvement this season. Hopefully the European draw is kind to you.

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    Good improvement on last season and congrats on winning the cup.

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    Frimpong the striker looks pretty #Dench. Very nice to see an improvement in domestic competition, especially the cup win which should bring you some fun/cash in Europe if you get to the group stages of Europa League.

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    Quote Originally Posted by powells_red_army View Post
    Decent improvement this season. Hopefully the European draw is kind to you.
    Given we entered in the Third Qualifying round, it wasn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    Good improvement on last season and congrats on winning the cup.
    Cheers, probably more to come soon as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    Frimpong the striker looks pretty #Dench. Very nice to see an improvement in domestic competition, especially the cup win which should bring you some fun/cash in Europe if you get to the group stages of Europa League.
    Dench? Not expecting too much from Europe.

    Summer 2035
    The first item on the agenda was Abbey. I expected a large bid for him to be accepted, but if it wasn’t, do I sell now or let him run his contract down? Petrus had done a great job after coming in for him, and we were getting a few more non-eu players (being already over the limit for how many we could have in a match squad) so there were positives, but I couldn’t shake off the feeling that our chances were far better with him, so on the off-chance that it would be up to me, I was leaning towards it, plus the Tetteh and Takang sales last season meant that although we weren’t rolling in money, we weren’t doing too bad. In the end we were still in June when Evian had an 800k bid accepted, and I was actually rather happy. He would develop a lot better there, as much as I did my best, and that would only benefit me as Ghana manager.

    We would already have a few newcomers, from a couple more of Africa’s best and brightest to a few frees. That looked like being it. I had 350k to spend on more, a fraction of the money we had in the bank now (1.6M), so I decided to use some of it in other ways, asking the board to improve our training facilities, which they agreed to. Shortly after the season started I decided to do something that was either incredibly far-sighted or incredibly stupid. I was tempted by the relatively few strong prospects I found, and they were indeed a promising bunch even compared to a lot of my previous signings, so I decided to go for them including a double raid on Senec. We now had a first team squad of 34 players, and as a lot of those I’d get rid of were on very little, I decided against trying to offload some for very little wage bill change, and take advantage of the great squad depth until contracts ran out.

    In terms of expectations, the board wanted top half, and while I felt we could get a European place again, I decided not to risk raising them like last year, which was very nearly so costly. One thing I did notice in the fixture list was that we had 2 home games against Zilina and Presov for the first time (though not Slovan), which if we did find ourselves in the mix at the top might be very useful.

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  78. #378
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    Congrats on reaching Europe and on the cup victory!

  79. #379
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    Excellent cup win! Should be able to give the top three a decent run for their money next season now.

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    Well done on reaching Europe, time to work on cracking the top 3! Capko and Mballa look like they could be decent players in a few years time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    Congrats on reaching Europe and on the cup victory!
    Cheers, was a great feeling.

    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Excellent cup win! Should be able to give the top three a decent run for their money next season now.
    I intend to be in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShanghaiNugget View Post
    Well done on reaching Europe, time to work on cracking the top 3! Capko and Mballa look like they could be decent players in a few years time.
    True, but even at the time I was thinking 'I bet by getting quite a few players in now I'm damaging our chances this year', but aside from a slight stumble, and the fact we're way behind Zilina already, I think I'm getting away with that and can reap the rewards soon.

    July 2035
    Zilina 0-1 Michalovce (SSC)
    The season started just a month after the end of the last one, with the Super cup against Zilina, an interesting test. They had a slight upper hand in the first half, but otherwise deliberately ignoring that it was them who we were facing seemed to work, as we no longer lived in fear. They had a goal disallowed in the 65th minute, and we took advantage when Kessou headed us into the lead with 10 minutes left. They had another goal disallowed afterwards, amidst great pressure, but otherwise it appeared that the chasm between our sides a couple of years ago has shrunk to very little, especially when you take into account them having the ‘home’ weighting making it an unofficial away win.

    Petzalka 0-4 Michalovce (D1)
    The first league game was at promoted Petrzalka. Yakubu set us on our way with a penalty after 11 minutes. However they were pretty tough for the rest of the half and should have drawn level at least. That very much changed in the second half, after Yakubu extended the lead in the 54th minute. We were all over them. Vagner set up Duris in the 58th minute, and Petrus showed how little we missed Abbey with our 4th goal in the 88th minute.

    Michalovce 2-1 Zlate Moravce (D1)
    Valenta headed us into the lead in the 4th minute against Zlate Moravce. However we couldn’t build on that, later conceding an equalizer, the first competitive goal we had conceded since the defeat to Zilina in April. Duris restored the advantage early in the second half, and it was amazing that we didn’t get more, such did we batter at their door.

    Kosice 3-1 Michalovce (D1)
    Things did not go so well at Kosice. They took the lead in the 8th minute, and had no difficulty getting a couple more before half-time as we were having a major off-day. We tried to fight back in the second half, and with better finishing (and a penalty that was denied) we might have come close to a point, instead having to settle for a single Kessou goal in the 57th minute.

    League Table

    Aug 2035
    Brondby 5-2 Michalovce (EL)
    We entered the European arena with a trip to Brondby. We made a good start but soon were pegged back, and went behind after half an hour. A corner was bundled in to quickly equalize. They retook the lead at the beginning of the second half, getting a third in the 68th minute. Yakubu gave us another back, which would have given us a decent chance, but the defence collapsed and we conceded two more. Early form was still stuttering.

    Michalovce 2-2 Ruzomberok (D1)
    We went behind against Ruzomberok in the 24th minute, Duris equalizing in the 37th. They retook the lead right before the break, Duris levelling it again a couple of minutes after. We thought we had the lead from a third Duris goal but it was disallowed so we had to settle for a point.

    Michalovce 1-2 (3-7) Brondby (EL)
    Our slim hopes against Brondby quickly vanished when they took the lead in the 8th minute, then got another. For a side that had 8 clean sheets in a row before Zlate Moravce, we were sure shipping a load now. After an hour, Duris got one back, but as much as we pushed we couldn’t even level the scores on the night. While I wasn’t expecting to beat them, I thought we’d put up a far better fight than we did.

    Slovan 1-0 Michalovce (D1)
    For the trip to Slovan, I took advantage of an injury to Yakubu to put our new Cameroonian keeper Mballa in the side, as Bubenko had been moaning for a while about wanting a move to a bigger club (given he was 32, and only had a few Slovakia caps from the past couple of years, as good as he was he wasn’t a prime candidate for such a demand), was probably going to be released after this season anyway, just did a U-turn on demanding to be listed, and I just wanted to teach him a lesson. He hadn’t been as big a culprit as the defenders for recent form, but would have done better on a lot of other days. We were very much on the receiving end of a lot of pressure. A controversial penalty in the 40th minute gave them the lead, and it was a relief that it wasn’t more, especially after Abdul got sent off. Not a great day.

    Michalovce 3-2 Trnava (D1)
    We found the going difficult against Trnava as well, going behind in the 21st minute. Duris equalized 20 minutes later but we were behind again after an hour, and it looked like being worse. Yakubu made it 2-2 with 6 minutes left, and we went for a winner, which after being denied a penalty, we got from a Yakubu chip in stoppage time, a goal that was the difference between 8th and 3rd as things stood.

    Banska Bystrica 3-5 Michalovce (D1)
    Banska Bystrica had better odds than we did of the title, so I was a bit worried when I went to theirs. We were quietly on top for the first 25 minutes, Duris and Kessou giving us a 2-goal lead. They quickly grabbed 2 goals in the next 6 minutes as yet again the entire back 4 decided to switch off. We moved quickly to restore the lead. Kessou scored a few minutes from half-time, then a penalty in stoppage time. Duris got his second goal in the 53rd minute, and the game was fairly quiet aside from a predictable late push from them, which gave them a third goal with 10 minutes left.

    League Table

    Sept 2035
    Michalovce 2-2 Zilina (D1)
    Zilina were already building up a lead, and we needed to avoid letting them extent it when we played them at home. We probed each other in the first half, and they had the edge, reflected by them taking the lead in the 39th minute. We had the occasional chance to equalize, and were rewarded by an own-goal in the 83rd minute. They restored the lead just after, but Donkor headed us an equalizer in the last minute.

    Michalovce 3-1 Presov (D1
    Petrus set us on our way against Presov with a goal in the 2nd minute. In the 21st, Bilek set up Yakubu, who returned the favour as we got a third in the last minute before half-time. We looked capable of getting a 4th for a lot of the second half before they had some late pressure which gave them a consolation.

    Senec 2-3 Michalovce (D1)
    We went to Senec (who had started very strongly, like last season) without either right back being fit. They took the lead after half an hour, but Bilek levelled it instantly, getting another 5 minutes later. The Czech was wanted by Zilina which was a surprise as he had only had occasional and mostly unimpressive runs in the side, but he was on fire this time. We were far from comfortable, and they levelled it early in the second half but late on we really turned the heat up, Bilek completing a hat-trick in the 72nd minute, and we kept at it until the end.

    Turc. Teplice 0-5 Michalovce (SC)
    We started our cup defence at Turcianske Teplice. We weren’t at our best, but Abdul gave us the lead in the 20th minute. A Donkor penalty extended it in the 32nd minute, followed shortly by Yakubu, who grabbed another just after half-time. Bilek gave us a last goal 15 minutes from time.

    Michalovce 0-0 Nitra (D1)
    Nitra caused us a load of problems in the next game. Late in the first half we gradually turned the tide of chances, keeping up a (slight) upper hand in the second half, despite Duris going off injured less than 20 minutes after coming on (having recently recovered from another), but couldn’t quite snatch a winner.

    League Table

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    Oct 2035
    Michalovce 2-1 Petrzalka (D1)
    Yakubu gave us the lead against Petrzalka, but superiority did not lead to more goals until Sterba headed in on the hour mark, and it was just as well that he did as they sneaked a late goal back.

    Zlate Moravce 0-0 Michalovce (D1)
    At Zlate Moravce we had a mild upper hand throughout the game, but lacked too much imagination and had to settle for 0-0.

    Michalovce 1-0 Petrzalka (SC)
    We were at home to Petrzalka in the next cup match. Yakubu scored in the 8th minute, and while it was a game that should have seen another goal from us, it was still a simple victory.

    Michalovce 4-3 Kosice (D1) 100th Michalovce game!
    I faced my 100th Michalovce game (though it felt like I’d been here longer) against Kosice. It had been a dull month, but it ended in style. They had a lot of early chances, giving us so much trouble, but we survived to take the lead through Bilek in the 13th minute, and with the game turned around, Kessou extended the lead before the break. Donkor (scoring from open play, oddly for a defender) made it 3-0 after an hour, and though they quickly got one back, Bilek made it 4-1 in the 68th minute. We did our level best to throw it away, and they got a pair of goals in 10 minutes as they made it 4-3 by the 86th minute, but the win was ours in this landmark game. Here’s to the next 100 games in Slovakia, and chances are I’ll actually hit that one.

    Suitors were circling, having just been linked to a Turkish PL job, the strongest league yet, though Portugal, Russia and Belgium came later, plus Athletic and Betis, which while struggling in the Adelante would be great places. However being favourite didn’t mean there were actual offers (though I still had a few of those), and even if there was one I wouldn’t take it right now. However it was a useful indicator of what I could get whenever I left, and the outlook was very good indeed. I keep thinking about whether to go beyond the next year or 2, with a squad now overloading with great youngsters, a lot of whom doing very well, if we could at least keep being challengers on a regular basis I was far better off staying (maybe winning the cup more times even if we couldn’t topple Zilina) until something very big came along, so I could still stick around with a side that looked like having a great future and who I had become very fond of for a long time yet.

    League Table

    Nov/Dec 2035
    Ruzonberok 2-2 Michalovce (D1)
    We had to go to bogey side Ruzomberok, who were always way down in the bottom half of the table but often held or beat us. The first half could have gone either way, but they snatched the lead at the end. Petrus equalized in the 48th minute. Amoako headed us into the lead in the 70th minute, but we had to settle for a point as they equalized immediately.

    Trnava 4-3 Michalovce (SC QF)
    We had two trips to Trnava, starting with the first leg of the cup quarter-final. Amoako gave us the lead after 20 minutes, but we were slightly lucky to still have it at half-time. The second half went back and forth. They equalized in the 52nd minute and Kessou restored the lead in the 60th. They equalized again in the 69th with Baran making it 3-2 just afterwards. However the defence slipped up badly, and not only did they equalize in the 81st minute but immediately got a winner from a Valenta own-goal. However away goals and home leg meant we were very much still in it.

    Trnava 1-3 Michalovce (D1)
    Things weren’t much better early on in the league game. They took the lead in the 8th minute, and while we had a few chances, they were looking far more likely to get another before Bilek equalized in the 34th minute, leading to a flurry of chances at both ends. Donkor headed us into the lead in the 58th minute, from a cross from Petrus (who also assisted the Bilek goal), and we had little trouble from them after that. Valenta even scored (in the right goal) in stoppage time.

    Michalovce 2-1 Slovan Bratislava (D1)
    Slovan had fallen a bit since last year, so it wasn’t as hard. Petrus scored after half an hour, with Bilek adding another 10 minutes later. They got a goal back just before half-time. The second half was rather edgy but we managed to get the win. Plus I got my first interest from the Portuguese Premier League.

    Peter Duris 5-0 (8-4) Trnava (SC QF)
    We needed a win in the second leg against Trnava. We pushed pretty hard but had no luck in the second half. That all changed when Duris came on at half-time. Last time he returned from injury he was off again within 20 minutes. Trnava wished there was a repeat. After 5 minutes he got a hat-trick, quickly followed by a 4th, and a 5th in the 71st minute. I was very lucky to inherit him as a 17yr old when I arrived, he’d been regular star ever since, and I will probably marry him before I leave Slovakia. In the summer Scunthorpe submitted a 100k bid that was about 1/5 of his face value, and I wanted to commit their manager into an insane asylum. Anyway as regards the cup, the semi final lineup (which has a couple of lower-league or bottom-half sides in on a regular basis) was the strongest for a while. Ourselves vs Slovan and Zilina vs Banska (1st v 3rd), so we couldn’t be sure of anything.

    Michalovce 1-1 Banska Bystrica (D1)
    Speaking of Banska Bystrica, we had them next. After an early burst of ambition, we were quickly forced into retreat as they attacked strongly, having a goal disallowed before they took the lead in the 28th minute. We were a bit better in the second half but would have ended up empty handed if it wasn’t for an 84th minute Yakubu penalty.

    Zilina 4-1 Michalovce (D1)
    That draw meant that we were not unbeaten in 13 league games, stretching back to mid-august (and we were now entering December), but I doubted that it would survive a trip to Zilina, which was also the last game before the winter break. Before that, Frankfurt raised the ‘linked-with’ bar even higher to the Bundesliga, struggling, but still. When Zilina scored in the 7th minute, I expected it wouldn’t go well. Sure enough they extended it after half an hour. Duris got a goal back in the 48th minute but that was a brief respite as it took just 5 minutes for them to get a 3rd, then later a 4th.

    League Table

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    Mar 2036
    Presov 2-2 Michalovce (D1)
    After a quiet winter (with only some contracts renewed as people would be let go), we returned at Presov. We went behind very early on, and faced a number of chances as they looked for another. We had a brief period of relief late in the half where Yakubu equalized. He had a few chances to get another in the second half, before they reapplied the pressure. Vyborny headed in a free-kick with a few minutes left, but they got a stoppage time goal so we didn’t quite escape with a win.

    Michalovce 3-0 Senec (D1)
    Bubenko was injured for a few weeks before we played Senec but this time I wasn’t too concerned, as Mballa made another early appearance prior to taking over full-time next season, his previous run having been cut short due to injury. Yakubu scored in the first minute. It looked like they hit back immediately, but we struck in the counter from Duris in the third minute. The rest of the game was fairly even, and they were good value for a goal, but instead Donkor gave us another after 70 minutes.

    Nitra 0-2 Michalovce (D1) 800th career game!
    A trip to Nitra was my 800th career match. They were second-bottom but gave us a lot of trouble. We found it hard to get anywhere, while they were firmly on top enough that on a less solid day (which happened alot) we would have headed to defeat. However Duris struck from nowhere to score in the 75th minute, and almost 10 minutes later Valenta headed in to give us a most unlikely 2-0 win.

    Petrzalka 1-2 Michalovce (D1)
    Bottom side Petrzalka was just as troublesome in our next trip. Maybe not as threatening but just as stubborn. However they did take the lead in the 71st minute. An embarrassing result was averted as Drahno (getting a run-out on the wing) got his first goal for the club in the 80th minute, followed a few minutes later by Valenta in a very lucky escape.

    Kosice 2-3 Michalovce (D1)
    They luck seemed to have run out at Kosice as they took a 16th minute lead, and looked for another. An own goal levelled it 11 minutes later, and suddenly the boot was on the other foot as we pushed to take the lead, despite Duris (the better performing of the 2 forwards) going off injured, getting it in the 41st minute from Amoako. The raced out of the blocks in the second half, getting a quick equalizer, and little went on in the second half so suggest the score would change, but Bilek gave us a winner in the 81st minute. That said they had the usual AI late surge so it was tight at the end.

    Michalovce 3-0 Zlate Moravce (D1)
    It was nice to have a more comfortable time of it at home to Zlate Moravce. Yakubu gave us the lead in the 9th minute, followed shortly by Kessou. Yakubu had another disallowed later in the half, but in the second half Drahno scored in the 63rd minute to give us the 3-0 win.

    League Table

    Apr 2036
    Michalovce 2-0 Ruzomberok (D1)
    We even found Ruzomberok surprisingly comfortable. Bilek gave us an early lead in the 18th minute, getting another in the second half, though there was some late pressure to survive.

    Slovan Bratislava 1-1 Michalovce (SC Semi)
    Like with Trnava in the autumn, we had a double away trip to Slovan Bratislava, starting with the first leg of the cup semi. Donkor had been sold to Sheriff for 800k, but as he’d been out recently after a brief injury, it didn’t bother us too much. The first half was lifeless, which as the away side benefited us. We gave the game some chances early in the second half before they took the lead in the 52nd minute. We managed to level it from Baran 10 minutes later, and keep it that as which kept us in a good position.

    Slovan Bratislava 0-0 Michalovce (D1)
    The league game was similarly uninteresting, with the occasional chance for each side. It gradually sped up in the second half, but neither side could get a sustained period of pressure going and it was a dull draw.

    Michalovce 1-1 Trnava (D1)
    Bilek scored after just 14 seconds against Trnava, but the more we tried and failed to get a second goal, the more I felt they would snatch an equalizer, and they did so after 78 minutes. We pushed to grab a winner but it wasn’t coming today.

    Michalovce 2-0 (3-1) Slovan Bratislava (SC Semi)
    We faced the second leg against Slovan. We hoped to build on the away draw and beat them this time, but they gave us a lot of pressure early on, just one goal would wipe out our away goals advantage and put far more pressure on us to come back and win. We soon took control but only occasionally looked like scoring for the rest of the half. Amoako headed in a goal in the 49th minute, but it was still a close tie. We faced a lot of pressure in the second half, but you could hear the relief when Petrus gave us another with 10 minutes left, meaning I’d taken the side to the final in all three full seasons so far. However we would have to face Zilina.

    Banska Bystrica 1-1 Michalovce (D1)
    With a top 3 finish almost assured, we had a great chance to pretty much secure 2nd if we beat Banska (currently in 3rd), who would be then 9 points behind with 4 games to go, and even a draw would keep them well behind. It didn’t start well when we went behind to a very questionable goal. They were able to keep us in check until late on when we rushed forwards, and thought we had an equalizer from Yakubu in the 84th minute, only to see it chalked off just as questionably as theirs was allowed. Valenta still gave us the point we needed in the last minute.

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    May 2036
    Michalovce 1-1 Zilina (D1)
    Zilina at home would be an interesting test ahead of the cup final. They had just clinched their 25th title in a row, which was a relief as it wouldn’t be great having them do it against us, especially in front of their own fans. They scored in the second minute, but the 2 positives were that we were mostly alright, and we stopped it getting worse. Valenta headed in an equalizer that stunned even our own fans with 10 minutes left, and a flurry of chances came and went for each side as we both chased a winner. The post-match reaction showed a surprisingly good relationship between myself and my Zilina counterpart.

    Michalovce 2-0 Presov (D1)
    We were reasonably on top in the first half against Presov. Yakubu went off injured in the 27th minute, then an own-goal gave us the lead 10 minutes later. We upped the pressure in the second half, and with 5 minutes left, one of our corners was knocked in by the same player who own-goaled earlier (and was probably heading for the reserves), though that doesn’t change the fact that we very much deserved the 2-0 win, securing a great 2nd place.

    Senec 2-1 Michalovce (D1)
    The penultimate game (and last before the cup final) was at Senec. We were undefeated competitively since the Zilina trip in December, but that ended here. A shockingly poor start gave them a 2 goal lead after 25 minutes. We very much improved but for all our hammering we couldn’t get anything until the break. Just as it looked like we had quietened down, Bilek finally got a goal back in the 64th minute, but as much as we tried we didn’t get the equalizer I felt we should have managed.

    Michalovce 2-5 Zilina (SC Final)
    In the cup final, we started well, Duris giving us the lead in the 20th minute. However they were bound to hit back. They equalized 30 minutes later, taking the lead just before the break. The defence collapsed in the second half, they quickly got a third, and it was amazing that it took almost 20 minutes to concede more, by which point Valenta had pulled a goal back, but one they did, they followed it up to win 5-2.

    Michalovce 2-1 Nitra (D1)
    We ended the season at home to Nitra. Things didn’t look like ending to well when they took the lead in the 22nd minute, but Duris equalized just before the break. Vyborny headed in a free-kick to give us the lead in the 53rd minute, and we managed to keep them from being any sort of threat afterwards.

    Final League Table

    It had been a pretty good year. We stumbled a bit early on, but even had we not, Zilina were having an excellent season even by their standards we would have to have been near-perfect to get close anyway, so while we had perhaps dropped some points we shouldn’t have, among otherwise having been able to beat most of the other sides on a regular basis, it didn’t change anything. In a nation with one side so dominant, being second-best was almost a title in itself. After a lot of transfers last summer, the bar was now high enough that there weren’t going to be so many players I wanted out there anymore, so with much improve squad stability we still had much more to offer.

    Now was where things got very tricky indeed. During the later part of the season I had taken a look at the winning margins of all Zilina’s titles of this current run so far, which made interesting but daunting reading. There were a few fairly low numbers, but a clear majority (especially after the early titles) were in double figures, there were 4 20’s, with 26-point margins coming up twice, and it average out at a margin of 12.5 points a season. Add on this season’s 18 point margin and we could very well round that up to being on average 13 points clear a season! It was an interesting challenge, and there would be no shame if we couldn’t do it. I had 2 years left on my contract, and while I had no solid plans to leave after that, it would encourage more offers (as opposed to just being the favourite) and if we were still far off Zilina I might (but still might not) be tempted. But two years is a very long time so we’ll see.

    Squad Stats

    June 2036
    Internationals returned to the fore for the first time in over a year, with the second stage of the World Cup qualifiers. It seemed odd that I had been at Ghana for over 5 years now. We were in a group with Djibouti, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. The latter had some very strong players, so wouldn’t be too easy, while the other two would pose no problems. Having missed out on the last World Cup, I was eager to make the next one, and this was the first of two group stages I needed to get through to do so.

    Ghana 5-1 Burkina Faso (WCQ)
    Burkina Faso at home were first, a good chance to show them who’s boss. A few members of my regular side since I took over were either retired or getting on a bit, so I had a few younger players in (with more changes due over the next few years), and former Michalovce players Abbey and Donkor were given their debuts, not necessarily the strongest choices but close enough not to make a difference. From the start we pounded them with chances, Frimpong giving us a 10th minute lead. That brought them to life as they really pushed for a bit but Eshun extended the lead in the 25th minute. They was the cue for some more pressure, during which they got a goal back, but Owusu restored the 2-goal margin before the break, and in a less-hectic second half, Frimpong got another pair of goals in the 58th and 81st minutes to complete a hat-trick and a very strong win.

    Sierra Leone 1-5 Ghana (WCQ)
    Things were just as easy in Sierra Leone. After a number of chances, Gyamfi gave us the lead in the 20th minute. They surprisingly equalized almost instantly, but we were always going to be retaking the lead before too long, which we did though Abbey in the 31st minute, Eshun extending the lead 8 minutes later. Eshun got another goal in the 50th minute, and we could have had a couple more in the half if Frimpong hadn’t been having a major off-day. However Abbey did make it 5-1 with a couple of minutes left.

    Ghana 6-1 Djibouti (WCQ)
    The Djibouti game was my 50th for Ghana. It wasn’t quite the party I’d been expecting. For the first half an hour we wasted chances like Suarez on heat. They suddenly headed in a corner to take the lead, with just about their only chance of the game. Donkor managed to play them at that game, equalizing just before the break. We stepped up to the plate much better. Frimpong managed to wake up after a game and half of being rubbish, giving us the lead in the 58th minute, then setting up Eshun in the 67th minute. We were now more comfortable. Eshun got another a few minutes later, followed by Frimpong in the 83th minute, and Donkor completed the trio of braces in the last minute. How apt that he’d get his first pair of international goals in the game after his former club teammate Abbey got his first two.

    Burkina Faso 2-1 Ghana (WCQ)
    We had the return in Burkina Faso. They came out extremely strongly, scoring in the middle of the first half, just after having a goal disallowed. Eshun soon equalized, but we were still very much on the back foot. We really turned up the pressure in the second half, but paid for a lot of wastefulness when they had the late advantage, getting a winner, but I already knew we’d stay on top, and with the expected wins from the other two games, would still top the group regardless.

  85. #385
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    Congrats on qualifying for the Europa League!

  86. #386
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    Great season! It looks as though Zilina will be tough to catch at the top, though if you can cut down the draws a bit and they slip up, anything is can happen next season

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    Just read up on this. Congrats on qualifying for Europe! I'm impressed you've been able to do so well with the challenges you've been following in your carerr. Well done

  88. #388
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    Excellent season fella.

  89. #389
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    Congrats on a pretty amazing season,shame to see Zilina are as dominate as ever.

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    Fantastic stuff, really looking forward to seeing how you do next season.

    It's so tricky sometimes to compete on multiple fronts with small teams and small budgets but hopefully you can make some impact in Europe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Congrats on qualifying for the Europa League!
    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    Great season! It looks as though Zilina will be tough to catch at the top, though if you can cut down the draws a bit and they slip up, anything is can happen next season
    Quote Originally Posted by cswalk08 View Post
    Just read up on this. Congrats on qualifying for Europe! I'm impressed you've been able to do so well with the challenges you've been following in your carerr. Well done
    Quote Originally Posted by SRL88 View Post
    Excellent season fella.
    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    Congrats on a pretty amazing season,shame to see Zilina are as dominate as ever.
    Quote Originally Posted by snootyjim View Post
    Fantastic stuff, really looking forward to seeing how you do next season.

    It's so tricky sometimes to compete on multiple fronts with small teams and small budgets but hopefully you can make some impact in Europe.
    Thanks all. Thankfully Zilina aren't always that good (though they're always very strong), so hopefully if we do manage to avoid getting as many draws we'll have an opening. They certainly didn't make a difference this time so no point worrying about that until it does. Europe is always going to be tough, even in the Europa League 3rd qualifying round, as a non-seeded team there are a number of stronger sides we're likely to face. Been a good start so far this season, so daring to dream that 25 in a row is all Zilina are getting.

    Summer 2036
    I was unsurprisingly keen to at least chase Zilina this year, I had a large budget (over 1M, and 15kpw, which wasn’t large but a good increase from before), to do it with. However I wasn’t too interested in getting loads of players in any more, instead there would be a bit of a cull of an overlarge squad, which would include a few players (like Bubenko, Gabriel and Toth) who had been very useful in pulling through while a lot of the youngsters found their feet, and it was a bit of a gamble letting them go. Plus some younger players who no longer had as much potential. In return, I suddenly had a far wider selection of players to sign, previously being reduced to West and Central Africans, Czechs and Slovaks, I now had players from other countries being willing to move, though a great increase in the level of talent available came with higher prices that we could cover but prevented a considerable squad improvement, which I actually saw as a good thing as getting in many new players would be counter-productive right now.

    In the end I made a move for two players, where we needed them. The first was for the right wing, where Petrus was doing a good job but lacked true star quality. The second was at left-back where we weren’t quite so bad, but I’d found a very strong player who I felt it was worth paying 950k for. Controversial, just like when I paid 35M for a defender at Dortmund, which definitely raised a few eyebrows among a few of you, but worked out very well, and as a left-back if he played anywhere near as well as I hoped he would, he would have quite an impact both with attacking and defending. Plus just like I needed all the quality I could get to chase the CL in Germany, gunning for Zilina was no simpler a task. Aside from that, the main achievement was rationalizing the squad from 34 players last year to 24.

    Ivanovic

    Vagner


    Transfers

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    Jul 2036
    Dubnica 3-7 Michalovce (D1)
    There had been no movements in by the time we went to Dubnica in the first game, however with Mballa already established in goal in the spring, Kocian at left-back and Kovanic as the ball-winner (both 18 but looking pretty good) gave us a couple of changes from last year’s side. It was a rather messy start as they took the lead in the second minute. Duris equalized a couple of minutes later, but we still had a tough task, only grabbing the lead from Petrus just before the break. Amoako gave us a 3rd in the 63rd minute before they got another goal back. Duris got another pair in the 60’s (taking him to 4 for the game) before they got a 3rd, and Yakubu rounded off an incredible 7-3 win with 10 minutes left.

    Michalovce 3-0 Nitra (D1)
    Duris gave us the lead in the 11th minute against Nitra, but after we missed a penalty we had great difficulty turning pressure into more goals. Amoako eventually got it in the 61st minute, followed in the 83rd minute by Kessou’s penalty. They had been pretty lively and got a late consolation.

    Slovan Bratislava 0-1 Michalovce (D1)
    A trip to Slovan started out in the way that they always seemed to, with rather dull first halves followed by things getting a bit more lively after the break. In this case it was Duris giving us the lead at the start of the second half. We kept up reasonable pressure, and they started getting more chances as the game wore on, but it was best described as ‘casual’ rather than dull or exciting.

    Michalovce 2-2 Omonoia Nicosia (EL)
    The Europa League draw threw up Omonoia Nicosia. They looked far too strong, which seemed confirmed by the fact that we were 2-0 down after 10 minutes of the home leg. We mounted a bit of a second-half fightback. Duris scored in the 61st minute, followed by Petrus 10 minutes later, and we had more than enough pressure to get a winner.

    League Table

    Aug 2036
    Michalovce 3-2 Senec (D1)
    Senec had made their usual strong start. We were the only two sides to have won all three games so far (Zilina had been held at Petrzalka, rather odd points to drop), but that would chance when we met in the next game. We were the better side early on, Bilek giving us the lead after 20 minutes. They hit back with an equalizer in the 38th minute, but brand new signing Vagner bundled the ball in a few minutes before the break. They equalized again in the 70th minute, and it looked like we’d have to settle for that, but Duris gave us a winner with a couple of minutes left, and we survived Vavra getting a straight red in stoppage time (turning 4 minutes into 7).

    Omonoia Nicosia 1-1 (a3-3) Michalovce (EL)
    Returning to Europe, even had we got a winner at home, I suspected that we would have lost by too much in Cyprus anyway, or at best their two away goals would be crucial. I was wrong on all but the last count. The lack of pressure enabled us to bomb forward freely, and Duris gave us the lead so in the 21st minute. They hit back almost immediately, but we still gave as good as we got in terms of chances. It wasn’t quite enough. 1-1 sent them through on away goals, but compared to our terrible showing last year against a Brondby side of similar strength to Omonoia, it was improvement.

    Michalovce 2-1 Banska Bystrica (D1)
    Against Banska, Farkas gave us the lead in the 20th minute, Valenta heading in another shortly before the break. They got one back in the first minute of the second half, and really pushed hard to equalize. We might have got a 3rd, which would have eased the nerves considerably, but Bilek was falling well short of last season’s form so far this year (and Yakubu was away on international duty, I couldn’t wait until he turned too old for the youth sides so we wouldn’t have that problem, as I wouldn’t be calling him up for the senior side), but we hung on to make it 5 wins from 5 so far.

    Trnava 1-1 Michalovce (D1)
    At Trnava, we had a far stronger challenge. We were on the back foot from the start, but after half an hour an own-goal gave us the lead. A win would have been amazingly lucky, and with things not much better, they equalized in the 69th minute.

    Kosice 1-2 Michalovce (D1)
    Things were also a bit tricky at Kosice. Duris gave us a 20th minute lead, but it was very tight, and just before half-time, Ivanovic went off injured (for about a month), the Farkas received a straight red. Duris’ second goal in the 46th minute gave us breathing space, and while they got a goal back in the 56th minute, and always threatened to equalize, we still gave them plenty of pressure to keep the heat off, and get the win.

    Michalovce 2-0 Presov (D1)
    At home to Presov, we were frustrated that pushing hard wasn’t getting us anywhere. Valenta finally gave us the lead at the beginning of the second half, and we never let off the throttle, Duris giving us a late second. Next up was Zilina at home...

    League Table

  93. #393
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    Strong start to the season!

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    great start to the season, hopefully you can really challenge Zilina for the title this year!

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    Excellent start to the season!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarman View Post
    Strong start to the season!
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHartman71 View Post
    great start to the season, hopefully you can really challenge Zilina for the title this year!
    Quote Originally Posted by B.W.G View Post
    Excellent start to the season!
    Indeed it has, and the news has been getting better so far.

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    Much, much better - well done!

    Now, don't get a nose bleed

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Much, much better - well done!

    Now, don't get a nose bleed
    Woah! Its a long way down!!!!!

    Sept 2036
    Ghana 8-0 Sierra Leone (WCQ)
    First was a Ghana home game with Sierra Leone. Taylor gave us the lead in the 10th minute, and when Eshun made it 2-0 in the 27th minute, the floodgates opened. Within 10 minutes, and own-goal, and a Frimpong effort, made it 4-0. Eshun got another goal in the 42nd minute. The first 15 minutes of the second half gave us another three Eshun goals to complete a dominant win.

    Michalovce 5-2 Zilina (D1)
    The Zilina games were critical, they were too strong to be able to count on dropping points much, or getting anything at theirs (where they'd beaten us comfortably every time), so we had to make our two home games with them count. They put a bit of pressure on us with a few early chances, but Abdul gave us the lead in the 18th minute. We had a few chances each before Bilek extended the lead in the 31st minute. The game quietened down a bit, with a couple of chances for us, but right before half-time, a penalty gave them a goal back. Bilek got another goal in the 50th minute, but 5 minutes later another Zilina penalty made it 3-2, and I was worried they’d come back to snatch a point. However they didn’t cause us as many problems as I feared. Duris extended the lead in the 68th minute, and as we took control, Valenta headed in a corner 10 minutes later. We kept it up for a bit, then faced the usual spell of pressure, but they didn’t get anything. We moved 5 points clear, but I expected them to keep winning most games so we weren’t that much more comfortable. Duris was out for a few weeks after sustaining a knock against Zilina, but by now Bilek was back on song.

    Petrzalka 1-6 Michalovce (D1)
    The first exchanges at Petrzalka were even, and after we took control, finishing was lacking until Yakubu got a quick brace after half an hour. Bilek scored in the 40th minute, followed by Amoako in the 58th. They got a goal back, but Kovanic extended the lead in the 69th minute, and at the end, Bilek set up Yakubu to finish off a 6-1 win, and this while Zilina (who had been behind for some time) were being held at Kosice. I was far more confident about 7 points being enough of a margin than 5.

    Bardejov 1-6 Michalovce (SC)
    Our first cup game was at second division Bardejov. It was even more comfortable than I expected. Yakubu scored after 10 minutes, followed shortly by Bilek. Yakubu got another after half an hour. Vagner and Valenta had made it 5-0 by the 62nd minute, and though they got a goal back, Yakubu finished off his second hat-trick (though he had just one goal before that) and our second 6-1 win in a row.

    Michalovce 2-2 Ruzomberok (D1)
    I very much hoped that bogey-side Ruzomberok wouldn’t be a problem this season, especially as they were bottom without a win. As usual they were tough going, but Bilek gave us the lead in the 28th minute. After a lot of chances, Farkas extended the lead in the 70th minute, but they got a quick pair of goals in the last few minutes to grab a very annoying draw. Thankfully Zilina were held as well, as I disliked Ruzomberok enough as it was. However if we kept dropping points they would close in fast.

    League Table

    Oct 2036
    Michalovce 1-0 Dubnica (D1)
    Dubnica at home should have been comfortable. We certainly had plenty of chances, but only scored after 70 minutes from Bilek. They had a few chances that could have cost us a couple of points but we managed to get a less-than-convincing win.

    Djibouti 0-6 Ghana (WCQ)
    After that I had my last Ghana qualifier at Djibouti. I had decided to restore Owusu to the front line as Frimpong’s regular partner (despite Eshun’s great form), having finally moved out of Saudi Arabia to become a star at Lyon, and he repaid me with a hat-trick within the first half an hour. Gyamfi finally gave us a 4th goal just before the break. In the second half, Frimpong got a pair of goals to round off a strong group stage, sending us through to the final stage next year, as well as the ACN, where despite the heavy competition I knew we had a good chance to. The Qualifiers wouldn’t be so easy, Nigeria (who beat us in the last ACN final) were in our group, though Uganda and DR Congo weren’t so bad.

    Final Group Table

    Nitra 3-2 Michalovce (D1)
    Going to Nitra, I had a suspicion that it was a potential banana skin, and it didn’t help that they took the lead in the 4th minute. Bilek levelled it in the 18th minute, after we already had an equalizer disallowed. The ref didn’t endear himself to us any more when turning down a penalty appeal among a number of chances we had to take the lead in the rest of the half. As we failed to find our groove in the second half, the odds of them snatching the lead significantly shortened. Instead Petrus gave us the lead in the 65th minute, but they levelled it 5 minutes later, and seriously went for a winner, which unfortunately they got in the dying minutes, giving us our first defeat in 14 games, and a few of the trickier games coming up.

    Moldava 0-4 Michalovce (SC)
    The cup seemed an easier proposition as Zilina had been knocked out already before we went to Moldava in the next round. Petrus scored in the first minute. They had a equalizer disallowed before Bilek extended it in the 15th minute. Yakubu followed that up in the 23rd. The first minute of the second half was Bilek get another. Yakubu had a 5th disallowed on the hour mark.

    Michalovce 2-1 Slovan Bratislava (D1)
    We needed to bounce back against Slovan, as Zilina had won the previous day to close the gap (hopefully briefly) to a point. We both had good chanced before Yakubu gave us the lead in the 22nd minute. We had 2 more disallowed, from Bilek after 35 minute, and Yakubu after 50. A Kessou penalty soon gave us the at second goal at last, but they started pushing hard. They got a goal back with 10 minutes, but our win cost their manager his job.

    League Table

  99. #399
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    A good run of form and a pretty emphatic win over Zilina

  100. #400
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    Some cracking results there. Good work .

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