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neilhoskins77

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About neilhoskins77

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    Part-Timer

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  • About Me
    Newcastle-Upon-Tyne & Cwmbran, South Wales

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  • Favourite Team
    Bristol.R & Newcastle Utd

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  • Currently Managing
    Ayr United FC (FM'09), Iceland (FM'09)

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  1. neilhoskins77

    2018/19 FMS Fantasy Football League

    Abroad?! Belter, I'll dust my passport off
  2. neilhoskins77

    2018/19 FMS Fantasy Football League

    In. Fer Fuchs Ake
  3. neilhoskins77

    (FM'09) A 'United' Front - A Chance To Rewrite History Part II

    Sunday 6th November 2011 The feel good factor around the club right now has only one disturbing issue, and that is the number of players who, one after the other, have grown restless with their lack of First Team football, and started to voice their discontent. Republic of Ireland Under-21 International centre back, Laurence Gaughan, is the latest. He tells the press that he'll be seeking a move if he doesn't get more game time soon, so I tell him he is free to move on. He issues an immediate apology, but he has already been transfer listed by then and is the subject of a fair bit of interest. Adam Campbell and Kenny Connolly score within five minutes of each other fairly early on to put our Reserves in control away to Peterhead this afternoon. Martin Bavidge managed to pull one back before the break for the hosts, but Alex Owen sealed the points for our second string side early in the second half. Three of our players have been called up for Under-21 International duty ahead of next weeks International Window. For goalkeeper Zannetos Mytides, it's the prospect of matches in Pafos and Nicosia against Italy and Slovenia respectively in the European Under-21 Championship Qualifiers. It's the same competition for the other two players who have been called up, with wantaway defender Laurence Gaughan looking to play for the Irish against Greece in Mytilini and Latvia in Riga, while Paul Dummett will also face away trips with Wales, as they play Sweden in Trollhättan and then France in Alençon. Monday 7th November I am informed by an email from my secretary that Aidan O'Kane has been included in the team of the week. I am starting to suspect she is just copying and pasting last week's email to save herself a few valuable seconds. Wednesday 9th November As the build up for this weekend's League Challenge Cup Final starts to ramp up, I am keeping a close eye on an 18 year old striker from Northern Ireland's Premier Division who appears to be having a bit of a public falling out with his manager at Glentoran. With nearly 20 League goals to his name already in his young career, I doubt I'll be the only one who has noticed the Under-21 International. We'll see how that one develops. Our Under-19's played away to Airdrie United this afternoon. They were a pair of goals down at the break when Andy Kirkpatrick and Daniel Love netted within three minutes of each other. Our youngsters came roaring back in the second half, Jamie Barron got the ball rolling, and Allan Smith then netted twice, one from the spot, as three goals in twelve minutes earned the win. Friday 11th November It wasn't a particularly successful International day for either of our trio of Under-21 players. Laurence Gaughan was the only one involved in a positive result, but he played only the final 19 minutes as the Republic of Ireland managed a 1-1 draw in Greece. There was a full ninety minute outing for Paul Dummett, but despite Wales playing against ten men for around an hour, they still lost 2-0 in Sweden. It was the same scoreline in Pafos, where Zannetos Mytides was beaten twice in the last twenty minutes in Cyprus' defeat against Slovenia. Saturday 12th November Our supporters are described as 'pessimistic' as they make final preparations for their big day out at Broadwood Stadium, home of Clyde FC, and the venue for tomorrow's Scottish League Challenge Cup Final. Whoever heard of a group of supporters being pessimistic heading to a Cup Final? Ignoring the fact that we are priced at 7/2 for tomorrow's match, amd the fact that we have a poor record against Raith Rovers, the competition history makes better reading, and gives more reasons to be hopeful. This will be Raith's first ever Final in this competition, and they may have other things on their mind, they currently sit ten points outside a Promotion Playoff spot already in the First Division. On the other hand, we were losing Finalists in this competition in successive seasons in 1990/91 and 1991/92. Would it be third time lucky for the Honest Men?
  4. neilhoskins77

    (FM'18) A 'Poole' Of Talent......Hopefully......

    @danbhtfc's England Level 22 database. Link below for you Mark.
  5. neilhoskins77

    (FM'18) A 'Poole' Of Talent......Hopefully......

    October 2018 The draw is made for Round Two of the Dorset League Cup, and we have a home match against Westland Sports in early December, a week after we face them in a League match. The Board expect us to make it through that match and into the Quarter-Finals to meet their objective for the season. As far as the Board were concerned, last month was ok. We were just £18 away from breaking even, and they were happy that we're making good progress on the mid table finish ambitions. More than that, they are very happy with the control I have over the dressing room, and that the players are showing good respect for their manager. Admittedly, it's not too hard to keep the players happy when they pretty much have to play. On the plus side, Vice Captain of the squad, Flynn Oldring has become a highly influential player for us. With an absolute lack of team leaders, this qualifies as good news for us. It is slightly surprising however, as Oldring has been playing out of position in centre midfield since Andy Davis suffered his broken leg. <Vice Captain Becomes Dressing Room Leader> With both Neil Porter and Lewis Stephenson passing fitness tests, though the latter was on the bench, we had just one player missing as we opened the month at home to Axminster Town. After recording a club record attendance last home match, we set another one today, however this one was a record low, just 16 people watching the 1-1 draw, Aaron Mahoney giving us an early lead with a superb looping header for his second goal of the season. But once more we couldn't hold on, conceding the equaliser midway through the second half. As frustrating as that result was, a 1-1 draw next time out away to Bridport Reserves was seen as a very good point for us, despite the hosts finishing with ten men after Renny Baxter was injured midway through the second half and all the subs already used up. Julius Echiejile was our scorer today, the attacking midfielder turned reluctant striker scoring his first goal for us at the sixth attempt. But Aaron Mahoney suffered a twisted knee, and we were now winless in five matches. He would be fit enough only for a place on the bench for the home match against Parley Sports. A win would see us leapfrog our guests, but in front of a much improved crowd we didn't even manage a shot on target, and a goal in each half at the other end saw us succumb to a 2-0 defeat. The winless streak is extended to six, and the fans are starting to get a touch restless. A Monday morning team meeting seemed to lift the spirits around the playing staff, and despite Neil Porter missing most of the week's training with a tight thigh, we were favourites heading into the final match of the month, an away game against Gillingham Town. With our fair share of the ball, and some chances being created, we looked in pretty good shape for an away clean sheet, and maybe even snatching a winning goal. That was until the usually dependable Peter Gibson got trapped near his own corner flag with the ball, and tried a suicide pass back to keeper Owen Shama, home striker Alistair Parsons gleefully accepting the gift with a bow on it. Our misery was complete when 20 year old left back Ross Hamblin became our first player of the season to be red carded, collecting a second booking in injury time. Now winless in seven matches, we would need to have a rethink if we are going to improve performances and survive the season. <A Very Difficult October> <Being Dragged Towards A Relegation Fight>
  6. neilhoskins77

    (FM'09) A 'United' Front - A Chance To Rewrite History Part II

    Tuesday 1st November 2011 We entered November with normal service resumed, as Aidan O'Kane reclaims his spot as left back in the team of the week, the only representative from our club this week. The Board remain satisfied with the way things are going, and there is no change in their opinion on their favourite and not so favourite players. The loss of around £20,000 in October isn't great news, though there is no cause for alarm at all right now, with around £270,000 in the clubs coffers. I could spend that on a striker...... This will be a big month for the club, despite it only featuring four matches. Every club we face this month has been a First Division club at some point during this calendar year. That includes League matches against last season's relegated pair of Partick Thistle at home, and Airdrie United away, and Cup matches against current second tier outfits, Raith Rovers in the League Challenge Cup Final, and Ross County in the Scottish FA Cup. Wednesday 2nd November Back in Northern Ireland, there are troubles for Second Division club Wakehurst, and their determined and talented 19 year old midfielder Patrick Watson now wants out. At the age of just 19, he already has 50 Senior League appearances under his belt, not without their productivity too. I offer them exactly zero for Watson, and they accept. The youngsters wage demands are somewhat unreasonable, but we offer him a deal that would considerably increase the £5 a week he is currently getting should he accept. Friday 4th November After a tough start to life in the Second Division, relegated club Partick Thistle have now turned things around, winning four of their last five and moving steadily up the League, sitting in third spot a point ahead of us. You can get odds as long as 3/1 on us coming out of tomorrow's match at Somerset Park with a victory to our name. Saturday 5th November The young Northern Irish midfielder signs the contract, and Patrick Watson will arrive at the club on New Year's Day. He has declared himself very excited to be stepping up a few levels, and is looking forward to the challenge. I really need to clear some wage budget at this club, and our Reserve squad needs to be trimmed. Justin Miller, Noel Anderson, Robin Shroot, Gordon Hillis, Gareth Sproule and Lee Matthews are all transfer listed and told they are free to find new clubs. If we move them all on, it would take well over £600 a week off our wage bill. Scottish League Second Division Somerset Park, Ayr Ayr United v Partick Thistle Attendance :- 954. Weather :- Gusty, 15c. This match will be the biggest test of the three man midfield so far, as we welcome Partick Thistle to Somerset Park for the first time this season. Ryan McStay keeps his spot in that midfield trio of course, but the other two players are changed, Mark Wilson and Ryan Stevenson replacing Aaron McElwee and David Meyler as we look for a bit more creativity. The ball was in the net as early as the 3rd minute, Stephen McPhee slicing our defence wide open with a through ball as Liam Buchanan angled his diagonal run behind our back four, and controlled the ball before sliding it home. Fortunately for us, he hadn't quite held his run long enough, and the offside flag was raised. That would be only the opening salvo in what would become an outstanding period of end to end football. James McLean beat the offside trap at the other end, but David Forde saved his first attempt with his legs, then could only watch on from his prone position on the grass as our winger sent the rebound over the bar. Back at the other end, Tom Brighton made a lung bursting run into our box, Stephen Grindlay got to his shot, and then our defenders bought him a bit of time to get back in position to be able to stop Ben Webster's follow up attempt. An opening goal couldn't be far off, and in the 13th minute Aidan O'Kane was picked out by Ryan Stevenson on the left. The full back drove a cross into the near post area, and McLean slammed it home from 8 yards out! Our Bonfire Night was off to a very early start, and it nearly got better really quickly when Peggy Lokando launched a curling shot that only just missed the target. He wouldn't miss the target in the 20th minute however, as he connected with a header from an O'Kane cross, and doubled our lead. We weren't quite done with our super spell yet either. David Partridge won the ball on the edge of his own box with a well timed tackle, and sent the ball left to McLean. The winger set off at pace, beating two players before sending the ball square to Stevenson. The midfielder threaded the ball through the Thistle defence, and Craig Fisher held his run just long enough to stay onside, running across a defender to prevent him making a challenge, then rounding Forde and sliding the ball into the far corner of the net to open his account for the club at last, and open a three goal lead for us, all in the space of a nine minute spell. We weren't taking our foot off the gas here either, and Fisher held the ball up well in the middle of the park before sending it wide right to Lokando. The winger sent in a dangerous cross that Chris Doig needed to get a head to with Fisher unmarked right behind him. The half would end with McPhee getting in behind our defence, but he couldn't find a way past Grindlay who stood firm, and kept our advantage intact. It was obvious that the Thistle players had been given a really good going over at the break, and they came out hot after the restart, Buchanan weaving his way through a few defenders and making room for a shot, but he only managed to find the side netting. It would take them nearly twenty minutes to work another opportunity, but McPhee blew that one right over the cross bar. His next effort with twenty minutes left to play was much lower, but this time wide of the target. That would be his last action as he was then replaced by Rory McAllister. He would prove himself an altogether different proposition, as he found room to bring down Jonathan Hayes 73rd minute corner, and fired home from six yards out to give Thistle a glimmer of hope. Two minutes later, Hayes would be involved again. He picked up a header from Partridge in the centre circle and played a one-two with Buchanan, before slipping a pass into the run of another substitute, Nicky Phinn. He managed to hold off Olafur Örn Bjarnason, and steer his shot past Grindlay, and in off the post to bring the match back to 3-2 with a quarter of an hour still to play. If I wasn't concerned before, I certainly was now. Bjarnason would have a chance to extend our lead, as he got to an O'Kane free kick with a header that Forde only just managed to keep out. I decided that fresh legs were the order of the day to try and finish off the job here, Mark Wilson and Stevenson replaced by Aaron McElwee and David Meyler. The final moments became a little like the opening moments of the match, Phinn's shot from range was lacking enough power to trouble Grindlay, while Steven McKeown saw his shot blocked. At the other end, Fisher got away from the Thistle defence, but shanked his shot. It didn't matter, we had held on for a big win! Ayr United (3) 3 - James McLean (13), Peggy Lokando (20), Craig Fisher (22) Partick Thistle (0) 2 - Rory McAllister (73), Nicky Phinn (75) Stephen Grindlay; Liam McMenamin, David Partridge, Olafur Örn Bjarnason (capt), Aidan O'Kane; Ryan McStay, Mark Wilson (Aaron McElwee 82), Ryan Stevenson (David Meyler 82); Peggy Lokando, James McLean; Craig Fisher. Unused Substitutes :- Bryan Gilfillan, Andrew Hageman, Neale Fenn. Bookings :- None Possession :- 53% - 47%. Man of the Match :- Aidan O'Kane (Ayr United). Wow, what a match that was. The just under one thousand people who were at that match will remember it for quite some time I imagine, not just for the five goals and the near fightback by Partick Thistle, but also for the end to end play that took over large parts of the match. We held on, and Craig Fisher finally got his first goal since arriving at the club on loan, Aidan O'Kane added two more assists and another man of the match award to his increasingly impressive looking stats, and we had extended our unbeaten run to six League matches, moving up to fourth place while we were at it. That could all provide huge impetus heading into next weekends Cup Final.
  7. neilhoskins77

    (FM'18) A 'Poole' Of Talent......Hopefully......

    September 2018 The opening day of the month brings the opening day of the new football season for us, and we start with a 1-1 draw against Merley Cobham Sports. It would have been an acceptable result before the match, but it was a little disappointing when our visitors played the last half an hour with ten men after full back Michael Douglas was given a second yellow card. Ambitious 20 year old left winger Leon Jones took the honour of the first goal for Poole Borough under their new boss. We improved on that result a week later with a 2-0 home victory against Holt United at Turlin Moor Recreation Ground. It was Jones who was the hero this weekend, netting either side of half time to give us our first notch in the win column, as we were once more aided by a red card for the opposition. But it was very much a bitter sweet day, as we lost both of our centre midfielders to injury. Lewis Stephenson was the luckier of the two, as he only twisted his ankle, but it will keep him out for up to six weeks. No such luck for Andy Davis, who is likely to be out for most of, if not all of the remainder of the season, causing us a huge problem...... <An Unlucky Break For Andy Davis> Those two missing midfielders caused us a big headache as we travelled for the first time this season. With a winger and a centre back in midfield, we were outclassed by Milborne Port, who scored in each half to inflict our first defeat of the season upon us. We missed a perfect opportunity to get back into the winning habit the following week as we returned to home action against Hamworthy Recreation. A new club record attendance of 139 thought that was exactly what would happen when Aaron Mahoney put us in front with just under a quarter of an hour to play. But a mistake from right back Ross Baldy-Probert with just seven minutes to play meant we dropped two valuable points. We would finish the month with a trip to managerless Swanage Town & Herston. Midfielder Lewis Stephenson was fit enough for a place on the bench, which was good news. Going behind to a 15th minute shot that took a huge deflection, was not however. Not to worry though, as we were level within a few minutes thanks to a penalty from Peter Gibson, his first goal for the club. On a day when our keeper and defenders were kept very busy, we were pretty happy to walk away with a point. As a bonus, Stephenson got 15 minutes at the end of the match too, though defender Neil Porter did go off with an injury. Fortunately, it was nothing more than a slightly twisted knee, which would keep him out for only a few days. <September's Results> <September's League Table>
  8. neilhoskins77

    (FM'09) A 'United' Front - A Chance To Rewrite History Part II

    2011/12 Scottish League Second Division Table, Up To & Including Monday 31st October 2011 | Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts | | 1st | | Arbroath | | 11 | 7 | 2 | 2 | 18 | 10 | +8 | 23 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 2nd | | Stirling | | 11 | 6 | 1 | 4 | 15 | 12 | +3 | 19 | | 3rd | | Partick Thistle | | 11 | 5 | 3 | 3 | 17 | 12 | +5 | 18 | | 4th | | Peterhead | | 11 | 5 | 2 | 4 | 13 | 11 | +2 | 17 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 5th | | Airdrie Utd | | 11 | 5 | 2 | 4 | 9 | 7 | +2 | 17 | | 6th | | Ayr | | 11 | 4 | 5 | 2 | 12 | 11 | +1 | 17 | | 7th | | East Fife | | 11 | 4 | 2 | 5 | 14 | 19 | -5 | 14 | | 8th | | Cowdenbeath | | 11 | 3 | 2 | 6 | 12 | 17 | -5 | 11 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 9th | | Brechin | | 11 | 3 | 0 | 8 | 15 | 17 | -2 | 9 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 10th | | East Stirlingshire | | 11 | 2 | 3 | 6 | 5 | 14 | -9 | 9 | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  9. neilhoskins77

    (FM'09) A 'United' Front - A Chance To Rewrite History Part II

    Sunday 16th October 2011 Derby County were relegated from the Coca-Cola Championship two and a half years ago now, just two months after hiring Mick McCarthy to try and avoid just that eventuality. Less than seven months later, McCarthy was out of work again, and John Ward was brought into the job, and he was a week away for hitting the one year milestone when they let him go too. Andy Cale was next into Pride Park to try and restore this former giant of a club, but he also lasted less than a year, and was sacked this weekend with Derby at the foot of Coca-Cola League One and with just five points to their name from the opening eleven matches. I'm reported to be the second favourite for the post, but I put those rumours to bed pretty quickly, telling the press that it's not the right job for me at this point. If the rumours are to be believed, The Rams might also be about to head into a financial situation that could prevent them from moving back up the Leagues for quite some time. Both Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (one month with a twisted knee) and Archie Campbell (two months with fractured ribs) suffered injuries in todays Reserve match. Not that it seemed to slow them down too much, Campbell getting on the scoresheet along with an Abdi Ibrahim first half brace. Ciaran Foy from the spot and then Noel Anderson late on completed a 5-0 win over Elgin City at Somerset Park. Monday 17th October There is no place for Aidan O'Kane in the latest Team of the Week. Two players from our club are included though, Olafur Örn Bjarnason and Peggy Lokando's goals earning them a spot this week. Wednesday 19th October Our Under-19 side make it a double over Elgin City in the space of a few days, as they win 1-0 at Somerset Park, thanks to a goal eight minutes into the second half from attacking midfielder Patrick Fleming. Friday 21st October 19 year old centre midfielder Shaun Smith is the latest player to express his dissatisfaction over the amount of First Team football he has been afforded, which in his case, amounts to none. The former Dundee man goes down the Noel Anderson route when he is given the standard answer and reminded he is a back up player. He has a few hours cooling off, and then comes back with an apology. Sunday 23rd October The draw has been made for Round Three of the Scottish FA Cup, and it has not been particularly favourable to us. While there were nine non-League clubs in the draw who we could have been matched up with, or even one of the seven clubs remaining from the Third Division, we are instead drawn to play away to First Division club, Ross County. We will face them at Victoria Park in late November. Thursday 27th October We have missed out once again on a compatriot of Icelandic defender Olafur Örn Bjarnason. I had been considerably more optimistic this time around too, now 20 years old, midfielder Victor Pálsson had spent two of his formative football years in the UK with Liverpool, making a Premier League appearance for them last season, before being released in the summer. We found ourselves competing with two Icelandic sides, but our financial clout wasn't up to Keflavík's, the winners of the 2011 Icelandic Cup. Friday 28th October He would have come in handy to have around, as tomorrow we are going to try something a little different at bottom of the table East Stirlingshire. We are 4/6 favourites to come away from Ochilview Park with a second straight League win. Saturday 29th October In Annan, our Under-19 side leave it very, very late to clinch the point against the hosts. It was three minutes into injury time when we were awarded a penalty, Ian McLaughlin duly dispatching his first of the season into the net, and our Youth side move up into second place in Group 3. Scottish League Second Division Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir East Stirlingshire v Ayr United Attendance :- 209. Weather :- Dry, 22c. The something slightly different is not exactly ground breaking. Our midfielders are getting the job done, while our strikers most certainly are not. So why carry two strikers, when we can add another midfielder? So our 4-2-2-2 wide is switched to a 4-3-2-1 wide, with Alex Owen dropped from the squad, and David Meyler brought in to join Ryan McStay and Aaron McElwee in midfield. David Meyler would have the first chance of the match too, Aidan O'Kane's long ball down the left found James McLean, and his 4th minute cross was aimed at Criag Fisher. The striker was beaten to the ball by a defender, but his touch only found Meyler, the Irish midfielder cracked a shot that only just missed the target. The reasons to be optimistic continued, particularly down the left, as O'Kane and McLean slung over crosses at every opportunity. A 29th minute cross from the left channel by Peggy Lokando, who had driften into the box when Fisher pulled out wide, found Aaron McElwee all alone at the far post, but with Tom Woodhead desperatley scrambling across his goalmouth, the Northern Irish midfielder scuffed his shot into the side netting. The opening goal would eventually come from the left, but it would be reliant on an old faithful, the set piece. Ryan McStay sent over the free kick, and O'Kane adjusted himself as the ball dropped, before connecting with a sweet left foot volley that gave Woodhead no chance. That first half went almost entirely according to plan, except for a late misunderstanding between Liam McMenamin and David Partridge, that allowed Brian McGrory a free run on goal, but he shot well wide. At half time, there were only reasons to be cheerful. Those reasons to be cheerful nearly evaporated just 45 seconds after the restart, as wide midfielder Tony Shield uncorked a howitzer from 25 yards out that flew past Stephen Grindlay, but fortunately smacked right back off the cross bar. Relief all around in our camp, and we set about getting a second, with Lokando making minced meat out of Cameron Mawer, and picking out Fisher with a cross, Woodhead making a superb reflex stop to prevent the on loan striker from opening his Ayr United goalscoring account. Yep, it was all going perfectly. But East Stirlingshire were starting to cause us problems, McGrory getting into space on the right, and his deep cross picked out Phil Trainer, who's low drive on the half volley was only kept out thanks to a save from Grindlay. He could do nothing in the 72nd minute though, sub striker Neale Fenn unable to hold up the ball, opposition sub Jamie McCallum and Trainer quickly got the ball into the box, and McGrory fired a low shot past Grindlay to level the match up. My players appealed for offside, but it wasn't even close to be honest. We attempted to get ourselves back in front, Meyler trying a shot that was blocked, and he had a second go from the loose ball, but he curled it wide of the target, and that was as close as we would get. I don't think it's unfair to say we probably left two points behind as we boarded the bus for home. East Stirlinghshire (0) 1 - Brian McGrory (72) Ayr United (1) 1 - Aidan O'Kane (35) Stephen Grindlay; Liam McMenamin, David Partridge, Olafur Örn Bjarnason (capt), Aidan O'Kane; Ryan McStay, Aaron McElwee (Ryan Stevenson 87), David Meyler; Peggy Lokando, James McLean; Craig Fisher (Neale Fenn 69). Unused Substitutes :- Bryan Gilfillan, Andrew Hageman, Mark Wilson. Bookings :- None Possession :- 44% - 56%. Man of the Match :- Aidan O'Kane (Ayr United). After bossing that match almost entirely for an hour, coming away with just the single point almost felt like a defeat. The three man midfield seemed to work well, and maybe I will have to admit to some tactical naivety. Maybe with hindsight, I should have looked to add a striker when East Stirlingshire started to push forward, forcing them to worry about the other end of the park. Aidan O'Kane's second goal of the season is added to with his third man of the match award, making him the best player on the park in 20% of the games he has featured in this season so far. Signing him initially on a Free Transfer for Lurgan Celtic, and then for just £1,000 for Ayr has to be considered a superb value for money piece of business. Sunday 30th October At least our Reserves are having no issues finding the net, admittedly against a lower quality of opposition of course. They have come back from Annan with a 3-1 win to move top of the Group 3 table. Goals in the opening five minutes from Ciaran Foy with a spot kick, and Alex Owen, sent us well on the way, and Marc McCann added a third later in the first half. We could do with some of that goalscoring rubbing off on the First Team in November, a month which will include a Cup Final to look forward to.
  10. neilhoskins77

    (FM'18) A 'Poole' Of Talent......Hopefully......

    July 2018 I am 5/2 second favourite to be the first manager from the Dorset Premier League to get the sack. That's not exactly a huge endorsement is it? The Board are looking for a mid table finish if I'm to survive my first season in the job, which I fully expect to be the most difficult It's a quiet month with no player recruitment to concentrate on. So instead the backroom staff roles start getting filled up. I do it in what I consider to be the correct and proper manner, firstly putting out adverts to fill a couple of roles, and then start asking my new staff members for reccomendations to address some of the gaps that are a bit slower to be filled by the ad route. Before long we have the core of the backroom in place, and we are already leading the Division in each category. Hopefully that will go some way towards keeping some of our players happy, as the club will not allow me to offer anything other than amateur contracts to players right now, and we are receiving offers almost daily. In fact, the only person at the club who is getting paid is Khalid McDonald, our newly recruited Chief Data Analyst, who is earning £50 a week. <The Backroom Staff> August 2018 As my Assistant Manager isn't going to bother arranging us any Friendly matches, I sort one out for us myself. We'll be visited by Shirehampton, a side from Bristol who play in the Somerset County League Premier Division. They will be quite a bit further down the fitness road than ourselves, as that will be their fifth pre season match. I won't be expecting too big a crowd at the match, based on our season ticket sales....... <Season Ticket Sales> A mid August opportunity to give the players a bit of an extra run out was taken, all the First Team squad with the exception of injured right back Ross Baldy-Probert, were made available to play for our Under-18's against Colchester United's Under-23's at home. We were 4-0 down with a minute to go, before 15 year old grey striker Lenny Gibbons pulled one back. The visitors immediately reinstated their four goal advantage, before midfielder Lewis Stephenson netted deep into injury time to make the score look a touch more respectable at 5-2. SportPesa release their odds for the season with just a fortnight before the action kicks off. They make us 50/1 to go up, and as short as 13/10 to go right back down. I am sensing that there is little faith in us achieving much from anyone outside of the club. Our one and only pre season match for the First Team ends in defeat after a late Shirehampton winner at Turlin Moor Recreation Ground. Our 4-1-4-1 DM left us with a striker who isn't a striker too isolated, and the wingers will have to push further up the park into inside forward roles to try and help us keep the ball at the sharp end for longer. <A Very Short Pre-Season>
  11. I have had a long held desire to have a really good crack at one of the many Challenges that exist in these Forums. The challenge section of the forum is a very busy page however, and the constant need to upload pics is a bit over the top for my liking. So I have decided to bring a challenge to our little section of the boards. Where necessary, I'll post links to pics instead of filling the page with screenshots as per house rules. This is my first ever save on the latest version of Football Manager 2018, so it is also serving as a test, and I have elected to have a shot at the FM18 Youth Academy Challenge. As per the rules, I have loaded England only, with playable Leagues down to Level 11. I have chosen that tier as it is the lowest level where clubs are almost entirely semi-professional. This challenge will be difficult enough already, trying it with an amateur club would make it virtually impossible. In Game Editor use has been disabled, and Key Staff will not be added. As per the challenge guide, I have got the clubs from Tiers 12-14 running as unplayable leagues, this will ensure that these teams will have some players when/if they are promoted. The idea is to run a club without ever buying a player, so you will rely entirely on the players at the club, and the youngsters that arrive in the Youth Intakes. I have copied and pasted the general rules below from the challenge thread..... -------------------------- Steps When Getting Started • Add yourself as an unemployed manager. Call him holiday man if you want. • Go on holiday until the reset date of your nation or the day before if you’re planning on reloading. • Retire the manager • Add a new manager with your chosen nationality and the lowest possible reputation and qualifications • Choose the newly promoted club of your choice Rules for the Challenge • No loans or transfers in are allowed but you can sell and loan players out. • If you are sacked, sorry, you have to start again. • No save game editors are allowed. Only cosmetic database edits are allowed. (Team/competition names/logos) • No international management until completion of challenge. • Signing backroom staff is allowed. Signing players on trial or signing grey players isn't allowed. --------------------------- So after being on holiday for the 2017/18 season (I had a lovely time, thank you so much for the asking, though the hotel has seen better days), I retired my dummy manager (I know what you're thinking, don't go there), and brought in my normal manager profile. With the lowest reputation and no qualifications. I set about compiling a list of the clubs promoted into Level 11, of which there were 45. I then started to look into the clubs, and try to make my decision which one was for me. <Manager Profile> It became immediately clear that no matter who I chose, the first season was going to be a struggle, and the aim will simply be to stay up, and not get sacked. That's because the clubs all bring nothing more than a skeleton squad with them into Level 11. They all have one thing in common too, they don't have any strikers. They also have fairly poor training and youth facilities, and in the case of my chosen club, minimal junior coaching and limited youth recruitment. Yikes! <The Announcement> As you can see from that linked photo, the club I have chosen to lead is Poole Borough, a fairly new club at less than 20 years old, and just promoted from the Dorset Second Division into the County Premier League. <The Squad> And from that photo, you can see my skeleton squad, which includes no recognised striker, no recognised team leaders, and no reinforcements on the way until the next Youth Intake late in the season. Our poor facilities mean that even when that happens, we are not likely to be unearthing any world beaters. We are going to be dependent on a solid system and making ourselves very difficult to beat if we are to achieve the predicted 12th place finish in the 382nd most reputable League in European football. Every one of our players is currently on an amateur contract, and the Board will not currently allow us to discuss part time deals right now. That could be problematic should they start to attract the attentions of other clubs, We certainly cannot afford to lose any players in season one. The Transfer Budget is zero, which is fine in these circumstances. The weekly Wage Budget is £725 a week, of which we are currently spending nothing, and are unlikely to be by the look of it. We have a Scouting Budget of £10,800 for the season. Apart from checking up on future opponents, that money is useless to us, not least as we don't have any Scouts employed. In fact, we don't have anyone employed apart from me. We'll call that job number one then.
  12. neilhoskins77

    (FM'09) A 'United' Front - A Chance To Rewrite History Part II

    Sunday 9th October 2011 My head hurts. That was quite the celebration we enjoyed last night, and we haven't won anything yet either. I think I just needed to let go for a few hours. A few weeks ago things were not looking so good for us, and now we just might have turned the corner. We were still getting it done without any help from strikers. We have three strikers that we have been rotating, and they have played almost 1,500 minutes of football between them, without managing to find the net. It's an absolutely horrific run of form, and when you factor in that James McLean's strike yesterday was his first ever for the club, it makes you realise how reliant we have become on our midfield and of course, our defenders from our bread and butter of set pieces. Eventually, either they will have to start finding the net, or we will have to bring in strikers who can get the job done. For now, we can take hope from the news that yesterday produced the largest gate receipts in the clubs history, as we banked £35,000 from the day, more than doubling the previous record of £14,000 from the May 2009 match against Ross County in the Second Division Promotion Final. That match had also produced our best attendance figure during this save, 1,730 the figure for that match. The 2,981 that attended yesterday has easily surpassed that, but it's a long, long way off the September 1969 record of 25,225 for a match against Rangers. Our opponents for the Final, which will be held at Broadwood Stadium, home of Clyde, on Sunday 13th November, will be Raith Rovers. That is not necessarily good news based on history. We have only played the now Scottish First Division side four times since the save started, and they were all in the opening season of 2008/09 when both clubs were in the third tier. Rovers won all four fixtures by an aggregate score of 10-1. Hopefully we have more luck in a Cup match against them. They have been led this season primarily by the goals of on loan Newcastle United striker, Nile Ranger. Scotland played their penultimate UEFA 2012 European Championship Qualifier last night, winning 4-0 in Vilnius against a Lithuania side that were down to ten men as early as the 6th minute when Deividas Semberas was shown a straight red card. A twenty five minute scoring burst saw Steven Fletcher give the Scots the lead, and Wigan's midfielder Scott Robertson quickly double the lead with his first International goal. An eight minute brace from Sunderland forward James McFadden cemented Scotland's win before the break. Of significantly more importance for Qualification itself was the Republic of Ireland putting in one of the finest performances in their history, as a full house at Lansdowne Road saw them sweep aside the reigning European and World Champions, as Spain were demolished 3-0 in Dublin. The Irish were two up through a pair of Tottenham Hotspur players, Robbie Keane and Owen Garvan, by the time Fernando Torres missed a potentially crucial penalty just before half time. It would prove to be the case when Andy Keogh headed home late to secure the points. All the while, Denmark were being held to a 2-2 draw in Copenhagen against Hungary. The Irish had now played their last game, and were sat in second spot. Spain were through despite the defeat, and now Denmark would need to win in Spain on Wednesday to prevent Ireland from appearing at Euro 2012. Monday 10th October Noel Anderson plays the party pooper, as he today tells the media that a lack of First Team football is leaving him contemplating his future at Somerset Park. He is told that he is only regarded as a backup player at the club, and as such, he should be patient. Tuesday 11th October Anderson has today issued a public apology to both myself and his team mates. He stated that he should know better than to run to the media, and he realised his actions were unlikely to help his situation. He didn't feature for the Reserves today as they defeated Montrose 3-0 at Somerset Park, first half goals from midfielders Danny Williams and David Meyler were added to in the closing moments by young striker Archie Campbell. There is a return to training today for Ciaran Foy, but he was not risked in that match. Paul Dummett plays the full 90 minutes for Wales Under-21's in Swansea, but they are held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by Moldova. Wednesday 12th October Our Under-19's are beaten soundly at Somerset Park by Peterhead's youngsters this afternoon. Dougie Sharp opened the scoring in the 19th minute, and a double from John MacKay in the 41st and 60th minutes ended the match as a contest. Left winger Jim Robinson pulled one back late on, his first goal of the season for the second season Youth player. An afternoon kick off in midweek is not normal, but the kick off was brought forward to avoid clashing with the kick off for Scotland's final European Championship Qualifier, as they thump bottom of the table Kazakhstan 4-0 at Hampden Park. The goals came from Chris Maguire of West Ham United, Kevin Thomson of Sunderland, James McArthur of Bolton Wanderers and Steven Fletcher of Blackburn Rovers. That leaves Scotland finishing a disappointing 5th in the seven nation Group, well ahead of both Lithuania and Kazakhstan, but behind Denmark and Hungary and seven points from Qualification. That was something that Ireland did achieve, thanks to Spain beating Denmark 3-0 in Jerez, a pair of goals from David Villa, and a header from Sergio Ramos. Friday 14th October We return to League action tomorrow afternoon, and we have a home match against East Fife ahead of us. We go into the match in 5th spot, with a chance of getting back into the Playoff places if things go our way in our own game and elsewhere. We go into the match as Even money favourites against the visitors who currently are 7th in the Division. Saturday 15th October Scottish League Second Division Somerset Park, Ayr Ayr United v East Fife Attendance :- 967. Weather :- Dry, 18c. It's back to the bread and butter of League football, and I'm hoping we can translate some of our Cup form into moving up the Division. It's an unchanged lineup once again for this one against a club we want to keep below us in the table. Visiting skipper Chris Templeman fired an early warning shot with an effort from the edge of the box that continued rising even as it cleared the cross bar. Alex Owen went a little closer at the other end, but that would be his last action of a brief appearance, as he was withdrawn with a knock before the quarter of an hour mark, Neale Fenn brought on to replace him. The trend for firing shots just too high would continue, with Adam Pepper of East Fife the latest to chance his arm and fail. Paul McManus added his name to the list, though he should have done better after Pepper's diagonal through ball into the box got the winger in behind our defence. Aaron McElwee fired a shot wide, and McManus did the same a few minutes later as chances continued to go begging at either end, and the match became a more attritional midfield slog. We come the closest yet to opening the scoring when Neale Fenn knocked the ball down to Ryan McStay, his shot was blocked, but it ran to Peggy Lokando, the wingers shot across goal grazed the far upright on it's way past. Still goalless at the break, and it was anybody's game. East Fife would have plenty of the ball early in the second half, but we did a fairly good job of keeping them at arms length, Pepper sent another shot from range over the bar, while David Muir's shot was wide of the goal frame. But we were struggling to find a way through ourselves, though it was obvious that Liam McMenamin was starting to build up quite the partnership with Lokando down the right. The full back lifted the ball over the defence for Lokando to chase down, and the winger was clearly aware of our strikers recent record as he made the decision to go alone, his run outstripping a defender and giving him a run in on goal, but while he placed his shot well, Glyn Garner somehow managed to keep it out. Lokando had now had the two best chances of the game, and he was giving Dean Pooley such a tough time that Paul Sinnott was having to help the full back out. Those chances would be equalled on the hour though, when Templeman flicked on a long throw, and Nathan Taggart got in behind our defence, but in the story of the afternoon, he also missed the target. Someone would finally work a goalkeeper when McManus directed a shot on target, Stephen Grindlay pushed that aside fairly comfortably. Someone would get booked too, Pooley was beaten by Lokando once again, and this time he grabbed a handful of jersey to try and slow the lad down a bit. So, it would be down to an old faithful. McStay swung over a 71st minute corner, and Olafur Örn Bjarnason planted his header out of Garner's reach to finally break the deadlock. Now we knew how to break them down, we gave it another go a few minutes later, this time Aidan O'Kane sent the corner in from the other side, and Lokando got enough on his glancing header to direct it between Garner and his defender on the post, as we made it 2-0 in the space of a few minutes. That quickfire double salvo had me pretty confident that the win was in the bag, and I made a pair of 78th minute subs, McMenamin and Aaron McElwee came off, with Bryan Gilfillan coming on for a League debut for us and Mark Wilson coming into our midfield. If they were hoping for a stress free quarter of an hour or so of football though, they would be disappointed, as McManus picked out Muir with a square pass, and he rifled a 20 yard shot into the roof of the net that Grindlay didn't even get a sniff of! Muir was clearly the man that East Fife were trying to find now he had found his range, and McStay and Wilson both had to throw themselves to nulify him, firstly McStay into a block, and then Wilson into a tackle that he was lucky didn't result in a booking. But we played smart, and when we had the ball we put it into the corners, and East Fife couldn't work that clear opening to deny us today. Ayr United (0) 2 - Olafur Örn Bjarnason (71), Peggy Lokando (74) East Fife (0) 1 - David Muir (82) Stephen Grindlay; Liam McMenamin (Bryan Gilfillan 78), David Partridge, Olafur Örn Bjarnason (capt), Aidan O'Kane; Ryan McStay, Aaron McElwee (Mark Wilson 78); Peggy Lokando, James McLean; Alex Owen (inj - Neale Fenn 14), Craig Fisher. Unused Substitutes :- Andrew Hageman, Ryan Stevenson. Bookings :- None Possession :- 50% - 50%. Man of the Match :- Olafur Örn Bjarnason (Ayr United). Our Icelandic skipper Olafur Örn Bjarnason now joins Ryan McStay as our top goalscorer in all competitions with three goals, a situation that continues to be worrying. It looks much better from an assist angle, with Aidan O'Kane out in front with six, thanks mainly of course to those amazing corner deliveries of his. After extending our unbeaten run in the League out to four games, we have nudged up to fourth place in the Second Division. We now have a two week break in our fixture list before our final game of the month, a trip to bottom of the table East Stirlingshire. Not that their current position will allow us to take them lightly, last time we took a trip to the side at the foot of the League, we were beaten in Cowdenbeath..... .....and who knows if I'll even still be here. It seems I'm a wanted man!
  13. neilhoskins77

    (FM'09) A 'United' Front - A Chance To Rewrite History Part II

    Sunday 2nd October 2011 As there was a game yesterday, the monthly appraisal was pushed back a day. The Board members remain satisfied with with our performance right now, and they remain excited by the prospect of watching Ryan McStay continue to run our midfield. They are much less enchanted by the performances of Alex Owen so far, and they regard his signing as a poor piece of business. I still believe the young forward can change their opinions. The club lost nearly £35,000 in September. Three of our players have been selected by their nations for the upcoming round of Internationals in the October window. Laurence Gaughan is one again called up by the Republic of Ireland for their UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifier against Holland in Rotterdam. There is also another call up for Paul Dummett as Wales face Montenegro in Podgorica followed by Moldova in Swansea in the same competition. Zannetos Mytides is also called up for Cyprus, though he is a long shot to see any game time as their Senior side travel to face the Czech Republic in Teplice before returning home to play Wales in Larnaka in the UEFA 2012 European Championship Qualifiers. Monday 3rd October Aidan O'Kane has some company in the rearguard of the Second Division Team of the Week, as Olafur Örn Bjarnason is also selected. Tuesday 4th October Our League Challenge Cup Semi-Final tie with Greenock Morton on Saturday has been selected for live TV coverage. The money we receive for that, in addition to the gate receipts we are expecting to get from a bumper crowd at Somerset Park, should mean that this month is much better than last month as far as finance goes at least. Our Under-19's have crashed out of the Scottish Youth Cup in the Second Round, beaten 5-2 away to Airdie United. Wednesday 5th October Our search for a quality striker to turn us into bonafide contenders has led us to Iceland, and Fram's 20 year old Guðmundur Magnússon. He has just had a breakout season, playing sixteen time for Fram in their successful bid to avoid relegation from the Premier Division. Our contract offer is three times what he earns now, and will continue to earn, as he says he doesn't quite feel ready for a move abroad right now, and instead signs a deal to join Breiðablik, the Premier Division Runner's-Up. Back to the drawing board. Friday 7th October Tomorrow is Challenge Cup Semi-Final day, and we welcome Morton to Somerset Park. They come into the match say 5th in the First Division, while we are in the same position one tier lower down the pyramid. This will be the third meeting between the sides since the save began in 2008/09, and both have come in each of the last two seasons, with both in this very same competition. Morton won the first meeting in August 2009 with a 3-1 win in the Second Round, while we repaid them with a 1-0 win last July in the First Round. The First Division side are odds on favourites, while you can get 3/1 on Ayr making an appearance in the Challenge Cup Final next month. Saturday 8th October Scottish League Challenge Cup, Semi-Final Somerset Park, Ayr Ayr United v Greenock Morton Attendance :- 2,981. Weather :- Dry, 7c. We created so many chances against Peterhead that I had no intention of making any changes for this one, and both starting eleven and matchday squad remain as they were a week ago. Nigerian striker Kayode Odejayi has been pinpointed as Morton's dangerman with 8 goals in all competitions to date. He has some good back up too, not least from 25 year old Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu and former Scottish Under-21 International right winger, Iain Flannigan, who arrived from Leicester City on a Free Transfer in the summer. With nearly 3,000 fans inside Somerset Park, plus a National TV audience on a Saturday afternoon, we were keen to put in a good performance. So a goal after just 70 seconds was just the ticket. Liam McMenamin sent the ball down the right touchline, and Craig Fisher raced onto it. The forward angled his run into the box, and then sent the ball towards the far post. Northern Irish winger James McLean found himself unmarked, and it was hardly a strikers finish, as he volleyed it right into the ground, but it looped up and over the dive of Pierre-Antoine Martini and his very first goal for the club was a big one! Morton were giving us less to worry about than anticipated, Erik Paartalu's effort was a desperate one from long range, and didn't threaten the target. A shot from Iain Flannigan was from much closer in, and was aided by a deflection from Aidan O'Kane, which fortunately for us took all the sting out of the shot, and Stephen Grindlay managed to get back across his goal and make the save. Alan Morgan was next to have a crack, but his shot from the edge of the box was blocked. And even when we didn't quite get it right, lady luck seemed to be smiling at us today, Ian Sharps cross from deep on the half hour should have been comfortable for Grindlay to take, but he dropped the ball right to Flannigan, who could only fire it right back at our prone goalkeeper, who held it at the second attempt. Sometimes one goal is all you need to jolt yourself into a rich vein of goalscoring form, at least I hope thats what will eventually happen with my strikers. But it was McLean who was looking for a second today, and good build up work from Aaron McElwee and Peggy Lokando saw the ball come to McLean on the edge of the box. He caught this one much better, but he sent his shot over the bar. Before the break, McMenamin sent another ball down the right wing, and Lokando was past Sharps and away into the box. As he approached the byline, he cut the ball back into the middle, Michael Nelson missed the ball, and Fisher sent in a low shot, but Martini made a superb stop. Thanks to the Frenchman's great reaction save, we were only one up at the break and it was still very much game on. I didn't want to praise up the players too much and have them think the job was done, so instead I encouraged them, telling them that the job wasn't done yet, but the opposition were getting frustrated. They nearly did something about that less than two minutes after the restart, Morgan's corner picking out Liam Hatch at the near post, his glanced header was turned over the top by Grindlay. But we were not exactly going into our shells, McMenamin picking that ball down the touchline once more, and Lokando made his run into the box, then tried to force the ball between Martini and his near post, the keeper doing well to give him nothing to shoot at and push the ball out to safety. Or as safe as it gets when we have a corner. As the defence all gravitated towards Olafur Örn Bjarnason as O'Kane delivered the ball, he instead sent it to the edge of the box and to Ryan McStay, who unfortunately hit nothing but sky with his shot. With Lokando causing problems on the right, McLean was finding space on the left, and Owen Heary picked up the first yellow card of the match just before the hour, the full back beaten for pace by our goalscorer, and sent him to the grass with a poorly timed lunge. We were doing well, but we hadn't yet killed Morton off. In the 63rd minute, top scorer Kayode Odejayi made his first positive attacking contribution of the match, picking up the ball wide left and cutting further and further infield, before playing a short pass to David Amoo, the Ghanaian former Liverpool youngster sending in a shot on the turn that just missed the target. But Odejayi would contribute considerably more just a minute later when he got on the end of Flannigan's short, low cross, and buried his low effort into the net to level the match at 1-1. That was a bitter blow, but we went right back on the offensive, David Partridge sending the ball wide to Lokando, and the winger got into the box, before going down under what he believed to be a foul by Sharps. The ref wasn't inclined to agree, and awarded only a corner instead. That would also produce a penalty claim, Bjarnason convinced he had been prevented from jumping and trying to get on the end of O'Kane's delivery, the ref emphatically said no. The game had now started to close up, neither side prepared to risk too much and ship a goal at a crucial stage. It was likely to need a moment of magic to win it at this late stage, Morton sub Graeme Holmes not managing to find it with a free kick struck from all of 30 yards out that Grindlay watched carefully the whole way. Odejayi looked much more likely when he got on the end of Morgan's cross from the left, but he steered his shot just the wrong side of the near post. I opted for fresh legs in the midfield in the 83rd minute, as McElwee was replaced by Mark Wilson, and as the clock hit the 90 minute mark, a key moment arrived. Heary crudely body checked McLean in full flow as he crossed halfway, and the ref called the already booked full back towards him. With the crowd baying for what appeared to be an inevitable second yellow, the ref lost his bottle, and issued him with nothing more than a warning. The atmosphere was already pretty amped up, but the ref had just lit the touchpaper as we moved into extra time. We thought we had started the extra half hour exactly as we had started the regulation 90 minutes, McMenamin picked out Mark Wilson in the midfield, and he threaded the ball through the Morton defence to Fisher, who collected the pass, rounded Martini, and slotted the ball into the net, only to be dismayed by the offside flag. The replays were inconclusive. The refereeing didn't seem too equal from where I was stood, but we pushed on nonetheless, Wilson getting his head to a long throw by McMenamin, and Martini had to clutch onto the ball right under his own cross bar. Morton weren't going away though, a long ball over the top from Spencer Harris sent Odejayi into space. McMenamin got back and forced the striker into a pass, and the moment seemed to have passed when Amoo struggled to get the ball out of his feet. But when he did, he found Holmes, who let got with another effort from range that took the top coat of paint from the bar on it's way over. That was a let off, as Grindlay wasn't getting near it. As we moved into the second half of extra time, Lokando picked out Fisher, and the striker just missed the far post with his shot across goal. I still had two changes left to make, and I did so in the 107th minute. The fresh legs of Ryan Stevenson and Neale Fenn would of course be a bonus, but on top of that, both would be considerably higher up a list of potential penalty takers than Lokando and Alex Owen who they replaced. Yeah, it had gotten to the point where thoughts naturally turned to spot kicks, though we were nearly saved that test by David Partridge's awful back pass, Grindlay saving his defender and the ball as he tore off his line to block sub Diarmuid O'Carroll's shot. There was still time to try and win it at the other end, but when McLean got past the crowds favourite villain, Heary, his cross was plucked out of the air by Martini, and we would head to the drama of a penalty shoot out. We were more concerned with which end the kicks were taken from as opposed to the order in which they were taken, something that clearly didn't cross the minds of Morton as they won the toss, and elected to go first. They would do so in front of the stand where our most vocal supporters elected to watch the match. O'Carroll would go first, and he drove a left footed penalty just off centre, too powerfully hit for Grindlay to do anything about. Mark Wilson would be up next, and he went low and hard, not quite finding the bottom corner, but close enough that Martini wasn't getting there even though he guessed the right side. Odejayi couldn't have got his effort any further into the corner if he tried, nudging Morton back in front, while up stepped the player I was probably most worried about, Neale Fenn. I need not have concerned myself though, as the veteran striker picked out the exact spot that Odejayi had just hit, and made it 2-2. Centre back Spencer Harris was next up, placing a perfect and powerfully struck penalty right into the top corner, while Ryan Stevenson also went for power, which was brave, but accurate, as the status quo continued. Up next for Morton would be Owen Heary. Lucky to still be on the park, and getting booed out of town each time he touched the ball, he was also the target of some pretty unsavoury songs as he stepped forward to take his turn. He then had to deal with Grindlay slowing down the process as best as he could, all of which took it's toll on the full back, as he blasted his spot kick way over the bar, to the absolute delight of our fans. We now needed cool heads, and I still had two regular spot kick takers to call upon. Aidan O'Kane stepped up next, and drilled his left footed kick confidently into the bottom corner. One spot kick remaining each, and we had a one goal advantage, meaning we were almost already at the sudden death point. Particularly for Alan Morgan, who had to score to keep Morton alive. Grindlay got fingertips to it, but could only push it higher into the net, and the visitors were still alive. It would fall on Ryan McStay now. Score, and we were in the Challenge Cup Final, miss and it would be sudden death. He had proven himself reliable already for us, and he did it again here, slotting the ball into the bottom corner, and finishing the job! Ayr United (1) 1 - James McLean (2) Greenock Morton (0) 1 - Kayode Odejayi (64) (after extra time, Ayr United win 5-4 on penalties) Stephen Grindlay; Liam McMenamin, David Partridge, Olafur Örn Bjarnason (capt), Aidan O'Kane; Ryan McStay, Aaron McElwee (Mark Wilson 83); Peggy Lokando (Ryan Stevenson 107), James McLean; Alex Owen (Neale Fenn 107), Craig Fisher. Unused Substitutes :- Andrew Hageman, Bryan Gilfillan. Bookings :- None Possession :- 52% - 48%. Man of the Match :- James McLean (Ayr United). I was told that this competition didn't matter, that it was insignificant. Try telling that to the 2,500 or so Ayr fans who were celebrating wildly after Ryan McStay put that last penalty away. The club will appear in their first Cup Final since their surprise run to the Scottish League Cup Final a decade ago. You can make that two decades since the club last appeared in the Final of this competition. I appear to be making a bit of speciality out of the Cup competitions. In Lurgan, my team won a Cup competition in each of my two full seasons at the club, and now in my first full season in Scotland, my team had also managed to reach the Final of a Cup competition. Sometimes, life as a football manager can be exhilarating, I might write a story about it one day.........
  14. neilhoskins77

    (FM'09) A 'United' Front - A Chance To Rewrite History Part II

    Saturday 1st October 2011 October will be a fairly good month from a schedule point of view for us. Four matches, three in the League plus a Cup Semi-Final, the first three all at home, and no midweek matches. We get started today with a home match against a Peterhead side sat right behind us in 6th spot. They'll come to Somerset Park knowing that win against us will send them back above us in the table as the season reaches it's quarter point today. We're slim favourites to win today. Scottish League Second Division Somerset Park, Ayr Ayr United v Peterhead Attendance :- 894. Weather :- Gusty, 10c. The rotation is halted for the time being, after showing some tenacity to grind out the result last time out against Brechin City, I keep faith with the same eleven that started that match. I do have one change forced upon me, as with Marcus Hall now out with an injury, I need to replace him on the bench. 27 year old utility player Bryan Gilfillan is brought into the matchday squad in his spot. With home advantage, we were quick out of the blocks and looking to get ourselves in front. Peggy Lokando stepped infield off the right wing and continued to run square across the edge of the box, before shooting with his weaker left foot, Michal Kula tipping the ball over the bar. Ninety seconds later, Lokando poked another shot at goal from much closer in. Kula got a piece of the ball but only managed to slow it down, the visitors were only saved by Leroy Byrne hacking it off the line. Our impressive start continued when an Aidan O'Kane long throw was flicked on by James McLean, but Craig Fisher got under his shot and cleared the bar by quite some distance. Lokando was causing Peterhead all manner of problems on the right, and a long run from him was dealt with very agriculturally by Seán Evans. The ref didn't even blow for a foul, but karma dished out it's own punishment, as Evans left the park on a stretcher and would take no further part in the game. Better yet, the next time one of our players was brought down on that wing, O'Kane curled in a free kick, and skipper Olafur Örn Bjarnason escaped his marker and volleyed home a 27th minute opener to put us in front. Both sides swapped chances in the remainder of the first half, Byrne's shot from range was just wide of the target, while at the other end Aaron McElwee got plenty of dip on his shot, but it just cleared the cross bar and landed on the roof of the net. We would lose Alex Owen to injury in the 37th minute, and he was replaced by Neale Fenn. But three minutes before the break, Anthony Pulis made ground down the right, beating O'Kane and slinging a cross into the centre, Jamie Tolley getting a touch on the edge of the six yard box and diverting the ball beyond Stephen Grindlay and inside the far post. At first look, it appeared as if Tolley was offside, but closer inspection revealed that Liam McMenamin had been just a fraction too late stepping up, and played the Peterhead striker onside. I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed that we didn't have a half time lead to show for our efforts, but I kept the team talk on the positive side. Corners have been an incredible source of goals for myself and my teams since I started back in Lurgan, and O'Kane's delivery nearly produced another quickly after the restart, Bjarnason connecting with a header that hit the top of the cross bar on it's way over. In fact, that combo would be very prolific during this second half. Bjarnason headed just over in the 53rd minute, and then glanced an effort just wide in the 62nd minute after a corner had eventually been won following dangerous low crosses from first Lokando, and then McLean. The one man crusade to put Peterhead to the sword continued in the 66th minute, Bjarnason going even closer this time, getting in front of his marker and connecting with O'Kane's corner with a powerful downward header that just missed the target. A minute later, the big break arrived. After a swift counter attack involving Ryan McStay, Neale Fenn and Fisher, it was Lokando who broke into the penalty box, but was felled by Stuart Smith. It would be the skipper who would take the ball too, and insist on taking the spot kick himself. But Kula had done his homework, and when Bjarnason tried to blast his spot kick right down the middle, the keeper stood strong and pushed the effort away, with Smith showing his gratitude by making sure he was first to the rebound to clear the ball away from Fisher. I decided it would be prudent to make some changes. With corners being the main supply line today, and a quarter of the match still to play, I brought Andrew Hageman on for David Partridge, the Irish centre back being a good man to have around in these situations. I burned my final change at the same time, Mark Wilson sends in a decent corner delivery himself, and he replaced Aaron McElwee. There were claims for another penalty in the 75th minute, McLean getting inside the box and managing to send over a cross despite having his shirt pulled by David Donald, the ref said no spot kick, and the cross was behind Fisher and too far in front of Fenn. The chances would continue as we entered the closing minutes of the match, McLean used Wilson as the midfielder overlapped him and Wilson picked out Fisher near the penalty spot, the striker just unable to wrap his weaker left foot around the ball enough to curl his shot back into the corner of the net. From the same left side, Wilson floated in a free kick, Bjarnason dragging several players along with him, O'Kane meeting the cross with a header that flew wide. With seconds left to play, we won yet another corner. O'Kane sent it over once more, and Bjarnason manouvered himself into half a yard of space. The Icelandic centre back rose highest, and strained his neck muscles to get as much power on the ball as he could, which is ineffective when the ball misses the target. Ayr United (1) 1 - Olafur Örn Bjarnason (27) Peterhead (1) 1 - Jamie Tolley (42) Stephen Grindlay; Liam McMenamin, David Partridge (Andrew Hageman 73), Olafur Örn Bjarnason (capt), Aidan O'Kane; Ryan McStay, Aaron McElwee (Mark Wilson 73); Peggy Lokando, James McLean; Alex Owen (inj - Neale Fenn 37), Craig Fisher. Unused Substitutes :- Bryan Gilfillan, Ryan Stevenson. Bookings :- None Possession :- 53% - 47%. Man of the Match :- Aidan O'Kane (Ayr United). We had more of the ball, and almost all of the chances. Eleven corners, fours shots on target, and another eight off target. We had created enough chances to win three or four games, especially when you take into account our usual profficiency from corners. It was one of those frustrating days as a football manager. One day, I might write a story about it......
  15. neilhoskins77

    (FM'09) A 'United' Front - A Chance To Rewrite History Part II

    2011/12 Scottish League Second Division, Up To & Including Friday 30th September 2011 | Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts | | 1st | | Arbroath | | 8 | 6 | 2 | 0 | 14 | 5 | +9 | 20 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 2nd | | Stirling | | 8 | 5 | 1 | 2 | 12 | 9 | +3 | 16 | | 3rd | | Airdrie Utd | | 8 | 4 | 1 | 3 | 8 | 5 | +3 | 13 | | 4th | | Partick Thistle | | 8 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 13 | 9 | +4 | 12 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 5th | | Ayr | | 8 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 8 | 8 | 0 | 12 | | 6th | | Peterhead | | 8 | 3 | 1 | 4 | 8 | 9 | -1 | 10 | | 7th | | Brechin | | 8 | 3 | 0 | 5 | 14 | 12 | +2 | 9 | | 8th | | East Fife | | 8 | 2 | 2 | 4 | 9 | 16 | -7 | 8 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 9th | | East Stirlingshire | | 8 | 2 | 1 | 5 | 4 | 12 | -8 | 7 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 10th | | Cowdenbeath | | 8 | 1 | 2 | 5 | 7 | 12 | -5 | 5 | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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