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neilhoskins77

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  1. He is, and you should be able to just drop him a DM. I'll lock this up now Jon, it's not something that needs further posting etc, or a thread without a story or such like.
  2. Evening, Because of the very points you've raised regarding copyright etc, I'd suggest it's something you should ask someone who would be able to give you a definitive answer, such as Neil Brock, rather than the community as a whole. It is worth pointing out that on the most famous of the video sharing sites, there are many people who video blog careers on Football Manager and rack up large numbers of views, with their videos including promotion and ads. It's worth asking if permission is required etc to cover your own back in the event that it is needed and you don't find yourself with a cease and desist or worse.
  3. Appreciate the kind comment, and glad you're enjoying the story.
  4. Sorry I couldn't make it last night folks, it's a very busy weekend here I'm afraid. Congratulations to all of those winning awards, and to those nominated. Special thanks as always to Mark for running the Awards once more. I look forward to the next year of reading and enjoying all of the work that keeps our little corner of the internet alive.
  5. We have played three of the five games scheduled for our whistlestop Tour, with a win, draw and loss on the record. We were absolutely hoping to pick up wins from our two remaining stops, as we trekked north from Mexico. International Friendly (A) vs United States of America (4-3-3-) - Dibble; Bodin, Law, Melville, Van den Hauwe; Hall, Jackett, Speed; Allen, Roberts, Lovell. Dibble gets his debut in goal, while Bodin and Van den Hauwe replace Blackmore and Aizlewood at the back. Hall, Jackett and Speed all come in as an experimental midfield trio on our return to 4-3-3, with Allen and Lovell joining Roberts up top. It was a busy opening few minutes in goal for Dibble on his debut as the US disrupted our passes and turned us over high up the park, one such turnover leading to Gillan striking a low shot that Dibble had to turn around the post. As seems to be often the case, we took a while to get going. When we did a great chance fell to the wrong man from our point of view, Van den Hauwe driving his shot right at Dodd. We then lost Roberts to injury as Cogsville went too far to ensure the striker didn't get his shot away, and as Saunders prepared to replace him, Hall fired wide from a free kick routine. Still goalless at the break, I was encouraged by the domination we were starting to show, enough to move us into a more attacking mindset after Lovell fired twice within minutes of each other. Williams replaced Speed as I searched for more accuracy with our passing, and it would eventually pay off in the 70th minute with Allen scoring from a placed shot to open his account for his country!I thought we had a quick second too, but Williams effort from Bodin's cross was ruled out for offside. We did spend the last few minutes camped in our half under intense US pressure, but a Diffley shot wide of the target was all they would manage, and we had secured a narrow win. United States of America (0) 0 Wales (0) 1 - Allen (70) I very much doubt if any watching scouts from Czechoslovakia or the USSR will be quaking in their boots at the prospect of facing us in the near future, but we are starting to find our way a bit, and I'm confident that we will at the very least prove difficult to beat. That said, I was very much expecting a win as we headed north once more for the final stop of the Tour, and a fixture with Canada. International Friendly (A) vs Canada (4-3-3) - Dibble; Bodin, Slatter, Aizlewood, Van den Hauwe; Nicholas, James, Williams; Allen, Saunders, Lovell. Dibble retains his spot in goal having waited the longest for a game and not really having much to do against the US. Slatter and Aizlewood replace Law and Melville at the back, while Nicholas, James and Williams are the midfield trio this time. Saunders replaces the injured Roberts up front. This time I started with the attacking mindset, and it almost paid off early, keeper Dolan pushing Aizlewood's shot onto the post, Lovell only able to fire the loose ball wide. The best chance after that would fall to Sweeney, but he fired high and wide with only Dibble to beat. Then right on half time Saunders and Allen combined, the latter seeing his shot pushed onto the bar by Dolan, and as the ball dropped back to Williams he was fouled by Bridge. The ref deemed the foul to be just outside the box, and awarded a free kick that was pushed to the side and Nicholas fired into the bottom corner to give us a half time lead. Probably just as well we had snatched the lead too, as the second half was a largely tepid affair with limited chances in front of goal, Lenarduzzi missing the target with Canada's best chance as Dibble wasn't worked yet again. Blackmore and Speed came on for Slatter and James, and our chances to increase our lead came and went late on, Williams appeals for a penalty denied, before Bodin headed wide from a set piece, as Allen finished the game hobbling after injuring himself making a tackle. Canada (0) 0 Wales (1) 1 - Nicholas (44) We're hardly setting the world on fire, but three wins and a draw with just the one defeat which was not unexpected at all gives us some confidence heading into future fixtures. We have shown ourselves competent at playing a quick and direct game to get ourselves up the park and away from our goal at least, even if we are not creating a huge amount of chances from it. The acid test comes when we have to do that from a defensive mindset against much better technical teams. We'll now move into August of Year #1, and with other nations having Friendlies arranged, we'll start to see what they can do in the opening stages of this 1980's reboot........
  6. Sunday 8th May 2011 The season is now officially over for us, and the players head away for their summer break. They will report back for pre-season training on Monday 27th June. Wednesday 11th May The Board have rejected my request to find a parent club that we can use for loans and such like. They advise they don't see the point at this stage of creating such a link. I probably should have waited until our status moved to semi-professional. Friday 13th May -------------------- THE BET English Premier Division Blackburn Rovers v Blackpool - Home Win - 4/5 Single Odds - 4/5 Stake - £100,000 Balance After Bet - £1,060,868 Potential Returns Including Stake - £180,000 -------------------- The wisdom of picking bets on Friday the 13th might depend on how superstitious you are, though if this bet busts I might start waiting until Saturday morning in the future. While our season may be over, there is still plenty left to decide in the UK, and I couldn't leave this one with Rovers currently fourth in the Premier Division and hosting a Blackpool side that are very much involved in the relegation dogfight, though currently just the right side of the line as far as they're concerned. Surely Blackburn won't miss the chance to contribute to relegating a huge rival? Saturday 14th May BET RESULT Blackburn Rovers 3-1 Blackpool WON A quickfire double around the half hour mark from Morten Gamst Pedersen and Benjani had Rovers very much in control of this match, and while Blackpool rallied after the break with a goal from Elliot Grandin, the two goal advantage was reinstated just after the hour mark from Jason Roberts. The result confirms Blackburn will finish no lower than fourth and will be in the UEFA Champions League next season, which stage they'll enter at will depend on whether they can overhaul Manchester United in third next weekend. Blackburn Rovers in the Champions League! Don't these money teams make you sick! Fulham's home win over Everton means they climb above Blackpool and now The Seasiders have to get a result, and likely a win, at home to Tottenham Hotspur next weekend on the final day. I won't be betting on it, as it's on a Sunday. Friday 20th May -------------------- THE BET Isthmian League Premier Division Maidstone United v Tooting & Mitcham United - Home Win - Evens Single Odds - Evens Stake - £125,000 Balance After Bet - £1,126,553 Potential Returns Including Stake - £250,000 -------------------- It's the penultimate weekend of the Isthmian Premier, and tenth placed Maidstone United know dropping points will end their already precarious hopes of making the Playoffs. As well as winning both their games, they are going to need some other results to go their way. Tooting & Mitcham United need to win both their remaining games to stand any chance of getting out of the relegation zone, with AFC Hornchurch and Harrow already doomed. In this high stakes match, I'm going with the statistically better team with home advantage, and searching for three in a row for the first time at the bookies. Saturday 21st May BET RESULT Maidstone United 3-2 Tooting & Mitcham United WON Three goals in a quarter of an hour spell in the first half gave Maidstone the advantage, but the visitors came out fighting in the second half, scoring twice to make the last quarter of an hour a frantic one that Maidstone were delighted to get through. But to no avail ultimately anyway. Tooting & Mithcam United are relegated along with Croydon Athletic, and results didn't go Maidstone's way either, as they remain three points from the Playoffs with a game to play, plus a seventeen goal swing required. There was one winner though, us. £125,000 profit today, and a hatrick of bookmaker wins for the first time during this project. Friday 27th May -------------------- THE BET Isthmian League Premier Division Bury Town v Hastings United - Home Win - 6/5 Single Odds - 6/5 Stake - £150,000 Balance After Bet - £1,227,442 Potential Returns Including Stake - £330,000 -------------------- After the success last weekend with Maidstone United, I've returned to the Isthmian League Premier Division on the final day of their season. All there is left to play for here are the final two Playoff spots and the order in those spots. Bury Town are sixth in a League where the teams placed between second and fifth get a second chance at promotion. They need to better Margate and/or Sutton United's results to get above the dotted line. They are home to a Hastings United team who survived relegation thanks to last weekends results, and have nothing to play for. 6/5 represents good value at the bookies, and I've gone in heavy with a decent sized bet. I'm not concerned about whether they make the Playoffs or not, just as long as they get the result they need for us. Saturday 28th May BET RESULT Bury Town 1-2 Hastings United LOST Bury Town's Playoff ambitions are over, and so is our successful streak at the bookies. Despite having of nearly 500 Football League appearances striker James Scowcroft in their lineup, Bury went behind early and even though Scowcroft found the net to level it up once, he couldn't do anything about it when Hastings scored again, and they would have got the Playoff spot with a win too, as Margate were beaten. Sutton United and Concord Rangers take the remaining Playoff berths, and we take a hit at the bookies this weekend. Monday 30th May A long list of players is dropped on my desk and in an email today. It contains the names of a large group of talented young footballers who had been cut loose by their clubs over the weekend. Some of them big clubs, some small and not much further up the pyramid than ourselves. Some of these players wouldn't come to us if we paid them. Some would if we were paying them. Some would cheerfully join our project for free. Some of these players have received contract offers from us today. Others will receive offers in the future if they are still available at the point we find out the financial and status situation for the new season. Signing a few of these players would be a real coup for a club of our standing. There is potentially an opportunity to re-shape the clubs playing staff with a group of exciting, young, talented players who are keen to get into the clubs ambitious plans near the start of our project. The question is, will the Board act upon this opportunity?
  7. Tuesday 1st March 2016 Davide is starting to finally become a regular in the Cardiff City first team, and he is performing very impressively while he does it too. Jeff Hendrick of Derby County is voted as the EFL Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for February, with Davide taking third spot behind Eunan O'Kane of Ipswich Town. But Davide does win the Young Player of the Month award, the first individual achievement of his career that has taken a big step forward this season. Wednesday 2nd March Chelsea's challenge for the Barclays Premier League Title has suffered an expected dent this evening, and one that didn't look likely when Diego Costa gave The Blues the lead in the 12th minute at Carrow Road against Norwich City. The hosts would equalise twenty minutes later through Austrian International forward Valentino Lazaro, and with just two minutes left on the clock in East Anglia, it was Czech International striker Libor Kozák who's placed shot settled the game less than five minutes after he had come off the substitutes bench. Incidentally, it was late in February when Costa had Chelsea a goal up at Leeds in the 12th minute, and they lost that game 2-1 as well! Saturday 5th March FA Cup Quarter-Finals day at the Emirates Stadium, and José Mourinho and Chelsea go with a very strong lineup against Arsenal to try and earn a spot in the last four. Diego Costa was left on the bench, possibly to avoid the 12th minute jinx. The early action this time centred around veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech being injured in the 8th minute and replaced by Thibaut Courtois. The opening goal wouldn't come until the 71st minute, a delicate finish from Eden Hazard. That goal looked like it would be the winner, until the last minute of the ninety when Ghanaian International midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah produced a stunning overhead kick finish to level things up and force a replay at Stamford Bridge. In South Wales, the Bluebirds were hosting a club that were surprisingly not featuring in the promotion race in the Sky Bet Championship. It was been a highly frustrating season at Aston Villa, and it didn't get a whole lot better today, particularly for those who were unfortunate enough to be in attendance at the Cardiff City Stadium. The two clubs produced just three shots on goal between them this afternoon in a goalless draw that doesn't really help either club a great deal. Monday 7th March The draw is made for the last four of the FA Cup this evening. The winner of the Arsenal and Chelsea replay will face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Semi-Final. That leaves Manchester United to face either Sheffield United or cross town rivals Manchester City in the other tie. Tuesday 8th March Cardiff City produced a superb performance tonight in the Welsh capital to show their detractors that they shouldn't yet be written off from reaching the Sky Bet Championship Playoffs. Should any of those 'detractors' have come from the 'Tractor Boys' of Ipswich Town (sorry, awful I know), they may well now be eating their words. Franci Listingi netted his first goal since arriving in the UK to give City a half time advantage as Davide and his defensive colleagues kept Ipswich at bay. Mats Møller Dæhli stretched the City lead just after half time, and while Ryan Dow scored to pull Ipswich back into the game, Danny Graham secured the points for the Welsh club in the last ten minutes. Wednesday 9th March Chelsea had done the hard work largely in the First Leg in Belgium of their UEFA Champions League First Knockout Round tie. Tonight they completed the job at Stamford Bridge in the Second Leg. It would be the Brazilian midfielders who would get the job done in a two-nil victory this evening, Oscar first, and then Willian after the break. That would complete a 5-0 aggregate victory that was largely as comfortable as it sounds. Now they await their fate in the draw for the next phase. Friday 11th March The draw is made at lunchtime today for the Quarter-Finals stage of the UEFA Champions League. The competition has three English clubs remaining, along with two German sides, and then one each from Spain, Italy and Portugal. When the draw is made, the English clubs are kept apart. Good for Chelsea who get Schalke 04, and for Manchester City who will play Benfica. It's not so good for Liverpool, who are drawn to face Barcelona. In the remaining tie, Bayern Munich will face Juventus. Saturday 12th March Davide makes his twentieth start in all competitions this afternoon for Cardiff City as they head north hoping to continue their improving form on an away day to a Barnsley team that are starting to become cut adrift with Bristol City in the relegation zone at the foot of the Sky Bet Championship. They received no favours from Sam Allardyce and his Bluebirds today, as Deadline Day arrival Hal Robson-Kanu picked up his first goal since arriving at the club midway through the second half to secure another win for Cardiff. Sunday 13th March While Davide is enjoying a stellar season, Danilo still can't get himself near the First Team at Chelsea. He wasn't involved again this afternoon as The Blues hosted near neighbours Fulham in their derby clash at Stamford Bridge. Reinstated to the starting lineup, Digeo Costa netted twice in a fifteen minute spell around the hour mark to take his goal tally in the Barclays Premier League this season to fifteen, and send Chelsea back to the top of the table after Liverpool had temporarily overtaken them after winning the early game yesterday. Wednesday 16th March It's all back to The Bridge, this time for the FA Cup Quarter-Final Replay with Arsenal. Seemingly in fairly comfortable control of proceedings in front of a capacity home crowd following Diego Costa's 49th minute header, fate would deal Chelsea a cruel blow.....twice! Midway through the second half, recalled goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was forced to leave the pitch with a knock. Petr Cech replaced him, well for just over ten minutes, before he then suffered an injury himself, and a more serious one that has likely finished his season early. Without another goalkeeper on the bench, Ryan Bertrand would come on to go into defence and Brazilian centre back Dante would go in goal. The last thing he probably wanted was a penalty shoot out. But that's what he got, saving none of the Arsenal spot kicks though Kwadwo Asamoah did send one wide. Meanwhile Wojciech Szczesny would save from Nathaniel Chaobah and César Azpilicueta. Football can be a cruel game, and The Blues are out ten months after missing a golden opportunity to win the FA Cup last season. Friday 18th March It would appear that Wales boss Chris Coleman is not an avid watcher of Fox Soccer in the United States. If he does tune in, he has elected to ignore their advice regarding leaving Danilo out of his Senior Squad due to his lack of First Team football. The 19 year old attacking member of the Di Cianni family will be hoping to earn his sixth cap for Wales in the upcoming Friendly International game away to Austria in Vienna this time next week. Saturday 19th March A good point for The Bluebirds, or have they dropped a pair of points they could ill afford? I guess it will take a few weeks to definitively answer that one. Cardiff City are held to a goalless draw away to Derby County this afternoon, Davide putting in another superb performance in the back four against a team that are very much involved in the race to avoid the Playoffs drama altogether by grabbing one of the two automatic promotion places up into the Barclays Premier League. For City, the problems are largely up front, they just need to be more clinical in front of goal. Monday 21st March Make that a pair of goalless draws for this matchday for our involved clubs. Chelsea return to the top of the Barclays Premier League this evening, but their lead has taken a hit. Liverpool beat Arsenal at Anfield yesterday, despite being down to ten men for all but five minutes of the game, and down to nine for the final five minutes or so. Tonight at Stamford Bridge, with Thibaut Courtois passed fit to play in goal, they were unable to break down a Manchester City side who's own Title hopes could do with a boost. Chelsea lead on goal difference from Liverpool but with a game in hand, City five points further back but also with that game in hand on The Reds. Another further two points back are Manchester United, three and four points ahead respectively of the seasons surprise packages, Hull City and Southampton. Tuesday 22nd March Another midweek game for Cardiff, they are coming thick and fast now as the end of the season approaches. They will be happy with this one too, as mid table Watford are swept aside at the Cardiff City Stadium. The opener went to Richard Smallwood around the half hour mark, and a pair in five minutes late on from Danny Graham and Joe Mason confirmed the points. There was a downside however, and it wasn't just Brazilian midfielder Jádson pulling one back. Deadline Day arrival Corry Evans may be done for the rest of the season after the Northern Irish International midfielder left the game late in the proceedings with a sprained ankle. Friday 25th March In Vienna it was a big night for Danilo. The Chelsea youngster not only started for Wales against Austria to earn his sixth Senior International cap, but he would notch his first International goal. The goal would come via a lob from outside the box, sending the effort over Austria Vienna keeper Heinz Lindner. Unfortunately the lead would only last five minutes before Cagliari forward Philipp Hosiner levelled things up with a close range volley. Danilo was replaced at the break by Crystal Palace forward Jonny Williams, and the game finished all square at 1-1. Fingers crossed that goal helps open some doors for Danilo regarding a future loan move at least. Monday 28th March While Danilo has probably had the best weekend of his career, if not his life after getting his first International goal, Davide has been preparing for a home Sky Bet Championship game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, a game between two Playoff hopefuls that was being shown live on Monday Night Football. Danny Graham put City in front in the 19th minute, but Wolves equalised before the break through Scottish midfielder Stuart Bannigan. By the early point of the second half, Wolves had turned the game right around after a goal from Mali International striker Nouha Dicko. In a second half played in stormy conditions, City couldn't find a way back, and with six games remaining The Bluebirds have to play catch up again in the race for a Playoff spot. Tuesday 29th March In mainland Europe, the month would end for Chelsea at the VELTINS-Arena in Gelsenkirchen against Schalke 04 in the First Leg of their Champions League Quarter-Final tie. After being forced to play part of the FA Cup Quarter-Final in goal, Dante would be forced to watch part of this tie from the dressing room after being sent off in the 39th minute for a second bookable offence. His countryman Ramires was sacrificed to allow Gary Cahill to come on, and Chelsea would hold on for a hard fought goalless draw in Germany. A win at The Bridge in the Second Leg will be enough to send them into the last four.
  8. Monday 13th December 2021 Twenty eight year old goalkeeper Peter Jameson has played just twice this season after seeing younger man Ryan Whitley take his spot and keep it while ascending into an influential player at the club, and one of the star players at the club (assigned by the game). So it's little wonder that Jameson is slightly non-plussed about the prospect of mentoring Whitely, a suggestion from the coaching staff with the view that it could help Whitely's agility. Ironically, the younger is keeper is quite excited by the prospect of the buddying up. Tuesday 14th December Despite being one of a trio of players that are dealing with concerns at the club, Ryan Whitely has today agreed a new two and a half year deal to remain at the York Community Stadium. A modest increase in wage of £25 per week taking him through to the summer of 2024 has apparently removed any issues he had, and that trio of players is now reduced to only a pair, Sean Newton and recent arrival James Horsfield. AFC Fylde have beaten second place Chorley 3-1 away from home tonight, leapfrogging above us into third place, though we do now hold a game in hand over both clubs. Thursday 16th December At 7/2, the bookies are not giving us too much of a chance away to Stockport County this weekend in the Third Round of the FA Trophy. They're not in the best of form, having lost their lead at the top of the Vanarama National since the draw was made, but they are formidable at their Edgeley Park home. They have lost just twice there all season, and one of those was against Rotherham United of Sky Bet League One in the FA Cup. Saturday 18th December FA Trophy Third Round Edgeley Park, Stockport Stockport County v York City With the knowledge from Scouting that Stockport would line up in a 5-3-2, I left us setup as we were at home to Chorley last time out, hoping that advanced wing backs would help us be able to push their dangerous wingers backwards while still being deep enough to be effective defensively. That hope was blown away inside three minutes when we were busted open down our right, and a cross picked out the prolific Paddy Madden who opened the scoring. We did briefly threaten to make a bit of a fight of it, Ross McCormack equalising directly from a free kick in the tenth minute. But all that gave us was a hope that was entirely false. Madden was on hand to reinstate County's lead in the 16th minute after Whitley had made the first stop, and Tyreece Onyeka would extend that lead moments later with a shot from range that beat our keepers dive and found the net off the inside of the post. I withdrew us back into a modified 5-3-2 to stem the tide, which it did until half time. But then Onyeka struck once more shortly after the break to put the tie beyond doubt, while substitute Scott Quigley added to their total with a close range finish fifteen minutes from time. The gulf in quality was there for all to see. Stockport County (3) 5 - Paddy Madden (3,16), Tyreece Onyeka (18,49), Scott Quigley (75) York City (1) 1 - Ross McCormack (10) Ryan Whitley; Matty Brown ©, Louie Annesley, Sam Fielding; Michael Duckworth, Scott Barrow; Bobby Grant, Tyrese Fornah (Jack Steele 68); Ross McCormack (James McShane 86); Clayton Donaldson, Benjamin Kimpioka (Gregory Tadé 68). Attendance :- 3,237 We managed a goal from our only shot on target of the game. Unfortunately, we only had one other shot off target, showing the complete lack of ability to break down Stockport, who had sixteen efforts in total, half of them on target, and five of them finding the net. There's no point saying we weren't good enough, this is a game of levels, and we're not on Stockports level at this point in time. That is it for us for Cup football this season, and now the focus is solely on earning a Playoff spot at minimum in the Vanarama North this season. We have some opportunities to recover form, with a trip to rock bottom Bradford Park Avenue on Boxing Day, before then facing bottom half Alfreton Town at home two days later in our final game of the calendar year. We'll then host Bradford Park Avenue and their League worst defence in a quick return for our opening game of the New Year. Monday 20th December Stockport County's reward for ending our FA Trophy participation is a long trip south to face Vanarama National rivals Yeovil Town, who had a very comfortable passage into the next round with a 5-0 away win over Hastings United of the Isthmian League South East Division. Our reward for getting thumped at Stockport is not have to go all the way down to Somerset! Friday 24th December Bottom of the table side Bradford Park Avenue are seven points adrift at the bottom of the Vanarama North, and haven't recorded a win in any competition since their home 3-1 win over Gateshead in mid-October. Since then their only positive result has been a high scoring draw away to Alfreton Town who we face in the final game of the year for us and at the York Community Stadium. Despite our inconsistency, the bookies have us as heavy favourites to record a Boxing Day win. Saturday 25th December For Christmas this year, my gift was veteran forward Ross McCormack extending his contract with the club for a further year. Despite being 35 years old now, the Scotsman has shown he is more than capable of continuing to play at this level. He does get a pay increase from £425 a week up to £600, and the news delights the fans who had been keenly aware that time was ticking down on the forwards existing deal. Sunday 26th December Vanarama League North Division Horsfall Stadium, Bradford Bradford Park Avenue v York City For a third game in a row I keep the same system and lineup, aware that while today offers us a fabulous opportunity to get back into winning ways, it's also a huge banana skin of a game that really leaves us in a no win situation. We opened nicely, keeping the ball on the deck despite the difficult playing surface, but as is often the way with us there was little cutting edge and we offered no real issues to home goalkeeper Johnny Saltmer. Instead we started to become the architect of our own problems, and were given a warning shot when Callum Gribbin's shot from distance and Ryan Whitley had to tip it onto his own crossbar. When Gribbin tried again just after the half hour mark, his shot took a huge deflection off Louie Annesley that left Whitley helpless as the ball rolled by him and into the net to the delight of the home fans. I immediately pushed my wing backs further forward, eventually subbing them out at half time as part of a three change plan that saw us move into attack mode with Benjamin Kimpioka on the right and Ross McCormack on the left. There will seldom have been a game anywhere this season where a team has dominated more than we did in that second half, but it would take us nearly half hour to level things up, Bobby Grant collecting a pass from McCormack and guiding his shot low into the bottom corner. There was only one winner from here you'd think. But despite earning seven corners in the last five minutes alone, we couldn't find a way through to net the winner, Kimpioka sending a shot wide when put through one on one in injury time. Bradford Park Avenue (1) 1 - Louie Annesley (31 og) York City (0) 1 - Bobby Grant (71) Ryan Whitley; Matty Brown ©, Louie Annesley, Sam Fielding; Michael Duckworth (James McShane 45), Scott Barrow (Gregory Tadé 45); Bobby Grant, Tyrese Fornah (Jack Steele 45); Ross McCormack; Clayton Donaldson, Benjamin Kimpioka. Attendance :- 1,844 While it could have been worse, and looked like it would be for quite some time, that result is the kind of outcome that can get a manager sacked at this level. While that doesn't look like it will be the case, the frustration of the fans will be noted at Boardroom level, and we simply have to find a way to be more ruthless rather than toothless against teams we should be easily dispatching with all due respect. We slip down into fifth spot with results elsewhere going largely against us, and our next two games, both at home, are now crucial to us getting back into our grove and maintaining pace with those clubs around us. Monday 27th December Bobby Grant is the only representative of the club in this weeks Vanarama North Team of the Week. Tuesday 28th December Right back to it then with the final game of 2021. Alfreton Town have drawn their last two League games, but are winless in six in all competitions. However we have also drawn our last two League matches, and are winless in three and have actually won only two of our last nine in all competitions, one of those wins coming in a Cup game. I need a win badly here..... Vanarama League North Division York Community Stadium, York York City v Alfreton Town Two games in forty eight hours is too much of an ask for a few of the veterans in my squad, and changes are very much needed today. Sean Newton replaces Louie Annesley at centre back, Jack Steele and James Horsfield comes into midfield for the suspended Tyrese Fornah and Bobby Grant, while Kevin Smith starts behind the front pair as Ross McCormack is amongst the substitutes. Clayton Donaldson and Benjamin Kimpioka could both also do with a rest, but both start to spread the load so to speak. There was an element of control about our play in the opening stages, and while we failed to create much to concern Alfreton, we were making sure they were unable to cause us too many issues at the same time, largely due to our ability to keep the ball for spells at a time. As the half hour mark approached, we would manage to hit the target, Benjamin Kimpioka pulling away from a marker from a throw in, and passing inside to find Kevin Smith, the Scot scoring his first goal for the club with a beautifully placed finish. I wouldn't know it at the time, but that would be our only shot on target today. As Alfreton pushed for an equaliser as we moved past the hour mark, we switched into a counter attacking mindset, and I emptied the bench to bring fresher legs on. That included Ross McCormack, who uncharacteristically missed the target with a free kick. And for the second game in a row, Kimpioka missed a one on one late on, failing to hit the target with a chance he surely would have buried earlier in the season. With seconds left in injury time, Ryan Whitley saved the points for us, making a huge save to tip over a shot from Elliott Reeves as he broke our offside trap. York City (1) 1 - Kevin Smith (27) Alfreton Town (0) 0 Ryan Whitley; Matty Brown ©, Sean Newton, Sam Fielding; Michael Duckworth, Scott Barrow; Jack Steele (Bobby Grant 62), James Horsfield (Ross McCormack 62); Kevin Smith; Clayton Donaldson (Gregory Tadé 62), Benjamin Kimpioka. Attendance :- 1,856 We'll have impressed likely nobody at all with that win, but forgive me for not caring, and I doubt the fans will too much either. We desperately needed that win, which moves us back up into fourth place as we head into 2022, and with a game in hand on the team ahead of us. We looked far better in defence, but just one single shot on target against a struggling team isn't a good look, and we will undoubtedly have to do better to ensure this is a successful season. On a personal note, I have earned my Silver coaching certificate now which is pleasing. At least if I do get the sack, I could still legitimately apply for other jobs! My position with York doesn't actually seem to be under the pressure I was expecting at this point, still listed as 'secure' under the job centre section. I have at least made it into the new year, and let us see what '22 holds for the club and myself. We're almost at the half way mark of my debut season, and I've it into the New Year at least.... 2021/22 Vanarama League North Division (Top Half), Up to & Including Friday 31st December 2021 | Pos | Team | Pld | Won |Drn|Lst| For | Ag | G.D | Pts | | 1st | Darlington | 19 | 11 | 6 | 2 | 37 | 20 | +17 | 39 | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 2nd | Curzon Ashton | 19 | 9 | 6 | 4 | 33 | 24 | +9 | 33 | | 3rd | AFC Fylde | 20 | 10 | 3 | 7 | 37 | 32 | +5 | 33 | | 4th | York City | 19 | 8 | 8 | 3 | 24 | 17 | +7 | 32 | | 5th | Gateshead | 19 | 9 | 3 | 7 | 27 | 31 | -4 | 30 | | 6th | Spennymoor Town | 19 | 8 | 5 | 6 | 27 | 23 | +4 | 29 | | 7th | Chorley | 20 | 8 | 5 | 7 | 32 | 34 | -2 | 29 | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 8th | Farsley Celtic | 19 | 9 | 2 | 8 | 26 | 31 | -5 | 29 | | 9th | Kidderminster Harriers | 19 | 8 | 4 | 7 | 23 | 25 | -2 | 28 | | 10th | Gloucester City | 19 | 7 | 5 | 7 | 36 | 26 | +10 | 26 | | 11th | Kettering Town | 19 | 7 | 5 | 7 | 32 | 26 | +6 | 26 | | 12th | Chester | 19 | 7 | 5 | 7 | 26 | 34 | -8 | 26 |
  9. Friday 28th July 2016 Larne provide us with the opposition tonight in our penultimate pre-season game of the schedule at their Inver Park ground. A mid table team last season in the third tier, they have already hosted Cliftonville in the last week or so as they prepare for a season where they are not considered to be amongst the front runners for promotion from the Second Division. And we know how they feel. Sky Bet today release the Title Odds for the 2016/17 season, and they predict something considerably less than a warm welcome for us on our return to the Premier Division. With Linfield the Even money favourites, and Portadown and Glentoran right behind them, we are priced as the 50/1 rank outsiders. Yep, the bookmakers have us predicted to be bottom of the table and right back down to the second tier. Let's hope they've badly underestimated us, or it's going to be a pretty long campaign. Pre-Season Friendly Inver Park, Larne Larne v Coleraine Attendance :- 80. Weather :- Dry, 14c. This time next week it'll be new football season eve, but before then we have this fixture and a midweek away day against Ballymoney United to negotiate as we complete our preparations. Gerry Nixon comes in for the injured Stuart Shaw in the only change to the starting lineup from the draw with Wrexham last time out, his spot on the bench taken by Keith Steenson today. Our hosts showed immediately that they are very comfortable in possession of the ball, and we were chasing shadows early on. In the sixth minute Jason McShane held the ball up in our half, before spreading it out to the right for John Alexander to move on to, and he progressed forward before picking out Daryl Taylor who had drifted off the back of our defence at the far post, and gleefully sidefooted home from ten yards out as Liam McLeary tried and failed to get back across his goalmouth. I was thoroughly unimpressed with my players, and that feeling didn't change as we moved through the first half, as we were very much second best and took half an hour to produce a chance of any description, Stewart Devine lifting a free kick from the right towards the far post, where opposite full back Tony Jones couldn't keep his header down to cause Jeremy Ferdinand in goal any issues. Half time, and we were still a goal behind. I was far more annoyed than I needed to be for a Friendly game, but it's been a long time since I've seen such a lacklustre outing. A full team change was made, and I made sure everyone knew that I expected a much improved performance in the second half. The improvement would be minimal however. We did at least start to get some efforts at goal, Ryan Nelthorpe's corner was cleared, then helped back into the box before Nelthorpe tried to beat the keeper at his near post, but he got down to make a smart low stop. So we finally had a shot on target, but it had taken nearly an hour, and Larne were certainly not particularly concerned by anything we were trying to do, in fact had it not been for John Alexander committing a foul they may have had a second goal themselves shortly after during a goalmouth scramble. Michael Haswell missed the target narrowly with a curling left footed free kick as we tried to get something going, Pat McIlroy drilling a low shot on the turn just wide of the far post after rolling his marker following better work down the right from Chris Johnston. At the other end Matthew Thompson only just missed the target from the edge of the box after decent build up play as the game ended with Larne still looking the better side, and thoroughly deserving their win in this one. Larne (1) 1 - Daryl Taylor (6) Coleraine (0) 0 Liam McLeary (Neil Haughey 45); Tony Jones (Adam Hendrie 68), Declan O'Hara (Stuart Murray 45), Ryan Young (Andy Dickinson 45), Stewart Devine (Michael Haswell 45); Lee Ward (Ryan Nelthorpe 45), Gavin Whelan © (Keith Steenson 45); Craig Dobson (Chris Johnston 45), Matty Robson (Dean Britton (45); Gerry Nixon (John Green 45), Andy McMillan (Pat McIlroy 45). Unused Substitutes :- Alan Dallas. Bookings :- None Possession :- 39% - 61%. Man of the Match :- Daryl Taylor (Larne). Twenty percent more of the possession against a team two tiers below us, and just one single shot on target from a defensive midfielder. That is not a good look, and will not concern any of the teams in the Premier Division. We need to be a lot better than that, and I made sure everyone in the room knew how annoyed I was with that effort this evening. It was a pretty quiet one hour trip on the bus back up towards the northern coast. Wednesday 3rd August While the early stages of the UEFA Champions League are being contested across the continent, we are heading to another third tier club to complete our pre-season schedule. Our season begins for real this weekend, and we don't look particularly well prepared for it. Hopefully we can find our feet as we face another short trip this evening, this time taking the less than ten mile trip down the road to face Ballymoney United at their 2,000 capacity Riada Stadium, a club who only preserved their Second Division status on the final day of last season. Pre-Season Friendly Riada Stadium, Ballymoney Ballymoney United v Coleraine Attendance :- 115. Weather :- Dry, 26c. Ryan Nelthorpe replaces Lee Ward in midfield in the only change to our starting lineup for our final pre-season fixture ahead of the weekends big kick-off. Michael McCartney replaces Keith Steenson amongst the substitutes, where there is also a return for Frank Nouble in place of John Green. I had a sinking feeling early on when United cut right through us straight from the kick off, Andy Liggett with a short diagonal pass from outside the box into the feet of James McPike, who clipped his shot over the onrushing Liam McLeary, but it cleared the cross bar. Craig Dobson would be played into space in the box as we regrouped, but he couldn't get the ball on his favoured right foot, and missed the target with his weaker left peg. The game descended into a back and forth affair with the teams taking turns to attack, McPike crowded out in the box, before Dobson had a loud penalty shout turned down after weaving his way into the opposite box. Matty Robson failed to get any power on his shot as a long and deep cross found him at the back post, before the deadlock was finally broken. With only two minutes remaining in the half, Mark Campbell found McPike and he got inside his marker and shot from a tight angle, high over McLeary's shoulder and inside the post into the roof of the net! I was no less annoyed at half time than I had been in Larne, but I limited the changes to six at the break, though our start to the second half seemed to show I had got my point across. A series of early corners were dealt with by the United defence, though the last one saw the ball find it's way to Dobson near the edge of the box, and he smacked a shot off the hosts cross bar. We continued to improve, Ryan Nelthorpe picking out Pat McIlroy, and he spun his marker but couldn't keep his shot down. Just beyond the mid point of the second half, McIlroy tried the same trick, the marker this time getting his foot in front of the shot that sent it spinning wide of the mark. From the resulting corner, Dobson's delivery was slightly too high for Stuart Murray, but McIlroy arrived right behind him and powered his header home to finally square things up. I would bring the rest of my substitutes on a short while later in an attempt to earn a face saving win, but we wouldn't manage to break down United's defence again, and will enter the season in lacklustre form. Ballymoney United (1) 1 - James McPike (43) Coleraine (0) 1 - Pat McIlroy (70) Liam McLeary; Tony Jones (Adam Hendrie 76), Declan O'Hara (Stuart Murray 45), Ryan Young (Andy Dickinson 76), Stewart Devine (Michael Haswell 45); Ryan Nelthorpe (Michael McCartney 76), Gavin Whelan © (Alan Dallas 45); Craig Dobson (Chris Johnston 76), Matty Robson (Dean Britton (45); Gerry Nixon (Frank Nouble 45), Andy McMillan (Pat McIlroy 45). Unused Substitutes :- Neil Haughey (GK), Lee Ward Bookings :- None Possession :- 44% - 56%. Man of the Match :- Mark Campbell (Ballymoney United). Clearly we are going to be heading into our return campaign in the Premier Division with a real lack of confidence, something we will need to do something about quickly too, as we are going into the season with a difficult couple of games ahead of us, facing Cliftonville away, Newry at home, and then Linfield, the dominant current Champions, away from home in our opening trio of games. We will then host Portadown and my former employers Lurgan Celtic to round out August. By that point, we might have a better idea of how close the bookies and pundits were with their prediction of our relegation favourites status.
  10. Votes sent and claimed, and thanks as always Mark for your work organising this and the work you do on the Boards over the year
  11. Friday 29th July 20016 It's about that point of the year where we have a look at the movers and shakers in Indian Football as we contemplate another year in what had been hoped would see India move further along in reputation, but a second leg collapse in Malaysia saw us bounced out of the World Cup earlier than we had hoped. With competitive football on the horizon for the Senior side in the shape of the Asian Nations Cup, we'll take a look at the progress of our players. Unfortunately, it doesn't necessarily make for great reading all the way through I'm afraid. Goalkeepers :- Lets start at the back, where the news that sticks out like a sore thumb is that of our bright young goalkeeping hope Ganesh Aerts being let go at the end of his deal with AA Gent where the 19 year old has spent three seasons as a Youth Contract prospect. The glimmer of hope there is that he has as many as ten clubs from Belgium interested in signing him, but as yet none have made a firm offer. Fingers crossed that one of them makes him an offer he is happy with, as it would be a blow to lose him from the Pool after chasing him so hard to play for us. I'd make him an offer to come to Coleraine, but we have resolved our goalkeeper depth issues over the summer. Should we lose him, it wouldn't be the end of the world of course. We do have other good options in the Pool. Twenty nine year old Subrata Pal is coming into the peak of his goalkeeping years, and the fourteen times capped stopper is playing superbly in Lebanon with the Al-Ansar club, one of only two foreign players that they employ there. He is supported well by domestic based Arindam Bhattacharya and the younger member of the trio, Mohammed Hossain. In the next layer down of talent and playing for our age group sides, we have more good domestic talent such as Seby Kumar, Mohammed Babu, Azadur Sultan, Ripon Ali and Asif Thapa. The latter is about to take the big step of leaving Mohun Bagan in search of First Team football. New talent in the Pool include Air India's youngster Suresh Prasad and Shankar Oliviera who plays for regional side Indian Air Force. Also added to the depth chart and fast tracked right into age group sides are Lee Chi Man and Ho Kin Pong. They are both eligible for Hong Kong, and I remain determined that we won't lose any prospective talent to other rival nations, which means if we have to fast track them to tie them to India, then so be. The latter is Indian born, and plays for Mahindra Tractors. The former is at the more prestigious Mumbai FC, and is Hong Kong born. Both sixteen year old prospects are moved into an age group side, and will be competing in coming years with Mohammed Islam of the St Anthony's club, as well as Anthony Thomas of the obscure MICO amateur club. Right Backs/Wing Backs :- An area where we now have a large selection of players, but too many who are not playing regularly for their clubs. That is in part due to quite a few of them being queued up behind each other at East Bengal, who have agreed to sell Gumpe Singh to JCT, though he usually plays at centre back anyway. History is littered with Indian footballers moving clubs constantly for a few extra quid a week, and not necessarily for the best when it comes to career prospects. Amar Thakur is hoping he won't be the next in the line as he prepares to make his move from Air India to the Bengal Mumbai club. His closest challengers for the spot right now are, like him, fairly young and largely inexperienced in the shape of Anthony D'Souza who is often utilised more as a winger and Denzil Sameer of the Goa and Vasco clubs respectively. Veteran former first choice right back Ajay Bailleux is still in the picture too at Pune, but at 32 years old, the younger guys will get more of a fair shout now as we prepare for the future of the National Team. Another player with dual nationality has been unearthed, 18 year old David Doyle was born in Geelong, Australia. He is part of the Youth setup with Mohammedan, and joins the list of players fast tracked into the setup to avoid potentially losing him to another nation. He'll be competing against the likes of highly rated 17 year old Vasco youngster Syed Singh, and Ibrahim Barreto of JCT. Left Backs/Wing Backs :- Despite continuing to move on from club to club, 22 year old Paramjit Kumar is still the main man at left back for us. He is approaching fifteen Senior caps, and has just made the move to Pune for the new season. How much competition he has depends on whether Francis Xavier Dias can keep his spot at Mohun Bagan and play regularly and at a high enough level to challenge him. Failure to have that could see Mahindra United's currently uncapped at Senior level Sheikh Singh jump up the queue ahead of him. After a poor season in Jordan with the Al-Faysali club, previously highly touted and now just highly paid 24 year old Dulal Bhattacharya is considering a change of scene with his club sat on an offer for him from the Al-Ramtha club instead. Fingers crossed that wherever he lands, he can rediscover the form that earned him his big money move to the Middle-East to start with. In addition to the lads already involved with the age group sides, the prospects include 17 year old Dempo youngster Chinmoy Mondal is one that stands out, not least because he can play anywhere down the left side of the park or in centre midfield. He seems best suited as an attacking wing or full back. Another highly rated prospect is Naresh Sarkar, a 16 year old JCT player who has just joined their Youth programme and is preparing for his first season as a young player. Centre Backs :- One of the strongest parts of our squad, as we have a wealth of options, no bad thing for a nation that will always be considered a minnow and forced to defend against more established nations. We have no fewer than four European based players in this area, which includes our first choice pairing of Belgian based Francisco Reja and Jose Paul who is playing his football in Georgia. After a season in Holland, the younger of the pairing Reja is back in Belgium with top tier Germinal Beerschot, has signed a new two year contract, and his hoping to impress enough to push for a First Team spot. Paul has been outstanding since arriving in Georgia two years ago with WIT-Tbilisi, though his club have just been dumped out of the UEFA Europa League in the Second Qualifying Round by Bohemians Prague of the Czech Republic. Backing them up are Adil Kundu, who has just spent his first season in Europe with Moldovan club side Zimbru Chişinâu, and is now being targeted by another club in that nation, Nistru Otaci. He is contracted for this season in the capital, but like Paul has just seen his club bounced out of European competition early on, the First Qualifying Round of the same competition in their case as they were rolled over by Romanian club FC Timisoara. In no danger of having to worry about European football anytime soon is Rikki Bains, the 28 year old English based defender who plays at Havant & Waterlooville of the sixth tier Blue Square South, and has been in and out of the Senior Squad for some time now, seeing himself pushed down the order by younger players. Another player that has been plying his trade overseas is Hong Kong based Francisco Bhowmick. The four times capped twenty year old has dropped down the leagues there to find regular football, but after a good season for Fukien, he has been cut loose once again for the fourth summer in a row. There is plenty of interest from clubs there, so we are hopeful that he picks up a club sooner rather than later. In addition to those playing overseas, we have some domestic options as well. The previously mentioned Gumpe Singh is the most prominent of those, with Vinod Ghosh of Mohun Bagan also in the picture and able to play both on the right or in the middle. Remaining in the picture are two of the elder statesmen as well, Manju Nanjangud Shivananju is now 29 and has just moved from Bengal Mumbai to Goa, the third successive summer move for him and each of them seeing a fee required to sign him. 33 year old Naduparambil Pappachan Pradeep is the exact opposite, and a rare example of a player joining Mohun Bagan and keeping his spot in their lineup for five seasons now and about to enter his sixth campaign with them. Don't forget about Moroccan born Zouhair Taouil as well, still uncapped at Senior level but declared for India after being capped at Under-21 level, and he has just moved clubs too, leaving Mahindra United to sign for Churchill Brothers in the hope of securing more First Team football and hopefully that elusive Senior cap. Another dual national has been moved into an age group side to keep an eye on and prevent him from being called up by another nation too, and it's another Aussie as well, the Mackay born 17 year old Ryan Brennan is with the Under-18 side of East Bengal, so he is absolutely going to be up against it with all the talent they have there, and 5'6 is pretty vertically challenged for a centre back at most levels of football. A host of new intake teenagers have been bookmarked to the scouts to keep an eye on to see if there is any of this talented crop that are worth fast tracking into the system to give them a potential leg up the ladder, particularly those who are playing out with regional clubs at fairly poor levels of football. Shout out here to 17 year old Mohammed Alam, who has it appears given up his place with Mohun Bagan and a decent enough wage to try and claim First Team football earlier in his development years, agreeing to sign for Calcutta Port Trust on loan. Defensive/Centre/Attacking Midfielders :- Without doubt the worst affected area of our Pool this summer, as our depth level has been decimated by players either released or leaving their clubs and as yet not picked up by another club ahead of the new season. I mentioned in a previous post that French based teenagers Amit Singh and Karan Mollah have both been cut loose this summer. That is just the tip of the iceberg though unfortunately. 28 year old Sabri Gharbi is another that is now without a club. The fourteen times capped dual national of Belgium currently only has one club interested in him, and that's in the second tier of the European nation as Royal Sprimnt Comblain consider a move for the attacking midfielder. With the same number of caps, 31 year old William Jidayi may now be paying the price for failing to settle at any of the list of Italian clubs he has turned out for, and Manfredonia have pushed him out of the door after he played for them only three times last season in Serie C2/B. Of the handful of clubs interested in signing him, they are all at least one level below Manfredonia's. In the same boat is Aman Verma, his two season spell at Bury has come to an end, and while he has potential interest from right across the UK, the prospective level of his next club is likely to be lower. Our midfield is going to look very different if those players can't pick up a new club soon. Right Midfield/Wingers An area that we haven't had any depth in to speak of since I took the job. Thankfully, Belgian dual national and resident Raheem Alibhaï was kept on by the Olympic Charleroi club and handed a new one year deal despite their relegation down to the third tier. He is the Captain of the Senior Team, and without him we would be really struggling for options I suspect. Once capped East Bengal twenty three year old Joseph Lal is probably our next best option, he is about to start his fifth season with the perennial Title challengers in domestic football, and is now on what would be considered really good wages for a domestic player. With right back options Amar Thakur and Anthony D'Souza both able to play further up the park, and in the latters case he is better in the advanced role. That probably only leaves Pune's twenty three year old Subhash Rao and his experience at Under-21 level, and the older once capped Naoba Singh of Bengal Mumbai who is another utility player who can play anywhere down that right side. Left Midfield/Wingers It's a very similar situation on the left side of the park, where we are thankful to still have the gifted young Sanjay Singh. At just eighteen years old, and already with seven caps to his name, Sanjay continues on a month to month contract with semi-professional regional club Indian Telephone Industries Sports Club. I'm very surprised that a NFL club hasn't come along to pick him up and pay him a decent wage, but as Captain, he seems very happy there. The drop off behind Sanjay is a bit alarming on the whole. There are the veterans who are now struggling for game time, and a group of teenagers at the start of their careers. In between, we have a couple of players who could do the job to a limited level of expectation. Twice capped Naresh Reja of JCT and uncapped at Senior level twenty one year old Air India man Anthony Haque are probably the two stand outs, closely followed by Reisangmi Vasum, who is back in Goa for a third time around with the club. Of the new generation of talent, Dempo prospect Ravinder Singh is probably the stand out of the group, a 17 year old going into his second season and who scored in his one NFL appearance last campaign. Augustine Joseph of East Bengal is also decent looking if he can avoid the log jam of young talent at the club, while Abdul Mascarenhas of Vasco is a little further down the line at nineteen years old now and has joined the club after quickly racking up sixty league appearances for Dempo. Forwards/Strikers So it's already been documented that three times capped Shafiqul Islam Chowdhury is without a club now. A 6'4 target man type striker who I've kept faith with even when he has been in this position before, he was released by Vannes Olympique, and now has a group of French clubs interested in his signature, but as yet there are no offers on the table. I wouldn't want to lose him as he is very different from the other strikers we have. Another former Vannes striker is now without a club, Gautam Roy. He didn't do enough at US Albigeoise last season to earn a new deal as they are promoted up a tier, but he does have an offer on the table from US Dunkerque, with a number of other clubs also said to be interested in him. 17 year old Amit Miranda's future in the game looks more precarious as the Belgian national has been released by Meerle after a season, and as it stands there is no interest in signing him. A player that does have plenty of interest in him is veteran striker Edu. The Brazilian born thirty three year old with eight caps and two goals has been released by Mohun Bagan, despite scoring twenty three goals in 39 appearances over the last two seasons. He has now announced that he will retire next summer, and is looking for a swansong season in his career. He has long been linked with a move to Portugal, and he has around half a dozen interested clubs where of course he would have no language barrier. I'm hoping he gets the chance to finish his career on a high. Despite these setbacks, we still have a very good core of strikers at our disposal. Sunil Chetri has twenty goals for his country, and continues to ply his trade in Greece. Powerful Nigerian born striker Ranty Martins has an excellent record for his adopted nation, and he is also still playing overseas, Lebanese club Al-Nejmeh in his case where he is starting his sixth season, has taken residency in the country, and has continued his excellent record at club level, with 150 goals in 251 career league games. The other Nigerian born striker available to us is Chidi Edeh, another with a superb club goalscoring record as he continues his long spell at the Mahindra United club. The heir apparent is Ashish Morje, who has only been capped once at Senior International level, but is in sparkling form for BEC Tero Sasana in the Thailand Premier League. Rumours are circling that we could have another striker make the move into Europe in the near future. Three times capped Sandip Kumar is returning better than a goal every other game at domestic level in a career so far spent largely with East Bengal. They are splashing out on Vasco's teenage striker Joseph Gomes, and with his arrival anticipated, it's reported that the club would be prepared to listen to an offer from Ukrainian club Stal Dniprodzergyns'k should they follow up their rumoured interest. With plenty of talented young players knocking at the door to be picked for the age group sides, and a little group of dual nationals that will be fast tracked into the system, along with centre back, this is probably one of the areas we don't need to particularly concern ourselves with right now.
  12. Monday 13th July 2009 An update from the ticket sales team informs us that almost 400 season tickets have been sold so far, with potentially another one hundred still to come. 500 would be a good number to build on to start the season at the new higher level. With my new keeper still to arrive, the summer recruitment is just about done. We've improved our depth and quality, and brought in some experienced players who can help us at our new level as well. I'd like a centre back and a striker to complete us, and I'm utiliisng the loan market to try and get that done. Outside of that, a player with the 'wow factor' that could really improve us hugely as a team would be the only thing that would tempt me back into the transfer market right now. Though who knows! Tomorrow we welcome Hamilton Academical to the Strathclyde Homes Stadium in what is now our penultimate pre-season Friendly of a punctuated schedule following the Cup draws. This is expected to be a big test against a team that were playing Scottish Premier League football last season and have now been relegated into the second tier. With this being the second of just four pre-season games for them, they are expected to a bring a strong side into town for this one. Tuesday 14th July Dumbarton v Hamilton Academical Pre-Season Friendly Strathclyde Homes Stadium, Dumbarton We're back on home soil for the first time ahead of the 2009/10 campaign. Our guests are hoping to bounce right back up to the SPL at the first opportunity, and they bring a strong side as anticipated. They were immediately very comfortable in possession, and Rocco Quinn brought a save out of Dave McEwan before Wojciech Gryzb sent an effort over the bar. We were pretty comfortable ourselves when we got the ball though, and more importantly we were very sturdy under the Accies barrage of crosses. However Alan Lithgow did miss a chance to clear a long ball through the middle, no punishment was forthcoming though as Joël Thomas got by him and lifted his shot over the bar. Quinn and Alex Neil both missed the target when good chances fell to them as Hamilton gained control. Thomas missed the target again before the break, as did Ryan McStay in our best move so far right on half time. With my big picture head on I pushed on with my planned full team change once again, and nothing too much changed right away as Simon Mensing squared a pass to Gryzb who once more missed the target. Tony Stevenson's free kick from the left evaded everyone in the box apart from Thomas at the far post, who's tame effort was at least on target this time but fell into the grateful arms of McEwan. A good piece of play on the right saw David Murray angle a pass into the box, where Marc Anthony was guilty of planning his finish before the ball arrived and it rolled under his foot and right through to goalie Sean Roberts. We had our foot in the game a bit now, but were almost caught on the counter attack when Neil knew he didn't have the pace to get in the box and let fly from range, beating McEwan's dive but seeing the shot come back off the upright. While Hamilton were making their opening changes, I was forced into another one. Shortly after Paul McLeod had delivered a corner that Ben Gordon headed against the post, McLeod was forced off with a knock, Alan Moore coming on which required a fair bit of reorganising from our side. This was actually a very good and competitive game, and it looked like it would need something special to win it. Fortunately, we have signed a player who deals in special. With twenty minutes to play Brian Carrigan waved everyone towards the far post as he lined up a free kick right out on the touchline. Keeper Roberts fell for it too, as while he directed traffic to pick players up, Carrigan sent a powerful flat shot at goal that he couldn't get back across to stop and we were ahead. Now we would have to do some major defending, Kevin Nicol not managing to force McEwan into any work with his close range header that just missed the target. Unable to break us down and get the ball into the box, the visitors resorted to shooting from range, Danny Earls effort well high and wide of the target. They'll need to do better than that to return to the Premier League any time soon in my opinion. Dumbarton (0) 1 - Brian Carrigan (70) Hamilton Academical - (0) 0 Dave McEwan; Gordon Lennon © (Graham Alexander 45), Mick Dunlop (Ben Gordon 45), Alan Lithgow (Scott Friel 45), Darren Barnard (David Lowing (inj - 90+3); Derek Carcary (Paul McLeod 45 (inj - Alan Moore 64)), Ross Clark (Ross McCord 45), Ryan McStay (David Murray 45), Stephen Murray (Marc Anthony 45); Stephen McConalogue (Jean-Pierre Papin 45), Andy Ferguson (Brian Carrigan 45). Attendance :- 306. I know it's a pre-season friendly, but I'm really proud of that outing from my players. In Brian Carrigan we have brought in a player who has the ability to not only put the ball in the net, but produce a little piece of magic as well. Maybe we have found a bit of a gem of a player. I also want to mention Graham Alexander, the veteran defender who has played much of his football at a far higher level and it showed tonight. He picked great passes, found time on the ball effortlessly, and put those around him in great positions with the ball. Skipper Gordon Lennon will be hoping the new arrival finds a home at centre back or centre midfield and it's someone else who loses their spot. On a downside, we have lost left back arrival David Lowing for a month as he suffered a groin strain, during injury time ironically enough. Friday 17th July It's been a busy week of dealing with knock backs mostly as we try and bring in the last few pieces required to complete this squad for the season ahead. We do have an agreement in place to sign 20 year old forward Matthew Bartholomew. Primarily a right winger who can also play in midfield or up front, he has nine caps at Youth International level for Trinidad & Tobago, and has just been released by Sheffield United after three years at Bramall Lane. He spent almost all of that time out on loan, first in Belgium and then Hungary. He has completed almost a year in the UK towards a work permit, but the move means he will now need a new one, and that is far from guaranteed. Not needing a work permit however is 17 year old centre back Chris Gillespie, who arrives at the club on a season long loan deal from SPL club Kilmarnock. The 6'2 teenager is starting the second year of his career, having played only age group football last year, and is looking forward to the opportunity to potentially play some Senior football as he increases our depth options at the club. He is available for tomorrow afternoons trip south of the border to complete our pre-season schedule away to Blue Square North outfit Farsley Celtic. Saturday 18th July Farsley Celtic v Dumbarton Pre-Season Friendly Throstle Nest, Pudsey Pre-season finishes today then, and we're in Yorkshire to face our Blue Square North hosts, Farsley Celtic. No changes are made to the starting lineup, but there is no plan for a full team change at the break today. They had clearly done their homework on Derek Carcary and were double marking him. Stopping him is another matter though, and he ghosted past two players before finding Ryan McStay who's curling shot was a little too high. As we hit the halfway point of the first half, Alan Lithgow threatened to send Carcary into space, before switching play instead and sending a long ball down the middle. It was overhit, but keeper Wayne Gates fumbled the ball under no pressure whatsoever, and Stephen McConalogue will never have a simpler finish as he opened the scoring with an open goal. We kept the pressure high, McStay missing the top corner with a curling effort from range before the break, while McConalogue thumped the base of the upright after Carcary again menaced the Celtic defence. I made four changes at the break, and we continued as we had before half time, very much in control, and Gates making another error as he missed his man with a short clearance and had Carcary running in on him, making amends with a great save this time. It clearly wasn't a day for the keepers, Dave McEwan would want another go at Craig Stewart's 47th minute effort as he came in off the wing and beat our keeper from a very narrow angle to level things up. We were quickly back in front though, a corner was only partially cleared five minutes later and McStay ran on to it, meeting it in stride from twenty yards out and letting his shot go, Gates getting a good hand to it but only able to help it on it's way in via the inside of the post. I made the rest of my changes in the 62nd minute, which undoubtedly impacted the flow of the game. Brian Carrigan let his shot go from range with awareness that he didn't have the pace to get in on goal shortly after coming on, while at the other end Graham Alexander cleared off the goal line when Ben Waterfield redirected a corner towards goal as Celtic searched for a second equaliser. Carrigan would get his now almost customary goal though, Guy Melamed sending the ball over the defence and the forward cleverly got back onside, then chased it down, keeping the ball in and beating a just as suspiciously average looking sub keeper Matt McNaughton at his near post to complete a very satisfactory afternoon on the road south of the border. Farsley Celtic (0) 1 - Craig Stewart (47) Dumbarton (1) 3 - Stephen McConalogue (22), Ryan McStay (52), Brian Carrigan (82) Dave McEwan; Gordon Lennon © (Graham Alexander 45), Mick Dunlop (Guy Melamed 62), Alan Lithgow (Chris Gillespie 62), Darren Barnard (Scott Friel 62); Derek Carcary (Paul McLeod 62), Ross Clark (Ross McCord 45), Ryan McStay (David Murray 62), Stephen Murray (Alan Moore 45); Stephen McConalogue (Marc Anthony 62), Andy Ferguson (Brian Carrigan 45). Attendance :- 108. That was a very efficient performance, and once again gives us great encouragement ahead of next weekends big kick off for the 2009/10 season. The new signings appear to be settling well and complimenting what we already had very nicely, giving us increased depth options that we didn't have last season. An attempt to increase that depth with the signing of 17 year old Canadian Youth International midfielder Janeil Hoilett seems doomed to failure, just as Matthew Bartholomew's signing was. Last year he was signed by Blackburn Rovers before being sent out on loan to German Bundesliga 2 club St Pauli, where he played just once. He needs a new work permit to join us after being released by the Ewood Park club, and we're told that is highly unlikely to be granted. Sunday 19th July A player who doesn't require a work permit is 25 year old striker Dyron Daal. The 6'4 Netherlands Antilles International forward holds a Dutch passport, so can move around as he pleases. Unfortunately, joining Dumbarton isn't an option he is overly pleased with, and we miss out on his signature as he decides to sign with Partick Thistle instead after Ross County decided to offload him after a year with them. We do get an experienced centre back in before the end of the day though. 29 year old Brian McGovern is a former Republic of Ireland Under-21 International, and arrives on a Free Transfer after being released by Northern Irish Premier Division Runner's-Up from last season, Glentoran. A former Arsenal youngster who played once for them in the Premier League, he also spent time with Norwich City amongst others before heading back across the water. He is 6'3, and signs on a one year deal that represents great value for us as he looks for somewhere where he can play regularly. Monday 20th July Gordon Lennon has retained his status as Dumbarton Club Captain for the new season. He has a new deputy, the man who is looking to take his spot in the First Team, new arrival Graham Alexander, who has replaced Guy Melamed as the second in command on the pitch. Wednesday 22nd July More International level experience is added to the squad ahead of the weekends kick off. 19 year old once capped Cypriot International midfielder Angelos Tsiaklis has spent the last three years learning the ropes on a Youth contract with Manchester City. They released him at the start of the month, and the teenager found he had less options than he expected. He played hardball a little over the money and contract term, but arrives on a two year deal that will make him one of our higher paid players as he looks to make his Senior Club Debut after already making his Full International bow against Andorra earlier this year.
  13. With the first game of my reign under our belts, we head over to Australia for the second game of our five match tour Down Under and the Americas. International Friendly (A) vs Australia (4-3-3) - Norman; Law, Slatter, Aizlewood, Melville; Nicholas, Speed, R.James; Allen, Roberts, Saunders. Five changes to the starting lineup here, including debut caps for Law, Slatter, Speed and James. Just like in New Zealand, we appeared too strong for the Aussies early on, pinning them into their half, but failing to create much in the way of chances, Saunders forcing a low stop from Greedy. Our hosts worked their way back into the game though, helped by our continued poor passing, and Aizlewood was booked midway through the half for bringing down Farina just outside the box. Law tested Greedy again before the break, but once more the keeper was equal to the effort. Aizlewood and Speed were withdrawn at half time, two more debutants coming on in Van den Hauwe and Williams. I was now asking my players to play at a higher tempo, and I liked what I saw, but we still were struggling to create chances, Saunders missing the target from range, James heading over from the best chance so far. Finally, when I was considering what the media backlash may be for failing to win this game, James won the ball high up the park and crossed for substitute Williams to head home from close range in the 77th minute! Unfortunately, ten minutes later I'd have to think about the backlash once again, as a quick counter attack left Saunders as the wrong man to be marking striker Patikas, and he easily beat our striker in the air to head home the equaliser with only three minutes left to play. A pretty disappointing result here. Australia (0) 1 - Patikas (87) Wales (0) 1 - Williams (77) We would leave the continent with disappointment at that result, and contemplating what was to come as we moved around the globe and to the Americas, where we would move gradually north while playing three games to complete this tour. The first of the trio would be the most difficult of the trip it was expected, as we faced Mexico, the most recent World Cup hosts. International Friendly (A) vs Mexico (4-4-2) - Southall; Blackmore, Law, Melville, Aizlewood; Nicholas, Pascoe, Williams, Davies; Roberts, Saunders. This would be the game I'd earmarked to try our defensive and counter attacking plan that we would likely be forced into using against the Czechs and Soviets in the upcoming Qualifying matches. While it was immediately clear we were very capable of defending stoutly, it was also just as clear that we weren't going to ever have enough about us to cause anything more than a punchers chance of hitting decisively on the counter attack. Striker Sanchez could've given the hosts an 18th minute lead, but Southall produced a spectacular save to tip his effort over. But the reprieve was brief as Cruz picked out Aguirre who volleyed home in the 24th minute. Roberts fired wide in a rare foray forward, before Southall denied Aguirre a second with another superb save. The blows kept coming as we lost Saunders to injury before the break, replaced by Lovell. By the time we reached the break both Sanchez and Aguirre had missed the target with further chances to increase the lead, and Lovell had also now taken a knock himself. Needless to say I wasn't especially confident going into the second half, but we created the opening chance when Davies sent a header at goal that was comfortably held by Larios. It was still a shock though when Melville's long ball upfield was headed home by Pascoe just before the break! Suddenly we looked the better team, with our passing finding it's mark more often than not, though Munoz and Sanchez both spurned chances to reinstate the Mexican lead. He had to come good at some point though, and after several more missed pot shots, Sanchez finally beat Southall in the 73rd minute following a goalmouth scramble that had included a penalty shout. Hall replaced Nicholas for his debut after that goal, which had proven to be the final significant moment of the game. Mexico (1) 2 - Aguirre (24), Sanchez (73) Wales (0) 1 - Pascoe (58) I wasn't too disheartened at all after that outing, where I thought we had played pretty well, and the performance was as satisfying as the result in Australia had been disappointing. We would 'wave' goodbye to Mexico now, with some very useful data as to how to approach our competitive games that were on the horizon. But before then, we would head north for further Friendly dates with first the United States, and then Canada.
  14. Go on, I'll ask the question everyone is dying to ask. What about Charlotte? I'm not sure I can see her fitting into life in Morley! Looking forward to seeing Mr Rudd take the team up through the Pyramid. Best of luck.
  15. Friday 29th April 2011 The celebrations for our Title success were fairly lengthy and loud, so it's just as well we have a weekend off before completing our League calendar next weekend with the final game of the season and at this level before we make the move up next season. I've still got a bet to consider of course though. -------------------- THE BET nPower Championship Burnley v Coventry City - Home Win - Evens Cardiff City v Derby County - Home Win - Evens Double Odds - 3/1 Stake - £150,000 Balance After Bet - £1,026,671 Potential Returns Including Stake - £600,000 -------------------- The top two in England's second tier, both at home, and facing visitors from the relegation zone. And the game gave Even money on both. There is no such thing as a dead cert bet, but this had me calculating how much I could actually reasonably bet. I settled on £150k, which would bring in a near half a million pound profit. Surely, this bet would land without too much trouble at all? Saturday 30th April Then again....... BET RESULT Burnley 0-2 Coventry City Cardiff City 2-2 Derby County LOST Two first half strikes ten minutes apart saw lead leaders Burnley capitulate at home to relegation zone dwellers Coventry City, and for them the only good thing was that Cardiff City couldn't and wouldn't take full advantage of their poor performance. Not that it made any difference to us by that point. £150k gone! Sunday 1st May Another member is added to the Danish contingent in Cornwall, it's becoming like an invasion! Nineteen year old centre midfielder Michael Pedersen is diminutive in stature at just 5'7 tall, and becomes the fifth Dane to sign for the club thanks to the influence of Henrik Varbøl Andersen, a Coach at the club. Capable of moving around his comfortable position by shifting forwards or backwards into attacking or defensive positions, as well as moving out into either wing if needed. He has been looking for a club for a while after spending a season developing with Danish top tier Superliga club Randers. The Board at the club have declared themselves delighted with how things are going at the Mount Wise Stadium, with promotion obviously being a particular highlight. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what financial limits they put in place over the summer with the expected move to semi-professional status and the opportunity to put in place a core element to the squad that we will be able to pay a wage to. Tuesday 3rd May After failing to earn promotion, Mousehole are seeing their squad starting to quickly break up as the vultures circle and make offers to their better players. Three have moved on in the last week, and more are expected to follow. Now the club will need to regroup and build another squad to challenge again next season. We'll be watching on with interest. Friday 6th May Tomorrow we travel 40 miles inland and east to the town of Callington for our last game of the season. In a league with an odd number of teams, they are the epitomy of mid table, sat in the middle spot and unlikely to move up, and impossible to move down. There really is nothing on this game, with our promotion already settled. We can just go out and enjoy the game. We're still very much the favourites despite it being a dead rubber match. -------------------- THE BET German Bundesliga Borussia Dortmund v SC Freiburg - Home Win - Evens Single Odds - Evens Stake - £125,000 Balance After Bet - £902,368 Potential Returns Including Stake - £250,000 -------------------- I have not been having a good run at the bookies, so today I really stripped it back, going for just one game that I liked and that offered good value. Borrusia Dortmund have struggled on their travels, a big contributing factor to their relatively lowly seventh spot going into this game. Their home form has been pretty consistent though, while Freiburg have shown relegation form on their travels. This is a big one, my stake takes the club accounts back under the £1 million mark, so I really need a win here. Saturday 7th May South West Peninsula League Division One West Marshfield Parc, Callington Callington Town v AFC Newquay The final game of the 2010/11 football season for us, and our final game at this level. Just one change is made from last time out, and that is amongst the substitutes. New arrival to the Danish contingent Michael Pedersen could make his senior footballing debut from the bench, where he replaces Sam Farrell. Callington were pushed right back into their own half very early on, and had to deal with an all out assault of crosses and corners. Defender Steve Flack was booked with barely five minutes on the clock, an incident that saw Michael Smyth take a knock but declare himself fine to continue with the game. His first sighter at goal was wide, though we had the ball in the net on the quarter of an hour mark, Jimmy Harte's floated free kick into the box from the right was headed home by Oktay Güney from close range, and while he wasn't flagged for offside, the officials did deem that he has impeded keeper Mark Evans and the goal was ruled out. The domination continued, Steve Magee's effort to beat Evans on his near post was thwarted by the keeper, while Harte's curler from range was just wide of the far post. But they could only hold out for so long, and in the 31st minute Lewis Oliver crossed from the left, and Smyth got in between defender and keeper to apply the close range finish and put us ahead. He would repeat the trick five minutes later, Harte whipping in an inswinging corner and once more the Town defence lost track of Smyth who got onto the end of the delivery and planted his header firmly into the corner to double our advantage! Our domination was broken as we approached the break, Flack with a cross from the right that found Richard Gay, but his downward header was stopped by the legs of Elliot Jackson to preserve our lead. I didn't make any changes at the break, but Town used two of theirs as the second half as the game started to even out a little. Despite that Town were causing us very few problems though, a tame shot from distance gave Jackson no issues, while Harte sent in a rocket of a free kick that only just cleared the goal frame. Harte earned himself a booking that gave away a dangerous free kick, Thomson sending it wide as Harte had sealed his own fate and was substituted moments later when I made my three changes, which included the now suffering Smyth also coming off and Michael Pedersen coming on for his debut. The moment of the match was yet to come though, as Danny Howards inswinging free kick was headed clear, only for Lewis Oliver to bring the ball down and then unleash a bullet of a shot from almost thirty yards out into the top corner. What a way to finish the season! Callington Town (0) 0 AFC Newquay (2) 3 - Michael Smyth (31,36), Lewis Oliver (83) Attendance :- 611 Elliot Jackson; Danny Howard, Joe Kennedy ©, James Taylor; Jimmy Harte (Mathias Artvig 71), Lee Hales (Michael Pedersen 71), Zouhair Allali, Lewis Oliver; Michael Smyth (inj - Marc Skriver Bruun 71), Oktay Güney; Steve Magee. Unused Substitutes :- Chris Tingay, Ian Spencer, Ollie Harrison, Tom Murray. Maybe our best all round performance of the season had been saved for last, in what would be one of several 'lasts'. Our last game at this level, our last game we believed as an amateur club, as long as the Chairman kept to his word anyway, and for quite a few players I suspected, the last game in AFC Newquay colours. At the start of the season the Board had expected a mid to top half of the table finish. Those expectations grew around the club as our operating model took hold, nonetheless the club were delighted with promotion. Many outside of the club probably expected us to be far more dominant. Our prize for achieving the Title however is a mere £300. Clearly we're not going to be paying players to come here based on the prize money. Fortunately we have other income streams.... BET RESULT Borussia Dortmund 3-1 SC Freiburg WON Our stake of £125,000 is doubled with a performance of German efficiency by Borussia, with the helping hand of a couple of Poles too, as both Jakub Blaszczykowki and Robert Lewandowski are amongst the goalscorers. Betting through the summer could be interesting with fewer options of course, but hopefully we can still turn the profit and convince the Chairman and the Board to invest in the squad. 2010/11 South West Peninsula League Division One West, Final Standings | Pos | Inf | Team | | Pld | Won | Drn | Lst | For | Ag | G.D. | Pts | | 1st | C | AFC Newquay | | 24 | 18 | 4 | 2 | 54 | 27 | +27 | 58 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 2nd | | Mousehole | | 24 | 17 | 2 | 5 | 69 | 41 | +28 | 53 | | 3rd | | Foxhole Stars | | 24 | 12 | 4 | 8 | 45 | 38 | +7 | 40 | | 4th | | Penryn Athletic | | 24 | 11 | 6 | 7 | 46 | 36 | +10 | 39 | | 5th | | Okehampton Argyle | | 24 | 12 | 3 | 9 | 51 | 50 | +1 | 39 | | 6th | | Holsworthy | | 24 | 9 | 9 | 6 | 42 | 39 | +3 | 36 | | 7th | | Callington Town | | 24 | 8 | 9 | 7 | 35 | 31 | +4 | 33 | | 8th | | Truro Reserves | | 24 | 8 | 3 | 13 | 37 | 45 | -8 | 27 | | 9th | | Godolphin Atlantic | | 24 | 7 | 5 | 12 | 42 | 41 | +1 | 26 | | 10th | | Dobwalls | | 24 | 6 | 7 | 11 | 40 | 41 | -1 | 25 | | 11th | | Camelford | | 24 | 6 | 7 | 11 | 32 | 40 | -8 | 25 | | 12th | | Hayle | | 24 | 4 | 5 | 15 | 25 | 54 | -29 | 17 | -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | 13th | R | Porthleven | | 24 | 4 | 4 | 16 | 28 | 63 | -35 | 16 | --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  16. Hi Oche, Hope you're well. Thanks for following along as always. Consider it as a hybrid between a fantasy game and a heavily edited and modified early Championship Manager.
  17. The draw is made for the Qualifying Phase of our opening Tournament, the European Championships. This draw will also highlight to you how the number of nations in Europe has grown over the last 25-30 years I'd imagine, unless you're an old duffer like me, and remember how it used to be.... Group One :- Austria, Bulgaria, Malta, West Germany Group Two :- Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, USSR, Wales Group Three :- Albania, East Germany, Hungary, Spain Group Four :- Belgium, Scotland, Switzerland, Yugoslavia Group Five :- Poland, Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Turkey Group Six :- Greece, Holland, Northern Ireland, Norway Group Seven :- England, Finland, Luxembourg, Romania Group Eight :- Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Portugal Eight groups, eight spots to play for. No direct path for the Holders or Hosts here. The home nations are all kept apart, with England given a fairly straightforward path it would seem. Things will be more difficult for the Republic, Northern Ireland and Scotland, while my Wales team will be frequenting the Eastern Bloc as well as sunnier destinations with Cyprus you'd hope offering a better chance of securing wins. I have some time between now and our first Qualifiers away to the Czechs and Soviets. We then return home to host Cyprus and the Czechs, followed by the USSR, and then finish up in Cyprus, where no doubt we'll probably only need a point to secure the top spot.....or not. We'll see. A five game summer tour is organised. We'll head down under first to face New Zealand and Australia, before crossing back across the globe to the Americas where we will gradually track north after facing likely our toughest test in Mexico, before rounding off against the United States and Canada. Twenty two players have been named in my Squad for the Tour, that's the maximum I'm allowed, with only two substitutions permitted per game. All cap and goals statistics are starting from zero here too. Some of the names will be familiar to Welsh readers. Some will be familiar to all of a certain age. Some will have you wondering who the hell that guy is.... Goalkeepers :- Dibble, Norman, Southall Defenders :- Aizlewood, Blackmore, Bodin, Law, Melville, Slatter, Van den Hauwe Midfielders :- Davies, Hall, Jackett, James, Nicholas, Pascoe, Speed, Williams Forwards :- Allen, Lovell, Roberts, Saunders We start this tour in the Land of the Long White Cloud, New Zealand. International Friendly (A) vs New Zealand (4-3-3) - Southall; Blackmore, Bodin, Aizlewood, Melville; Nicholas, Davies, Pascoe; Allen, Roberts, Saunders. An error strewn start to the game from both teams, though New Zealand's task was made more difficult when De Jong was shown a straight red card in the 12th minute for a crude tackle on Pascoe inside his own half. It would take us almost half an hour to get a shot on target due to New Zealand's well organised defence, but when it came Saunders found the net with a low shot from range, a lead that stuck through to half time. Jackett and Lovell are summoned from the bench, replacing Pascoe and Allen. The game descended into a scrappy game littered with yet more mistakes, and contested almost entirely in the hosts half. Saunders would find the net for a second time on the hour, with Nicholas adding a third less than five minutes later with the floodgates threatening to open. Roberts was booked with ten minutes to go for a tackle that saw Halford stretchered off, but the All Whites never really got into our half, much less troubled Southall in goal. New Zealand (0) 0 Wales (1) 3 - Saunders (28,60), Nicholas (64) The short passing that I requested showed up a big issue for my team, they can't pass. We may have to go longer and quicker out of necessity as opposed to choice. But a win is a win is a win they say. If only we could beat them at rugby as well.....
  18. The eighties! A decade where the internet connection never once let me down, and my phone never failed to have a signal, though roaming was an issue with it. Bad hair, bad clothes, crap music, and four largely poxy tv channels. Back then the equivalent of streaming music was recording the songs you liked from the radio on a Sunday afternoon when the chart show was on, trying to press 'stop' on the cassette before the DJ started talking over the end of it. Nowadays Sunday afternoons are dominated by football for sports fans. In the eighties you were living your best life if you got two live games a week, never mind two a day. The exception was International Football. And that's very much where I'm focusing here, with a diary if you will of International Football during the 1980's. Let's call it the mid-late 1980's, as time has very little meaning or relevance right here readers. This is a parallel International Football universe if you will, where no one ever ages. The players just stay the same, tournament Qualifying and Finals process after tournament Qualifying and Finals process. They don't get any better or worse, they never really change formations, never mind clubs. Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova etc are all encompassed under the iron rule of the old Soviet Union or USSR if you prefer, while Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia are also still alive and kicking too, and the Germans still have the wall through the middle of Berlin. The English can't win a penalty shoot out and the Scots are still s**t. So in some ways it's like nothing has ever really changed. Football was a far less complicated game back in the eighties. You get one less formation than you get tv channels, sweepers have never been heard of! False nine? that's a card game right? You're either a goalie, a defender, a midfielder or a striker, that's your lot. I'm bringing back 'old skool' football, and you're gonna like it, even if you don't like it. There's no starting unemployed here. I have to condemn a nation to the eternal misery of my management. So I've picked Wales, because it makes no difference to them. In the eighties we were bad enough that our misery already felt eternal. 43 players painstakingly recreated in a labour of love......well, I typed in their names, clubs and gave them a position. What more do you want from me? After that, it's down to fate whether they will be International superstars or never heard of again. Go on, indulge me. Try and do what no one ever did in the Eighties, and enjoy yourself........
  19. Merry Christmas to you and yours Mark, and to every member of the FMS community.
  20. Hi Humanmale, Welcome to FMS. Best of luck with this one, but before you continue, I'd suggest you have a read through the FMS House Rules, which i've added to the bottom of this post. I've removed the pics from your opening post, if you need this story moved to an area where you can continue to use pics, let me know.
  21. Monday 1st February 2016 Transfer Deadline Day, and Cardiff City finally relent and agree to allow South Korean International forward Kim Bo-Kyung to make the move that he has been craving for some time now. But before they let him leave, they ensure they have a replacement ready to come in. Bo-Kyung is on his way to Nottingham Forest of the Barclays Premier League, where they hope his goals will help them climb out of the relegation zone. They've paid £5.5 million for his signature. His replacement at the Cardiff City Stadium in twenty six year old forward Hal Robson-Kanu. Capped 36 times by Wales, he has been with Reading for his entire career with the exception of loan spells. His goal record however is not one to be envious of at either club or country level. Maybe that's why his fee is only a tenth of that paid for Bo-Kyung at £550,000. That would be the start of a busy day for City, who also brought in Scottish International full back Sean Kelly from St Mirren for £1.4 million, Congo International forward Franci Litsingi from Polish club Legia Warsaw for £825,000, and another £500,000 on former England Under-21 International midfielder Jacob Butterfield from Huddersfield Town. To balance the books somewhat, they allowed striker Adam Le Fondre to move to Sky Bet Championship rivals Charlton Athletic for a fee of £75,000 to move his wages off their books, and then right at the last knockings of the day, they brought in Northern Irish International midfielder Corry Evans from Blackburn Rovers for a cost of another half a million. It would seem that City certainly are of the opinion that this is as good a chance as they'll get at promotion for a while. They would recoup another £60,000 with a final piece of business with Reading, selling them midfielder Joe Ralls who spent the last two seasons out on loan and has played only half a dozen games this season. Wednesday 3rd February There was a trip into South Wales for Chelsea this evening, and they would leave to head back into London with three more points to their haul and the new status as league leaders. Goals at either end of the game from André Schürrle and Diego Costa in Swansea pushed them ahead of Manchester City, while still retaining two games in hand on the current Champions. Saturday 6th February Davide starts once again at the Cardiff City Stadium, as they host another club hoping to push themselves into the Promotion picture, AFC Bournemouth visiting from the south coast. No fewer than four players make their Bluebirds debuts, but the same problem persists, a lack of goals. The deadlock remained steadfastly unbroken today, a chance to make gains on those above them goes begging for Sam Allardyce and his players. In the late Barclays Premier League game, Chelsea may well be bemoaning Cardiff and their decision to sell Kim Bo-Kyung to Nottingham Forest. At the City Ground, the South Korean International forward scored the second of a two minute double for his new club midway through the first half after Spanish utility man Daniel Ayala had netted the opener also on his debut following a move from Middlesbrough. One would be pulled back from the spot after the break by Eden Hazard, but try as they might Chelsea couldn't find a way through again, and while Forest climb out of the relegation zone, Chelsea remain top purely due to Manchester City and Liverpool's inability to capitalise on this Blues slip up. Tuesday 9th February On a busy night of action in the Barclays Premier League, there are wins for both Manchester City and Liverpool, and also Chelsea. Back at home at Stamford Bridge it was Southampton who were put to the sword by a ruthless Blues side. Mohamed Salah put them ahead, with Willian adding to the lead on the half hour mark. Yet another midfielder completed the scoring in the final five minutes, Xherdan Shaqiri adding the final flourish to a very impressive performance on an almost sub zero temperature evening in West London. Saturday 13th February It's FA Cup Fifth Round weekend, and for Chelsea that means a trip down to the South Coast after Southampton dispatched Nottingham Forest in the last round to set up this all Barclays Premier League tie. José Mourinho had a full strength side more or less sent out at St Mary's Stadium, and opening quarter goals from André Schürrle and Xherdan Shaqiri had The Blues in control. Zambia International forward Emmanuel Mayuka pulled a goal back for the hosts before the break, but Schürrle notched a second shortly after the restart and the game was effectively over as a contest. With no Danilo or any of the other young prospects in the squad, it seems Chelsea are keen to get their hands on the FA Cup for an eighth time as they move into the Quarter-Finals. Monday 15th February Quarter-Final draw time this evening for the Cup, and whichever celebrity or retired footballer participated in proceedings, they probably won't be overly welcome at Stamford Bridge any time soon. Their last eight fate will be decided in the northern area of the city, at the Emirates Stadium, home of eleven times winners Arsenal, who last lifted the Cup in 2014. Tuesday 16th February While Arsenal were left to ponder that prospect, Chelsea were in Belgium for their First Leg appointment as they continued their UEFA Champions League campaign with the First Knockout Round tie against Standard Liège. And the tie was all but won in a six minute spell either side of half time, with a three goal salvo from their free scoring midfielders. Eden Hazard found the net back in his homeland, with Oscar and Xherdan Shaqiri also striking for The Blues. Almost certainly there will be another Quarter-Final tie to be pushed into the schedule for the Kings Road club. Friday 19th February 'Fox Soccer' in the United States air their weekly European Football Show this evening, and their focus was on Chelsea. Linking the segment as a move onto the International scene and Wales in particular, Danilo became a point of interest. In the view of one of their pundits, while he is unable to get into the Chelsea side, then Danilo shouldn't be playing International Senior football either, and discouraged Chris Coleman from continuing to select the five times capped teenager. Saturday 20th February In the Sky Bet Championship, there was a masterclass at Upton Park as West Ham United showed Cardiff City the difference between promotion contenders and a team who were simply hopeful at earning a Playoff place. It was former City striker Cameron Jerome who got the ball rolling so to speak in the 17th minute, and that lead was doubled right on half time with a close range header from Diafra Sakho. He would add another with a beauty of a finish after the break to click the score up to 3-0, where it would stay as Cardiff were unable to get anything back even after Cheikhou Kouyaté was sent off for a second bookable offence midway through the second half. One consolation would be Davide, who had a great game despite the heavy defeat. Across London in the late Barclays Premier League game, André Schürrle continued his superb goalscoring form at Loftus Road. The German International forward scored his sixteenth goal in all competitions for Chelsea midway through the first half as they defeated Queens Park Rangers with the only goal of the game on a weekend that saw Manchester City lose ground to Chelsea and Liverpool with a home defeat to Leeds United. Wednesday 24th February Leeds United are 12th in the Barclays Premier League this evening, an uplift in their usual spot just above the relegation zone. The change in status has come about due to their new found ability to upset Title Contenders on their own patch. Last week they beat Manchester City, and tonight they have over turned Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. It was Chelsea who went in front in the 12th minute through Diego Costa, but Leeds levelled five minutes after the break through Billy Sharp, and before the hour mark they were in front via Dele Alli. For once The Blues were unable to find a way back, and one of their games in hand has been burned without any addition to their points tally. Seven points seperate the top five, and we look set for a great Title Race for the remainder of the season. Friday 26th February I wonder how Danilo must be feeling today? He'll have just watched 17 year old Under-18 side left back Aidan Butler sign professional terms with Chelsea having arrived at the club just over a year ago from Southampton on a Youth Contract. As of today, Butler is on almost £2,000 per week before deductions, while Danilo still remains on a basic salary of just £100 a week nearly two years after arriving at the club! Saturday 27th February It was far from pretty, but Chelsea would return to winning way this afternoon away from home against another side in blue, Everton. A tenth minute goal from veteran striker Samuel Eto'o had the Merseyside mid table club ahead, a lead that would stick through to the early stages of the second half, when half time substitute Cesc Fàbregas would fire a close range equaliser. The Spanish International midfielder would score again just over ten minutes later to earn Chelsea all three points and ensure they would end February top of the Barclays Premier League. Elsewhere in the North West, for Cardiff City it was a trip to Wigan Athletic. At the DW Stadium, it would be a man of the match performance from Davide as he not only helped City to a clean sheet, but also notched the first League goal of his Senior career with a finish from the edge of the area after a set piece was only partially cleared by Wigan. That win leaves City ending the month in 12th place, but only four points away from the Playoff places with a dozen matches left to play this season. They have some work to do, but if they can find some consistency, they are still very much in the hunt.
  22. Wednesday 1st December 2021 Despite our form remaining very much hot and cold, the Board remain reasonably satisfied with how things are going this season, though with one notable exception. Our continued overspending on the wage budget. Thursday 2nd December Tenth placed Guiseley provide our next opposition, as we make the relatively short trip to the club considered by many to be overachieving with a top half spot. They're difficult to break down, though they don't score too many goals either. They actually are not too dis-similar to ourselves with that description. Saturday 4th December Vanarama League North Division Nethermoor, Guiseley Guiseley v York City The wingers from last time out turn into wing backs for this trip, as we are nowhere near brave enough to believe we can out play a team like this right now. Ross McCormack is once more fit again, but the veteran is selected only for the bench at the expense of James McShane. The home team dominated possession early on, and loanee Chris Conn-Clarke whipped in an eighth minute corner that Kaine Felix got above everyone to beat to and glance the ball into the far corner to leave us behind early on. After such a good start, they then took the bizarre decision to sit back, a mistake it would prove. Ryan Whitley's long punt down the park on the half hour was flicked on by Benjamin Kimpioka, and then nudged by Kevin Smith into the path of Clayton Donaldson who showed off his usual accuracy in front of goal to square things up. A little more than five minutes later we had turned the game around completely, Donaldson turning provider this time as with his back to goal and the defence keen to make sure he couldn't shoot again, he found the form man in space, and Kimpioka found the net again to continue his rich vein of goalscoring form! The second half saw us close ranks ourselves after Smith missed a chance to improve our lead further, and a valuable three points would accompany us back to York. Guiseley (1) 1 - Kaine Felix (8) York City (2) 2 - Clayton Donaldson (30), Benjamin Kimpioka (36) Ryan Whitley; Matty Brown ©, Louie Annesley, Sam Fielding; Michael Duckworth, Scott Barrow; Bobby Grant (James Horsfield 72), Tyrese Fornah; Benjamin Kimpioka; Clayton Donaldson (Jack Steele 83), Kevin Smith (Ross McCormack 72). Attendance :- 2,250 That excellent away day victory nudges us up into fourth spot as we head towards both Christmas and the halfway point of the League campaign, with only five points separating the top seven and a big game at home to second placed Chorley ahead of us next weekend. Monday 6th December That performance from Clayton Donaldson was enough to earn him a spot in the Vanarama North Team of the Week. With a goal and an assist on the weekend, the veteran Jamaican International striker seems to be enjoying his football right now. Thursday 9th December Chorley visit us on Saturday, fresh from holding leaders Darlington to a 2-2 draw at home last weekend. In fact, Chorley's second spot comes from a run of form that hasn't seen them lose in the League since a late October defeat away to the Guiseley side we have just been successful against ourselves. The bookies reach the conclusion that we are the favourites, but anyone who has been watching us this season knows full well we are more than capable of imploding at any given moment. Saturday 11th December Vanarama League North Division York Community Stadium, York York City v Chorley I was almost very brave, knowing that Chorley would match up against us I felt the urge to push my wing backs forward as wingers to pin theirs back and try to stifle their production by forcing them to defend. But I didn't. Tactically I stayed as we were, though Kevin Smith was dropped, Ross McCormack brought back in to play behind the front two with Benjamin Kimpioka pushed up front and James McShane brought back onto the bench. Referee for this one Richie Watkins absolutely infuriated me right from the start, refusing point blank to consider the prospect of showing a Chorley player a card despite their obvious tactic of fouling early to spoil our attempts to launch speedy attacks, midfielder Mason Goodridge the main culprit. He was only to happy to book Tyrese Fornah for the same thing though to the annoyance of the home crowd. Goodridge it would be who would send over the corner that saw us go behind right on half time, once more we are caught out on defending a set piece as Harry Cardwell found the net. At half time I made the change I should have made before the game, Michael Duckworth and Scott Barrow came off, James McShane and Gregory Tadé came on to play right wing and behind the strikers, while Ross McCormack moved to the left. We looked a completely different team, causing Chorley no end of problems and finally breaking them down midway through the half when Donaldson played in McShane on the corner of the box, and he squared it for Fornah to find the top corner from 25 yards out! There was only one winner from there, but try as we might we couldn't prise them open again, and the spoils would be shared. York City (0) 1 - Tyrese Fornah (67) Chorley (1) 1 - Harry Cardwell (45) Ryan Whitley; Matty Brown ©, Louie Annesley, Sam Fielding; Michael Duckworth (James McShane 45), Scott Barrow (Gregory Tadé 45); Bobby Grant (James Horsfield 90+1), Tyrese Fornah; Ross McCormack; Clayton Donaldson, Benjamin Kimpioka. Attendance :- 1,961 We take another step up the table into third courtesy of Curzon Ashton's away defeat to lowly Hereford. Meanwhile Darlington stretch their lead a little at the top with a home win over AFC Fylde. We don't play in the League again now until Boxing Day in the first of two games in forty eight hours over the festive period. Before that, it's the small matter of a trip to face the now second placed side in the Vanarama National, as we meet Stockport County in the FA Trophy next weekend.
  23. Thanks Oche, much appreciated as always. Fingers crossed for a good return to the top table. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sunday 17th July 2016 The groundsman is ready to apply the finishing touches at The Showgrounds ahead of the new campaign. He wants my instructions for the size of the playing surface, which I ask him to make short and wide so we can utilise our wide players and make sure they have plenty of width to send their crosses over. Monday 18th July We have another new arrival at the club. Those who have been following this long term save right throughout may remember from my time at Maidstone United the young Northern Irish defensive midfielder Alan Dallas. Signed on a Free Transfer from Killymoon Rangers he was a player I gave chances to, and now I have given him another here at The Showgrounds as he arrives on a Free following the expiry of his contract in England. Now aged 20, Alan has excellent physical attributes, and is still developing the technical side of his game. He signs a three year deal worth just £20 per week to the player, but immediately has a transfer value of £30,000. Wednesday 20th July Tomorrow we will play our second pre-season Friendly of our schedule, travelling a little further afield this time to face Ballinamallard United who were relegated out of the Northern Irish League last season. The started their preparation for the new season on Monday evening with a 2-0 victory over third tier side Ballyclare Comrades who were promoted into the Second Division last season along with Moyola Park, who are regularly relegated from that level only to be quickly promoted back up. It was almost inevitable after defeat in the First Leg at home, but tonight sees Linfield once more take the agonisingly early exit from the UEFA Champions League, this time in the First Qualifying Round, after a 3-0 defeat this evening in Montenegro at the hands of FK Zeta Golubovci. With Linfield spending a lot of money compared to their own earning potential in an attempt to make progress in Europe, this latest failure could well see the Belfast club review their policy of spending big after making little to no impact on Northern Ireland's co-efficient with UEFA despite their comparitively big spending. Thursday 21st July Pre-Season Friendly Ferney Park, Ballinamallard Ballinamallard United v Coleraine Attendance :- 71. Weather :- Gusty, 19c. Our pre-season schedule continues with a trip to newly non-League club Ballinamallard United. Ryan Nelthorpe and Dean Jones replace Lee Ward and Gavin Whelan in the middle of the park, while Andy McMillan comes in up front for Pat McIlroy as well as a change on the substitutes bench too with new arrival Alan Dallas ready to make his first appearance in our colours, which happen to be yellow today. We received a blow with less than ninety seconds on the clock, as Frank Nouble was involved in a clash of heads that would leave him in no fit state to continue, and Stuart Shaw was summoned from the bench. There was a sense that may just be the start of a bad day at the office as Richard Miller sent a shot at goal off the top of our cross bar. But we would quickly get on top of the game, Andy McMillan sending a shot off target, while Shaw's on target effort was pushed aside by keeper Ryan Young. He would also turn over a Matty Robson shot and gratefully clutch Shaw's close range header. Goalless at half time it would remain. A full team substitution would take place at the break, with the exception of Shaw who was given ten more minutes having not started himself, before he was then also replaced too. The game was still without a goal at that point, and it would remain so too as Andy Dickinson sent a header from a set piece wide before Pat McIlroy's low shot across goal missed the target in arguably our best chance of the day. Even when United emptied their own bench and brought a series of young players on, we were unable to find a way through, Gerry Nixon sending a curling shot wide of the top corner late on. Ballinamallard United (0) 0 Coleraine (0) 0 Neil Haughey (Gerard Doherty 45); Tony Jones (Adam Hendrie 45), Declan O'Hara (Andy Dickinson 45), Ryan Young (Stuart Murray 45), Stewart Devine © (Michael Haswell 45); Ryan Nelthorpe (Alan Dallas 45), Dean Jones (Michael McCartney 45); Craig Dobson (Gerry Nixon 45), Matty Robson (Stuart Francis 45); Frank Nouble (inj - Stuart Shaw 3 (Chris Johnston 55)), Andy McMillan (Pat McIlroy 45). Unused Substitutes :- None Bookings :- None Possession :- 41% - 59%. Man of the Match :- Ryan Young (Ballinamallard United). Lets hope that we're not entirely toothless without Frank Nouble, who has suffered a concussion and will be out for up to a fortnight. Our squad now shows previously unheard of levels of strength in depth, and hopefully the inevitable injury here and there shouldn't cause us huge problems. Friday 22nd July That squad depth increases with the arrival of 20 year old English goalkeeper, Liam McLeary. The Crewe born 6'2 shot stopper was released in the summer by his hometown club after four seasons at Gresty Road. He made eleven League appearances for Alexandra during that time, and also played ten times in the Blue Square North last season on a loan spell with AFC Telford United. He rejected an offer from Dagenham & Redbridge to make the move across the Irish Sea, and has signed a two year deal with us, where he will now challenge Neil Haughey and Gerard Doherty for the start in our Premier Division return season. He is joined later in the day by another new arrival, as we address our lack of options on the left wing. Also twenty years old, speed merchant Dean Britton is a once capped Welsh Under-21 International left winger who can also play in a more narrow role in the centre of the park too. Born on Anglesey, he moved south in 2012 to join Swansea City, and like McLeary spent four seasons with that club. Unlike McLeary, he failed to crack the First Team at the Liberty Stadium with the Coca-Cola Championship club, and was also forced to spend last season on loan looking for First Team action. He spent time with Blue Square Premier outfit Salisbury City. It's a three year deal at The Showgrounds for Britton. Wednesday 27th July On the morning of our latest pre-season game, and with a Welsh club paying us a visit, Britton gets a new Welsh team mate too. It's not the first time I've signed John Green. The 6'1 tall 24 year old striker and former Under-19 International arrived in the West of Scotland during my tenure at Ayr United, and then sat in limbo for several seasons when League football was curtailed north of the border. When he did eventually move on last summer it would be to Ebbsfleet United of the Blue Square Premier, averaging just short of a goal every three games in his twenty four league appearances. The Bridgend born striker spent his early career in the United States. His contract is for two years, and he will face stiff competition for game time, but has declared himself delighted to be given the opportunity to prove himself. He is available for tonights visit of Wrexham. Pre-Season Friendly The Showgrounds, Coleraine Coleraine v Wrexham Attendance :- 430. Weather :- Dry, 22c. The highlight of our pre-season schedule as we welcome Wrexham to The Showgrounds as they make the short hop across the Irish Sea and to Ulster's north coast. After being relegated from the third tier in the Spring, our guests have new owners that have brought in several new players including young American keeper Harry Millington who was brought in from Motherwell and Northern Irish International left back Tony Capaldi who arrives on a Free Transfer from Rochdale. For ourselves, Liam McLeary starts in goal, Lee Ward and Gavin Whelan return in the midfield, while Stuart Shaw replaces the injured Frank Nouble up front. There are places on the bench for new arrivals Liam Britton and John Green. Tony Capaldi nearly celebrated his return to Northern Ireland with a goal, he would have got on the end of a header back across goal were it not for the close attention of Tony Jones. We would lose Declan O'Hara to an injury before the 20th minute, with Stuart Murray coming on his place, and shortly after Stewart Devine struck a free kick wide of the mark in what would be a rare foray up the park for us. Instead we would fall behind in the 27th minute, Andrea Mutombo sent an angled through ball to Daniel Galbraith at the edge of the box, and as he twisted and turned to earn a yard of space, his shot deflected off Ryan Young and left Liam McLeary flat footed and helpless to prevent Wrexham from taking the lead. Our attempt at an immediate response failed, as Andy McMillan first forced a routine save from Harry Millington with a somewhat weak shot, and then the same player sent an arguably better chance high and wide of the goal frame. Still a goal behind at the break, and with another game in forty eight hours, I made only three changes at half time, though that was quickly made into four when Stuart Shaw was injured just over five minutes after the restart. We were starting to cause our guests some trouble however, Jones getting past Galbraith and into the box but unable to pick out a team mate with his cut back from the byline. Then Dobson's through ball found half time sub John Green, his shot beating Millington but crashing back off the underside of the cross bar. Encouraged, I emptied my substitutes bench in the hope fresh legs would find a way through. And they did, short passing found us with an advantage on the right, and as Wrexham stretched back across the park to reorganise, Adam Hendrie sent in a beautiful deep cross to the far side of the box, and Dean Britton was far too quick off the mark for the watching defender who could do nothing as the North Wales born winger sent his sidefooted volley beyond Millington's dive to draw us level. Either side could still have won it, Dave Rugg's low half volley from a knock down was stopped by the legs of now in goal Neil Haughey, before at the other end right at the end of injury time, Michael Haswell swung a free kick into the box that Chris Johnston connected with, only to see blocked by a red shirted defender. An entertaining game that finishes all square. Coleraine (0) 1 - Dean Britton (75) Wrexham (1) 1 - Ryan Young (27 og) Liam McLeary (Neil Haughey 68); Tony Jones (Adam Hendrie 68), Declan O'Hara (inj - Stuart Murray 18), Ryan Young (Andy Dickinson 68), Stewart Devine (Michael Haswell 68); Lee Ward (Ryan Nelthorpe 45), Gavin Whelan © (Alan Dallas 68); Craig Dobson (Chris Johnston 68), Matty Robson (Dean Britton (45); Stuart Shaw (inj - Gerry Nixon 52), Andy McMillan (John Green 45). Unused Substitutes :- Pat McIlroy. Bookings :- None Possession :- 48% - 52%. Man of the Match :- Dean Britton (Coleraine). It's a shame there was such a low turnout to watch that game, as we actually matched up quite well with a team that have just dropped out of the third tier across the water and are certainly looking to move right back up out of League Two next season. As can often be the case when players are looking to gain match fitness, injuries are an issue. Declan O'Hara is fine, but Stuart Shaw is not. The 23 year old Scottish striker will be sidelined for up to six weeks after pulling his hamstring early in the second half. With such depth, it's bad news for him, but also for us with him being such a reliable source of goals since joining us. We have a pair of domestic away games to round off our pre-season schedule, heading first to Second Divison side Larne on Friday evening, before finishing off against their division rivals Ballymoney United next week. After that, we'll be right into Premier Division action for the first time in over two years, and my first time at the top tier of any nation since my career started almost ten years ago now.
  24. Early August, and yesterday I rejected an offer for our 23 year old centre back Marko Milic from Red Bull Leipzig. Today the rumour is that the German third tier club will return with an offer worth twice as much to try and get the man they want to help lead their defence. Are these kids trying to injure Senior players on purpose now? Right winger Dejan Milutinovic has now injured right back Nenad Djukanovic in training. Either one of them was well out of position, or someone has gone out of their way to leave one on someone in a tackle. The 29 year old defender will miss a week with a concussion. I could do without any more injuries, especially if interest in my players from foreign clubs continues at this pace. Russian First Division outfit Fakel Voronzeh are rumoured to be lining up a bid for my Bosnian Youth International centre back Nemnaja Matovic. Matovic is one of four players summoned for International duty in the next window, joining Momcilo Mrkaic in the Bosnia-Herzergovina Under-21's, who also call up Adnan Brkovic for their Under-19's side. We also have representation in the Serbia Under-19's with Boris Bozovic. The draw has been made for the Second Qualifying Phase of the Serbian Cup. We face an away day to Zemun against Divisional rivals FK Teleoptik less than a week after the draw in what would become our first competitive game of the season. That game would see Senior Football debuts in the careers of Marjan Vidojevic and Dejan Milutinovic, but it wouldn't go particularly well for either. The former pulled a hamstring in the second half and is now out for a month, while the latter never really got into the game thanks to an outstanding performance from the home sides Brazilian left back Platini, as we were bounced out of the Cup early in a 2-0 defeat. The debut of Milutinovic at 15 years and 344 days old makes him the youngest player in Bezanija's club history, as well as the youngest player ever to take part in a Serbian Cup match. We would open our League campaign just days later in Krusevac against a Napredak side that have earned a reputation as boring. They were too largely, but we matched them in the boring stakes, beat them in that regard even, as they took the spoils with a 25 yard thunderbolt from Vladimir Miljkovic shortly after half time. Not an ideal start and with none of the young stars featuring as we search for the way we want to play, making us competitive while enabling the blooding of the new crop of youngsters that we have coming through the ranks. Their days will soon come. For Dejan Milutinovic, the wait would be only a week long. He came on as a substitute in our opening home game of the season against Mladost Lucani to also become the youngest ever player in the Serbian First League. Less than 400 were in attendance as we continued to try and find the balance between causing problems for the opposition and not being caught cold at the other end. With a striker like Dejan Vukojevic however, we should never be struggling for goals. He put us ahead with a real strikers finish, before getting us ahead for a second time with the winner after finishing off a real route one goal. He could have had a hatrick, Milutinovic playing him in late on but he was unable to find the finish this time. Nice to be off the mark though. We would finish August off with a 'big' Belgrade derby game. Frankly, there was nothing 'big' about it. Cukaricki go into the game bottom of the table having been thrashed away to the same Teleoptik side that dumped us out of the Cup. A crowd of only just over 800 greeted us with a hostile welcome, though it's still double the attendance we get. A 3-3-1-1-2 setup with wing backs makes it difficult for Dejan Milutinovic to find a spot, while Marjan Vidojevic is still sidelined with injury. But on a beautiful sunny evening in central Belgrade, my first derby experience ends well, substitute Milos Markovic sending over an 86th minute corner that picked out fellow sub and Bosnian Youth International striker Momcilo Mrkaic at the far post to head home and move us up into a slightly unexpected top six position with a trio of games on the board. September will see us play two of our three games at home, though two of the three are also against early top three clubs. Will be be able to continue our decent start to the campaign, and will any of our potential new stars be able to force their foot into the door to the First Team?
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