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About CFuller

  • Rank
    Youth Team


  • Biography
    FM storyteller originally from Romford, Essex

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  • Favourite Team

Currently Managing

  • Currently Managing
    currently on an FM break (will return soon)

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  1. FM18

    Your copy of FM18 will be tied to your Steam account. Install Steam on your new PC, and then log in to your account. FM should be available to download from there.
  2. FM 18 - Worth it?

    As some other users have said, I'd suggest that you play the demo, rather than simply take a few negative opinions and say, "I guess it's not for me, then." The only person who can decide whether you'll like a game is you. I wasn't sure about whether I wanted to buy FM18, so I played the demo. Only once the six-month 'trial' save was up did I decide, "No, not this year." Of course, you might have a different experience.
  3. 2017/18 Fantasy Football League

    Looks like I won't even be finishing 2nd this year. Ah well. Just the cup to aim for now.
  4. 2017/18 Fantasy Football League

    So, I took an 8-point hit to get Salah, Mané, Mounie and Adam Smith into my team for this weekend. I thought I'd made Salah my captain. 58 points, lovely... Turned out it was Mounie who had the captaincy.
  5. ***FMS 2018 Hall of Fame Preliminary Round Voting***

    Vote sent and claimed.
  6. What version of FM are you playing? Unlockables are only included in FM Touch (and I believe FM Mobile as well). You cannot get or use them in the main FM game.
  7. A Scottish Invasion with the FMS Crew

    Rondon hat-trick?! De Boer OUT
  8. House of Flying Daggers

    FEBRUARY 2040 February used to be a month where our players could be excused for sleeping in, such was the dearth of matches in our schedule. Not anymore. We would be competing on FOUR different fronts this month, with the League Cup Final and the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 taking centre stage in the middle of some Premier League games. Before all that, we had to try and keep our aspirations of winning the FA Cup alive. Nottingham Forest had held us to a 1-1 draw at Rainham Road in our original Round 4 tie, meaning that we would need to replay them at their City Ground. If we could finish Forest off at the second time of asking, a Round 5 tie at Crystal Palace awaited us. 1 February 2040: Nottingham Forest vs Dagenham & Redbridge Nottingham Forest didn't take long to stretch the play out and put us under pressure. In the very first minute, striker Julio César Andrade found Luiz Gustavo in acres of space on the left wing, only to see the Brazilian-born Bosnia & Herzegovina international pull the ball well off target. On 13 minutes, the same pair were at it again. Luiz Gustavo was given too much room by Daggers right-back Enrique Álvarez, and he picked up a weighted pass from Andrade before cutting into our area. Once more, though, he failed to get near Ben Perk's goal. Forest were looking the better team, but having rushed into things early on, we decided to slow our tempo about midway through the half. We patiently waited for our first opportunity, which came about in the 22nd minute. Orlando Salvador intercepted a pass from Luiz Gustavo and played it first-time to Elliot Cook, who dribbled into the Forest area before curling an excellent shot against the crossbar. That was as close as we'd come to breaking the stranglehold before half-time. Elliot sent Antonis Siafos through on goal in the 31st minute, but the Greek forward just misdirected his shot past the far post when he only had to beat Glenn Nordh. Nevertheless, the game remained up for grabs after a goalless opening 45 minutes. Home fans at the City Ground developed a couple of injury concerns early in the second half. Nottingham Forest right-back Henry Aramayo and winger Mohammed Lawal each sustained knocks in respective collisions with Daggers midfielders Frédéric Pereira and Kenneth Jorgensen. Lawal was still being treated on the sidelines when, after 56 minutes, we hit Forest on the counter. Our breakaway move began with Orlando brilliantly dispossessing home midfielder John Woods just inside our half. Jorgensen picked up the ball and played it forward to Cook, who then spotted Siafos making a run past a hampered Aramayo. Tony latched onto Elliot's killer pass and then beautifully stroked it into the far corner! Two minutes after that opener, Daggers left-back Tom Drost was booked for a rash sliding challenge on Lawal. Tom would soon be subbed off, as would midfielder Tumelo Mofokeng. Shortly after the introductions of Thulani Mazibuko and Lee Allen, however, we were given a taste of our own medicine. Woods knocked a Pereira flick-on away from George Darvill and forward to Andrade, who sent Forest on the counter. Luiz Gustavo was again found unmarked on the left flank, and the Bosnian wouldn't let us off the hook this time around. His drilled cross into the Dagenham box was met by a lethal diving header from Lawal, and it was 1-1 after 67 minutes. The hunt was now on for a third and potentially decisive goal. Nordh denied Salvador the chance to become a hero when the Tricky Trees' Swedish shotstopper palmed away our playmaker's strike in the 73rd minute. Three minutes later, Nordh caught a header from Darvill, whose equaliser in the original tie had got us to this point. Nottingham Forest also had a couple of match-winning chances. In the 82nd minute, Luiz Gustavo's corner was flicked over the bar by Leo Cortesi. Then, in injury time, another Forest header - from centre-back Said Tran - bounced safely into Perk's hands. That save effectively sent a tense FA Cup encounter into extra-time. Despite getting our goal in normal time, Siafos had looked unfocussed, so I replaced him with Mark Washington before the additional 30 minutes began. Washington wouldn't muster a single shot at goal in that half-hour. In fact, it was Nottingham Forest who went closest to taking the lead in the first extra half. Paraguayan substitute Angel Barrientos proved a real handful in the 93rd minute, forcing Perk to parry a long-ranger behind before he flicked Luiz Gustavo's corner inches wide. Meanwhile, both teams started to lose their discipline. Forest had Andrade booked on 102 minutes after clattering into Jorgensen. Then, just moments after the second half started, Álvarez received our second yellow card following a dust-up with Luiz Gustavo. Forest received their second booking after 107 minutes... and it went to the same player as their first. When Andrade tripped Darvill from behind as Aramayo hoisted a long ball from the hosts' half, the referee showed no hesitation in sending the Ecuadorean striker off! Nottingham Forest had been reduced to 10 men... but seven minutes later, so had we! Álvarez clearly hadn't heeded lessons from earlier on, as another clumsy tackle on Luiz Gustavo resulted in our Spanish full-back being shown to the dressing room! Despite Enrique's sending-off, we created the final scoring opportunity of extra-time. On 117 minutes, Cook flicked Perk's long punt out right to Washington, who dribbled into the penalty area before playing the ball back to Pereira. Frédi then squared it to Orlando, whose hit-and-hoper was tipped away by Nordh. This cup tie had finished 1-1 after the original match, and 1-1 after a two-hour replay. Penalties would have to come into play now. Mitar Vujic made light work of Nottingham Forest's first penalty, and Cook did likewise for Dagenham. The first miss would come from Forest's second effort, as Brent Crookes - who'd scored in the first game at Rainham Road - failed to beat Perk. Daggers captain Washington then hammered home our advantage. A 2-1 lead became 4-3 after the next four penalties, and thus we now found ourselves on the brink of victory. Perk only had to save from Daniel Ipoua to book us a Round 5 meeting with Crystal Palace. Many of us in the Daggers dugout rejoice when Ben got a glove to the Cameroonian defender's fierce drive. Alas, he couldn't quite divert it away from his goal. The Tricky Trees were level again, but Salvador now had our destiny at his feet. Orlando drove his potentially decisive penalty to Nordh's left... and the Swede went the same way, palming it clear. It was still 4-4. Sudden death loomed. Robbie James scored Forest's sixth penalty, putting Vicente Gridelli under real pressure to score for the Daggers. I winced in agony when the Argentine's shot clipped the post... but the roar of the away supporters told me that it had just deflected in. The Daggers would be rejoicing again when Perk stopped Tran's next penalty, handing Allen the chance to eliminate the hosts. Sadly, the pressure got to Lee, whose spot-kick was pushed wide. An eighth round of penalties began with the excellent Luiz Gustavo scoring for Forest, sending them 6-5 ahead. Darvill then stepped up for the Daggers, even though he'd only taken one penalty before in his life. That inexperience showed. George went straight down the middle, and an emphatic block from Nordh sent us crashing out of the FA Cup. Nottingham Forest - 1 (Lawal 67) Dagenham & Redbridge - 1 (Siafos 56) [after extra time, Nottingham Forest win 6-5 on penalties] FA Cup Round 4 Replay, Attendance 13,780 PENALTY SHOOT-OUT: Vujic 1-0, Cook 1-1, Crookes saved, Washington 1-2, Woods 2-2, Jorgensen 2-3, Aramayo 3-3, Pereira 3-4, Ipoua 4-4, Salvador saved, James 5-4, Gridelli 5-5, Tran saved, Allen saved, Luiz Gustavo 6-5, Darvill saved. DAG & RED LINE-UP: Perk, Álvarez, Gridelli, Darvill, Drost (Mazibuko), Jorgensen, Mofokeng (Allen), Pereira, Salvador, Cook, Siafos (Washington). BOOKED: Drost, Álvarez. SENT OFF: Álvarez. Losing a penalty shoot-out always hurts, and especially so if you've had multiple chances to win. Nevertheless, I was proud of my team's efforts. They couldn't have played much better without coming through victorious. It was impossible to predict whether things would've ended differently had Enrique Álvarez not got himself sent off while we were a man up. Worryingly, that was not Álvarez's first red card of the season. I appreciated that Enrique was only 20 years old and was still maturing, but the right-back would need to control his aggression a lot better in future if he was to reach the top of his profession. While we pondered over where we went from here, a couple of Daggers rejoined our reserve team after loan spells in the lower leagues. Alex Hunter had scored eight goals in League One for Shrewsbury Town, but goalkeeper Alex Lund had failed to impress in League Two with Ashford Town. The latter Alex would most likely be released once this season was up. Three days after our heartbreaking defeat in Nottingham, we returned to the East Midlands to take on 9th-placed Derby County. The Rams were amongst several teams who were hoping to bump us out of the top six at some point over the coming weeks, so we really couldn't afford a loss at Pride Park. 4 February 2040: Derby County vs Dagenham & Redbridge We pushed forward from the outset, racking up a couple of shots in the very first minute. Tumelo Mofokeng's fierce shot deflected off Derby defender Jamie Collett and fell towards Nolan Barber, who drilled it just wide. Mofokeng had another pop at goal in the 8th minute, as the England Under-21s midfielder dribbled past Vedran Pasic's tackle before floating his shot off target. The Rams' first chances to take the lead came at around the 15-minute mark. They won a couple of corners off us, the latter of which saw Aidan Bobbins' delivery flicked beyond the far post by Marcus Pitman. Other than that, they wouldn't push our defence particularly hard. Meanwhile, our striking duo of Alun Harding and Antonis Siafos had very mixed fortunes at the other end. Poacher Harding hardly did anything after collecting a very early yellow card, though target man Siafos was rather more active. The Greek took a while to find his range, as he sent wide a couple of wayward shots in the 25th and 33rd minutes. Siafos had a more promising attempt at goal in the 40th minute. Derby goalkeeper Maguila caught Tony's drive, he wouldn't be able to keep out our big frontman's next attempt. Siafos made the most of an excellent corner from Thulani Mazibuko, flicking it past a helpless Maguila to give us a 1-0 lead in the penultimate minute of the first half! Despite his late assist, Mazibuko had struggled somewhat at left-wing in the first period, so I replaced him with Tom Drost before the resumption. Five minutes into the second half, Derby's own half-time sub was wishing that he hadn't been brought on by John Sullivan. Danish playmaker Kasper Dupont Kjaer tackled the ball off Greg Killick as our midfielder dribbled towards County's penalty area. However, Kjaer could only send the ball flying loosely into the box, where Siafos rushed forward to beat Maguila for a second time! We now had the Rams by the horns, and we could've well and truly tamed them later on. On 62 minutes, substitute striker Elliot Cook passed the ball to Mofokeng via Killick, only for Tumelo's low drive to be caught by Maguila. The Belgium goalie also saved an attempt in the 64th minute from our attacking midfielder Engilbert Sverrisson, whose follow-up found the side netting. On 68 minutes, Killick's defence-opening pass sent Siafos chasing his hat-trick, but Maguila rushed off his line and retrieved the ball just as Tony was about to shoot from a tight angle. Nine minutes later, Siafos turned provider for Cook with a killer lob up towards Elliot, whose subsequent chip over Maguila also narrowly cleared the bar. We'd failed to turn our clear dominance into a more substantial lead than 2-0, but that didn't matter against a below-par Derby team who finished the match with only 10 men. Having already been booked for diving early in the second half, striker Mauro Barzaghi found himself in deep trouble when he brought Mofokeng down in the 83rd minute. The Argentine was dismissed, and we would have an extra player for most of the remaining time. I said most, because Sverrisson had to come off early in stoppage time after being badly hurt in a collision with Kjaer. Engilbert was later found to have broken a few of his ribs, but that didn't dampen our spirits after a morale-boosting win. Derby County - 0 Dagenham & Redbridge - 2 (Siafos 44,50) Premier League, Attendance 29,363 - POSITIONS: Derby 9th, Dag & Red 6th DAG & RED LINE-UP: Rowe, Bailey, Gumede, Gridelli (Rousseau), Barber, Mofokeng, Killick, Mazibuko (Drost), Sverrisson, Siafos, Harding (Cook). BOOKED: Harding, Gumede, Killick. Dzenan Genjac was already on the sidelines, and Engilbert Sverrisson's broken ribs meant that we would be without another attacking midfielder for the League Cup Final later in the month. Elliot Cook wasn't quite so badly injured, though the striker would still miss our next league match with a bruised shin. Speaking of strikers... what about Antonis Siafos, eh? Despite making a slow start, Tony had now scored four goals in his last three games and was thriving as a target man. It seemed that the 22-year-old Greek was the big, strong 'number 10' we had been looking for (though he's officially a 'number 37' for the time being).
  9. A Scottish Invasion with the FMS Crew

    De Boer?! What was the chairman thinking? At least he'll be gone in a few weeks and we can nab Woy instead.
  10. Stuff Reputation it's all about FORM

    That looks a tough group, but you should get through it. And Kalantari in the senior squad at 17! What is it with Liverpool developing all these gifted young strikers? I've come across loads of them in my England save.
  11. Turning professional

    Aren't Queen's Park coded to always stay amateur?
  12. House of Flying Daggers

    Premier League Table (End of January 2040) P W D L F A GD PTS 1. Man Utd 23 19 3 1 63 17 +46 60 2. Man City 25 16 4 5 49 22 +27 52 3. Arsenal 24 15 6 3 51 19 +32 51 4. Rochdale 25 14 6 5 41 20 +21 48 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5. Liverpool 21 13 4 4 41 25 +16 43 6. Dag & Red 23 12 1 10 33 25 +8 37 7. Norwich 25 10 5 10 31 38 -7 35 8. Wolves 24 9 7 8 29 31 -2 34 9. Chelsea 24 8 8 8 32 32 0 32 10. Derby 24 8 6 10 37 37 0 30 11. Southampton 24 8 6 10 27 30 -3 30 12. Reading 24 7 6 11 42 49 -7 27 13. West Ham 22 6 9 7 29 37 -8 27 14. Everton 24 7 6 11 32 46 -14 27 15. West Brom 22 7 4 11 27 41 -14 25 16. Coventry 25 7 3 15 18 30 -12 24 17. Brighton 24 5 9 10 20 39 -19 24 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 18. Nottm Forest 24 6 4 14 23 33 -10 22 19. Crewe 24 4 5 15 22 48 -26 17 20. Burnley 23 2 6 15 19 47 -28 12
  13. House of Flying Daggers

    JANUARY 2040 (continued) With our League Cup Final place safely secured, we continued our quest to reach another Wembley spectacle in the FA Cup. The Final was still a very long way off as far as that competition was concerned, but if we could beat Nottingham Forest at home in Round 4, anything was possible. 21 January 2040: Dagenham & Redbridge vs Nottingham Forest The good old British winter weather wrecked our typical passing game, allowing Nottingham Forest to quickly take control at a rainy Rainham Road. In the third minute, Antonis Siafos' attempted through-ball to Mark Washington slid well beyond the American's reach, and safely into Forest goalkeeper Glenn Nordh's hands. Our other Yank had to make a big save at the other end just moments later, with Ben Perk pushing behind a low drive from the visitors' Nigerian winger Mohammed Lawal. Perk came to our rescue again in the 16th minute to save Leo Cortesi's powerful strike from midfield. The Italian playmaker's next attempt a minute later was blocked by Dagenham defender George Darvill. Another sign that things were perhaps not going our way came after 24 minutes. Daggers midfielder Tumelo Mofokeng was booked for a push on Forest's John Woods, who would later hobble off after being injured in a separate incident just before half-time. The Tricky Trees continued to put pressure on us late in the first half. Julio César Andrade and Lawal each wasted shots before the half-hour, but Luiz Gustavo's attempt in the 31st minute concerned Perk enough to force him into another save. It wasn't until injury time loomed that we began to settle into the game. Nordh was tested by strikes from Mofokeng and Washington either side of the 45-minute mark, and that gave us some encouragement heading into the second period. I switched to a 3-5-2 formation for the second half and adopted a more direct attacking approach, with the aim of taking the game to Nottingham Forest. That plan could've gone out the window had Lawal converted a free-kick for the visitors in the 48th minute, instead of swinging it well wide. The next 20 minutes or so were, in all honesty, as dire as the conditions at Rainham Road. We didn't get a proper attack going until the 67th minute, when substitute Elliot Cook lobbed the ball up to target man Siafos just outside the Forest area. Tony took the ball past left-back Robbie James, but his half-volley flew just past Nordh's left-hand post. Our holding midfielder Kenneth Jorgensen was booked in the 68th minute, but things really did go wrong for us in the 69th. Darvill made heavy weather of Lawal's corner, which he could only head to Forest defender Said Tran. The Moroccan then squared the ball for substitute Brent Crookes, who slotted it past Perk and gave Nottingham Forest the advantage. The Tricky Trees went for the kill after 71 minutes, with Cortesi attempting another long-ranger that was well stopped by Perk. Six minutes later, though, all was well in the Daggers camp again. Darvill showed just why he was such a popular figure amongst his fellow Dagenhamites by flicking Thulani Mazibuko's corner delivery past Nordh to level the scores! Both sides tried to steel themselves for late attacks, in a bid to avert the need for a replay. Their efforts would be for nothing, as the match petered out into a 1-1 draw. We would have to do it all over again 11 days later. Dagenham & Redbridge - 1 (Darvill 77) Nottingham Forest - 1 (Crookes 69) FA Cup Round 4, Attendance 19,602 DAG & RED LINE-UP: Perk, Barber, Gridelli, Darvill, Mazibuko, Jorgensen (Allen), Mofokeng (Walters), Killick, Salvador, Washington (Cook), Siafos. BOOKED: Mofokeng, Jorgensen, Killick. Our early-year schedule was already packed, so to be forced into an FA Cup replay was not ideal. We will have to face Forest again at the City Ground on 1 February, with the victors booking a Round 5 trip to Crystal Palace - who were in the Championship play-off places - later that month. Before our next cup game, we had a couple of away fixtures to fulfil in the Premier League. The first of them was at Goodison Park, where 13th-placed Everton had lost just twice all season long. Mind you, with no fewer than SIX regular starters out injured, the Toffees were in a bit of a sticky situation when it came to their squad. 24 January 2040: Everton vs Dagenham & Redbridge This match marked Dagenham goalkeeper Kayo Rowe's return to Goodison Park, but the young Liverpudlian would have a terrible start against his former colleagues. Nejc Zahovic's right-wing cross into our box six minutes in was met by an unconvincing interception from Daggers defender Siphesihle Gumede. Frédéric Pereira was then beaten to the header by Everton middleman Carl Reynolds, who nodded it forward for his fellow Welshman Joel Wile to score. A minute after that opening goal, our striker Elliot Cook picked up a knock in an attempted tackle on Reynolds. Elliot played on through the pain, but he would be subbed at half-time without making much of an impact. Orlando Salvador did pose more of an attacking threat to Everton in the 16th minute. The Portuguese midfielder's free-kick was caught by Toffees goalie Elliot Morris, who - you probably won't remember - had a brief loan spell with us in 2033 but didn't play a single match. Morris again showed what he was capable of by tipping away a couple of vicious drives from Pereira and Salvador in the 20th and 27th minutes. Another Dagger went close to scoring in the 29th minute, with Vicente Gridelli's header from a Thulani Mazibuko free-kick narrowly clearing the bar. Two minutes after that, we almost fell 2-0 behind. Zahovic received an excellent cross from his fellow Slovenian winger Sebastjan Zupancic, but his header was easily stopped by Rowe. Gumede then blocked a Zahovic free-kick on 34 minutes, though that didn't prevent me from subbing Zippy off along with Elliot at the end of a disappointing first half from the Daggers' perspective. Captain Mark Washington entered the fray for Dagenham in the second half, and he swerved a free-kick inches wide just two minutes after his introduction. Four minutes later, the in-form Lee Allen's attempt to drive the ball home from 30 yards out was met by a difficult parry from Morris. Our other central midfielder Frédi messed up an attempt in the 57th minute, after which the away fans had to wait another 10 minutes for us to threaten again. As Everton substitute Kieren Wells lay on the pitch injured after a risky challenge on Dagenham's Kenneth Jorgensen, we put together arguably our best attack of the match. Pereira threaded the ball through to Antonis Siafos in the Toffees area, despite an attempted interception from Zupancic, but the Greek newcomer's powerful effort was fisted away by Morris. Everton continued to hold firm, even after captain Danny Reid came off injured about 15 minutes from time. After Rowe stopped Zupancic from doubling the hosts' lead in the 78th minute, Washington had two final chances to break the Scousers' hearts. Mark did the hard work in the 83rd minute by gliding past Everton centre-back Fábio to enter the penalty area, but his angled shot just clipped the wrong side of the post. Then, in injury time, Washington got his head to a last-ditch cross from Tom Drost. Morris somehow tipped it over, thus securing his clean sheet and condemning us to a 10th league defeat this term. Everton - 1 (Wile 6) Dagenham & Redbridge - 0 Premier League, Attendance 27,045 - POSITIONS: Everton 11th, Dag & Red 6th DAG & RED LINE-UP: Rowe, Mazibuko, Gumede (Jorgensen), Gridelli, Álvarez, Drost, Pereira, Allen (Mofokeng), Salvador, Cook (Washington), Siafos. BOOKED: Salvador. As much as you had to commend Everton's defence, there was little doubt in my mind that we wouldn't have lost that match a season or two ago. We needed to convert some of last season's draws into wins, but we were just going in the other direction, and crumbling when the pressure was on us. I hoped to see a much more resilient display from the Daggers when we met Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux four days later. In terms of consolidating our top-six place, this was a massive match. 7th-placed Wolves would go level on points with us if they won, though they had played a game more. 28 January 2040: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Dagenham & Redbridge I gambled on playing Paddy Rattle in attacking midfield from the start, but the 18-year-old almost got his full debut off to the perfect start after four minutes. Antonis Siafos squared a Tumelo Mofokeng flick-on to the young reserve, whose first-time shot stung Wolves goalkeeper Antonio's palms. Home captain Amine Ben Said knocked the ball behind for a corner, but Thulani Mazibuko's delivery went long, and Siphesihle Gumede could only nod it wide. Wanderers' first attack after 12 minutes was not much better. Hasney Mitchell, who'd scored the only goal of our previous meeting at Rainham Road in September, turned past Daggers right-back Nolan Barber before striking the ball so carelessly that it almost struck the corner flag! Mitchell's only other shot, in the 21st minute, also missed the target, though not quite so emphatically. Another home attack fizzled out six minutes later, with Ben Said nodding Adel Hassan's free-kick wide. To wrap up a low-key first half that neither set of supporters would remember fondly, Rattle and Siafos messed up late chances to claim the opening goal for the blunt Daggers. My only changes at half-time were at full-back, with left-back Tom Drost coming on for our cautioned right-back Nolan Barber, and Mazibuko switching flanks. Those alterations perhaps unsettled our defence early in the second half, and we had to withstand a couple of Wolves corners. The match had been quite even up until then... but by the 62nd minute, one team was very much in control. George Darvill and Thulani leapt up in unison to try and intercept a deep cross from Hassan, but it was to no avail, as Wolves striker Radenko Kostic nodded it home from a tight angle. Falling 1-0 down was bad enough, but losing Gumede to injury just moments later was devastating for the Daggers. Zippy's replacement Vicente Gridelli would have to take some flak for us conceding again in the 67th minute. He and George both pressured Kostic as the Serbian advanced into our area. Kostic then crossed from the byline to substitute left-winger Ericson, who headed Wolves into a 2-0 lead just moments after coming on. With the match slipping from our grasp, we went for broke... and playmaker Orlando Salvador, who replaced Rattle between those goals, started taking more risks with his passes. After 70 minutes, he weighted an excellent pass from the centre circle up to Siafos, who outpaced Wanderers defender Franco Vitone and entered the penalty box. Tony then stroked the ball past Antonio from a tight angle, breaking his Daggers duck as well as putting us back in the running! In the 74th minute, Daggers midfielder Tumelo Mofokeng cut out an awkward header from Wolves counterpart Janusz Blaszczyk and tried to drive in a stunner from 35 yards. It almost found the target... but there was no 'almost' about our next chance less than a minute later. Blaszczyk's trip on Drost earned him a yellow card and us a free-kick, which Salvador chipped into the Wolves box. Darvill then climbed above home centre-back Catalin Pusa to flick it into the net! 2-2! Wolves boss Jamal Byfield brought club icon Marcelo Galeano Zarza off the bench to try and turn the tide, but he appeared to have left it too late. But for a cleaner strike by Allen in the 81st minute, Lee might've completed a hat-trick of Orlando assists and rounded off a superb comeback for the Daggers. As it transpired, the team who came closest to clinching a late 3-2 victory was the team in gold. When Kostic flicked Galeano Zarza's lob across our penalty area in the second minute of injury time, the Molineux faithful held their breaths. Blaszczyk struck a powerful volley from close range... but Dagenham keeper Kayo Rowe pushed it wide to secure us an admirable away draw! Incredibly, that was the first time we'd tied a Premier League match all season! Wolverhampton Wanderers - 2 (Kostic 62, Ericson 67) Dagenham & Redbridge - 2 (Siafos 70, Darvill 75) Premier League, Attendance 29,348 - POSITIONS: Wolves 8th, Dag & Red 6th DAG & RED LINE-UP: Rowe, Barber (Drost), Gumede (Gridelli), Darvill, Mazibuko, Mofokeng, Killick, Allen, Rattle (Salvador), Washington, Siafos. BOOKED: Barber, Rattle, Allen. While it was pleasing to see us show some fighting spirit when the chips were down for once, we perhaps shouldn't have fallen 2-0 behind in the first place. A very encouraging start to the New Year had fizzled out, and we were on a three-game winless run as the transfer window slammed shut. Despite our poor form, I decided to keep faith in my senior players. There were no further signings at Rainham Road before the deadline, while the only players leaving were a quartet of youngsters who went out on loan. Bradley Charles and Warren Johnston had only just completed loan stints in League One with Leighton Town and Leeds United respectively when I decided to farm them out again. Central midfielder Johnston stepped up to the Championship after agreeing to end the season at Wycombe Wanderers. As for central defender Charles, he took a giant leap into the Premier League, as Coventry City were prepared to give the 20-year-old his first taste of regular top-flight football. A couple more centre-backs were loaned out before the window closed. Michael Walters joined Blackburn Rovers' push for promotion from the Championship. Meanwhile, youth-teamer Jimmy Cullen replaced Charles at Leighton, who were bidding to secure their spot in the second tier for next season.
  14. House of Flying Daggers

    It's probably the most underwhelming winning streak we've ever had, Mark. Aside from the first leg against Reading, we haven't been at our best at all. Still, at least we've stopped losing matches (for the time being).
  15. House of Flying Daggers

    JANUARY 2040 (continued) Our next match saw us visit the Alexandra Stadium to face struggling Crewe Alexandra. The Railwaymen had won just twice at Gresty Road in the Premier League, with their most recent league match there being a farcical 8-1 reverse against Everton. 11 January 2040: Crewe Alexandra vs Dagenham & Redbridge Crewe almost took advantage of a nervy Daggers start in the first minute. Right-back Daniel Soares' weighted pass found playmaker Les Patten, who dribbled into our area before pulling a shot wide. A minute later, Kenneth Jorgensen's weak pass from just inside the box was cut out by Jimmy Gamble. The Railwaymen midfielder then sent a first-time shot over Kayo Rowe's bar. The hosts would face their first test in the 13th minute, as Dzenan Genjac dribbled through their defence and into the box. Unfortunately, our Croatian attacking midfielder's shot was superbly blocked by Warren Rodwell. The Crewe goalie produced similar heroics to push behind George Darvill's header from the subsequent corner delivery by Mark Washington. George missed a potentially crucial header at the other end in the 19th minute, but the Daggers defender was very relieved to see Alex striker Vinny Harris nod Jonno Rose's cross against the bar. Another miss from Harris in the 23rd minute would prove to be Crewe's last opportunity to draw first blood before half-time. We had countless scoring chances in the latter part of the first period, but they all ended up flying either off target or into Rodwell's hands. The experienced goalie, who was in his ninth season as Crewe's number 1, did brilliantly to catch a couple of headers from Dagenham defenders Jameel Bailey and Tom Drost in the 29th and 39th minutes respectively. It was largely thanks to him that we went into the interval still waiting to make that breakthrough. Dagenham right-back Nolan Barber came off during the break, having been injured late in the first period. He wouldn't be the only player to end the match on head physio Adam Hutchins' table. Bailey appeared to hurt his thigh in a penalty-area challenge from Crewe's burly forward Darren Harvey in the 61st minute. Jameel was swiftly subbed, and his replacement Thulani Mazibuko flicked wide an opportunity to open the scoring in the 66th minute. Three minutes later, our other defensive substitute went on the attack. After Tumelo Mofokeng fed the ball to Washington in the Crewe area, the Daggers captain found wing-back Enrique Álvarez in space on the right flank. Enrique cut inside and hit an angled shot that Rodwell could only parry back to the Spaniard, whose follow-up whistled into the far end of the net! That was the breakthrough we'd been looking for! Buoyed by his first competitive goal for the Daggers, Álvarez then set out to help us preserve our lead. Alas, he and his fellow defenders were unable to clear a cross from former team-mate Carl Pratt out of our area in the 80th minute. The left-back's delivery found Rose, whose diving header was superbly parried by Rowe. Kayo's save was pivotal in earning him a fourth clean sheet in six Premier League outings this season. His counterpart Rodwell might have earned the 'man of the match' award after an excellent goalkeeping display for Crewe, but his one mistake was the decisive one. Crewe Alexandra - 0 Dagenham & Redbridge - 1 (Álvarez 69) Premier League, Attendance 9,870 - POSITIONS: Crewe 19th, Dag & Red 6th DAG & RED LINE-UP: Rowe, Barber (Álvarez), Bailey (Mazibuko), Darvill, Drost, Jorgensen, Mofokeng, Allen (Pereira), Genjac, Washington, Cook. Nolan Barber's 'injury' was nothing more than a knock, though Jameel Bailey's was a little more serious. The centre-back would be out for the next fortnight at least with a thigh strain. We then returned to Rainham Road for a meeting with another of the promoted sides - and a reunion with a former Dagger. A little over a week after leaving us, Gerald Parsons was back with his new Coventry City team-mates, and desperate to show us just what we were missing. 14 January 2040: Dagenham & Redbridge vs Coventry City Dagenham striker Alun Harding made his first league start in nearly three months, and he could've kicked it off with an early assist. In the second minute, Alun laid Frédéric Pereira's direct pass on to Orlando Salvador, whose 20-yard effort drew a catch out of Jonathan English. Seven minutes later, though, Coventry's goalkeeper appeared to be more like Mr Bean than Johnny English! Daggers centre-half Vicente Gridelli clambered above City counterpart Neal Moody to connect with Thulani Mazibuko's corner. English could only flap at the Argentine's header, which bypassed him for a 1-0 home lead! Disappointingly, we wouldn't get particularly close to increasing our advantage before the break. Our next shots were both long-distance strikes by Greg Killick in the 11th and 23rd minutes, but English caught them with ease. He also made light work of a tame drive from Kenneth Jorgensen on 26 minutes. Those aside, we really struggled to make serious inroads into a Sky Blues backline that was as compact as ever. Harding once again failed to live up to his £17.5million price tag, blasting a vicious shot hopelessly wide in the 28th minute and then doing little else besides picking up a yellow card. Nevertheless, I kept faith in the Welshman for the second half. And what became of Gerald Parsons, you ask? Well, having done very little damage to a tight-knit Dagenham defence in the first half, the new Coventry striker's only real contribution to the second half was to win a free-kick off a clumsy tackle from George Darvill six minutes in. Though there were arguments to be made about Parsons possibly diving under Darvill's challenge, the referee was convinced enough to dish out a rare yellow card to our homegrown hero. George still had the last laugh, mind. Parsons was subbed off 15 minutes from the end, having not registered so much as a shot at goal in an unhappy return to Rainham Road. We'd had a few more scoring opportunities by then, but English tipped behind a 66th-minute Orlando Salvador free-kick before catching a header from Gridelli seven minutes later. English's assured goalkeeping, allied with some brave defending from Coventry centre-halves Moody and John Moser, kept us at bay throughout the second half. Our new Greek striker Antonis Siafos got his first taste of Premier League action during the final half-hour but never really showed what he was capable of. That said, a narrow home victory was never really in doubt against the team who'd scored fewer goals than any other PL club. Three more points, and a fifth straight victory in all competitions, were in the bag for the in-form Daggers. Dagenham & Redbridge - 1 (Gridelli 9) Coventry City - 0 Premier League, Attendance 23,414 - POSITIONS: Dag & Red 6th, Coventry 17th DAG & RED LINE-UP: Rowe, Álvarez (Barber), Gridelli, Darvill, Mazibuko, Jorgensen, Killick (Mofokeng), Pereira, Salvador, Washington (Siafos), Harding. BOOKED: Harding, Darvill. While those last two victories had not exactly been convincing, they had gone some way to consolidating our top-six status. A couple of teams just below us - namely Norwich City and Chelsea - had faltered recently, giving us a bit more breathing room in case things did start to go wrong again. Two more Daggers were farmed out in mid-January, with the most notable being left-winger Mirko Saric, who would finish the season on loan at mid-table Everton. Meanwhile, reserve left-back Keith Hamilton dropped down a couple of divisions for another loan spell in League One, this time with Cambridge United. We also saw young striking sensation Stevie Merson return from a five-month loan spell at Watford. Though the Hornets were battling against relegation from the Championship after running into financial difficulty, Stevie still scored 10 goals in 26 league appearances. When you consider that Merson's 18th birthday was still a couple of months away, it makes you wonder just how good this kid could be once he's fully developed! Merson's return coincided with our most talented striker picking up another injury. Just weeks after returning from a broken ankle, Alun Harding twisted his knee in training and was ruled out for a further fortnight. We now had a bit more time to focus on the domestic cups. The FA Cup Round 4 match at home to Nottingham Forest would take centre stage the following weekend, after a midweek League Cup Semi Final. Having destroyed Reading 4-0 at home in the first leg of the Semi Final, we arrived at the Madejski Stadium confident that the job was almost done. It seemed that we merely needed to keep our cool in the second leg, and then we would be into the Final again. Mind you, the Royals would be ready for a rumble, so we couldn't take them for granted. 18 January 2040: Reading vs Dagenham & Redbridge Reading were already firmly up against it, and Dagenham midfielder Tumelo Mofokeng could've put the tie well and truly beyond their reach just two minutes into the second leg. The England Under-19s' international drive from the edge of the area was pushed away by home goalkeeper Patrick Braspenning. The Royals then went on the attack in the third minute through Republic of Ireland striker Robert McCabe, who dribbled past our teenage centre-half Michael Walters and blazed a shot well wide. Scotland winger Iain Kane was also off target two minutes later. There was a cause for concern amongst the travelling Daggers fans in the seventh minute, when Frédéric Pereira came off worse in a clash with Reading midfielder Geoff Clark. Frédi was thankfully not too badly injured, and that paled in comparison to the rib injury McCabe sustained in a slide tackle on Tom Drost in the 17th minute. McCabe had to come off, but the Royals' attack arguably became more imposing in his absence. On 24 minutes, Reading right-winger Chris Bass supplied Marco Tulio Paz with an excellent cross that the Honduran midfield aggressor tried to lift past Ben Perk from the penalty spot. Perk heroically tipped it behind, prompting Paz to hold his face in his hands. Substitute striker Pete Russell had a similar look about him in the 35th minute, when he flicked Dave Hutchinson's corner kick over the bar. The Royals had not got the first-half goal they desperately needed, and our four-goal cushion remained intact at the half-time whistle. We were 45 minutes away from the Final. I decided not to further aggravate Pereira's knock in the second half, so 17-year-old Kurt Walker replaced him in the Daggers midfield for what time remained. Kurt was under no pressure to perform, but he took a while to settle into the game. A hopeless shot from distance in the 52nd minute was followed seven minutes later by a booking, which he received for shoving Hutchinson. Jonas Kjaerulff then wasted a chance to break the deadlock before our attacking prospects took a significant blow on 61 minutes. After being brought down by a crunching tackle from Clark, Daggers playmaker Dzenan Genjac landed heavily on his left arm and remained on the turf, writhing in agony. Dzenan had to come off, with another 17-year-old youth midfielder - Dan Carr - coming on for his senior Daggers debut. Five minutes after entering play, Carr supplied an excellent cross into the Reading box that was hacked away by Royals defender Chris Hyslop. Russell then tried to knock the punt down to Clark... but Walker hassled him off the ball before another young middleman raced through to score! Lee Allen's vicious strike proved that I was right to keep him in the senior squad instead of loaning him out to a Championship club, as I had originally planned. Lee's goal effectively won the game, and another for the Daggers before full-time really would've been the icing on the cake. Substitute striker Joel Honeyball, who'd replaced Elliot Cook after an hour, ran onto an incisive 70th-minute pass and chipped it over Braspenning, but not quite into the net. The Royals soon resigned themselves to defeat, and Joel would get another chance to score in the 86th minute. Boy did he take it. Walker's pinpoint pass was smashed into the top corner by Honeyball from 25 yards out, removing the last shred of doubt in our fans' minds. With a 2-0 win on the night, and a 6-0 victory overall, we had breezed through to another cup Final! Reading - 0 Dagenham & Redbridge - 2 (Allen 66, Honeyball 86) [Dagenham & Redbridge win 6-0 on aggregate] League Cup Semi Final Leg 2, Attendance 24,161 DAG & RED LINE-UP: Perk, Rousseau, Gumede, Walters, Drost, Mofokeng, Pereira (Walker), Allen, Genjac (Dan Carr), Kjaerulff, Cook (Honeyball). BOOKED: Cook, Walker. Dagenham & Redbridge were in the 2040 League Cup Final, and there would be a sense of déjà vu about our visit to Wembley on 19 February. Just like in 2038, the only team standing between us and the trophy will be Arsenal, who defeated Liverpool 3-1 on aggregate to reach a fifth Final in seven seasons. While a repeat of the 6-1 thrashing from two seasons ago is unlikely, I certainly fancy us to beat the Gunners again. Unfortunately, Dzenan Genjac will play no part in the Final. The Croatian's injury woes had returned, with a broken arm putting him on the sidelines for six weeks. We also won't be seeing Jonas Kjaerulff at Wembley, as the Danish striker joined Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart on a four-month loan following our win at Reading. We already had another loanee at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena in midfielder André Gross, who'd enjoyed a solid first half to the season, even though VfB were battling relegation.