deltablue

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

1,143 posts in this topic

Such a shame, sounds like a close final. Theres always next year :p
So unlucky missing out on promotion.
Unlucky on missing out,hopefully a full season will be more beneficial for you.

Painful as well, definitely very excited about next season though. Massively up for what may be a very strong promotion season.

Summer 2031

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

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

Arthur

Pratt

Wagstaff

Wallace

Transfers

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Good luck for this season! I've got a tenner on promotion!

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Good luck for this season! I've got a tenner on promotion!

We're 10-1 to win if I remember correctly ;)

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

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

Yep, not quite building on it as I'd hoped, form has dropped off a bit after the events below.

Aug 2031

Crawley 0-2 Brighton (L1)

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

Ebbsfleet 4-2 Brighton (LC)

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

Brighton 0-0 Doncaster (L1)

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

Luton 1-4 Brighton (L1)

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

Brighton 2-2 Swansea (L1)

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

League Table

Sept 2031

Brighton p2-2 Ebbsfleet (JPT)

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

Brighton 2-2 Cardiff (L1)

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

Notts County 4-1 Brighton (L1)

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

Gillingham 0-4 Brighton (L1)

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

Brighton 3-2 Bradford (L1)

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

Charlton 2-3 Brighton (L1)

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

League Table

Oct 2031

Stockport 2-1 Brighton (L1)

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

Brighton 0-3 Brighton (JPT)

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

Brighton 1-0 Yeovil (L1)

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

Brighton 0-0 Wrexham (L1)

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

Brighton 5-3 Sheff Wed (L1)

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

League Table

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Nov 2031

Stevenage 1-0 Brighton (L1)

We struggled again when we went away, to Stevenage. We were just about the better in a dull first half, but faced a torrent of pressure in the second, very nearly holding out before they got a deserved winner right at the end.

Southampton 0-0 Brighton (L1)

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

Brighton 2-0 Bromley (FA)

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

Ebbsleet 0-2 Brighton (L1)

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

Brighton 2-0 Kingstonian (FA)

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

League Table

Dec 2031

Brighton 0-0 Swindon (L1)

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

Brighton 2-2 Brighton (L1)

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

Barnet 1-3 Brighton (L1)

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

Brighton 3-2 Salisbury (L1)

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

Wycombe 0-5 Brighton (L1)

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

Brighton 2-2 Crawley (L1)

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

Doncaster 2-2 Brighton (L1)

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

League Table

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

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

Sadly rather less so right now. Won the first and last games of January, unfortunately the rest didn't go quite so well.

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It's far from over but should be better.

Jan 2032

Brighton 1-0 Rochdale (L1)

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

Brighton 1-6 Luton (L1)

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

Brighton 0-2 Rotherham (FA)

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

Swansea 4-1 Brighton (L1)

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

Brighton 0-3 Notts County (L1)

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

Cardiff 4-0 Brighton (L1)

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

Brighton 5-1 Gillingham (L1)

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

League Table

Feb 2032

Bradford 2-0 Brighton (L1)

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

Brighton 1-1 Stockport (L1)

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

Yeovil 2-2 Brighton (L1)

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

Brighton 3-1 Charlton (L1)

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

Wrexham 1-1 Brighton (L1)

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

League Table

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

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

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

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ahhh disapointing drop in form. Still plenty of time to get back into the playoffs.
Incredibly tight from the playoff positions down to you, no reason why you can't make it. As for the lottery that follows... best of luck.
This is going right down to the wire,hope you can make it.

Only one minor drawback, I lost the next game and was sacked. Been pretty downhill since BATE. Perhaps what I need is another Sportist (unless I can bypass the promotion bit), so time for another odd career move, maybe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Another sacking? Already? This is turning into quite the tale! :D

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Another sacking? Already? This is turning into quite the tale! :D

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

Internationals 2032

Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Brighton (L1)

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

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

Ghana 2-0 Sao Tome (WCQ)

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

Gambia 0-5 Ghana (WCQ)

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

Mali 0-4 Ghana (WCQ)

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

Sao Tome 0-1 Ghana (WCQ)

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

Ghana 4-1 Gambia (WCQ)

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

Ghana 2-2 Mali (WCQ)

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

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

Final Group Table

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

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

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Good start with Ghana, keep it up!
Well, the international side of things is going well! Good for that at least :)

Very, it's really a nice change from recent events.

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

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

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

ACN 2033

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

Ghana 2-1 Burkina Faso (ACN)

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

Ghana 3-3 Egypt (ACN)

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

Ghana 1-1 Togo (ACN)

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

Ghana 3-2 Angola (ACN QF)

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

Ghana 1-0 Algeria (ACN SF)

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

Ghana 1-2 Egypt (ACN final)

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

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

Group Stage

Knockouts

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

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

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

I'd already found out Egypt were tough in the group stage. It's a pretty competitive continent with the real life spread of strong players being taken even further, and while I felt we could win the final, I was more than heppy with how we did so didn't mind too much.

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

If only the penalties had gone differently... will be staying at Ghana for a while so will probably have another couple of cracks at it, an a couple of World cup experiences. It's doing me the world of good. On the club side... I think I could be on the verge of something decent.

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

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

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

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Spring 2033

Ghana 1-0 Kenya (WCQ)

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

Ivory Coast 1-1 Ghana (WCQ)

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

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

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

Michelovce

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

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

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

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

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

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Interesting move, looking forward to seeing how it works out :)

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

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

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

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Interesting move, looking forward to seeing how it works out :)

At the moment, not too bad.

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

They were on a bit of a low point, out of the ACN in the group stages, down to about 60th in the rankings, much like I was able to jump from Airdrie to West Brom last time as they were way down in League 1, but that would only make a small difference. Considerable experience on FM11 has shown that your actual record (and nationality) matters more than rep bar, I could still do League 1/Championship level just my own rules about not being in a nation twice in a row prevented me from going for them (otherwise I'd have focussed on doing for a while) and I couldn't manage anything anywhere near as good outside England.

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

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

It's definitely great to be back in club management and early signs are most promising.

Summer 2033

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

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

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

Bilek

Diaby

Farkas

Hanousek

Kessou

Kovac

Tetteh

Valenta

Vavra

Transfers

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

But why, oh why Mihalovce? :D

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

But why, oh why Mihalovce? :D

It's just business ;)

July 2033

Michalovce 1-0 Nitra (D1)

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

Ruzomberok 2-2 Michalovce (D1)

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

Michalovce 1-1 Vranov (D1)

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

Slovan Bratislava 3-1 Michalovce (D1)

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

League Table

Aug 2033

Presov 5-1 Michalovce (D1)

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

Michalovce 2-0 Dubnica (D1)

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

Senec 2-0 Michalovce (D1)

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

Michalovce 2-2 Banska Bystrica (D1)

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

League Table

Sept 2033

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

Botswana 0-5 Ghana (ACNQ)

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

Togo 1-1 Ghana (WCQ)

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

Kenya 3-1 Ghana (WCQ)

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

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

Kosice 4-1 Michalovce (D1)

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

Michalovce 3-3 Trnava (D1)

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

Lipany 0-4 Michalovce (SC)

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

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

Zilina 7-0 Michalovce (D1)

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

League Table

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

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

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

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

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

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Not a great start, a big defeat against Zilina. lets hope things improve!
very inconsistent times for you in Slovakia, hopefully you can find some form.
Tough start to a new league. Hope it turns around.

I've had to wait a while, and finally been getting a bit of a reward.

Not going a lot better, unfortunately! :(

With a horrific amount of growing and gelling to do I wasn't expecting it to yet.

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

Slight reversal of fortunes going on.

Oct 2033

Nitra 2-1 Michalovce (D1)

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

Ghana 3-1 Burundi (ACNQ)

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

Ghana 3-3 Ivory Coast (WCQ)

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

Ghana 1-0 Togo (WCQ)

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

Final WCQ Table

Michelovce 1-1 Ruzomberok (D1)

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

Michelovce p0-0 Duslo Sala (SC)

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

Vranek 1-1 Michelovce (D1)

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

Michelovce 1-2 Slovan Bratislava (D1)

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

League Table

Nov/Dec 2033

Michelovce 2-0 Bardejov (SC QF)

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

Michelovce 3-3 Presov (D1)

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

Michelovce 4-1 Senec (D1)

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

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

Bardejov 2-1 (2-3) Michelovce (SC)

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

Dubnica 2-4 Michelovce (D1)

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

Banska Bystrica 1-2 Michelovce (D1)

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

League Table

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

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Nice to see improvement as well as the fact that you've pulled away from the relegation battle.
Good to see some better results, how many games in a season?

We have lucked out a lot but also been a bit unlucky at other points. So glad to have an experienced and excellent keeper in my otherwise inexperienced and unfamilar side. And there are 33 games so a bit after halfway (and approaching 2/3) now.

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

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

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

There isn't one. The season starts very early so there's plenty of time to fit a number of rounds in with very fairly few midweek games, even including the cup, though have been a little tired admitedly when it has happened. Haven't seen any pattern to how we've done following midweek games, and actually our worst form was at the beginning and end of the the season when we didn't have midweek cup games much so it was hardly a problem.

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

Was delighted to grab what we did, higher ups seem far away for now though.

Feb/Mar 2034

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

Takang

Yakubu

Michalovce 2-1 Kosice (D1)

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

Trnava 0-0 Michalovce (D1)

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

Michalovce 0-3 Zilina (D1)

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

Michalovce 2-4 Nitra (D1)

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

Ruzomberok 0-2 Michalovce (D1)

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

Slovan Bratislava 3-3 Michalovce (D1)

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

Kenya 1-0 Ghana (ACNQ)

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

League Table

Apr 2034

Michalovce 4-1 Vranov (D1)

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

Spisska Nova Ves 0-0 Michalovce (SC SF)

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

Presov 1-2 Michalovce (D1)

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

Michalovce 3-1 Dubnica (D1)

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

Michalovce 5-0 (5-0) Spisska Nova Ves (SC SF)

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

Senec 1-1 Michalovce (D1)

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

Banska Bystrica 3-1 Michalovce (D1)

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

League Table

May 2034

Kosice 1-0 Michalovce (D1)

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

Michalovce 5-2 Trnava (D1)

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

Michalovce 1-2 (aet) Presov (SC Final)

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

Zilina 4-1 Michalovce (D1)

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

Final League Table

Ghana 5-1 Botswana (ACNQ)

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

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

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

Squad Stats

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

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

I know, amazed we got up to 6th with just a win and a draw from the last 5 league games (Presov were always going to be too good in the cup final), but Trnava was the right game to win.

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