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Hey, Nineteen (The Saga of FMS FC)

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Address cards, letters, obscene Tweets and virulent social media to: Barry Blankley, c/o FMS FC, London, England.

___

FMS FC - By The Numbers

Through Matches of December 31, 2012

An explanation of the columns:

Goals = total (penalties)

Rtg = average rating

Cards = yellow/red

+/- = change in estimated player value from the last reporting period (August 1, 2012)

[TABLE]

[TR]

[TD]Statistics - December 2012

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]all matches[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Goalkeepers

[/TD]

[TD]Apps[/TD]

[TD]Con

[/TD]

[TD]Cln[/TD]

[TD]Rtg[/TD]

[TD]MoM[/TD]

[TD]Cards[/TD]

[TD]Value (k)[/TD]

[TD]+/-[/TD]

[TD]Notes[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Jose Bo Jose[/TD]

[TD]6 (2)[/TD]

[TD]9[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]7.01[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]65[/TD]

[TD]-5[/TD]

[TD]4 u-21 caps (Norway)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Chris Fuller[/TD]

[TD]21 (1)[/TD]

[TD]10[/TD]

[TD]13[/TD]

[TD]7.15[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]3/0[/TD]

[TD]180[/TD]

[TD]-10[/TD]

[TD]Capped at u-19 level (England)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Ortega van Liefthuizen[/TD]

[TD]3[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]2[/TD]

[TD]7.53[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]110[/TD]

[TD]n/a[/TD]

[TD]2 u-21 caps (Holland)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Defenders

[/TD]

[TD]Apps[/TD]

[TD]Goals[/TD]

[TD]Ast[/TD]

[TD]Rtg[/TD]

[TD]MoM[/TD]

[TD]Cards[/TD]

[TD]Value[/TD]

[TD]+/-[/TD]

[TD]Notes[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Cieran Clarke[/TD]

[TD]23 (2)[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]10[/TD]

[TD]7.76[/TD]

[TD]6[/TD]

[TD]3/1[/TD]

[TD]160[/TD]

[TD]-10[/TD]

[TD]Capped at u-19 level (Ireland)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Stuart Dubb[/TD]

[TD]10 (13)[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]6.83[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]120[/TD]

[TD]-10[/TD]

[TD]Capped at u-19 level (England)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Mike Kowalski[/TD]

[TD]9[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]5[/TD]

[TD]8.50[/TD]

[TD]5[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]150[/TD]

[TD]n/a[/TD]

[TD]Capped at u-19 level (Scotland)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Law Martin[/TD]

[TD]2 (1)[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]6.50[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]110[/TD]

[TD]n/a[/TD]

[TD]Capped at u-19 level (England)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Gavin Mathieson[/TD]

[TD]0 (3)[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]6.57[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]220[/TD]

[TD]-10[/TD]

[TD]4 u-21 caps (Belgium), 0 goals[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Edward Nygma[/TD]

[TD]27[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]6[/TD]

[TD]7.78[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]240[/TD]

[TD]n/a[/TD]

[TD]Capped at u-19 level (Scotland)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Midfielders

[/TD]

[TD]Apps[/TD]

[TD]Goals[/TD]

[TD]Ast[/TD]

[TD]Rtg[/TD]

[TD]MoM[/TD]

[TD]Cards[/TD]

[TD]Value[/TD]

[TD]+/-[/TD]

[TD]Notes[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Chester Fantu[/TD]

[TD]15 (2)[/TD]

[TD]5[/TD]

[TD]2[/TD]

[TD]7.59[/TD]

[TD]2[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]240[/TD]

[TD]n/a[/TD]

[TD]uncapped (USA)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Joel Hochstetter[/TD]

[TD]13 (3)[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]7.20[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]300[/TD]

[TD]-50[/TD]

[TD]4 u-21 caps (Australia), 0 goals[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Ashley Marks[/TD]

[TD]18[/TD]

[TD]4[/TD]

[TD]6[/TD]

[TD]8.03[/TD]

[TD]2[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]180[/TD]

[TD]n/a[/TD]

[TD]4 u-21 caps (Wales), 0 goals[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]David Preece[/TD]

[TD]22[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]3[/TD]

[TD]7.28[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]140[/TD]

[TD]n/a[/TD]

[TD]uncapped (England)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Oscar Rudyard[/TD]

[TD]25[/TD]

[TD]3 (1)[/TD]

[TD]11[/TD]

[TD]7.39[/TD]

[TD]2[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]130[/TD]

[TD]-10[/TD]

[TD]uncapped (England)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Ulrich von Lichtenstein[/TD]

[TD]4 (8)[/TD]

[TD]6 (1)[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]7.45[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]180[/TD]

[TD]n/a[/TD]

[TD]uncapped (Lichtenstein)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[TD]

[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Strikers

[/TD]

[TD]Apps[/TD]

[TD]Goals[/TD]

[TD]Ast[/TD]

[TD]Rtg[/TD]

[TD]MoM[/TD]

[TD]Cards[/TD]

[TD]Value[/TD]

[TD]+/-[/TD]

[TD]Notes[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Phil McCracken[/TD]

[TD]20 (5)[/TD]

[TD]15[/TD]

[TD]4[/TD]

[TD]7.44[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]3/0[/TD]

[TD]220[/TD]

[TD]n/a[/TD]

[TD]uncapped (England)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Lee Rothery[/TD]

[TD]4 (4)[/TD]

[TD]4[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]7.34[/TD]

[TD]0[/TD]

[TD]1/0[/TD]

[TD]220[/TD]

[TD]n/a[/TD]

[TD]uncapped (England)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Matt Warner[/TD]

[TD]17 (5)[/TD]

[TD]16 (3)

[/TD]

[TD]4[/TD]

[TD]7.86[/TD]

[TD]5

[/TD]

[TD]2/1[/TD]

[TD]160[/TD]

[TD]n/a[/TD]

[TD]uncapped (England)[/TD]

[/TR]

[TR]

[TD]Marco Baroni[/TD]

[TD]17 (2)[/TD]

[TD]9 (1)[/TD]

[TD]1[/TD]

[TD]7.57[/TD]

[TD]2[/TD]

[TD]0/0[/TD]

[TD]150[/TD]

[TD]n/a[/TD]

[TD]capped at u-19 level (Italy)[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

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It takes talent to maintain a 6.50 average in a team running away with the league title.

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Spav, my friend, it's a long season. And to those unhappy, it's a long career (we hope).

___

Blankley started the New Year by telling the press he was thinking of resting his captain, Whitbread.

Having lost three matches already to suspension, one wondered why the skipper wasn’t getting enough rest, but the comments by the boss to the press encouraged both Mathieson and Law Martin to wear matching t-shirts to training behind the boss’s back.

They featured a picture of the boss with the caption “Body by God, Mind by Lego.”

However, Blankley again won the boss award, muting criticism, while Clarke and Nygma came second and third respectively in the Player of the Month derby for December.

And the first player of the Nineteen agreed full professional terms.

Jose Bo Jose had the first 17th birthday of any one of the Nineteen and so doubled his salary, on a two-year deal worth £100 per week. True to his character, he tried to add a zero to his weekly salary before signing his deal, but Blankley, and more importantly, Sovietskymafia, would have none of it.

And then, it was time to kick off the new year of 2013.

Dorchester Town 2-2 FMS – 1st January 2013 – BSS #24

Fuller, Clarke, Nygma, Adie Whitbread, Aden Flint, Ben Strevens, Fantu, Charlie Telfer, Rudyard, Warner, McCracken. Subs: Bo Jose, Kowalski, Dubb, Baroni, Hochstetter.

Goals

Dorchester – Sam Malsom 13, Joe Jackson pen 89

FMS – Fantu 15, McCracken pen 39

Man of the Match – Fantu

So much for resting the captain.

Whitbread started – but it was Aden Flint who gave away the penalty in the penultimate minute of regular time that helped end the Fightin’ Writers’ win streak at eight and ruining Fantu’s man of the match performance.

Both teams converted from the spot in the match, with McCracken connecting in 39 minutes before Joe Jackson stepped out (get the ‘80s music reference?) to get his team a split in the points.

There was a Mike Kowalski sighting, which was good for him, but perhaps a reason for his absence from the sixteen in recent games was given by Blankley after the match.

“I love Kowalski, but if you put him in a race with a pregnant woman he’d finish third,” the manager joked.

Dubb carried Clarke’s clubs again in this match, a sight becoming common to both FMS fans and players. The solution pleased neither player, though they professed to like each other.

Worse news – Rudyard, a virtual ever-present for the side in the first half of the season, went down with a groin strain with no definite date set for his return. Three to four weeks was the estimate given.

Unfortunately, Corcoran had done enough to earn himself a new contract as well, signing the day after the Dorchester match.

Lowly Welling was next for mighty FMS, in the league.

Welling United 1-0 FMS – 5th January 2013 – BSS #25

Fuller, Clarke, Nygma, Adie Whitbread, Aden Flint, Hochstetter, Charlie Telfer, Preece, Alex Burke, Warner, Baroni. Subs: Bo Jose, Kowalski, Dubb, Rothery, von Lichtenstein.

Goals

Welling United – Lanre Azeez 15

FMS – none (I’m serious).

Man of the Match – Clarke

There was a problem with the Fightin’ Writers. Besides the obvious one.

They had twelve shots at goal to Welling United’s nine at Park View Road – but not a single one of them hit the target in ninety minutes. Three of them did hit the woodwork, though, but that’s football.

With the league’s leading scorer, Warner, dropped from the sixteen, Blankley faced a questioning media after seeing the team’s unbeaten streak in the league end at fourteen matches.

Lanre Azeez’s wonder goal fifteen minutes into the match failed to draw a response from Blankley despite three pointed questions about it in his news conference. Instead, he preferred to talk about Clarke, who again didn’t make it through ninety minutes but won the man of the match award. So perhaps you can have your cake and eat it too.

Despite rarely finishing a match, Clarke dominated the tackling statistics in the league, with over ten successful challenges per match – three more than second-placed Nygma.

But, for the first time in the league since 2nd October against Bath, FMS was on the short end. And nobody liked that.

# # #

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“I love Kowalski, but if you put him in a race with a pregnant woman he’d finish third,”

I'm not sure I'd finish that high :D

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See what you get for dropping the man of the match, Blankley ?

And the leading scorer.... Blankley out, Blankley out, Blankley out!

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Nice set of stats for Rudyard there - high count in games, the most assists in the team, a handful of goals and a decent average rating: what more could you ask for from a creative midfielder!

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Blankley's an equal opportunity annoyer ...

___

FMS 2-0 Billericay – 5th January 2013 – BSS #26

Fuller, Dubb, Nygma, Adie Whitbread, Aden Flint, Marks, Fantu, Hochstetter, Preece, von Lichtenstein, McCracken. Subs: Bo Jose, Kowalski, Conleith Corcoran, Ben Strevens, Warner.

Goals

FMS – Fantu 29, von Lichtenstein 54

Billericay – nowhere near, David Collis s/o 74

Man of the Match – Fantu

The ways of Blankley struck again.

This time it was Clarke’s turn to sit out of the sixteen, as the Fightin’ Writers rebounded with a clean sheet over ten-man Billericay before 2,553 at The Love Shack.

Man of the Match Fantu and von Lichtenstein struck either side of the interval as the home team played a much better match and eased to victory.

The Lichtensteiner (is that what they’re called?) netted for the seventh time in 14 senior appearances and that put a smile on his face, but Mathieson and Law Martin seemed farther from the first team than ever, with both being frozen out of the lineup by Blankley’s players.

Yet the side was winning again, and that was what mattered the most.

Except to Bo Jose. He kept liking to brag to his mates about how he was on twice their wage.

Next up: Blue Square Premier side AFC Telford in the FA Trophy.

AFC Telford 4-4 FMS – 12th January 2013 – FA Trophy Third Round

Fuller, Clarke, Nygma, Adie Whitbread, Aden Flint, Marks, Charlie Telfer, Preece, Alex Burke, Warner, Baroni. Subs: Bo Jose, Kowalski, Conleith Corcoran, Ben Strevens, Rothery.

Goals

AFC Telford – James Spray pen 13; Tom Bradley 29, Kris Taylor 50, Matty McNeil 80

FMS – Warner 15, Ben Strevens 35, Charlie Telfer 36, Baroni 62

Man of the Match – Marks

“Suicide is painless.”

The theme song from the American TV show M*A*S*H* certainly seemed apropos here as the Writers had four players carted off with injuries within the first 37 minutes of their epic draw at New Bucks Head. It was, to use one word, frantic.

James Spray gave Telford the lead from the spot thirteen minutes into the match, only to see Warner peg them back two minutes later on a play where he injured his leg, replaced by Rothery.

Two minutes later, Nygma left with his arm strapped to his body, after falling awkwardly pursuing a header, with the physios predicting two months on the shelf with a dislocated shoulder.

Five minutes after that the substitute, Rothery, was gone, lost to a broken toe suffered in a 50-50 challenge. That made three in 24 minutes, leaving Blankley out of substitutions less than half an hour into the match.

Ben Strevens and Charlie Telfer struck within a minute of each other to offset Tom Bradley’s earlier strike for Telford to make it 3-2 but right after Telfer’s goal Whitbread limped off with a dead leg.

Fifty-three minutes from time, the Writers were down to ten men entirely through injury.

Kris Taylor scored for Telford five minutes after the restart and Baroni gamely restored the Pens’ lead in 62 minutes. But Matty McNeil beat a frustrated Fuller ten minutes from what would have been a famous win indeed for FMS.

Afterward, Blankley had a different reaction in discussing the Nygma. “We hope we can remain strong,” he said.

Nygma had been the only FMS player to feature in all of the club’s matches in the first half of the season but now things were going to be different.

Marks played an inspired match to win the sponsor’s award, but next up: the replay.

# # #

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See what happens when you play Marks? Two tepid performances without me; then boom, goals galore with me back in the squad.

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Baroni's racking the goals up steadily, however needs to grab a lot more to knock the other two goal scoring machines off the team sheet

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FMS 3-0 AFC Telford – 16th January 2012 – FA Trophy Third Round Replay

Fuller, Dubb, Mathieson, Adie Whitbread, Aden Flint, Hochstetter, Fantu, Preece, Charlie Telfer, Warner, McCracken. Subs: van Liefthuizen, Kowalski, Conleith Corcoran, Strevens, von Lichtenstein.

Goals

FMS – McCracken 1, pen 38; Warner 9

AFC Telford – none

Man of the Match – McCracken

A brace from McCracken powered a depleted Fightin’ Writers team through to the Fourth Round of the FA Trophy before a lively crowd of 2,031 at The Love Shack.

The striker scored in the first minute and again from the spot before halftime, and Warner returned to the eleven with a goal as Clarke sat again.

Their personal duel continued hotter than ever – McCracken raised his season’s tally to 18 goals in the contest while Warner bagged his 21st.

There was also a Gavin Mathieson sighting, which brought the crowd to its feet. The Belgian didn’t disappoint, putting in a strong shift at left back in his first senior start for FMS.

There was never really a doubt. The Pens held Telford to one shot on target in the entire match and Fuller had that covered well.

The fourth round opponent: Macclesfield away.

Sutton United 1-2 FMS – 19th January 2013 – BSS #27

Fuller, Clarke, Conleith Corcoran, Adie Whitbread, Aden Flint, Marks, Baroni, Hochstetter, Alex Burke, von Lichtenstein, Ben Strevens. Subs: van Liefthuizen, Kowalski, Dubb, McCracken, Warner.

Goals

Sutton United – Marvin Williams 7

FMS – Marks 34, von Lichtenstein 43; Aden Flint s/o 67

Man of the Match – Marks

Another of Barry’s Boys got himself sent off, but ten-man FMS held on to beat Sutton United back in league play.

Flint was sent off for the second time this season after a second bookable offence, leaving Blankley aggressive at the post-match news conference. His signings had been sent off five times in just twenty-seven league matches, with Whitbread and Flint both getting marching orders twice.

Unlike with Whitbread’s second sending off, Blankley promised the press he’d throw his on-loan defender right back out there as soon as his suspension was up. His jaw was jutting out as he spoke, as if daring someone to poke him in it.

Martin was considering it.

Meanwhile, von Lichtenstein did what he always did when he started – he scored, and this time it was the winner, overshadowing yet another consistent game from Ashley Marks.

The midfielder has hardly put a foot wrong all season, and picked up his fourth sponsor’s trophy of the season in 21 starts.

It was a fine win – but poor initial conditioning and fitness on the part of the Nineteen was starting to jade some of them pretty severely. It’s always nice to get playing time, but it’s a long season and some of the boys were starting to realize that.

Except for Mathieson and Law Martin. The poor guys.

For his part, Martin had made eleven appearances for the reserve team, which was fifth in its group, seven points adrift of Morecambe but with two matches in hand, and Mathieson had made five.

Yet it wasn’t the same. The Nineteen weren’t all playing together and that was worrisome.

# # #

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At least he's started using me as a sweeper.

So far I've swept the corporate boxes, the changing rooms, the reception area...

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I'm rooting for the underdogs to get some playing time. But I gotta admit, the sweeper comment was wonderful.

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I'm rooting for the underdogs to get some playing time. But I gotta admit, the sweeper comment was wonderful.

I'm counting on being released and signing elsewhere. Or perhaps going full-time with this cleaning lark.

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The last part of January began with another step up in leagues – to Macclesfield and Moss Rose for the quarterfinals of the FA Trophy.

Macclesfield Town 1-2 FMS – 26th January 2012 – FA Trophy Fourth Round (quarterfinal)

van Liefthuizen, Clarke, Mathieson, Adie Whitbread, Kowalski, Marks, Fantu, Preece, Charlie Telfer, Warner, McCracken. Subs: Bo Jose, Conleith Corcoran, Dubb, Baroni, Hochstetter.

Goals

Macclesfield – Thierry Audel 5

FMS – Warner 14, Baroni 78

Man of the Match – Marks

Baroni’s goal twelve minutes from time sealed a huge win for FMS FC, as the FIghtin’ Writers claimed a spot in the last four of the FA Trophy competition.

The win came at a cost though, as McCracken left with a McCrocked knee in 70 minutes, with the Italian replacing him to score the winning goal. The injury wasn’t as bad as it sounded, but would still keep the striker out of consideration for three weeks.

The Welshman, Marks, was quietly putting together an outstanding season, and the lad earned the sponsor’s award for a committed, all-action performance.

Afterwards, though, Silkmen boss Steve King had kind words for Kowalski, who turned in a powerful performance at centre half.

He said he appreciated Kowalski’s performance, to which the big defender was said to have replied, “at least someone does.”

And speaking of underappreciated, the first member of the Nineteen wanting to seek greener pastures made his feelings known at that time.

Hmm. Who could it possibly be?

# # #

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Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuun!

I have well and truly earned my sobriquet as FMS "Master Of The Cheap Cliffhanger".

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It'll be Dubb. Fed up with coming off the bench to finish Clarke's shift and getting no thanks for it.

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Out for 3 weeks? Someone break Warner's leg please!

As long as ya don't touch the face or the hair i won't be too annoyed

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And speaking of underappreciated, the first member of the Nineteen wanting to seek greener pastures made his feelings known at that time.

Hmm. Who could it possibly be?

If it's not me I want a word with myself.

Seriously though, my money's on Kowalski, it's really easy to turn that boy's head.

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Bo Jose, who had had enough of playing understudy first to Fuller and later to van Liefthuizen, was placed on the transfer list at his own request.

He hadn’t played since 8th December against Boreham Wood and hadn’t started since 14th November against AFC Hornchurch. The Norway u-21 keeper had had enough – of Whitbread and everyone else associated with the Poison Pens.

While Bo Jose was planning to pack his bags, more international callups were announced. This time it was Nygma’s turn to miss Scotland selection through injury:

Baroni (Italy u-19 v Holland)

Bo Jose (Norway u-21 v Andorra)

van Liefthuizen (Holland u-21 v Spain)

Fuller (England u-19 v Switzerland)

Dubb (England u-19 v Switzerland)

Preece (England u-19 v Switzerland)

Mathieson (Belgium u-21 v Portugal)

Kowalski (Scotland u-19 v Finland)

Marks (Wales u-21 v Romania)

Clarke (Ireland u-19 v Slovenia)

FMS 4-0 Chelmsford – 30th January 2013 – BSS #28

Fuller, Dubb, Corcoran, Clarke, Adie Whitbread, Hochstetter, Fantu, Preece, Rudyard, Warner, Baroni. Subs: van Liefthuizen, Kowalski, Martin, Ben Strevens, von Lichtenstein.

Goals

FMS – Rudyard 44, Warner 57, Fantu 68, von Lichtenstein 81

Chelmsford – none

Man of the Match – Fantu

Fantu put in a solid shift as the Writers overwhelmed Chelmsford at The Love Shack, even after taking nearly the entire first half to break down the visitors.

The Pens completely dominated the match but it wasn’t until Rudyard slammed home a set piece with one minute of regular time left in the first half that the home team was able to break through.

The team had Chelmsford under the cosh for the entire second half, with Warner bagging a goal twelve minutes after the restart before Fantu got the goal his play, and his ego, deserved with a rising drive from twenty-five yards in 68 minutes.

Substitute von Lichtenstein continued to show a nose for goal by converting with his first kick of the match.

And so the team kept rolling on.

January record: 2-1-1 (7 points)

Blue Square South: 20-5-2, 65 points, first place by 14 points over Dover)

FA Cup: Eliminated

FA Trophy: Semifinal

# # #

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They never forgave JoBoJo after he tried to wear his shirt backwards.

37208685.jpg

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I want the head of whoever is picking these England squads! Top scorer and still not a dickie bird!

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You guys are killing me. How awesome. :)

And no, Mr. Fantu, you have not asked for a transfer. You're still busy battling Warner for the "Teen Heartthrob" title at the club.

___

February brought about more internationals and, at last, the beginning of the end of the season.

It also brought about the reverse fixture against the closest pursuers to the Poison Pens in the table, Dover.

Prior to the match, Blankley gave the usual song and dance about resting Whitbread, and also tried to quash speculation that he was interested in Fleetwood Town midfielder Junior Brown. Having managed Junior Brown in FM13 myself, such a course of action could safely be considered head-scratching.

Dover 3-3 FMS – 2nd February 2013 – BSS #29

Fuller, Clarke, Mathieson, Adie Whitbread, Aden Flint, Marks, Charlie Telfer, Preece, Hochstetter, von Lichtenstein, Ben Strevens. Subs: van Liefthuizen, Kowalski, Dubb, Baroni, Warner

Goals

Dover – Ben May 4, 49; Adam Fenwick 63

FMS – von Lichtenstein 7, Warner 85, 88

Man of the Match – von Lichtenstein

So much for the song and dance, but the match was one that makes champions. Coming off the bench, Warner scored twice in three minutes to pull the Fightin’ Writers back from the brink of a 3-1 deficit at Crabble Athletic Ground.

With the home team desperately needing all three points, Ben May scored four minutes into the match only to be pegged back by von Lichtenstein three minutes later. May’s second goal was buttressed by Adam Fenwick in 63 minutes, but von Lichtenstein was lifted in favour of Warner right after Fenwick’s goal.

FMS’ leading marksman the found the range twice in the last five minutes of regular time, earning a split in the points but perhaps surprisingly not stealing the sponsor’s trophy from von Lichtenstein.

Blankley’s praise after the match was for the Lichtensteiner, which left Warner scratching his head.

He scratched right alongside Kowalski, who wondered how he couldn’t break into the side ahead of the knackered Whitbread or the freshly unsuspended Aden Flint. Having less hair to scratch than Warner, Kowalski found this job slightly easier, if not more fulfilling.

Von Lichtenstein’s goal put him into double digits for the season.

And the news just got worse for Law Martin.

Already unable to break into the lineup due to the manager’s selection policy, the youngster fell during a training session and broke his right foot, potentially sidelining him for the remainder of the season.

International summaries – 4 February

Marks (Wales u-21 2-1 Romania) – late substitute

Bo Jose (Norway u-21 4-0 @ Andorra) – played entire match, MR 7.1

van Liefthuizen (Holland u-21 1-4 @ Spain) - unused substitute

Baroni (Italy u-19 1-3 @ Holland) – full match, MR 7.1

Fuller (England u-21 2-2 Switzerland) – unused substitute

Dubb (England u-21 2-2 Switzerland) – substitute, MR 6.6

Preece (England u-21 2-2 Switzerland) – substitute, MR 6.5

Kowalski (Scotland u-19 1-1 Finland) – entire match, MR 7.9

Mathieson (Belgium u-21 1-1 Portugal) – late substitute

Clarke (Ireland u-19 1-3 Slovenia) – substitute, MR 6.5

And then Blankley did it again.

He reached into the Oldham reserves to find winger Connor Hughes on a free transfer, which annoyed both Preece and Marks since the £20,000-rated Englishman could play both wings.

Which of the Nineteen would now find it hard to hold his spot in the eleven?

# # #

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I figured that was the footballing equivalent of cutting myself to try and get attention.

LOVE ME, LEGO MAN! LOVE ME!

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I figured that was the footballing equivalent of cutting myself to try and get attention.

LOVE ME, LEGO MAN! LOVE ME!

To me I think it's an instance of putting a boot where it would do the most good and then finding the going tougher than anticipated :(

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Business end of the season. I sense promotion glory and transfer activity. My guess is at least 2 of the 19 will be off this summer for head scratching lower amounts than any of us would sell them for. Blankey is a tool after all.

Warner player of the year methinks.

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This post is a reminder as to why it might not have been a good idea for some of you to list "injury proneness" as a weakness..

___

Hayes and Yeading 1-4 FMS – 9th February 2013 – BSS #30

Fuller, Clarke, Conleith Corcoran, Adie Whitbread, Aden Flint, Marks, Fantu, Charlie Telfer, Rudyard, Warner, Baroni; Subs: van Liefthuizen, Kowalski, Dubb, Ben Strevens, von Lichtenstein.

Goals

Hayes and Yeading – Daniel Wishart 21; Kudus Oyenuga s/o 57

FMS – Baroni 2, 67; Fantu 49; Warner 54.

Man of the Match – Baroni.

Ten-man Hayes and Yeading was no match for the Pens at Kingfield, but another of the Nineteen was lost to injury as Rudyard sprained his ankle in the contest to put him out of action for six weeks.

They were starting to drop like flies, and Blankley told the press after the match that too many of his young charges evidently didn’t consider proper care to prevent injury as a key concern.

They still had Baroni, though, and the Italian got the club off the mark quickly two minutes in the match, completing his brace ten minutes after Kudus Oyenuga got himself sent off for a second bookable offence.

The win also raised the team’s latest unbeaten streak to five, as the march toward promotion continued.

# # #

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This post is a reminder as to why it might not have been a good idea for some of you to list "injury proneness" as a weakness..

___

On the contary captain my captain. The two that did were clarke and borini who are the rocks in the side. ;-)

And now for the science bit:

Injury proneness works in reverse. 1 is rarely sucumbs to injury, 20 injury prone. Putting it as a weakness was a master stroke as it's technically 3 strengths and 1 weakness.

Clarke and borini also were given 20 loyalty which means they will be less likely to put in a transfer request and leave, perhaps even rejecting bigger clubs to stay. Presumably this was done to ensure they remained a focus in the story.

On the plus side, you'll have me as an avid reader to see if that theory proves correct.

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Work with me, I'm looking for story angles here ...

___

The next to agree professional terms was Clarke.

It wasn’t exactly a king’s ransom – two years at £100 per week – but it was still double his former money and equal to Bo Jose’s. But since the Norwegian was presently toiling with the reserves while waiting for a transfer, he wasn’t seen around the first team as much as he used to be.

But before anyone could worry about contracts, there was the first leg of the FA Trophy semifinal against Gateshead.

Gateshead 1-6 FMS – 16th February 2013 – FA Trophy Semifinal First Leg

Fuller, Dubb, Mathieson, Adie Whitbread, Aden Flint, Hochstetter, Fantu, Preece, Charlie Telfer, Warner, Baroni. Subs: van Liefthuizen, Kowalski, Clarke, von Lichtenstein, Marks.

Goals

Gateshead – Liam Hatch 8

FMS – Warner pen 16; Preece pen 28; Baroni pen 32; Hochstetter 72, von Lichtenstein 73, 80.

Man of the Match – Warner.

And they came from behind.

The Writers spotted Gateshead an eighth-minute goal by Liam Hatch and roared back to overwhelm their hosts 6-1 in the first leg of the FA Trophy Semifinal at the International Stadium.

Talk about one foot into the final.

The Writers wound up on the penalty spot three times in sixteen minutes in the first half thanks to referee Simon Long, and three different penalty takers made keeper Adam Bartlett’s life a living hell. Joel Hochstetter scored his first goal for the club late on before substitute von Lichtenstein netted twice in seven minutes to put the issue beyond any sort of doubt.

Warner was everywhere, and even though he didn’t score from open play he did everything else. His play led to the obvious question of why he had yet to receive an international callup.

“Perhaps they can’t spell Warner,” the striker said coolly to the press after the match. “Maybe if we get to Wembley.”

Next up, a match where the Writers would be heavily favoured to take out Staines Town at the Love Shack.

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