#FM15 #FordFocus : September Smiles

Season two of #FordFocus has made a brilliant start. We already top the table, have a GD of plus 12 and are coping brilliantly with a playing squad of just 18 players. Four of them are loanees so I am managing to only pay fourteen of my squad, kerching! It’s all part of the “Soccernomics meets Moneyball” game plan. Can we push on through September and still lead the way?

First up in the month was a trip to Burgess Hill. I had the luxury of naming yet another unchanged side. I’ve been preaching stability since I turned up, but I guess it is easy to name unchanged sides when (a) you keep winning, (b) people aren’t getting injured once they are match fit and (c ) people aren’t picking up unnecessary suspensions. Anyway, Burgess Hill. Another short corner, another goal! Wardie put us ahead after about 15 minutes or so from another well worked routine. We were playing beautifully, the football I imagined when I put this team together. Gally, moving into the space vacated by Reecey, pulled the ball back to Whytey and he netted from twenty yards with a sweet finish. Our third, midway through the second half, was the other type of goal we score. A long, searching pass from Big D down the line to Eddie, the instant cross into the box and Ossie arriving to head it home. Four touches, about 100 yards gained and the ball in the net. Again the boys had given me the luxury of switching to closing the game out nice and early, which we did with ease. Another three points and another clean sheet.

The next game brought an early top-of-the-table clash against Hastings. A few of my fellow Oviedo shareholder friends are involved at Hastings so I was already feeling guilty of potentially beating the living daylights out of their football team. In the build up to the game I had a chat with Henners that didn’t go the way I wished, he has asked to leave. I have agreed, but only if someone pays what he is worth – which is about £5k. Not much, but would pay the wages for a month. I also managed to annoy Ossie, and I hope that doesn’t come back to bite me. I wanted to get him on another longer contract and was prepared to pay him more, just not as much as he wanted. I took the option of asking him to reduce his wages and he is the first player ever to say no. He is now unhappy. This makes me unhappy. Now we have two unhappy people.

Anyway, yet again I was able to name the same team. Eddie put us ahead very early, latching on to a clever ball from Ossie and sliding it past the goalkeeper. They hit the post twice in quick succession and we were hanging on by a thread. It wasn’t unreasonable to say the played us off the park in the first half, but somehow we went in ahead. The boys got the traditional kicking at half time and we went straight out and scored, Ossie running on to a straight ball from Big D. I switched it up to close it out. Seven minutes later they got one from a set piece and I had the dilemma of going and playing again, or still sitting back and hoping to see the game out. We pushed forward again and with 15 to go Henners put in Eddie and he made it 3-1. Time to park the bus once more. Again it didn’t work, they got another one from a set piece and the final five minutes were going to be nervy! We held on though, a brilliant result if not our best ever performance. Already we were two points clear with a game in hand, a terrific start to the season.

Wardy had picked up a gashed leg so was out for the Wey Valley derby against Godalming Town. Henners came in, and maybe this run of games he was about to get might help him decide to stay. To say we were up for it was an understatement. Ossie fired us ahead after just 90 seconds! Reecey got the second before ten minutes were on the clock and we were looking superb. Fifteen gone and Nicky headed home from a well worked short corner routine. He repeated the feat after half an hour, an identical goal to make it 4-0. I switched to contain as I didn’t want them nicking one before half time. I kept it tight for the first 15 minutes of the second half, the plan being to kill off any hope they had of getting back into it and then flicked back to our normal tactic with an hour of the match gone. They didn’t get a sniff of a chance and we had one the derby by four goals to nil. I think we might do ok this season you know. Their manager tried to engage in a bit of chit-chat in the press after the game, but after you’ve been spanked 4-0 it is hard to be taken too seriously.

Merstham was next for the City, a trip up the A3 again. They were in 7th, so it was likely to be a tougher game. Once more I was able to name the same team as the previous match, gents I would really recommend as few changes as possible, trust your players. The first half was event free, so I had a quiet word in a few ears at the interval. Just before the hour mark Henners picked up his second yellow and we were down to ten. I dropped Whytey back a bit deeper and kept my fingers crossed. Then Big D was carried off, Nasha on. Ossie forced a good save from their ‘keeper late on, and from the resulting corner Kesh, on for Eddie, smashed home what looked like the winner with his first goal for the club! The boys did me proud, even with ten men we never looked like losing. With Whyteleafe drawing we extended our lead to four points with a game in hand.

Our final September game was against South Park. They were in a solid ninth place, but I fully expected to end this update with another three points. Nasha was in for Henners, other than that the same starting eleven. I was tempted to start Kesh, but decided against it for now. Another good show off the bench and he would be putting proper pressure on Eddie. We were back to two outfield subs again. It does help when you have some one that can deliver a ball on set pieces. Blakey sent in a free kick, everyone panicked, Whytey calmly found Big D and he despatched the ball into the net. That was it, not much of a report huh? Nothing else happened, we were poor and they were awful. Still, three points and another clean sheet! Back to back 1-0 wins too, that doesn’t happen often.

As it’s month end, and therefore the end of this update, let’s see what’s going on elsewhere!

Manchester City and West Ham are the two unbeaten sides after six games, sitting in first and fourth. Arsenal and Palace are in the second and third and Reading and Watford make up the top six. Burnley have recovered and sit mid-table and it’s Leicester, Everton and QPR that fill the bottom three.

After ten games in the Championship, Southampton lead the way on goal difference from Brighton. Three points separate the top nine teams, so it was way too early to make predictions. Bournemouth, in the Europa League, only lost 1-0 to Porto which was more than respectable.

In the Champions League, there has only been one round of games so nothing to report of note.

Nobody has lost their job yet, which is a bit dull.

So at the end of September we are unbeaten in the league, nine wins and one draw from our ten games. Not a bad start, I am sure you would agree. October has six games scheduled so it should be a fairly meaty update next time round.

Hope you are still enjoying this.

Go on Guildford!

(if you enjoy my writing, why not spend £1.99 of your hard-earned cash on my first book, “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager” here: http://buff.ly/1G0WNV9 or my second one, “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager – The Second Season Syndrome” here: http://buff.ly/1NXwJ4r)

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