#FM15 #FordFocus : Autumnal Awesomeness

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, this is the greatest save on earth. Ok, it’s not but I am enjoying it. Sure, the Spectrum is not the best stadium in the world, it is barely a stadium, and we are playing in the eighth tier of English football but I really feel we are going somewhere. It is the beginning of October in the second season, and as the leaves start falling off the trees we sit top of our tree, unbeaten in our opening ten games. Will the change of season into Autumn change our form? Will the clocks going back put us back? Will this be the hardest season within the season?

First up was a trip to Carshalton, who were down in 12th. As we hadn’t been that great in the last game, I brought Henners back in for young Nasha, my West Ham loanee. Wardy was fit enough to take the final subs spot, and may well figure at some point. The opening 45 was tough, they had the better of it and it needed Browney to make a fine save and keep us level. Then, in first half injury time, Blakey swung a corner into the near post and Ossie leapt like the proverbial and nodded home. With twenty to go Ossie again showed me why I love him so much. Whytey played it into him, back to goal. He controlled and span in one move and the next thing we see is the ball nestled in the net. It was quality, pure class. Straight from kick off they went up the other end and scored, we cleared the cross into their face and it went in! With eight to go Blakey curled a free kick into the top corner and I knew that was enough. We switched to parking the bus and there was nothing further to report.

Not much happens during the week at the moment. I am not checking the scout reports that often as I am not really looking and I am not exactly fending off bids for players. Mitch picked up a knock in training, so he is out for a few weeks but I think that is the first training injury in ages. Worthing were next, a trip to the south coast for us. Wardy was fit enough to start so he came in for Henners.

Ten minutes in and we were behind, possibly for the first time this season? Then it was 2-0, the run was looking to be coming to a crashing end. From that goal we won an instant penalty, Eddie getting clattered. Wardy drove it down the middle and we were back in it. We kept pushing and pushing and eventually Reecey broke clear on the left. He swung in a fine cross, taking the keeper out of the game and Eddie tapped in at the far post. Credit to the players, we looked dead and buried at 2-0 and they battled their way back into it. A nice stadium at Worthing too, mind you everywhere is nicer than the Spectrum.

We had a midweek fixture at the afore mentioned Leisure Centre, against Walton & Hersham. They were in the relegation zone and it had been a while since we played one of the bottom clubs. The first five minutes were frenetic. Ossie hit the bar and the Wardy was stretchered off, it looked like a bad one. That seemed to kill our mood and we came in 1-0 down, giving away a poor goal. Five minutes into the second half, Blakey cleaned out their lad in the area – clear pen and we were 2-0 down again. Ossie then hit the woodwork again, this wasn’t our night. They got a third, incredible. What a way to lose your unbeaten record. They got four, this was painful! Eddie did score a brilliant consolation, but who cares right? It was our worst performance of the season in front of the worst crowd of the season. I was actually shell-shocked, I have never seen us play so badly. The lead has been cut to three points, and the next game was against second placed Whyteleafe so what better way to bounce back?

It turned out Wardy had a bruised thigh. What the hell was all the fuss about then? With him being ruled out I decided to give Nasha a go in the midfield and I also got ruthless. Browney was dropped for the first time since I signed him and moody Moody was going to make his debut – he had better not let me down!

Six minutes in and the undid us completely and utterly. All the back three got dragged out of position and the lad had all the time in the world to score the first goal of the game. We couldn’t get anywhere near them first half and I ended up encouraging them at half time, a rarity for me. Well, Eddie scored an equaliser straight away and we were back in the land of the living! It didn’t last long, they scored from a corner soon after but we didn’t give up. A double substitution brought on Henners and Daisy, back after a long lay-off. They were both involved in the move that saw Ossie get in behind and score, his first for a little while. Suddenly they were down to ten, a defender getting a second yellow but we were unable to make the most of the extra man. Still, having gone behind I was happy with a point. It meant we were three without a win though, time to be concerned?

We had a two week break to get ourselves back in order. For whatever reason, we are not in the FA Cup or the FA Vase this season. I am hoping I haven’t screwed up the database! By the time the game came round I had a full squad to choose from. Daisy and Joshy were back on the bench and Wardy was back in midfield. Moody kept his place in goal and we headed down the A30 to Redhill. Ten minutes were gone when Reecey raced on to a long ball from Nicky, crossed to Eddie and the ball was planted firmly into the far corner of the net. Eight minutes later Gally was wheeling away in celebration having made it 2-0, Eddie setting him up in a short corner routine. Despite being 2-0 up at half time, I wasn’t happy with how we were playing. Redhill were getting back into the game without scoring so I kicked them hard in the changing room. Ten minutes after the restart Ossie turned and was about to pull the trigger when his standing foot was removed from beneath him. Penalty! Their lad was sent off too. Wardy plonked the ball on the spot but blazed it high and wide. That is the first spot kick he has missed for us. I switched the tactic to “play wider” and “exploit the flanks” as I wanted to see if we could get down the sides of them a bit more as they now had ten men. They pulled one back within seconds of doing it, so switched it straight back again!! Amazingly they got level, a long ball down the middle catching us out and their lad raced on to it and finished. Once again it was a short corner that got us out of trouble, Eddie smashing it across the goal and Nicky poking it home from a yard. They hit the post and I switched to my park the bus tactic. We got away with it today, the three points were gratefully accepted but I am not sure we deserved them. I told them as much after the game. Hastings beat Whyteleafe in the big game beneath us, meaning we had a four point gap over Hastings with a game in hand. All in all, it wasn’t a bad day’s work.

That brought us to the end of our October fixtures, so what else had been happening in English football? City have opened up a five point lead in the Premier League, Arsenal not so hot on their heels. Champions Chelsea are all the way down in 8th after ten games. Rom won’t like that Jose! Leicester, Swansea and Spurs occupy the relegation places. Spurs are dreadful to be honest. At the start of the month Sunderland replaced Martin Jol with Ronald Koeman as they are currently suffering the embarrassment of being lower in the league than Newcastle.

Popping over to the Champions League, Arsenal, Chelsea, City and United all look good to qualify from their groups after three games.

Fifteen games into the Championship and everyone still has their job, which is rare. Six points separate the top six, and Sheffield Wednesday have caught Southampton at the top and sit above them on goal difference. What do the chasing group of Forest, Ipswich, Huddersfield, Bolton and Derby have in common? If Europa Leagued Bournemouth win their four games in hand they would plonk themselves in 4th. Having lost 3-0 away in Rome they recorded their first ever European victory, beating Panathinaikos 2-1 at Dean Court.

The League Cup is at the Quarter Final stage – QPR play Arsenal, Man City play West Ham, Chelsea play Ipswich and Boro play Spurs.

That’s it for this round up. As we move into November can City crack on and widen the gap? Will Browney ever get his number one jersey back? Will Spurs find their way out of the relegation zone? Will Jose get fired? So many questions!

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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