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Blyth Spartans FM 2009 Story – Championship February 2013

Here we go again, the toughest month of the season was about to begin. We were in 5th place in Coca-Cola Championship at the end of January and three of the next five games were going to be against our main contenders for a playoff place.

But before that we had to play a less difficult home game, against 19th placed Huddersfield. We drew 1-1 when we played against them away from home in September, so I was expecting a less problematic home game. In fact, we didn’t have too many problems with Huddersfield, we scored 5 goals! Unfortunately one of them was past our own keeper ;) However, it was a good win that gave us a good morale for the tough challenges ahead of us. With these three points we also made a step forward in the league table, we were 4th.

1 blyth vs huddersfield championship

Portsmouth were right behind us in 5th place and we had a difficult game against them away from home. Back in September we won the home game 2-1 and that gave me some confidence for the away game. We played well in the first half, it was an even game and I hoped it would finish all square after we managed to equalize in the 28th minute. Unfortunately we conceded a goal from a corner kick right before the break. We played quite OK in the second half too but we were not able to create anything important. I guess a draw would have been fair considering that it was an even game but that’s football, you have to take your chances when you have them.

2 portsmouth vd blyth championship

A win in the next game was absolutely essential, we had to beat Q.P.R. at home to get the three points and keep the 5th place. Queens Park Rangers were in 11th place and in the previous meeting we drew 2-2 away from home. The game started well for us, we were 2-0 up at the break and we even made it 3-0 after half time. At that point Q.P.R. attempted a furious comeback and they went pretty close, it finished 3-2 with my players looking very tired in the last 20 minutes of the game.

3 blyth vs qpr championship

Next up, another decisive game, away at 4th placed Cardiff. We managed to beat them 2-1 in the previous meeting but this time I expected a much more difficult game. They played very well in the first part of the game and it seemed that we had very little chances to get something out of this match. Fortunately we managed to score one goal before the break so the first half ended 2-1. We came out looking way better after the break and we scored another one right in the first minute of the second half. We kept on pushing forward and Sandor Vaida rewarded our efforts in the 76th minute with a superb left footed shot from 20 yards out! We just had to keep cool and defend the lead. There was less than one minute to go when their veteran striker Bobby Zamora picked up a ball in our penalty area and did what he knows best, scoring. It was a crazy game that we could have won, we went very close…

4 cardiff vs blyth championship

The last game of the month was another difficult one, at home against 6th placed Southampton. We had to win this to consolidate our 5th place. Unfortunately my one of my centre backs, Rhys Williams, picked up two yellow cards in the first 16 minutes of the game! I think that the second card was a bit harsh, he got that one for barging a player in the back… Fact is that we were down to 10 men and the game was looking even more difficult than it was supposed to be. At that point I would have been happy with a draw but what happened after that 16th minute shocked both me and our opponents. Right winger Mario Garay and striker Gary Horner were looking like extra terrestrials, they were making their opponents look like amateurs. That was the best display of football I ever saw at Croft Park and the scoreboard at half time was showing a thrilling 3-0. Southampton tried to make a comeback in the second half but my lads continued to play very well despite the one man disadvantage and it finished 3-1, one of the most beautiful games in my career.

5 blyth vs southampton championship

That result relegated Southampton to 7th place and pushed us up in 4th! There are still 12 games to be played and a lot of things can change in the league table but I think that the playoff place is well within our reach now.

6 championship table february 2013

Young striker Gary Horner was our main man this month, he scored 4 goals in the last 5 games! I brought him last summer from Burnley to provide decent backup for the striker role but this month I decided to give him a chance to play after he showed some good performances for the Reserves squad lately. He took his chance and now I have a fierce competition for the striker place between him, Chris Short and Kunihiro Yoneyama.

7 gary horner february 2013

We have to play 6 games in March and if we could get around 12 – 15 points from these the playoff place would be virtually in our bag. If we keep playing like we did against Southampton we’d have nothing to fear, but I’m sure that some setbacks are waiting to happen just around the corner.

P.S.: I just noticed that this is the 100th post that gets to be published on this blog! It all started at the end of 2008, on the 28th of December… I was sick and the doctor said that I had to stay inside the house for about 10 days. A bit sad and with nothing better to do, I started this blog :) I didn’t expect back then that it would become an addiction, for me and for quite a few other people. Right now there are around 400 to 500 people from all over the world that come to visit this blog every day, some to read the stories, others to download graphics or tactics. I’m very grateful for that and I wish to thank you, my readers, for keeping this blog alive and for spreading the word about it. I’ll do my best to give you great things to read or download from now on too.



  1. Rooneye

    August 7, 2009 at 19:12

    Yes! Great month for you, surely you will get promoted. It would be heartbreaking if you were to miss out on promotion at the last minute. Well done though for this month, like you said it was a tough month against some strong teams.

    Grats on your 100th post, its a great blog I really enjoy reading it mate :) Keep it coming.

  2. Dave

    August 7, 2009 at 19:42

    Congrats from me too on your 100th post. Somehow stumbled onto your blog and have to say it is now a firm favourite and one i visit daily.

    A great job you have done there, 4th with 12 games to go. Good luck for those 12 mate. At first I thought promotion would be a mistake but now I am looking forward to seeing the mighty Blythe competing with the Big Boys of the Premiership.

    • JohnnyKarp

      August 7, 2009 at 20:17

      Thanks Rooneye, thanks Dave! Your support means a lot to me.
      I really hope that we’ll get promoted, it would be a chance to get some money, maybe expand the stadium and build a decent squad.

  3. paine

    August 8, 2009 at 01:54

    Some tough matches during this month Johnny, but now I think you need to aim for a direct promotion, 7 points aren’t so much, you could do it.

    Congrats for your 100th post, keep it up!

  4. Ahmed Shah

    August 8, 2009 at 06:22

    Great job, Johnny, but you might want to finish away from Pompey in the play-offs…better in the final than the semi’s… ;-)

    • JohnnyKarp

      August 8, 2009 at 13:59

      Thanks mate! The table is pretty tight from 3rd to 5th, anything could happen there. Obviously I’d prefer finishing 3rd and getting an “easier” team in the semifinal.
      Thanks a lot! Yea, 7 points are not that many but I don’t believe that we have the strength to get 7 points more than WBA in the last 12 games. Anyway, we’ll know more after the 6 games that we have to play in March, maybe WBA will have problems and we’ll get 5 wins out of 6 or something. The problem is that 6 games in a month are quite a lot for my lads, some of them will certainly get tired and that could have a big impact on our performance.

  5. curtkoz

    August 8, 2009 at 16:06

    everytime i go on football manager and load my saved game it says save game cannot be loaded , even if i make a new one it still does it what should i do?

    • JohnnyKarp

      August 8, 2009 at 16:22

      Curt, if you tried with different savegame files and it didn’t work I’d suggest reinstalling the program. And make a backup of the saved games first. Maybe some file in the program got corrupted.

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