Hello Everyone and welcome back to my continuing Football Manager Story. There’s lots to bring you in this update including the all important winter transfer window so here we go!!
FA Cup 2nd Round
When William Ekong headed in after just 4 minutes it looked like we were in for a resounding win but Bath City had other ideas. They chased us around Home Park, closing us down and limiting our chances up front. And so it was another 70 minutes before Odelusi finally killed this cup tie with a neatly placed side footed shot to make it 2-0 sending us through to the third round.
The draw for the third round proved to be lucky for us as we will face Millwall at home!
Our first league game of December saw us take an absolute hiding at Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday steam-rollered over us winning by 3-0. Sanmi Odelusi picked up an injury and will be out for 3 months, just as he was hitting form too.
The timing couldn’t have been worse for coming off such a battering as next we faced our bitter rivals Exeter in a “Devon Derby”. Exeter started off the stronger with a couple of decent chances in the opening 15 minutes but it was the 18 year old William Ekong who opened the scoring heading in of Walton corner. A fantastic long pass by left back Jeremy Helan caught everyone off guard except Eccleston who buried the ball into the net two minutes before the interval. A brilliant shot from distance brought Exeter back into the game 13 minutes from time but a counter attack spearheaded by Eccleston was neatly finished off by substitute Lecointe for the decisive winning goal.
Our erratic December form continued as we surrendered second place in the table once more losing at home 2-1 to Swindon Town. ML Jordan Copp getting our only goal. We now had to travel to London to face Crystal Palace who had become the new league leaders.
Torrential rain greeted us for this Boxing Day fixture at Selhurst Park which saw Carl Fletcher score a rare goal with a blistering shot from distance after just seven minutes. In what was to be a very subdued first half was followed by a memorable second period which saw no less than five goals with Bobby Ponton, who I was about to terminate setting up Bhasera for our fourth so I may rethink that. A great win away from home to help the festive season.
We finished off the year with a 2-2 draw at home to MK Dons where we came from behind thanks to an injury time equalizer from William Ekong to spare our blushes.
We had actually been in first place after the Palace game but that draw at home meant Tranmere now took over top spot. Our rivals Exeter had slipped out of the top six.
I ended the year with a Team Meeting praising the players for their efforts so far and that received a positive response throughout the dressing room.
With a game just on the horizon I was called into the board room to discuss resetting the season expectations. To my surprise there was quite a range on offer but being the cautious fellow I am I did not want to over commit and stuck with a Mid Table finish which did net me a tidy transfer and salary budget. The question is will I spend it?
The first game of the year was at Home Park, just 48 hours after our last one. The first half was sluggish effort against Stevenage but some encouraging half time words did the trick at least for Lecointe whose determination and strength saw him muscle off his defender and score in the 49th minute. That was the start of a superb second half for him ending with an assist to substitute Eccleston whose low drive made it 2-0 for a comfortable three points.
FA Cup Third Round
We had been fortunate enough to have been drawn at home to Millwall but didn’t capitalize on that advantage and labored through yet another 90 minutes. Thankfully 30 seconds of inspiration by Eccleston resulted in the winning goal as he slipped his marker and drove the ball home.
The match was a platform to introduce new striker Corey Gameiro who was released by Fulham and will hopefully push Eccleston for a starting role as a poacher.
Gameiro was joined by two new loan signings, the first Conor Coady from parent club Liverpool and the second Charni Ekangamene from Man United who I’ll refer to as just Charni as it’s easier to type. Both these young midfielders will be with us for three months which will allow Kyle Jacobs to slip into the right back position in a support role.
Our next game was a long trip north to fourth place Carlisle where we got off to a great start as Eccleston beat the offside trap to make it 1-0 after just 6 minutes. We looked completely fired up for this game and just after the half hour striker Apostolos Vellios on loan from Everton made it 2-0 off a Bhasera cross from the left flank. Four minutes later Vellios provided an inch perfect through ball for Eccleston to pass into the back of the net for goal number three. After the interval Carlisle looked more inspired and pulled one back after a dominant 7 minute spell though Eccelston completed his hat-trick almost immediately from the re-start. Sloppy passing by Walton allowed Carlisle to create another goal but they never looked like catching us.
Here’s Vellios who I picked up from Everton for three months. He wouldn’t come to Plymouth at the beginning of the season though I’m delighted to have him now. Bobby Ponton? Sent back to Hearts!
We returned home to take on Wycombe three days later and we finally got revenge over them with two first half goals by Eccleston and Daniel Boateng in what for the most part was a fairly dull match.
A goal after just two minutes from Nathan Eccleston away to Colchester was all that was needed to gain another three points but once more it was a very scrappy performance
Our next game was at home to Coventry City which saw midfielder Charni play an excellent game setting up MR Luke Daley for the opening goal after just seven minutes with an inch perfect pass in to the 18 yard box. Greek striker Vellios glanced in a header off a free kick to make it 2-0 with 30 minutes gone and struck with venom just moments later latching on to a crossed ball from the left flank. Disappointingly we seem to fade away after that with Coventry playing as the more determined team in the second half but they never really troubled Loris Karius between the sticks.
With an FA Cup just 72 hours away it was all change for our trip to London to take on Brentford. As some- what anticipated our unbeaten run came to an end as we didn’t really play as a cohesive unit and worryingly striker Gameiro failed to make any impression at all up front. Jamie Richards was our only player to come close with a header cleared off the line and Brentford eventually snatched the only goal of the game with a header of their own
*** Authors Note***
My perception is that teams who have players with good long throw attributes are able to create goals off long throws directly into the 18 yard area. Anyone else noticed that?
Our 2013 form has been brillinat so far and I thnik we would have remained unbeaten if I had played my normal starting eleven against Brentford.
We are top, three points clear of Huddersfield though we really don’t have that much of a comfortable lead over the peloton.
So, what happend to all that money the board gave me at the start of the year? Well nothing, as I didn’t spend it and strengthened the team with short term loans instead. I hoping this will pay off with a larger budget if we get promoted.
I almost forgot about left back Luke Garbutt who I signed for three months on the last day of the window.
Gosh, I think that’s it then. Oh the fixtures of course!
Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read this update.
FM 2020 Latest
/ 3 months ago
This Football Manager youth development guide explains how one crop of wonderkids took Scarborough from the...
/ 4 months ago
How do you find Wonderkids In Football Manager? This guide will focus on how...
/ 4 months ago
What are Football Manager touchline shouts and why should we use them? This guide...
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Best FM20 Tactics
/ 3 months ago
The latest addition to our best football Manager 2020 Tactics; The 3 Amigo's is...
After months of talking about the communities work its finally time to share my...
This guide describes how to create real life tactics in FM20. From Klopp’s dynamic 4-3-3, to...
Hey guys and welcome to another FM20 top tip as we cover how to break...