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Vauxhall Motors Story: September 2014

Hello folks and thanks a lot for coming back to read the latest episode of the Vauxhall Motors Football Manager 2011 story. Our first month in the Championship went pretty well even though we opened the season with a defeat. We managed to grab four consecutive wins after the initial setback and also pulled off a nice upset in the Carling Cup against Newcastle. It was too early to rejoice though, the season was just starting.

Before moving on to the games that we have played in September I am pleased to announce that right winger Carlos Chavez joined the club on a free transfer. The deal was sealed in July but the Guatemalan international had a contract with a local club until the 1st of September.

Leicester vs Vauxhall (Championship)

Venue: Walkers Stadium

Attendance: 22,528

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Jacob Hronec, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Mariusz Pawelec – Alex Chamberlain, Graham Howson, Suso, Jason Banton – Lenny Nangis, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

Leicester were predicted to finish 12th so I was expecting a difficult match. And they did prove to be better than us during the first half, they dominated the game and goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis was tested several times. He did well until the first minute of stoppage time when a clumsy back pass from left back Pawelec forced him to attempt a header and he gave the ball straight to an opponent. It was a terrible mix-up but Leicester deserved to take the lead.

Half time score: 1-0

Half time team talk: I want to see more from you!

Half time substitutions: Connor Newton for Chamberlain, Daniel Toribio for Howson

My lads started to look more like themselves after the break, we took control of the game and missed no less than three clear cut chances inside the first 10 minutes after the re-start. We finally managed to make it all square on 56 minutes when Lenny Nangis tapped in a good cross from Ibrahima MBow and I was hoping for a win at that point. I replaced Nangis with Andrés on 63 minutes to add more vitality upfront but Leicester were starting to push forward as well so the following minutes saw a very entertaining match with both sides looking to attack. We got the best opportunity to win the game two minutes from time when Andrés was tackled inside the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. The Spanish striker didn’t miss and we took the lead! The game wasn’t over yet, Leicester switched to a 4-2-4 setup and we had to pull back but we survived the nervy finale to grab all three points.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Dean Bouzanis

Flop of the match: Ibrahima MBow

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Vauxhall vs Stoke (Championship)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 2,368

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Mariusz Pawelec – Alex Chamberlain, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Jason Banton – Lenny Nangis, Andrés

Team Talk: You can win today!

Stoke were predicted to finish 16th despite their Premier League history, I was hoping for a win but I was expecting a tricky match. Luckily we were awarded a penalty kick again 11 minutes into the game, this time centre back Mervin Simon was fouled and Andrés converted from the spot. The lads were playing well and we managed to double the lead midway through the first half when Graham Howson produced a spectacular strike from 20 yards out. Stoke did try to react after the second goal but we kept things reasonably calm until half time.

Half time score: 2-0

Half time team talk: Encourage.

Half time substitutions: Keith Higgs for Banton, Ibrahima MBow for Nangis

We had a good chance to make it 3-0 minutes after the re-start but this time Howson missed the target from a much smaller distance, one-on-one with the keeper. That miss proved to be costly around the hour mark when Stoke fired in two goals in four minutes and leveled the game! I couldn’t believe it! Then things went from bad to worse, we missed another couple of chances, Ibrahima MBow hit the crossbar with an almost perfect lob from the edge of the area and, last but not least, Stoke managed to bag the winning goal with a free kick header. This game was ours to lose at half time and we did lose it somehow…

Full time team talk: Disappointing!

Man of the match: Graham Howson

Flop of the match: Keith Higgs

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Peterborough vs Vauxhall (Championship)

Venue: London Road

Attendance: 5,702

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Mariusz Pawelec – Alex Chamberlain, Graham Howson, Suso, Daniel Toribio – Andrés, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

Peterborough were predicted to finish 14th so I believed that the game was a good opportunity to bounce back after that painful home defeat. My hopes were dismantled in just 13 minutes, Peterborough fired in no less than three goals (two from corner kicks and one from 25 yards out). My lads were unable to react before the break and I couldn’t really blame them, those three goals made their boots a lot heavier…

Half time score: 3-0

Half time team talk: I want to see more from you!

Half time substitutions: James Campbell for Pawelec, Matthias Gohlert for Howson, Jason Banton for Toribio

Things started to look a bit better after the break, we missed a good chance early on but our opponents banged in yet another great goal on 55 minutes. It was all over but Andrés managed to head in a consolation goal from a Jason Banton cross. The game was a total shipwreck however and the result surely brought everybody at the club back down to earth.

Full time team talk: Disappointing!

Man of the match: Andrés

Flop of the match: Suso

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Vauxhall vs Swindon (Championship)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 2,368

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Bryan Purdrue, Mervin Simon, Mariusz Pawelec – Carlos Chavez, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Keith Higgs – Lenny Nangis, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

Swindon were predicted to finish 17th but at that point I was fearing another defeat and a possible long winless streak. It was a crucial game in my view, a win would have pushed us back on track but a defeat could well have buried us. The whole team was lacking confidence and that was made pretty obvious in the first half as my lads squandered no less than four easy chances!

Half time score: 0-0

Half time team talk: You can win today!

Half time substitutions: Graeme Owens for Chavez, Jason Banton for Higgs

We had to keep trying and we did but the reward was still not coming. It finally did on 61 minutes but it was a centre back who came to the rescue, Mervin Simon found the back of the net with a diving header on a Graham Howson free kick cross. The lads regained some confidence and we managed to double the lead 13 minutes later when a volley from Andrés deflected off MBow and went in. Swindon pulled one back 10 minutes from time with a corner kick header and I was fearing that we were going to be fightback victims again. Fortunately Dean Bouzanis made a great save to deny their biggest chance a few minutes later and then Andrés settled it with a counter attack in stoppage time. I was relieved to have won it but we could have made it a lot easier with better finishing.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Mervin Simon

Flop of the match: Carlos Chavez

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Vauxhall vs Fulham (Carling Cup 3rd rnd)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 2,368

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Jacob Hronec, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, James Campbell – Alex Chamberlain, Graham Howson, Suso, Jason Banton – Lenny Nangis, Andrés

Team Talk: You can win today!

Reaching the third round of the Carling Cup already was a pretty good achievement for the club and, considering our latest league form, everybody was expecting us to be massacred by Premier League side Fulham. We had nothing to lose though other than a bit of pride. The game started with a setback, striker Andrés got injured after just five minutes and I had to replace him with Dale Hills. Fortunately the young English striker was determined to do well after recovering from an injury himself and he found the back of the net just two minutes after coming off the bench! Lenny Nangis was the architect on that occasion, he made a splendid run and left Hills with a reasonably easy finish. Nangis was in a particularly industrious mood and he crafted a goal for himself midway through the first half, he breezed past the defensive line and capped the move with a perfect finish! We were leading 2-0 and the fans were roaring! Unfortunately we were hit by another injury on 33 minutes, Lenny Nangis had to leave the field on a stretcher and that left me in a difficult position because I had no strikers left on the bench. I chose to send in central midfielder Daniel Toribio for Nangis and changed the system from 4-4-2 to 4-4-1-1 with Suso as a central attacking midfielder. Fulham managed to pull one back four minutes later courtesy of some poor defending from our part. Moments later they came very close to making it all square with a shot from distance but luckily the ball thundered off the crossbar. I was hoping to keep that narrow lead until half time but Jason Banton had other plans, he made the whole town happy on 44 minutes when he rifled in a screamer from 20 yards out! We were leading Fulham 3-1, it was like a dream! Unfortunately we were brought back down to earth before the break, Fulham capitalized on some poor defending again during stoppage time and clawed another one back.

Half time score: 3-2

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Graeme Owens for Howson

I decided to move back to the 4-4-2 system after the break, Suso was moved back in central midfield, Owens took the right winger role and pacey Alex Chamberlain was moved up as a striker. Our possession game was working pretty well, we appeared to be in control of the match. Things got a lot better on 65 minutes when centre back Sashi Chalwe was tripped inside the box while trying to bundle in a corner kick, the referee pointed to the spot and Dale Hills powered it right in! Fulham were no longer able to muster a fightback and we clinched it, another upset that sends us into the fourth round of the league cup! The great thing is that we are going to meet fellow Championship club Norwich in the next round so we might have a good chance of going through.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Dale Hills

Flop of the match: Jacob Hronec

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Swansea vs Vauxhall (Championship)

Venue: The Liberty Stadium

Attendance: 12,223

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Bryan Purdrue, Mervin Simon, Mariusz Pawelec – Carlos Chavez, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Keith Higgs – Dale Hills, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

We had to remain focused after the great result against Fulham as we were traveling to meet Swansea. I had to make a few changes in the starting eleven but I wasn’t expecting them to have such a big impact to be honest: the team had a very poor first half and Swansea deservedly took the lead on 34 minutes. It got even better for them as they bagged a superb goal two minutes before the break, we here heading towards a well deserved defeat.

Half time score: 2-0

Half time team talk: I want to see more from you!

Half time substitutions: James Campbell for Pawelec, Daniel Toribio for Howson, Paul Harris for Hills

The half time changes did some good though, the team started to show more decent attacks and we pulled one back on 54 minutes courtesy of a fine strike from 17-year old striker Paul Harris. Our hopes of a fightback were ruined just four minutes later though, Swansea bagged a corner kick header and we were back where we had started. Striker Harris did another good thing on 67 minutes when he forced an opponent to stop him with a professional foul and we capitalized on the numerical advantage 10 minutes from time when winger Keith Higgs scored with a great shot from the edge of the penalty area. We had a chance to grab a share of the spoils, we came pretty close during injury time, but it just didn’t go our way. The second half display was good though…

Full time team talk: Good effort!

Man of the match: Paul Harris

Flop of the match: Mariusz Pawelec

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

We had one more match to play before the end of the month but we received some good news a few days before kick off, the huge stadium expansion was completed! We are now able to welcome 3,000 fans instead of 2,500… It’s not much but it’s something…

Vauxhall vs Wigan (Championship)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 3,000 (capacity crowd)

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Mariusz Pawelec – Alex Chamberlain, Graham Howson, Suso, Jason Banton – Lenny Nangis, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

We were in 7th place before the match against Wigan and our opponents were just above us in 6th spot, it was an important game and our fans filled our improved stands. The team seemed to react well to the occasion, we were in total control of the match and broke the deadlock midway through the first half when a soft touch from Suso played M’Bow behind the defense and the French striker blasted it into the roof of the net. We found the back of the net again seven minutes before half time but this time the other central midfielder worked together with the other striker: Graham Howson was the man who passed through and Lenny Nangis fired it in off the underside of the crossbar.

Half time score: 2-0

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Carlos Santos for Simon, Jacob Hronec for Pawelec, Graeme Owens for Chamberlain

Wigan started to play a bit better after the break but we kept things reasonably quiet before totally silencing the away stand on 73 minutes when Graeme Owens powered in a fine free kick header, his first goal for the club. It was a very good result for us especially because I wasn’t too optimistic before the game to be honest.

Full time team talk: Disappointing!

Man of the match: Graham Howson

Flop of the match: Mariusz Pawelec

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

So, we had mixed results this month but overall I am satisfied especially because we beat Fulham and because we ended the month with a solid win against Wigan.

Our league position at the end of the month is not too bad either, we are in 4th place and I guess that a top half finish wouldn’t be much of a problem. I still don’t know whether we can push for a playoff spot or not, we will need more consistency to achieve that.

Next month has some tough games in store for us, away at 7th placed Southampton and at home with leaders Burnley. We’ll also have the Carling Cup 4th round match against Norwich and I feel that it would be a shame to be knocked out by them after going past Newcastle and Fulham.

That’s how it was dear friends, I hope that it was an enjoyable read. Thanks for coming by and please don’t forget to vote in the February Goal Of The Month competition. I would also like to invite you to our new Social Network, those who have already joined know that it’s worth it! :)

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hils
hils
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,good month there!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully you will continue to build your form!!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!

Darren Smith
9 years ago

Hey Johnny, that was another good month and your side seem very capable at this level. With your current form I think mid-table should be a minimum goal. There’s a long way to go but Vauxhall are getting good :)

Laxeyman
Laxeyman
9 years ago

Decent month Johnny, your team are very capable at Championship level and I reckon you’ll reach the play offs at least if you can keep it up, although I wouldn’t put it past you to get another promotion :) Good luck!

JamesBush
JamesBush
9 years ago

Johnny, do me a faour and dont disappoint me, this is the first story ive properly followed annd for you not go get promoted whether it be by the play offs or not would be horrible.

Im only joking, good luck mate!

Kevin
9 years ago

Hi Johnny
After that 4-1 defeat against Peterborough as was expecting the worst but thankfully you rallied the team and won three out of the remaing four games to put you into a nice spot in the table. Very nice result agaisnt Fulham so perhaps Vauxhall could return to Wembley this season!

Lye
Lye
9 years ago

Hi Johnny,

Fairly inconsistent results but you are still lying in 4th place. That’s very good considering the Championship is a tough league to be in. A top half finish is great but i will be hopeful you can get into play-offs.

Vaibhav C.
Vaibhav C.
9 years ago

Hey Johnny,
You had a decent month there. If you could have hung on to the lead against Stoke, it would have been better. How long is Andres out for? But you have some backup, M’Bow is really good.

Sears
9 years ago

That’s a good start to life in the Championship Johnny. The reminder of the season may be inconsistent due to the talent and quality of other teams but hopefully you can finish in the top half. Good luck!

Calin
9 years ago

Hello, Johnny! I’m not really the most talkative person around, but I’ve been enjoying your Vauxhall Motors story from the beginning and I can hardly wait to see you take them to the Champions League! You have a solid squad and I’m sure you will finish in the top ten (at least) this season and next season we’ll finally see Vauxhall in the Premier League!

Good luck and good job!

JamesBush
JamesBush
9 years ago

Johnny, I knowthis has gone off topic and I must admit this would go towards my benefit, but I suggest a guide on how to get the right tactics for the right players.

MRDNRA
MRDNRA
9 years ago

I think it would be great if you finish in the play off places, promotion through play offs would make it really exciting. Still early days this season yet, but who knows, 5th straight promotion could be there for the taking. I can just imagine a Premier League side with a stadium capacity of 3000! (Would Premier League stadium regulations actually allow you to be promoted though?)

Ana Garcia
9 years ago

Shame about the expansion! 500 seats seems hardly worth it but I guess its a step in the right direction! :)

Long way to go yet but you have had a very good start, Andres seems to be doing well so things are looking up!

Good luck!

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