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Vauxhall Motors Story: the League One debut

Hello folks and welcome back to the Vauxhall Motors Football Manager 2011 story! After a very busy off season when we brought in no less than sixteen new players the moment of truth was just around the corner, I was very curious to see my new players in action in League One. I thought about making some slight changes to the post format as well, I’m looking forward to reading your opinions about it. Here we go…

Carlisle vs Vauxhall (League 1)

Venue: Brunton Park

Attendance: 6,293

Starting line up: Martin Hansen – Ken Harris, Daniel Pappoe, Mervin Simon, Alex Billington – Carlos Bogado, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Jason Banton – Dale Hills, Mark Cullen

Team Talk: You can win today!

The first game of the season saw us facing Carlisle away from home, a team that was predicted to finish somewhere in mid-table. The game started pretty well for us, Cullen missed a pretty good chance early on, but then it all turned wrong when centre back Pappoe got sent off for a cynical foul in the 21st minute. I decided to take off one of the central midfielders, Howson, and send in a centre back, Derrick Williams. We remained in control of the game and even created a couple more clear chances but we were unable to break the deadlock.

Half time score: 0-0

Half time team talk: Pleased.

I made another change at half time, right winger Keith Higgs came in for Carlos Bogado, but that failed to add more incisiveness on that flank. We were not creating chances anymore either so I made another change on 70 minutes: midfielder Peter Leven in for striker Mark Cullen. That move was an inspired one, we created another couple of good chances to score but unfortunately our finishing was wasteful and we had to settle for a goalless draw. It wasn’t a bad result though considering the numerical disadvantage.

Full time team talk: Good result!

Man of the match: Alex Billington

Flop of the match: Dale Hills

Match Stats

Newcastle vs Vauxhall (League Cup first round)

Venue: St. James’ Park

Attendance: 15,214

Starting line up: Martin Hansen – Jacob Hronec, Oliver Nicholas, Mervin Simon, Alex Billington – Carlos Bogado, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Jason Banton – Darryl Duffy, Luke Williams

Team Talk: You can win today! (“no pressure” for the youngest players)

The odds were firmly against us, Newcastle were one of the best teams in Championship and the cup tie was played at St. James’ Park. We had nothing to lose though so I was hoping to see a good brave performance from my lads. Unfortunately Newcastle broke the deadlock early on and then doubled the lead on 36 minutes after we had missed a pair of nice chances. Darryl Duffy got us back into the game in the 37th minute but our joy lasted for just a few seconds as Newcastle restored the two-goal lead immediately by capitalizing on an error in our defense. I had to make two changes before half time as both Carlos Bogado and Luke Williams came off the pitch injured, Keith Higgs and Omar Koroma were their replacements.

Half time score: 3-1

Half time team talk: Sympathise.

I also made another substitution at half time, left back Billington had a slight injury and I sent in Derrick Williams to replace him. Our hopes were restored six minutes after the re-start when midfielder Graham Howson found the back of the net with a perfectly taken free kick from 25 yards out but Newcastle pegged us back and won the game thanks to their superior finishing. My team played pretty well though and the clinical finishing was the only difference between the two sides. Unfortunately we had two injuries to worry about: Bogado was going to be out three weeks while Luke Williams was going to be out five weeks.

Full time team talk: Sympathise.

Man of the match: Graham Howson

Flop of the match: Alex Billington

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Vauxhall vs Notts County (League 1)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 2,500 (capacity crowd)

Starting line up: Martin Hansen – Ken Harris, Daniel Pappoe, Mervin Simon, Grant Baddeley – Darren King, Michael Ball, Peter Leven, Keith Higgs – Dale Hills, Mark Cullen

Team Talk: You can win today!

Our first home game of the season was against Notts County, the team that I had led to glory in FM 2010 :) Pappoe was back in the starting line up and I also decided to change the two central midfielders for fitness reasons. There’s not much to be said about the first half though, it was utterly boring…

Half time score: 0-0

Half time team talk: You can win today!

The boring first half and some fitness problems pushed me to make all the three substitutions at half time: Nathan Rooney in for Ball, Jacob Walcott for Higgs and Darryl Duffy for Cullen. That gamble backfired on me 10 minutes after the interval, centre back Mervin Simon left the field on a stretcher and I was in some trouble… The best solution that I could find was to pull back Nathan Rooney and play him as a centre back. It was the best solution but it wasn’t good enough, a positioning error from Rooney led to a goal from Notts County and we lost the game. Mervin Simon‘s injury was quite serious, he was going to spend no less than three months on the sideline!

Full time team talk: Disappointing!

Man of the match: Grant Baddeley

Flop of the match: Mark Cullen

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Charlton vs Vauxhall (League 1)

Venue: The Valley

Attendance: 19,055

Starting line up: Martin Hansen – Ken Harris, Oliver Nicholas, Daniel Pappoe, Alex Billington – Jacob Hronec, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Jason Banton – Dale Hills, Mark Cullen

Team Talk: Pressure is off.

We were still looking for the first win of the season and everybody doubted that we could grab that in the next game, away at league favorites Charlton. The odds were firmly against us and I didn’t want to add pressure on the lads but the first half was fairly even, Charlton didn’t look like favorites out there. They did take the lead just before the interval though, a quick counter attack was enough…

Half time score: 1-0

Half time team talk: Pleased.

I was quite satisfied with my team though and I was hoping to see better things in the second half. Two changes were made at the break, Michael Ball in for Howson and Derrick Williams in for Pappoe. Things were looking a bit better, we had a good chance but unfortunately we wasted it just before Charlton‘s second goal of the game. I decided to send in Darryl Duffy for Dale Hills on the hour mark and that move turned the game around in just a few minutes! Just a minute after coming into the game Duffy played a perfect pass for Cullen and the striker netted his first goal for the club. Three minutes later Cullen returned the favor to Duffy and the game was all square! We continued to push forward and the reward came three minutes from time when right winger Jacob Hronec played a good pass for Duffy who finished it off with a great strike. It was a great result and I was very proud of my team.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Darryl Duffy

Flop of the match: Dale Hills

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Vauxhall vs Bristol Rovers (League 1)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 2,500 (capacity crowd)

Starting line up: Martin Hansen – Ken Harris, Oliver Nicholas, Daniel Pappoe, Alex Billington – Jacob Hronec, Mark Brown, Graham Howson, Jason Banton – Dale Hills, Mark Cullen

Team Talk: You can win today!

The last match of the month saw us taking on mid-table Bristol Rovers at home, I was hoping to win the game. I fielded the exact same starting eleven and we dominated the first half. There was little goal action though and it ended boringly goalless.

Half time score: 0-0

Half time team talk: You can win today!

I still believed that we could win the game so I sent in Darryl Duffy for Dale Hills at half time. The game wasn’t really improving but we took the lead on 54 minutes when a corner kick header from Oliver Nicholas was tapped in by Daniel Pappoe. I thought that the goal would unleash my players but it unleashed the opposition instead! The visitors netted the equalizer just two minutes later and then wasted two good chances before the hour mark! I decided to make two changes in the 65th minute, Peter Leven replaced Howson and Keith Higgs came in for Hronec. That changed our game a bit, we seized control again but we wasted three golden opportunities before the final five minutes. Then disaster struck: substitute Higgs played a shocking pass straight to an opponent and the gift wasn’t refused, Bristol Rovers took the lead… We could have rescued a point in the last minute of the game but my boys wasted yet another chance, it was quite a harsh result.

Full time team talk: Sympathise.

Man of the match: Daniel Pappoe

Flop of the match: Keith Higgs

Match Stats

Video Highlights

The first month was quite disappointing: we are out of the League Cup and won just one out of four league games! On top of that we also have some injury problems, especially in defense… I decided to bring in another centre back to cover for injured Mervin Simon and I chose former Arsenal player Elton Monteiro, a young, tall and pretty quick defender. He should provide cover until Simon‘s recovery, then we’ll see if he deserves to stay at the club or not. I also decided to send two of my players on loan, Pietro Palladino and Shane Williams will spend five months in League Two and hopefully they will return at the club in better shape.

Next month will start with the JPT match against League Two side Stockport, I hope to see a revival of my team on that occasion. Then we’ll have four fairly tough matches in League One so I guess we’ll need all the good luck we can get.

Just one more screen shot before wrapping up, Ryan wanted to see the assistant manager report:

That’s about it for now my friends, quite a disappointing start but I’m not panicking yet :) Thanks a lot for reading and don’t forget to enter the Goal Of The Month Competition!

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Laxeyman
Laxeyman
10 years ago

Hi Johnny, not a great start, but I wouldn’t worry too much, as your team starts to gel then results and performances will get better. Like the new post format, and good luck for next month.

Sayam Khan
10 years ago

Like the new post format. Really sad that you lost Mervin Simon to a long injury, he was one of my favourite players at your club. Don’t worry about your bad start, you made lots of signings and your team just needs to gel first.

Sayam Khan
10 years ago
Reply to  Sayam Khan

I just realised i’m on the top commentators list! Woohoo!!

zola
zola
10 years ago

Yes it’s a matter of time.Team needs more than 1 month to gel.Then the results will come.

Sears
10 years ago

That was a decent start Johnny, League 1 is a tough league to play in. I like the new post format as well, very good! Well done.

Iain
Iain
10 years ago

hi, not the best start there but like everyone else said it takes more than a month to get a team to gel. i was suprised that you didn’t start Duffy more as he was your top scorer last season and has a some experience at that level but im sure you have your reasons :) .

Rob
Rob
10 years ago

Hey johnny, not the best of starts but I’m sure that your team will start to gel and play better, do you know how to install patches on FM11? I can’t seem to get it to work. Good luck with the next month :D.

Kevin
10 years ago

Hi Johnny
First off, like the new layout and intersting to see the team talks you give. A bit of an indifferent start but I’m sure you will soon turn that around and start to put a string of results together.

warren
10 years ago

Hi Johnny

Even though its not the best start to the season it could have been worse and the main reason is probably because the sqaud need to gel. Hopefully they will do that sooner rather that later and I feel you could have another successful season

Lye
Lye
10 years ago

Hi Johnny,

First of all love the new post format, detail description on the team talk and first team line-up. As the rest have said, it’s not an encouraging start but things will definitely change for the better. Hope to see better results next month. Good luck.

SteveS
SteveS
10 years ago

Hiya Johnny,

Don’t worry too much about the slow start, might be just a team gelling issue. I really like the new format, it gives us a better look into the mind of a genius! Good Luck the rest of the way!

hils
hils
10 years ago

Hi Johnny,a shaky start there!!!!!!!! I like the new format!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!

Darren Smith
10 years ago

Hey Johnny, let me start by saying this was a very interesting post. The way you have written is very indepth and must have taken ages so thanks. It seems like your side are struggling to make the most of the first half, whenever you draw in the first half you lose the game. This has happened to me before and I tried using a ‘do it for the fans’ team talk before kickoff at home. This got a better first half performance 8/10. Might be worth a try but I know you’ll probably be the underdog in most matches odds wise. Its usually wise to use the ‘you can win this’ in that situation. Anyway great post and goodluck for next month.

Cal
Cal
10 years ago

your doing well i have just started following your posts again now and your doing fantastic as vauxhall!!! league one is a similar standard to championship so its not a suprise you dont win every game!!! Also love the new post format its really good you should defo do this is more!

Cal
Cal
10 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

I know what you mean but the top championship teams are in a league of their own but the bottom half isnt too much different. Obviously there will be some difference but not too much if you have a strong league one side

Ana Garcia
10 years ago

I like the new format, its interesting to see how you talk to your players. You may need to switch ‘You can win today!’ around though! It hasnt been working to well! :)

But like others have said it takes a little bit of time to settle and you know that more than anyone managing in these leagues on a regular basis am sure you will turn it around.

Good luck!!

Ryan Inskip
Ryan Inskip
10 years ago

Thanks for that Johnny, bit of a dodgy start but i dare say you’ll come through it and climb the table! All the best :)

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