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Vauxhall Story: April and May 2015

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Hello folks, I am sorry that you had to wait so long for this update but I had a pretty rough week at work and although spring finally showed its beauty over here I felt extremely tired throughout the last few days. I did manage to squeeze in some FM time though and I’m happy to bring you another episode of the Vauxhall Motors story. As you remember we were 2nd in the Championship at the end of March 2015, four points behind leaders Burnley and two points clear of third placed Middlesbrough. The race was fiercely tight, I’m quite sure that you are curious to see what happened in the closing months of the season. Let’s see…

Vauxhall vs Cardiff (Championship)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 3,000 (capacity crowd)

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Grant Baddeley – Alex Chamberlain, Mark Brown, Suso, Keith Higgs – Andrés, Dale Hills

Team Talk: I expect a win!

Cardiff were the weakest team in the league, they were in 24th place before the game and I made it clear to the players that we would have no excuses for not winning this match. We didn’t start the game too well though, the players were probably feeling the pressure, but we got a bit lucky as left winger Keith Higgs squeezed in his 10th goal of the season on 16 minutes. Our game didn’t improve much after the goal but we doubled the lead before the break thanks to a rather scrappy goal, a shot from Dale Hills took a deflection off Mervin Simon and went in. We didn’t really deserve to be leading 2-0 at half time, I have to admit that.

Half time score: 2-0

Half time team talk: Encourage.

Half time substitutions: Jason Banton for Higgs, Kaka for Harris

Mervin Simon could have scored his second of the game a couple of minutes after the re-start but his corner kick header hit the post and bounced clear. Cardiff were not giving up and they had a couple of decent chances around the hour mark but they were denied by goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis on a first occasion and then by the crossbar later on. Then we regained control in midfield, probably thanks to substitute Connor Newton who was sent in to replace tired Mark Brown, and Cardiff were no longer able to threaten our three points.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Mervin Simon

Flop of the match: Kaka

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Norwich vs Vauxhall (Championship)

Venue: Carrow Road

Attendance: 24,824

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Ray Davis – Alex Chamberlain, Mark Brown, Suso, Keith Higgs – Andrés, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

This game was a lot more difficult, Norwich were in 5th place before the match and they were genuine promotion contenders. We didn’t have good memories of them either, they beat us 2-1 at home in the league and 3-2 in the FA Cup. The match was quite tense during the opening minutes, I was expecting that, and the home side came close on 19 minutes when a good effort skimmed off the post. We had our own chance a few minutes later, Ibrahima MBow broke through on a counter attack but the finish was disgusting to say the least. Norwich were the better side though and they finally opened the scoring on 28 minutes, moments after testing the woodwork for the second time. My lads started to play a bit better after that goal but it wasn’t nearly good enough. However, we managed to clinch the equalizer just before half time and it was Mervin Simon who came to the rescue again with a corner kick header.

Half time score: 1-1

Half time team talk: You can win today!

Half time substitutions: Connor Newton for Chamberlain, Daniel Toribio for Suso, Jason Banton for Higgs

I was quite worried at half time, most of my players were exhausted and I would have wanted to make around six or seven substitutions to be honest. That wasn’t possible unfortunately and my team was ripped apart after the break. Norwich dominated the last 45 minutes and they managed to score twice, both goals from corner kicks. We never showed signs of fighting back so I have to admit that it was a well-deserved victory for our opponents. The defeat saw us slipping into third place, one point behind Middlesbrough, so automatic promotion was not looking so possible anymore.

Full time team talk: Disappointing!

Man of the match: Mark Brown

Flop of the match: Ken Harris

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Middlesbrough vs Vauxhall (Championship)

Venue: The Riverside Stadium

Attendance: 15,159

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Kaka, Carlos Santos, Mervin Simon, Grant Baddeley – Alex Chamberlain, Connor Newton, Suso, Keith Higgs – Lenny Nangis, Dale Hills

Team Talk: You can win today!

This was the match of the season, that’s what I was thinking before the kick-off. Boro were just one point ahead of us in 2nd place so we had to avoid defeat if we wanted to get back that automatic promotion spot. We started the game pretty well this time, the home side was unable to create any chances at all, but we were not very incisive either. Overall it was a pretty boring first half with the only event being the injury to Connor Newton who had to be replaced with Daniel Toribio.

Half time score: 0-0

Half time team talk: You can win today!

Half time substitutions: Sashi Chalwe for Simon, Jason Banton for Higgs

Things got a lot better immediately after the interval, a great pass from Lenny Nangis found Dale Hills behind the defense and the young striker finished the move with a cool finish to give us the lead. We continued to take the game to our opponents after the goal, we were dominating the game completely but we wasted a pair of good chances to put the game to bed. We finally managed to seal the three points a few minutes before the final whistle when a corner kick header from Sashi Chalwe bounced off the crossbar but into the path of Alex Chamberlain who calmly pushed it in. It was a perfect game from my lads as you can see from the match stats, Middlesbrough didn’t show any signs of life in attack!

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Alex Chamberlain

Flop of the match: Keith Higgs

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

The great result against a direct rival saw us bouncing back in second place, two points behind leaders Burnley and two points clear of third placed Middlesbrough. Our presence in the promotion playoffs was certain at that point but I was hoping for more, an automatic promotion and maybe even the title!

We had two back to back home games before the end of April, let’s see how those went.

Vauxhall vs Preston (Championship)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 3,000 (capacity crowd)

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Ken Harris, Sashi Chalwe, Mervin Simon, Ray Davis – Alex Chamberlain, Mark Brown, Suso, Keith Higgs – Andrés, Ibrahima MBow

Team Talk: You can win today!

Preston were in the middle of a fierce fight to avoid relegation, they were 21st before the game and I was sure that they were going to give us a good run for our money. My lads were totally unleashed though, we created no less than three good chances inside the opening 10 minutes! Those opportunities were not converted unfortunately and that added even more pressure on my team. Ibrahima MBow finally fired one in from inside the penalty area two minutes before the break, I was quite relieved to see that ball finally going in…

Half time score: 1-0

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Graeme Owens for Chamberlain, Daniel Toribio for Suso, Jason Banton for Higgs

Preston reacted pretty well after half time and goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis pulled off a pair of good saves to keep us in front before the hour mark. Then the game cooled off a bit as we regained control and Jason Banton killed off the contest six minutes from time with a fine effort.

Full time team talk: Well done!

Man of the match: Andrés

Flop of the match: Alex Chamberlain

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

Vauxhall vs Hull (Championship)

Venue: Rivacre Park

Attendance: 3,000 (capacity crowd)

Starting line up: Dean Bouzanis – Kaka, Carlos Santos, Mervin Simon, Grant Baddeley – Alex Chamberlain, Mark Brown, Suso, Keith Higgs – Lenny Nangis, Andrés

Team Talk: You can win today!

Hull were in 12th place before the game, our last match of April and our last home game of the season as well. I was hoping to say goodbye to our fans with a win and Mervin Simon put us right on track on 25 minutes with yet another corner kick header. We could have doubled the lead before the break but I was pretty happy with the display, especially because Hull had no shots at all during the opening 45 minutes.

Half time score: 1-0

Half time team talk: Pleased.

Half time substitutions: Matthias Gohlert for Brown, Jason Banton for Higgs

We started to play even better after the break and it took us just three minutes to find the back of the net again, Andrés was presented with an easy finish and he slotted home. We continued to dominate and we came close to scoring another pair of goals but the ball hit the woodwork on two occasions. And then… Then the nightmare came… Hull pulled one back on a counter attack on 68 minutes but we were still pretty much in control of the game. That was until the 81st minute, some tragic and comic defending handed Hull the equalizer, I couldn’t believe it…

Full time team talk: Sympathise.

Man of the match: Mark Brown

Flop of the match: Suso

Match Stats

Video Highlights

Click here to watch the match highlights.

We dropped two immense points against Hull, we could have been top of the table if we would have won that game… We were still second, one point behind Burnley but tied on points with Middlesbrough

We had two more games to play and both were away from home, not an ideal end of season schedule at all.

Let’s see how those two decisive games went, please go to the next page to find out…

Go to the next page to read the rest of the story.

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Josh Allen
10 years ago

Thats a real shame Johnny, you deserve automatic promotion. However, we know that you can win the playoffs and lead Vauxhall into the Premier League!
Josh
everythingthatisfm.blogspot.com

Sears
10 years ago

That was a major shame Johnny, automatic promotion was so close…. I’m sure you can cause a shock in the play offs, looking forward to see if you’ll be in the Premier League next season or if another year of Championship football awaits you. Good luck pal.

hils
hils
10 years ago

Hi Johnny,good 2 months there!!!!!!!!!!!! Unlucky on not getting an automatic promotion spot!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vaibhav C.
Vaibhav C.
10 years ago

Hey Johnny,
I am a little depressed now that you didn’t make it for automatic promotion, Any team who scores 104 goals in a season deserves to make it. Maybe you should sign another defender next season, but it is totally up to you. The post always denies me as well, I have hit the post 7 times in the last 2 games, and I drew them both. Anyways, you really deserved automatic promotion, and hopefully you can win the playoffs.

Kevin
10 years ago

Hi Johnny
Thay my friend is sheer disappointment especially after such a great win over Middlesborough away from home though I feel you have what it takes to win the play off final and get promoted that way. I have to say though this is some of the most dramatic and intense writing you have produced.I was absoultely rivited to the story and could feel the tension and the emotion as events unfolded particularly in the final game. Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!

Lye
Lye
10 years ago

Hi Johnny,

You were so close. It’s a shame but i believe the players did their best. The challenge now is to rally the players and promote through the play-offs. You can do it. Good luck.

Laxeyman
Laxeyman
10 years ago

Hi Johnny, you were so, so close, in the end you were unlucky not to get promoted, although it looks like your dodgy defence has cost you. Still, you’ve got a good chance of going up in the play offs, I reckon you can do it. Good luck!

Darren Smith
10 years ago

Ow Johnny, lady luck can be a bitch sometimes!!! I’ll just echo everyone else and say you were robbed of the top two. Especially after taking a two goal lead against Sheff Utd. The only upside is your readers now get an exciting play-off post. :)

Must admit I’m keen to read that one. I think you’ll go up mate but the only thing to stop you could be bad morale.

Excessive
10 years ago

I dont see what everyone is getting so disappointed at in all fairness. You got promoted last season and to come in and get a comfortable playoff spot in a league that is really competitive, it is a great achievement!
Johnny i know your a very good manager, if it doesnt happen this season (god forbid.. the site will go into meltdown ;) ) it will the next. Just have to keep battling away, bolstering that ever changing and seriously good squad. No doubts though that you can get in through the playoffs, enjoy wembley!

Will be as good as your Blyth team in 4-5 seasons, can guarantee that :)

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