Lets get the philosophy out of the way first 🙂 I’ve been playing CM/FM since CM 97/98. If you love football you’ve most probably come into contact with the series at some point. Over the last couple of years I’ve really gotten back into regular game-play, mostly because I came across a few YouTube Creators playing FM18. They were:
Both suffered from being remote geographically, and as such I struggled with promotions due to not really being able to get the quality of players needed to move on and upwards. At the end of the day I got bored and stopped enjoying it.
Before that however I had hearkened upon another couple of creators in FM19, one of whom is doing a couple of amazing saves currently, and one who has a semi-fictional league and is doing a really strong play-through.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN0EpFqPAwCsEMygWV1qy8A – FMTahiti (Pelham) started a semi-fictional French Polynesian save with the Humpbacks of Rurutu about the same time as I started my save with Guernsey, and he has told a very interesting story. He also did a few pieces on something that is also near an d dear to me – Data Analysis.
Myday job is as a SQL & Business Intelligence Developer – Basically creating databases, moving data around/between databases and designing reporting from data on databases. Pelham’s work got me thinking about how I could get data out of FM, into a database so I could start working with it so I could be better informed about the team I was managing.
So I started thinking about a blog format – Where I can go into much more depth in telling a story than I ever can in Youtube – around a Journeyman save (Never done one before and after watching Loki Doki its something that really appeals) incorporating ways and means of getting data out of FM19 and using it (Thanks Pelham). And that’s why we are here.
Ladies and/or gentleman – I present to you, my FM Journeys.
This month we have 5 league games & 2 cup, a possible 15 points, final and 3rd round. We will almost be half-way through our league season by the end of the month – just 2 1/2 months in!!! The maximum number of league games in any other month May to October is just 3!!!!
And so to the stats from a decent month (DWWL)
Hurley making some of his losses back, and Lyamine Mihoubi now has 16 pace!!!!
Some interesting drops in attributes.
High points for the stats from the month were the very high pass and cross completion, Eoin McCormack’s 4 goals, 4 lads with over 4 dribbles per game & the centrebacks with good interception rates per 90. Jason Abbott needs to tackle better.
Not much movement with our team xG – We scored pretty much what we should have done. At the top end the numbers are drawing back towards average, Bray now just 6.7 above par after 43 games.
Adam doing well still – 6.5 goals saved above average in his 43 games. Mikey Quinn seems to be causing Cabinteely some problems, letting in almost 16 goals more than average in his 34 games.
Conor Barry shoots to the top after his hat-trick. He was pretty special when we played Galway in Season 1.
I’ve also had a think about seeing what should have happened result-wise for us with regards to xG, as my feeling is we’ve been really hard-done-by this season so far. The proviso I have made is that with xG goals is that you always round down when trying to work out expected results, e.g.
Cobh Ramblers xG 1.73 goals = 1 goal (not over 2), U.C.D xG = 1.07 = 1 goal (not over 2), Expected result 1-1
So by xG we should have a record of P7 W4 D3 L0!!!!! The first 2 games, UCD & Limerick should have been draws (1-1 and 0-0), Longford should have been 1-0 Cobh (1-1, but Longford’s xG of 0.97 is so close to 1 that 1-1 was fair) and that bloody Finn Harps game should have been 2-1 Cobh (3-1 Finn Harps!!). When we look at the 2021 actual table v Expected this shows something very interesting:
We should be top of the table 🙂 Galway are 2 points up on where they should be, but almost 7 goals up on xG, we are 5 points down on where we should be, and just over 1.5 goals down. We are the biggest loser re. eXpected points so far. Athlone are the biggest winner, have 6 points, should have 1!!!
The 2020 season was also very interesting for 1 reason – Drogheda Utd
Drogheda picked up 12 points more than their xG would have done!! Indeed they turned 7 expected draws into wins, 14 points right there. They picked up 5 points more than expected just against us in our 3 games… they gained 22 points against xG, only losing 10. Basically 4 wins against xG…
They should have finished in 3rd, and had the rigmarole of 5 playoff matches to try and get promoted… Note they also score 3.8 goals LESS than expected!!! This shows how vital their keeper, Luca Gratzer was, finishing the campaign 8.1 goals to the good, 4.9 in home games, 3.2 away. Fine margins!!!
The above just shows how vital both putting your chances away is and having a superb keeper and defence. It may be Mylod won’t be our Luca Gratzer; the key to getting enough points to at least get into the playoffs, we shall see (We should have been just 1 point off last season….)
A B from the board.
Our U19’s beat Sheriff Youth Club 3-1, Steven Nolan, triallist Josh Honohan & Ryan Keogh with the goals. Unfortunately Kane Lewis bruised his ankle in the 93rtd minute – Out fro a few days (He wouldn’t have been available for the next game anyway so its not too bad).
2nd April 2021 – Athlone Town (H) – First Division
Athlone are the weakest team in the league by a fair distance, but they have always been a bit of a thorn in my side, so I’m hoping the more attacking mode we are taking will work tonight. They are 9th currently with 2 wins (Limerick & Wexford) and 5 losses, a win for us will maintain our playoff push.
Murphy gets some game time after the capitulation v Finn Harps (plus he’s had a moan so I need to try and keep hime sweet), as does Mihoubi, in for Costelloe with his 16 pace. Abbott is out suspended (yellows) so Hurley partners Devine. Fleming plays at his more normal right-back as Lewis is injured. Athlone start with a very similar system – 4-1-2-3, effectively going man for man.
FT Cobh Ramblers 5 (Hurley 54, Evan Murphy 67, Turner 76 ,McCormack 90, Benson og 90+3) Athlone Town 0 Att 275 (4 Away)
A decent attacking start from Cobh, Mihoubi in the game early. First real chance in the 9th minute, McCormack hitting the base of the right post with a header across the keeper. Lots of attacking intent but no output, the Athlone keeper and defence keeping us out so far. 0-0 at HT
Costelloe on for Mihoubi at HT, going Positive to try and get that goal. And we scored in the 49th minute, Carrick Hill from a corner, but McCormack, who was marking the keeper initially was deemed to have been interfering – he wasn’t anywhere near interfering… Really pressing for that goal now. And the pressure paid off, a 54th minute Eoin McCormack free kick, dead centre, 40 yards out, floated into the middle, where a certain David Hurley was on hand to flick a header past Myles in the Athlone net. 1-0 Cobh. Turner on for Evans on 60, pulling him back a bit to his preferred right midfield. It was 2 in the 67th – a back post in-swinging Ian Turner free kick headed home by Evan Murphy. Cobh really taking over now, camped in the Athlone last 3rd. Myles has made 14 saves out of 16 on target so far…. Mike Hourihane comes on for his debut for Eoin Porter – he’s a 17yo natural AMC AP(S) who’s already 2* CA. 3-0 in the 76th, and it’s only Ian Turner getting himself a goal 🙂 a lovely volley across the keeper from a Dave Hurley back post cross. The 2 worst players by xG in the league have scored 🙂 Athlone came back into it a bit in the last few minutes but it was 4 in the 90th, a lovely break, Hourihane with a beautiful ball slipped through for Eoin McCormack to tap in. We’re not done yet!! It was 5 in the 93rd minute, a Benson own goal, diverting a McCormack tap-in past Myles. 5-0 it finished, a mad game and an amazing result seeing it was 0-0 at HT.
A bit of a mad one today, Cabinteely doing to Finn Harps what we should have done, Limerick putting Galway to the sword and Bray winning a good game v U.C.D., Paul Doyle with a brace (@ObliqueKick!!!!!). We stay 4th. We also beat the xG (3.99 for us) which is superb.
Our U19’s lost 3-2 to Shamrock Rovers U19, Dara Costelloe (Can’t play in the next league game as its his parent club, Galway) and Daire Doherty with the goals.
Just 6 of the lads in the First Division Team of the Week 🙂
We’ve had the draw for the 2nd Round of the League Cup
Cork City again in a cup!! Hopefully we will get a few £K for the gate. It seems we had a bye in the 1st Round as Galway beat Athlone 2-1 in Extra Time….
9th April 2021 – Galway Utd (A) – First Division
We make the trip to Eamonn Deacy Park in Galway for the first time since we played them in the FAI Cup Quarter Final in September 2019. In the mean time Galway have been promoted (2019) and relegated (lost 3-2 to Shelbourne in the Premier Division/First Division Playoff) and we meet them when they are top of the league. However last time out the only snuck past Athlone 2-1 AET (This was 4 in-game days ago) and in their last league game they lost 3-1 to Limerick, so we may have a chance. Their squad means they are predicted to finish top (Evens) though we are 4-1 now (Still 6th). We have yet to beat them in this save, I just want the boys to carry on from that second half last time out.
We go with a 4-4-1-1 this evening, Turner back in after his 2nd half heroics last time out, and Mihoubi starts again as Costelloe can’t play (Mentioned above), Wingbacks have been taken off overlap plus onto Defend as it really seemed to work last time with the balance. Galway go with the exact same formation… Conor Barry is the one to watch, may need to put Hurley on Defend duty.
FT Galway Utd 2 (Cunningham 47, Brouder 58) Cobh Ramblers 1 (Ebbe 90) Att 581 (24 Away)
A decent enough start with some early Cobh pressure. Mihoubi missed a close in header after 25 minutes that seemed simpler to score than not. Galway came back into it around the half hour mark, looking dangerous, but Cobh were equal in all areas, only allowing long shots from Galway. 0-0 at Half Time. Going to move the wingers up and go positive in the 2nd half – there’s something there for us tonight.
Galway flew out of the traps and scored in the 47th minute, Cunningham at the back post, just evading the offside trap. Abbott on for a tired Hurley in the 57th minute. And it was 2-0 in the 58th, a terrible missed header by Devine from a deep free kick allowing a tap in for Killian Brouder. 62nd minute, bot Ian Turner & Mark Timlin were injured in a coming together – Evans coming on. 69th, getting Ebbe on for Devine, going to a wide diamond, get the ball forward quick, all that good stuff. 75th minute – Taylor gets himself sent off for a two-footed lunge. I need a proper left back. We’re still getting chances, but the Athlone game looks like a blip – we’re just not good enough in front of goal. 90th minute, and a possible goal of the season – a 30-yarder, top left bins from Dean Ebbe!! 2-1 Galway – PUSH FORWARD!!!! It wasn’t to be though, a 2-1 loss, 2 poor pieces of defending. Gutted.
We remain 4th as Longford lose and U.C.D. only draw with Athlone Town. Looking like a 3-way battle at the top with Galway, Limerick & Bray all up there. We’re a third of the way through the season.
Ian Turner – Bruised Knee – Out for 2 to 3 days. Not bad after seeing the incident.
Looking at the game xG Galway had the better chances and won 1.38 to 1.09 – That said that’s really a 1-1 so it shows how mistakes can kill you in FM.
Our U19’s beat Bray U19 3-0 in the league – Daire Doherty with a hat-trick(!)
Possibly the biggest news of the save so far (From a personal standpoint) – I’ve been allowed to go on a coaching course 🙂 My first, which should help me in future moves.
22yo, 5ft 10in
DL/MC (I’ll be playing him as a left-back most of the time)
Released by Cork City at the end of the 2020 season, still with Cork IRL
Very solid all-around Ball Winner or Left back (Right footer so inverted mainly)
3.5* CA, 5* PA
Pierce comes in as our 2nd best owned player by CA (Only Carrick Hill is higher) and is a big improvement on either Kevin Taylor or Charlie Fleming at left-back. We are now bang on our wage budget (So we really need to get promoted this season!!!)
Our U19’s had another game, a 3-1 win v Midleton, Stephen Cunningham (17yo ML), Shane O’Flynn (18yo AMC) and Ryan Keogh (18yo MC) with the goals.
Roy Keane loving a bit of David Evans at the moment 🙂
16th Apr 2021 – U.C.D. (A) – First Division
This evening starts a crazy run of 14 days and 5 matches – U.C.D. this evening, Cork City in the league Cup in 3 days (Monday 19th), Limerick in the league 4 days after, then in the Munster Senior Cup Semi 3 days later and lastly Cabinteely to round of the month – 3 league games, 2 cup and we really need to get at least 2 wins in these league games. This evening is a possibility I think.
U.C.D. are currently 6th and haven’t won since beating Finn Harps 6 games ago (D3 L2 since), drawing 1-1 with Athlone Town last time out.
Starting off Cautious, Phillips debuts at left-back, O’Riordan back in at centre-back. A slight change of roles in midfield with Devine the DLP, Porter now an AM. Costelloe & Evans will hopefully rip it up. U.C.D. go with a 4-2-4 Wide!!!!!
FT U.C.D. 1 (Mahdy 65) Cobh Ramblers 0 Att 132 (20 Away)
A decent start, and the first good chance came in the 13th minute, David Evans fashioning a 1-on-1, hitting it straight at Conor Kearns… Cobh definitely with the better of the game early on. U.C.D. started coming back into it around the half hour, getting a succession of set pieces, scoring in the 37th minute. It was disallowed – about 3 yards offside. 0-0 at HT, 55% possession, Cobh dominated but again no goals.
Changed Eoin McCormack to a PF(A) from a TM(A) to see if that gets him into the game more. Also going balanced. Really good early on from Cobh, Keeper Kearns making a string of great saves. McCormack off for Dean Ebbe – AF(A) for him, go get us a goal. Mylod pulled off a couple of lovely saves to keep us in the game as well, Keepers on top tonight. Then disaster, Mahdy with a 30 yarder from nowhere, 1-0 U.C.D. Again showing he struggles with long shots. Hourihan on for Porter and Nolan for Costelloe with 15 left. Positive. So frustrating, so many opportunities. 1-0 it finished.
Same shit, different day. Our inability to put chances away is killing us. Bray & Limerick top the table after Galway top 3 points to Cabinteely, who go above us with U.C.D. Athlone & Wexford very much the bottom 2, we really need to kick on to not be 8th as Longford & Finn Harps are nipping at our tail. Do I need to think about moving on as early as June? Hoping the coaching badge will help that (Though not until September when I should get it).
Looking at the game xG we turned a win into a loss – 1.40 Cobh 0.82 U.C.D. That’s now happened twice this season (Finn Harps the other). I think a certain Daire Doherty is getting a chance up top soon.
Our U19’s beat Kerry 4-1 – Goals from Axel Bernet (18yo DC), David Keogh (With another MotM performance) and a brace from Lyamine Mihoubi.
19th Apr 2021 – Cork City (A) – Irish League Cup 2nd Round
We make the short journey to Turner’s Cross for a repeat of our FAI Cup Quarter Final from last year, hoping for a different outcome. There are no replays today thankfully so we will go into this trying to get a result in 90 minutes; our next game is in 4 days (Limerick in the league). Cork are currently 5th in the Premier Division, starting the season badly but have come back a bit in the last month, beating Dundalk & St. Pats in the last 2 games. Wondering whether they are going to rest a few players though.
Daire Doherty gets a chance up top as a Poacher – I just want to see a bit less profligacy, and he’s been on fire for the U19’s with 7 in 7. Nolan starts on the left – Costelloe gets a ton of chances but has only taken the 1 this season so far. Abbott starts as the BWM(D) and Lewis starts at right back. A bit of rotation as the Limerick game is pivotal for our season and push for 4th. Hoping for a few £K gate monies from this evening 🙂 Cork start with a 4-4-1-1 and are playing a massively rotated team this evening… Only 7 first-teamers and nobody with more than 2 starts this season…
FT Cork City 2 (Williams 17, Knox 19) Cobh Ramblers 3 (Doherty 15, Devine 64, Hill 80) Att 2,532 (139 Away)
Cobh with early chances, Bohan in the Cork net keeping them in it. But it was 1-0 in the 15th minute. The boy-wonder Daire Doherty with a Direct Free Kick, just inside the top right angle. Pinpoint. That lasted about 90 seconds, another missed clearence header (Lewis) from a free kick allowing an easy tap-in for Williams. 1-1. And 90 seconds after that it was 2-1 Cork, scythed apart by good passing and bad defensive positioning – Lewis again at fault, with Knox finishing well. Doherty looks dangerous, and his delivery of set-pieces is really good. 2-1 at HT – 59% possession this time…..
Changing it up for the 2nd half, something that worked well in FM19 – a narrow diamond. Wingers off, O’Riordan to DM, Hughes on to fill the centre-back position vacated by Ben. McCormack on, 2 up top. A good quick start by Cobh with a string of corners. Hurley on for a tired O’Riordan just after 60, Abbott back to DM, Hurley playing as a Carrillero. Good pressure, and the equaliser!! an absolute screamer of a volley from 20 yards, top left hand corner across the keeper by Devine after a headed clearance. Pick that one out!! Currently we’ve had 15 shots on target out of 19, Cork 5 from 9!!!!! And fuck me, it was 3-2 Cobh in the 80th, a Carrick Hill header from a Daire Doherty corner!!!! Keep going lads!!! Bohan has kept this from being a rout!! There’s a bit of a glitch in the highlights – Cork players in different kits, some black, some green…..
Time is ticking down, Cork with a wonderful chance in the 90th, a poor finish straight at Mylod and into his arms. And we’ve only gone and won!!! 3-2, a brilliant comeback and pause-for-thought on our formation going forward. Daire Doherty, Tek a Boo Son!!!! 9.1 Av Rating, 5 Chances, 5 Key Passes, 1 Assist and a goal – Man of the Match 🙂
Bray & Cobh both beat Premier Division opponents today, with Limerick also coming through, beating Galway 2-0 at home. We get £2K for the win. And so to the Draw for the Quarters:
Away to Derry City, 9th in the Premier Division currently, only 1 league win, the first day of the season v Drogheda and lots of draws….. Its the hope that kills you 🙂 Also the win means 7 games in 3 weeks…..
23rd Apr 2021 – Limerick F.C. (H) – First Division
We know all about Limerick, a really good squad of attacking players, currently top, no losses in any competition since the mad 3-1 loss to Athlone Town on the first day of the season. Their last 5 games form is WWWWW so I’m not expecting anything from this one.
We give the 4-4-2 Narrow Diamond a go from the start, fighting fire with fire. McCormack & Doherty start up top, Porter as his liked AP(S) in attacking mid, Hurley & Devine in centre mid, O’Riordan as the DM. Phillips & Lewis as the wingbacks, giving us a bit of width, Hughes & Hill in central defence. Limerick as usual are 4-4-2-ing it.
FT Cobh Ramblers 1 (Phillips pen 90+5) Limerick F.C. 3 (Figueira 29, 44, pen 61) Att 393 (127 Away)
Limerick start off strongly, the Cobh passing a bit wayward. Limerick look very good. Using ‘Get Stuck In’ to try and mix things up but Limerick went 1-0 up in the 29th, a free kick tapped in at the back post by Figueira. It was 2-0 in the 44th minute, Figueira again as Scully gets a ball back in after a deep cross. All change for the 2nd half, 2-0 it finished.
Evans & Costelloe on, McCormack & O’Riordan off, back to 4-1-2-3 wide. A bit better from Cobh early on. 61st minute, a Limerick break and Lewis hauls down Lewis – Figueira scores the penalty. We’re just not good enough often enough. Fleming on for Lewis. Lots of good attacking movement from Cobh, just no final ball. 4 minutes into stoppage time we get a penalty – Hill tripped by Scully at a Corner. Phillips fires it home. 3-1 FT, thank fuck that’s over.
Still 6th, as Longford & Finn Harps both lose. Cabinteely a couple of points clear in 4th as U.C.D. slip up against Wexford.
xG for the game was a Limerick 2.36 to Cobh 1.59 win – Pretty much all due to the first half, my fault for trying the narrow formation.
Our U19’s lost 1-0 to Cork City U19’s
26th Apr 2021 – Limerick F.C. (H) – Munster Senior Cup Semi Final
Here we go again – I just want a better performance today.
A bit of rotation because of tired legs – Doherty & Hourihane start with Porter going back to centre mid. Taylor starts at left back, Evan Murphy & O’Riordan partner in central defence. We go Cautious, hoping to hit them on the Counter. Limerick have also rotated a bit, should be interesting.
A decent start, Cobh with the early chances. Limerick have such quick wingers, its really tough defending against them. The breakthrough came to Cobh however, 10th minute, David Evans gets the ball, goes on a mazey run, gets tackled by Kehoe twice, regains the ball twice and slams it home through McGuinness. 1-0 Cobh! Lots of Limerick pressure after the goal, but the boys have stood firm. It was 1-1 however in the 33rd minute, a horrible ball out from Mylod picked off by McCarthy, who ran on and scored. FFS, you never see errors from other teams (I play in Comprehensive), we are making so many. Going positive, lets go out swinging. Doherty missed an absolute sitter from 3 yards just after 40 minutes………. And it was 2-1 2 minutes into injury time. And its that man David Evans again!!! A beautiful through ball by Porter and a lovely finish!! 2-1 Cobh at HT.
A great attacking start to the second half by Cobh. I’ve noticed the AI teams with quick goalkeeper distribution on are doing some stupid quick kicks since the last update – seen it a few times from McGuinness today. It was 3-1 Cobh in the 53rd minute – another beautiful through ball by Porter finding an on-rushing Doherty, who placed the ball past McGuinness. Porter is spraying the passes around today, maybe helping him being a bit deeper. Nolan on for Costelloe on 60 – he’s really struggling. Madness, it’s 4-1!! 67th minute, a lovely cross from Evans headed home beautifully by Doherty – Going Positive and moving the lines up had switched this game up a fair bit!!! Pierce Phillips on for Devine in centre mid as a ball winner. 71 gone. It was 4-2 in the 77th – a clearance from a free Kick floated back in, Metz scoring, definitely looking offside. Hughes on for a knackered O’Riordan with 5 left. The game is getting really stretched. Evan Murphy hit the post in the 93rd minute and Evans is desperately seeking his hat-trick. It finished 4-2, a brilliant second half. We’re in the final again 🙂
We face Mervue Utd from non-league in the Final in early June 🙂 £5k in the bank for the win.
30th Apr 2021 – Cabinteely (A) – First Division
We travel to Dublin this evening for our last game of a packed month versus a Cabinteely side that have won their last 4 league games in a row and are currently 4th. A win is essential to get back towards that 4th place spot.
Doherty maintains his place after his brilliant showing last time out. Devine & Hurley play as twin Carilleros, Nolan in for Costelloe. Hill & O’Riordan play at the back. Cabinteely go with a 4-4-2 a la Limerick, so I’m hoping we can do well.
FT Cabinteely 1 (Tierney 86) Cobh Ramblers 2 (Nolan 30, O’Riordan 58) Att 471 (21 Away)
Cabo start well, lots of attacking intent. Cobh came back after 5 mins, lots of desperate defending by Cabo. Then a massive turning point in the game – 13th minute, Cabo’s Dempsey gets a straight Red for a scything tackle on Devine on half way where he was last man. 10 men for 78 minutes! It took another 18 minutes for the breakthrough – Fleming winning the ball back from Chindea, a lovely cross and Nolan heads it just inside the left-hand post. 1-0 Cobh, 30 gone. It could have been 2 just after, Quinn with a lovely save. 4-3-3 now, Porter back to centre mid as a DLP(D). 1-0 at HT.
A quiet start to the 2nd half. Ebbe on for Doherty on 55. 58th minute, a lovely deep Kev Taylor free kick flicked home by Ben O’Riordan for his first of the season. 2-0 Cobh 🙂 70 gone, Evans hits the post. We still need to be aware of breaks though. Going Counter for the last 20. Turner on for Evans. 73rd minute, Ebbe scores, but its offside by a couple of yards. Hughes on for O’Riordan (Knackered again) for the last 10. 2-1 in the 86th – somehow Ross Tierney beats Mylod from quite wide and was almost definitely offside when he received the pass……FFS. We’re not changing things. 5 minutes added on. It finished 2-1. 3 Vital points.
5th, 1 point off of Cabo and the playoff places. Galway lose a big match at the top v Bray, Limerick do us a favour beating U.C.D. Nearing halfway through the season.
And that is April 2021 done. Such a mixed month.
2 brilliant cup wins, 2 good league wins, 1 really disappointing league loss (U.C.D.), 1 frustrating league loss (Limerick) and 1 acceptable loss (Galway).
Next month starts with Derry in the League Cup Quarters, followed by a very tough league game v Bray and 2 very winnable ones v Longford & Wexford. At least 7 points needed to keep up our playoff intentions. Below are the key highlights of the matches from April. See you soon.
Today we host a Peterhead side that has beaten us twice and drawn once this season knowing that a win will secure the League 2 title for the 2020/21 season. Peterhead are bottom of the table, 7 points adrift of Stirling knowing a relegation play-off awaits them (versus the winners of potentially Lossiemouth and Gretna 2008)
There was a 2 week gap between the Annan 2-1 win and today’s game, so there are a few little bits and pieces to go through.
Harry, Dean & Archie in the League 2 Team of the Week 🙂
Our Ressies lost 5-2 to Hamilton Res, goals from Conor McLaughlin & 16yo STC James Doolan.
NEW SIGNING (End of Season)
19yo, 6ft 3in GK
Signing from St. Johnstone on a free on 1st June 2021
IRL still at St. Johnstone – he started his career there.
£180/wk, £60 per appearence
Ross comes in as a future replacement for Kyle Allison. Currently he is ranked at 3.5/4* CA, is slighly weaker than Kyle in the air and with regards to quickness, but is better everywhere else.
Next season he will start to become first choice as he progresses, and I hope I can get Kyle started on his coaching badges with an eye to making him a really good GK Coach in the future.
Our U18’s played another friendly, beating Hill of Beath Res 7-1. Goals from Paul McCarthy (18yo STC) and hat-tricks from Conor McLaughlin & Tom Sutherland.
Our Ressies had another game, drawing 0-0 with top team St. Johnstone Res in the league. new signing Ross Sinclair playing a 7.0 for St. Johnstone Res.
Rounding off the non-1st team games the U18’s beat Dalkeith Thistle Res 5-1, goals from 16yo MC Spencer Bennett, 17yo STC Alex Gourlay, Sean McIntosh & a brace from triallist Reg McLaren.
And to Peterhead, knowing a win gives us the League 2 Title in March 🙂 They have lost their last 3 games but we always struggle against the 4-5-1…..
We are going with a positive 4-3-3, McLaughlin in for Balde (AML & R are top of my wishlist for next season) and McIlduff gets more game time at leftback. Peterhead are going with a 4-1-4-1, even more defensive than their 4-5-1…
There’s some wistful spring sunshine today and Peterhead have started off well, early pressure from set-pieces. The Breakthrough, a great through-ball from Cornelius finds Slaven, whose whipped cross finds MacIver at the back post, volleying home his first goal for the club. It only lasted a few minutes, Hopkirk with the equaliser. Peterhead look like the better team by far, and go 2-1 up 2 minutes later, a Jordan header direct from a Corner. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!! Absolutely shocking, Peterhead look like Tiki Taka gods. We had a few chances late on but we go in 2-1 down.
FT Berwick 4 (MacIver 15, Slaven 46, 90+4, Sutherland 61) Peterhead 2 (Hopkirk 18 Jordan 20) Att 516 (74 Away)
Going for it in the second half, the wingers off, Sutherland and McGrath on as we go to a 4-4-2 Diamond, Much Higher lines, we need to try and break this spell Peterhead seem to have over us (Lets face it, its a bottom v top thing in FM, always has been). 55 seconds, that’s how long it took to get back to 2-2 – a Sutherland ball to McGrath, who had drifted out wide, his cross finding Sean Slaven, who headed home from close in. It’s all Berwick, and in the 61st minute we went 3-2 up, a Turner cross ricocheting about, Tom Sutherland on hand to finish with a lovely strike. Nicolson and McAllister had a coming together, resulting in Harry getting a bruised ankle, but he should be OK for the rest of the game. Last sub, Lewis Faulds for McIllduff, 15 left. And time ticks down…….5 minutes for injuries…. 1 minute left….. And a goal….. IT’S 4-2 BERWICK, a lovely little cross by Dunsmore dinked in at the back post by Sean Slaven. #SCENES, we’ve won the league boys!!!!!
Seems like the 4-4-2 Narrow Diamond is the future 🙂 I’ll definitely have this training as a second tactic. We cut through Peterhead like butter in the 2nd half.
17 Points clear, 15 left to play for. CHAMPIONS 🙂 Cowdenbeath not quite set for the play-offs yet, Elgin 15 points and 18 goals back from them in 5th. Hopefully Peterhead will be set for the relegation playoff 🙂 So glad we wont be playing them next season.
Harry Nicolson – Bruised Ankle – Out for a couple of days tops 🙂
OK – We are currently spending £2.3k/week so that’s more than double on the wages. I think we would struggle to spend the transfer budget – getting 4 top-notch loan signings will be key.
🙂 🙂 🙂 I think the words were “Sort your Shit out” 🙂 🙂 🙂
Next time we will go through the March stats, travel to Brechin for our 32nd league game and have a look at where we need to be squad-wise to stay up in our first season in League 1. See you soon.
Today we entertain Annan in front of our home fans for the first time in ages, in a game that if we win could potentially put us 18 points clear with 18 points to play for.
Before then out U18’s lost 2-0 to Motherwell Reserves and our Reserves lost 3-0 to Rangers Reserves.
The 4 intake players I mentioned in the last post have all signed youth contracts.
Annan Athletic – currently 5th but 7 points behind Stranraer in 4th – time is running out for them to get into the playoffs. their form is very inconsistent, their last 5 games are LDDWL (1-0 to Cowdenbeath last time out) and they tend to play a 4-4-2, so hopefully less park-the-bus than East Fife were last Saturday.
Balde & MacIver back in, as is Faulds at leftback. Stopping the press as I noticed it really drawing our players out of position in the last match. McGrath starts as an AF up top. Annan start with a 4-4-2.
HT Berwick 0 Annan 0
A sunny day in Northumberland, Berwick could have scored in the first 15 seconds, a MacIver header straight at the keeper. Annan starting out very strong though with two good chances. I changed the set piece routines after the last game as they were very wasterfull, and we’ve had some good chances from them so far. The best chance so far was on 40, McGrath missing a close 1-on-1. 0-0 at HT. Tense.
FT Berwick 2 (Gardiner 47, Cornelius 70) Annan 1 (Mitchell 63) Att 551 (24 Away)
What to change? Centre Mids go to Mezzalas, trying to find space in congested areas. Also putting the attacking line up 1 to try and make a bit more space. Will get Lewis Barr on soonish I reckon. 64 seconds is what it took – Archie Gardiner from the edge of the area 🙂 1-0 Berwick. Slaven on for McGrath on 60. Annan really pushing though, and it was 1-1 in the 63rd, Mitchell with a tap in. Very disappointing. Barr on for Turner in the 68th – up to Centre Mid as the DLP(D), going 4-3-3. Within a minute it was 2-1, a poor clearance an a lovely Cornelius strike from almost the same place as Gardiner’s goal. John Balde scored in the 72nd after a scramble from a corner but was found to be offside – Absolute horseshit, as there was a defender on the line……… Healy on for Balde, who is playing really badly, for the last 10. Nearly an Allison assist in the 89th, long bomb to Slaven who had his shot saved well. We’ve done really well since their equaliser. And it finished 2-1, a brilliant win when playing very tentatively indeed.
Only 5 goals today in the 5 games, 3 in ours!!! 17 points clear, 18 to play. Almost there now 🙂
Next time (2 weeks time as we’ve a weekend off) we face our Nemeses – Peterhead – Win and we’ve won the league with 5 games left to play 🙂 See you then.
7 Games left after today’s trip to Fife, we could be 20 points clear by 5pm with 21 to play for… We’re nearly there boys.
Before the game we have end of month stats and a few other little bits to go through
Our U18’s lost 1-0 to Lothian Thistle Res.
A decent number of rises this month – Harry Nicolson continuing on a pace. Lewis Faulds dropped off on a few though – strange. Overplaying him??
An OK month results wise (W2, D1, L1) but a pretty nondescript month from a stats perspective. High points are our shooting was good, on target %’s were high. Ross MacIver’s crossing is a worry for a winger…No specific Crossing training in FM19 that I can see so I’ve put him on passing training, that’s only an 8 so it will benefit him regardless.
Archie Gardiner gets Young Player of the Month for League 2 🙂
I got 2nd in manager of the month for February.
Finances still good – £27k loss in February, no home games at all…
Our Ressies beat Edinburgh City Res 2-1 in the Reserve League 2 – Ross’s Gilmour & MacIver with the goals.
Archie & Big Rod make the League 2 Team of the Week
And as it’s now March we’ve had a youth intake.
A nice mix of origins of the players – Not all Berwick based.
Golden generation 🙂 I may keep the top 4, then try and hoover up a load of really good kids from higher-division teams on release. The ‘Diamond’ Spencer Bennett is 5ft 4in 🙂 Andrew Todd however is 6ft 4in at 15 🙂 Centre Back material at its best 🙂
The youth Intakes have played the U18’s, with a decent smattering of first-team squad members and beaten them 3-1, 2 of the goals from beautiful counter-attacks.
I’ve signed the top 4, James Christie (AMRC, STC), Spencer Bennett (MC), Bobby Lowe (ML) and Andrew Todd (DC, DM, MC) – Interestingly all 4 are from Berwick 🙂
I’ve also been renewing my staff contracts starting from the end of the season – at the moment it looks like I will have all the current guys ‘n gal (Steph Wells, our brilliant Physio)
So to our last away trip of 5 in a row, this time to Methil, not surprisingly in Fife to face an East Fife side in a scrap for the 4th play-off spot (Stranraer in 4th are on 40pts, East Fife in 6th on 36 and Elgin, 2nd bottom are on 31). They beat Elgin last time out 1-0, but since the start of January they are P9 W3 L6, so their form has been inconsistent at best.
Balde hasn’t been performing on the left so I’m giving Tom Sutherland some time as a wide playmaker, allowing our centre mids to do what they do best, so we effectively set up as an attacking 5 and a defensive 6 with Andy Turner as the fulcrum. McLaughlin gets a game on the right (MacIver needs some time I think) and McIllduff some time at left wingback; as mentioned above Lewis Faulds may be a bit overplayed so he gets a rest this week. Slaven up top, McGrath to come on at some point. East Fife go with a 4-5-1.
HT East Fife 0 Berwick 0
We’re in our blue 2nd kit in the pouring rain (again), on what seems to be a very tight pitch (never noticed this before). The rain stopped after 15 minutes though, and the sun is shining, can’t remember the last time I saw shadows on the pitch 🙂 Berwick are plugging away but have been pretty wayward so far. 0-0 at HT, no shots from East Fife, pretty dire stuff.
FT East Fife 0 Berwick 0 Att 616 (73 Away)
Sutherland as that AP out on the left pretty much does what he wants – he’s in the centre of the pitch most of the time from what I can see. East Fife have really packed men behind the ball, its very difficult to break through. Barr on for Cornelius, Sutherland changed to an IF(A), Barr to DLP. 58 gone. East Fife had a shot, a good save from Allison. McGrath on for an ineffectual Slaven, going positive. Healy on for McLaughlin for the last 10, IF(A), Feels like a 0-0 TBH. East Fife pushing on a bit, having the better of the last 10, but it finished 0-0. A really drab game, I don’t think I’ve ever really dealt with a 4-5-1 particularly well.
15 points clear, 21 to play for so we’re still at least 2 games away from winning the league after Cowdenbeath & Stenny both picked up wins.
Next up is our first home game in 6 weeks as we entertain Annan . See you then.
February was pretty much as expected – disappointing to not get at least a point from the first 2 games, even though they are rated top and 2nd in the division, followed by a laboured cup win and a good showing against a Cabinteely team that should finish in the bottom half of the table.
March 2021. 4 games, v the current 2nd, 4th, 6th & 10th, if we look at the season preview 4th (Longford), 5th (Finn Harps), 7th (Bray) and 8th (Wexford) – So effectively playing for that 4th playoff spot. Before then we have the usual – STATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!
40 attribute rises in the squad last month – Kev Taylor getting 1 of his 4 lost bravery points back.
63 drops though 🙁 Some through injury, some through the start of season training regime concentrating on fitness.
Considering we lost twice some really nice stats, passing completion is very good, as is cross completion. Both central defenders completing > 80% headers and interecting really well. Dara Costelloe loves himself a dribble & drawing a foul, and Eoin McCormack is maintaining his scoring record into the new season.
Hopefully we can work our way back towards parity this season with regards to xG
Adam Mylod still doing OK, 4.7 goals saved to the good since when I took over in June 2019. New keepers to the league will start showing once they get 5 games under their belts.
Eoin McCormack still top (The Shelbourne boys are now in the Premier Division so wont be adding to their totals), Dave Hurley & Ian Turner still bottom (You owe us 9 goals boys!!!)
Now to the happenings since the turn of the month.
Dara Costelloe gets goal of the month for that Al-Owairan v Cabinteely. Check what came 2nd and 3rd……… No Comment (Storms Out)
There will be a non-league team in the final as we will play the winner of Cork & Limerick, and it will be…..
Surprisingly Limerick! That will happen in late April, apparently 3 days after we play them for the 2nd time in the league…
B- from the Board. They love a free loan.
Lastly there was the catch-up round of games after we played Limerick. Every team in the league has won a game after just 3 games!!! Bray smashing Finn Harps is a bit of a strange one, as is U.C.D. drawing with Wexford. Galway look like they could be the ones to chase, but I’ll be escatic with 4th and a chance, however small of Premier Division football next season.
5th March 2021 – Longford (A) – First Division
We make the journey to the Midlands this evening to play a Longford team that still have a good squad but flatter to deceive, shipping 4 v Finn Harps and 3 v Galway. They still have good players but they are currently only showing 15 players in their first team squad… They seemingly released a ton of players in the offseason but only signed 3 on frees
Getting back to full strength now – 4-1-4-1 DM, Turner starts as the better MR, Fleming at left full-back as Taylor hasn’t had a great start to the season. Balanced, I’m feeling Cautious just drags players on, especially as long shots are seeming OP at the moment. Longford go with the exact same formation.
FT Longford 1 (Ashton 45+1) Cobh Ramblers 1 (McCormack 29) Att 640 (24 Away)
Cobh start in the light blue away shirt, and its a quiet enough opening 5, but Dara Costelloe is looking menacing on the left. Changing to higher wingers on 25. And it was 1-0 in the 29th, an amazing Costelloe cross finding McCormack 7 yards out, heading past White in the Longford goal. 1-0 Cobh. And we so very nearly took it into half time; another 25 yarder flies in, this time from Eoin Ashton. Think I’m going to have to push the defensive line up from Standard and Counter Press to stop these as Mylod seems incapable of keeping them out. 1-1 at HT
Devine on for Hughes at HT, O’Riordan back into central defence, Porter up to AM as an AP(A) to link with McCormack, Devine as a Carillero. Going 4-2-3-1, we need to go for this. And we’re on the front foot from the start of the half. 55th minute, a Costelloe drive hits the post… Evans on for Turner just after 60, he’s a better AMR. Cobh got a succession of deep set pieces, all headed just wide or saved magnificently. Doherty on for McCormack for the last 10, going Positive. But we couldn’t find the breakthrough. 1-1 it finished, a game we should have won.
An interesting evening, Wexford, who we play next away, showing they are hard to beat, taking 2 points of of Galway with a 95th minute penalty. Bray continue their decent start with a 3-0 win v Athlone, and Cabinteely continue their poor start being hammered 4-0 by Limerick. So it wont be 12 points in March – we can still get 10!!.
There were 2 games on the Monday (Should have been 3 but the Finn Harps game was postponed)
A dour evening, but Limerick come out best and move into 2nd with a 1-0 win against high-flying Bray.
Our U19’s lost 1-0 to Wexford U19’s.
12th March 2021 – Wexford (A) – First Division
We travel to Wexford this evening knowing a win will put us 5th. We really need to try and keep pace with the front 4, as we’ve seen in the past 2 seasons there really seems to be a Top 4 and Bottom 6 split to this league that we need to break. They’ve had a really good start, only losing to Bray in the league, with a win over Finn Harps and 2 really good draws v U.C.D. & Galway.
We’ve switched up to a more attacking formation, with Porter as the No. 10, and a couple of more defensively-minded lads behind. We’ve been good defensively, only really letting in goals from range and the occasional set-piece, so moving the defensive line higher should help ameliorate this. Costelloe could be a beasty at this level, so I need to get him more involved – giving him another option inside (Porter) should really help our attacking output. Hurley is back from injury, he starts as the BWM in place of Abbott who is taking some time to settle in. O’Riordan partners Carrick Hill at the back. Wexford, who we know are dangerous (That bloody 4-all last season) start with a 4-4-2. 3 Points please!!!
FT Wexford 0 Cobh Ramblers 2 (Evans 16, Porter 39) Att 236 (33 Away)
Cobh on the attack from the off, literally nothing from Wexford in the first 15. And the breakthrough just into the 16th minute, a Devine pass to Evans, who from the right channel skins a couple of defenders before placing a shot top-right bins with the inside of his right, somehow getting it to bend left to right… 1-0 Cobh. We maintained the pressure after the goal, 70% possession after 25 minutes, Devine having a great game as the Carillero. Wexford came back into it a bit near the end of the half, pressing higher and more urgently. I took Play out of Defence off, distribution to the flanks, and in the 39th minute it was 2-0 Cobh! Costelloe cross-field ball to Evans, who took the ball in his stride past the flailing left-back. His short, low cross found Eoin Porter, who guided a volley into the bottom-right of the Wexford net. Beautiful play. And it finished 2-0 at HT – a dominant half from the Cobh lads.
Think I’ll give Hurley another 10 before getting Abbott into the game. Evans is having a blinder on the right – the left-back is being run ragged. And Abbott came on for Hurley in the 56th, like for like. Cobh still getting plenty of chances, Donnelly in the Wexford net keeping some worldies out. Costelloe off for Nolan with 25 left – he’s on a 6.3 because he should have scored a couple of times. Wexford hit the post from a header from a deep free-kick, this isn’t all over yet. Doherty on for McCormack for the last 15, a different threat up top as a PF(A). Time is ticking away, Wexford are pushing, but ultimately with no final product. It finished 2-0 Cobh, 3 points and a really nice performance.
Just the 2 games, U.C.D & Galway taking points off of each other (Exactly what we need).
Our U19’s lost 2-0 to Limerick F.C. U19’s on the Sunday.
Eoin Porter– Bruised Knee in training – 2/3 days – Might be available for the Bray game, really need him as the playmaker…
4 players in the First Division team of the week, Lewis, Devine, Porter & Evans.
Finn Harps played their postponed match, an easy 2-0 v Athlone Town.
19th March 2021 – Bray Wanderers (H) – First Division
There are 3 games this evening and 2 tomorrow afternoon this week as we entertain a Bray side that sit 3rd but have lost their last 2 competitive fixtures. Our squad is rated more highly than Bray though, 6th v 7th in the season preview.
Same formation and style as versus Wexford, Dean Ebbe gets a start up top, Abbott in for Hurley in centre mid, Hughes in for O’Riordan as I try to maintain a set of at least 15 players all getting regular game-time. Looking for Evans and Costelloe to tear it up on our wide pitch (Set the dimensions to as wide as I could pre-season). Bray go with a 4-1-3-2 DM – weak down the spine of the team so maybe concentrate there at some point during the game?
FT Cobh Ramblers 3 (Abbott 34, Ebbe 43, Hughes 77) Bray Wanderers 0 Att 340 (67 Away)
Its a rainy March evening on the South Coast. The game starts off pretty open, Cobh with a decent few chances, plenty of saves for Sava to make in the Bray goal. The breakthrough didn’t come until the 34th minute. A Jason Abbott direct FK on the right edge of the area, taken right footed, swung into the top left bins, Sava at fault really but a beautiful shot nonetheless. 1-0 Cobh. And we’re playing some beautiful football to boot. And it was 2-0 in the 43rd minute – again some lovely play, a gorgeous 40-yard pass for Porter to Evans, who’s floated cross found 6ft 4in Dean Ebbe, heading in off the left-hand post across the diving Sava. Another brilliant half of football from Cobh. 2-0 it finished.
The higher defensive line really seems to be helping stop the long shots – I’ve not seen any trouble Mylod this game so far or in the last. But we know how dangerous Bray can be so we need to keep vigilant. Plus Bray are being caught offside lots today, which is brilliant. Bray are looking more dangerous at the start of the second half though. 53 gone – Kane Lewis has picked up a thigh pull. Kev Taylor on, Fleming to right back. Bray pretty much camped out in our last 3rd. Turner on for Evans just before 60 as we go 4-4-1-1. Mylod has played really well today, pulling off some lovely saves to keep Bray ay=t bay in this 2nd half. Last sub, Hurley on for Porter (Didn’t want to risk him any further) – Devine to DLP(S), Abbott & Hurley now BWM(D), wingers back a bit higher, Costelloe to IF(A) to support Ebbe. And in the 77th minute it was 3-0. A deep central Turner lobbed FK flicked on by Hughes over the already-diving Sava. We’re getting plenty of room now on Counters, Ebbe doing his job, holding the ball up. And it finished 3-0. A superb win. 10 points for the month is still on!!
A brilliant evening for Cobh as we go up to 3rd, U.C.D. and Limerick dropping points against teams nearer the bottom, Limerick in injury time 🙂 25 shots to 2, but only 7 on target for Limerick.
Kane Lewis – Pulled Thigh – 12 to 15 days. Could have been worse! he’ll miss the next couple of games.
And we’ve had the Saturday matches – Athlone picking up another win to go 7th, Galway dispatching Finn Harps comfortably, Conor Barry with a hat-trick (Not looking forward to playing them!)
Our U19’s lost to Waterford U19’s 1-0.
Our backup right-back Jack Lynch is out for a day – a bruised knee after a collision in training.
5 players in the First Division Team of the Week this week!!!! Fleming, Hughes, Abbott, Ebbe & GK Mylod 🙂 All different players from last weeks’ 4 in the team of the week, really positive showing lots of players are stepping up.
26th March 2021 – Finn Harps (H) – First Division
Our last game of the month has us entertaining Finn Harps (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finn_Harps_F.C.), who play their football up in Co. Donegal, 270 miles & over 5 hours drive away from Cobh on the South Coast. They have a long history, have played 8 Eurpean ties (All in the 1970’s) but recently have bounced between the Premier and First Divisions, their highest position in the last 20 years being 8th in Premier Division in the 1999/2000 season.
They’ve not started amazingly, 2 wins and 4 losses, with a penchant for leaking goals (4 goals twice plus a 5), whereas we’ve only conceded twice in the last 6 competitive matches.
I’m really loving the football the boys have been playing recently – The only change is Taylor in for Kane Lewis, who is about a week away from coming back, Fleming over to right-back. Finn Harps go with a 3-1-4-2 DM – I’m going to attack them down the wings, overload on their 2 wingers and try and get match-ups with our young wingers and their centre-backs defending wide in a 3.
FT Cobh Ramblers 1 (Porter 20) Finn Harps 3 (Keegan 53, Place pen 72, Donnelly 83) Att 303 (30 Away)
Finn Harps start in their blue strip, and inside the first minute Dean Ebbe flicks the bar with a header. Cobh very much in charge of proceedings in the first 10. And it was 1-0 Cobh in the 20th minute. Costelloe, in acres of space behind the Harps’ right winger swung a cross to the back post. Evans collected it, and had enough time to clip the ball back in, Porter on hand to side-foot volley home for his 2nd in 2 games. It’s dangerous not playing with at least wingbacks. Plus their wingers aren’t playing very wide. 34 gone and we very nearly get caught on the break, Mylod staying big and saving magnificently from Mikey Place. The Harps definitely coming into the game more near the end of the half, I go back to a 4-1-2-3 for the last couple of minutes, as we see out the half 1-0 up.
Setting Costelloe up as an Inside Forward for the second half – I want him to really give the Harps something else to think about as they did come back into the game a lot near the end of the 1st half. We also go back to the 4-2-3-1. Big pressure from the off from the Harps, but we nearly catch them on the Counter. I might get McCormack on soon as a different threat up top. Evans goes to an IF as well as we go narrower. The Harps are looking really dangerous now, so different to the first 30 minutes. And it’s 1-1, an Abbott mistake allows Jordan Keegan in free on goal, and he scores from 18 yards. 1-1. Hurley on for Abbott, a BWM on a yellow is never good, and McCormack on for Ebbe. 53 gone. Feels like its going to be tough to hold on. “Show some Passion”. And then a Penalty to Finn Harps – a perfectly good tackle by Taylor in the animation. FFS. I could see the game slipping though, for no reason. Mistakes creeping into the Cobh game. Mikey Place steps up and scores. 2-1 Finn Harps. Going Positive. Costelloe off for Nolan, 15 left. We’re pushing up. But it was 3-1 in the 83rd, somehow we find ourselves 6 v 6 in our area, the ball bobbles about and Donnelly is there to score. Unbelievable how we’ve fallen apart. 3-1 it finished. And that’s why we’re not good enough to go up.
We’re still 4th as U.C.D. lose to Longford. Limerick also dropping points again, this time to Wexford. Galway are pulling away after only 7 games – 5 points clear now after dismantling Athlone, who we face next.
Our U19’s beat Galway U19’s 3-0, 17yo DC Kevin Gannon, 18yo AMR Paul Caulfield & Daire Doherty with the goals.
David Evans makes team of the week.
And that’s the month of March done. 7 points from a possible 12, OK but it should have been so much more. Below are the key Highlights from the 4 matches just gone.
Next month looks set to be the busiest in the season by far – 5 league games and 2 cup.
Galway will be the real toughie, everything else is winnable. See you soon.
Today we make the trip to the central belt to face a Stirling side on a decent loss-less streak of 6 games. If we can win we will be at least 14 points clear with 7 games left.
Before then the usual bits and/or pieces.
The appeal for the Cornelius Red Card was turned down – only ever had one overturned I think. No reaction from the Scottish FA on my ‘dissent’ either, as I questioned the validity of the sending off in the post match presser.
Our U18’s beat Tweedmouth Res 3-1 in a friendly, Non-players Kieran Fotheringham & Chris McGale and 16yo STC James Doolan with the goals.
Barr & Gardiner in the League 2 Team of the Week after their goals v Cowdenbeath.
A little toe-in-the-water from the board – love the wording 🙂 New deal being offered shortly 🙂
Our Ressies won 3-1 as well – a friendly away to Lochmaben Res – Conor McLaughlin, Ross Gilmour & Ben Sedgwick with the goals.
NEW CONTRACT SIGNED – £625/wk, up from £450/wk. Hopefully we can give League 1 a good go (if we go up obviously….)
So to Stirling we wend our merry way – 98 miles to the Forthbank Stadium (Shared with Stirling Uni). A decent squad with a good record over the last 6 weeks. We need to keep it tight and grind them down. Hoping the news of me signing a new contract has rallied the troops as well 🙂
Andy Turner is back so starts as a Half Back – he’ll get 60 mins or so. We go 4-1-2-3, Gardiner in for Cornelius as he’s banned. McGrath starts up top as the more natural AF. Going pretty cautious still, Stirling go with a narrowish 4-4-2 by the looks of it.
HT Stirling 0 Berwick 0
Pouring with rain yet again – its a good job there are so many 4G pitches in Scotland. Stirling very much on top in the opening few minutes – feel we are drawing them on a bit so go to Balanced. This worked well, we started to attack a bit more. Barr had a couple of free kicks saved brilliantly and the Stirling defence were blocking shots like their lives depended on it.
FT Stirling 0 Berwick 1 (Gardiner 87) Att 637 (60 Away)
Andy Turner now moved to the DLP – Barr CM(S) can do what he does. Healy on for MacIver, playing as an IF(A), cutting in. Bugger, 55 gone, looks like Andy Turner has done knee ligaments – McIntosh in as a BWM(D) for him. Balde had a great chance just after 60, but the keeper made a double save. Slaven on for McGrath for the last 25. A very quiet half so far. Going positive, moving the front line up 1. Allison made a great save on 75 minutes, low to his left. And the breakthrough, 87 on the clock, a lovely break and back-post ball by Slaven left Gardiner in acres, and he tapped home to make it 1-0 Berwick. #Scenes. Allison pulled off another blinder in injury time to keep it 1-0 as Stirling really pushed, and plucked a couple of amazing catches. It finished 1-0, a superb win away from home against a team who hadn’t lost in 7.
17 points clear, 24 to play for, both Cowdenbeath and Stenny losing, Stenny in a game of the year candidate – losing 4-3, Annan were 2-0 up in the 67th minute, it went 2-2, then 3-3 in the next 8 minutes before Annan won it in the 87th – 5 goals in 20 minutes. Could be 2 games from the title!!
Shouldn’t need to worry about this TBH. Also Andy Turner is not showing as injured after the game, so that’s superb!
Next time we will be travelling to Leven for our last away game in our row of 5 v East Fife, and as we move into March (Only 3 games in the month) we will look at the stats for February 2021. See you soon.
Today it’s a biggie, 1st v 2nd as we travel to Fife to play a Cowdenbeath team on a strange run of form – WLLLLLWWDD in the last 10 – who are relatively safe in a play-off place, 11 points clear of East Fife in 5th put will want to try and get a win.
Before then our U18’s won 3-0 away at Bonnyrigg Rose U18’s, 17yo DR Gregor Malcolm, 19yo STC Duncan Johnson and Andy Turner, coming back to full fitness after his nasty ankle ligament injury, with the goals.
Our Reserves won away at Sauchie Reserves 4-1, 18yo AMR Jamie Johnson, 19yo AMC Ross Gilmour, 16yo STC James Doolan and 17yo STC Alex Gourlay with the goals
3 players in the team of the week from the Stranraer game.
I noticed we had a gap in the U18’s staff – no Assistant Manager – I’m pretty sure I’ve tried to fill that before but have been turned down due to money, but now that isn’t an issue. And we’ve signed Ryan Broadhurst. 9’s and 10’s for most things means he’s very good quality for this level.
So to Central Park, Cowdenbeath. 10 games played between the 2 teams in this save, Cowdenbeath are 5-2 up with 3 Draws. Hamish Morrison has also become their starting right-back after leaving us a few weeks back.
Bringing Gardiner back in for McIntosh today – I quite like the CM-DLP(D)-CM setup of a 3 man midfield. McGrath & Turner are back fit and are on the bench. Cowdenbeath are using a 4-1-3-2 DM – will attempt to attack them down the middle where they only have the 1 centre mid.
After the tunnel interview we step foot onto a rainy Central Park, and in the 4th minute Dean Cornelius gets sent off – it looks really innocuous in the 3D engine….. Looks like its going to be one of those ones. We should have scored in the 11th minute however, a great break, Slaven tapping it to the keeper 1-on-1. And it was 1-0 in the 15th – A Lewis Barr direct FK again!!!! 1-0 Berwick. A bit early to time-waste I think 🙂 We lasted until the 31st minute, Allison pulling off 2 beautiful saves , but Allen was on hand to put in the 3rd. 1-1. But we were keeping in the game, and it was 2-1 in the 43rd, a wonderful run and shot from Archie Gardiner – 2-1 Berwick. And that’s how the half ended. 2-1 up, 10 men since the 4th minute!!!Might think about going 3-5-1 with Wingbacks not too long into the 2nd half.
FT Cowdenbeath 3 (Allen 31, Cunningham 53, Allison OG 60) Berwick 2 (Barr 15, Gardiner 43) Att 637 (165 Away)
It will be a famous victory if we can hold on! Cowdenbeath coming on strong from the off though, and they scored in the 53rd – A Cunningham header close in from a header-back from the back post from a corner. Turner & McIntosh on for Balde & MacIver. Turner as a Half-Back, McIntosh as a BWM. Calamity in the 60th minute though – a Hamish Morrison free kick came off the inside of the post, off of Allison and in for an OG. Fuck! 3-2 Cowdenbeath. Time to attack. McGrath on for Slaven as an AF. Still feels like we are in this. And we are getting chances, Cowdenbeath are just lumping it forward. But it finished 3-2, a superb performance 10 v 11 for 86 minutes. I will be appealing Cornelius’ Red Card.
14 points clear with 9 games left – Stenhousemuir 17 points back after their draw with a decent Stirling side, who we play next. getting tighter at the bottom, Brechin & Peterhead both winning, 6 points between 5th & 10th.
Next time as I mention above its a trip to Stirling for our 4th away game in a row, finishing a mixed February 2021 off. Stirling are 6th, but haven’t lost since 9th January (WWWDDD since then) so I’m expecting a tough one, even though we’re 7-1 up on aggregate against them this season. See you then.
Straight into the action with our very own Abbott & Costelloe – Jason & Dara – as we have 4 games in 14 days.
Two tough openers, U.C.D. (Season Preview 1st) and Limerick (2nd), a nice cup game and Cabinteely (8th) – We’re currently 6th in the preview so we are moving on a bit in the eyes of the bookies.
12th Feb 2021 – U.C.D. (H) – First Division
We welcome U.C.D. to St. Colman’s Park for the first game of the season. They’ve only brought in 2 new players and shipped a few off (Maybe they are showing higher in the preview as the average squad strength increased because of this).
We go with the 4-3-3 2DM (Or 4-2-1-3 2DM, or 4-2-1-2-1 2DM). McCormack starts up top, with teh new wingers Costelloe & Evans who both looked dangerous in the friendlies. Devine starts as a DLP (Porter still recovering fitness), with Abbott & O’Riordan sitting deep (Abbott can go up into centre mid at anytime if needed. Taylor & Lewis play as the wingbacks, Hughes & Hill in the centre, Mylod as the Sweeper Keeper. U.C.D. go with a 4-3-2-1 Narrow Christmas-Tree-of-Doom. We will attempt to go round them, as we do all narrow formations.
FT Cobh Ramblers 2 (McCormack 18, Fleming 89) U.C.D. 3 (Moran 16, Doherty 33, Doyle 74) Att 294 (5 Away)
U.C.D. started well, looking slick on the ball, but our wide boys Evans & Costelloe look mighty dangerous, only U.C.D. keeper Conor Kearns keeping the score level. Realised I hadn’t set the set pieces up 🙂 Then from nowhere U.C.D. go 1-0 up – a 30 yard screamer from Moran. Nothing you can do about that. Almost straight away we pulled level, a superb break by Costelloe & Evans leading to a McCormack tap-in. 1-1, 18 gone. Moving to 2 in centre mid, with O’Riordan as the DM(D) in the middle. It was 2-1 U.C.D, in the 33rd minute, Doherty getting free and tapping in. 2 shots, 2 goals. No idea how that’s 2-1 at HT, Cobh dominated. Fleming on for Taylor, who has looked a bit lost.
Good chances early on for Cobh, but U.C.D remain dangerous. Dean Ebbe coming on for McCormack on 60. Costelloe should have scored just after, a 1-on-1 saved. Mihoubi on for the last 20. 3-1 in the 74th, a Doyle Direct Free Kick…. 2 goals from 30 yards today. 89 gone, a Charlie Fleming rocket from 22 yards flew in – 3-2, can we get anything from this? Unfortunately no. That feels like a robbery, 3 chances to their 1, 61% possession. And with only 27 games you can’t afford to lose. Gutted.
All to plan apart from a remarkable 3-1 win by Athlone Town v Limerick, who we face next.
Ethan Devine is out for 9-12 days – a damaged heel in training.
Charlie Fleming makes team of the week after his stunner v U.C.D.
Jack Lynch also out – 2-3 days, tight thigh after sprints in training.
19th Feb 2021 – Limerick F.C. (A) – First Division
Limerick are coming off of a surprise 3-1 defeat at Athlone, we are coming off our dominant, if losing display v U.C.D. We are also the only game this evening – think there are a load of Leinster Senior Cup games going on.
We are sitting back on the wings a bit today – Turner in for Evans. Porter is back (Devine was thrown in the water a bit v U.C.D. because of the injuries, and he is now injured himself) and we go 4-1-4-1 as per the end of last season. Fleming starts on the left after Kev Taylor’s poor showing in the first half in the last game. Not expecting anything, we shall see, but I know I’ve got Evans & Mihoubi who can come on and run the fullbacks ragged. Limerick go with their usual positive 4-4-2.
FT Limerick F.C. 1 (Daly 47) Cobh Ramblers 0 Att 1,324 (45 Away)
Limerick straight on the attack, but we hit the bar in the 3rd minute, a Costelloe header. Cobh very much on the back foot early on though. Cobh came back into it a bit near the end of the half, but it finished 0-0 – very tight indeed.
Bloody direct free kicks – 1-0 Limerick in the 47th, Daly from almost the same position as the one in the U.C.D. game. Evans on for Turner, Ebbe for O’Riordan, going 4-2-4 Positive 🙂 We’re a bit more open now. Mihoubi for the last 10. But to no avail. 1-0 Limerick, 2 losses from 2, 3 goals out of 4 conceded from range….
We’ve not got time for this in a 27 game season. Need to really pick it up versus Cabinteely.
Our U19’s played out a 0-0 Friendly v Evergreen.
23rd Feb 2021 – Rockmount (H) – Munster Senior Cup Quarter Final
We go with a 4-4-2 Diamond today, with Hurley & Devine still on the mend and Abbott cup-tied we only have 2 fit midfielders. We have rotated a bit with a game to come in 3 days in the league v Cabinteely. Daire Doherty starts as a poacher up top – I wonder if he can be the lynch-pin with Evans and Costelloe bombing up the wings as he seems to be able to find space in the box when I’ve seen him play. Rockmount are going with the narrow version of this tactic. should be interesting.
FT Cobh Ramblers 2 (McCormack pen 52, 70) Rockmount 0 Att 226 (8 Away)
A very slow start by Cobh, trying to get used to the change in style. McSweeney scored in the 22nd minute at a corner, but was fractionally offside apparently. This is really tough going, 0-0 at HT.
Going very narrow to try and match up a bit more in midfield. Penalty to Cobh in the 51st, Turner scythed down, McCormack scoring. 1-0. Mihoubi & Evans on for Nolan & Turner just before 60. 2-0 in the 70th, a Doherty FK headed in at the back post by McCormack. McCormack hit the bar in the 89th, which would have been his hat-trick, and it finished 2-0. An easy enough win even if it was very profligate.
So that’s us through to the Semi – £3.38k in the bank.
26th Feb 2021 – Cabinteely (H) – First Division
We welcome Cabinteely to Cobh this evening needing a win, they lost 3-1 to a strong Galway team in their first League game and 1-0 to Longford in the Leinster Senior Cup 4th Round. They are rated 9th in the Season Preview (We’re 6th) so we should have a decent chance after close games versus the 1st and 2nd rated teams in the division.
Back to the normal 4-1-2-3 DM – Looking for Costelloe & Evans to wreak havoc. Taylor starts on the left – he looked very dangerous v Rockmount. Cabinteely go with a Cautious 4-4-2.
FT Cobh Ramblers 1 (Costelloe 19) Cabinteely 0 Att 302 (33 Away)
A pretty even start, both teams looking good going forward. Noticing we have been heading so many free kicks over so I’ve changed the deeper free kicks to ‘Best Header’, to see if that makes a difference. Then a goal of the season candidate. Dara Costelloe, Tek a Boo!!!. He picks it up 20 yards from half way in his own half after a clearence from McCormack, rounds one, and runs, and runs, and runs, no challenges, and shoots – a complete thunderbastard from 20 yards 🙂 Wow! 1-0 Cobh. Cabinteely are really pushing now. It should have been two just after 30, a long ball by Carrick Hill misjudged by Keeley, McCormack in on goal, hits the base of the right post… 1-0 at HT.
Ben O’Riordan is a bit shattered – may need to change it up a bit relatively early in the half. Also Evans has not had a good one so Turner may be making an appearance soon. Yep – O’Riordan off for Devine on 55. Turner for Evans on 65. Fleming on for Taylor for the last 10. Been a quiet half. The last few moments were a bit of a scramble, but it finished 1-0. Phew!!!!A moment of brilliance from Costelloe the difference.
Wexford pulled off a shock 4-3 win v Finn Harps, scoring all 4 in the 2nd half. Limerick U.C.D finished 0-0 – we need the top teams to all take points off of each other. Strangely only 1 team hasn’t won a game after just 2 games; Cabinteely.
Just coming up to the end of February now, and our U19’s won a friendly 3-0 v West United, the goals from 18 yo AMC Shane O’Flynn & a brace from 17 yo striker James Hobbs.
And that’s that. Next time March 2021 – 4 league games, all winnable, we shall see.
Lastly we have the highlights from our 4 games. See you soon.
Today we face a tough trip to Stranraer (Stranraer!!! Get me Zantac Kenny!), and after last weeks horror-show in the 2nd half we need a good result, a la Brechin to get up back on the title match.
Before then our U18’s drew 0-0 with Gala Fairydean U18’s and our Reserves lost a tight one v Airdrie Res 4-3, goals from Tom, Sutherland and a brace from Ross Gilmour.
Nicolson & Cornelius in the League 2 team of the week after their crackers versus Elgin.
Ross goes to Cumbernauld (mid-table in the Lowland League) until the end of next season. He’s got decent potential (3.5*/4.5*) and is 6ft 5in so he may have a future with Berwick, but it will be good for him to be getting game time at a decent level before that point to help with his development.
So to Stranraer – 4th, decent squad (Season Preview has them 3rd, we are back at the top following our transfer dealings – Dean Cornelius now in the Media Dream 11!!) and they’ve been on amn up-and-down run, W2 D3 L1 since the turn of the year.
McLaughlin gets a start on the right wing, Slaven back for the injured McGrath. Barr goes to DLP(S), we go a bit more cautious. Got the feeling of one of those form slumps, I hope I’m wrong. Stranraer go with a 5-1-2-2 DM WB style – Might try for an overload out wide.
HT Stranraer 0 Berwick 2 (Slaven 35, 43)
Berwick start off on the front foot but Stranraer look dangerous going forward. And then the rain starts to pour down – I noticed the Brechin v Annan game had been postponed so its obviously a bit of a damp spell. It’s quite even, Stranraer hitting the post and Berwick having a lot of decent chances. And it was that man Sean Slaven who made it 1-0 Berwick. 35 gone. A towering header from a corner that the keeper should have come for. And he made it 2 in the 43rd minute, pouncing on the loose ball after a Balde shot was well saved low to the keeper’s right. And its tayed that way until half time – feeling very lucky to be 2-0 to the good TBH,
FT Stranraer 1 (Ball 61) Berwick 2 (Slaven 35, 43) Att 430 (58 Away)
Stranraer out of the blocks well as we sit back a little, looking to Counter. We need to be a bit more solid comapred to last week. But it was 2-1 in the 61st – a Lewis Bell header direct from a corner. MacIver on for McLaughlin, Gardiner for McIntosh. Stranraer themsslves are trying to Counter more. Think we need to press on a bit? Currie in the Stranraer goal keeping them in this. McIlduff on for Faulds for the last 10. Somehow it’s not 3-1, a succession of corners all scrambled away. And this time we successfully shut down shop. It finished 2-1, a huge win.Just the 22 goals in the league for Seany-Boy so far 🙂
17 points lads & lasses!! 10 games left. Stenny rescue a point late on v Cowdenbeath. We should be securing a play-off spot at some point in the next 3 games. Peterhead close on Brechin at the bottom, trying to avoid the dreaded relegation playoff.
Next up is the last of the 3rd round of fixtures out of 4 – Away at Cowdenbeath, knowing a win would put us 20 points above them, and at least 18 above Stenhousemuir with just 9 games left. See you then.
Welcome to another week in my FM19 journey to the top. The Berwick lads have been sensational this season, 15 points clear with 12 games left and I’m beginning to plan out for life in League 1, with most probably the smallest wage bill, unless Buckie can stay up (9th currently in league 1 but its tight at the bottom).
Also my FM20 Journeyman save has caught up chronologically, and I plan to run this in tandem with it. So when I do a post in FM20 (Which is generally a month in-game apart from post & pre-seasons) I will do the corresponding posts with this series, so we stay in sync time-wise – it should be interesting seeing which teams finish where in the big leagues in FM19 & FM20.
So to today’s post – we face a decent Elgin side today, though they are 8th and have lost their last 3 games, the last 2 versus 2nd and 3rd.
Before then the normal, a Reserve game & and U18’s game.
The U18’s drew 0-0 with Strathspey Thistle Res, Aidan McIlduff with man of the match.
Transfer deadline day is here, and as such January is over, so here are the stats for last month.
Rises first – Great showings all around, Harry Nicolson (Who I’ll definitely try and get back or sign) is an absolute star. John Balde going well, as are a few more of the first teamers.
Not many falls, Aaron Ballantyne is on loan at Fort William so it seems their facilities and trainers are causing him issues, even though he’s on a 7.27 in 23 games in the league.
A superb month, 4 wins out of 5, has led to some superb stats. Passing was brilliant in January, 4 lads with well over 80% completion, our playmake Lewis Barr at almost 94% on 375 pass attempts. He’s interesting, in that he’s not now rated very highly in the squad, but like Kyle Allison plays well beyond those star ratings. Our Wingbacks are not completing many crosses – is it a case of cross less often, maybe getting them to put the wingers in?? Kieran McGrath starred with 4 goals from 4 shots on target, 2.4 goals per 90 minutes in January for him!! A very solid month all around.
So to transfer deadline day itself. Cameron McGinn has gone to East Kilbride in the Lowland League for the rest of the season, where I expect him to tear it up.
21yo, 5ft 10in GK
On a free from Alloa, IRL he’s on loan at Petershill in the West of Scotland Junior Championship
2.5* CA, 4/5* PA
Great handling, reflexes and decisions
We welcome Chris Henry to the club. A hot prospect, he will understudy Kyle Allison, and we will take a view on extending his contract in the Summer. Josh Donaldson (Of Civil Service fame from our time there) is available at the moment as well….
And with that the transfer window has passed, east Fife topping the movement charts for league 1 with 5 incoming and 1 outgoing.
Manager of the Month for League 2 🙂
Just the 4 lads in the team of the week as well 🙂
Our Reserves lost 2-1 to Coldstream Reserves – Ross Gilmour with the goal.
On the morning of the Elgin game Lewis has seigned a pre-contract keeping him with the club to the end of next season.
So we’ve made the 4hr 30min journey up through the Cairngorms to face an Elgin City side that shouldn’t pose us any trouble at all. We know what happens when this is the case.
If it aint broke… Really happy with how the boys shut the game down last time out versus really good opposition – hoping we can maybe get in amongst the Elgin side and make hay today. They go with a 4-2-3-1 Wide, we will go slightly narrower.
HT Elgin City 0 Berwick 2 (Nicolson 5, Cornelius 40)
We can’t get away from the rain. It doesn’t seem to matter though, 5th minute, a Barr free kick, Nicolson peels off at the back post and volleys in a screamer. 1-0 Berwick. I then notice somehow only Key Highlights are turned on (Explains the last game!!) – 40th minute it was 2-0, a crazy Cornelius drive from range. In between times McGrath has picked up a bruised thigh – I will get him through to HT. 2-0 at the break. Slaven on for McGrath.
FT Elgin City 3 (Brotheston 53, 90+5 Cameron 62) Berwick 3 (Nicolson 5, Cornelius 40, Wilson og 76) Att 441 (49 Away)
An OK start to the second half, then calamity – a long ball over and Allison completely misreads it – Brotherston with the tap-in, 53 gone. 2-1. Elgin look a completely different side now. And it was 2-2 in the 62nd – Cameron from the edge of the area – What the F**k is going on! Gardiner on for McIntosh, Barr to DLP(D), Gardiner & Cornelius now CM(A). Need to stop the rot. Barr off in the 73rd (Shattered) – Sutherland on as an AP(S) in attacking midfield. And we made it 3-2 in the 76th, a lovely break ending up in pinball and a Wilson OG. Back to Cautious. The game started getting a bit jerky (Like before a Penalty is given), and 5 minutes into injury time Dean Brotherston strolled through unchallenged and scored to make it 3-3. A stupid end to an equally retarded game, and the first time we’ve conceded more than 2 goals in a game all season…
Looks like it was a day for odd results – The top 3 all drawing means we maintain the 15 point gap with 11 games left.
Kieran McGrath – Out for 6-9 days with a bruised thigh, should be back for the game after next.
Next up is 4th placed Stranraer, who drew 2-2 with Stenhousemuir and it should be a good test. See you then.