PearceyPlays #FM20 Post 10 – Cobh Ramblers – Into the meat-and-drink – March 2020

From the top left clockwise – United Park Drogheda, Tolka Park, Dublin (Shelbourne) & St Colman’s Park, Cobh

March 2020. League Games 4 through 7 of 27.

A realistic points total for the month is 5/12 (Draws with Drogheda & Bray, Win v Athlone – Shelbourne is a free hit but not expecting anything) – that would leave us W-D-L 2-4-1, 10 points from 6 games (Last season Cobh had 4 points from 6 games so we are already ahead of the curve).

  • Drogheda – Season Preview 4th, Current 4th
  • Shelbourne – S.P 1st, C. 6th
  • Bray Wanderers – S.P. 6th, C. 5th
  • Athlone Town – S.P. 10th, C. 9th

Before we get to the games we have the stats from the first 4 competitive games to look at.

Some good rises, Eoin Porter doing well despite his performances (We found a possible reason for the low average rating last post) – especially like the Positioning & Vision increases as I see him as a playmaker.

A number of attribute falls unfortunately, though you do see this at the start of a season.

  • Passing & Crossing – Jack Lynch’s cup game skews the stats a bit – Passing stats aren’t brilliant unfortunately. Ian Turner had good completion numbers (>2 cross completed/90). Lynch & Fleming completing >20% crosses was also great.
  • Heading – Evan Murphy good for key headers, Hurley & McSweeney great/good for completion %
  • Attacking Stats – McCormack had a good month with 3 goals in 4 games. Wall, Doherty & Fleming had good shots on target % (>50%). Lyamine Mihoubi & Daire Doherty had good dribbling attempts as well.
  • Tackling & Interceptions – Great Interception stats (>4/game)
  • Fouls/Mistakes/Offsides – BWM Alex Byrne concedes a few fouls, Charlie Fleming (as is his want) made a few mistakes.

We need our pass completion to rise a bit – if we can keep the ball a bit better we should pull opponents out of position a bit.

We are dragging behind on cumulative xG – 3rd worst since we started compiling data last July. We should have scored 3.5 goals more than we have. First opponent this month Drogheda has scored almost 5 goals less than they should have done in 11 games.

We have the best keeper though πŸ™‚ So even though we’ve scored 2.5 goals less than we should have done Adam Mylod is now +6 for expected goals conceded (18) v actual (12) – So we are +3.5 in balance at the moment, the main reason why we are punching above our weight. Drogheda have the second best Keeper – However when you add their team level xG and Keeper xG together they are still at -0.4 goals.

I’ve also had a look at the player-level xG before our game v Drogheda.

So Drogheda have the 5th best player by xG in the dataset, Chris Lyons. Our Scouts have him as 4/5 * Current

Comapred to Cian Leonard the main standout is with the Mentals – He’s not amazing physically, but is quick, has decent Vision and Attacking. The mental aspect is one of the most important for a dyed-in-the-wool sharpshooter IMO.

I see this data as a real scouting & recruitment tool.

The above is the current top 20 of players having had 5 games or more (I know, not a large selection) – Marty Waters is very similar to Chris – small (171cm), very solid mentals, decent finishing, relatively rapid. Note Conor Barry is 8th (He wont change now as Galway were promoted, and I’m only capturing data for my league) – he always stood out on the comprehensive highlights. Note we’ve not gotten anybody on this list though – maybe when Eoin McCormack has played a few more games he will get on here.

Now to the month of March. Apparently Eoin McCormack came 3rd in goal of the month.

Eoin McCormack, Tek a Boo Son

C+ – Pretty harsh, especially the disappointment with a draw against a team expected to finish above us in the table. Pretty sure this is a bug.

The Munster Senior Cup draw has happened………drum roll please……………….

University College Cork (Munster Premier Division) away, most probably playing the winners of Limerick & Cork City.

There was a round of 4 games on Monday 2nd before a full match day on Friday 6th.

Shelbourne continuing to not dominate as they should (I wouldn’t say no if that job came up), Cabinteely continue to be poor, UCD beat Bray and Wexford draw 0-0 v Athlone Shots 23-3, On Target 9-2. 4 Clear Cut Chances, 2 Half…

6th March 2020

United Park, Drogheda – 5,400 Capacity (400 Seated)

So to Drogheda, 190 miles (Decided to not take the M50 around Dublin at Friday rush hour), through deepest darkest Tipperary, Laois & Meath before rocking-up at United Park in Co. Louth for a match with a team that our scouts say are very much better than us, and where xGC/xG show them to have (After the last round of games) the 2nd best keeper (Adam is still the best) and the 5th best striker (Eoin McCormack is 29th/119) so its fair to say a draw would be a superb result. Also we are back in Dublin on Monday for Shelbourne, so we need to be mindful of rest etc.

So Eoin Porter has been having a mare – 6.38 Av this season – and we’ve pinpointed it to the wing-play. Basically he wasn’t getting enough of the ball to do anything with it. So Flanks focus is off, lets see if that helps. Steven Nolan is back in full training tomorrow so Owen Wall continues on the left as an IF, playing narrower. Otherwise the team is picking itself. Drogheda go with a 4-4-1-1, a formation we may revert to through the course of the game.

FT Drogheda Utd 1 (Kavanagh 52) Cobh Ramblers 0 Att 813 (24 Away)

We’re in the pouring east-coast rain tonight, and Drogheda started out fast, though Ian Turner had a great chance in the 4th minute. We came back into it, and had some great chances. Drogheda are playing very high up and controlled most of the second quarter of the game, but we go in 0-0 at HT. Going 4-4-1-1 Balanced, Porter to Shadow Striker, got to do well at some point (6.4!!!). Mihoubi on for Wall.

Drogheda started out very much on top, looking really dangerous and they scored in the 52nd minute, a long run, fumble and recovery by Cian Kavanagh (He looks absolute lightning) for the goal. “Show some Passion”. And we did come back, but our shooting/finishing is abysmal. Daire Doherty on for McCormack on 64. Mulgannon on for Hurley (6.3) in our last change on 73. We pressurised a fair bit in the final 15 and had some amazing chances – they all just went straight at the keeper. Attacking training incoming. 1-0 it finished.

The stats paint a slightly different picture to what the highlights did. We had the chances, possession, pass completion and have been undone by a fine piece of individual play. Also they had 2 key passes all game, we had 10. Alex Byrne had 5 on his own. Unlucky boys.

Bray & Limerick continue their good form (Athlone had no shots, Longford played with nine men for the last hour of the game!!), and Shelbourne their poor, losing in injury time to U.C.D. Cabinteely turned it around in the second half v Wexford to get their first points of the season.

Our U19’s played out a 2-0 loss to Wexford U19’s.

9th March 2020

Tolka Park, Dublin – Home of Shelbourne FC

After 2 days off we are back at it again, a Monday night fixture (There are 2 other games in the league tonight), a 172 mile journey to North Central Dublin, pitting us against the favourites for the title Shelbourne.

You may remember us beating them at the end of last season, derailing their title shot, which went to Galway (Currently 7th after 6 games in the Premier division) and they’ve not started the season like favourites – currently sitting just behind us in 6th, only winning of of their first 4 games.

That said this should be an easy enough game for them at home if scout reports were anything to go by, and as such we will be going relatively cautious for us this evening.

4-1-4-1 DM Wide. Hanrahan gets a game up top as a natural AF, McCormack on the bench as an impact sub. Porter as a BBM with Hurley as BWM in Central Midfield, with Ben O’Riordan starting as a DM. This is bit of a free hit, but we don’t need to go mad. Balanced it is. Shelbourne are rocking a 4-2-3-1 wide, so we go man for man. Lets see how this plays out…..

FT Shelbourne 1 (Kabia 53) Cobh Ramblers 1 (Mihoubi 52) Att 635 (24 Away)

A positive start from the boys with some attacking threat and a large slice of the possession, McCabe pulling off a couple of good saves in the Shelbourne goal. Ian Turner was tearing them a new one on the right. Shelbourne were only showing threat on the break, but started to take more control of the game towards the end of the half. That said, it finished 0-0 – 61% possession Cobh!! They win on chances though.

A solid start to the 2nd half and a result – 52nd minute, Kev Taylor knocking the ball over the right back, Lightning Lyamine Mihoubi (16 Acc 15 Pac) runs in and scores the 1-on-1!!! 1-0 Cobh. Have we poked the bear?? Of course. Within a minute a Shelbourne move produces a tap-in for a completely unmarked Kabia. 1-1. Going to a back 5, McCormack on for Hanrahan in the 62nd minute. They were breaking the offside trap a bit too much so I turned that off. We still had the occasional forays up front. It was however feeling like only a matter of time, and we kept kicking the ball away anyway so I decided to go Route One for the last 10 – back line sits standard but McCormack goes and marks the Shelbourne Keeper πŸ™‚ Christmas tree for the last 8-or-so – 3 BWM and Porter pushing up slightly, both wingers off. Could we see this out? Shelbourne were so far up the pitch, but the boys defended like Dervishes. 1-1 at the finish, an unexpected point away at the favourites for the title.

Stats-wise they should have won it (5 clear-cut chances, 4 half v 1/4 for us) but Adam Mylod again showed his credentials with 8 saves.

U.C.D. are definitely the team to beat – 13 points from a possible 15 with a 3-1 win at bottom team Athlone. Longford get a superb point at Drogheda.

We now have 11 days until we entertain 4th placed Bray Wanderers. The temptation is to slip a Saturday friendly in but I think I’ll let discretion by the better part of valour this time.

Our U19’s beat Limerick U19’s 2-1 – 17 yo AMR Paul Caulfield & Lyamine Mihoubi with the goals.

20th March 2020

We welcome Bray Wanderers to Cobh for a match between 3rd v 5th on a day with a full program of games.

Bray only have a small first team squad, and with 2 players suspended & a injury they only have 14 first-teamers available. We are just without Cian Leonard (We really need him back). The scout report show them to be strong, but not in the same league as Shelbourne or Drogheda, so if we play well we have a shout here.

Nolan is back and fit so we are moving the wingers back up the pitch. Porter played as well has he has done all season v Shelbourne, so he stays as a BBM. We can revert to either a 4-1-4-1 or 4-4-1-1 relatively easily. Bray go with a 4-4-1-1,

Over 14 games Bray have scored 5.2 goals more than expected, we 3.4 less. We have the best keeper (Conceded 7 less), Bray’s is 4th (1.2 less). Looking at all the data (inc. 2019) Bray have the 2nd best player by xG (John Martin, 4.6 goals more than expected) and 4th (Dean Williams, 4 goals more), but both were loanees who went back to their parent clubs (Waterford & Cork City) at the end of last season. Of current players (> 5 games) Jake Ellis is their best, scoring 2.3 goals more than expected, and he starts. Lyamine Mihoubi (exactly the same, 2.3) is our best but doesn’t start. Attacking flair v strong defence, it could be a tight one.

FT Cobh Ramblers 1 (McSweeney 60) Bray Wanderers 3 (Ellis 51, 72, Rooney 80) Att 349 (68 Away)

Interestingly Bray have started with Derek Daly, who is an Amber injured – Pressing & hard tackling on πŸ™‚ An OK start from Cobh, pretty quiet all told. I’ve gone to a ‘Work Ball into the Box’ but it was a very quiet half overall. 0-0 at HT, both teams had 1 clear-cut chance – its difficult knowing what to go to break the deadlock.

I made our midfield slightly more attacking, will most probably introduce Wall for Nolan after 10 minutes as the advice is to limit him to 60 mins or so on his first appearance after his injury. And Bray took the lead in the 51st, a Daly free kick, pinball and Ellis was there to finish on the stretch. So I made all the changes to go 3-5-2 WB’s, and guess what – An Ian Turner FK, poor clearance header by Gibbons, McSweeney fires it home. 1-1, 60th minute. All 5 games in the league are draws currently. I go ahead with the changes anyway, I feel this is one we need to go for. Wall on, goes up top with McCormack. Byrne on, BWM Support. O’Riordan goes into the 3-man defence. Turner & Nolan off. End-to-end stuff after that point, and a really bad defensive header back to Mylod from McSweeney was seized upon by Ellis again, 2-1, 72 minutes gone. Devastated. “Show some Passion”, went Positive. Porter had missed a sitter just before as well. And it was 3-1 in the 80th, another really poor defensive error, a hospital pass to McSweeney, Daire Rooney capitalising. We’ve capitulated here. And we don’t seem to have any way of scoring. 3-1 it finished.

Bray shaded us by 1 half-chance, otherwise that should have been a draw – 2 mistakes leading to goals and a lethal striker won it for Bray. Cian Leonard back in training tomorrow apparently, hoping he can be our Ellis.

So 7th, as a top 4 pulls away. Shelbourne snuck a win at Athlone, Limerick did very well v U.C.D. as well.

The day after the abomination of the Bray game our U19’s beat Kerry 3-0 – Daire Doherty, 19 yo striker Connor Farrelly & Lyamine Mihoubi with the goals.

Eoin Porter is out for a week with a cut (This isn’t Boxing FFS) – This doesn’t rule him out of the Athlone game, but I may bench him anyway as this gives Alex Byrne a chance of a start with Hurley playing as the BBM.

27th March 2020

We welcome Athlone town this evening for an important game in our season. Athlone are rock bottom with just a point (Away to Wexford). If we win we can go as high as 5th, but we know how these games versus bottom of the table go in FM. The problem for us isn’t our play, its goals, pure and simple. We’re 4th in possession, 3rd in pass completion & 3rd in chances created. And by the scout report we have the better players…

We go with a positive 4-4-2, Leonard back in for at least a half, Mihoubi (Scored in his last 3 starts for the first team and U19’s) on the left, Hurley as BBM and Byrne in as the BWM. Porter on the bench with his facial scar. Athlone start with a 4-1-2-3 DM Wide.

FT Cobh Ramblers 1 (Hurley 89) Athlone Town 1 (Gorman 66) Att 285 (8 Away)

A slow start, but we suffer the curse of keeper’s pulling off worldies when Myles went full-length, saving a Hurley volley. Athlone were looking really dangerous from set pieces, which seem to be our Achilles Heel at the moment. 0-0 at HT, very even, though Athlone seem to have had the better chances. Leonard off, Porter on, 3 in Centre Mid, wingers up, 1 up top for the second half.

The second half started off pretty end-to end, and mainly in Cobh’s favour, but off course, 66 minutes gone, Athlone corner, pinball, Gorman tap-in – 1-0 Athlone. F**k it, 4-2-4!! Doherty on for Byrne. Everything is going straight at the Athlone Keeper today, its absolutely shocking, save after save. Really don’t know what more i can do currently. But thank F**k – 89th minute, Evan Murphy dispossesses an Athlone player, runs forward, a few passes and David Hurley was on hand to tap-in. 1-1. Jesus. And 1-1 it finished.

Just the 7 half-chances today, 9 saves made by the Athlone Keeper. Crazy stuff. Just the 20 key passes as well…..

4 draws out of 5 in the league programme this week, it seems to be really tough to get a result. still 7th, I’d suggest we are a bottom 4 side though.

Team meeting had – “We’ve got it amongst ourselves to pick this up”, all happy.

Our U19’s lifted the spirits a bit with a 5-1 Win over Cabinteely U19’s – O’Flynn (17, AMC), Farrelly (19, STC), Caulfield (17, AMR), Ryan Keogh (17, MC) & and OG with the goals.

We actually got someone in team of the week as well – David Hurley. He likes it as that BBM, might allow him to do that and let Eoin maybe be the DLP…..

So that’s March 2020 done. Only 2 points which is disappointing, but mainly because we’ve lost the ability to score – our general play is fine, we make lots of chances, we have lots of possession, we suck at finishing. Maybe this is an ME thing, maybe not, but it will be interesting if/when the Public Beta has its Production release as (from what i’ve heard) we may see a turnaround.

We’ve got a tough April ahead – 4 league games and 2 cup, with a Friday/Monday/Friday/Monday at the end of the month to look forward to. I leave with with the Key Highlight roundup of the 4 games this month. See you next time.

March 2020 – Cobh Ramblers Key Highlights

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