PearceyPlays #FM20 Season 2 Post 11 – Cobh Ramblers – The struggle is real – April 2020

Welcome back to Cobh for a bumper month of action. I wish I were so chipper, but I’m beginning to see this club can only really be a stepping stone to a slightly better club. There’s no money or prospect of there being any in the foreseeable, and if the lads don’t switch one the best you can hope for is 7th. As such i need to be keeping an eye out for jobs from June onwards in leagues with a normal calendar (Northern Ireland being one of them). Also I wouldn’t mind a crack at Shelbourne if they continue to underperform – when you look at their squad they should be walking this league.

But back to the grind, we have 6 matches this month.

In the league:

  • U.C.D (Prediction 2nd, Currently 2nd)
  • Longford (4th/6th)
  • Cabinteely (8th/8th)
  • Limerick (5th/1st)

Plus a League Cup game 2nd round (We had a bye in the 1st) and the big one – The Munster Senior Cup Semi Final v U.C.C. My expectations – 4 points (Draw with Longford who are going well, beat Cabinteely, knowing they have picked up form) – If I can still be at a point per game by the end of April I’d be happy(ish).

First up the normal stats etc.

Something very strange happened in March – not a single attribute rise, 36 falls… I checked the training setup – nothing out of the ordinary…. If this happens again in April we have real issues.

With regards to other changes Lyamine Mihoubi is now a M/AM(L), so is happier playing further up the field as a winger which is cool.

Overall our stats for the month were quite good – Lots of key passes, decent header won percentages, good shooting on target ratios, chance creation and dribbling. Interception levels were very good indeed, but we made mistakes, that really cost us v Bray, and we’ve dropped a bit on the xG front.

Now 4.6 goals under what we should have scored in the 16 games in the dataset – we are scoring under a goal every 10 shots.

Adam is now second after the Bray game – Still 6.2 goals saved more than expected though. Interestingly of the 4 games we had in March the goalkeepers sit 1st, 3rd, 4th & 6th in the above. this month we play teams with goalkeepers at 7th, 11th, 10th and 5th in league play – hopefully we will see the benefits!!

And looking at a player level (> 5 games) we faced Jaze Kabia (5th), Jake Ellis (6th), Chris Lyons (8th) and Rhys Gorman (9th) last month – 3 of these players scored against us, 4 goals in total out of the 6 we let in, so maybe it was a perfect storm of good keepers and deadly (at this level) strikers that led to a less-than-satisfactory month.

Ian Turner is in the bottom 5 for goals not scored (2.1) – “Shoot Less Often” now added to his Personalised instructions – As he’s a winger I’d rather he’d pass it anyway, unless he’s unmarked at the far post.

Ok, the board are perfectly fine currently – they also like a good press by the looks of it. With regards to the matches we got an A+ for the 1-1 with Shelbourne, with just C-‘s for the 2 losses – The Wexford draw in February got a bloody F!!!

3rd April 2020- U.C.D. (A) – First Division

The U.C.D. Bowl, situated in SE Dublin

Today we travel the 170 miles – almost 3 hours – to Dublin to face a U.C.D. side fulfilling their prediction of a 2nd place finish this season. Historically ( U.C.D. are a Premier division side, but in recent history they have tended to the First Division. They won it in 2018, got promotion and in game (as well as IRL) came straight back down.

They have a very strong squad for this level (Only Shelbourne have better IMO) and key player Yousef Mahdy has scored a goal a game so far this season, and is 4th on the xG Players list – He should have only scored 2.9 of those 7!!!!

Reassuringly balanced v a UCD side that has used the 4-3-2-1 Narrow wedge – I’m looking to go man-for-man in central areas, whilst trying to play round the wedge wider with the wingers and wingbacks. O’Riordan in for McSweeney after 3 rocky games in the last 4 plus O’Riordan is really handy in the air at attacking corners. UCD have gone with a 4-2-4 Wide………. Lets revert and play narrow 🙂 Wingers Inverted, play through the middle.

FT U.C.D. 1 (Duggan 87) Cobh Ramblers 1 (O’Riordan 47) Att 157 (20 Away)

U.C.D. out of the blocks like Whippets in front of their 137 fans; all over us in the first minute, but we then started to make an impact, with some good attacking play. U.C.D played a very high line, so offsides were an issue for them. We were doing some good countering, but U.C.D. looked very dangerous every time they got forward. McCormack came short a lot to pick the ball up – we were attacking in numbers so that was (kind of) working. Then disaster – Porter had to come off after twisting his knee (bugger, await a 4/5 months with knee ligaments mail after the game) in a challenge. Alex Byrne on as a BWM (36 gone). O’Riordan looked really dangerous at the near post from Corners – might get some joy from that? 0-0 at HT, and we were up on chances, possession, shots, pass completion – pretty much everything that matters apart from goals…

U.C.D reverted to that 4-3-2-1 wedge I described before the game – time to move wider. A good attacking start from the boys, and guess what.. Ben O’Riordan scores from a near post corner, rising like a Salmon. 1-0, 47th minute 🙂 A long long way to go. U.C.D. really started to push and looked very dangerous. A few tweaks towards the more defensible. 81 minutes gone, Cian Leonard on for McCormack – Long balls over the top on. WB to FB. Fleming has had a really good game at the back (Only shows as a 6.8 but he’s made some crucial slide tackles). And we lasted until the 87th minute – a Deep cross finds Duggan who headed it straight at Mylod, who should have done better. 1-1 and hanging on. But we did. 1-1 away at 2nd place. But looking at the stats I think we shaded it. A great point, but still disappointing.

Tight at the top, 3 teams all on 17 points with Bray beating Limerick. Shelbourne slip up yet again (Apparently their manager Tom Mohan is still “Stable”). Still early days, and a couple of wins and you’re up around 5th and in the hunt for a playoff place.

Eoin Porter – Twisted Knee – 6-9 days. Phew!

Our U19 lost 2-1 to Shamrock Rovers U19 – AMR Paul Caulfield with his 6th goal of the season. His standouts are 15 Teamwork & 14 Work Rate… I can work with them!

The draw for the 2nd Round of the League Cup has occurred:

We host Wexford on 20th April – A good draw!! £1,600 to the winner 🙂

10th April 2020 (Good Friday) – Longford (A) – First Division

Today we make the Easter journey up the spine of the country to Longford, who have been on a good run recently, 3 Draws and a win in the league before losing 5-2 in the league Cup 1st round to Limerick 3 in-game days ago. I’m hoping for some weary Longford legs out there today. They sit in 5th, but we would leapfrog them with a win.

We stay with the 4-1-4-1, but with a few tweaks (Attacking line lowered so in effect we attack as a front 5, Playing for set pieces because of O’Riordan) and Mulgannon comes in with Porter on the bench after passing a fitness test. Byrne has been rested as he’s been poor in the last couple of games, after such a bright start pre-season. Also giving Mihoubi a game on the left for Nolan. Longford start with a 4-2-4 Wide…..

FT Longford 3 (Dervin 9, Seraf 49, McDonnell 57) Cobh Ramblers 3 (McCormack 11, 32, Turner 77) Att 602 (23 Away)

There’s a reason Ireland is so green – so much rain all the time!! Obviously being so attacking Longford looked really dangerous going forward, and scored in the 9th minute – a cross and cushioned header to Dervin who scored bottom corner from 12 yards. But within just a couple of minutes it was 1-1 – Fleming getting forward with a simple low cross the McCormack turned in. 1-1. We took more control of the game coming up the half hour and in the 32nd minute it was 2-1 Cobh – Mihoubi skinning 2 Longfordites and presenting McCormack with his 2nd on a plate with a lovely cut back. A superb comeback. Both wingers and Charlie Fleming are causing Longford problems out wide. They were still flooding forward though, but in doing so were leaving gaps… Hoping we can capitalise on them going even more attacking in the 2nd half – 2-1 at half time. And stat-wise we are up in every area that matters. Get ready to be FM’d 🙂

Longford started the half on a slightly less attacking 4-2-3-1 Wide, hopefully our formation still has enough defensive strength for it. And they showed a lot more threat, scoring the 49th minute, a cross-cum-shot flicked in by Seraf. 2-2. Moving our wingers up a bit to give them something to think about. And it was 3-2 Longford in the 57th minute – A FK headed in by McDonnell. Capitulating. Porter on for Mulgannon for the last half hour. 20 left, Leonard on for Ekanem, a few tweaks and we are now 4-2-4 Positive… And what a change 🙂 77 gone, some good play between Mihoubi and Taylor on the left led to a Taylor cross to the back post, and Ian Turner left-foot half volleyed it in the bottom right – 3-3, crazy game. Charlie Fleming is shattered so Lynch comes on for the last 10. The way it was going it could have been 5-5. But it finished 3-3. Our 6th draw….

The stats show us marginally ahead in most areas – I think we did enough to shade it but conceded 2 headers in 8 minutes at the start of the 2nd half…

7th and dropping away from the playoffs after the 1st of 3 rounds of games. Cabinteely, Wexford and Athlone all below us all lost. Cabinteely are next up for us as we start a Fri/Mon/Fri/Mon run of games – 4 in 10 days.

Our U19’s drew 0-0 with Bray U19’s on Easter Sunday.

When i compile xG data I have 5 games to do, and once they are done I upload to my database so i can see the latest. I noticed the guy at the top of the xG Charts, Marty Waters, hadn’t moved for a while or played any games. So I had a look for him – not with a club!!! He’s now with me on trial 🙂 9 goals in 9 games, xG 4.2, +4.8 goals!! lets see if we can do a deal once I’ve seen the attributes. That said Eoin McCormack isn’t bad and is a natural TM, so we’d need to go 2 up top (4-4-2 maybe)

17th April 2020 – Cabinteely (A) – First Division

Cabinteely away – a gusty Friday night in South-East Dublin. They lost their first 5 competitive games and have won 2 and drawn 1 of the next 6, though when compiling the xG they in many ways had the better of their last game, a 2-1 loss to U.C.D., so its a difficult one to try and figure out from a style-of-play standpoint for us. Their scout report is comparble to ours in strength – if anything we are slightly stronger, but our scouts aren’t very good so its anybody’s guess 🙂

We go Positive – a 4-4-2 allowing Cian Leonard a start, hopefully jumping off their back line, as is his want. Nolan back on the left for Mihoubi (Who will get a couple of games in the next week), Porter as an AP to Hurley’s BBM, and the rest of the team stays the same, acknowledging we have 3 more games in 10 games after tonight. And its a 4-4-2 v 4-4-2, Ross Tierney their danger-man up top. Looking for another big game from ian Turner, who is now showing as the best player in the squad, and has been dancing past defenders recently. Lets go.

FT Cabinteely 1 (Burns 10) Cobh Ramblers 2 (McCormack 80, pen 90) Att 453 (20 Away)

A decent enough start but a hammer blow in the 10th minute, a 25-yarder out of nowhere from Darragh Burns. Cabinteely are playing very high up and look as dangerous as anybody we’ve faced this season. 4-2-4 for the last 15 of the half. The first time this season we’ve been outplayed. 1-0 at the half, possibly lucky not to be behind by more.

Leonard off at HT, Byrne on, we go 4-3-3 Wide, an attempt to win the battle in central midfield. And a few tweaks to roles etc. And we started well, the keeper and the frame of the goal keeping us out. And we missed some very simple headers as well. it looked like one of those days. Owen Wall on for Nolan in the 66th minute, going IF(A). Lynch on for Fleming for the last 15. And then a little bit of luck, a terrible back-pass by Keeley and McCormack taps in for 1-1. 80 gone. And in the 89th minute, drama – our first penalty award of the season, a push by Carlin on Ben O’Riordan. McCormack steps up, and………..scores beautifully in the bottom right of the goal. 2-1 Cobh, maybe undeservedly, but I feel we should get a share of the luck from the FM Gods. But its not done yet. 5 added minutes. tempo as low as it can go to try and control things. And we saw it out!!!! 2-1 Cobh, a massive win after 8 games (though only 2 of those were losses) without one in the league.

Stats-wise we had 4 clear cut chances to their 2, but they had more half-chances. They shaded most areas, so a draw would have been fairer, but this in part makes up for those draws where we’ve dominated.

Up to 6th – the group of 4 at the top now all at least 2 games ahead with 17 to play. Shelbourne beaten again and are just above us by 2 goals!!! Drogheda keep their unbeaten run going, coming back from 2-0 down after 87 minutes to draw with U.C.D. Athlone get their first win of the season away at Longford, Wexford hold Bray – it was a bit of a weird week!

Our U19 played out a 3-2 loss to Cork City U19, Non Player Keith Galvin (He’s Czech :)) and 17 yo AMC Shane O’Flynn with the goals.

20th April 2020 – Wexford (H) – League of Ireland Cup 2nd Round

The League of Ireland Cup, sponsored by EA Sports

We have a League of ireland Cup 2nd round match at home to Wexford today, 3 days on from our important win v Cabinteely. Win here and we are in the Quarters.

The scout report shows Wexford as being similar to us strengthwise – But they are missing their 2nd & 4th best players by scouted ability – Danny Furlong (ST) and Brandon Holt (MC) – through injury and a starting centre back, Declan Brennan through suspension.

We go 4-4-1-1 – I can change this quite easily with the players I have on offer to a 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 4-2-4, 4-1-2-3 etc etc. We are missing Evan Murphy & Charlie Fleming to cumulative Yellow Card suspensions (Only 4 allowed in Ireland before a one match ban) so McSweeney comes back in and Lynch gets some game time. Mihoubi starts on the left – I feel he is a lot more dangerous than Nolan as an attacking winger, his 16 Acc/15 Pac really helps!! Dribble More is part of his role, and he is learning ‘Knocks Ball Past Opponent’. Wexford go with a 4-2-4 Narrow diamond…’Focus Play down wings’ 🙂

FT Cobh Ramblers 3 (McCormack 17, 32, Turner 53) Wexford 2 (Casey 66, 77) Att 221 (1 Away)

A slow start, first highlight (On Comprehensive) after 6 minutes. We were attacking well, having a few good chances early on, and we took the lead in the 17th minute – a Turner cross headed horribly back across goal by Wexford defender Connolly, and man-of-the-moment Eoin McCormack was on hand in the 6-yard box to volley home. 1-0 Cobh. Ian Turner ripping it up on the right again. They nearly imploded again, Mihoubi got the ball but it was well saved by Donnelly. And it was 2 in the 32nd minute. Connolly again with a bad header, this time 40 yards from goal. McCormack collected, waltzed past him and finished in the bottom right. His 3rd game in a row with a brace! Wexford look pretty poor TBH, the worst we’ve seen this season. 2-0 at HT, 3 Clear Cut Changes and 1 Half v 1 half for Wexford.

Hurley is off (Another game on Friday) – Mulgannon on. Wexford have brought 1 fan along for this 🙂 Hope he travelled with the team! A good start, McCormack should have had his hat-trick twice in the first 7 minutes of the half, but it was 3-0 in the 53rd minute, Ian Turner collecting a Mulgannon pass, skinning Niall Scullion; he ran in unchallenged to about 5 yards from goal, dinking it past a static Donnelly in the Wexford goal. Very Cheeky!! O’Riordan (Looking knackered) off for Lyons. Wexford had a bit more of the play after the 3rd goal, and scored after a weird crossfield ball by Turner was picked by by Wall, a couple of passes and Casey had a tap-in. Annoying. Harmon on for a tired Turner. 3-2 in the 77th minute, Casey again, this time from 25 yards!!! Completely under the cosh from nowhere. The went from terrible to really dangerous after that 1st goal. But we saw it out, 3-2. Very nice play up until the substitutions. 2 Wins on the trot 🙂

Drogheda, Limerick, Bray & Shelbourne join us in the last 8, Drogheda & Bray beating Premier-Division opponents. £1.6k prize money, £35k in the red currently, projected £100k by the end of the season….

Eoin McCormack gets in team of the week for his showing v Cabinteely.

The League Cup QF draw has happened:

Shelbourne (H) – At least 2 First Division teams will be in the semi finals. This will be played on Tuesday 5th May.

24th April 2020 – Limerick F.C. (H) – First Division

Limerick are currently flying in the league, scoring 7 goals more than anybody else, only letting in 9. Note from the above though we are 1 of only 3 teams to take points off of them. I don’t hold out too much hope for today though, a draw would be amazing.

Limerick have 2 of the top 3 goalscorers (Enda Curran with 10 goals, Thomas Oluwa with 6) and the top 3 players by average rating. What could possibly go wrong….

A slightly more cautious 4-4-1-1 than normal – slightly more compressed, Counter, all that good stuff. Nolan back in on the left, Murphy & Fleming back from suspension. Limerick go with an ever-Positive 4-4-2. This may get messy.

FT Cobh Ramblers 2 (Nolan 13, Turner 31) Limerick F.C. 1 (Oluwa 27) Att 382 (127 Away)

An OK start, Limerick having the more dangerous possession, but we had chances. And we made it pay. 13th minute, a lovely ball into space from Fleming fed in Turner, whose lovely back post cross was volleyed home, back across the keeper by Steven Nolan. A superb start 🙂 We kept up the pressure, and Limerick had an early injury, Aborah hurting himself after trying to scythe down Ben O’Riordan. Then in the 25th minute one of those weird ones. Eoin McCormack clear on goal, shoots, the net bulges – by Physics-be-damned, it had hit the post and defied Newton’s Third Law of Motion – The post is obviously very energy absorbent as the ball trickled back along the goal line and was cleared. 2-0 would have been mad! And then calamity – a stupid pass 75 yards up the field led to Oluwa getting the ball near the halfway line – he took it most of the way towards the goal before shooting – Mylod not getting enough on the ball to stop it. 1-1. However that lasted 4 minutes. Eoin Porter making a lovely forward ball to Turner, again giving the left back a torrid time, and he ran 30 yards or so in from the right before scoring across the keeper. 2-1 Cobh. Cautious and deep lines all the way!!! Can we keep the lead until half-time? We had more chances, Turner & O’Riordan with the best of them. Conolly craked the bar with an amazing half volley 5 minutes from time, Nolan missed a free header in the 44th, McGuinness saved a screamer from Porter in injury time but we go in 2-1 to the good. A Superb half of football for the neutral. A very even game where we are shading the chances.

The second half started as the first ended – end-to-end, both teams having really good chances in the first 3 minutes – I’ll be very surprised if it finishes 2-1 (Please let it finish 2-1 :)). McCormack was getting into some really good positions, but his touch was failing him. Mulgannon on for Byrne just after 60 minutes. Porter coming back into centre mid as a BBM – 4-5-1. McGuinness was keeping Limerick in the game – a superb save from a Porter header. The boys were defending really nicely – 89 gone, Leonard on for McCormack – Go long ball, waste time etc. They had the look of a team on ‘Very Attacking’. And McCarthy got sent on in the 90th minute for a second yellow – a foul on Leonard. And the clock ticked down….. Full Time, 2-1 Cobh, a fantastic win, really chuffed for the boys 🙂

We bossed the game – 2 Clear Cut/3 Half Chances v 1/1 for Limerick, 9 shots on target v 3, slightly more possession. Eoin Porter back in the game – 5 key passes, 2 chances created and an assist 🙂 All it took was to bring our lines closer together!!! Ian Turner bossing it again as well. No losses in 6 competitive games now, a team record (in this save anyway).

5th!! 2 points over Shelbourne(!) who took points of Drogheda in a 1-1. Cabinteely continue their uptick in form beating Longford, U.C.D go top after beating Bray away.

Our U19’s lost 3-1 to UCD U19’s, 17yo AMC Shane O’Flynn with the goal.

27th April 2020 – U.C.C (A) – Munster Senior Cup Semi Final

So after the weekend off (And a few jars on Friday night after the Limerick win) the boys are in the Semi Final of the Munster Senior Cup v University College Cork. The scout report shows them to have 5 real players, 2 of which I’m assigned a scout to as they look useful. This is local derby – we’ve only had to travel 15 miles to the Mardyke Arena, on the banks of the River Lee.

Mardyke Sports Ground

A strong side (I don’t want to take any morale-hit a silly loss might bring) but I’m wary that we continue our busy period with games on Friday 1st May, Tuesday 5th and Friday 8th before we go back to 1 game a week. Mihoubi comes in for Nolan (Trying to get him as much game time as possible, in cups and ‘weaker’ league teams). Mulgannon for Byrne, who isn’t playing very well and has made a few bad mistakes in recent games. Keeping the game tactic as its been working so well. However, against a demonstrably weaker side we may need to switch it up a bit (4-2-3-1/4-3-3??). U.C.C. go with 4-2-1-3 2DM Wide… Could be a very interesting clash of styles.

FT U.C.C. 1 (Holland 90+3) Cobh Ramblers 3 (Turner pen 47, 51, O’Riordan 69) Att 78 (18 Away)

A good start, but has anybody noticed how bad heading at goal is this year?? I’m also noticing ‘Run at Defence’ seems to stop the easy pass after a defender has been beaten. Most of the first 20 minutes was spent encamped in opposition territory but their keeper was having an absolute blinder (And yes, he’s a non-player) – 22 gone, 6 saved already!!!. Sitter after sitter missed as well though, and 2 woodworks. 0-0 at HT, 20 shots to 3, but only 6 on target (Work Ball into the Box is on!!!). 66% possession. An early goal in the second half please.

46:00 on the clock – penalty Cobh (A push on Mihoubi). Turner steps up and…..scores, beautifully tucked in the bottom left corner. 1-0. Phew! Just checked the Updates and in the other SF Limerick are destroying Cork City (Premier Division) 3-0 – An Enda Curran hat-trick!!! And back to our game, it’s the Ian Turner show – 2-0 in the 51st minute, a sumptuous 20 yard Direct Free Kick, top left bins, Mulgannon running across the shot, affecting the keeper’s sight lines. Back up the other end, a Penalty to U.C.C. this time. An deep FK pumped into the box, apparently a body-check by Evan Murphy…White steps up, and hits it straight down the middle. However Adam Mylod didn’t dive, and he saved it (There is a little bug in the ME where the net bulges even when the ball doesn’t go in, annoying). A bit of a let-off. Harmon on for Mihoubi just before 60 – Getting so many balls to the far post and not finishing any tonight gives him a 6.4… Then finally, Ben O’Riordan scores with a header after ballooning loads – a Turner near-post corner routine, Ben unmarked. 3-0, 69 gone. Lynch on for O’Riordan, who always seems to suffer condition-loss (Natural Fitness 8). Last sub on 74, Leonard on for McCormack, in a Pressing Forward role as Poacher wont work with these low lines. 1 on 1’s still bad 🙂 Wingers pushed up for the last 10, just to have a look. It looked good, but no more goals. U.C.C got 1 back 3 minutes into injury time, an absolute thunderbastard from 25 yards by Holland, but in finished 3-1. We’re in the (not very important) final boys 🙂

Just the 41 shots 🙂 14 key passes, 9 chances, 3 woodworks. Could have easily been 6 or 7, but 3 will suffice.

And we will be facing…

Our good friends Limerick in the final. It will be tough, but a bit of Silverware never goes amiss. £5k also for the Semi Final Win, and another guaranteed £6 in the Final (£750 more if you win). The final is on 10th June at Cork City’s ground, Turners Cross. We last won this comp in 2016 (Limerick 2015).

Wingers Nolan & Turner make into the First Division team of the week after their performances against Limerick. Turner is on a great run, 8.3, 8.9 & 9.0 Av. Rating in the last 3 games, 4 goals, 2 assists 🙂 massacring left-backs for fun.

So that was the month that was. And it was pretty good 🙂 A massive win v Cabinteely has unlocked us a bit, plus we’ve started scoring. 8 league points gotten, 5th in the table. Very happy.

Pen-ultimately here are the key highlights from all the games this month-just-gone.

Key Highlights from April 2020

Next month will be a tough one, 4 league games and the League of Ireland Cup Quarters. Shelbourne (twice, 1 cup, 1 league, 6th), Drogheda (3rd), Bray (4th) and Wexford (9th). xGC has their keepers 7th, 1st, 5th & 8th respectively (Adam Mylod is 2nd), xG by team has them 5th, 10th, 2nd & 9th respectively (we’re 8th). Looking forward to it. See you then.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: