PearceyPlays #FM20 Season 2 Post 12 – Cobh Ramblers – From strength to strength? – May 2020

Ian Turner – Can he continue his superb form?

What a month April was!!! Can we continue the good form after the latest ME & January patches…………….

First-things second. Sorry for not getting this up sooner – Sciatica/Piriformis problems have laid me low again this previous week. This is the most invalidided I’ve ever been and it sucks. Mainly because I can’t sit in a seat for very long (And I can’t do this from anything but my PC). Anywho, enough of the Wahhhhhhh, lets get to it.

I made a boo-boo last month – the code I was using to get the attribute changes was only showing falls. So the above is much better, especially for Steven Nolan, with 11 attribute increases!! Cian Leonard had 3 falls after coming back from injury.

Stats for last month were pretty good. Pasing is still a bit of an issue, but at least David Hurley hit >80% completion. Key passes/90 were pretty good though, Eoin Porter over 2 as the playmaker.

Ian Turner completed 7 times more crosses in April per 90 mins than anybody else – 36% completion is also pretty special. Eoin McCormack scored every 86 minutes in April, Ian Turner every 104, and shot-on-target percentages were also pretty good. Dribbling was also up there with “Run at Defence” turned on – Ian at > 4.5/game terrorising opposing left-backs.

Lastly the defensive stats were also solid – 3 main defenders with > 4 interceptions per game.

A good month for Cobh for overall xG, making 1.5 goals back to only be 3 goals less than eXpected over the 20 games we have played. Limerick now top, making our win against them even more special.

Luca Gratzer & Adam still way ahead of the other Keepers in eXpected Goals Conceded. Lee Steacy for Longford isn’t having a good time of it.

Lastly live players in the 1st Division. Eoin McCormack has forced his way in after April’s heroics – 2.6 goals up over 9 games. The Limerick strikers Oluwa & Curran are 7.2 goals up overall over 10/11 games…. David Hurley is 2 goals down over 15 games – His Long Shots are 14, 57% shots on target, its just the goals just haven’t happened.

So to May. Expectations are a tough one after the patching (I’ve not touched this save since before the ME patch) but all things being equal I’d expect the following:

Drogheda (H) – 3rd – Draw (Best Keeper, worst Attack by xG Stats)

Shelbourne(H) – League Cup QF – Lose AET

Wexford(A) – 9th – Win (3rd worst keeper, 2nd worst attack, recent cup win versus them)

Bray(A) – 4th – Draw (2nd best attack, 5th best keeper) – Tough away game.

Shelbourne(H) – 6th – Draw (5th in Attack, 7th best Keeper) – My feeling is their quality will start to show this month, will be a well fought draw.

So I expect 6 points out of 4 league games, leaving us on 21 points after 15 games – 12 games left, maybe 6 points off the playoffs at that point. I feel this month will make-or-break this season.

2nd for Manager of the Month – A shame, though the win v Limerick would have tipped it TBH.

To my least favourite part of FM20 – The buggy Board screen. We are on a B. B- for most individual bits. We’re 5th FFS. We were expected to finish 9th!!! The win v Limerick was an A-!!!! The cup win v Wexford was a C+. Madness. All the comments etc. just feel like they’ve not be QA’d thoroughly enough as there are so many nonsensical ones.

Seriously – Would the fans be that bothered about a right-wingers tackle success when he score 5 goals in April….

Anyway, bitch over. Still no team leaders but Dressing Room Atmosphere, Support are Very Good, Cohesion is good. I’m happy going into our game v Drogheda.

1st May 2020 – Drogheda Utd (H) – First Division

Both teams come into this in good form – We last lost in Mid March, Drogheda have not lost a competitive game this season, but like us have drawn a good few. Thinking a draw will be a superb result.

We go with what we know, and what has worked previously – Cautious Pressing Counter, tight lines, good defence. Drogheda go with the exact same formation. Lets see how this pans out…

FT Cobh Ramblers 1 (McCormack 30) Drogheda Utd 2 (Meaney pen 57, Kavanagh 89) Att 315 (58 Away)

As per my FM19 post match commentary from now on will be in italics, and will be in present tense (Where it makes sense).

Two very similar strips tonight on a rainy night in Co. Cork. A decent enough start, real inroads down the right leading to some set pieces. Looking very even, though Cobh is having the better of the chances. Headers on goal certainly haven’t gotten better πŸ™‚ And in the 30th minute Cobh take the lead, some lovely passing putting Charlie Fleming in, who skipped the challenge of Kane, before a beautiful cut-back to Eoin McCormack, who tapped in. 1-0 Cobh. A beautiful goal. As always the opposition came back into it after the goal but Cobh defended well. 1-0 at HT. No shots on target for Drogheda, a really good showing by Cobh.

Cobh kick the 2nd half off and continued their good showing in the first few minutes. Then 57th minute – The first of the expected flurry of penalties that have been seen after the ME patch. Unfortunately to Drogheda for an O’Riordan push……. Meaney steps up for Drogheda and fires it bottom right. 1-1. Charlie Lyons on for Kev Taylor, who has had a bad day at the office. 66 gone. Harmon on for Nolan on 76 (Condition seems to be going down quicker than normal). Plenty of mistakes now for both teams. Last throw of the dice – Leonard on for McCormack, hoping he can get a yard amongst the knackered defenders. A few tweaks for the last 5, a few to tighten up, a few to maybe get an opening. But in the 89th minute a dagger to the heart – a Cobh corner cleared and a superb counter by Drogheda – Kavanagh getting on the end of the final cross. 11 behind the ball for Drogheda. Good start on the new patch, we’ve been (slightly) FM’d….Both shots on target for Drogheda went in – the team that was bottom of the xG table….

Shelbourne nicked all 3 points in the 93rd minute v U.C.D. after being pegged back in the 91st, so we sit 6th. Other results go as expected. Frustrating.

The day after our U19 beat Manulla (Sounds like it should be in Australia) 4-0 – Ben Hanrahan, Alan Murphy, 19 yo DC Jamie O’Sullivan & 19 yo Poacher Connor Farrelly with the goals.

5th May 2020 – Shelbourne (H) – Irish League Cup Quarter Final

A midweek cup game, a possible semi-final up for grabs against an improving Shelbourne. Win here and we could also force the hand of the Shelbourne board and an interesting job opening could present itself….

A few changes with the game v Wexford on Friday 8th in mind. Mihoubi comes in for Nolan, Byrne for Mulgannon & McSweeney for O’Riordan. Shelbourne have a superb squad so they should walk this, but they’ve not performed at all this season, though they did beat U.C.D. last time out after battering them all game (Though they only won 2-1…). They go 4-2-3-1 Wide

FT Cobh Ramblers 1 (Mihoubi 14) Shelbourne 2 (Marku 32, Fitzgerald Pen 68) Att 476 (82 Away)

A decent enough start, chances for both teams and a couple of wonder-saves by McCabe for Shelbourne kept the scores level. But that only lasted until the 14th minute. McCormack came deep to header down to Porter (He does this a lot, I love it) who passed out to Turner. He took it 10 yards before a lovely back post cross found Mihoubi, who headed home (Heading 3, Jumping Reach 8, 5ft 7in) just inside the left post. 1-0 Cobh πŸ™‚ Chances to go further ahead as well but we get undone at a set piece – a free kick swung in from the left, headed by McCaffrey, falling to an almost certainly offside Marku, who volleyed homed from 4 yards. VAR please!!!! Shelbourne now looking really dangerous. However we look really fluid going forward and had another good couple of chances in the last 5 minutes of the half. 1-0 at HT, 6 shots on target for Cobh v 1 for Shelbourne…. FFS. I really don’t want Extra Time either, though at least its Pens and not a replay after.

Again a good start to the half, Shelbourne attacking well but Cobh having their moments as well. Mihoubi looks a real handful on the left. Overlaps turned on at 55 mins. More good play from Cobh, a beautiful move finishing with an amazing save from a Hurley piledriver – He’s just really unlucky I think. Mylod got in the act as well with some lovely pluckage from a Shelbourne far-post header. And then, guess what – another f***ing penalty against for pushing, this time against Mihoubi on Daniel Byrne. Fitzgerald steps up and places it in the bottom right, wrong footing Mylod. Lynch on for Fleming. Wingers up to AMR/L. Positive. Leonard on for Porter for the last 5, 4-2-4. We had chances, but to no avail. 2-1 it finished. F**ked over yet again. Chances & Key Passes seem to have fallen dramatically after the patch – I think this is just the measurement of them as the game doesn’t seem to be playing much differently. But another dodgy penalty and an offside goal have done for us.

In the other QF on the day Limerick smashed Premier Division Waterford 3-0 at theirs… They join Shelbourne, Sligo & Drogheda in the semis with a decent chance of a First Division team winning the trophy.

8th May 2020 – Wexford (A) – First Division

A nice little Friday drive to Wexford tonight, the part of Ireland I know best having lived in Waterford IRL for 2 years. Wexford are in 9th, having only won once this season, but also drawing 6. We recently beat them 3-2 in the league Cup having been 3-0 up so I’m confident this style of playing should be too much for them, but after patching I’m a little more wary. That said apart from stupid Penalties I don’t see the game playing particularly differently after the first 2 matches.

Back to the team that played Drogheda, but with a few tweaks (Overlaps on, trying to get Kevin Taylor back into proceedings). I might need to start thinking about how we play if we don’t start getting results, but I’m happy with the way we are playing currently. Wexford are playing the 4-4-2, and have a fair bit of threat in the team.

FT Wexford 0 Cobh Ramblers 1 (O’Riordan 9) Att 223 (28 Away)

A neutral start, a bit of to and fro, but in the 9th minute O’Riordan scored from another near-post corner from Turner. 1-0 Cobh. Wexford came back strongly in the drizzle but Cobh weathered the initial storm. It was nearly 2-0 in the 42nd, a McCormack header well saved by Donnelly. 1-0 at HT. A very even game, except Cobh had the lion’s share of possession.

A few little tweaks at HT, Nolan to Attack, Taylor to Support, Forward line to Lower from Much Lower. 47th minute, O’Riordan scores again, but its judged offside, rightly in this case. Wexford keep falling foul of the offside trap as well, which is superb. A really good spell from Cobh, but no end result. Another good Hurley shot turned away by the keeper, but just after he also missed a sitter. I feel that if he scores he’s going to keep on doing it. Byrne on for Mulgannon, Mihoubi for Nolan. 75th minute, An Ian Turner DFK hits the top right post/bar intersection and is bundled clear… Got a horrible feeling we’re going to get shafted again. Hurley off (the boys are shattered) – Lyons on at DC, O’Riordan up to DM, 4-1-4-1 for the last 15. Wexford really pushing, but the boys defended really well. 1-0 at FT, a really nice win, and conformation this tactic still works as intended. We absolutely bossed the second half.

Back to 5th, 3 points off of the playoffs but Bray & Shelbourne both have games in hand. Limerick looking good for the title at the moment, though U.C.D. will be there or thereabouts.

It’s 7 days now to Bray (A), a massive game for our season if we seriously want to go for the playoffs, so some rest is required for the lads – We’ve just had 7 games in 21 days:

  • Fri 17th April
  • Mon 20th (3 days)
  • Friday 24th (4 days)
  • Mon 27th (3 days)
  • Fri 1st May (4 days)
  • Tue 5th (4 days)
  • Fri 8th (3 days)

Notwithstanding cups we have a maximum 3 games a month from now until the end of the season, so condition shouldn’t be an issue from now on.

Our U19 had a league game v Waterford U19, losing 3-2 (18 yo DC Tom Barrett and 17yo AMC Shane O’Flynn with the goals).

Owen Wall has pulled his hamstring in training – Out for 3 weeks.

Monday night football, and Shelbourne show they are starting to play as expected with a 3-0 away win v our next opponents Bray. Drogheda snuck a win v Athlone. We are 6th but its nice and tight for 4th & 5th and we play both Bray & Shelbourne in the next 2 games. Athlone also have their 2nd zero-shot game of the save…..

Ben O’Riordan makes team of the week.

15th May 2020 – Bray Wanderers (A) – First Division

Bray are 4th, but interestingly we are favourites with the bookies. Bray have had a tough last 5 games:

U.C.D., Drogheda x 2 & a shellacking from Shelbourne makes me think we’ve got a good chance here on a fine mid-May evening.

Again a few tweaks, Mihoubi for Nolan, Byrne for Mulgannon. Focusing play down the middle but we have overlaps on for the wide threat. Bray go with the same formation, 4-4-1-1, and they have some really dangerous players so I would take a draw.

FT Bray Wanderers 3 (Ellis 13, Cantwell 33, Doyle Pen 81) Cobh Ramblers 0 Att 773 (21 Away)

Hurley hits row Z in the first 30 seconds πŸ™‚ Maybe he’s not any good at shooting after all. Bray have a really high press going on, harrying the lads, and they opened the scoring in the 13th minute, Ellis getting a yard and putting it in the bottom right of the goal. Cobh still look really good going forward, but again have no end product. And it was 2-0 in the 33rd minute, Cantwell heading in unchallenged from a Daly free kick. This really isn’t working. Wingers moved up, Positive, wider, play up the middle turned off, Counter Press. They played on Monday so I’m hoping condition will affect them later on. 2-0 at HT in a statistically even game…. Hairdryer about to be turned on.

A decent start to the half, and my first 1-on-1, McCormack shooting straight at the keeper…. Sava pulling off some more amazing saves that Mylod seems to have stopped doing since the patches. Time is running away from us. 4-2-4, Leonard on as a poacher, Hurley off, Porter back to MC as a BBM. Lines up high, tempo up. extremely wide. A succession of corners, but Bray’s defence has turned up today and we are terrible with the finish. And another f***ing penalty for pushing at a free kick, O’Riordan on Rooney this time. 3 in 4 games………. Joe Doyle scored. O’Riordan off for Lyons, Nolan on for Mihoubi. 3-0 at FT. Statistically we were the better team in all areas apart from goals.

Best of the rest it is then, as all the other results go as expected. So many penalties now, 4 in this round, all to home teams.

Our U19’s played the day after, beating Swords Celtic 5-2 in a friendly, the goalscorers were 17 yo AMR Paul Caulfield, Daire Doherty & Cian Leonard with a hat-trick.

22nd May 2020 – Shelbourne (H) – First Division

It doesn’t just rain, it pours. We welcome a revived Shelbourne to St. Colmans Park for a difficult game after losing 3 of the last 4. Shelbourne have not lost since Mid April (Limerick) and have won their last 4 games, our cup game with them being one of them.

A good few changes. Mulgannon for Byrne who is suspended (4 yellows). Alan Murphy gets a chance at left back following Kevin taylor’s dip in form. McSweeney in for O’Riordan (2 Penalties given away for pushing by him, time to give him a rest). Porter back to AM from AP to try and give a bit more solidity. Wingers back to Support to see if they can find a bit of room. A few more tweaks trying to speed our play up a little bit. I might be toying with a 4-3-3 at some point soon I think. Shelbourne go with their 4-2-3-1 Wide. Expecting a bit of a thrashing here TBH.

FT Cobh Ramblers 0 Shelbourne 1 (Kabia 90+2) Att 331 (64 Away)

Shelbourne started on the offensive, but were only getting headers from range straight at Mylod. Shelbourne bossed the play but we went in 0-0. Cobh had the better of the possession but only 1 shot. Shelbourne had 5 on target, but all ranged headers. Going 4-3-3 for the second half, Porter back to centre mid as a BBM.

A decent enough start to the second half, the ball pinging around the park. Leonard on for McCormack on 60, coming on as a poacher. A little bit of Cobh pressure resulted in a few chances. Nolan on for Mihoubi for the last 15. Harmon on for Turner for the last 10. 90th minute – Nolan nearly gifted Shelbourne the win with an horrendous pass to Murphy but Mylod had turned up, making a lovely save. And from the resultant corner Cobh broke, Harmon putting Leonard through one-on-one……..straight at the keeper πŸ™ We could have properly FM’d Shelbourne there. But the dagger through the heart – a 70 yard ball, Kabia ran on and scored – 90+2. F**k this game. 1-0 it finished.

The shock of the day was Cabinteely beating Bray, though Bray were down to 10 men for the last 77 minutes, and finished with 9. Also Limerick, only scraping a point v Wexford in the 83rd minute. There’s very much a top 5 and bottom 5. My issue is will I ever be able to get the players to get Cobh up into that top half?

Team meeting done – Don’t let your heads drop – all liked. No league game for two weeks now so a friendly has been arranged v Geraldines AFC from Limerick, hopefully to try out a formation change plus get a bit of Morale back.

Our U19 had another lkeague game, drawing 1-1 with Limerick, 17 yo MC Ryan Keogh with the goal.

29th May – Friendly – Cobh Ramblers 1 (Leonard 16) Geraldines AFC 0

19 shots, 9 on target, 3 Clear Cut Chances, 2 half. 1-0, through a defensive mistake as well….

Our U19 played on the same day, beating Westport Utd 3-2 in a friendly. AMR Paul Caulfield, Shane O’Flynn & Ryan Keogh with the goals.

So another month reaches it’s conclusion. And it was a Bitch.

1 point dropped in the Drogheda game with an 89th minute goal after a dodgy penalty. A QF loss after an offside goal and another dodgy penalty. 3-0 away to Bray where we had the majority of the game, 1-0 to Shelbourne in the 93rd minute… Next Month its just the 3 games, U.C.D. & Athlone in the league and a Final!! The Munster Senior Cup v Limerick, so 2 very tough games and a very winnable one.

Lastly here are the Key Highlights from the month. See you soon for June 2020.

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