12 Points!!! – PearceyPlays #FM20 Season 3 Post 20 – Cobh Ramblers – March 2021

4 Games – 12 Points – We can do it!!!!!!!!!!!!

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.

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