#FM15: The Journey II: Dropping Points

Today is September 20th. It’s my 22nd birthday, and what better way to celebrate than at the pub with Harry having a few pints following our 0-1 victory against Wells? It was a good match. Quite nerve-wracking, if I’m being completely honest. Our league performances have been less than stellar, and the FA Vase round saw us lose 3 players to injuries lasting at least 2-3 weeks or more, with the longest a fractured arm that our physio reckons will put “Kiz” Hamer out of the reckoning for at least 5-6 weeks. Considering he’s pushing for our starting striker and captain’s spot following weeks of poor performance, it’s certainly a loss. Our club doesn’t have the depth to deal with so many injuries at one go.

Training is going as well as it can be, considering we only have one day of general training each week. It makes it hard for the team to gel and get used to our tactical arrangements with a competency that will push us to the next level. It’s lead to more than a few losses in situations where we should have won. Our team is more than capable of getting it to the goal, but they are having trouble actually finishing, and it’s more than frustrating when it’s coupled with the defense’s penchant for giving away fouls in the penalty box.

Despite our expectations of first, we wrap up the day of my birth in 9th in the league with 3 wins, 1 draw, and 3 losses with many instances of points dropped.

Well, it’s fair to say that my first many games in charge of Barnstaple Town could be going significantly better.

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We started the season strong, picking up two convincing wins, then we lost it 0-2 to Street, and things haven’t been looking good since.

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We got in twice as many shots as Street while holding most of the possession, but our team failed to sink anything in while both of Street’s on-target shots got past the keeper.

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Our next match against Bristol, while not convincing, was at least a win all the way up to losing two important players to injury before the ball bounced off the chest of a defender and down to Wood’s feet for a last-minute strike. Considering the glaring possession mistake that Liam Pike made, it was definitely a “two points dropped” situation.

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Our next match, we against dominated possession, but none of the players were able to fashion enough chances and we gave away two free penalties to the opposition.

It’s only the end of September, but the board is not terribly pleased. It’s only the fact that they can’t afford financially to fire me that they’re not threatening me with my job.

I’m going to have to make some decisions on the team’s direction in the coming weeks. We’re performing way below standard, we lack the depth to keep enough fit players on the field, our team can’t create and finish our chances, and we’re giving away too many fouls and making too many mistakes. I’m also really going to have to try to get in at least a good goalkeeping coach, because Harry and I are both horribly unqualified to be goalkeeping coaches, and I’m sure the keepers would appreciate listening to a guy who actually knows what he’s talking about, because with 1 goalkeeping point, I sure as hell don’t!

The tactic itself is good, it’s one that I’ve used with teams both large and small, it’s just not something this team is set-up to do. I’ve got half a mind to change it, but at the same time with so little practice time, I can’t afford to upset a rhythm the team is forming. I just need to look around and find different players for the club, because the ones we have aren’t cutting it. I’ve lost count of how many possession mistakes made, aerials lost, and out-of-position players that have allowed goals… Not to mention the fact that the striker who is supposed to be star of the team and my captain is a horrible performer who’s on the edge of being replaced by a youth player that’s able to at least make one odd goal every other week with a match rating of “average’, rather than “below average”.

It’s frustrating, but it’s definitely interesting having to deal with these struggles and try to make things work. I hope things can get turned around in time to not end up threatened with a sack. Good thing I’m working on a National C license, because I may need to use it to aid in an updated resume if things keep going south.

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