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A Cardinal Sin - Woking our way to the top

An FM19 Story
Started on 20 October 2018 by JT
Latest Reply on 6 February 2019 by mgriffin2012

Woking FC - February 2019

February 2019

The Woking steam train is still rolling with the team going the whole month without conceding and picking up 8 points from the 4 league games. On top of that, we also progressed in the FA Trophy 3rd round beating Truro 2-0 to put us into the quarter finals of the competition where we will take on Leyton Orient. Time's are good for sure.

Thing's though could still be better. As you can see from the screenshot above we are still far too reliant on the goals of Luer to get us over the line. He now has 31 goals for the season. We have only scored 65 as a whole team. When you take into account his 5 assists it means he has directly been involved in 55% of our goals alone.

That is something we are going to need to tweak in the upcoming seasons and if i can in the next few months as if he goes off the boil we dont score. This was evident in the opening and closing games of the month where he got a 6.3 rating in both games and in both games we dont score.

The other thing that could be better... is well Torquay and Billericay could stop picking up points themselves. As much as we have been on fire, these two have been matching us and in fact doing slightly better than us as the league table shows.

10 Games to go and we have 4 points to make up in order to win the title. That is going to be tough if i am honest which makes me believe it will have to be the play-offs this year. These look a cert now with a healthy 18 point gap over 8th and 8 points over 4th place Dartford. As i have already mentioned 3rd means we avoid a play-off quarter final which with part time players should mean we go into the matches that little bit fitter.

The Cup run though has been another highlight as we have beaten some tough sides to get to the quarter finals and Leyton Orient are about as tough as the come in non-league football and it should be a good match. We are in form and we have home advantage. Hopefully we can get the tie done in one game as a replay might just kill the guys in our title run-in.

February's Woking player of the month

Another hard month to choose as the obvious candidate Luer did go missing in two games and no one else really did much. I guess i am going to go with Nicky Wheeler who has come back from injury and shored up the right hand side chipping in with a nice assist as well as being consistent throughout the month.

Torquay & Billericay - What i am up against

I am just going to leave below the following screenshot which shows the financial disparity i have against the other two. This is just the salary's but as you can see from a budget point of view, our's is dwarfed by the incredible spend of these two giants.

We will carry on bringing the fight to them though!
Won't be easy but more than sure you have what it takes!
An unbeaten month to continue the persuit of Torquay and Billericay. They have to drop points and give you a chance to take advantage soon enough, surely? Luer’s goals are very important as stated, but as long as he continues to score - it’s not something needing to be addressed too quickly :P
From experience I know what it is like to be up against some big spenders in the league in the form of Billericay and Torquay, they are tough nuts to crack! You've held your own well so far and promotion is a real possibility!

Woking FC - March 2019

March 2019

March mayhem has happened as things got real tough for us. The month started with our FA Trophy Quarter final clash with Leyton Orient. Both teams had agreed that the match will go to extra time if the scores are level at full time giving both teams as much chance of avoiding a replay.

In the match i was so proud of the boys as we controlled and dominated the larger side from start to finish. We took a lead through a well executed team goal before they managed to peg it back. 15 shots to their 5 and all we could get was a draw. The game going to extra time took its toll as the replay was just 3 days later and it showed. We were just not the same and we did well to peg them back but they scored 3 goals in a 10 minute spell to blow us away. A 95th minute consolation helped make it look closer but we were still out.

The problem was that just 3 days later we had a league game and 2 days after that we had another one. 4 games in 8 days with part time players is impossible and it has cost us dearly in the league. We dropped a 2-0 lead against Hungerford who have been a poor team all season and than we lost to Chippenham where i basically had shells for a team.

It shows that our form picked up when we got some rest and although we were not great, picking up 2-1 wins over Welling and Slough were enough to seal a play-off spot for us. The 0-0 draw against Bath at the end of the month though has shown that we are still not quite back to our best.

5 more games to go and i have to say the league title is now looking very unlikely. Our next match though is against Torquay so we could cause some issues but i think i am going to have to settle for a play-off spot this season. It is a lottery but we have generally done well against the teams up and around us in the league as it has actually been the teams at the bottom who have caused us issues

March's Woking player of the month

Yup it is going to Greg Luer again. Not his best month but he gets the nod after steering us to both the wins against Welling and Slough. 34 goals and counting.

Youth Intake

FM19 has thrown me my first ever youth intake and it is pretty good to be honest. No world beaters as you would expect but the quality is there for these players to be first teamers in a year or two.

Russell Hessenthaler is the pick of the bunch and is already a 3* player. Nice physicals and double figure finishing means he will get some game time as we go into the last couple of games for the season.

Other highlights include left back Jonny Still, attacking midfielder / striker Victor Williams and winger Carl Granger who all could feature next season if they develop well enough.
The title may have just slipped away but the play offs still represent a realistic shot at promotion
The best thing to do now is ensure you get either 2nd or 3rd placed, to book a place in the semi-finals, rather than having an extra round of the playoffs. It is a lottery, but you have the ability to win them, definitely.
Hessenthaler looks like an absolute monster for that level!

Woking FC - 18/19 End of season

The Season run in

Quite simply we ran out of steam and some of the games got crazy. A 4-4 draw against Torquay started the month where it looked like we had scored a late winner only to concede an even later equaliser. That was followed by a 3-2 defeat to Chelmsford before we smashed Concord 6-3 in a game where young Hessenthaler scored a hat trick at just 16 years of age.

A 2-0 defeat to Dulwich Hamlet and a 4-2 win over Gloucester finished the regular season as we went down in a blaze of glory and goals. Our once tight defence suddenly ripping open at the seams (I may add an update to FM did happen before i played this set of games so may have contributed). What it did mean is that it was the play-offs for us after such a long season

The 3rd place finish meant we went into the semi-finals where we would face the winners of Chippenham and Chelmsford. Chelmsford were the eventual winners meaning we had to take on a team who had just beaten us 3-2 in the league. The other game was a draw and right at that moment i knew we were going to be in for a tough old game.... and i was right.

We were pinned in from the start and never looked like winning the game. How the match ended 1-1 with Fairlamb hitting a 4th of the season i never knew. Extra time went and it was down to dreaded penalties. Our record during the season was not good having missed as many as we had scored and it proved to be the curse again as we went down 4-3 on penalties to end our season.

Chelmsford ended up beating Billericay in the final meaning the Essex money men will still be a thorn in our side come next season.

April/May Woking Player of the month

It was between Fairlamb and young Hessenthaler but it was the teenager who gets my nod. A First Hat-trick at 16 and he could be a lower league superstar for us. Already a first team starter and we will certainly look to build a team around him for the foreseeable future.

End of Season wrap up

I am gutted but i knew this wasn't going to be easy. We just ran out of steam and Torquay and Billericay were just not going to relent in the end. To lose in the semi-finals hurts though as we should have easily made the final but the defence just fell apart at the end. Whether it was fatigue or a change in the match engine, i just dont know but either way i am going to have to look at that defence in the off-season.

The end of season awards didnt throw up any surprises and it goes without saying Greg Luer was the star man. 40 goals and 8 assists and the highest average rating by miles. He was the league's top scorer and voted the 2nd best player in the league. An absolute star and if i can partner him with Hessenthaler we should have the firepower to do well next season.

I knew this save was not going to be easy and it won't be a classic back to back promotion save but i am ready to fight for another season

Woking FC - 19/20 Pre-season and August 2019

Transfer Window

It has taken awhile to get over the disappointment of the Play-off loss but the board were happy to keep me on for another try. To aid me, i was given a healthy transfer budget of £42k but the wage budget was to remain the same at £9k per week which means we needed to lose some players to free up some wage budget.

It was tough going, to move on players but both Ian Gayle and Jack Cook were allowed to leave the club with the latter even going for £3k. There have so far been failed attempts to move on Christian Jolley and Paul Hodges who are both taking up a fair chunk of wages and will not get used this season. Equally a couple of youth players were meant to go out on loan to get football but again there were no takers for them. Jack Hackett also refused to extend his loan spell from Sunderland preferring to go back to the Black cats.

In terms of incomings there were 5 new players to bolster an already pretty strong squad. The first player to join is the best of the lot as I raided relegated Concord for midfielder and playmaker Billy Knott. The amount of stats in double figures for this level puts him as one of the top 10 players in the division and his free kick taking level means we now have the ability to threaten from set pieces.

Sunderland were able to send us another new player for the season with Swedish U21 winger Benjamin Kimpioka joining for the season. He is a little attacking to fall into our current 4-4-2 formation but if we are chasing a game or dominant we can probably afford to have him further upfield.

The next three transfers are all for the defence. An area that was generally good all season until the last few months where it simply fell apart when we needed it the most. Through extensive scouting and around 50 players on trial, i have decided to add these three to the ranks. Two of which are Internationals! Joe Ellul is a Gibraltan international and the 6"4 centre half should provide an aerial threat going forward as well as have the heading ability to deal with the often long ball over the top. Joining from Braintree who were relegated into the Vanarama North, i am hoping Joe's lack of pace doesn't prove to be his undoing.

Tyrone Sterling is another slightly older player at 31 but he has good overall mentals and physicals. He was at relegated Concord so joins former teammate Knott at the Kingfield and will likely rotate with Casey with this year at left back. The Brilliantly named Vontae Daley-Campbell was the final signing having been released by Arsenal. Decent pace and physicals are the main strengths of his gameplay but he is only a few points away from some crucial double figure attributes in the technicals.


Outside of the transfers, we had some pre-season fixtures lined up against some stronger League opposition including one against our parent club Sunderland. The first three games Sunderland, Portsmouth and Colchester were all designed to boost the coffers, much needed after i got the board to agree to improve our youth facilities.

All three games saw some decent spells of football but we still lost 3-1, 2-1 and 3-1 respectively. However, my assistant was good enough to make sure we ended pre-season with two winnable games against Witham and East Grinstead and we did just that dominating both games winning 2-0 and 4-1 to put us back in a good morale position ready for the first game of the season.

By the time the season started we were predicted to come 6th once again with the play-offs looking like our best hope again. Billericay are favourites but the relegated trio of Maidenhead, Havant & Waterlooville and Eastleigh are going to be our main competition.


A busy opening month with 6 games to start the season and i am happy to report we finished the month undefeated. A 1-1 draw at home to St. Albans wasn't the greatest of starts but we did show a new angle to our game play with set pieces causing problem after problem for them and it lead to our penalty in the 88th minute. Greg Luer stepped up and did what he does best by scoring the equaliser.

From there we were able to beat Slough and Dartford relatively comfortably before a bore draw against East Thurrock ended our winning ways. However, we bounced back with two 3-0 victories against Hemel Hempstead and newly promoted Hendon.

An absolutely great start to the season and we are purring. Goals are there and defensively we are strong again. Maidenhead have had a terrible start which is pleasing to see and we have points over our main competition.

Woking's August player of the month

Greg Luer is still in the goals but it is our new weapon that win's my award and also the league's. Billy Knott may well be the missing link as he scored 4 and assisted once to have a dream start at his new club. We lacked goals from midfield last year and that might have been what cost us. However, Knott could be the difference, his two goals from free kicks helped us secure two victories.
Such a disappointing end to last season, but fantastic to see this has not deterred the squad this season and you've got off on the right foot. Very surprised to see Billericay fail to go up last season and Eastleigh joining you in the South, I have to say!

Woking FC - September & October 2019

September & October

I am going to mix up the post lengths to see what works and instead of one each month, i will try and group a few months together. If you prefer it the other way than do let me know!

September and October consist of plenty of league games as the season hits the 1/3 mark as well as seeing the FA Cup kick into gear. We were going into this period on a high having started the season well and we carried on that form going into September. It might not have started with a bang but the 0-0 draw against Havant & Waterlooville who are one of the stronger sides in the division was a good sign of what was to come.

We put Hungerford away 3-1 with Luer and Hessenthaler combining well and showing their potential as a strikeforce. Chippenham are a strong side and again we had to take a draw but the signs were there that we could go smash a side if we wanted to. A visit to Herne Bay in the FA Cup allowed me to swap the team around and the reserves comfortably beat the lower league side 3-1 before the big Gibraltan Ellul scored a towering header from a Knott corner to put away Welling 1-0.

The Thrashing came in the last game of September as we smashed poor Gloucester 7-2 with Hessenthaler pulling all of the strings for us upfront. It was an unusual amount of goals and goals started to rain as we went into October. The only slight problem was they rained in at both ends as we kept having to change our side to keep a fit 11 on the field.

An Away trip to Salisbury in the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying round saw us squander a 2-0 and a 3-2 lead to draw 3-3 which was a real kicker. Just 2 days later we had in form Dulwich Hamlet and although i could almost count on a new 11, we still lacked the impetus and despite pulling back from 2-0 down and 3-2 down we were unable to get a fourth equaliser as we went down 4-3 in our only defeat of the season so far.

Than just 3 days later it was our turn to host Salisbury and another 3-3 draw was played out. This time though we were 2-0 down before taking the game into extra time. Greg Luer put us in front but we lost a lead again and the match went to Penalties. The nerves jangled but we eventually got the job done with an 8-7 penalty win to set up a tie against.... Dulwich Hamlet.

Before that final qualifier though we had Bath at home, which was our 4th game in 7 days and somehow we found our defence again as we comfortably won 2-0 with Hessenthaler slotting in two nice goals. It was back to the FA Cup, and this time Dulwich Hamlet were not a match for us, with Luer and Fairlamb getting the goals to seal another 3-1 victory for the side. That has set up a 1st round tie against Morecambe. I smell a potential Giant Killing!

Wealdstone have been a little bogey team for us and once again they proved horrible as Reggie Young had to score an equaliser after a corner was not cleared to keep us to one defeat so far. Just like in September, October ended in a goal-fest as we smashed Billy Big Bollocks Billericay 6-1. Yes you read that right!

A Top 3 are starting to breakaway as we form a leading pack with Oxford City and Eastleigh. Out of all of the teams, it probably isn't surprising to hear we are the top scorers in the league, but we also have the best defence as well. There is something different this year and i put it down to Knott and Hessenthaler. Knott's set pieces are causing havoc giving us another outlet and although he hasn't added goals since September, he is still assisting, or at least assisting the assist. Hessenthaler has been superb and at 16 years of age, is bossing this league with 12 goals and 8 assists meaning he is involved in more goals than anyone else. Greg Luer's 14 goals are also showing that last season was no fluke.

However, let's just take one second to laugh at Billericay. Sitting in the bottom half of the table, they have a wage bill, 5x higher the next biggest team. Some of their players are getting paid £3,000+ per week, whereas my overall spend per week is just £10k. We have put ourselves in a good position and now we just need to follow it through.

Woking's player of September & October

The youngest man in the squad, the youngest ever goalscorer of Woking but also my best player. What a regen to get in the first ever youth intake as he sits at 4.5* and is banging in goals as part of a killer partnership. Russell Hessenthaler is the man of the moment and he is also the October player of the month for the league and surely some bigger clubs will be after the young man sooner rather than later.
Unfortunate to end your debut season the way you did but you have made a very strong start to the new campaign and your squad should have what it takes to get you over the line this season
I've not posted on here for a long time, as evident by the fact my profile picture is City's old badge lol

But i'm really enjoying your story!! Unlucky at the end of last season but the play offs are difficult anyway! Good luck with the rest of the season and hopefully you'll go up
Unlucky with last season! You've made a strong start this season, however, and you look to be real contenders for the title this time out!

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