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Truro City - FM23 Dafuge Challenge

Started on 21 December 2022 by Cadaver
Latest Reply on 23 December 2022 by Cadaver
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Hi, I've become interested in writing an FM story after lurking on the site for a while and I decided to take over Truro City, a club I have always been curious about.


Truro are the biggest club in Cornwall which is the most southerly, westerly and most remote English county. Cornwall has a really rich history as a tin-mining hub, and were known to the world of antiquity long before the Romans invaded Britain. There's also quite a bit of Cornish mining history near where I grew up in rural South Australia.



Cornwall has never had a professional football club, with most Cornish talent playing for Plymouth Argyle just across the border in Devon. Truro City have come the closest, spending six seasons in the National League South in the last decade, with a best finish of 4th in 2015/16. I want to bring professional football to Cornwall by taking Truro City up the pyramid, and hopefully develop some top local talent as well.

This will also double as an attempt at the famous and most well-established FM challenge of all, the dafuge challenge. The aim of the challenge is simple, you have to win the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League with a team that is unplayable at the start of the game. I holidayed one year into the future and reloaded the game a number of times until I could take over Truro City, who I will be starting with in June 2023.



1
Cadaver's avatar Group Cadaver
1 yearEdited
Season 1: 2023/24

Pre-Season




The first pre-season in the dafuge challenge can be difficult, and especially so when you're managing in Cornwall, as the pool of players available to sign is a lot less than if you're near a major population centre. You also need to be really aware of how much your scouting budget is eating into your finances, while still giving yourself the best chance to get good players in to stay up. After all, relegation in your first season means the challenge is over.


I joined the club and there were quite a few players whose contracts were expiring in a week, and ultimately they were all let go. Most of them weren't really good enough, whereas Tyler Harvey, James Hamon and Will Dean were too good for us, all refusing to sign contracts, and they've all gone on to join bigger and better clubs. Stewart Yetton and Ryan Dickson are Cornish football legends, and they both joined the backroom staff as assistant manager and coach after retiring.


All those departures meant I only had five first team squad members remaining, so I had to get busy in the free agency market, as well as pick up as free loans. The signings ranged from pure squad depth to genuine first team stars, some of which I'll show below. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to pick up any Cornish talent, and most of the players were released from clubs in England's South West, like Devon, Somerset or Dorset.






Above are the best five players at the club, as you can see we're definitely trying to outscore the opponents with a superior midfield and attack. Cameron Antwi and Toure Williams are both new signings, I recognised midfield was somewhere we needed to be strong so although they aren't the best going forward I thought they both gave me a solid base. Simeon Okoro, Andrew Neal and Louis Rooney were three of the players that had contracts beyond my first week, and they'll be the starting front three in my set-up this year.



I decided to just arrange friendlies against local Cornish sides, to make a bit of revenue in terms of ticketing but most importantly to just boost fitness and morale heading into a busy fixture.



We're predicted to finish in 20th this season, which would put us just out of the relegation zone, but hopefully we can do a little better than that, for my stress levels if anything. Our fellow promoted team Hendon is expected to do much worse than us, and have been rated the weakest team in the division, so clearly we're doing something right in terms of recruitment.



We'll hosting Hemel Hempstead Town for our first fixture, and we have five in total in a relatively busy August. Hopefully we start the season and the save on the right note.
1
Cadaver's avatar Group Cadaver
1 yearEdited
Season 1: 2023/24

August




We got underway in the National League South after a four year absence, armed with a number of new players, and took on five opponents.

Ultimately, it was a really successful month where we not only had some terrific results but also picked up a couple of quality additions to the squad, as I left some room in the wage budget for those players who decide mid-season to lower their standards a little.

RESULTS

5-0

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (pen 5', 57'), Simeon Okoro (35'), Andrew Neal (80'), Rio Garside (90+2')
Man of the Match: Andrew Neal (Truro City)

Our first game of the season couldn't have gone any better, we hosted Hemel Hempstead and absolutely dominated them from start to finish, registering 25 shots and 14 on target. Louis Rooney scored from the spot to start us off, before Simeon Okoro's powerful header made it 2-0 at the break. Rooney added a second and then Andrew Neal really started twisting the knife when he made it 4-0. Rio Garside, a player returning to the club after a couple of years, scored a banger from range to make it 5-0 in injury time. I was really happy to see all of my front 3 getting on the scoresheet.

1-2

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (28', 77')
Man of the Match: Louis Rooney (Truro City)

Our first away trip, all the way out to St Albans in Hertfordshire, ended up being a big success and we really should have kept a clean sheet. Rooney's first goal was a simple tap-in after Andrew Neal had done all the work to get through on goal, his second was a lot more impressive as he received the ball with his back to goal, then surged past a defender and slammed it with his opposite foot.

1-2

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (53')
Man of the Match: Cody Cooke (Bath City)

It was disappointing to lose our first game of the campaign, especially since it was home and I felt we were the better side. Louis Rooney's header equalised for us just minutes after they'd gone in front, but they very quickly answered back to make 2-1, all of the goals coming in a nine minute window. We signed a new goalkeeper Matt Turner for this game and I expected a big showing for a top player, but he disappointed.

1-3

National League South
Goalscorers: Dylan Crowe (26'), Louis Rooney (35', 37')
Man of the Match: Simeon Okoro (Truro City)

Luckily we didn't let the defeat to Bath City keep us down, instead we travelled along the coast to Eastbourne and turned on the jets to win 3-1. They actually scored first, but we equalised in really strange fashion when their keeper let Dylan Crowe's throughball go through his hands, and then Louis Rooney added a couple more conventional finishes to give us a good gap. They had a man sent off just after half time, but we were pretty content to just take our two goal lead home.

3-3

National League South
Goalscorers: Simeon Okoro (8'), Louis Rooney (17', 90+4')
Man of the Match: Louis Rooney (Truro City)

This one was an absolute slugfest and a proper 'Great Escape' as far as we were concerned. We started the game really well, Okoro scoring off a deflected Rooney shot and then Rooney himself latching onto a Rio Garside long ball to make it 2-0 in under 20 minutes. Then in the fifteen minutes prior to half time, it was just an absolute onslaught and we shipped 3 goals, heading into the break losing. We couldn't find an equaliser for a very long time, and I thought it was over, until young backup right back Finn Tonks launched one into the box for Rooney to collect, round the keeper and nestle into the back of the net, nearly four minutes into injury time.

STANDINGS



It's been a great start to a campaign in which we were expected to be fighting to avoid relegation, but instead sit in 4th after the first month. Obviously really early days, and we're yet to play any of the big boys like the clubs above us (particularly looking forward to Yeovil), but to get 10 points from our first 5 games is just fantastic. Oddly we seem to be having the most trouble at home, clearly playing in front of 500 at Treyew Road is a daunting task!

PLAYER OF THE MONTH

Louis Rooney

Rooney was at the club last season and I backed him in 100% to be our main man up front, and he's delivered in spades. He's the league Player of the Month with a phenomenal 9 goals in just 5 games, scoring a brace in every game but the loss to Bath City. He's had a couple of goals where he's made something himself but a lot have been finishing off great chances we've created which is really what his role is all about. Andrew Neal and Simeon Okoro have both been fantastic too.

TRANSFERS


I've wound down the scouting department this season to save costs, but I'm still getting some quality players come across my desk and I picked up two more players throughout the month. Matthew Turner is a 21-year old goalkeeper recently released by Cardiff City who will instantly become my new number one, while Will Dawes was cut by Yeovil Town in the summer; he provides quality depth on both wings and scored twice in 18 appearances for Kettering Town in the NL North last year.

NEXT MONTH



We've got 6 games coming up next month, including our first game in the FA Cup. We'll be entering at the Second Qualifying Round, and I really want to make it to the First Round if we can. A somewhat unrealistic dream would be to shithouse it into the Third Round and get a PL opponent away, to reap in those gate receipts, but I think a First Round appearance is a realistic if somewhat daunting goal. In terms of the league fixtures, only Chippenham Town have started the season well so we have a real chance to keep picking up points here.
1
Season 1: 2023/24

September




The season rolled on into September, where we had a great chance to keep building on our fantastic start, and also get cracking into some cup action as well with the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup.

We had a couple of losses that put a bit of a damper on proceedings but they bookended some terrific defensive efforts, especially for a team that I expected to rely heavily on just scoring more goals than our opponents.

RESULTS

2-1

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (pen 34')
Red Card: Liam Angel
Man of the Match: Michael Ngoo (Chelmsford City)

We dropped points on the road for the first time this season, in our longest trip yet, and it was especially annoying since we were definitely in control for a long time. Rooney had an early goal ruled out due to offside and it wasn't too long before we were up against it, going down 1-0. Our star striker then equalised from the spot before half time, but we couldn't break through for a winner. Liam Angel got himself sent off in the 88th minute after I'd already used all our subs, we couldn't hold back the onslaught and scored a 93rd minute winner to ruin our day.

1-0

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Morison (2')
Man of the Match: Louis Morison (Truro City)

This game was pretty dreary apart from one early moment, but it was good to see because it showed we could still lock down the three points and keep it tidy at the back even if we weren't firing on all cylinders up front. The only goal of the game happened less than two minutes in, and it was a debutant as well in Louis Morison, who collected the ball on the edge of the box, arced around to give himself time to shoot and then nailed it from long range, a really inspired start to his career at Truro City.

0-3

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (2', 33'), Andrew Neal (83')
Man of the Match: Josh Leslie-Smith (Truro City)

We travelled to the most exciting town in Britain to take on Slough Town, once again we were solid at the back (especially MOTM Leslie-Smith) but this time we were spectacular at top, scoring three goals including a wonderfully worked team goal that culminated in Andrew Neal dusting off the game with 10 minutes to go.

4-0

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (45', pen 70'), Dylan Crowe (47'), Andrew Neal (pen 90+1')
Man of the Match: Louis Rooney (Truro City)

We built on our inspired win over Slough with a 4-0 thumping of Welling United at home, the second team we've really spanked at Treyew Road. It took us a while to get going, but Rooney was once again fantastic, Dylan Crowe scored from a free kick and Welling's discipline inside the box certainly didn't do them any favours. Rooney scored his third spotkick of the season before I took him off, tragically he missed a chance for a hat trick but at least Andrew Neal converted his penalty kick.

1-0

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (41')
Man of the Match: Liam Angel (Truro City)

After scoring seven goals in our previous two league match-ups, I really thought we'd hammer Haringey Borough, who play in the seventh tier, and we also had seven day breaks before and after so I could play my best team. To their credit though they hung in there, I didn't feel particularly threatened at any point but we couldn't add to the single goal Louis Rooney scored in the 41st minute. A win's a win though, and we progress to the next qualifying round against Carshalton at the start of October.

2-1

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (53')
Man of the Match: Kingsley Latham (Chippenham Town)

In the previous four games we'd scored nine goals and conceded zero so I knew we were at least coming into the final game of the month, and the toughest, in our best possible form. Louis Rooney missed from the spot for the first time this season in the 16th minute and I felt that was a real Sliding Doors moment in this game. Chippenham scored twice in two minutes before half time which really stunned us and made us have to go chasing the game. Rooney somewhat redeemed himself with a tidy header after the break, but we couldn't nab the equaliser despite 19 shots and 9 on target. Their goalie Latham was deservedly Man of the Match.

STANDINGS



That last loss to Chippenham really punt a dent in our league position, we had every chance of going top, but we're still very much in the hunt for the playoff places in this early stage. We're only three points off the leaders Ebbsfleet and we have the best Goal Difference and Goals For in the league as well, but the closeness of the standings means we don't have a lot of margin for error.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH

Matthew Turner

His first and last games left a bit to be desired, but Turner was really great between the sticks on that run of four consecutive clean sheets we had. I brought him in after two games as he looked to be a great player and he pulled off some fantastic saves and clearances throughout the month.

NEXT MONTH



We've got another favourable draw in the FA Cup, hosting another team in the tier below with Carshalton Athletic set to visit Treyew Road. It's a pretty spaced out month in terms of fixtures, although if we do win that FA Cup tie there's likely a Fourth Qualifying Round game in there as well. Dulwich Hamlet are fourth in the league at the moment and pretty cashed up, so that'll be a big test on the road.
Cadaver's avatar Group Cadaver
1 yearEdited
Season 1: 2023/24

October




October was a fairly relaxed month in terms of congestion, but the pressure was on in both the FA Cup and the league, and unfortunately we were brought down to Earth with a couple of results despite ending the month strongly.

RESULTS

0-1

FA Cup Third Qualifying Round
Goalscorers: none
Man of the Match: Matthew Turner (Truro City)

This one really stung, we absolutely should have won this but we let Carshalton into the game twice and should have lost 2-0 if not for a penalty save from Matthew Turner. Our attack had scored in every game of the season up to this point, but the likes of Louis Rooney and Andrew Neal were completely impotent and we're been knocked out of the Cup at home to a weaker opponent, devastating.

3-1

National League South
Goalscorers: Andrew Neal (41')
Man of the Match: Tommie Fagg (Dulwich Hamlet)

This result really brought us back down to Earth and probably demonstrated that we're not quite at the level of the best teams in the league just yet. I thought we did pretty well to get back into the game with Andrew Neal's well-placed finish just before half time, but the damage was already done by that point. A 2nd minute own goal from Will Tunnicliff really set the tone for the afternoon and it was 3-0 before we could blink.

2-0

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (25', 83')
Man of the Match: Louis Rooney (Truro City)

We bounced back pretty well after that loss to Dulwich Hamlet fortunately, picking up the three points and a clean sheet against Dover Athletic. Our backline has really started to gel together well at this point despite some hiccups and they all performed really well in this one, giving the attacking players license to hunt the goals. Rooney scored a couple of fairly straightforward goals in either half before missing a late penalty, which would have given him his first hat trick of the season. Crazy to think he has this many goals already without a single treble.

0-4

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (1', 80'), Cameron Antwi (82'), Josh Leslie-Smith (90+5')
Man of the Match: Louis Rooney (Truro City)

This is probably our most dominant performance so far this season, especially considering we did it on the road to a mid-table team, not a relegation battler. We had a massive 25 shots and 15 on target, scoring in the first 60 seconds through Louis Rooney. We couldn't get it past their keeper for a large portion of the game, but they had just 2 shots for the entire match so I wasn't exactly threatened by their efforts either. The floodgates opened in the last 15 minutes for us; Rooney scored a well placed finish from just inside the box, then Cameron Antwi scored his first goal from a difficult angle, and then Josh Leslie-Smith powered home a header from a corner to complete the rout.

STANDINGS



We've slipped a little bit in terms of our distance to the top of the table, but we remain in the playoff spots for the third consecutive month and I'm starting to think we belong there, especially considering some of the floggings we've given teams so far this season. Dulwich Hamlet seems pretty unbeatable at present, but Ebbsfleet and Maidstone are definitely within reach.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH

Louis Rooney

His first game was putrid and the second was so-and-so but I really do have to give some more credit to Louis Rooney here, whose goalscoring for the season as a whole is simply staggering. He's got 19 goals in 13 league appearances now including 8 braces and 0 hat tricks, comfortably leading the National League South scoring charts. He's only been goalless in two games this year!

TRANSFERS



Even though my backline has been improving this season, I couldn't pass on the opportunity to sign a strong and experienced centre back in Ben Richards-Everton. At 196cm he's gonna be a massive aerial presence and he was playing in the Football League regularly at Bradford City as little as three years ago.

NEXT MONTH



Maidstone and Torquay are two teams above us so the start of November will be a massive test. It's a pretty easy run from there on out, so I'll need to focus massively on the opening two games if I want to really challenge that leading pack.
Season 1: 2023/24

November




November was an odd month for Truro City, we had a couple of really difficult fixtures to kick off that we navigated fairly easily, and then got caught out by a result no one saw coming.

RESULTS

3-1

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (14', 28'), Simeon Okoro (39')
Man of the Match: Louis Rooney (Truro City)

We came up against a promotion candidate in Maidstone United, who'd been relegated from the National League last year. They scored first but we didn't get flustered, with Andrew Neal carving their defense apart in the 14th minute before passing it to Rooney for a simple tap-in. The Northern Irish spearhead then made it 2-1 within the first half hour with a fantastic header from range before Simeon Okoro gave us a great buffer before half time. The teams traded blows in the second half but no one was able to score again, and we took home a fantastic three points.

0-0

National League South
Goalscorers: none
Man of the Match: Vitezslav Jaros (Torquay United)

An away trip, one of the shorter ones this time, to Torquay United was another big challenge against another promotion candidate. Both teams were pretty cautious to begin with but we started ramping up our tempo as the game went on. Torquay's Czech keeper Jaros was massive for them in goal as we finished with 17 shots and 7 on target, whereas the Devon side didn't test Matthew Turner once.

3-4

National League South
Goalscorers: Simeon Okoro (50'), Will Dawes (58'), Louis Rooney (60')
Man of the Match: Sam Bellis (Hendon)

After a couple of nervy games against top clubs in the division, I thought hosting 21st placed Hendon would be somewhat of a stress reliever, but instead we perhaps got complacent and let them stun us with quick goals on more than one occasion. We went into half time 1-0 down and then just after the break we let them in again. Clearly this woke us up to some extent and we scored three times in ten minutes to take the lead, but just as soon as we could breathe they hit back twice again. An absolute thriller but a game we should've won.

2-3

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (2'), Andrew Neal (28'), Toure Williams (64')
Man of the Match: Louis Rooney (Truro City)

I was a bit apprehensive heading into this one as I thought it could be a big danger game considering the loss to Hendon a week before. Dartford were mid-table heading into the game but we scored almost instantly through Louis Rooney before Andrew Neal found space on the left and was afforded a pretty easy finish. Toure Williams scored a banger from outside the box and then we took our foot off the gas, letting them in twice. Chesmain's 91st minute goal had us all a bit nervous, but we held on to win 3-2.

1-0

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (42')
Man of the Match: Louis Rooney (Truro City)

After some weird results throughout the month we hosted bottom of the table Hungerford Town in the last match, and above all else I just wanted a stress-free result. Louis Rooney put us ahead with a tidy left foot finish in the 42nd minute and then we stopped the Berkshire outfit from being too much of a nuisance for the rest of the match. A solid if not spectacular win.

STANDINGS



The game against Hendon is definitely going to be one that got away but our strong record in the rest of the month keeps us in the hunt for the playoffs with eighteen games under our belt. We've still got just a game between us and second, but conversely 10th placed Southend United are just three points behind us.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH


Louis Rooney

Might be tiresome seeing the same name here almost every month but honestly Rooney is just showing no signs of slowing down and now has 24 goals in 18 league games, including another five in October. He also chipped in with a couple of assists to show he can get involved in the buildup play just as well as finishing the buildup off.

NEXT MONTH



It seems to be a re-occurring template at the moment where we start the month against some really tough teams. Yeovil sit just below us at the moment and Ebbsfleet are currently top of the league so they'll both be massive challenges. I'm also hoping we can do a bit better in the FA Trophy than we did in the FA Cup.
Your team has adjusted tremendously well to life in the National League South, with Rooney proving to be incredibly useful atm. A prolific attack, along with a stingy defensive unit, is a great thing to have, which is something you're enjoying.

A great start to the story, and best of luck with it mate :)
Season 1: 2023/24

December




December was a really congested month with league fixtures and cup fixtures aplenty, and it was absolutely a crunch month in terms of pushing higher or slipping away with such a logjam at the top of the table.

Unfortunately, we weren't up to the test and we suffered our first poor month with more than a few disappointing results.

RESULTS

I wrote up a proper update earlier but lost the progress, so I've just included the results and standings for this month

1-1

FA Trophy Second Round
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (58')
Man of the Match: Thomas Hughes (Dartford)

5-1

FA Trophy Second Round Replay
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (23', 51'), Simeon Okoro (68', 80'), Louis Morison (90+1')
Man of the Match: Louis Rooney (Truro City)

0-0

National League South
Goalscorers: none
Man of the Match: Alex Kpakpe (Yeovil Town)

0-1

National League South
Goalscorers: none
Man of the Match: Adam Endean (Ebbsfleet United)

2-1

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (pen 3')
Red Card: Ben Richards-Everton
Man of the Match: Szymon Kowalczyk (Tonbridge Angels)

1-1

FA Trophy Third Round
Goalscorers: Simeon Okoro (23')
Man of the Match: Simeon Okoro (Truro City)

1-3

FA Trophy Third Round Replay
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (66')
Man of the Match: Sammy Ompreon (Hendon)

3-1

National League South
Goalscorers: Louis Rooney (87')
Man of the Match: Kacper Lopata (Southend United)

STANDINGS



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