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I seem to recognize your face - Newport County

Started on 18 October 2012 by joannes3000
Latest Reply on 14 April 2013 by swag
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I don't really like lower league stories much, so I didn't read your story a whole lot, but your feat of straight promotions as champions all the way to the Prem is incredible! I'll be following from now on. :D
2013-02-03 14:11#79798 Liverbird : I don't really like lower league stories much, so I didn't read your story a whole lot, but your feat of straight promotions as champions all the way to the Prem is incredible! I'll be following from now on. :D

I'm glad you enjoy the story! I always like playing as Newport from the onset and this is the first time I've managed promotions straight to the Premier! I've always hit snags in the Championship where the top teams really start to separate themselves financially.

February 2017

vs Blackburn



It felt like the boys knew we were headed into a rough month because they came out and took this victory from Blackburn. Josh Morris scored the opening goal just before the halftime whistle to give us a narrow lead at the break. Blackburn started to take control early in the second half and leveled the game 10 minutes after the restart. We maintained composure, however, and patiently prodded around. It only took about 5 minutes before it was Josh Morris again with a nice strike. His brace was the final goal scored and I couldn’t be happier with the way we opened the month!

vs Tottenham



I don’t want to say it but I’m going to say it any way. I think we’re on a bit of a roll here! This is our fifth consecutive game without a defeat and the first in those three games where we didn’t win outright. This is also the first game against a top contender where we didn’t look completely outclassed. Tottenham is sitting in 4th place and you could feel our confidence growing as this game went on. Gareth Bale gave Tottenham a lead at the break with a great shot 25 minutes in. Fran O’Connor quickly leveled the game minutes after the restart, however, on a nice attacking play that saw him head in a terrific cross. Emmanuel Adebayor restored the lead for Tottenham 10 minutes later with a great header of his own, so with less than 30 minutes to go we went on the offensive. We never did find a way to score the tying goal, but the opposing keeper sure did! Fran O’Conner cut loose with a venomous shot in the 85th minute that Amos was able to parry. In the ensuing scramble, the ball got loose, bounced off a defender, and off Amos for an own-goal. It’s better to be lucky than good, but we really looked like we were going to find the game-tying goal regardless.

vs Liverpool



And that roll is over, lol. Liverpool quickly put an end to our nice run with a convincing win of their own. The game looked decent enough to start. We were getting outworked but our defense did a good job keeping the score even. As luck would have it, we gave up a goal just before the halftime whistle on a painfully clever chip shot. What’s worse is that we were on a counterattack and I thought we were going to score instead. But Liverpool latched onto our cross attempt and countered our counter. :( I reminded the guys to keep working at halftime and once again we looked decent to start. Then we had a stupid goal scored against us. This time, we snuffed out a weak cross only for Jonjo Shelvey to SOMEHOW steal the ball from two defenders and he walked the ball into the goal. As upsetting as this loss is, we have to recover quickly because we have Man United next.

vs Man United



It’s a good thing we earned some points from the first two league games because we got smashed for the second game in a row. Once again another top flight team dominated us on the pitch. United had nearly 70% possession this game. It’s a miracle we didn’t allow double digit goals! The defense, especially keeper Grigoris Stamatiou should get an award for only allowing three goals after surrendering 40 shots and 14 on target. Our attack, on the other hand, was pretty much non-existent. United was just too fast and too well-positioned for us to mount many decent attempts on goal.

FA Cup - Round 5



After playing two consecutive lower league teams we were drawn against someone in the Premier League. We traveled to Stoke for this round and I think it helped us focus. We only took 7 shots on goal even though we split possession fairly evenly; and of those shots we put 5 on target and 2 past the keeper. On the contrary, Stoke took nearly three times as many shots but didn’t put any more on target than we did. They also only scored one goal and it was during injury time. Fran O’Connor gave us a two goal lead with his second half brace. His first goal was just past the hour and was a welcome sight after our patient build up. His second goal only minutes before injury time looked to put the game at ease, only for Stoke to claw one back late. This marks two straight wins on the month after we won our first league game.

League Table

This month was a tale of two halves. We came out strongly and took three points from Blackburn in their stadium, which was as many points as I had hoped for the entire month. Then we went on the road again and beat Stoke in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Then we came home and managed to draw level with Tottenham. But all of that momentum was worthless when we headed into the back end of the schedule. We welcomed Liverpool and they were unfriendly guests, blanking us 0-2. Then we traveled to Old Trafford and got absolutely dominated en route to a 0-3 loss. So in the first half of the month we scored 6 goals in three games and went undefeated. In the back half we didn’t score at all and allowed 5 goals in two games. I think this was a solid month overall, given the quality of competition we faced. We finally got a home draw after traveling for our first three matches. We play host to Burnley in the 6th round with a realistic chance to advance once again.

Four points out of a possible twelve would have been a failure in most months but we faced three top tier opponents this month and I’m ok with the results. We still have to be careful, however, because we can’t afford to drop so many points going into the home stretch of the season. 39 points keeps us in 8th place and that big win over Blackburn helped us close the gap to 1 point from 7th place and the final Europa League spot. Only grabbing four points this month saw us fall back slightly toward the relegation zone, however, as there are a LOT of teams (11) that have 30 points right now. We’re eight points clear of 18th place Everton and the relegation zone. We’ve got a very short schedule in March so each game will be huge - Burnley (FA Cup), Aston Villa (16), and Chelsea (1). That’s it. Two league games. As tough as last month was with three teams in the top 6, this may be tougher. We have to get a result against Villa because we will have our hands full against Chelsea. Once again I’ll be happy to find a way to secure 3 points this month. I’m also hoping for a good showing for the home crowd in the FA Cup vs Burnley.




Transfers


No new faces this month.

Total money spent this season– 8.2m

March 2017

vs Aston Villa



What started out so brightly turned into a tense match. We took the lead only 5 minutes in thanks to a Josh Morris header, then all of a sudden our offense went missing. And even though we won nearly 60% possession throughout the game, we still had problems building up play to get shots off. We ended up only getting off 15 shots all total, with 5 of them on target. To contrast, Villa managed 14 shots and put 8 on target. All that matters in the end is that we got this critical win with Chelsea on tap next.

vs Chelsea



On the one hand I can point out that we only allowed two goals to a Chelsea side that is currently sitting at the top of the table. Our defense looked solid even though they were under pressure for most of the game. 28 shots were taken but only 8 managed to get on target. On the other hand, I can point out that we looked absolutely outclassed when trying to mount attacks of our own. We only managed 33% possession and only got ONE shot off all game long. So while our defense continues to be the bright spot, we clearly need to improve offensively.

FA Cup - Round 6



What a game! Two minutes in, Stephen Ireland got caught looking to make his first move before securing the ball and gave up possession at midfield. Burnley quickly mounted a counterattack and just like that we were losing. The crowd didn’t have much time to get upset because about 10 minutes later, Tom Boyle slammed home the game-tying shot. The action settled down until after halftime, then the fireworks started going off again. We got a well-earned penalty that surprisingly didn’t draw a red card that Boyle converted for his brace at the hour mark. Not to be outdone, Burnley leveled once again 8 minutes later on a wicked shot. The press will have you believe Stephen Ireland earned a penalty 5 minutes after the game was tied, but it wasn’t a penalty. Lucky for us, Fran O’Connor popped up with about 10 minutes left in the game for the eventual game-winner. Overall this was a fantastic flowing game and I was happy to see our offense pick up the slack on a day that our defense looked somewhat suspect.

League Table

March went as expected. We opened with a close but solid win over Burnley in the FA Cup. This pits us in the semifinals against League 1 Side Chesterfield who upset Villa. We’ll be the away team and hopefully we will find motivation in knowing the final is within our reach! Then our two league games were split just like we anticipated. Against Aston Villa we really should have scored another goal or two after opening with such a quick score, but we managed to secure a clean sheet for the first time in league play since Jan 25. Then against Chelsea I think we mustered up as much of a fight as we possibly could have, given the gap in talent and the fact that we played at Stamford Bridge.

Just like in February, three points out of a possible six would be a failure in most months but I wasn’t expecting much of a result against Chelsea. Securing the points vs Villa was critical and we accomplished that mission. And in a surprising turn of events, we’ve actually gone UP in the rankings because Blackburn had a month to forget with a loss and a draw. Our 42 points now has us in 7th place and currently qualified for the final Europa League spot! We are 1 point ahead of both Newcastle and Blackburn, both of which have better goal differentials than we do. We’re now back up to being ten points clear of 18th place Everton and the relegation zone as well. The bulk of the home stretch is upon us in April and these games will all but determine our final standing – Wolves (15), Norwich (11), Chesterfield (FA Cup), Swansea (12), Arsenal (4), and Everton (18). We have a chance to win big this month and I’m hoping we can secure at least 10 points out of a possible 15. With seven games left to play we need 21 points to clinch at least 7th place. To avoid relegation, we need 12 points. I also hope that we advance to the finals of the FA Cup, although we’ve notoriously played bad vs lower level teams thus far so a semifinal stumble wouldn’t surprise me.




Transfers


No new faces this month.

Total money spent this season– 8.2m


Once again, I decided to try and strike while the iron is hot! With money flowing in this season and our brand new stadium constantly hitting capacity I decided to pitch the idea of expanding the stadium to the board. I was hoping they would be more receptive to this request since it can increase our revenue stream, and they agreed to the project! It's a modest expansion of around 1400 seats, but it keeps our infrastructure growing.

I was a bit mad at the board a few months ago because they declined to increase my payroll budget when I was shopping around for transfer targets. I take this expansion as a sign of good things to come and hopefully we can continue to upgrade our facilities in the coming years.
Great results,make sure your team stays 7 till the end of the season for Europa League place !
I cannot believe that I haven't commented on this story in a LONG while! You deserve some great plaudits for reaching the Premier League :) Have you found your new Hasselbaink + Caca? :P
Europa League this season :D :)! Get some money rolling and new faces for the next season to charge for a top 4 and perhaps a title winning season. Anyways, improve that offense and have a better midfield and you are off to winning everything!

April 2017

vs Wolves



We really underestimated our opponents and we were lucky to steal this win from Wolves. Tom Boyle scored an early penalty and that turned out to be the only goal scored in the game. I saw that we were struggling to maintain possession even early in the match so we played a lot more defensively than I had originally planned. As expected we gave up nearly 60% possession and a lot of shots on goal, but our defense stood tall and kept a clean sheet for a critical win.

Magic numbers
Europa League qualification – 18
Avoid relegation – 9

vs Norwich



After a tough road win in our last game, we came home to a soggy pitch and a scrappy Norwich team. Actually, these guys looked like they wanted to pick a fight with all the fouls they ended up committing over the course of the match. All total, Norwich was whistled for 17 fouls and 2 yellow cards as they looked to bully us off the pitch. This style of play was exactly what Norwich wanted and this game was deadlocked at zero for most of the match. We nearly gave away a penalty in the 70th minute but I suppose the refs threw us a bone after watching us getting manhandled all game. As we headed deep into injury time I was content to get out of the game with a draw and no injuries, but Stephen Ireland had other plans. Having come on 10 minutes prior, Ireland’s fresh legs let him beat a sluggish defender in the dying minutes. This is why we brought on a veteran like him – to calmly win a tight game that our young team might otherwise not win.

Magic numbers
Europa League qualification – 13
Avoid relegation – 3

vs Swansea



After exchanging some friendly barbs against the opposing coach, we took to the pitch for this rivalry game and the players made me proud. We only took 6 shots, but we put 2 on target and both of those were goals. On the flipside, we allowed 17 shots but only 4 on target and maintained a clean sheet! After a scoreless draw at halftime, Fran O’Connor stole the show. He slotted home a great through ball just before the hour mark for the opening goal, then bagged his brace late with a long range effort just before injury time.

This win guarantees that we will not be relegated this season, meaning we accomplished our biggest goal this year! Now the focus turns to holding onto 7th place and booking a ticket to the Europa League next year!

Magic numbers
Europa League qualification – 8

vs Arsenal



Well, the streak had to end eventually. I didn’t even realize it, but we went on a nice little 4 game winning streak across all competitions just now! Arsenal woke us up from that dream with a 1-5 thumping. Once again, the top teams show their strength. Most times we can give up tons of possession and shot attempts and still steal a win. Top quality teams like Arsenal make you pay by converting those shots into goals scored. We’ll get one more shot against Arsenal in the FA Cup final and hopefully the result will be a little more respectable!

Magic numbers
Europa League qualification – 3

vs Everton



With Everton facing relegation, they certainly came out inspired in this game. We got caught flat-footed to start the match and Phil Jagielka made us pay with a header less than 60 seconds into the match! Fran O’Connor restored order with a 20th minute strike and we went into halftime all even at 1. The second half was a snoozer, with Everton’s best offensive efforts not amounting to much and our counter attempts not amounting to much either. The game ended in a bore draw that sends Everton down to the Championship. Meanwhile, our quest to clinch a bid to the Europa League is on hold because Blackburn notched a win. With two games to go, we still need 3 points to guarantee a berth.

Magic numbers
Europa League qualification – 3

FA Cup - Semifinals



My, oh, my! We did everything we could to piss this game away. Once again we linked up with a lower league team and once again we struggled to put them away. 8 minutes in and Lee Evans put us ahead. About 15 minutes later, our defense was powerless to stop towering Roland Bergkamp from heading home the equalizer. After this early action things settled down as we started to struggle on offense. Then out of nowhere, Fran O’Connor made a magnificent dash at goal and gave us the lead seconds before the halftime whistle! The second half was more of the same struggle, and we began playing a bit more defensively to waste away the minutes. Then disaster struck. Once again we failed to mark out Roland Bergkamp and the massive forward muscled his way through our defense to level the game in injury time.

We were gutted after watching this stupid turn of events and we played like a deflated team in extra time. We looked lifeless on offense so we parked the bus and waited for the penalty whistle. We both scored easy attempts in the first frame. More of the same in the second frame, with Chesterfield sending our keeper guessing in the wrong direction. Stamatiou got revenge in the third frame as he punched away the attempt before Saul banged home his attempt to give us a one goal lead. Stamatiou came up huge AGAIN, this time denying Bergkamp, the culprit that sent us to penalties to begin with. Then with it all on the like, it was Rocco Sbravati that sent us through to the finals where we will match up against Arsenal!

League Table

That 10 point estimate at the start of the month ended up being exactly how many points we came away with. The big surprise along the way was the fact that we looked strong going into the final game against Everton and we couldn’t manage a win. We also advanced to the finals of the FA Cup, although we had yet another tense battle against a lower league club. We had to rely on penalty kicks to advance past Chesterfield, and our opponents in the final will be Arsenal. And as amazing as our run has been, I have no illusions of winning the cup. I’ll be happy with a close scoring game.

Our 52 points keeps us in 7th place and we just about have the last Europa spot clinched! We’re 4 points ahead of Blackburn with only 2 games left to go. We’ve already guaranteed that we will not be relegated this season; instead it will be Everton, Stoke, and Huddersfield heading down. We only have three games remaining on the year – Burnley (12), Arsenal (FA Cup), and Man City (3). All I want is 3 points. If we can handle Burnley, we will have clinched 7th place before heading into the final game against Man City, AT the Etihad, with a Champions League spot probably still up for grabs. That’s exactly why I want to get our points against Burnley. :)




Transfers


No new faces this month.

Total money spent this season– 8.2m

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