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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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League Tables

After going 4-1-2 on the month, you’d think I was more pleased than I currently am. But after getting out of the starting blocks so strongly with three wins, we got mired in a three game losing streak before capping the month with a much needed win. We fell just short of my expectations in Premier League play. We did manage to meet my expectations in the Europa League and the Capital One Cup, though.

Blackburn was our swing game this month. We were in the middle of a strong three game winning streak before falling on our faces. Blackburn routed us 0-2 and triggered a mid month swoon that included a tight loss to Man City. Taking home six points out of twelve is ok, but I think blowing the game against Blackburn was more painful than the narrow loss to City. Going into the new year we find ourselves in 8th place, down to spots from last month. We’re two points behind 7th place Swansea and a ticket to the Europa qualifying round with FIVE games in hand. Our Champions League dreams took a step back of sorts as we’re now 8 points behind 4th place Chelsea but have four games in hand.

Well, we certainly finished the drill in our group. What started as an upset result or two culminated in an unbeaten run and a first place finish in group play. We ended with a 4-2-0 record and a +7 goal differential. I’m not sure what I’m more impressed with – the fact that we allowed almost half as many goals as the next best team, or the fact that we scored the most goals (albeit by one goal) in the group! Our opponents in the first Knockout Round will be Napoli and we will travel for the first leg.

We treaded water a bit in December and I hope to start the new year strong. In January we have a whopping NINE games scheduled –Arsenal (1), Newcastle (11), Burnley (Capital One Cup), Sunderland (FA Cup), Newcastle (11), Derby (15), Burnley (Capital One Cup), Reading (17), and Norwich (5). I want to try and win 4 of 6 league games and secure at least 13 out of a possible 18 points in a month that will go a long way towards determining our final ranking. We have almost two months off from the Europa League before we travel to Napoli for the first leg of our matchup. We got real lucky by drawing Burnley in the semifinals of the Capital One Cup. We should be favorites to advance to the finals where we will face off against either Chelsea or Newcastle. And lastly, the FA Cup kicks off and our first opponent is Sunderland, currently in 5th place in the Championship. We shouldn’t have a problem advancing.



Premier League Table



Europa League Table




Transfers


With the January transfer window open I don’t anticipate signing any new faces. Surprisingly, our weakest rated area (17CA assistant) is… Central defense? Neither of my starters carries even a 3 star CA rating, and only Rocco Sbravati has a PA rating of 3 or better. Our league goal differential is solid compared to the other teams outside of the top three so I’m not rushing to tweak anything here. We have budding star Francis Jose (2 CA, 4.5 PA) playing on the reserve team, and we do have a bid in for another 4.5 PA central defender prospect.

No new faces this month.
2013-03-02 11:09#83102 Kwaku95 : Haven't read through the whole story but what you have done with this team is very impressive, good luck in the future

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the story in it's entirety!
I have just read this story from start to finish (well, where you are now) and I am speechless! You have somehow outdone your former glories in FM12! I'm in love with LLM myself and you are a true inspiration to everybody out there! Bravo! :)
1
Joannes, your story doesn't get as much support/viewership as much as it deserves. I'm reading though and want you to take this till you win the BPL and the UCL. Go for it, Jon!
I'm still here! :) I just took an unexpected break from the game for a few weeks, but I thought to fire up the game again tonight. Let's see how much further we can take Newport County!

January 2018

vs Arsenal



Arg, so close! We had no right to be competitive in this game, but cooler heads ALMOST prevailed. Arsenal did what the other top 4 or 5 teams do to us – dominate possession. Our defensive game plan worked brilliantly, however, and even after giving up a goal in the 10th minute we managed to frustrate them. The fouls started coming and we earned a penalty kick about 30 minutes in. Wilson blew the attempt, though, so we went into halftime down 0-1. We continued to play defensively and Arsenal kept fouling. They started getting wasteful with all of their possession, settling for long shots and not getting many on target (they outshot us 17-6 but only put 6 on target to our 4). Then our moment arrived. With about 20 minutes left in the game Arsenal missed a hard tackle attempt and we sprung loose on the attack. Dani De la Encina fired from distance to level the game and that’s how it ended. What a way to start the month!

vs Newcastle



This has to be one of the weirdest wins I’ve ever managed. The game played out quite evenly in terms of possession, which is always a good sign for us. We didn’t manage much with that possession, however, barely getting many attacks mounted in the first half. Then about 30 minutes into the game, Rocco Sbravati scored what looked like a header off a corner. Upon further review, however, a defender had actually tried to head the ball clear and it doinked off of Sbravati’s head. That was the extent of the scoring in the first half. The second half featured an equally unlikely goal, this time with Newcastle scoring an own goal just before the hour mark. With a two goal lead we looked to coast home with a win, but Dani De la Encina got baited into his second yellow card and got sent off so we ended up playing the last half hour with only 10 men on the pitch. I decided to park the bus and we ended up preserving the clean sheet.

vs Newcastle



For the second time in a week, we faced off against Newcastle in league play. And for the second time we got a result against them. This game was a lot tougher than the last one, however. We found ourselves down early after giving up a goal 15 minutes in. Newcastle damn near doubled the lead a few minutes later but they missed a penalty kick. There was no letting down from Newcastle as they did manage to double the lead just before halftime. I lit into the boys for a horrific effort and they seemed to get the message. The results didn’t show on the pitch, however, as we failed to put together much on offense. Newcastle went down a man in the 74th minute and that’s when we finally showed signs of life. Fran O’Connor headed home a goal in the 79th minute to cut the lead in half. Less than 10 minutes later it was O’Connor once again who bagged a brace and salvaged this draw for us.

vs Derby



After the previous game’s dramatic finish I was really hoping for a stress-free game against Derby. A little more than 10 minutes in, we had a chance to get on the board but Wilson sent his penalty kick wide. Chances were few and far between after that, with both teams earning a fairly even amount of possession. We went into halftime scoreless and I lit into the boys for not looking very motivated. Unfortunately that message didn’t seem to get through because the second half was equally uneventful. We managed a good number of shots on goal but just couldn’t break through. Finally with about 10 minutes left in the game Roberto Gandola was on the receiving end of a nice through ball that sprung him loose. He let go with a long range shot that easily beat the retreating keeper. It was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless.

vs Norwich



This was an ugly game that perhaps we didn’t deserve to win. We were playing our typical ugly defensive game in the first half and had their home crowd bored to death. Just before the half, Norwich managed a corner kick and headed it home only to have the goal disallowed because one of their players fouled our defender trying to mark him. We certainly benefitted from the call because I thought it was a legit goal. Instead of being down a goal we went into halftime fortunately even. Tom Boyle broke the deadlock just before the hour mark and deflated the crowd further. The lead wouldn’t last, however. Wilfried Zaha came on in the 69th minute and slotted home the tying goal only three minutes into the start of his shift. Our own striker wouldn’t be outdone, however, as Fran O’Connor very quickly scored the eventual game-winning goal only two minutes later.

Cup Games

Capital One Cup – Semifinals, Leg 1



Burnley looked to impose their will on us early and they scored the first half’s only goal about 5 minutes before the whistle. I got the boys refocused at halftime but Burnley’s defense did a great job of containing us. We finally leveled the game in the 67th minute with Roberto Gandola mailing in a fantastic freekick from 30+ yards out. Less than 5 minutes later we earned a penalty and Steven Hewitt slotted it home and we took the lead. Less than 5 minutes AGAIN, Josh Morris’ fresh legs let him blast past his defender to extend our lead to two goals. We were grateful for that extra goal because Burnley scored just before injury time was added and we didn’t have to panic. In fact, we would’ve re-established a two goal lead but Steven Hewitt missed his second penalty attempt.

Capital One Cup – Semifinals, Leg 2



With Burnley securing two away goals in the first leg, I knew it would take some extra effort to win the away leg. Turns out we had just enough. Burnley thoroughly dominated us, winning nearly 60% of possession and stifling out attack (4 shots, 3 on target). We did well to open the scoring, with Dan De la Encina scoring just past the half hour mark to give us a 4-2 aggregate lead. Burnley equalized less than 10 minutes later, however, reducing our lead to a 4-3 aggregate. I encouraged the boys at the half to try and ease any tension going into what would turn into quite a second half finish. Burnley continued to mount attacks but they didn’t do a great job of putting them on target, so I was content to let them waste their opportunites. With the minutes ticking down, Burnley scored in the 87th to take the aggregate lead on away goals! With their home fans celebrating, we had no choice but to press as our trip to the finals looked to be a fleeting dream. Then just before we got into injury time, we won a corner. We brought tons of players up knowing this would likely be our last good chance at a goal. The delivery was good and Rocco Sbravati headed home the winning goal! The Burnley stands went from tears of joy to tears of sadness as we snatched away this victory with only minutes left!


FA Cup – Third Round



After we made a run to the finals last year, it was good to get this year’s FA Cup off on a good note. We thoroughly dominated Sunderland in this game although we played a bit sloppy. We couldn’t manage to win the possession battle and we wound up getting whistled for 12 fouls and 3 yellow cards. The scoring started from an unlikely source, with Saul surging in from his fullback position and shooting one in from about 15 yards out. Then just before the halftime whistle, Sergio Giglio headed home to give us a 2-0 lead at the break. The second half was pretty dull as we were cruising to a clean sheet and Cristian Battocchio put the final touches on the game with a goal in injury time.

FA Cup – Fourth Round



For the second round in a row we were drawn against a Championship side and for the second round in a row we took care of business. Wilson got the scoring started by slotting home a penalty a little over 20 minutes into the game. Less than 5 minutes later, youngster Gregg McConalogue was on the receiving end of a nice cross and had an easy tap in for a goal. I reminded the boys to not get complacent at halftime and they did a good job of maintaining focus. We were able to sit back and play defensive football to preserve the clean sheet and Ian Lewis was in the right place at the right time to slot home a goal in injury time.

League Tables

An unbeaten month! With nine games on the books I was especially happy to see our rotation of players hold up to the grueling schedule. Not only that, but we won six out of nine, so it’s not like we were scraping by with draws. Originally we were slated to play 6 league games and I wanted to win 4. We only played five due to scheduling and ended up winning three. Had we overturned either of our games against Arsenal or Newcastle, this would have been a truly fantastic month of league games, but we can’t complain. We also advanced, albeit narrowly, in the Capital One Cup. We had a much easier time advancing in the FA Cup.

After falling back to the middle of the pack last month, we moved up a few spots this month and are now in 5th place in a crowded spot of the league table. We’re only one point ahead of 7th place Tottenham and a ticket to the Europa qualifying round with four games in hand. Our Champions League dreams still look a bit distant, but we are still within striking distance of 4th place Chelsea – 7 points behind with three games in hand.

With the new year getting off to a good start, I hope that transitions into a strong February as well. We have seven games scheduled – Leicester (15), West Ham (8), Burnley (20), Chelsea (4), Leicester (15), Napoli (Eurupa League), and Chelsea (Capital One Cup). This is a month where we can really push for the Champions League. To do that, we need to win 4 of 5 league games. The big game here will be against Chelsea who sit right ahead of us in the league table. No news in the Europa League. We travel to Napoli toward the end of this month and I hope we can come back home with a good result in hand. If we can only beat Chelsea once this month, I don’t know if I’d rather beat them in the league game or in the finals of the Capital One Cup. I think I’d rather take the cup win. Thankfully we don’t have an FA Cup game to also worry about this month!



Premier League Table



Europa League Table




Transfers


With the January transfer window now closed, we managed to do two bits of business by bringing in two more young prospects – one at striker and one at central defense. I can’t help but be irritated that we missed out on some targets, however. One was lost due to a failed work permit that we tried TWICE to secure because our staff felt it was likely to be granted on appeal. One was lost due to excessive salary demands for a player that wouldn’t likely see more than a rotational role for at least one more season.


Nicolas Bilbao represents the fact that we will not become complacent. Our mission is to always get better and he is a fantastic defensive prospect that will be coming on board next year.


Guillaume Faucher is another example of us always striving to get better. Do we need another young striker with potential? Maybe not. But we brought one on any way. I’m hoping competition will help push everyone to their potential. And if not, we will keep only the best.

Total money spent this month – 6.6m

Total money spent this season– 44.6m
2013-03-12 23:58#84496 Justice96 : I have just read this story from start to finish (well, where you are now) and I am speechless! You have somehow outdone your former glories in FM12! I'm in love with LLM myself and you are a true inspiration to everybody out there! Bravo! :)

I'm honored to help inspire you and anyone else that takes the time to read my stories!
2013-03-20 18:48#86137 Akash : Joannes, your story doesn't get as much support/viewership as much as it deserves. I'm reading though and want you to take this till you win the BPL and the UCL. Go for it, Jon!

Thanks for the kind words, Akash! I don't mind taking a back seat to the other quality stories. It's a testament to the fantastic community that has grown here.
2013-04-10 05:53#91248 joannes3000 :
2013-03-20 18:48#86137 Akash : Joannes, your story doesn't get as much support/viewership as much as it deserves. I'm reading though and want you to take this till you win the BPL and the UCL. Go for it, Jon!

Thanks for the kind words, Akash! I don't mind taking a back seat to the other quality stories. It's a testament to the fantastic community that has grown here.

Keep at this story, it's one of the best on the site!
Great month, joannes! Those two signings look very promising. Should we expect a title challenge next season? :)
Keep it up mate this story inspired me to do my own LLM story.
Let's win the title next season Newport County! One of three stories (Vauxhall Motors and Boreham Wood) to inspire me to start my own LLM story.

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