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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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Two months unbeaten now! The legend has returned!
joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
7 yearsEdited
Our undefeated run has now spanned three months as we went 2/2/0 in October. We didn't seem nearly as dominant as we have in the previous months, however. We left it late against Tamworth (75' winner), conceded late against Macclesfield (70' to tie), and didn't seem terribly motivated (draw vs midtable Woking). Nevertheless, we found our way through our roughest patch of games so far and hopefully we can look more lively in the coming months.

We looked more like our normal selves in our opening match in the FA Cup, where we destroyed fellow BSP opponents Forest Green in the fourth qualifying round. We're into the first round and will face off against a member of the Blue Square south - Weston-super-Mare. It's a home game against a lower league opponent so I feel good about our chances of advancing.



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Sixteen games into the season, and we remain on top of the table. We didn't gain any ground on second place and are still five points clear of Macclesfield and gained one point on 6th place, now 14 points clear of the final playoff promotion spot. My strikeforce duo of Bignall and Crow continue to do well. Bignall leads all scorers and has the highest average rating. Crow is the fourth best scorer and has the third highest average rating. Both frontmen are tied with 5 PoM awards. I've already managed talks to sign Bignall on a permanent basis but he isn't interested in signing long-term right now.

Great story so far, Jon. Newport looks like it is already on its way to the top. I'm getting Bignall for my BSN team, and he is unattached. :D
I concur with Ahash, great start. I am willing to bet a cheeky monkey that you get promoted!
joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
7 yearsEdited
We celebrated my birth month with a string of three consecutive victories. We started with a flare for the dramatic, as we edged Cambridge on an 89th minute goal from Ryan Charles. Four days later we inexplicably demolished Alfreton on the road, only to edge past a Hyde team that has only managed 5 points in 19 matches. I'm out of reasonable excuses at this point, as the team is now very comfortable with both one another and the tactics being used. I feel like we have a strong side for this league, so maybe I need to become a better motivational speaker!

Possibly highlighting our lack of motivation was a 2-1 victory in the FA Cup vs BSS side Weston-super-Mare. This was a game that we really should have won by several goals. Maybe we will show more interest in our second round opponent - Dartford. They are a fellow BSP team so the talent level should be better, although Dartford is a bottom tier team thus far.

We kicked off our run in the FA Trophy against that same Dartford team and won on the strength of a late brace by Ryan Charles (72, 88). We will travel to Tonbridge of the BSS in the second round and everything points toward advancing into the third round.



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We are almost halfway through league play and remain seated at the top of the table. We extended our lead a bit and are now eight points clear of Macclesfield and are a comfortable 17 points clear of the final playoff promotion spot. At this point I'm beginning to focus solely on winning the league and gaining promotion outright. Even though we are only about half done with league games, the fact that we remain unbeaten means that not securing promotion this season will be a catastrophe in my eyes.



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We conducted one bit of business before the close of the loan/free transfer window. In an attempt to strengthen our attack we brought in Thomas Butler on a free. We negotiated down to 1.5k p/w, and his wages mean that I expect him to be a big contributor. Not only did we reallocate our transfer budget, I also had to convince the board to increase my weekly wages a bit in order to sign Butler. He immediately starts at left wide midfield and can also swap to the right side when needed.

hey Joannes3000,

Great story, I really enjoyed your first story with Newport county and now you are doing it all again. Just a question out of curiosity, are you using the regular fm 2012 skin or are you using a different skin? if so what is it as i really like the look of it. keep up the good work and good luck on promotion.

edu1878
2012-10-24 06:13#68357 edu1878 : hey Joannes3000,

Great story, I really enjoyed your first story with Newport county and now you are doing it all again. Just a question out of curiosity, are you using the regular fm 2012 skin or are you using a different skin? if so what is it as i really like the look of it. keep up the good work and good luck on promotion.

edu1878

I'm glad you're enjoying this rendition of the story! I'm using whatever the default skin is for FM13.
joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
7 yearsEdited
And for Christmas this year, I got two lumps of coal in my stocking. o____o Our record setting streak of games without a loss ended at 23 with a late loss at home to Luton. Once again we lost composure in the dying minutes, this time surrendering the eventual game-winning goal in the 83rd minute. We managed to bounce back with a win vs Kidderminster, then the strain of a congested schedule set in again. Four days after that win, we drew vs Gateshead, had two FA Trophy games thanks to a drawn first match, then fell flat vs Braintree for our second loss of the month; again in front of our home fans. We ended the month on an upswing, however, salvaging a draw in our next match then beating Hereford 3-1 away in a televised game.

Our FA Cup run continues as we dispatched Dartford, marking the second time in a week that we have eliminated them from a cup competition. Our opponent in the third round is another BSP side - Tamworth. We were drawn as the home team so I'm hoping our home crowd propels us one round further where we will all but likely be drawn against an opponent from a higher league. And while that will likely signal the end of our cup run, it will also be a nice payday for us, especially if we get to play the game at home!

The FA Trophy game, on the other hand, wasn't nearly as straightforward. We were gifted a relatively easy draw against Tonbridge, even though it was away. We opened with a goal in the 1st minute, but Tonbridge leveled 14 minutes later. We took a lead into the half with a 31st minute goal, only to concede 2 minutes after the restart. Then in the 54th minute we fell behind as Mikel Suarez bagged a brace. It wasn't until the 75th minute that Aaron O'Conner salvaged a draw. Four days later we won 1-0, but the damage had been done. With a ton of league games, we really couldn't afford to play another 90 minutes of football. The replay against Tonbridge cost us a league game three days later, but those are the breaks. We're into the third round against semi-pro side Faversham and we should really advance without any problems. Then again, that's how I felt about Tonbridge!



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We are now just past the halfway mark in the league as we turn the calendar year to 2013. And while we maintain our seat at the top of the BSP table, those two losses we suffered in December saw our points lead cut in half to 4. We still hold a 17 point lead on sixth place and the final promotion playoff spot. With six league games on tap for January we have a chance to extend our lead at the top again. We will face off against Forest Green (6), Wrexham (18), Lincoln (21), Barrow (20), Woking (12), and Southport (17).



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The transfer window opens once more but I don't think we'll be dipping into the market much, if at all. If I were to readjust my budget I could take on an additional 1k p/w and have about 48k in the transfer kitty. More realistically, I will look at free transfers as we can add about 2k p/w in salary with the transfer kitty emptied. Here is the lineup that I think I have settled into. As you can see, the majority of the players are the same from the start of the season.



One change is having Lee Evans at the left center mid spot instead of Lee Minshull. Both players are similar in terms of technical ability, with Evans being slightly better in dribbling and long shots. Mentally, Minshull is better in terms of flair, teamwork and work rate; two things that I thought would make him the better option. Evans is more creative, however. Evans is also better phsyically, with better agility, pace, and stamina. Statistically Evans as put up better numbers with a 7.16 average rating to Minshull's 6.94. Also, in 10 less games, Evans has bagged two goals and four assists. Minshull has no goals and three assists in 21 games.



The other change is at left wide midfield, where recently signed Thomas Butler will start in place of Ben Swallow. The comparison shot speaks for itself - outside of some trivial technical rankings (for a wide midfielder), Butler is clearly the better player. Statistcally, these ratings have translated into promising play on the pitch as well. In 8 appearances, Butler has bagged 3 goals, 1 assist, and a 6.96 average rating. In 19 appearances, Swallow has bagged 2 goals, 7 assists, and a 7.1 rating. Swallow has far more assists, but he also has the benefit of having been in our system and with his teammates for more than twice as many games as Butler. In time, I think Butler will put up better numbers as he gets more in tune with his new environment.

joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
7 yearsEdited
We rang in the New Year with wins. Lots of wins. :) We got back to our winning ways after a down December, and mostly in convincing fashion. We opened with some shaky wins vs Forest Green and Wrexham, then throttled Lincoln and Barrow. We ended with a draw vs Woking which was the seventh game in 22 days! Overall we scored 11 goals while conceding only 4.

Our FA Cup run went as expected. In our third round matchup we handled Tamworth, as unconvincing as our 1-0 victory was. One high note is that our 3rd minute goal held up over the course of the game. All too often this season it seems like we lose focus in the final 10 minutes or so and give up a goal. We managed to finish the job, however, and booked a date in the fourth round against Newcastle. Talk about being on a big stage! More than 36,000 strong game out to St. James' Park and it was also the second game we've played that was televised. Clearly we were up against it and we played about as defensively as it could be. We only held 38% of possession, only managed 3 shots (2 on target!), and gave up 31 shots on goal (8 on target). And despite being dominated all match, a 38th minute goal by Haris Vuckic was the only one we allowed! That made our 0-1 loss quite the positive experience, imo. Maybe in a few more seasons we'll be able to scalp a Premier League team. :)

Our FA Trophy results were much more positive. For all our struggles against against Tonbridge in the second round, we had no problem with Faversham. We only took a 1-0 lead into the half thanks to an Aaron O'Conner strike. Danny Crow banged home a penalty kick 2 minutes after the restart, then Max Porter signaled the rout with another goal 4 minutes later. Lee Evans scored the 4th and final goal in the 62nd minute and we coasted home. Our 4th round opponent was another semi-pro team - Blyth. We were also drawn as the home team and we certainly didn't disappoint our fans. Nicholas Bignall scored seconds before halftime, then bagged his brace in the 60th minute. Ismail Yakubu finished off the scoring in the 74th minute and we accomplished what I expected against a team of Blyth's stature. Our opponent in the semifinals is BSS side Salisbury City and I think our bigger obstacle will be staying focused with a trip to the finals highly anticipated!



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We are now 30 games into the season and the home stretch is about to begin with only (lol) 16 games left to go. Getting back on the winning track has allowed us to open up a comfortable lead at the top of the table again. Last month's 4 point lead has doubled and we are now 9 games clear of 2nd place. Sixth place and the final promotion playoff spot is 19 points in the rear view. We have six league games on tap for February we can edge even closer toward securing promotion. We will need to play well, however, because we are facing several promotion candidates this month. We will face off against Kidderminster (6), Southport - rescheduled last month (22), Tamworth (12), Mansfield (11), Luton (5), and Gateshead (4).



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We added a couple of non-contract players before the close of the transfer window to add some more depth to the squad. Many of our starters are starting to show signs of jadedness even though I've managed to keep a decent rotation this season. The solution? Bring in fresh bodies! Dominic Shimmin adds a bit more depth on the back line and can help out at center back and full back. Wayne Phillips will strictly be a wing player and play wide left midfield. His lack of versatility is offset by the fact that he's a pretty capable player that may be able to step into the rotation in a pinch.


joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
7 yearsEdited
February was another strong month for us even though we suffered our third loss of the season. We started off dominantly vs Kidderminster with a 3-1 victory before having a rough go away against Southport four days later. We won vs Southport but it was a narrow 1-0 finish. Three days after the Southport game we came home and were too fatigued to pull out a win, losing 1-2 despite our best efforts to press for a tie in the final minutes. Then once again, we took to the pitch three days later and couldn't muster up a goal against Mansfield. This was the first time we failed to score a goal in a league game in nearly two months; with Braintree being the last to manage a clean sheet against us. There was no rest for the weary this month between league and cup games as we kept playing games every three to four days. We managed to steal a win agaist Luton away, and stole another one to end the month at home against Gateshead. All in all this was another dominant month in the standings but the sheer number of games is just so overwhelming. I can't stress enough how badly I want to get promoted just so we don't have to play so many matches!

The semifinal matchup against Salisbury got off to a great start as we went on the road and snatched a 1-0 victory. That gave us an important away goal in our back pocket as we headed into the home leg. And rather than putting the game away easily, we had quite a spectacular game in store for the home fans. Salisbury opened the scoring in the 17th minute to tie up everything at 1. Then minutes before the halftime whistle Salisbury scored again and took a 2-1 aggregate lead. Michael Flynn slotted home a penalty kick in the 54th minute to put things back on level terms and that's how things went until the end of regulation. Neither team could break through in extra time with both of our sides looking weary so it went to penalties. Both shooters scored in the first round, and we took the lead in the second round as we scored and Alan Julian made a spectacular save. We hit our third penalty, and a desperate Salisbury side saw their third kick ricochet off of the crossbar. With a trip to the finals in sight, it was Danny Crow that booked the trip! We're off to the finals for a second consecutive year, this time matching up against Wrexham. Last year we lost to York, and hopefully this year's trip to Wembley will end differently.



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With 10 games remaining in the season, the final push is definitely on. It looks like fatigue is starting to get the best of the teams around us as we have now extended our lead on 2nd place to 18 points. Macclesfield have a game in hand, so our magic number to clinch is 15 points. We are 22 points clear of 6th place and we only need 11 points to guarantee at least a playoff spot this year. With six games upcoming in March we can go a long way towards clinching promotion. If we can secure 5 wins out of these 6, we will guarantee promotion with 4 games to spare. This month we will face off against Hyde(23), AFC Telford (21), Ebbsfleet (10), Macclesfield (2), Stockport (13), and Dartford (17).

Wow, you're doing brilliantly. Surely you'll earn automatic promotion! Keep it up.
joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
7 yearsEdited
I'm up late tonight!

March, given its name was a proper month for us to accomplish our main goal. On the 16th, we clinched the right to march on to League 2! Knowing we needed to gain 15 points to clinch the BSP championship and automatic promotion, we set out emphatically toward that goal with a 3-0 demo job of Hyde. We took a 1-0 lead into halftime then scored two goals late to put the game away. 12 points to go. Four days later we were at home vs AFC Telford and relied on two first half goals to notch the win. We gave up a late goal once again (82') but were fortunate to close out with the win. 9 points to go. Three days later we were on the road again, this time against Ebbsfleet. As usual we were deep into our substitutes and an 8th minute goal was enough as we played stingy defense for the clean sheet. 6 points to go! With promotion in our hands, we had a merciful 7 days before we had to set out against 2nd place Macclesfield. Fully rested and in front of our home fans we took an early lead, only to surrender the tying goal less than 5 minutes before the halftime whistle. We regained the lead 8 minutes after the restart, however, and frustrated the opposing side the rest of the way. In the end, a 10 man Macclesfield squad were unable to claw back a point and we had done it! Champions of the BSP with time to spare! Our final game of the month vs Dartford was a bit of a letdown with many of the players seemingly uninterested as we managed a 1-1 draw.

With the BSP trophy secured 8 days prior, we set our sights on Wrexham and the FA Trophy. Last year Newport had made this same trip to Wembley and fell short against York. That was the past. This year we got off on the right foot with ever-present Nicholas Bignall scoring a goal 8 minutes in. That proved to be the only goal scored in a game mired by fouls (14 for Wrexham, 11 for us) and yellow cards (3 for Wrexham, 2 for us) as both teams definitely showed a willingness to fight for this trophy. There were a few tense moments in the final minutes as Wrexham went all out trying to find an equalizer. But Alan Julian was up to the task in front of the net and ended up player of the match with an 8.2 rating. This year we leave Wembley having done the double!



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Apologies for not having a proper screenie, but I got ahead of myself and forgot to stop in April! We'll have to do a bit of backtracking here. :) With five games remaining in the season and the league championship secure, all that remains are formalities. In the final month we will face off against Nuneaton (24), Cambridge (2), Stockport (16), Alfreton (17), and Grimsby (10).
joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
7 yearsEdited

Newport County AFC, 2012-2013

Competitions

Blue Square Premier



FA Cup



FA Trophy



Transfers


First Team



Summary

I repaid those that had faith in me in our inaugural season with Newport. Not only did we accomplish our primary goal of gaining promotion to League 2, but we did it by winning the league outright. We also showed that we can compete on the big stage, giving Newcastle all they wanted in the FA Cup and then bringing home the FA Trophy in front of nearly 60,000 fans at Wembley. This is only the beginning of this journey, however, and we have plenty of building to do next season.

Heading into League 2 we wil continue reshaping the roster and the support staff. We began this project in year one, but hopefully we can lay down even more of a foundation this season. We did ourselves some huge favors by winning two competitions and the money that comes with them. I'm hoping that ownership will be keen to reinvest this money right back into the club so we can continue to build a proper back office staff, bring in some key players to help us push for promotion in upcoming seasons, and possibly to start building the facilities that we will need in the long term. We can't expect all of these things to be gifted to us in one offseason, but getting two of these projects started would be fantastic.
What a season. Great work, Joannes. Not only did you get promotion, but you won the double as well. Good luck in League 2.
Jon, what a season! I can't wait to see what you do in League 2. Congratulations!

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