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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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If August was a subtle sign of things to come, September was the month where we kicked the door in and annouced our arrival into League 2!

We got off to a nightmare start vs Bristol Rovers, surrendering a goal within 2 minutes of the opening whistle. Guy Madjo, getting a spot start at poacher, was up to the task and tied things in the 9th minute and gave us the lead going into the half by bagging a second goal in the 26th minute. The second half was a scrappy affair, featuring several fouls and a player from each side getting sent off for getting their second yellow cards of the match. We kept grinding, however, and Peter Bore popped up in the 85th minute with a goal to seal the deal.

At Shrewsbury, we had all the chances in the world to win the match but couldn't get it done. Danny Crow had a penalty kick blocked in the first half before redeeming himself in the 48th minute by slotting home his second attempted penalty. Shrewsbury leveled 3 mintues later, however, and that's how the game would end.

Fleetwood was our third league game in 7 days and we got lucky here. The first half didn't feature much excitement outside of Rachid Bouhenna being sent off on a questionable red card. Fleetwood were taking a corner, Bouhenna came across the middle to attempt a header and got tangled up with Danny Crow. Crow went down and the red flag went up. And despite being up a man for nearly an hour, it took us until midway through the second half to manufacture a goal. Adam Birchall slotted home his third league goal in the 60th minute and we worked hard to make that lead stand.

Our fourth league game in 10 days was against Morecambe and we came home weary but feeling positive. That positive vibe carried our tired legs to a solid win. Wayne Phillips opened the scoring with his first goal of the season in the 18th minute. We quickly switched the ball from left to right, and Ryan Charles bursted toward goal, drawing several defenders. He crossed back toward Phillips, who tapped home the goal before the opposing keeper even had his head turned around. There was no more excitement until late in the game. This time it was Phillips providing the assist as he lobbed out a long ball to Guy Madjo. Madjo latched onto the ball and got tangled up with the last defender, leaving the ref no choice but to hand out a yellow and a penalty shot. Adam Birchall stepped up and calmly notched his fourth league goal in the 73rd minute.

Game five in 14 days was another close encounter, and one that lacked much offensive inspiration with Birchall needing to take a rest. In fact, it wasn't until stoppage time that we finally broke through a stingy Port Vale defense. We brought in Archie Love to replace JPK, who has been amassing yellow cards at an alarming rate. So in the 80th minute I decided it was best to sit JPK because the refs seem to be keying in on his aggressive style of play lately. In the 92nd minute, Port Vale was set to throw in the ball. Peter Bore did a fantastic job of intercepting the throw and heading it up to Guy Madjo. Madjo questionably one-timed it back to Love, even though I thought he could have either attacked the keeper himself or thread a ball to the left wing where Thomas Butler was cutting in behind two defenders that were collapsing in on Madjo. Madjo proved why he's a player and I'm only a coach, however, as Love sprinted in from about 30 yards out before blasting a shot off from about 25 yards. The poor keeepr took a dive but the rifled shot hit home and the celebration was on.

We mercifully had a week after this stretch of games before we closed out the month against Gillingham. With the team fully rested, we hit the pitch on the strength of three straight wins and three straight clean sheets. We managed to extend our clean sheet run to 4 games, but we forgot to score any goals ourselves, lol. What's worse is that we looked bad offensively, which is the opposite of what I expected after having a chance to get some rest. We only managed 6 shots on goal, with 3 of them on target.

Remember that boring win I was hoping for against Swindon? Our first round game in the JPT was anything but boring. Mehdi Lazaar started at trequart and opened the scoring in the 8th minute. Wayne Phillips picked out Lazaar in the middle of the box with a great cross and Lazaar made good on the assist. We ended up going into the half down a goal, however, as Gary Gardner and Luke Rooney netted goals within 8 minutes of each other (12, 20). Adam Birchall, ever present in the early months, tied things up in the 57th minute and that's how things ended after 90 minutes. Onto penalties!

Alan Julian saved the first attempt, and Birchall put immediate pressure on by scoring our first attempt. Both teams scored on their second attempts. Gillingham scored on their third attempt but poor Danny Crow sent his attempt several feet too high, meaning things were back to even going into the fourth round of kicks. Both teams scored on their fourth attempts, setting up a dramatic 5th round. Luke Rooney, who scored a goal earlier, sent his attempt high and wide, so Copp stepped up with the game in his hands. As luck would have it, the keeper guessed right on Jordan Copp's attempt to the top left corner. o___o Gillingham made their 6th attempt, so Ismael Yakubu stepped up and had to make his kick. The center back hasn't been in great form defensively lately, but he calmly stepped up and sent us into the 7th round of kicks. Gillingham's attempt bounced off of the right post, leaving us with another potential game winner. This time it would be Andrew Hughes with the game on the line. Hughes sent the keeper right, while his kick went left. Good night, see you in the second round! Our next opponent in the JPT will be League 1 side Portsmouth, so we will have yet another difficult task ahead of us if we want to advance further.



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Our fantastic run in September has us surprising everyone as we sit at the top of the table! We're not even a quarter of the way through the season, however, so there is plenty of time for things to normalize a bit. I'm hoping we don't fall too far back down to earth! Right now we sit 4 points clear of third place and the final auto promotion spot. We are also 6 points clear of 8th place and the final playoff spot. We have another six games on tap for October and once again, these games will give us a better idea of how we really stack up against the competition. We will face off against Burton (24), Southend (1), Hereford (18), Plymouth (4), Carlisle (14), and Oxford (2).



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My scouts keep finding me promising prospects so we keep signing them on free transfers. We could be more frugal with our weekly budget, but with a bit of luck maybe some of these players will develop well for us and will be a benefit in a few seasons.

Morlais Davies looks promising as an advanced playmaker down the road. His lack of flair is the most glaring area to work on.


Ben Williams has potential as both a ball winning midfielder and as an advanced playmaker depending on how he develops. He needs better tackling, positioning and strength to be a BWM. He needs better flair, creativity, passing, and decisions to be an advanced playmaker.


Robbie Parry plays best as a winger but we're going to try and get him to play wide midfield instead. And if he doesn't develop more of the all-around game that we need at wide midfield, we'll sell him to the highest bidder! :)


Jacob Gibson is closer to being a poacher than a trequart. He needs better anticipation to be effective at either role, and needs a bit more mentally to be an effective trequart.
2012-10-30 16:34#69214 gotlandskommun : nice work.. have u done any tweeks to your 4-4-2 tactic? or do u just go for standard and balanced?

I noticed that my tactical familiarity kept changing any time I would switch from counter/balanced/control etc, so I froze all of the specific instructions in place while keeping the playing styles at the defaults. Defensive line and width are set dead center on the slider. Tempo is four clicks left of center. Time wasting is four clicks right of center. Focus passing is mixed after trying to focus through the middle at first. Counter attack is on, playing offsides is off.

This year I'm playing with shouts a lot more and using that to help dictate the style of play that we have on the pitch. I have a 'starting' shout package that I use to start nearly all games. I have an 'offensive' shout package that uses pump ball into box, push higher up, play wider, etc. I have a desperation 'catch up' package that's adds get ball forward, hassle opponents, etc to the offensive package. And lastly I have a 'defensive' shout package that uses drop deeper, play narrower, retain possession, etc.
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Great story Joannes! Hope you can recover from the memory loss, i wonder if you get nominated in the SotM? :P
I will continue to observe today as a day of mourning for fmscout. Tomorrow we will start again with updates! WE ARE FMSCOUT!
Looking good so far, who were relegated from League 2? Keep up the good work.
50th reply to one of Joannes' stories! :D Can't wait for the next update Joannes!

December 2014

vs Crewe


Four wins in a row and eight unbeaten. Could this be one of those huge runs? We got outplayed in this game but that was because Derek Niven got a little too feisty and earned himself two yellow cards before the half. That left us with damn near an hour to play with only 10 men but we found a way. Of course it was via penalty kick, something we’ve gotten accustomed to in our cup games! Adam Birchall was absolutely mugged in the box and drove home the game winning goal.

The automatic 2 game suspension to Niven hurts especially because we’re already missing JPK to injury. That means we’ll be onto our third choice at the BWM position.

vs Oldham


This was a game that we didn’t have any business winning given our poor performance. Once again we leaned on our defense and they pulled us through this muck until we struck twice in the dying minutes. Regardless, we’re up to five wins in a row and nine games unbeaten.

vs Rochdale


This is the first time in a while that I liked what I saw from our offense. Both strikers scored a goal and we made the most of our six shots on goal. This marks six wins in a row and ten games unbeaten!

vs Notts Co


Seven wins in a row, eleven games unbeaten. Guy Madjo makes the best of a spot start by bagging both goals in a 2-1 affair that saw us overturn a one goal halftime deficit.

Also, totally unrelated to the game itself, but our training facilities were completed shortly after this game! It’s only a small step as we now have fairly basic training facilities, but it’s a positive one. It took 16 months from start to finish but it shows the board has some ambition. We’re also currently in the planning stages of buying our grounds, with an estimated completion date of June 2015.

vs Stevenage


Another spot start, another inspired goal. This time it was Ismail Yakubu subbing in at center back who headed home the game’s second goal. This game marks our eighth consecutive win and our twelfth game without a loss.

The injury bug bit us hard in between games, with Alan Julian getting hurt while training on Christmas day. He broke a finger and will now be out 6-8 weeks. Looks like our streaks could be in jeopardy, although I’m sure Rob Brown will do his best with this opportunity to shine.

vs Colchester


Well our winning streak comes to an end but our undefeated continues. We had this game won but gave up a stupid goal in injury time to spoil Rob Brown’s first league game as our starting keeper.

vs Wycombe


Another start to a long winning streak, perhaps? 14 games without a loss now, as well. Adam Birchall bagged a brace and continues to showcase himself in the poacher role. I’m also pretty pissed that Ian Lewis was sent off for handball. The call was questionable, but he should’ve known better, especially in a game that was 3-0 at the time.

Capital One Cup - Quarterfinals


I lost what I had written for this game, but I have the video highlights! http://youtu.be/LrTxy1HITQc This was yet another great cup game that we managed to take to penalties and win against a team from a higher division.

FA Cup - Round 2


This wasn’t even close. The distance in talent between teams is pretty well summarized in the final score, and we started six subs in this game.

League Table

Feeling the confidence flowing as our unbeaten streak grows, I bravely told the board that expectations have changed as we head into the new year. We won 8 out of 9 games across all competitions in December, including that fantastic upset of Newcastle. Our streak puts us in commanding position at the top of the table. We are 8 points clear of 2nd place Millwall with three games in hand, and 9 points clear of 3rd place Coventry with two games in hand. The focus will now be on winning the league, and at worst finishing in 2nd to gain automatic promotion. Our opponents in January will be Bury (18), Brentford (12), Millwall (2), and Coventry (3).



Transfers

No new faces this month.

With the transfer window open again, I’m not sure that we’ll be adding any new faces. The injury to Alan Julian is a concern so we may look for a capable backup now that Rob Brown will be starting. Beyond that I’m really happy with how the team is looking right now. Maybe we’ll look for a big time defensive central midfielder for our likely future in the Championship next year?
Look at Sir Alex playing nice before our cup game! We're about to host them in our Capital One Cup game, and while I doubt that we'll even put up much of a fight, I sure would love to see SAF's reaction after a loss!

January 2015

vs Bury


Could the final score be more fitting? We buried Bury on the strength of an Adam Birchall hat trick and a Daniel Jones brace. What I’m especially happy to see is that we exploded for four of our five goals in the second half alone. What I wasn’t happy to see was that we allowed three goals in the second half alone. We are now on a fifteen game unbeaten streak and have won two games in a row.

vs Brentford


Well this certainly isn’t how I expected our streak to end. The final score is generous, too, because we were losing 1-3 before Adam Birchall slotted home a penalty kick in the 91st minute. Two tough losses in a row, as this comes on the heels of our loss to Wigan in the FA Cup.

vs Millwall


On the heels of three losses across all competitive games, we needed a good result in this game. Traveling to 2nd place Millwall wasn’t ideal but we managed to grind out a scoreless draw in front of a hostile crowd of 20k+. Sure we would’ve loved to have notched a win to kickstart a positive vibe, but this was still a good way to slowly shake off the losing feeling we’ve had recently.

We have a pretty big loss in this game with Kristoffer Peterson spraining his ankle. He’ll be sidelined for 6-7 weeks. And while Peterson isn’t a starter, he certainly isn’t a slouch either. We’ll likely bring up youngster Tom Boyle from the reserves to play backup.

vs Southend


What a great way to end the month! Adam Birchall explodes for a hat trick, his third of the season, taking his goal total to 40 in 38 games played overall.

The one bad news from this victory is that we lost Derek Niven to injury. His gashed leg will keep the backup BWM out of action for 2-3 weeks.

Capital One Cup – Semifinals Leg 1


Let’s be honest here – this would’ve taken more than an upset, it would’ve taken a miracle. And we had one for at least half the game, lol. United scored two goals in five minutes, but one of them was in their own net. As the game wore on, however, you just knew we wouldn’t be able to keep up. We finally relinquished the lead just before the hour mark and now we will head to Old Trafford needing to score at least twice to even have a chance at winning on aggregate.

Capital One Cup – Semifinals Leg 2


We went into Old Trafford knowing we needed to score at least two goals to even have a chance at a dream run into the finals. And you know what? WE SCORED THREE! We also allowed seven, lol. We found ourselves down 0-5 within the first hour of the game as Man U showed the kind of lethal touch that we aspire towards. We managed to rattle off three goals in a row to make the score respectable once again, only to give up two more goals with less than 10 minutes to go.

This loss marks our third in a row across all competitions and I hope the boys can recover. At the very least we can still try to defend the Johstone’s Paint Trophy and we can shift focus to continuing our promotion run in League 1.

FA Cup - Round 3


Yeah, yeah, we weren’t supposed to be here. Yeah, we got lucky. But damn it, losing doesn’t feel good no matter what the circumstances are. Especially when you consider that we were tied 1-1 at halftime and knew that Wigan would be playing with 10 men after a red card in the 38th minute. We couldn’t break through, however, and our aggressive play on offense led to two second half goals allowed.

Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – Semifinals


While not nearly as prestigious as the FA Cup and the Capital One Cup, I still took the JPT seriously for two reasons. One, we are the defending champions. Two, it gives us a chance at more silverware. That said, I was very pleased that we advanced to the finals with a vintage display. Our defense played very well and our offense was opportunistic.

League Table

After having so much success to this point, January was a rude awakening. We went 3/1/4 across all competitions, marking the first time in a LONG time that our team suffered so many losses. We ended the month on a three game unbeaten streak, though, so hopefully that bodes well as we head into the coming months. Despite our tough month we are 4 points clear of 2nd place Millwall with four games in hand and 9 points clear of 3rd place Crewe also with four games in hand. Our opponents in February will be Bury (18), Brentford (12), Millwall (2), and Coventry (3).



Transfers

Andrew Geraghty comes highly recommended by our best scout (14 PA) so we splashed 10k on the prospect. Only 17, he has plenty of time to develop behind starting left fullback Blair Adams.


Gerry Gannon is another youngster we’re hoping to develop. Hopefully he will be a serviceable wide midfielder.


Chris Devaney continues our youth movement at center back. We’ll look to rotate him in with our other young studs – Ian Lewis and Alex Coleman.

Total money spent – 10k
Unlucky against United but great going getting to the JPT final! :D

February 2015

vs Doncaster


Talk about a Jekyll and Hyde performance! We took a 2-0 halftime lead and did everything we could to throw it away in the second half. Doncaster scored just before the hour mark to make things interesting, but we extended the lead back to two goals with ~15 minutes to go. Doncaster then caught us napping with a late goal to make the final minutes a lot more interesting than I had hoped they would be. A win is a win, however, and we’ve won two straight league games and four overall across all competitions.

vs Stevenage


Alan Julian’s return from injury was nearly spoiled. We were down 0-1 at halftime but Adam Birchall bagged a second half brace to secure victory. We’ve now won three straight league games, and five across all competitions.

vs Torquay


Back to the grinding style! We took 4 shots, put 3 on target, and netted two. Torquay dominated us otherwise, taking 4 times the number of shots and owning over 60% possession. But in the end, it’s quality over quantity for us. This marks four straight league game victories and six across all competitions.

vs Sheff Utd


Our defense is really starting to shine recently. This should’ve been a clean sheet but we gave up a cheap goal in the dying moments of the game. Otherwise, we did a great job of limiting opportunities and Adam Birchall bagged two more goals to take his total to 32 in league games and 45 overall.

vs Rotherham


Another strong showing for the home fans! This time we finished the drill and maintained a clean sheet. We’ve now reeled off six league wins in a row and nine across all competitions as our lead at the top of the table continues to swell.

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