I am going to attempt what I believe will be a very interesting challenge. Having downloaded an expansion which makes the 7th and 8th tiers of British Football playable, I have taken control of Romulus F.C. in the EVO-Stick Northern D1S. I hope to provide coverage of all the ups and downs, as I seek to make this squad relevant. After beating the reserve team by an uncomfortable 2-1 margin (a win is a win, right?), my expectations are rather tempered. Hopefully the friendly slate will provide a bit of encouragement.
Good luck, should be interesting.
Friendly Update and Team Overview
The first friendly is in the books. It wasn't pretty, A 1-0 win over Welsh Amateur outfit Lex.
- It was an ugly beginning, as Lex made a few runs and controlled possession for the first 15 mins of play.
-The tide eventually shifted for us when Ashley Jackson put forth a tremendous free kick, which only required a tap-in on the part of Jemiah Richards
-Lex wouldn't threaten for the rest of the game, and while my side generated several nice chances, none found their way in.
Looking at the side, I'm actually quite surprised in some areas, and in others I got what I expected. Tactically I'm playing a 4-4-2 Standard as my starting formation, a 3-4-3 Attacking as my desperation formation, and a 4-4-2 Counter as my defending formation.
Neither one of the two are much to smile about. Both are currently average with my starter having a slightly higher potential than my backup, but it will behoove me to see if I can find something better (cheaply, mind you, my budget is pathetic). However, they are both serviceable, so this isn't a top priority.
The interior has me excited. Jemiah Richards is 25, with 5 star ability, and my Captain, and resident old timer Dave Barnett is 44 with close to 5 star ability and excellent numbers in the air. The outside is less strong, especially on the right. Finding some depth will be important, but again, with a limited budget, this can't be a top priority.
This is my strongest area. All but one are at 4.5-5 star ability, and only 1 is over 20 (he's 33 and should provide a nice veteran presence). My left midfielder, Greg Youngjohns is only 17 and still has some cooking to do, so we are hoping to bring him along quickly. Behind these guys, there is only average depth, so I'm hoping that injuries won't crop up.
As I have already seen, this is my weakest unit. There are only three players on my Senior Squad with any proficiency at striker to begin with. 20 year old Ross Dempster is my best, but he is only at 4 star ability, and while he does have 5 star potential, his speed is too little to be encouraging. My other striker, Marcus Brown has looked the best so far, but he is only at 2 star ability, though I like his potential for growth better than Dempster. I also have a 15 year old Trevor Childs in reserve, but he definitely needs more time to develop. Securing two more strikes is my priority before the season. I don't have much to sign them with, but hopefully I'll be able to make a solid economic purchase.
Next update will update that search, as well as the friendly slate.
This is looking very good so far, good luck
Striker Signings and Friendly Updates
After scouring the BSS/BSN for potential ringers, and finding none, I eventually set out on a much larger search, desperately hoping that I could find two quality strikers. In this I would say I got very lucky in finding 20 year old Fergus Bell and 19 year old Ashley Jackson. Both are young with 5 star potential and nice stats. Fergus is 5 star ability and potential, and is projected to be a star in the 8th tier. After watching him in a few friendlies (Both signed day of the Welshpool Town match), I'd have to say that if he can get his finishing stronger, he really will be dominant. In my two friendlies this week, however, 15 year old Trevor Child would finish as my leading scorer with two goals. On defense, Jemiah Richards looks the strongest, and in the midfield, everyone looks strong. Very encouraging!
The First Friendly took place against another Welsh squad, this one was Semi-Pro, and seemed to be a bit more difficult than Lex. Not much though.
The Second Friendly took place against a fellow 8th tier side, Bedworth United. This was the game from which I am drawing most of my encouragement.
Friendly vs. Welshpool Town (Mid-Wales League 1)
-It was another tough start to swallow, as Welshpool hit two posts in the first 90 seconds, but fortunately nothing went in.
-Ashley Jackson created some nice chances, and Edwards had one good look at the goal, but couldn’t finish, as we went to the half tied 0-0.
-At the half I subbed out my new additions at forward to return Marcus Brown and Ross Dempster to the fold (I’m still trying to find my third forward for my 3-4-3 desperation formation).
-Brown had several nice strikes from the get go, finally potting one after a nice through ball by Nathan Walker. 1-0 Romulus
-Brown’s performance was a bit marred when he missed a penalty in the 78th min.
-Welshpool failed to threaten for the remainder of the game as poor midfield play kept them bottled up in their own half for much of the day.
Final: 1-0 Romulus
Goal: Marcus Brown
Reaction: Another case where I would’ve liked a bigger victory. Although we were apparently considered the underdog, they certainly didn’t seem to have much quality. Edwards and Bell will get better as they get used to the team. Marcus Brown has me very excited about his future. Hopefully our next friendly against a team at the same tier as us will give a better indication of exactly where our side is at.
Friendly vs. Bedworth United (Evo-Stick Southern D1C)
-This time it was our side who jumped out to a fast start. Fergus Bell had several nice runs and chances before burying one in the 17th min.
-At about the 35th min, Bell sent a beautiful cross to a free Julian Edwards, but Edwards couldn’t finish.
-Despite our general dominance, Bedworth converted on a 40th min free kick to tied the game at 1 heading to the half.
-Despite an early Bedworth chance, our dominance began to show through.
-15 year old Trevor Child scored from a sharp angle at around the 55th min, and would add another one later off of a rebound.
-Bedworth was completely overwhelmed from that point forward, only finishing with 4 shots to our 19.
Final: 3-1 Romulus F.C.
Goals: Fergus Bell, Trevor Child (2)
Reaction: I’m very pleased with this one. Fergus Brown looks dominant up front, the midfield, even when manned by backups looks strong. Julian Edwards is a concern, and the play of Trevor Child, Marcus Brown, and Nathan Walker have all given me some thinking to do in regard to the starting XI. It’s a good problem to have
Next update: The first half of the remaining friendly slate as well as pick-ups from English Trial Day.
Trail Day Signings:
Jack Morris M (L)
I was hoping to be more active, but a move was made on one of my right full back and I needed to cover him. However, I am still very happy with this signing. Morris is a 4.5 star ability left mid-fielder, a position which I needed to cover badly. Youngjohns and Child are simply not cutting it on that side of the field, and hopefully Morris can give us some crossing potential to Fergus Bell. Most of my signings haven’t been yearly deals yet, but rather game by game deals. As such, I’m anxious they’ll get snapped up by higher tiered teams. There may still be another deal in the works, but with the season approaching, the squad is starting to take shape.
Only two matches on tap this week, one against a lower tiered English Team, and another amateur outfit from Wales
Friendly vs. Gresley (Midlands Football Alliance)
-Fergus Bell would get free in the 26th min before being fouled in desperation by Nigel Newman from Gresley, who was red-carded. Left Defender Richard Evans would bury the ensuing free kick to make it 1-0
-Despite our dominating flow of play, Gresley would find a goal in the 35th min a long volley
-We would retake the lead in the 40th min as Nathan Walker (spelling an injured Wayne Dyer) would score a beautiful McPike pass to make it 2-1.
-Second Half started quietly with a few decent chances until Fergus Bell got free again…this time he finished. 3-1 Romulus
-In the 85th min, Nathan Walker put a cherry on top of his great day with a long range snipe to make it 4-1
-Gresley was never really in this one
Final: 4-1 Romulus F.C.
Goals: Richard Evans, Nathan Walker (2), Fergus Bell
Reaction: The beginning was a little too even for my taste, but we rounded into form nicely. It all seemed to come together after Nathan Walker came in in the 20th min. Bell was quite for much of the first half, and his finishing wasn’t great, but he still scored and is giving people fits on the backend. Hopefully that doesn’t change when the season starts. As for Walker, I’m seriously considering giving him first team status, we’ll see how the next few matches shake out.
Friendly vs. Brymbo (Welsh National Premier)
-In what is becoming a concerning theme, we were lackluster for the first 20 mins, nearly surrendering a goal on a long shot.
-Trail Day Signing Jack Morris sent a glorious through ball to a streaking Fergus Bell to make it 1-0. Fergus would add another goal off of a Nathan Walker header 9 mins later, and would nearly score again right before the half. 2-0 Romulus at the half
-The second half was disappointing, we didn’t do much on offense save a few runs by Bell. Brymbo scored on a shot from right outside the box in the 79th min to make it 2-1, but failed to get closer.
Final: 2-1 Romulus F.C.
Goals: Fergus Bell (2)
Reaction: Despite the positive play of Jack Morris, Fergus Bell, and Nathan Walker, this was a disappointing display. If our finishing had been up to par, we could’ve easily banged in 5 goals in the first half. Taking Walker out at halftime really seemed to be the catalyst for our struggles, almost 70% of our preseason offense has come with him in the game. Our next friendly comes against a tier-7 team, and should be a real test, but I fear it won’t end well if our second half display carries over.
Next Update: We close out the friendly slate, and preview the first month of the season
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