The Final Push
We may have secured a remarkable comeback to win the Federation Cup final and earn my first piece of silverware as Oviedo manager, but we still had one other important matter to tend to – the league. More specifically, the play-off push
. At the start of the month, we were languishing just outside the play-off spots, in 5th, but we were just one point behind Zamora
. We knew that a single slip up from them could be seized upon by us. Atletico B
were currently sitting pretty in 3rd, but they too could easily slip out of the play-offs. At this point in time, our fate was in our opponents hands
Month Of March
We began the month with a stuttering performance against C.D. Marino
, but a win nonetheless. Cerrajeria
put us in front on the stroke of half time, but C.D. Marino levelled soon after the break through Rober
. However, in a close game, we regained the lead moments later through a Martin Mantovani
Leganes 2-1 Zamora
Atletico B 1-0 Getafe B
Brilliant! Zamora had slipped up away to lowly Leganes, and we had overtaken. We were now 2 points ahead of Zamora, but remained 7 behind Atletico.
Next we travelled to Rayo B
, and fell 2-0 down early on to two quickfire goals from Machado
scored his second in as many matches to ease us back into contention, and after half time Cerrajeria
looked to have completed our comeback. However, Machado grabbed his hat trick 16 minutes from time and the game ended all square.
Zamora 0-0 Marino
Atletico B 2-1 Murcia
Thankfully Zamora also dropped points, keeping us 2 points clear of them. Atletico B produced a fantastic 2-1 win over league leaders Murcia and were now 9 points ahead of us.
Our next game was at home to lowly R.S.D. Alcala
, and we took the lead early on through the in-form Cervero
. However, in annoyingly typical fashion, our opponents levelled, as Tello
found the back of the net just before half time, and we went in all square. However, we were once again left to call on midfield maestro Cerrajeria
to win us the game, scoring his third goal in three matches to bag us the all important three points.
C.D. Marino 0-2 Zamora
Sporting B 2-0 Atletico B
Zamora again kept up the chase on us with a comfortable away win at C.D. Marino, however Atletico B slumped to a surprise 2-0 defeat to bottom of the league Sporting B, stark contrast to their previous result, and we were now only 6 points behind them.
We followed that up with an annoying 3-3 home draw against Sanse
. As per usual, we took the lead early on through Diaz
after just 2 minutes, but of course they levelled, through Sanz
produced another goal to put us back in front before Casares
extended our lead, but two late goals from Vaquero
meant we were forced to settle for a draw.
Guijuelo 1-2 Zamora
A massive win for Zamora meant we were now only ahead of them on head to head, but as Atletico B did not play we closed the gap between us to 5.
scored twice early on against Aviles
to secure us a precious away win, as for once we were able to hold on to our lead and grab a rare clean sheet.
Zamora 2-0 Salamanca
Atletico 2-0 Ourense
Coincidentally, all of us won 2-0 this weekend, so the standings remained exactly the same. Zamora produced a very impressive win over title contenders Ourense.
(Wednesday) Fuenlabrada 3-2 Atletico B
Atletico B lost their game in hand to Fuenlabrada, so we remained 5 points behind them, going into a crucial make-or-break
match against them.
March Player Of The Month – Galder Cerrajeria
Galder had a very impressive month for us, consistently popping up with vital goals as he scored in 4 consecutive matches. No one else deserved it more!
Months Of April/May
And so we began with a crucial home game against Atletico B
and were able to win, producing our best football when most necessary. We did get off to a bad start, however, with Gerard
firing Atletico B ahead on 11 minutes. However, Jose Vega
levelled before Javi Cantero
put us in front on the half hour mark. Borja
restored parity in the second half, but Javi Casares
soon put us back in front, before Diego Cervero
sealed a crucial win for us.
Getafe B 2-3 Zamora
Zamora won another big match for them against Getafe B to remain hot on our heels, but our win over Atletico meant we were now just 2 points behind them.
Again we were able to keep a rare clean sheet, as we dispatched of Caudal
2-0 thanks to first half goals from our prolific strike force of Diego Cervero
and Pepe Diaz
Murcia 4-1 Zamora
Rayo B 0-1 Atletico B
After their recent impressive form, Zamora were brought down to Earth by a clinical Murcia side, finally giving us some breathing space ahead of them. Atletico scored late on to dispatch of Rayo B and remained ahead of us in the standings.
(Wednesday) Atletico B 2-2 RSD Alcala
(Wednesday) Zamora 3-1 Sporting B
As we did not play, Atletico B missed the chance to go 5 points clear of us, being forced to settle for just one at home to RSD Alcala. Zamora won to close the gap between us again.
We had slipped up last time against Real Madrid C
, but were able to clinch another 2-0 win this time, away from home. Diego Cervero
scored twice in the second half to bag us the maximum points.
Atletico B 1-0 Sanse
Zamora 1-3 Fuenlabrada
Atletico B stole a narrow 1-0 home win against Sanse to remain ahead of us. Zamora, despite taking the lead against Fuenlabrada, eventually succumbed to a 3-1 home defeat to leave themselves on the verge of elimination from the play-off race.
We played our game in hand away to Coruxo
the next Wednesday knowing a win would put us above Atletico B on head to head
, but the early signs were not good as we fell behind early on to a Samuel
goal. In the second half I knew things weren’t working, so I made a bold move and brought on a tired Diego Cervero
for a faltering Pepe Diaz. And it sure did work, Cervero grabbing a hat trick and an Alberto Garcia own goal
clinching us a precious three points, all the goals coming in the final 15 minutes. We were finally up to 3rd place.
Next we had a frustrating home game against Leganes
, knowing we had to win to remain in 3rd. However, no matter how hard we tried, we just couldn’t score
. I watched in sheer disbelief as the Leganes keeper pushed away countless efforts. It was not all us, however, Casto himself was forced to make several important saves in a close game. We finally gained the lead and stole the 3 points late on, as Pepe Diaz
found the net, to the relief of our fans.
Aviles 2-2 Atletico B
Ourense 4-1 Zamora
Atletico B slipped up again to hand us a 2 point gap over them, and Zamora slipped up again to finally seal their fate
, against Ourense, securing a play-off for both us and Atletico B. But it was not over yet, I wanted us to land that 3rd spot.
Our penultimate match away to Zamora
was what I always thought of as our biggest match of the season
, but now in reality it really meant nothing. We succumbed to a late 2-0 defeat, with goals from Garcia
handing Zamora the win, but it meant little anymore.
Atletico B 0-0 C.D. Marino
Salamanca 0-2 Murcia
Atletico B missed the chance to overtake us, as they suffered a goalless draw against C.D. Marino. Meanwhile, Murcia won the title decider
match to snatch the lead away from their nearest rivals Salamanca, who were forced to contend in the play-offs.
And so we rounded off the main season with a convincing 3-0 home win against Marino
, Pepe Diaz
bagging a brace in the first half and Diego Cervero
adding to our lead in the second. A nice win! Atletico B’s fellow 3-0 win against Coruxo meant absolutely nothing now, we had secured 3rd place.
April/May Player Of The Month – Diego Cervero
It just couldn’t have been anyone else but Diego. After not scoring at all in the first half of the season, Oviedo hero Cervero scored an incredible 21 goals in all competitions, all coming so far in this calendar year. With 8 goals in these six weeks, he clearly was a decisive factor as we secured a play-off place. Thank you Diego!
Final League Table
I had guided Oviedo into the play-offs, one place higher than our media prediction of 4th. However, we still faced the play-offs, as did all the teams above us. It’s a funny system, even the league winners are not guaranteed promotion, in fact the four winners enter their own play-off system, and the 12 remaining play-off qualifiers enter a separate tournament, which I’m assuming all join up later. Sporting B, Real Madrid C, RSD Alcala
all suffered relegation, with Coruxo
entering the relegation play-offs.
We may have secured a treasured play-off place, but it was going to be even harder to win it.