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Which will happen first: The completion of this challenge or the apocalypse?

Manager
Discussion
February 2020


It's Cup month apparently, so we'll go through that first:

President's Cup


https://i.imgur.com/UW3ILEG.png

Bit of an odd game - scored with our first attack, sat back as their midfield 5 dominated ours but failed to break through, then blew our chance to ice the game at the end.
We don't have any proficient penalty takers in the club too, which has been made all too clear when the coaches are suggesting that Theron Cupid take them.

https://i.imgur.com/NJLPYd1.png

I think we gave way too much respect to Roma United here, being somewhat satisfied to let them have the ball and have the occasional counterattack.
Our chances went up in flames when Wood got his second yellow, and Roma took full advantage to earn a vital win, despite a late flurry of chances on our part.

https://i.imgur.com/czLANVm.png

You have to feel sorry for Roma tbh - having won the 1st leg and leading on away goals at the half in this leg, being blown to pieces in the way that they did would've been mortifying.
That said, what an incredible second half - Barnett and Connolly were at their very best yet again, the former with four assists to add to his goal too.
But the MoTM had to go to Abijah Lewis and his hat trick - another dominant performance from the young striker.

https://i.imgur.com/Kc7V180.png

They'd beaten us earlier in the league, so we could leverage that and avenge that loss, in no better an occasion than a cup final.

Back to the league, where the entire Cup XI was rested:

https://i.imgur.com/Nnlhw4E.png

Our B-Team was probably more concerned with not losing tbh, and to that end we succeeded, keeping a desperate George Town at bay.

https://i.imgur.com/l4ctgVC.png

Bodden Town and Elite are effectively out of reach at this point, but being 6 at the halfway point of the season with 2 games in hand and a cup final is much more that I can ask for really.

Oh and remember how I wanted to rest the Cup XI?

https://i.imgur.com/Dsah4Ks.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/Pftkx4A.png

"Oh give them a few minutes in the U20s, they can't possibly get hurt right"
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
March 2020


President's Cup Final


https://i.imgur.com/21ms3mm.png

It was a cautious start from both sides and it was looking like we'd go into the break goalless, but for a run and cross down the left from Barnett, which Thomas unfortunately diverted into his own net.
We came out of the 2nd half and scored the second almost immediately, before Lewis made it 3 in under the hour.
Cayman replied with 2 goals of their own sandwiching McLaughlin's effort, but we did just enough to seal the win.

https://i.imgur.com/HvckmNX.png

Oh yeah, trophy number 2 lads.

https://i.imgur.com/p7JjGza.png

Both Elite and Bodden Town crashed out in the first round too, which definitely made the cup win significantly more possible.

We've also had the draw for the other cup competition:

https://i.imgur.com/RkQvhDZ.png
https://i.imgur.com/nlUueLH.png

Rather (very) unusually, the fixture list doesn't display the cup tie, instead showing the league game - also against Academy - on the same day.
No idea if it'll fix itself come the day, but I really hope this thing doesn't crash on me already.

Ok, back to the league:

CIFA National League


https://i.imgur.com/0bNz8eu.png

Managed to forget to switch out Hernandez the cup keeper, who (bless his heart) is nowhere near as good as Leighton Coleman.
Granted the loss wasn't his fault, but Coleman would've saved those I reckon.
At leats McLean got a couple of goals after some time out with injury and only coming back recently.

https://i.imgur.com/iz49YQ0.png

I took the loss as an opportunity to do some squad rotation, particularly since this game was just 3 days after.
Undeniably nervy - the 1st meeting earlier was a close 1-0 win and Scholars with their 4-2-3-1 was inevitably keeping the ball well.
But of course we were always going to have chances with Ebanks-Cupid up top - unfortunately he (and late sub Lewis) fluffed their attempts.

https://i.imgur.com/5gA6LWd.png

The first XI was back in town against Cayman Brac, but it looked like we were headed into another winless streak when Solomon curled it a sumptuous shot for a shock opener.
Thankfully Connolly put those fears to rest with a quick reply, before we put the game away in the 2nd half.

https://i.imgur.com/hJiShO1.png

We've got games in hand on our direct opponents above us, as well as everyone below which gives us a very handy buffer, but we're basically at least 8 points behind the top of the table.
Rather annoyingly, Scholars have also kept themselves just out of reach for now. Still, with a cup title in hand this season has been undeniably fruitful no matter what.

Lastly, the annual youth intake has arrived:

https://i.imgur.com/Xv3knNR.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/2TSmEtU.png

I'll give you guys a proper rundown on the ones I've decided to keep once their trials finish next month.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
April 2020


CIFA FA Cup


https://i.imgur.com/cuNf8QR.png

We started very well, as our strike pair gave us a 2-goal lead in under 2 minutes, but a lack of communication led to Connolly's own goal and a bit of nerves about us.
Barnett added a goal to his earlier assist for a (yet another) MoTM performance, before Academy had a late consolation to bring back those nerves.
But a win's a win, a it's a first step to a cup double.

CIFA National League


https://i.imgur.com/WVzsM6k.png

East End have been an annoying bogey team for us, having not beaten them in an official game since I took over last season.
And so it continued, as we eventually succumbed to their increasing control on the game.

https://i.imgur.com/9TSnXfu.png

Shocker as Tigers cave yet again.
A bit more difficult this time as our bumper schedule necessitated some rotation, but once McLean scored we never looked back.

https://i.imgur.com/3q3BgCB.png

We were listless this game, attack was out of whack and our defence couldn't hold - one of those days I suppose.

https://i.imgur.com/Ao6c8OE.png

Admittedly I should've been much braver than simply playing on the break, because they were definitely there for the taking.
They didn't have their shooting boots on in the 1st half, as were we, but giving up so many chances to a superior side was bound to bite us in the arse eventually.
A late siege on their goal didn't bring the equaliser, but it definitely highlighted how vulnerable they were to chances as we were - if only we'd gone at them earlier.

https://i.imgur.com/7z4W7Fn.png

A completely different outfield 2 days later properly backfired on us, as Academy avenged their cup loss pretty convincingly.
Oh and quelle surprise, we can't take penalties.

https://i.imgur.com/fJtnF4e.png

4th is well within our grasp if we can stop this recent slide, though we're equally likely to tumble down the table.
Such an annoying drop in form again though, but with 6 games this month something simply had to give.

At least the club had a bit of a positive at the end of the month:

https://i.imgur.com/UkfHxBm.png

You may or may not have noticed that I've taken a pay cut, and it turns out I probably should've too:

https://i.imgur.com/t7zSJ7U.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/E6BdIvu.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/MOnv48U.png

I could well have bankrupted the club with my requests for facilities upgrading, oops.

Finally, as promised there are the youth prospects I've signed:
https://i.imgur.com/UQbnAkK.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/YyQLl99.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/fTcCCa3.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/rzS7oNn.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/3t51UQp.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/vstuobL.png
Personally Cupid is the best of the lot - he's already made his debut, and despite his lack of ambition I believe he can develop into a serviceable defender, hopefully for us to transition into a 3-4-3, because there just aren't any decent RBs around.
McLaughlin doesn't quite count - he's tall af and will also be trained to play in the centre.
Roach-Ruiz and Andre Solomon-Williams are both absolute wastelands technically, but possess some pace and are somewhat willing runners, and I can definitely have use for guys like them.
I'm counting on Ruiz Martinez's good Vision to be our primary playmaker of sorts, though he'll need a lot of work on his other Mental attributes before he can start regularly.
Benjamin Solomon-Williams was the last of this bunch to be signed - good enough in the air, good enough determination, not as good as Cupid for now but who knows a year down the line.

070563 - 120815

I'll see you
End of Season 2019/20

CIFA FA Cup


https://i.imgur.com/CDQ57M1.png

We weren't to have the fairytale run of the President's Cup repeated here, and unfortunately it's probably shown again that Martin Hernandez is levels below Leighton Coleman - both goals were arguably preventable with a more capable stopper, but nevertheless we keep faith in our cup goalkeepers over here.
We went back on level terms just as half time was approaching, and while both sides had chances at the winner we eventually went the distance to penalties.
It's times like this when you need your senior players to step up, like a captain for instance. Well for Leighton Robinson he came off the bench and promptly missed his penalty in sudden death.
Granted he's rubbish at penalties (the whole team is), but it stings that little bit more when it's your captain who ballses it up.

https://i.imgur.com/Mpcvove.png

Bit of a pity they didn't win the whole thing so we couldn't say at least we lost to the winners, but they did beat Elite which is equivalent to a cup win in most cases.

National League


https://i.imgur.com/Ps4jrIK.png

The team was still finding its way back from that terrible loss to Academy, and we clearly weren't on top of it when Williams opened the scoring.
We're still very capable of chance creation though, but despite the equaliser (Abijah with a sweet cross for McLean after some good buildup) we were pretty wasteful.

https://i.imgur.com/P76O2EZ.png

I don't think I'll ever be as pissed at us scoring 7 goals.
Sunset played with 3 up top and they tore us to shreds in the 1st half, with 2 goals for their rewards. Thankfully for us there was good reason for them being near the bottom of the table, and we tore them an even bigger one in the second half. The number of chances that Lewis and McLean missed though, the could've had 5 each easily - double hat tricks though, that's some feat in itself already.

https://i.imgur.com/wJvIxhN.png

A massive, massive smash and grab win.
Andre Wilson left me with plenty of egg on my face when he struck home the opener from just inside the penalty area. Bodden Town should've built upon that lead, but as usual their 4-5-1 relied too much on their sole frontman being on form, and he hasn't been performing against us for some time.
Someone who did perform this game was Abijah Lewis, who used both his height and speed to great effect (helped on by a couple of errors from the Bodden goalkeeper) to earn us the shock win.

https://i.imgur.com/rHfQ7l0.png

An emphatic way to end the season, and revenge over North Side after the Cup exit.
North Side were the more accomplished side as seen during the cup tie, so we went with a more conservative approach this time round, which paid off handsomely.

https://i.imgur.com/kWAeQvx.png

Winning 3 of our last 4 made up for the 3 straight losses earlier in April, and resulted in us climbing back up into 4th in the end.
Bit of a shame that we finished 13 points behind Scholars though, considering we were 3 ahead halfway through the season.
Oh and the title race was as tight as the table suggested - it took literally the final game of the season (Elite played theirs a week after Bodden's last) to decide its fate (quelle surprise, Elite won).

Season Review


https://i.imgur.com/qSpy58I.png

Dominated the league in terms of individual performances, but our susceptibility to disastrous dips in form need to be remedied if we are to mount a serious title challenge.
Nevertheless, some encouragement in the form of both Ian Bennett and Jessus Connolly (the leagues top 2 for Average Rating), and top scorer Abijah Lewis.

https://i.imgur.com/Ypn4MPc.png

Pretty surprised that Emcuna Ebanks-Cupid was the best signing of the season, though to be fair to him he did step up well when Lewis wasn't available.

Players of the Season

Ian Barnett
https://i.imgur.com/pXekB81.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/ZGRZk9m.png
Well what can I say? He made the left side his own again, this time making sure the league knew he meant business.
I'm pretty certain his indispensability also contributed to a fair few knocks over the season, particularly as we were chasing the President's Cup - next season will hopefully see more rest for him.

Jessus Connolly
https://i.imgur.com/SM6O0vH.jpg
Bennett's equal on the opposite flank, Connolly topped the assist charts but was similarly blighted by injury as Barnett.
Also, no flair? No problem.

Abijah Lewis
https://i.imgur.com/KF9drYy.png
Top scorer this season, his sheer physical and finishing ability more than made up for his lack of determination.
Obviously it's a bit of a worry that he's got a low ceiling, but that's a problem for future me to figure out.

Joshewa McLean
https://i.imgur.com/fqMvDUG.png
You can tell I love my partnerships here - McLean acting as the bruiser to Lewis' speedo.
Also affected by injuries over the season, but he made great work of his time on the pitch - 13 goals and 6 assists in 23 starts is cracking stuff.

Loose Ends


https://i.imgur.com/cfm61gZ.png

Bingo, but with the CIFA FA Cup holding the keys to the CFU Cup Championship (aside from the league obviously) we'll need to go for that next season.

https://i.imgur.com/vlrz8yx.png

Bit of a shame, but absolutely the right decision because we sure as hell couldn't have afford either of these.
It's not all bad news though:

https://i.imgur.com/rtHAakt.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/EEEa4ZP.png

We've managed to pour more cash into the youth setup, which probably means I'll be playing the long game with regards to challenging for the league.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
Preseason 2020/21


https://i.imgur.com/Nz4JhjB.png

It's the preseason we've all come to expect - friendlies with teams we'll be playing in the league, good results but not necessarily good performances.
Been playing almost exclusively a Counterattacking system, which could be a problem when we need to turn on the screws against a team happy to sit back.
Indeed when we first played more attacking against Roma we proceeded to lose.

https://i.imgur.com/LmJrf5K.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/OoD7Ufg.png

Both the board and the bookies think we're comfortably midtable, which I'll gladly take since we've already shown we're far more than the sum of our parts.
In fact I've got so much faith in this current team that no signings have been made this transfer window, which explains the rather short update here.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
October 2020

https://i.imgur.com/uqhKfdr.png

Quick tip guys, don't play attacking football if the team's not familiar with it, even if the opponents are there for the taking.
Dire game from the strikers, and Connolly was the most suspect in the backline with the foul that led to the penalty.

https://i.imgur.com/UzSwTa2.png

Thank goodness we've got our annual 3 points up next, though even Tigers gave us a hard time in the 1st half.
The introduction of the recently fit Ian Barnett changed it all, with 2 pinpoint crosses leading to goals (could've had a hat trick of assists had the finishing been better as well).

https://i.imgur.com/8x3jnhq.png

Early doors, though losing so early does get my goat quite a bit.
That said with the other challengers having dropped points (make that everyone) it does mitigate the impart of our opening day setback.
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
November 2020


https://i.imgur.com/HeECDMJ.png

I know it's Elite and we were always going to struggle, but it was still incredibly frustrating to watch us go 3 down by the half, which flattered us such was the awfulness of our backline.
Lewis so nearly hauled us back into contention, but there was only so much 1 man can do. We were fortunate to no lose by more thanks to Coleman's penalty save.

https://i.imgur.com/GRHzuxS.png

Oh fuck sake.
We did very, very well on the day, playing on the break and sitting back against Town's usual 4-5-1, and we found ourselves 2 up going into the break.
We continued to defend and looked well within reach of a vital rebound win, only for Cupid to well, capitulate - concede a late freekick and a caution, then deflect that FK into your own net? Terrible stuff.

https://i.imgur.com/EOzJi3n.png

Finally a win this month.
Cayman Brac weren't at 100% on the day, and Lewis opportunistically put them to the sword early, before Barnett did what Barnett does with a goal of his own.

https://i.imgur.com/1Y3H1zA.png

Scholars already have a significant lead, but at least everyone below us have at least played the same number of games, so we won't be looking at a tumble down the table for now (I hope).
070563 - 120815

I'll see you
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