The Football Manager Chronciles - Part Two

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

Welcome back to the TerrierBlog Football Manager Chronicles which move on into September. After a promising August that ended with Town in 11th place, September represented a good opportunity to chalk up extra points with games against Fulham, Wolves and Newcastle to come.



Here’s how John got on in September…


Fulham (A): 0-0


The attacking formation I opted for in the last two games against Bournemouth and Oxford worked out pretty well, so I stuck to the same approach as we headed down to Craven Cottage to take on Fulham.


There were wholesale changes to the team that had seen off Oxford as I put my trust in the players that had performed so well in the league in August. With three points in sight this is the team I selected.


GK – Lossl

RB – Durm

CB – Zanka

CB – Schindler

LB – Lowe

CM – Hogg

CM – Mooy

RM – Kachunga

CAM – Pritchard

LM – Mbenza

ST – Mounie


Durm replaced the injured Hadergjonaj at right back with Chris Lowe coming in to cover the left back slot. The plan was to attack Fulham from the off and that’s just what we did, notching 15 efforts on goal before half-time.


Unfortunately for us Sergio Rico was in fine form and Steve Mounie was in not so fine form, missing two clear-cut chances early on. After a few words of encouragement at half-time I sent the lads out to complete the job and grab the one goal that would win the game for us.


With the minutes ebbing away I threw Diakhaby and Grant on, reverting to a more traditional 4-4-2 with an emphasis on getting the ball back to front as quickly as possible. Town continued to knock on the door but just couldn’t find the breakthrough.


There was heartbreak in the final few minutes as Mitrovic scored for the hosts, but thankfully the linesman ruled out his strike for offside. We were forced to settle for a scoreless draw which wasn’t ideal, but was certainly better than a loss.



Wolves (H): 3-1


After the international break Town were back in action in the televised Sunday game against newly promoted Wolves. I was tempted to shake things up after the draw at Fulham but in the end I kept faith with the same team.


That faith was duly repaid as we romped to victory. Steve Mounie smashed in a wonderful volley in the 9th minute to set us on our way with Aaron Mooy doubling the lead shortly after with a tidy finish from the edge of the box.


It was a case of ‘more of the same’ during the half-time team talk and Isaac Mbenza duly obliged, scoring the third after a rapid counter attack in the 54th minute. Conor Coady grabbed a consolation from a corner in the 72nd minute but it wasn’t enough to claw Town back.


The boys were in high spirits after the game and rightly so, that victory had pushed the team up to 9th in the table and things were about to get better…



Newcastle (A): 3-2


Attack was the best form of defence in my mind as we travelled up to Newcastle, and there was no point changing personnel from the Wolves game. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? I began to question that in the 15th minute when Christopher Schindler tripped Matt Ritchie in the box.


The Scottish winger tucked away the subsequent penalty and we were suddenly on the back foot. Thankfully that didn’t last long as Schindler atoned for his mistake minutes later, heading the equaliser from a corner.


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Town were given a boost shortly before half-time when Steve Mounie headed home from another corner. The hard work on set-pieces over the summer months was really paying off in this game and Benitez’s Newcastle looked shell-shocked.


The players were showered with praise at half-time but that seemed to have gone to their heads somewhat as they relinquished their lead just one minute into the second period. Matt Ritchie stole a march on Chris Lowe and curled the ball past Lossl from the edge of the box.


With our set-piece prowess clear for all to see we were a constant threat to Newcastle. Steve Mounie scored what turned out to be the winner in the 60th minute, this time heading past Dubravka from an Aaron Mooy free-kick.


Eager to hold the lead I quickly reverted to a 5-4-1 and attempted to ‘shithouse’ the match, time wasting at every opportunity and defending as deep as possible. Newcastle scored twice in the final few minutes but on both occasions we were rescued by the referees whistle.


In the post-match interview the press put it to me that my team had been fortunate to get the rub of the green from the officials. I promptly told them to ‘piss off’ and stormed out of the interview, best to keep them on their toes after all…



Fulham (A): 5-2


A trip back down to Craven Cottage was our reward for beating Oxford in the second round of the Carabao Cup, and it gave me another opportunity to rotate. The following 11 players got the nod for this clash.


GK – Hamer

RB – Smith

CB- Stankovic

CB – Kongolo

LB – Lowe

CM – Billing

CM – Williams

RM – Puncheon

CAM – Bacuna

LM – Diakhaby

ST- Grant


It was a great start for Town, Karlan Grant opened the scoring after just 2 minutes with a well-placed one-on-one finish. Within the blink of an eye though I was made to rue my decision to rotate.


Tom Cairney and Aleksandar Mitrovic both scored within 4 minutes of each other to send Fulham into an undeserved 2-1 lead. There was more madness at the end of the first-half as Puncheon scored twice in 2 frenzied minutes to send us into the break 3-2 up.


That quickfire double broke Fulham’s spirit and we romped to victory in the second half with Karlan Grant and Jon Stankovic adding the fourth and fifth goals for Town. The 622 Town fans in attendance were sent away in high spirits dreaming of an epic Carabao Cup run.



Southampton (H): 1-1


This game was a clash between 7th and 20th with the Saints sitting rock bottom of the table after losing all of their opening league fixtures. At the risk of sounding cocky I thought this match was in the bag.


The 4-2-3-1 was unleashed yet again with one or two familiar faces returning to the starting line-up.


GK – Lossl

RB – Durm

CB – Zanka

CB – Schindler

LB – Kongolo

CM – Hogg

CM – Mooy

RM – Kachunga

CAM – Pritchard

LM – Mbenza

ST – Mounie


I toyed with the idea of starting Karlan Grant ahead of Mounie after his midweek heroics, but he was still lacking in match sharpness so I opted for the tried and tested option. The game started well and as expected we bossed the first half.


In the 37th minute Alex Pritchard scored a delightful chip from the edge of the box and I was ready for the impending goal avalanche. Unfortunately the lads must have sensed my complacency as they fell dramatically off the pace in the second period.


Southampton dragged us from left to right over and over again until James Ward-Prowse equalised in the 52nd minute. Despite numerous shouts of ‘SHOW SOME PASSION’ from the touchline, Town were stuck in their malaise and were lucky to escape the game with a 1-1 draw.



Despite that disappointment we finished the month in 7th with 12 points from our first 7 games of the season. All was well in the camp until Phillip Billing knocked on my door complaining about his lack of first-team involvement.


Telling him to get on with it turned out to be the wrong approach as several of the players took his side and baulked at my decision. I was finally beginning to understand how hard the dressing room was to control for Jan Siewert…


Click HERE to read the story of October.

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