Welcome back to part three of Football Manager 2019, An Argyle Journey!
Last time we soared through pre-season, strengthened our squad with signings and began our league campaign with a draw at Walsall and a 1-0 home victory to Southend.
Fair to say I was happy with the start we had made, even with the injuries piling up the boys look capable of fulfilling our ambitions of staying in the league this season.
Whenever I play FM with Argyle I always hate the 1st round League cup game. It always is scheduled just after the first couple games and is always against a tough championship side.
If you have a positive start to the league it always threatens to bring you back down to earth and ruin any momentum you’ve started to build. And if you’ve lost your first league games only helps pile on the misery.
We had Nottingham Forest and I decided to keep the faith with the boys who had gotten me the win against Southend with Dyson coming in for injured Taylor.
Fair to say things didn’t go so well this time with multi-million-pound striker Hilal Soudani bagging a hat trick and dumping us out of the Carabao Cup.
Bit of a gutless performance, but I’m so glad we don’t have to play any more games in this competition. We’ll save the cup run for the FA Cup.
And back to League football it was, with Coventry away.
I went with a 4-3-3 formation this game, finally being able to use a fit David Fox in his best position pinging passes around from deep. With Ryan Taylor, Calum Dyson and new boy Kaylen Hinds all injured I was kind of forced into using wingers with Joel Grant and Lionel Ainsworth the only fit players available to me ( If you forget Gregg Wylde exists that is ).
Bit of a gamble playing the transfer listed Lionel Ainsworth, but in under 10 minutes, he had already claimed an assist with a beautiful run down the wing ending up with a cross onto the head of Joel Grant, who buries home.
So far this season it seems every tactical decision I make is inspired and somehow pulling off. My managerial ego is further stroked with a lovely sharp finish by Freddie minutes later.
Unfortunately, the defence let us down almost right away with Coventry’s quick and technical forwards causing us problems. 2-1.
10 minutes after the second half kicks off, Coventry go down to ten men and I can begin to put my feet up. Surely we can’t throw it away now?
Well they equalised 10 minutes later.
With an extra man there is no reason why we should not be able to push for the win.
And we get the winner in the last 10 minutes with an own goal. I’ll take it. We’ve won another game, how long can we keep this going?
With Derek Adams gone, Gareth Ainsworth is nice about us in the press before he brings his miserable Wycombe Wanderers to Home Park.
And miserable the game was with no goals on show, although we performed better according to the stats. And stopping Akinfenwa from scoring is almost worth a goal so I’ll take the point and move on.
Our defending from set pieces has been awful so far this season, as we concede almost identical goals against Peterborough, and suffer our first league defeat of the season. The posh were 23rd before they came here. Typical.
In the next week we get the news that Tafari Moore and Joel Grant have been selected to play for the Jamaican National Team. They won’t be able to play against Rovers next week.
But first its Pompey away.
Graham Carey and Ruben Lamieras are reunited in attack for the first time this season and I go for Kaylen Hinds to make his full debut as a wild-card, despite Freddie scoring last time out.
That was one tactical decision that didn’t pan out.
But what a performance it was from Stuart O’Keefe who completely gets one over on the team he was on loan at last season. He’s shown a lot of desire so far this season and kept Ness, Sarcevic, Songo’o and Conor Grant out of the team. He scores two great goals bursting from midfield to win us the game.
I was not expecting that.
After 6 games we are 6th.
I’m just waiting for the wheels to fall off.
Harrogate make an offer for Calum Dyson on loan and I accept because with us only playing one striker at the minute he’s not gonna get play-time. I negotiate it from a season-long to just a 4-month loan just in case we need him back.
It’s team of the week for super Stu.
So as mentioned before, no Joel Grant or Tafari Moore so Riley gets a chance at RB and we try something different with Kaylen Hinds playing behind Freddie at Bristol Rovers.
3 minutes into the game and THWACK
O’Keefe picks up straight were he left off against Pompey with an incredible strike to give us the lead.
Who needs Carey?
It’s an even game and we concede to a bloody set-piece again. Somehow the ball keeps falling to the man stood unmarked in the 6-yard box for an easy finish.
1-1 it ends.
An away point, I’ll take it.
Man of the Match, who else?
Meanwhile, Moore & J.Grant get 10 minutes each off the bench on international duty. I’m sure that was worth the 12-hour flight to Jamaica.
We are £20,000 pounds richer due to Curtis Nelson making his 60th appearance for Oxford. Thank you Nelse.
And for the 2nd week running, an appearance in the team of the week for super Stu.
Blackpool at home. No need to change the line-up.
Blackpool were solid. We could not score even with 13 shots and 64% of possession.
They scored in the 84th minute.
Charlton away, tough fixture. We bring Joel Grant back in, who was performing quite well before he went to Jamaica. Kaylen Hinds drops to the bench. I needed Graham to take control of the space in behind Charlton’s midfield and start producing.
That didn’t happen for Carey. And it’s not happening for him at all this season. I just can’t figure out how to get the best out of him. With an in-form Graham Carey, I can’t even think of where we could be in the league table. But an away point at The Valley is more than sufficient, but the biggest news is Freddie Ladapo’s injury.
2 months without the big man. He’s started well with the 3 goals. Kaylen Hinds and Ryan Taylor it’s time to step up.
It goes from bad to worse, we will be without O’Keefe for the next game.
Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Brexit is confirmed.
What a week.
Doncaster at home, final game of this part. Hinds replaces Freddie. I opt with Tafari Moore at right back and Antoni Sarcevic is the perfect replacement for O’Keefe.
Hinds scores two. The second a dramatic 93rd minute goal.
We needed that!
Another win, another game we deserved to win. This wasn’t meant to happen.
What happened to a relegation fight?
After 10 games we have 4 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses. We are 9th. We are above Pompey and Sunderland. We are Argyle.
O’Keefe is our best player so far with 4 goals, 1 assist and an average rating of 7.27.
A few of the bench warmers are getting upset with their play time. This includes Songo’o, ASB, Wootton, and Ness. I’m trying to keep control of the situation.
I’ll see you in Part 4 for a rundown of all of our October games!
Thanks for reading.