54: Back on top of the heap

15 March 2020
Newcastle, Australia

Against the odds we find ourselves to of the pile and once again in command of our fate. Injuries have been a concern for us lately and the side has been hard hit with all three first choice central defenders out with injury.

Blow by Blow

Youth Coaching Appointments

My youth team coaching had been overlooked so I decided to upgrade that section of staff.

2020-0039

Attacking and fitness

2020-0040

Skills coach

2020-0041

Defensive coach

Hyundai A-League – Match 21/27

2020-0042

We are slight favourites for our visit to Sydney FC. Last time out we shared the points, and with us seeking to cement at minimum 2nd place, a win is a necessity for us. Nick Wells and Ray McDonough have been performing poorly in recent matches. This opens the way for Devid Carli and Christopher Robinson to show what they offer.

2020-0043

Devid Carli wastes no time by scoring in the 2nd minute. Dobson sets up Carli’s second with a lovely cross as we start to boss the game.  A fantastic long range strike by Sean Brook sees us 3-0 clear after 17 mins but Sydney pull one back to make it 3-1 after only 20 minutes. After the frenetic start the game seemed to meander to a conclusion with only an injury to Jason Ferguson and a knock to Andie Maseti the only points of interest.

21

Injury Report

2020-0045

Andie Maseti is out with a minor injury for a week at most. He will miss the key match against the Victory however.

2020-0046

The tilte should have been “Out for the Count!” but I am not that cheesy. Jason Ferguson aka “The Count” is one of my key midfield players and to lose him for a month at this stage of the campaign is frustrating.

Phoenix upset Victory

2020-0047

This is a huge result. We are now just 2 points behind Melbourne and play them next game up. If we win, we would leapfrog them to the top of the table.

Injury Update

2020-0048

Now this is annoying. Sam Booth was one of my key performers and was really starting to form a good partnership with Rory Adams.

Loan Recall

2020-0049

Nick Turnbull in my fourth choice centre-back and has been recalled from loan as cover for Booth.

Hyundai A-League – Match 22/27

2020-0050

We come into this game as slight favourites despite not beating these guys all season. The only changes to the team are those forced by injury. Maseti is available but not rested enough to be on the bench.

2020-0051

They made all the running early on and it was only the efforts of Phil Hughes who kept us in the game. We forced our way back and Devid Carli scored the opening goal with a tidy finish. Just as I was taking steps to shut the game down, Melbourne scored a great goal to level things up and deny us a point. To make matters worse Nikos Kourmantaros scythed down an opponent and got an early shower as a reward. We held onto a draw in the end, and it probably was a fair result.

22

Naughty Boy Nikos

2020-0053

I was livid with the sending of. I showed great tact and waited for a day before fining his ass! He meekly accepted the fine which shows that he understood what he has done to the side. Down to one first choice centreback now.

Hyundai A-League – Match 23/27

2020-0054

We are pegged as slight favourite in this game. Same team with the exception of those out through suspension and injury.

2020-0055

Brook scores a blinder to make it 1-0. Beltran’s own goal was a desperate attempt to clear the ball off the line. Pulled back a goal before the half and after that we never looked back.

23

New Update

2020-0057

So Nikos gets to spend two more weeks in the naughty chair.

New Appearance Record

2020-0058

“The Major” has been in great form this season and it is going to take something special to prise him out of his place in the team.

Hyundai A-League – Match 24/27

2020-0059

Next up are the Phoenix, who have not had the best of seasons this year. Having finally clawed our way back into first it is imperative that we don’t slip up and drop points here. Andie Maseti starts at centre-back, as he is the best candidate for the position.

2020-0060

It was a typical Friday the 13th horror show!. Rory Adams was forced off injured after 30 mins. We just didn’t look like threatening, and failed to take the few chances on offer.  In the end the game finished 0-0 which has almost certainly handed the lead back.

24

Injury Update

2020-0061

We are now down three centre-backs… The final three matches are going to be tough.

2020-0064

On the plus side, “The Count” is back training after his injury spell.

Player of the Year Awards

2020-0062

It is pleasing to see Clayton King and Ray McDonough getting recognition.

2020-0063

“The Major” is inline for some well deserved recognition. He has been a stalwart of our defense and the recognition is well deserved.

Bonus Result

2020-0065

Well this was unexpected. A-League wooden-spooners Central Coast Mariners tipped up the Melbourne Victory. We are still top! It seems a wheel has come off the Victory’s pram big time!

Match Summary

2020-0068

So we have picked up 8 points out of 12. Not a bad haul and good enough for first place.

League Table

2020-0067

Melbourne Victory have only pocked up 1 point form their last 4 matches (against us too!). Somehow we find ourselves top of the pile with three to play.

The Final Sprint

2020-0071

Of all the teams that could still finish first, Melbourne Victory are the most dangerous. The have no games against other contenders so if they can reverse that slide they are on and the other teams beat the snot out of each other then they will be top. Wins against both the Wanders and the Heart will make our life easier.

Next Episode

Wanderers FC, Melbourne Heart and the Central Coast Mariners. Win all three of these games and we finish first. Can we do it? Tune in next time to find out!

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MrBadDragon

I am BadDragon and BadDragon is me!

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