THE JOURNEYMAN PART II
After introducing my story and my manager in the first post of this journeyman blog/story, this second post will cover the remaining games of the season in Benin. Will Roger Speed’s club Pantheres FC have enough quality to escape from the relegation zone?
TACTIC: STOP CONCEDING
Before we go in on the results during the remaining part of the season, I will take you with me in my tactical choice for the remaining 9 games. As Pantheres was down on the bottom of the table, I kind of assumed attacking football was off the table. My primary goal was tightening up the back. The lesser goal we would concede, the lesser games we would be losing. With 12 losses and 33 conceded goals in 17 games, Pantheres had one of the worst records in the league.
So, goal number one: stop conceding. Winning? That would be something very nice. But like I said earlier; I would be a happy man if we could stop conceding goals and losing games.
With that in mind I came up with one of my favorite formations; 3-5-2. Build some security in the back, whilst having some options to hit your opponent on the counter attack. A 3-5-2 can be used as an attacking formation, but when you have your wingbacks in a less offensive role, you can operate very defensively. On the midfield I would post three physical midfielders, whilst we use quick attackers up front.
Our primary focus during the game would be sitting back, gifting the ball to our opponent. Whilst we lure them into our own half, we would be luring for a speedy break. Long balls from the back, trying to place the ball into the space behind the opponents defense. Sounds easy right?
Looking at the screenshot with all the results, I think we can be very satisfied. In my first game we managed to grab a well-deserved win against USS Kraké, with a cracking 89th minute winner. The first win gave the team the confidence to keep on fighting for every point. And although we lost two games, we never stopped fighting. Our tactic also worked well, as we never conceded more than one goal during the games we played. For me that was very satisfying!
A THRILLING SEASON FINALE
Some of you might have noticed the screenshot with the results showed 8 games and not 9. The 9th and game was the season finale and what a finale that was! That day will be remembered by Pantheres-fans for quite some years, as we managed to pull of a great upset, completing a fairy tale story.
To give you an idea of our situation:
As the final game approached, we were still in 13th place on the table (in the relegation zone). We were on a bad run and despite leaving the relegation zone after the 2-1 win over Mogas 90, we fell back after we lost against AS Police. A direct confrontation with ESAE remain undecided and in our home game against ASOS we threw away a victory after we conceded a late goal to make it 1-1.
With one game to play on the calendar, we were one point behind ESAE and the odds were actually against us. We would be playing away at Buffles FC, who were in fourth place, ESAE woud play at home against Mogas 90. So, we were the big underdogs for the day. With an away game against one of the top teams, relegation would be inevitable.
What an amazing and nerve wrecking game this was! We started the game in a bizarre fashion! Our first shot on goal gave us the lead and we never gave away the lead. After we went 0-1 up, I expected Buffles to kick it up a notch ad put up the pressure. But the home side was surprisingly enough not going for the win. It almost looked as if they wanted us to stay up…
In the other games ESAE was quickly trailing 0-2 against Mogas, but fought back to 2-2 in the second half. We were still leading, but with a draw ESAE would be the team that was staying up. Whilst we were controlling the play, I was concentrating on the Latest score widget. After 82 minutes I had a party on my own after I saw Mogas had scored a third goal! It were 8 long long ingame minutes, but after the final whistle had been blown I knew for sure; WE WERE SAFE!
We jumped over ESAE on the table and finished the season on 22 points in twelfth position. Seeing where we came from when I took over, I couldn’t be more happier than this!
SPEED STEPS DOWN!
After the season finished, I decided to step down as manager at Pantheres FC. Why? Simply because I reached the goals I wanted to complete at Pantheres.
Also, my contract was set to expire at the end of December 2016 and I didn’t expect to get a lot of room to invest in the team. That made me fear for a second season down the bottom of the table and that is something I simply don’t want at this stage of my career.
Ingame its still August 2016, so there is plenty of time for me to find a good team that can fight for a top spot somewhere.