A lot can change in a few months in the world of football. In the world of FM, EVERYTHING can change within a few in-game months. This was certainly the case for me as there were ME updates just following my opening update of the first season with Glentoran which seemed to derail me ever so slightly.
Those first three results followed a few tweaks to the ME and it seemed my set up just wasn’t finding itself as effective anymore. The two may have been linked or perhaps my tactic had just been hitting it lucky in the opening salvo of the season. Regardless, I sought help in my FM Slack channel and in came Ondrej, Accordingtofm and FMSamo like the glorious saviours they are. We discussed my current set up, what I wanted to see from my players and they offered suggestions as to how I could get that.
The outcome was a five game winning run which yielded 16 goals in our favour. A loss on penalties in the Semi Final of the County Antrim Shield followed – a result which is best described in clichéd terms as a ‘ding-doing battle’ as we came from behind three times to take the game to the lottery from 12 yards.
December was a bit of a disaster as we claimed a paltry 6 points from a potential 21! Much like an unsuccessful dog walker, we failed to hold onto leads in three matches in this month – taking just 2 draws from the Linfield, Ballymena and Carrick matches when we had victory in sight in all three.
Despite our Winter woes we’re still clinging on in the race for European football. Glenavon are running away with the league and, at this point, are certainly beyond our own reach. I’d be surprised if Ballymena can even catch them from here with 12 games left to play.
These Tactical Tweaks…again
It seems that in every edition of FM, I take time to talk about a tactical switch up. Though it would rarely be twice within the first six months of a save!
Evolution rather than Revolution is always the best approach with mid-season tweaks and, thanks to those mentioned above, this is what we’re rolling with right now.
I’ve abandoned the higher defensive line/line of engagement as I don’t feel I have defenders capable of that style of play right now. Aged legs combined with a lower than desired level of mental attributes dictates how we should defend.
A midfield two of DLP(D) and BWM(S) allows the DLP to sit and make those defence splitting passing/switches to the wing while the BWM has more freedom to maurade across the pitch breaking up play without leaving a huge gap behind him.
My right back is the most athletic of my defenders so he’ll be encourage to stretch his legs and get forward, overlapping an Inside Forward on that side who has been switched with the Winger who moves to the left side of the pitch. An Attacking Midfielder on Support sits behind our Advanced Forward – the theory here is hardly anything innovative… the AM helps to link play and backs up the AF who should get into goalscoring positions.
Boxing Day Blues
It feels strange to play against Warrenpoint on Boxing Day. Boxing Day is sacrosanct in Irish League culture as Derby Day. Glentoran play Linfield, Crusaders play Cliftonville and Ballymena play Coleraine as IL fans and their families come out in force to nurse their Christmas Day hangovers with some good old fashioned local rivalry on the pitch.
This year, the bragging rights belonged to Glentoran in a 3-0 win over their South Belfast rivals.
Oh what fun it is to beat the Blues on Boxing Day!