After losing to GS, I went into the season with a team with mixed EL levels. First up there was BOA. I knew that they were
good so I put my first 11 out or as close to that as I could, but we had to bow out after a great game from BOA with a 2-5
scoreline and the first penalty of the season given away.
Next up was KIN at home and I made one of my biggest mistakes of the season. I understimated Kevin Martin and chose to rest
some of my bigger players that were knackered after the cup games, and we lost our first home game 1-3. We were now 6 point
behind GS (my only aim was to be above them as that would almost certainly mean that we would be in #1). I had to think
everything through and find something else to be competitive. I figured out that if BOA and SCO would hang in there long
enough they might help me catch GS and hopefully then slip up and give me the chance to overtake them if I could beat GS at
home and draw away.
It was game 3 and NYT away were up. I decided that I would need my star GK in every game and started playing him on passive
(figuring out that it might save me points against the smaller teams and maybe some EL on other stars as well) ANother tactic
was to play everyone in WG or FW as aggressive, as that would be vital in getting the goals to win as I would hopefully
letting in fewer goals (I had conceded 8 goals already) The final part was to order my star FW and WG to go off if I was
leading by some margin - and save vital EL. Well NYT was swept aside 5-0 a very surprising result for me, but gave me belief
in my plan. At the same time Scotland equalised in the 89th minute so I was only 4 points away from GS and SCO, but BOA were
still 6 points away.
Now it was game 4 - ZAR at home. I had fear before this game as I felt that this could be the match that would blow it away
for me, ZAR has a great team and at that moment his stars were on EL 8 or 10 so you can imagine the happiness when I
discovered that ZAR went NMR. But that went a little sour when our first red card came about after 4 minutes to my star FW.
But we just managed to beat ZAR 2-1. SCO, BOA and GS all won also
In game 5 we were facing MWW away - They had not scored in the league at that point so I was fairly confident before that
match despite missing a player through suspension and we won 3-0. SCO, BOA and GS all won also.
Now it was crunch time in game 6 GS at home. In my mind I put it like this "IF YOU DONT BEAT THEM YOU WILL NOT WIN THE
LEAGUE" - So 8 players were put on aggressive, and Home Bonus was set at 13. I was doing everything I could. But after
outshotting Alon we only drew 2-2 !!!! Red Card nr. 2 of the season came in 67th minute while we were ahead and now it was
our other star FW that was on the receiving end. He had been given a red in the AP trophy - so now he was facing a 2 match
suspension. But SCO and BOA played the greatest draw ever in their 12 goal match so nothing had changed at the top, which
was the only bright spot of that round for CI.
Game 7 was ES at home - My team was deflated and low on EL, the team morale was not high, but we were lucky, so was ES so
both teams fielded weakend teams. But remember my plan of playing stars and resting. Eric Delko got 3 goals in 39 minutes
and we walked away with a 3-0 scoreline. ES were unlucky and got a red card in the 69th minute but it had no bearing on the
result however. The red cards were now 2-1 in the league, PK 0-1. But Scotland lost to Providence 1-5 so we gained 3 points
Game 8 and it was time to face Memphis away. I planned this game to perfection and everything was going ok, we were 2-0 up,
I subbed the stars and waited for the game to end. But that will not do against Al, he scored a goal and then equalised in
the 67th minute. I had finished all my nails on my left hand when the ref blew the whistle. A 2-2 draw that taught me a
lesson. I would have to stall or something when leading. BOA won yet again and were now 8 points ahead, SCO won also but
NYT won against NMR Gauteng :D Was I reading this all wrongly were my thoughts. How do we stop BOA ? Well it doenst matter
if you dont beat the others, so keep your focus on what you can do, The second place could be up for grabs was my reasoning
for keeping the plan alive. MY star WG got a booking and was facing a suspension.
Game 9 and it was Scotland at home with 2 big players missing. I did not feel very good before the game. SCO got 2-0 up and
stalled from the 59th minute. But they also subbed their star GK and put on the reserve keeper Janice SL 14 that they bought
from CI. He was sold because we had gotten a GK with SL 22 in an earlier auction. That buy was controversial as we had the
same bid as the other team but got the player because we were places lower in the league at the time. The bidding team that
lost out were SCO - ironic as we got 4 goals in the next 27 minutes. But it took its toll as we received our 3rd red card of
the season, again it was my nr. 2 FW and he now faced 3 games suspension as it was his 3rd in all competitions. We also gave
away a penalty for our 4 attacking players, so the stat is red cards 3-1 penalties 0-2. BOA and GS their matches.
Game 10. Providence away. Now this isnt getting any easier I thought, red cards piling up, 8 points away and the lesser
teams getting stronger and stronger. I feared this game, remember SCO lost 1-5 to them and I had just beat SCO on a lucky
substitution !!! So I threw everything at them, Got 2-0 up in 31 minutes subbed 2 immediately and waited to sub the third
star in minute 39 but my star WG got sent off in 38th minute. He now faced a suspension, but luckily enough, we managed to
walk away with the 3 points. MLB drew agains BOA, GS just beat MWW 4-3 and SCO beat KIN 2-1. Hey its only 6 points now is
the bright spot, but I have to take a look at that red card rate I thought to myself.
The last game of the first half of the season was against MLB. They are always difficult but I had to rest the GK at some
point and with BOA coming up, he was rested and no player was put on aggressive. We let in a goal after 5 minutes, but 3
goals from our MF player in the second half saved us and our quest was alive. We had a 7-2-2 record unbeaten in 9 matches
and with GS winning BOA and NYT drawing against SCO we were only 3 points off the pace of BOA and GS and 2 points ahead of
We figured out that we still had a chance. GS had poured the CP and TP into their team as we had reckoned but SCO and BOA
were fighting GS all the way. Lets keep the ball rolling we thought, but I will have to continue that tomorrow :D