FM17: Flying The Flag, part 4
September and October threaten to derail our good start, but we maintain our momentum — just.
A 2–0 friendly win against Montenegro was pleasing and I couldn’t have asked for much more from the lads. Next up is Moldova in our first real match — the World Cup Qualifying.
Our group in-game mirrors the one in real life — Ireland, Serbia, Austria, Georgia and Moldova. The latter are there for the taking and we should be comfortable in our first match.
Ben Woodburn comes in for Sam Vokes, but the side is otherwise the same. Danny Ward keeps his place in goal.
What a drab match. It ends 0–0 and I’m fuming. That two points dropped against a side we had to beat. There’s no room for cock-ups in qualification.
We created chances, 11 in total, but the disappointing thing for me was the few chances that actually made it on goal — just 4 out of the 11. We must improve.
After a solid start to the season, September provides some solid tests, none more-so than Norwich. They’re one of the favourites for promotion and we’ll do well to get anything out of them away from home.
I’m pleased with that — very pleased. We dominated possession and limited them to 0 shots on our goal. We had few ourselves, but a very good point for us.
We stay on the road for our next game, against Preston. We should get 3 points here. Louis Thompson comes in for his first start of the season, whilst Peter Whittingham also gets the nod in midfield over Joe Ralls.
Very pleased. Rickie Lambert continues to score — I almost feel bad for slating him in pre-season. Sorry, Rickie.
Sol Bamba is great in defence, whilst Junior Hoilett puts in a man of the match performance with 2 assists.
Leeds. I fucking hate Leeds. There’s an unspoken rivalry between Cardiff and Leeds, which I think stems back to when we beat them in the FA Cup back in 2002 — they were top of the Premier League then and went on a bit of a downslide after losing to us.
So when we lose to them in our next game — 3–1 — I’m absolutely fuming. It’s the first time I proper lay into the lads and I lose it. Greg Halford — who came in at centre-half — is the main victim of my onslaught, but only Gunnarsson and Pilkington escape it with good shifts.
Up next is a EFL Cup clash against Premier League opposition Crystal Palace. I’m not too bothered about it, but it’d be a nice boost to get a win after the debacle of the Leeds game.
What a game and what a performance by my lads. Craig Noone grabs both goals, but to a man they were class as we run in 2–0 winners.
Back to the league and we finish September with two matches and seven goals. Rotherham (3–0) and Derby (4–0) are on the end of our thrashings as we continue our fine form against Palace into the league.
Aron Gunnarsson grabs 2 goals in each of the games from centre-midfield, whilst there’s 2 against Derby for Pilks. Fucking Rickie Lambert missed a penalty against Rotherham, though, the twat.
Talk about crashing back down to earth. We lose 3–1 to Burton away from home in our first game of October — a match we really should’ve won.
After September’s disappointing draw against Moldova, we’ve got to get back to winning ways. We face Austria and Ireland in two matches in October, with the former up first.
We’re at home, but you wouldn’t have known it. 2–0 we lose. I’d put Wayne Hennessy back in goal and to say I regretted it is an understatement.
We’ve failed to win in our first two group games, which really isn’t good enough. ‘Chris Coleman would’ve won both of those games’ is spread around on social media — the fuckwits. We have to prove them wrong.
We do prove them wrong. Ireland are dispatched 4–1 away from home, a mighty fine win for us. Sam Vokes came in to lead the line, with Ben Woodburn dropping to the bench and it seemed to work. He grabbed 2 goals — as did Gareth Bale — as we created 14 shots on target and had almost 70% of the possession. Fantastic.
Back in the capital, we fail to win either of our next two games — drawing 1–1 against rivals Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday.
It drops us out of the play-offs for the first time, but a win against Nottingham Forest in our next game puts us back into sixth.
Everton are up next in the 4th round of the EFL Cup. It’s a tricky tie but we go in with little pressure on us. We take an early lead through Joe Ralls on 8 minutes, but quickly fall 3–1 down. Peter Whittingham grabs us a second in the 80th minute but it’s all we can muster as it ends 3–2. A valiant effort, though.
Our final league game in October sees Wigan travel to the Cardiff City stadium. They’re struggling and it’s a match we really should win.
First half goals from Rickie Lambert & Ashley Richards put us comfortably in the lead at half-time, but when Khadeem Harris grabs another on 49 minutes, we’re out of sight.
Part 5 coming soon, as we head into the hectic Christmas period.