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Hampton and Richmond Borough - FM18 Challenge | Part 2

With board expectations of just ‘Avoiding Relegation,’ I was eager to do better and what better way to do that by winning our first match of the league.

A tricky home match on paper against Welling, a side that finished 9th in the league last season.

I went into the game with my ‘Standard’ mentality as I discussed in the previous H&R career story blog and it was successful in us grabbing a 2-1 win.

Line-up: GK: Crump (6.8), FBR: Barrows (6.8), FBL: Lidington (6.8), DC: Jones (6.8), DC: Bradley (6.9), MR: MacDonald (8.6 with 1 Assist), ML: Nolan (8.6 with 1 Assist), MC: Roe (6.8), MC: Mellor (7.3), FC: Stone (6.8), SC: Pearce (8.8 with 2 Goals), Sub 1: Venney for Mellor in MC, Sub 2: Linton for Nolan in ML. Neither played enough to achieve a rating. Just brought on as fresh legs and try and keep players fitter. MOTM: Ollie Pearce

Stats: H&R Left Hand Side:

  • Shots: 15-9
  • On Target: 9-4
  • Fouls: 14-18
  • No cards
  • Possession: 53%-47%

A good start to the season heading into our next league match against newly promoted Canvey Island, who won their opening game against Basingstoke 3-1 away from home.

The Gulls, playing at home, were favourites for this match but I think I can get the job done with the same starting XI as our opening game against Welling.

I will use the counter mentality for this match. A 2-2 draw followed. This was an annoying one due to the fact we had the upper hand for most of the game, but on the 61st minute, we conceded to make it 2-2.

We started well with a goal from Nolan on the 31st minute but couldn’t hold on for long when Canvey Island equalised just 7 minutes later.

We retook the lead thanks to Ollie Pearce on the 52nd minute for it to be cancelled out again 9 minutes later.

Although we were the better side and were hitting the target, Childs in goal had a blinder and kept his team in the match.

Not a bad point, but annoying we couldn’t grab all 3.

Line-up: GK: Crump (6.7), FBR: Barrows (6.3), FBL: Lidington (6.0), DC: Bradley (6.3), DC: Jones (6.3), MR: MacDonald (6.9), ML: Nolan (8.5 with 1 Goal), MC: Roe (6.8), MC: Mellor (8.3 with 1 Assist), FC: Steve Stone (6.7), SC: Pearce (8.1 with 1 Goal & 1 Assist), Sub 1: Venney for Roe in MC (6.7), Sub 2: Jack James for Barrows in FBR (6.8), Sub 3: McAuley for MacDonald in MR (6.6).

Stats: H&R Right Hand Side:

  • Shots: 6-10
  • On Target: 2-6
  • Fouls: 7-2
  • Yellow Cards: 1-0
  • Possession: 54%-46%

My third match is Bath who find themselves in the relegation zone after two games.

If I was a Premiership side, I would do my more attacking mentality.

However, I have decided to stick with the counter mentality for three reasons.

My first being I know Bath have some decent players and are/were at a similar level to my side.

The next being we are playing them away. The third links with the first and it is how volatile the league is.

It can change very quickly, standings, form etc.

I would accept a point from this match, but a loss is still not something I would take too well.

I am making three changes to my starting line-up, McAuley will come in for MacDonald on the right midfield with Jack James swapping with Barrows at right back.

On the left, Nolan is swapping with Linton. A very good, solid win. 2-0 was the score, and I am very pleased with the performance of the team and individuals.

We were on top from start to finish and was helped when Bentley was sent off for a bath with a straight red early on after bringing Pearce down from behind when he was clean through on goal.

It didn’t make a difference to Pearce however who proceeded to score on the 83rd minute thanks to MOTM Steve Stone’s assist.

Stone does a much-underappreciated role for the most part. He pops up with a goal and an assist usually, but his primary trait is his hard work and his ability to force errors in which he exploits superbly with either a goal or assist.

I was also delighted with the clean sheet. The win had moved us up to 3rd place after 3 games.

Line-up: GK: Crump (6.9), FBR: James (7.7), FBL: Lidington (6.9), DC: Jones (7.0), DC: Bradley (6.8), MR: McAuley (8.5 with a goal), ML: Linton (7.3 with an assist), MC: Mellor (6.6), MC: Roe (6.8), FC: Stone (8.7 with an assist), SC: Pearce (7.5 with a goal), Sub 1: Venney for Mellor (6.7).

Stats: H&R Right Hand Side:

  • Shots: 6-12
  • On Target: 1-6
  • Fouls: 9-9
  • Yellow Cards: 1-1
  • Red Cards: 1-0
  • Possession: 51%-49%

My fourth match should be a win at home when we take on promoted Hayes and Yeading.

I will go standard mentality for this match with the same line-up from the Canvey Island game.

It turned out to be another comfortable 2-0 win thanks to Ollie Pearce’s strikes on the 36th and 46th minutes.

Although Hayes and Yeading pushed for a goal late on, they only looked like scoring when RJ Pingling hit the bar in the last 5 minutes.

A good day at the office which saw us stay in 3rd place after four games.

I am trying not to get ahead of myself as I know that these sides are not the division’s top teams I am aiming to be competing with, the likes of Torquay for example.

Line-up: GK: Crump (7.2), FBR: Barrows (6.9), FBL: Lidington (7.1), DC: Jones (6.8), DC: Bradley (7.3), MR: MacDonald (8.3 with 1 Assist), ML: Nolan (7.7 with 1 Assist), MC: Mellor (7.1), MC: Roe (7.3), FC: Stone (6.6), SC: Pearce (8.8 with 2 Goals).

Stats: H&R Left Hand Side:

  • Shots: 14-10
  • On Target: 10-4
  • Fouls: 6-8
  • Yellow Cards: 1-1
  • Possession: 55%-45%

My next match is away against 15th place Hungerford.

I am still sticking with the counter mentality and will rotate my side to the same as the 3rd game of the season against Bath.

We drew the match 1-1, and I will accept that, and that was probably the fair result.

We were dominating and went 1-0 up thanks to Pearce on the 22nd minute. Unfortunately, early in the second half, Bradley was caught in possession in his penalty box and lost the ball allowing Hooper to equalise.

It could have then got worse as we gave away a penalty. It was a poor penalty, however, and Crump saved it keeping it 1-1.

MacDonald was subbed on for McAuley who was having a poor game, and the new signing hit the bar in the last 10 minutes, nearly snatching us all 3 points. Still, a point away from home is rarely a bad one.

Line-up: GK: Crump (6.2 but harsh computer rating as the goal wasn’t his fault), FBR: James (6.7), FBL: Lidington (6.5), DC: Jones (6.5), DC: Bradley (6.2), MR: McAuley (6.4), ML: Linton (7.9 with 1 Assist), MC: Mellor (6.4), MC: Roe (5.9), FC: Stone (6.9), SC: Pearce (6.9 with a goal), Sub 1: Venney on for Mellor (injury)(6.3) Sub 2: MacDonald on for McAuley (6.6).

Stats: H&R Right Hand Side

  • Shots: 4-6
  • On Target: 3-4
  • Fouls: 12-10
  • Yellow Cards: 2-0
  • Possession: 48%-52%

After the game against Hungerford, I bring brilliant news; Ollie Pearce has signed a new 2-year contract. Very pleased with this as he was the one who asked for it.

If we can keep him at the club, we will do alright.

From my experience, if you need a good striker for non-league in England, he is a good one to try and bring in, I have been lucky enough to get him for nothing both times.

This has been my second blog of this challenge. Next week’s blog will cover the next five games against Wealdstone (H), Woking (A), Whitehawk (H), Truro (H) and then our FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round match (Drawn 07/09/2020).

This how the table looks after five games of the league:

League Table

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FM 2018 Blog - Football Manager 2018: Hampton and Richmond Borough - FM18 Challenge | Part 2
Hampton and Richmond Borough - FM18 Challenge | Part 2
Hampton and Richmond Borough - FM18 Challenge | Part 2 With board expectations of just ‘Avoiding Relegation,’ I was eager to do better and what better way to do that by winning our first match of the league.
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