In our final 4 games of the season, we start off with Felcra at home. This won’t be the season defining game by any stretch but a win here would do wonders for my chances of keeping this team in the league.
Same set up as the last 4 games in that we go 4-4-1-1, except Katende makes his debut up top and Carlos is starting at goalkeeper.
Half way point of the game and I don’t know if this is an even game or not. They’ve seen a hell of a lot more of the ball than us, but we’ve been more consistent in the shot, despite only having 1 on target. In my half time team talk I tell the team this game is there for the taking and we should push on from here.
Press on we did, however we just didn’t have that cutting edge. We pressed and pressed and despite not having the ball much, when we did we just went on the offensive, until it all came tumbling down in the 70th minute. We gave away a sloppy foul inside the box which Dias smashed right down the middle, wrong footing Carlos in goal to take the lead. We didn’t make anything of the game from then and went on to lose a disappointing game.
That defeat coupled with Sarawaks draw puts us back in the relegation one point behind Sarawak. It’s all heating up now in our final few games.
Next up is Mifa, and a game I think is a must win, or at the very least a not lose kind of game. I don’t want to move away from the 4-4-1-1 approach we’ve used so far, and really I don’t have many other options other than to stick with it.
Pre match team talk is pretty much non existent. I try telling the team we’re the favourites and as such we should go out there and really dominate the game. As soon as the whistle goes I notice they’re playing a 4-3-3 formation, are they trying to use the FM18 match engine exploit here??
From the kick off I try and encourage the team and it pays off. Almost no time has gone since we conceded early on and we’re back in the game. Sarudin playing in the number 10 role behind Katende gets the ball on his right foot inside the area and its buried straight in, 1-1!
We then took the lead when Katende grabbed his first for our team went he buried a close range effort, and it was no more than we deserved. We let the lead slip shortly after however as they equalised on 31 minutes when our defence went to sleep and allowed a tame looking through ball to get right the way through.
Second half kicks off it’s pretty much more of the same as both of us are trying to get the upper hand, which we did on the hour mark. Another case of unfortunate positioning as we had a low cross come in from the right by-line which was knocked in by their center half to give us the lead going into the final 30 minutes. We actually pressed them again from there and managed to get in another goal to take the lead to 4-2. Despite the winning margin we held on at times as we were put under some pressure late on and despite them only registering 1 more shot on target, this could’ve been a 4-4 draw on another day.
I’m happy with this win as we showed we can score goals, it’s just our defending left a lot to be desired. Felcra lost as well so today worked out okay for us. We’ve just got to hope Sarawak drop points to keep our hopes of survival in tact. I try and get under Steve Kean’s skin in my post match press conference
I even attended the Sarawak game hoping to apply some pressure, but they played well and won 2-1 to put the pressure back on us. Hopefully we don’t let this slip.
Next up we’ve got Felda United who have already had promotion confirmed and have had a great season so far, winning 15, drawing 3 and losing twice. This is going to be a tough game for us but hopefully we can keep up with them in this one.
‘There’s not much that I have to say here lads, we’re playing catch up. That twat Steve Kean and his team won their game 5-2 against UKM and that’s really helped their goal difference. Now just because we’re playing champions elect Felda don’t let that worry you, they’re beatable and now that we’ve got that rock in goal Carlos….’
‘Let me finish Carlos! Anyway, we’ve got a confident man between the sticks now and a big unit up top in Katende, we should be able to cause them some problems’.
Mohd relays my message to the team. I’m really going to have to pick up more Malay if I’m to get my points across myself. The team actually respond well to my team talk, some of them even encouraged by my feedback.
This is a big game, if we lose and Mifa win we’re right back into the relegation zone, win and regardless of other results and we could be as high as 8th. I’m very nervous, this could go really badly for us, but with Carlos commanding his area and being very vocal with the defence we’ve got a chance. With Katende up top he’ll only need half a chance and we could get something out of this game.
We held our own in this one despite them having a clearly better side than ours. We disrupted their flow quite a bit giving away some fouls here and there and the only thing of note was the 2 bookings we got. A pretty even game and if any of our half chances went in we could’ve won this one.
That draw helped us out in a way. It’s still in our own hands to avoid relegation, however there’s 2 teams below us that can still survive if they win and we lose. It’s down to the final day and we’re up against it in Johor’s B team who are the overwhelming favourites going into this one.
Next episode – Attack. Defend. Hope….
Previous episode – A call to arms