Nothing seems real today. Everything is blurred and distorted. Everything seems so fragile, like it could give way at any second and collapse, taking my team and prospects with it. Our fates are not our own today.
Regardless of how we do against the first team to have their relegation confirmed: Prespa Birlik, a draw for Husqvarna FF against top side Landskrona BoIS or a win for FC Trollhättan against 5th placed IK Oddevold would see us pretty much relegated. Everything here could crumble and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. What we can do though is make sure we win our final 2 games. We need to stop worrying about the things we can’t control and just focus on the things we can.
We’ve had another 2 week break since our loss against Norrby, which I saw as another chance to get our new players up to speed and to test us against good opposition. “I’ve arranged a friendly against AIK” I had announced triumphantly to the players after the Norrby game. They just stared at me with their mouths open. AIK are 4th in the top tier of Swedish football and I had jumped at the opportunity to test ourselves against them. They beat us 1-0, which I interpreted as a small victory.
We’ve not signed any more trialists as of yet, but our 4 new players are settling in very well: Wani Mukoko gets on with the rest of the squad, Stefan Andersson has already won the respect of most of the players for his clear ability and professionalism at such a young age, Lawrence is seen as something of an enigma but I think he’s getting along with everyone, and pretty much the entire squad has already forgotten Mo Dizzle’s original name, much to his horror.
KSF Prespa Birlik don’t seem to have any stand out players, but the last thing I’ll allow us to do is let our guard down and assume that the win will come purely because they’re the only team in the league who are officially shitter than us. We’ll start off the same as we have been doing, 4-1-4-1 on the counter, focussing play down the left. Mo Dizzle and Stefan Andersson get their first starts today in place of Erik Hoffman and Jason Grannum. The Hammer returns to the starting line up and almost cries with joy when I tell him that he’s actually starting in net. He’s back from injury and I’ve been less than impressed with Cyrile.
As soon as the game starts I can feel something different: for possibly the first time during my tenure FC Höllviken are the more confident team. We have a few half decent shots that don’t really test the keeper during the first 20 minutes, but it’s clear to me that we’re in charge here.
When that realisation takes hold I tell the players to control the game. Prespa aren’t going to try to bring the game to us so we may as well take it to them. I also make sure the midfielders know to pass the ball into space as Persson has run the channels well so far.
10 minutes before the break it almost pays off when Sekiraca plays a good pass into the left hand channel. Persson takes the ball, brings it forward, and smashes it just wide of the far post.
2 minutes later Mo Dizzle finds Persson with the ball 30 yards out, and Persson looks up to see Joakim making an uncharacteristically explosive attacking run through the Prespa defence. The ball is put right into his path and he leathers it into the top left corner from the edge of the area for his 2nd goal of the season. I leap to my feet, teeth gritted, hands clenched into fists and held aloft. We might just be able to do this.
At half time I put on my calmest face and tell the players not to get complacent. I can’t stress enough how afraid I am that Prespa will turn this around on us to end my FC Höllviken reign not only in abject failure, but in humiliation too.
I barely have time to sit back down in the dugout and open my notebook before it happens. Joakim finds Sekiraca with a great ball over the top, Sekiraca dribbles towards goal before picking out the unmarked Andreas Persson, who slots the ball past the poor keeper. 20 seconds into the second half and they’ve doubled our lead, the brilliant bastards.
10 minutes later Prespa fire a warning shot, 1 of only 3 they’ve managed so far, when a counter attack ends in Borg shooting into our side netting from a decent position. I tell the team to drop back slightly to standard and bring on Lawrence for Mo Dizzle, both of whom are still short of match sharpness.
With 25 minutes to go though, Joakim is almost having too good a time. He effortlessly plays another perfect pass over the defence and into the path of Persson, who simply lets the ball bounce in front of him before smacking it on the half volley into the top left corner. Game over, and it really is a beautiful goal.
2 minutes later Prespa start to rebel against my narrative, and Wilklund hits a pot shot from 30 yards out that cracks off the post and bounces away. I drop us back to defend. With 10 minutes to go they’re still plugging away, intent on pissing me off, and a hopeful deep cross is pumped into our box. Simon Henningsson, 6 yards from our goal, decides that this would be an appropriate time to try to control the ball and chests it down, only for Milenkovic to steal it and tap it past The Hammer.
We don’t get the clean sheet but to be honest I couldn’t care less. We’ll take the 3 points. We’ll welcome the 3 points with open arms. The 3 points can even have my bed and I’ll sleep on the sofa. Our future is back in our hands, and it’ll all come down to the last match.
Husqvarna FF will be quaking in their boots.
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