Today is the day of the annual youth candidate match. After our recent unimpressive run, it’ll be a perfect palette cleanser and an opportunity for our latest band of young footballing wannabes to show me that they deserve to join the mighty GieKSa.
I’ve been told to pay particularly close attention to a number of players. Firstly, young right back Tomasz Jaworski. At 15 years old, it’s already clear that he’s a great athlete, a born leader, and that he’s as brave as a lion. That’s a very good recipe for an aspiring footballer.
Next, 15 year old left winger Filip Glen. He’s quick off the mark and full of tricks, with a decent cross to boot.
And finally, Michal Grzybek, a 16 year old striker. He’s pretty good with his feet and a decent athlete, but his real quality is his mental strength: He’s another born leader and is remarkably mature for his age.
As per usual, I let the members of my first team that need game time play for the Under 18’s, making it more of a B Team, so the youth candidates are in for a tough time.
Grzybek actually goes close early on when he breaks through the Katowice B Team, but he can only put his shot from a tight angle into the side netting.
Just after half time, Koj pushes Amonike in the area and gives away a penalty, and Gregurina steps up to confidently put the B Team in front. Machalski’s free kick is headed home by Krawczyk 15 minutes from time to give the Under 18’s a 2-0 victory, but I’m pretty impressed that the match was so close.
Interesting, that. I hope to be given reason to promote a few of the new lads to the first team over the next few months. Welcome to GieKSa, boys.
Anyway, back to first team news! Kevin’s earned himself a place in Team of the Week for his consolation goal against Cracovia.
But please hold your applause. Sit yourself back down, Kevin. We aren’t in this for personal glory. His accolade is meaningless because we’ve now lost 4 matches in a row. In an attempt to halt our recent decline, I’ll be trying out a new system at home against Lechia today: The gracefully named “Falling Counter” system. It’s essentially a variation on Project: Burnie MK II.
Our back 4 will stay the same personnel-wise but our full backs will be encouraged to fly up the wings on the overlap. A holding midfielder will be deployed just in front of the centre backs to offer stability to the side. Bart and Hurley will stay as the midfield duo, but Hurley will be given freedom to roam and to run into channels in the final third. Our front 3 will consist of Tarnoski, our right-of-centre attacking midfielder who will also run the channels, Kevin, our familiar left-sided inside forward, and Goncerz, the spearhead.
So the idea is that we’ll have a defensive triangle of Olivier, Wilson and Hutton, who I’ll be trying as a makeshift holding man, with Bart winning the ball in front of the 3 of them and starting counter attacks. Hurley and Tarnowski will get forward through the channels in support of Goncerz, with Kevin also cutting in providing support, while Scheffel and Abramowicz bomb up the wings, with strict instructions to stay as wide as possible, providing the width. They aren’t ideal candidates for this, but I reckon they’ve got enough about them to give it a go.
Annoyingly, Goncerz isn’t yet fit to play following the chest injury he picked up against Cracovia, so he won’t feature. Janga starts in his place, and will play behind Tarnoski.
The match never really gets going if I’m honest. Janga hits a long shot in the first 5 minutes that’s easy for Kuciak to catch. After 40 minutes we change to short passing and attempt to work the ball into the box.
With around 15 minutes to go, we go on the offensive. Kwarko and Fossy come on in straight swaps for Kevin and Hutton as we try to find the breakthrough. In the last 10 minutes though, the cost of my changes becomes clear. First, Jorge Diaz slams a shot against the bar, which I should have seen as a warning. Then, from a 91st minute Gajos corner, Kadlec heads home the winner. Nobody deserved to win this match. It’s so, so cruel.
The bad news, apart from the obvious, is that Hurley twisted his ankle in the last 5 minutes and will miss the next 2-3 weeks. The good news however, is that I was really quite impressed with Alan Hutton’s first ever (That I know of) performance as a holding man. He did a fine job, and I’ll be training him to play there.
OK, now we really need a win. Or a draw. Why didn’t I shut up shop and take the draw? Next up is a trip to our local rivals Zagłębie Sosnowiec. Gesundheit. Hurley’s injured, Goncerz is fit again, and let’s face it, Abramowicz is awful. Fossy, Goncerz and Garbacik come into the side. Hurley, Janga and Abramowicz are out.
With just over 10 minutes played, Fossy loses the ball in Sosnowiec’s half and they counter. Fast. A move that I might have found quite easy on the eye in other circumstances sees Makengo tee up Mystkowski, who chips the ball on for Mills, who volleys it deftly past Nowak. 0-1.
It’s another eventless match but nevertheless, we’re somehow on the back foot again. With half an hour to go, nothing has happened and I see nothing to convince me that we’ll turn it around without a change. Kwarko comes on for Kevin and we go attacking, and more direct.
5 minutes later, Tom Scheffel’s… Direct… pass is cut out, and Sosnowiec counter. Fast. Makengo’s glancing header from Pawlowski’s pacey cross is saved well by Nowak, but our keeper is left badly positioned a split second later when Mills passes the rebound into the empty net. 0-2.
Not even 3 minutes later, Goncerz loses the ball high up the pitch and Sosnowiec counter. Fast. Or they would do, but Mills is tripped just into our half by the already-tightrope-walking Bart. He receives his marching orders. I’m about ready to walk down the tunnel myself. Amonike comes on and will spray crosses towards the big men from deep on the right. Tarnowski comes off.
But then, 5 minutes from time, it clicks. I don’t know what it is, but it just clicks. Fossy’s chipped free kick comes back to him and he tries another cross. It evades the defence and Goncerz is there to help it past the keeper. And the linesman’s flag is up.
Sorry, did I say it clicks? I meant to say that I hate everything. I hate the linesman, I hate winter breaks, I hate wodka, and I hate Zagłębie bloody Sosnowiec. Goncerz does blast an injury time consolation goal in, but it’s too little, too late.
The new Cameroon boss, Yves Nounkeu, was in the stands today watching Olivier. Why anyone would travel from another continent to watch any of my defenders at the minute really is beyond me. We need radical change and we need it now.
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