Darlo 2-1 Kidderminster analysis – Thommo saves the day again

The last month has been a fantastic one on the pitch for the club and yesterday just capped it off in dramatic style. Yesterday was a tough game against one of the most in-form teams in the division and prior to the game, I would have been happy with a point.

If we haven’t scored the last minute it wouldn’t have been a disaster, but it is hard to argue that we didn’t deserve the three points.

You can see why Kidderminster are near the top of the league they try and play football and stick to it. It would give me a heart attack every five minutes if I was one of their fans, but they can clearly play and that’s why they are in a playoff spot.

The first 20 minutes even after our goal Harriers looked the better team and had two or three chances that it is hard to believe they didn’t convert.

However, after that, we controlled them very well. Youngsters Jack Vaulks and Josh Heaton along with Aynsley Pears had great games to keep out a very experienced Harriers side.

Their goal was down to a miss judgement and lack of communication that they will learn from and thankfully it didn’t prove crucial in the result. That aside, they held it together well. Vaulks didn’t look out of place despite coming straight into the team and as for Heaton, he will go much higher than this level of football. He won so many headers and dominated at the back, hopefully he can continue to do this for us for a bit longer at least.

While we didn’t create a huge amount in the first half when the big chance came we took it.

The second half we played fantastically, controlled the game and should have been out of sight with the chances we had.

Turnbull looked back to his best controlling the match from the centre while Syers has been fantastic recently and again was getting past the strikers a lot yesterday.

However, it was Thompson yet again who was the match winner. Since Tommy took over he has been out best player consistently and yesterday he delivered when we most needed it.

We could have easily whimpered after the equaliser and even gone on to lose the game. Yet, we kept going and got a deserved winner.

As I said above, before yesterday I would have taken a point, but had the game finished 1-1 our position would have looked precarious.

We still have a job to do and despite our recent form, we are only five points off the bottom three, if we had just picked up four/five points this month which on paper would have been a good return we would have been in trouble.

Thankfully though we have got ourselves into a position where we control our own destiny and have the confidence knowing that we can beat anyone in our division.

March looks easier on paper then February, but we all know it isn’t that simple.


FIFA Weekend League Feb 3 – the struggle continues

Despite my poor display with performances and results in the second week I was ready to go again.

Having the Friday off work made a big difference and pretty much having a free weekend meant I knew I should be able to get all 40 games in without a huge struggle.

From mid afternoon I had the whole of Friday to try and get through as many of my games as I could, but ultimately this would prove to be my downfall.

I started off with two wins playing well fully concentrating, but yet again it all unravelled pretty quickly.

On Friday I ended up playing 24 games pretty much straight with no distractions, but it was simply too much.

For pros at the very top of their game focus is a big part of their success, but playing so many games in a row I really struggled.

Each individual game for the average player requires a lot of concentration, as lapses at this level are inevitably punished.

By the end of the night I was playing games I didn’t really want to in an attempt to play as many as possible, it was my downfall. 10-14 shocking.

After Fridays exploits I didn’t have a massive urge to play Saturday, but I felt I needed a change in my team. I had a few big name loan cards that I had never used and thought attacking wise I would use one a game to see how I got on.

First I went for Henry, the card was incredible simply incredible in comparison to my normal players. I only played four games on Saturday 2-2 The two wins were comfortable while the losses were both against stacked teams, but games I nearly won.

Starting the final day I was 12-16, 12 games to go. I left it relatively late in the day and I knew I was going to be rushing to get through the 12 games it started very well with help from Henry and then three games with loan Ronaldo. The difference in results and performance was huge.

The first few games with one of the above I did well. Similar to Saturday I was winning games and those I wasn’t I was pushing the opposition a lot closer then before.

The difference after when I went back to my normal players was amazing.

In my rush to play through the games I ended up on terrible run which meant I finished dreadfully on 17-23.

A few lessons to be learned from my worst weekend of the three.

1. For average players breaks are key to allow full concentration for as many games as possible.

2. Having a fantastic team would make a difference. It wouldn’t make me 30+ wins but it would certainly add 5-10 on per week.

3. When it becomes a grind as it did during my spell on Friday night the game really loses its fun element for none elite players.

I will play again this week to give myself one last shot and to try and boost the monthly rewards, but after that I can’t see myself playing weekend league much further this year.

FIFA 18 February Weekend League 2 – Is this fun?

After the opening weekend finishing 21-19 I was relatively optimistic for my second crack at the Weekend League.

I also got a bit of luck in my rewards with two ones to watch which I got a decent profit from, Lukaku and the 45,000 coins for finishing gold 1. I also bought Kante which meant for two of the players I had used for since the start of FIFA 18 were out.

The plan was slightly different to the previous week and I knew it was going to be a struggle to get the games in.

Thankfully I managed to squeeze a few games on Friday and Saturday to ease the struggle, knowing in advance I would need to play the majority on Sunday.

Friday I only got through three games and not having played for a few days I was well off the pace. 1-2

Saturday I ended up playing more than I thought I would be able to and for the day I went 6-2. I found myself playing well and in a good mood, which all FIFA players will know isn’t something that happens all the time.

Going into Sunday I was on 7-4 with a mammoth 29 games to go!

I knew I wasn’t going to get all the games played, despite playing well on Saturday I simply didn’t have the urge to try and play them all.

I started the day four wins short of qualifying for the next weekend, but this became a real struggle.

All it took was a couple of defeats in a row to change my mood. One game I was 2-0 up but managed to lose to three late goals.  I knew I was playing opponents I was better than but I was convincing myself everything was against me. Out of the first 12 games I played on Sunday I won only three, just terrible from me.


By this point, I had lost any interest in playing and just wanted to get to the 11 for the following week. I went back to Rashford up front instead of Lukaku and it started to click after one win I had a little spur to get to 13-13, but that was enough.

For the majority of my games on Sunday, I did not enjoy it one bit. Frustrating is the word I would use.

This is only the second weekend in a row I have tried seriously played it and already I’m losing the urge to complete the games. Why spend so much time out of my weekend to not enjoy doing something.

I would imagine for the better players who finish in the higher elites this must be different, but everything in the FIFA community screams it is the opposite.

For weekend 3 I have a lot more time on my hands, but if I play all 40 games is another question.

Fifa 18 February Weekend League- the realisation of the grind

This month sees the world’s best FIFA 18 players face off in FUT Weekend League to try and get the best record of 160 matches across the four weekends. I am going to attempt this to see how I match up along with the pros and cons of the weekend league system.

Since the weekend league was intoduced on FIFA 17 i have only played it four or five times, with the appeal of playing so many games not being great. Maybe if I was a teenager it would, but pushing 30 I know I would struggle to get the games done. The most games I’ve managed in a weekend league is 27 finishing 15-12 in November 2017.

So with February being a qualifying month I thought I would see how many games and what record I could get even if I don’t finish all 160.

I would always consider myself to be a good FIFA player, but I definitely have started playing less than i used to 5/6 years ago.

So weekend one was extended to include the Monday before I had even played a game, but with the majority of my Saturday being busy the plan was to do what I could Friday and hammer Sunday.

Friday was split into two sessions with differing results and the break worked well for me.

I started with 3-5 all the games that I won were comfortable while the ones I lost were all tight.

However, after returning home and having had a breather things clicked. Six wins in a row meant losing my last game of the night wasn’t such a disaster as I finished Friday 9-6 by my standards I was pretty pleased.

I was hoping to get a few games in on Saturday, but after a full day I left it without any further games.

Starting Sunday I planned to play as many of my 25 games left as I could.

I don’t know if it was without a warm up or the standard was better but I played four games on the morning only for one win to take me to 10-8.

Thankfully the afternoon brought reward, as similar to the Friday night I went on a run of wins. The games weren’t that close I dominated took chances and at one stage was 15-9.

Still a long way to go but under the new rules of only needed 11 wins to qualify for the next weekend league, my first task had been easily done.

However, it quickly went sour. I was 2-0 down in ten minutes in the only game I had major connection issues with, the problem was it was disastrous, unplayable. I’m not sure if it wound me up or I went through a spell of playing better opponents but my record quickly tumbled.

After a break I managed a few more games during the superbowl but my motivation had gone. It may have been down to the sheer amount of games I had played in the day or a bit of anger but my head had gone. 18-18.

Thankfully with the weekend league being extended I could come back on Monday to finish the games and having had a day off I won the first three meaning despite defeat in my last match I ended 21-19 Gold 2

For someone who doesn’t play that many games on a weekend I found it tough and by late Sunday it felt like a chore.

Over the whole weekend there was only a handful of games I felt out classed picking up wins against sides with plenty of icons, one in particular.

For the average player concentration and focus is the key, I definitely lost mine at times and it probably cost me a handful of wins.

Still for a first full weekend to have more wins than losses I’m relatively happy.

Bring on this weekend

Victory over Blyth is just the start

We need victories at the moment, but Saturday was what we really needed, a huge confidence booster.

Our win at Leamington was crucial, but also still worrying. A last minute winner away to another team that are in trouble and who had played half the game with ten men. It was far from convincing.

Under Tommy Wright performances, on the whole, have got better as we have gone along, but the results haven’t. Before the Leamington game, we had only won once under Tommy and the pressure was there for all to see.

Despite the level we have played at since demotion the last few years have been stellar. We have been under pressure, but the pressure the players and everyone at the club face this year is completely different. The consequences if we fail aren’t worth thinking about.

Even with the win at Leamington other results meant we started Saturday’s game outside the bottom three only on goal difference.

What a difference 90 minutes makes. It wasn’t a perfect performance by us, but it was exactly what we needed.

The first half was pretty even without either team creating many clear cut chances. We’ve had quite a lot of games like that recently, but the timing of the goal was perfect. The two men who have been doing the damage for us under Wright combined. Thommo’s pass, Styche is brought down Thommo fires home. The penalty was undisputable and we just about deserved to be ahead.

I suspect most fans were similar to myself in that the only time I felt massively on edge during the game was at the start of the second half. We allowed Blyth to have all of the ball and it looked just a matter of time till they broke through. Thankfully we got the second through Styche before Syers wrapped it up and finally we could relax.

It isn’t something as fans we have been able to do much this season, but the last quarter of an hour was so enjoyable knowing the job was done.

There was several stand out performers Heaton, Galbraith and O’Hanlon were all solid at the back as we kept our first clean sheet in months, as was Pears who made a couple of big saves at crucial moments.

James Caton looks a different player to the one we’ve had all season in the last two games. Not just his assist but he put in some fantastic crosses in the second half. If he continues like this he offers something that no one else in the squad has and could potentially play a huge role.

Styche won a penalty and did what he always does got on the score sheet, while Thommo showed yet again what he can do when played in a really attacking position.

It really was fantastic and suddenly we will go into our next few games against other playoff challengers knowing we can get results.

It was far from perfect, but it doesn’t matter.

Hopefully, we can carry the feel good factor into Saturday and bring something home from Bradford. There is no reason we can’t get a result, but we are far from out of trouble.

With other sides still having games in hand it could only change very quickly, but another couple of good results and with a little bit of a barrier we should be able to save ourselves.

Darlo 2-2 Chorley one point gained or two dropped

On paper starting the day in the relegation zone, a point against playoff chasing Chorley isn’t the worst result. However, I came away feeling disappointed yet again.

Like the majority of the games in the Tommy Wright era there are positives to take but it hasn’t put the three points on the board that we so badly needed.

Up until opening the scoring, we played some great football. We kept it on the floor and got in behind the Chorley defence several times, with Joe Wheatley missing a great chance when the game was 0-0.

Once again Reece Styche took his goal superbly and he will need to continue finishing like that for us to have a chance of surviving. The only criticism I have is there were a number of occasions when he tried to do it all on his own when there were better options on.

After this initial spell, we struggled to create many clear openings. Stephen Thompson put away the penalty well, but in the second half, we lacked that cutting edge.

I know he is a fan favourite and the other options available are far from great but we need someone other than Harvey Saunders as a striker after Styche. He runs, he tries hard and he has bags of pace. Yet, he just seems too lightweight and doesn’t have that little bit of quality that we need.

Chorley had the joint best defensive record in the league before today and we were able to score two against them, it could have been more. However, our frailties at the other end meant it wasn’t enough to get the points we so badly needed.

Despite their league position and defence, Chorley have not scored that many this season but they looked dangerous every time going forward. Even before their first goal, we were lucky a couple of times to get away with errors but there is only so long that can happen.

Yet again, it was our own downfall rather than Chorley quality for the goals. The first came from a misplaced pass in midfield, with the second seeing Adam Trotman failing to clear his lines, giving away possession in a very dangerous position. In fact, if it wasn’t for a fantastic late save from Aynsley Pears, we would have come away with nothing.

The final disappointment for me today was that in the last ten minutes we had a man advantage following the sending off plus seven minutes stoppage time, but never really pushed or looked like scoring. We needed a win and that was the perfect platform to go for it.

While the league table now sees us outside the relegation zone it doesn’t make for pleasant viewing. Telford and Gainsborough below us both have three games in hand. Alfreton and Southport moved away from immediate danger with victories while our trip to Leamington next week again looks a must win.

In answer, if it was one point gained or two dropped, for me it is two dropped. Regardless of where Chorley were in the table, we led twice at home, gifted the opposition a way back into the game twice and failed to push the extra man advantage at the end.

If we are to stay up we need to turn these draws and positive performances into wins and quickly. Time is running out.

The time to worry is now for Darlo

If you are a Darlo fan and you aren’t already thinking about relegation the time to start is now. While the majority of fans will have been at this stage long before this weekend’s match, anyone who wasn’t worried about relegation before will be.

Despite our struggles over recent months, we have never been this close to the drop zone. Our latest defeat leaves us outside the bottom three only on goal difference, with third bottom Gainsborough having a game in hand over us. 

While there were positives to take once again the time of taking positives is over. We can keep taking positives from games, but if the results don’t turn around it won’t mean anything. 

Yesterday pretty much summed up the Tommy Wright era so far, no lack of effort from the majority, one good half, but one bad half with a string of individual errors.

The game was another frustrating one. Without dominating we more than held our own in the first half and deservedly went ahead at half time. Apart from Parkin’s strike, which was ruled out for offside, we rarely looked threatened at the back. At the other end, Reece Styche again showed why he has everything in his locker to be one of the best strikers at this level with a brilliant goal.

What happened after the break was unacceptable. Within 50 seconds of the kick off, York were level after three or four players made simple mistakes. Just minutes later we were again caught from one of our set plays at the other end of the pitch. Not just under Tommy Wright, but under Gray as well over the last couple of seasons, I have never known a team to get caught out so often short numbers wise on the counter. Regardless of how easily their player went down for the penalty, it was our error that led to him being clean through.

York, who have one of the biggest playing budgets in the league, didn’t carve us open for either goal but we gifted them two goals.

I have nothing wrong with the team we started off with but after conversations on Twitter last night our fans seemed divided on what formation we went with. Personally, I saw it as a 4-4-2, others 3-4-3. Either way, if it isn’t clear from the stands what formation we are trying to play it isn’t a good sign.

My other gripe from yesterday was the substitutions. Only one was made which was forced on us through injury. The second half we never really looked like getting back into the game, we had a lot of dangerous set pieces but didn’t create a lot. The game was crying out for something else to be tried, while Scott and Turnbull aren’t necessarily forward thinking players, Gillies and Caton are. What harm could it have done throwing at least one on?

Since Tommy took over we have on the whole had tough fixtures, only Gainsborough have been in the bottom half of the table, although the less said about that game the better.

We play Salford on Wednesday but also this month we have trips to Alfreton and Leamington which are looking like must win games already. Sandwiched in between we play Chorley, while February brings no let up with all four games being against sides currently in the playoffs.

At some point in this run of games, we need to turn things around, if not we could be dead and buried by the start of March. 

I will, as most fans will, go to Blackwell Meadows on Wednesday expecting to not get anything from our fixture with Salford and anything we do get is a bonus. It doesn’t really matter given our form but now is the best time this season to be playing Salford, no wins in four.

I just hope a plan is in place if we do end up back in the Evo-Stik next season.