Stafford Rangers – Matchtime

Thus far I’ve covered the basics on my tactical system. Now its time to put everything into action. What I normally do is run a few preseasons and see which player fits into my system, since I plan on using a 4231 and a 451 formation, I will try out all my players in the matches and then come to a decision. I will focus on my pivots first. I have one defensive pivot and two offensive pivots. So for the defensive pivot naturally i will look at tackling and strength. For my offensive pivots I will look at pass completion percentage, passes, key passes. For the rest it should be fairly obvious.

Now I dont really care about form/morale in preseason. So i juggled things around tried out a whole battery of players and settled on 4 key names, Kinsella, Carr, Huges and Mcintosh. These are my 3 pivots in midfield and that will be my striker him and another player called Mannion or something like that. My blogs are written at light speed, I work during the day and I dont really have much time for this.

I also look at potential ability of players, and weigh in on assman recommendations, its early days. My objective is to use players with high determination whereever possible. The clear out has been done.

In our first match against Harrogate, I opted to use a 451 v the AIs 442. I also spent a fair bit of time observing where their attacks were coming from. Now since its fairly hard to see all this within the first few minutes, I elected to play the ball out of defense and work ball into box, holding my fullbacks steady. They had a player in midfield who was threading most of their passes and their wingers were trying to get crosses in so I did a few things:

  • OI the central MC, tight mark, wrong foot
  • Wingers tight mark

All this is done while I am on full match settings, its our first match I dont want to screw things up. Once that is done i start looking at how we are passing the ball and how we are defending.

I am happy with our passing options I have a midfield pivot working with a my central midfielder dropping back. It works. I can see up to five players available for the pass.


When we are defending my only focus is to check whether we hold a decent defensive line and whether the outlets are marked or I have players who are in close proximity. It works. That attack broke down

As it turns out we had a good decent game dominating in all areas whilst I kept things simple electing only to use the three shouts I wanted to. And using OI were possible.

The team continues to perform admirably, Mcintosh is now leading the league as topscorer, he’s already bagged one hattrick. We handed Redditch a 5-0 hammering, but also drew two tough away matches. My players determined attitude kept us from losing. However I have to admit the goals conceded look like they were pulled out from some wicked comedy. I conceded one goal by virtue of some flukey clearance that went over the top of my keeper into goal, another was a fumble.


We arent doing that badly at the moment, 4 matches in and I’ve lost Michael Carr my pivot in midfield, my heart the soul of our team. Its going to be hard to fill his shoes, but we will continue. In my next few blogs I will highlight what kind of chances i make during a tough game, there were a few. I just need to get my blog up to speed and catch up with my game.


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