Design a site like this with
Get started
  • The European Journeyman Ep35

    The winter break is done and dusted. The squad has being strengthened EVEN FURTHER by the incoming transfers of left backs, Lardaux and Nikolic. Right back Garcia, midfielders Ilic and Aleksic, and striker Cumic. It brings our total transfer incomings at NINETEEN PLAYERS for a total of £300k. These are offset a little by FOURTEEN PLAYERS leaving for a total of £190k

    Newcomer Aleksic proves he’s not immune to the Feniks injury curse by straining his abdominal muscles in training, side-lining himself for 5 weeks!! To add a little bit more cover for the midfield, and before the transfer window slams shut, I dip into the loan market and bring in transfer listed Dimitrije Petronijevic until the end of the season from Kolubara. He’ll go straight into the starting XI against Surdulica, in the spot that Aleksic WOULD have played in.

    MATCH DAY!!!! The opening half hour passes by with the match turning quickly into a war of attrition. There’s very little for either keeper to do with just the one shot on target from each team. The significance of the match, and the chance for both teams to move close to the top half of the table is casting a shadow over the match.

    SECOND HALF The forward line are told, emphatically, that the shooting has not been good enough. It’s enough to gee up Kesic and Timotic, and as they retake the field it’s a positive restart to the match. We force back to back saves from the Surdulica keeper and then, in the 65th minute, WE MAKE THE BREAKTHROUGH!! TIMOTIC, WHO HAD BEEN STARTING TO FADE, PICKS THE BALL UP IN THE CENTRE CIRCLE AND FINDS KESIC IN WITH A FANTASTIC BALL PLAYED WITH THE OUTSIDE OF HIS BOOT. KESIC BREAKS INTO THE AREA AND FIRES HOME!!! 1-0 FENIKS!! VAR takes a look, but it’s the Surdulica left back playing him onside. Surdulica come back into the game, pressing more in search of an equaliser. Twice, Toroman in the Feniks goal has to beat away shots from distance and then, with ten minutes to play WE SEAL THE DEAL!!! THREE OF THE NEW SIGNINGS, NIKOLIC, ILIC AND CUMIC COMBINE TO SET UP PAUNOVIC. IT’S A SIMPLE FINISH FROM 12 YARDS OUT AND JUST LIKE THAT IT’S 2-0 FENIKS!! We see out the last ten minutes and, amazingly, register A CLEAN SHEET!!!! We finish the match with less possession and fewer chances, but it’s a deserved performance and one with few poor performances.

    The win lifts us up the league standings again, and puts us within touching distance of the top half.

    Two points from 8th but still only 4 points from 15th!! The bottom half of the SuperLiga is hella tight!!! Our next match is away to Mladost Lucani. They sit in 6th spot, but we’ve beaten them already in the SuperLiga and are looking to complete the double over a team for the first time this season.

    MATCH DAY!!!! I really didn’t want to change anything from the defence that kept a clean sheet, but Garcia is severely lacking match fitness so Markovic replaces him in the only change. Mladost, inevitably, start the match on the front foot and rack up chance after chance in the opening 20 minutes. We finally manage to keep hold of the ball for a while and ON 25 MINUTES SCORE THE OPENING GOAL!!! TIMOTIC TAKES A CORNER FROM THE LEFT, HIS CROSS IS MET BY VOJINOVIC. HIS NOD DOWN IS MET AT THE BACK POST BY THE LOITERING ILIC WHO HAS A SIMPLE TAP IN!!! WAIT THOUGH……THE FLAG IS UP……GOAL DISALLOWED!!!! ILIC WAS OFFSIDE!!

    The attempt does nothing more than rile up the Mladost players, and on 34 minutes they take the lead!! CUMIC FINISHING OFF A SWEEPING MOVE FROM RIGHT TO LEFT. TAPPING IN THE NOD DOWN FROM JOVIC FOLLOWING ANTONIJEVIC’S CROSS!! 1-0 MLADOST LUCANI!!!

    SECOND HALF Edin Kesic is told, quite bluntly, that his first half performance is not good enough. It looks like it motivates him, but there’s little improvement in the game after the restart. Just as Cumic is lining up to replace him though WE GRAB AN UNLIKELY EQUALISER!!! NIKOLIC WINS A HEADER ON THE HALFWAY LINE AND THE BALL DROPS TO PAUNOVIC. HE MOVES IT QUICKLY ONTO TIMOTIC. TIMOTIC IS QUICKLY CLOSED DOWN, AND HIS ATTEMPTED PASS TO KESIC FALLS INSTEAD TO THE ONRUSHING LEVICANIN!! HIS RUN TAKES HIM CLEAR OF THE MLADOST DEFENDERS AND HIS SHOT IS ARROW STRAIGHT INTO THE TOP CORNER!!! 1-1 WITH 30 MINUTES TO PLAY!!! With 15 minutes to play we are almost undone by ANOTHER long ball. It’s just a simple punt from the Mladost keeper that Milovanovic struggles to deal with. His attempted clearance rebounds off the opposing striker but Toroman is more than equal to the following shot, pushing it away for a corner. Mladost push and probe for an attempted winner, but the Feniks defence seems to be made of sterner stuff since the winter break and hold on for a hard earned draw!!! FINAL SCORE 1-1!

    The win lifts us to within a point of 8th place and the top half and there’s a very real possibility that we can push on and challenge for that spot.

    Next up is Napredak Krusevac. They’re another team riding high, safely in the top half, almost safe from the relegation zone in 5th spot. It was a straight up 1-nil loss last time out, but we’re a stronger squad now. Garcia returns at right back after Markovic was given a torrid time last match. He’s joined back in the starting line-up by Vjestica. He missed the Mladost match through suspension.

    MATCH DAY!!!! There’s no other changes to the team. Aleksic is still a few days away from training, so the midfield quartet of Ilic, Radmilovic, Petronijevic and Levicanin will continue. Timotic has taken to his more advanced role like a duck to water and continues to partner Kesic in attack. We are unbeaten in our last three games, whilst Krusevac haven’t won in their last five. AND IT’S FENIKS WHO OPEN THE SCORING!!!! VOJINOVIC MEETS ILIC’S NEAR POST CORNER AND BEATS THE KEEPER!!! 1-0 AFTER 15 MINUTES!!!! Krusevac take just over five minutes to level the scores though! JOVANOVIC FINISHING OFF A FANTASTIC BIT OF PLAY BY KOCIC BY TAPPING IN AT THE FAR POST!!! 1-1 AND GAME ON!! Kocic almost supplies another goal on the stroke of halftime. His corner is met at the far post but the header flies harmlessly over.

    SECOND HALF We’ve had the better of the first half, and it’s a cry of “REVENGE” that echoes around the changing room as the players retake the field!! Feniks have the first chance of the second period as Ilic sends over another corner that is met again by Vojinovic. His header is blocked and when the ball rebounds at the feet of Garcia he launches it straight back at goal…..his effort looks destined for the top corner but instead crashes against the crossbar and away to safety. With twenty minutes to go, Krusevac have their own attacking corner drama. Kocic, again, sends over a floated ball that is met full force by the head of Jovanovic. His header is clawed away by Toroman, but he can’t hold on to it. The loose ball is stabbed at goal but Nikolic is on the line to save the day and hack the ball clear!! The rest of the game is played out at a frantic, but error filled, pace. Attacks begin and end with mis-placed passes, or with poor quality finishes. The ref eventually blow for full time and it’s an honourable draw. FINAL SCORE 1-1.

    The draw keeps our undefeated month going, and puts us on 5 points in February and up to 26 points in total.

    The press come round after the match asking about links to me and the vacant Spartak Subotica job. Pfft, if I wasn’t about to leave for TSC, then I’m not going to entertain Subotica.

    The last match of the month sees us travel to 15th placed Radnicki Nis. It’s another opportunity to complete a SuperLiga double AND extend the gap between us to nine points. Danijel Aleksic returns to training after being out for a month with pulled abdominal muscles. He’ll have to make do with a spot on the bench to start with, We’re unbeaten in four matches now and no reason to switch things up.


    SECOND HALF The halftime talk is all about praise. They’re playing well, and the scoreline proves it. WE START THE SECOND HALF EVEN BETTER THAN WE DID THE FIRST!!! ONCE AGAIN IT’S A TIMOTIC CORNER THAT’S MET BY VOJINOVIC. THIS TIME HIS HEADER CRACKS AGAINST THE WOODWORK BUT FALLS AT THE FEET OF RADMILOVIC TWO YARDS OUT!!! HE REALLY COULDN’T MISS AND JUST 2 MINUTES AFTER THE RESTART IT’S 4-2 FENIKS!!!! Toroman is called into action with fifteen minutes remaining. Milosevic curls a beauty of a free kick around the wall, but Toroman is more than equal to it and pushes the shot wide and away. The final minutes fly by as the game flows end to end. Neither keeper is tested again though and when the ref blows for full time is Feniks who emerge victors 4-2!!!

    It was an even game and the only real difference was our clinical finishing. The win keeps us in close proximity to the top half but, more importantly, extends the gap between ourselves and the automatic relegation spots to a massive NINE POINTS!!

    February has been kind, EXTREMELY kind, to us. Two wins and two draws means we end the month with 8 points from a possible 12. Our run in though, has the potential to TOTALLY DERAIL US!!

    After we start the month at home to 14th placed Javor Ivanjica, we play 3rd placed Vojvodina and 2nd placed Red Star. March is then rounded out with a HUGE GAME against Vozdovac, the team currently sitting in the final top half spot!! The Preliminary Stage is then rounded out by a visit to 4th placed Cukaricki Stankom.

    Is seven points too much to hope for? Probably, we can live in hope!!!

    Thanks for reading folks. Any comments, likes, follows etc are ALWAYS appreciated. You can find me on my other social media sites


    TWITCH –

  • The European Journeyman Ep34

    We’re heading into the winter break of our first season in the SuperLiga. There’s just two games left of the calendar year, up first is a tough game against top of the table Partizan. They’re followed by the polar opposite and a visit to rock bottom Sloga.

    Whilst the league POSITION isn’t as good as it possibly could have been, the actual POINTS TALLY is far better than I expected. After 19 games, we’ve accrued 18 points. Yes, we’re third bottom in the table but we are only 3 points from ninth and five points from the top half!!

    The next crop of youngsters coming through from the academy is announced, and it’s looking pretty decent.

    Defenders, and midfielders are all looking to be pretty good. We’ll see when they actually announce the intake, but good things on the horizon.

    Petar Glintic gives attempts to give me a heart attack on the build up to the Partizan game

    before he comes clean with five days to go that he’s only out for 2 days!!

    The rest of the week passes with no starting players picking up injuries. Subotic though, is ruled out of the bench by picking up a virus. His place is taken by Sredojevic.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Last time we played Partizan, I adjusted our playing mentality and it cost us dearly. This time, I’m keeping everything the same and whatever will be will be. I’m refusing to sit back and wait for the walloping, I’m going out IN SEARCH OF IT!!! It all starts so well. We manage to have a fair bit of the ball in the opening few minutes before Partizan counter on us with pace. Terzic sends over a deep, deep cross aiming for Holender, Glintic comes out to claim it but misjudges the flight of the ball completely and the ball sails over his head and, bizarrely, straight into the net!!! 1-0 PARTIZAN! BUT WAIT……VAR IS LOOKING AT THE GOAL…….IT SEEMS THAT THERE’S A PARTIZAN PLAYER IN AN OFFSIDE POSITION AS THE CROSS COMES IN!!! DESPITE THE PLAYER GETTING NOWHERE NEAR THE BALL, THE GOAL IS RULED OUT!!!!

    There’s a little bit of end to end action that leads to Teodorovic forcing the Partizan goalkeeper into conceding a corner. Nothing comes from it, but it’s a signal of intent and will serve to keep the Partizan defence on it’s toes. We start to grow into the game a little more, Edin Kesic is sent through one-on-one with the keeper, he manages to get round him but is forced too wide and his effort is easily blocked on the line. Partizan finally get the opening goal with less than five minutes of the first half remaining. Left winger Jovic is sent sprinting after a lofted through ball and leaves the Feniks defence behind. He collects the ball in the area and waits until Glintic makes his move. Jovic simply waits and waits then lifts it over Glintic and into the empty net. 1-0 PARTIZAN!! It’s the last real action of the half, and despite being MASSIVELY behind in both possession and chances, we’re only a goal behind.

    SECOND HALF We come out for the restart in good form and take the game, as much as we’re allowed, to Partizan. The games starts to get mired down in the middle of the park, and the first good chance of the second half falls to Feniks. It’s a cross from Mirkailo, with twenty minutes to play, that’s met by Vjestica. His header beats the Partizan keeper but creeps narrowly over the bar. With ten minutes left, we have another gilt edged chance to level things up. Timotic, playing now as a striker, makes a fantastic run that is picked out by Radmilovic. Once again the Partizan keeper is rounded, but once again the Partizan defence has tracked back and the shot is cleared off the line!! We keep pushing and probing but the Partizan ranks close up and the referee blows for full time. FINAL SCORE 1-0 PARTIZAN!!

    Although it’s, stats-wise, a comprehensive defeat. We more than held our own and had chances to level the game in the second half. The players are told as such, and despite that being our third loss in a row, they leave the ground in high spirits.

    The last match before the winter break is on the horizon, and my assistant decides to state the bleeding obvious, by saying that morale is a little low and a team talk might help!!

    I call the players in, and clearly tell them that “although things are tough at the minute, we’ve go the talent to pull through!”

    I think you could say it went down well!!!

    Sloga await us before a near two month break. They’ve managed a paltry 7 points from their 20 games so far, but we couldn’t beat them LAST season, and will have to be at our best to avoid an embarrassment here. Tesic comes to pay me a visit asking for more game time. He’s not as good as any of the four midfielders I’m currently starting, and is told to wait his turn. He’s not particularly happy with that, a quick warning that if he wants I can straight up sell him doesn’t go down any better either. That meeting is followed quickly by Teodorovic knocking on my door asking for a new contract. He’s played well since coming into the team, scoring 7 goals in his 13 SuperLiga appearances. I’m happy to sit down with him, He’s currently on £150 p/w with a £8 appearance bonus and £5 goal bonus. He OPENS with a request for £160 p/w, £10 appearance bonus and £10 goal bonus PLUS a 10% year on year increase. He ACTUALLY WALKS AWAY WITH a shiny new contract worth £150 p/w, NO APPEARANCE BONUS, NO YEAR ON YEAR INCREASE AND A £40 GOAL BONUS!! He’s happy because he’s got a new contract that could earn him more money. I’m happy because for him to earn that extra money, he’s got to put the ball in the back of the net!!!

    MATCH DAY!!!! After being ineligible for the Partizan game, Miletic returns to the bench. Teodorovic, still beaming about his new contract offer, keeps his place alongside Kesic. Both teams have come into the game on the back of three straight defeats and it’s Feniks who SHOULD HAVE OPENED THE SCORING, Edin Kesic dragging his shot wide from the angle of the six yard box. This first half continues in that vein. Sloga have a similar chance to the Kesic one, the shot AGAIN being dragged wide when well placed. Much of the game is played in the middle third, and the first half draws to a close with Feniks ahead on chances but level on goals.

    SECOND HALF The restart brings much of the same, a slight tactic switch to a narrow diamond changes nothing and just before the hour mark Radmilovic loses his head and trips Todorovic in the box. The ref has no choice but to point to the spot!! Radivojevic steps up to take the kick…..Glintic bounces on his line…….but can do nothing as it’s powered straight down the middle!! 1-0 SLOGA!!! There’s still over half an hour left to play, as Feniks restart the match. AND IT TAKES LESS THAN A MINUTE FOR THE SCORES TO BE LEVELLED!!! IT’S THAT MAN KESIC AGAIN THAT COMES TO THE RESCUE!! HE WINS AN AERIEL DUEL FIRST, NODDING THE BALL DOWN TO TEODOROVIC. HE STRIDES FORWARD AS KESIC SPINS AND STARTS HIS RUN. TEODOROVIC’S PASS IS INCH PERFECT AND KESIC DOESN’T HAVE TO ALTER HIS STRIDE…..HE JUST STROKES THE BALL PAST THE STRANDED SLOGA KEEPER!! 1-1 AND TWO GOALS IN TWO MINUTES!! The match goes back it it’s midfield stalemate and as the fourth official holds up a board show four additional minutes, there’s a groan from the gathered crowd!! Those groans from the travelling Feniks supporters though TURN TO SHOUTS OF JOY!!! JOVANOVIC GOES ON A MAZY RUN DOWN THE LEFT, HE CUTS THE BALL BACK FROM THE BY-LINE AND IN THE CHAOS IT CREATES, SUBSTITUTE MILETIC ON WHEN THE TACTICAL SHAPE CHANGE HAPPENED, POKES HOME WHAT MUST SURELY BE THE WINNER!!! 2-1 FENIKS!! There’s still time for Sloga to break on us from a Feniks corner. Arnautovic finding himself all alone on the edge of the area, but a rush of blood to the head sees his shot sail high and wide!! FROM THE RESULTING GOAL KICK THOUGH, THE FINAL NAIL IS HAMMERED IN. TIMOTIC GATHERS A PASS FROM GLINTIC AND PLAYS IT OVER THE TOP FOR KESIC TO RUN ONTO. KESIC OUTSTRIPS THE SLOGA DEFENCE, ROUNDS THE KEEPER AND ROLLS THE BALL INTO THE EMPTY NET!! 3-1 FENIKS AND GAME OVER!!!

    After an even first half, the change in shape brought about a fantastic response to falling a goal behind. It’s great to put a stop to the poor run of results, and even better to do it coming from behind, after suffering the heartache of that ourselves recently!! The goals from Edin Kesic were numbers 19 and 20 for him this season. 17 of them coming in the SuperLiga.

    The players pack their bags and head off for the winter break. The league will restart in SIXTY DAYS with the final nine games of the Preliminary Stage. The time off starts with a dilemma. TSC, a bigger and more established SuperLiga club, are making noises about wanting me to take over as their manager. To be honest, it’s not even close. NOW, if Red Star or Partizan come a knocking, then I’ll be out the door. But as it stands, I’ve got the opportunity to become a legit club legend. I’m already the FIRST Feniks manager to lead them to the SuperLiga, the ceiling of my ambitions is only as high as I set it. The board seem happy that I’ve turned them down, not happy enough to give me a new contract yet…….but happy none the less.

    My search to a decent, consistent, left back begins in earnest. I’d hoped that Maidanos would be the answer but his performances have been shocking in the extreme. Three players have bids accepted for them, and three times I’m turned down by the player themselves. Each time it’s the lack of financial muscle, that lets us down.

    The search for a left back becomes EVEN MORE pressing. Lazic moves on to pastures new, and Maidanos is recalled by Aigaleo!! Our only remaining left back is now the incredibly inconsistent Jovanovic!! We finally, after being turned down time, after time, AFTER TIME, bring in left sided reinforcements. Nikolic joins from Novi Pazar, and he’s joined by young Belgian, Jef Lardaux.

    More positive transfer news, as Vojinovic and Miletic agree to continue their loans till the end of NEXT season. Tesic has a bid come in from Ergotelis that’s accepted, but on the flip side, Josh Burgess is upset that I haven’t played him as a central defender, despite the fact that he’s my FIFTH BEST in that that position. He hands in a transfer request and bids from Bolton, Barnsley and Sheff Wednesday all appear in a matter of minutes!!! The Barnsley bid offers the better long term deal for the club PLUS THEY OFFER TO LOAN HIM BACK WITH ZERO WAGE CONTRIBUTION!!! The only fly in the ointment is the Feniks board. They get a little greedy and demand that Bolton pay a minimum of £53k instead of the £33k they had previously agreed. It’s a cap in hand trip back to Barnsley, hoping that they’ll agree to the higher asking price. As expected, they decline the higher price. BACK onto the transfer list he goes, and just as quick we get bids from Nottingham Forest, Millwall, Bristol Rovers, Blackpool, Swindon Town and Rochdale. They’re all for £42k and they’re all ACCEPTED. Pretty sure the board will veto these bids as well but we can only wait and see!!

    AGAIN, the board want to get their monies worth from a player that came in for just £4k. It’s another demand of £53k before they’ll accept and the bids go back to the clubs involved!!

    Despite by announcement in the press that I wasn’t interested is being offered the TSC job, the board STILL come forward and offer me an interview.

    It’s declined out of hand. I still feel I can do as well with Feniks if I’m given the time.

    The winter transfer window opens and, adding to the THIRTEEN PLAYERS we signed before the season started, I bring in another FIVE, with more still in the negotiation stage. Osmic, Tesic and Sredojevic all leave, with Burgess, Belic negotiating their departures. Spaniard Ruben Garcia joins the club on a free transfer, he plays as right back and is a genuine improvement on the players currently at the club.

    The first mid-season friendly gets underway. It’s an away trip to Dunaujvaros Pase. All the new recruits get a run out, as does Toroman in goal. He’s developed well and has earnt a run between the sticks. It’s a decent run out and a comprehensive victory. Timotic, who has been moved into the front line since the midfield improvements arrived, gets a brace. It’ll do his confidence the world of good, and help to settle him in his new position.

    The other two mid-season friendlies come and go with unspectacular results. The THIRD string XI lose a high scoring affair 5-4 to Budafok and then play out a 1-1 draw against Pesci.

    Josh Burgess FINALLY gets his move away from the club. Walsall pony up £85k for a player that cost us £4k less than a year ago. The reason for the board declining the previous bids becomes clear, part and parcel of the agreement to BUY Burgess included a whopping 40% SELL-ON CLAUSE!!! We sell him for £85k but have to hand over £34k to Basingstoke!!!

    The Preliminary Stage is set to restart. Home games against Radnik Surdulica and Napredak Krusevac and trips to Mladost Lucani and Radnicki Nis make up February’s games. At least two of those games are winnable and the target is a realistic seven points, that would take us up to 28 points.

    Thanks for reading folks. Any comments, likes, follows etc are ALWAYS appreciated. You can find me on my other social media sites


    TWITCH –

  • The European Journeyman Ep33

    We’re at the half way point of the clubs first SuperLiga campaign. Things started well. Well, as well as things can go when the club is only SIX YEARS OLD and every year has seen a promotion without any serious improvement to squad quality!! October was tough. We won just the single point and were bombed out of the Serbian Cup. November looks to be a little easier, with every team we’re scheduled to play in and around where we are currently.

    Up first is TSC. We opened the campaign against them and played out a high scoring 3-5 loss. The team talk writes itself and a cry of “REVENGE” will echo around the changing room before the game.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Radmilovic returns to training in the run up to the match, but isn’t ready for a return to the starting line-up. He makes do with a spot on the bench. Kilibarda and Timotic are still not back in training, although Timotic should be back on the bench for the next game. It’s an important match, and one that we need to start well to banish the mood resulting from last month, AND START IT WELL WE DO!!! TSC ARE THE AUTHORS OF THEIR OWN DOOM AS A THROW IN DEEP IN THEIR OWN HALF IS PICKED OF BY TEODOROVIC. HE TAKES THE BALL TO THE BY-LINE AND DINKS A CROSS TO THE WAITING EDIN KESIC!!!! IT’S HIS SECOND IN AS MANY GAMES AND HIS TENTH OF THE SEASON!!! 1-0 FENIKS AND NOT EVEN FIVE MINUTES ON THE CLOCK!! We have great chances to extend our lead, Kesic again, straight from kick off attempts to lob the keeper but it grazes the crossbar on it’s way over. TSC though, work themselves back into the match and level the score in the 24th minute. It’s a deep free kick that finds Dordevic 12 yards out. His volley screams past Glintic because he even knows it’s been hit!! 1-1 AND GAME ON!! Five minutes though, is all it takes for Feniks to retake the lead. LAZIC, OVERLAPPING DOWN THE LEFT, PLAYS THE BALL INSIDE TO BASARIC. HE MOVES IT QUICKLY ONTO LEVICANIN. LEVICANIN TAKE A COUPLE OF TOUCHES AND SLAMS HIS SHOT INTO THE TOP CORNER!!!! 2-1 FENIKS!! We are so close to scoring straight from kick off again. Levicanin wins the ball in the centre circle and plays a quick long ball over the top for Kesic to run onto. He gets there ahead of the onrushing keeper and coolly slots it past him…..but the assistant had his flag up……Kesic went just a touch too soon!!! EDIN KESIC IS NOT TO BE DENIED A SECOND THOUGH!! LAZIC AND BASARIC AGAIN COMBINE DOWN THE LEFT BEFORE THE BALL IS PLAYED INSIDE TO TESIC. TESIC BRINGS IT FORWARD AND SLIDES A PASS INTO THE PATH OF KESIC. HIS RUN IS TIMED TO PERFECTION THIS TIME AND AS THE KEEPER COMES OUT, HE DINKS IT OVER HIM!!! 3-1 FENIKS WITH FIVE MINUTES OF THE HALF REMAINING!! TSC once again restart the game and ONCE AGAIN we win it back early. Markovic, on the right, brings down a long ball and plays it forward to Levicanin. Levicanin, who has been a torn is the side of TSC in the first half, beats one man and lets go a rocket that smashes off the crossbar, bounces down on the line and away to safety!! The ref calls for time and we head down the tunnel in complete control.

    SECOND HALF The restart brings no respite for TSC. Teodorovic finds himself clear through after five minutes but his shot is straight at the keeper. ON THE HOUR MARK THOUGH, TEODOROVIC BREAKS OUT THE TRICKS ON THE EDGE OF THE AREA AND IS DRAGGED DOWN. THE REF CALLS FOR VAR TO CHECK IF IT WAS IS THE AREA……AND AWARDS THE PENALTY!!!! EDIN KESIC STEPS UP TO COMPLETE HIS HAT-TRICK……RIGHT FOOTED……..AND PLANTS IT HIGH TO THE KEEPERS LEFT!!!! 4-1 FENIKS AND A HAT-TRICK FOR KESIC!! The goal perks up TSC and they make a rare foray into the Fenicks half. Markovic attempts to clear the ball long but instead smashes it against Vojinovic!! The ball rebounds to Carapic and his cross is met by Ratkov, and just like that it’s game on and 4-2 TO FENIKS!!! We refuse to get rattled and instead, go straight back on the front foot. Markovic, in his last action before being subbed, wins the ball back and start a quick passing play that ends with Vojinovic lifting a ball over the top AND EDIN KESIC RACING CLEAR…..HE ONLY HAS TIME FOR ONE TOUCH, BUT IT’S A SWEET, SWEET VOLLEY THAT FLIES STRAIGHT INTO THE FAR TOP CORNER!!!! 5-2 FENIKS AND KESIC’S FOURHT GOAL OF THE DAY!! The final fifteen minutes pass by with no further goals. Our legs are tired, and TSC are in shock. The referee finally puts an end to their misery and we stroll out COMFORTABLE WINNERS 5-2!!!

    It’s EXACTLY the type of performance we needed to clear the air after the recent results. A perfect start to November, and a huge lift to the morale of the squad!! It’s incredibly tight for the majority of the places in the lower half of the table. The win has lifted us up to 12th place but we’re still only a single point from 15th AND two points from 8th!!!

    Sloga are looking like they are doomed already, so there will be just one automatic relegation spot up for grabs at the end of the Final Stage, with the next four spaces taken up by relegation playoffs and just TWO spaces, 9th and 10th, safe from relegation.

    We’re boosted even further by the return to training of Timotic. He’s been an absolute BOSS in the middle of the three, and our downturn in form coincided with his injury. He’s only fit enough for 45 minutes, so it’s a place on the bench for him. Radmilovic, on the other hand, returns to the starting line-up for the Kolubara game.

    On paper, this is the hardest game of the month. Kolubara are sitting in 7th place in the league, and we played out a tight 2-1 loss last time out. Jovanovic replaces Lazic, purely and simply because, although he’s had a hand in a couple of the goals recently, his average rating is still under 7.0.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Feniks, once again, come out the blocks firing. A throw in on the right is taken by Markovic. It lands at the feet of Kesic and is quickly moved onto Paunovic on the edge of the area. PAUNOVIC TURNS ON A SIXPENCE AND PLAYS A SIMPLE PASS INTO THE PATH OF LEVICANIN. FROM THERE IT’S PURE POWER AS LEVICANIN’S SHOT IS PAST THE KOLUBARA KEEPER BEFORE HE EVEN SEES IT!!! 1-0 FENIKS AFTER JUST FOUR MINUTES!!!! Kolubara get back on level terms after ten minutes. Glintic, ignoring ALL TEAM INSTRUCTIONS, smashes his kick as far up field as possible. Kesic loses his aerial duel and the ball swiftly makes it’s way back to the Feniks area. A cross from the left is missed by Vjestica and the header is powered past Glintic!! 1-1 WITH LOADS OF TIME LEFT!! The goal is the equivalent of pulling the tiger by the tail. FIRST EDIN KESIC, THEN PAUNOVIC AND THEN LEVICANIN ALL PUSH THE KOLUBARA KEEPER TO HIS LIMIT BUT IT’S TEODOROVIC IN THE 21ST MINUTE THAT FINALLY BREAKS HIS RESOLVE. LEVICANIN PICKS THE BALL UP DEEP IN THE FENIKS HALF AND PLAYS IT UP TO TEODOROVIC. HE PLAYS A ONE-TWO WITH KESIC AND FINDS HIMSELF RACING TOWARDS GOAL. TEODOROVIC KEEPS HIS CALM AND SLOTS THE BALL PAST THE KEEPER!! 2-1 FENIKS! Kolubara though, don’t seem to have read the script. They restart the game and within FIFTEEN SECONDS Vujosevic levels the score again!!! 2-2 AND STILL PLENTY OF GAME TO PLAY!! The madness continues though. Apparently four goals inside the opening thirty minutes isn’t enough……STRAIGHT FROM KICK OFF JOVANOVIC PINGS A LONG BALL UP TO TEODOROVIC. HIS FIRST TOUCH IS SUBLIME AND PLAYS IN KESIC, WHO IS TOTALLY UNMARKED ON THE EDGE OF THE AREA, KESIC STRIKES THE BALL FIRST TIME AND BEATS THE KEEPER LOW AND TO HIS RIGHT!!! 3-2 FENIKS AND STILL FIFTEEN MINUTES OF THE FIRST HALF LEFT TO PLAY!!! Still the ridiculous first half continues to bewilder. Kolubara come forward again, they work the ball down the left and the ball is played in. Vujosevic looks like he’s offside when he receives the ball but VAR calls him onside!!! 3-3 AND WE’RE STILL IN THE FIRST HALF!!! Right on the stroke of half time there’s yet more drama!! EDIN KESIC IS RELEASED DOWN THE LEFT, HIS CROSS IS MET BY LEVICANIN. HIS HEADER IS CLAWED OFF THE LINE BY THE KEEPER BUT IT FALLS TO TEODOROVIC AND HE MAKES NO MISTAKE!!! 4-3 FENIKS…..SEVEN GOALS IN THE FIRST HALF!!! The ref finally blows for half time, probably to give his whistle a rest, and there’s nothing much really I can criticise. The goals scored against us have been good, well worked goals.

    SECOND HALF The goal scoring craziness continues after the restart. Kolubara earn a corner in the opening minute, that’s cleared away but the second ball back in finds Saric unmarked and slides his shot inside the near post!! HERE WE GO AGAIN 4-4 AND I’M NOT BETTING AGAINST MORE GOALS!!! We’re able to catch our breath until the hour mark. KESIC IS PLAYED IN BY A BALL OVER THE TOP. HE ROUNDS THE KEEPER AND SLOTS IN INTO THE EMPTY NET!! HOLD ON…….THE ASSISTANTS FLAG IS UP…….VAR TAKES A LOOK…….GOAL AWARDED!!! 5-4 FENIKS!!! Jovanovic is replaced by Lazic and the mentality is taken down a notch, but STILL the goals keep coming!! Lazic’s clearance falls straight to a Kolubara player and his pass to Vujosevic puts it on a plate for him. 5-5 AND THERE’S STILL 25 MINUTES TO PLAY!! This is getting silly now. A corner to Kolubara is claimed by Glintic. HIS CLEARANCE IS HUGE AND KESIC KNOCKS THE BALL DOWN TO LEVICANIN. LEVICANIN RETURNS THE FAVOUR AND AS KESIC IS CLOSED DOWN BY THE KEEPER IT’S A CHEEKY LITTLE DINK THAT BRINGS THE ELEVENTH GOAL OF THE GAME!!!! Kolubara, again, go in search of an equaliser. they win a corner that is met by a bullet header. Glintic is rooted to his spot, BUT MARKOVIC IS ON THE LINE TO HACK IT AWAY!!! The fourth official holds up four additional minutes, but for once there’s no action. The ref calls time and a new league high scoring game enters the books!!! FINAL SCORE 6-5 TO FENIKS!!! It’s such an even and open game, that the result could quite easily have gone the other way.

    Edin Kesic has found his scoring boots again. After going seven games without finding the back of the net, he’s now scored 8 in the last four.

    There’s two weeks between matches now, allowing Timotic and Radmilovic time to work on their fitness. It’s not injury news, but rather transfer business, that dominates the news in the time off between games. First Osmic, and then Sredojevic come forward wanting moves away from the club. Both are back up players, at best, and their wishes are granted. We get an improvement arranged to come in, with Aleksander Ilic agreeing to come in on a free transfer from Kalamata. He’s joined by Luka Cumic joining us for a MASSIVE £30k.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Timotic returns to the starting line-up at the expense of Tesic. He moves in to the middle of the three, with Levicanin switching to the wider mezzala role. The match starts off even, with an end-to-end flow to it. Paunovic and Teodorovic have good chances, BEFORE THAT MAN KESIC MAKES THE BREAKTHROUGH AGAIN!! 25 MINUTES ARE ON THE CLOCK WHEN RADMILOVIC AND PAUNOVIC COMBINE TO SET KESIC UP. HIS FIRST TIME EFFORT IS SCUFFED BUT BOBBLES IN OFF THE FAR POST!!! 1-0 FENIKS!! Our poor defensive marking is our undoing again just before halftime. The ball is played out to the left, and then quickly into the area. Maksimovic finds himself in acres of space 12 yards out and has the composure to slot it home to level the scores!

    SECOND HALF I can’t be too hard on the players during the interval. We’ve created 17 chances and had the bulk of the possession. If anything it’s the shots on target ratio that’s letting us down. Novi Pazar scored from only their second shot on target!! The restart brings no let up in the pressure on the Novi Pazar defence. Chance after chance after chance are created, most of them fly off target but even when they DO find the target, the Novi Pazar keeper is equal to the task. Then, with little over five minutes remaining, Novi Pazar are awarded a free kick wide and to the right of the Feniks area. The ball is swung over deep, but cleared away to Vojinovic. It falls to a Novi Pazar player and it quickly played forward. Before the Feniks defence has a chance to organise themselves again the shot is away, and with just their THIRD SHOT ON TARGET they take the lead!!! 2-1 NOVI PAZAR WITH TIME RUNNING OUT!! They shut up shop, take their ball and go home. There’s just not enough time to get back into the game, and the ref calls time with the FINAL SCORE 2-1 TO NOVI PAZAR!!! We only have ourselves to blame. Our profligacy in front of goal, combined with Manojlovic in the Novi Pazar goal playing out of his skin, means we can’t manage a third win in a row.

    Once again though, our left back has underperformed. Jovanovic has complained that he’s not been given the game time he was promised, but his average rating from the last five games is an APPALLING 6.3!! Markovic, on the right, injured his foot during the match and is ruled out for the next month. Mirkailo will come in as his replacement, and as much as I’d like to replace Jovanovic there just isn’t an option what has performed when given the chance.

    It’s a full week between games and it’s a chance again for a fully refreshed squad. The transfers for Sredojevic and Osmic are confirmed, they’ll be leaving when the window reopens. We’re away against Spartak Subotica next, and they’re very much having a similar season to us. We’re sitting on 18 points and 11th place. Subotica are also on 18 points, but their superior goal difference has them in 10th place.

    MATCH DAY!!!! The only change made is the enforced one at right back. Subotica crash a shot off the crossbar with the first move of the game. It’s just about all the offer in the opening ten minutes. TIMOTIC SLIDES AN EXQUISITE PASS IN TO KESIC AND JUST LIKE THAT, IT’S 1-0 FENIKS!!! We continue to apply pressure, but it’s Subotica with a free kick on the edge of the Feniks area who score the next goal. Mircevski bends a sweet left footed freekick around the wall and with their FIRST SHOT ON TARGET the scores are levelled at 1-1!!

    SECOND HALF The restart switches everything around. After dominating the first half but conceding at the death, Subotica come out firing and take control of the match. They finally make the breakthrough with twenty minutes to play. Mircevski turns supplier this time as his corner is met by Jelicic and it’s 2-1 Subotica and we’ve let it slip!! FINAL SCORE 2-1 SPARTAK SUBOTICA!!

    Once again, the opposition managed to shut up shop and it’s a second match in a row that we’ve taken the lead, only to throw it away and come away with nothing. After a couple of wins on the bounce, we had lifted ourselves up to the lofty heights of 10th. Back to back losses though have seen us fall to 14th but still only 3 points from ninth!!!

    November was VERY SPLIT! We won our first two games, against teams above us in the league, scoring 11 goals!! That was followed by losing our next two games against team we really should have beaten.

    The winter break is looming large with just the two games in December. Up first is the return fixture against Partizan, followed by a match against rock bottom Sloga. Three points is expected, and anything less than that would be a MASSIVE disappointment!!

    Thanks for reading folks. Any comments, likes, follows etc are ALWAYS appreciated. You can find me on my other social media sites


    TWITCH –

  • The European Journeyman Ep31

    We’ve started to find our feet a little in the SuperLiga. A win and a draw (that we conceded in time added on AFTER THE ORIGINAL ADDED TIME WAS FINISHED) means that, coupled with the cup win, we’re on a three match unbeaten run!!

    We are still right in the thick of the relegation play off zone, but now we’re as close to escaping it as we are to bottom. September brings us more matches that SHOULD have the chance for more points, as well as the next round of the Serbian Cup. That’s up next, and it’s Backa Palanka coming to visit the Feniks Arena. They’re a team that we left behind in the second division so SHOULD, as long as we perform, be able to progress to the next round.

    The bookies FINALLY have us as favourites for a match, although knowing our luck, we’ll not perform and get turned over now!!

    There’s no reason, INJURY-WISE, to make any changes. The only one that is made is Tesic stepping aside and Basaric. It’s simply to give Basaric game time after sitting on the bench since his arrival. Teodorovic keeps his spot ahead of Miletic, and Burgess continues at right back.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Backa Palanka belie their lower league and start the game well. They make the breakthrough after a bit of sustained pressure in the 11th minute. It’s successive crosses from both the left and right that have the Feniks defence chasing shadows before Jovanovic drills home the opener!! 1-0 BACKA PALANKA!! We manage to drag ourselves back into the match, but at no point are we in charge, and go into halftime a goal down,

    SECOND HALF The second period brings NO CHANGE to the proceedings UNTIL A POOR CLEARANCE FROM THE PALANKA KEEPER FALLS TO TEODOROVIC. HE TEES UP LEVICANIN WHO SQUARES THE BALL AND GIVES KESIC A SIMPLE TAP-IN FINISH. 1-1 AND PLENTY OF TIME TO KICK ON!! Backa Palanka respond to conceding the goal by pushing on. Glintic is the Feniks hero, three times he foils one-on-one duels AND THEN, IN TIME ADDED ON, THE BACKA PALANKA DEFENCE MISJUDGE A LONG PUNT FROM BURGESS AND KESIC RACES CLEAR!!! THE KEEPER COMES OUT TO MEET HIM BUT KESIC DINKS IT OVER!!! 2-1 FENIKS IN TIME ADDED ON!!! We see the remaining time out and through we go to the next round!!

    The first SuperLiga game of the month sees Feniks play host to Mladost Lucani. They’ve started quite well, sitting in 6th spot with a handy 10 points from the opening 7 games. The only change is Radmilovic dropping to the defensive midfield position and Paunovic coming into the midfield three.

    MATCH DAY!!!! There’s no injuries or suspension, so Radmilovic and Paunovic are the only changes. Paunovic is at the heart of our first big chance. After winning the ball high up the pitch he finds Teodorovic, his pass plays in Kesic but Edin’s shot is well saved by the Lucani keeper. FROM THE RESULTING CORNER THOUGH, WE MAKE THE BREAKTHROUGH. LEVICANIN’S BALL IN IS CLEARED AWAY BUT VOJINOVIC, BURGESS AND TIMOTIC COMBINE TO PLAY IN TEODOROVIC. HIS SHOT BEATS THE KEEPER AND PINGS IN OFF THE POST……BUT WAIT….THE ASSISTANTS FLAG IS UP…….VAR IS LOOKING AT IT………AND THE GOAL IS AWARDED!!!!! 1-0 FENIKS!! The goal wasn’t even against the run of play. We’d had the best of the opening 15 minutes AND MAKE IT TWO NIL JUST THREE MINUTES AFTER THE FIRST!!! TEODOROVIC DOING ALL THE WORK HIMSELF AND LAUNCHING HIMSELF A ROCKET TO DOUBLE HIS TALLY!!! Lucani start to grow back into the game, but can’t get through our narrow midfield before the ref brings the first half to an end.

    SECOND HALF We finished the half with less possession AND chances but the lead is well deserved. It’s a praising teamtalk, with only left back Maidanos AGAIN underperforming. It’s not the left back, but Burgess on the right, who makes the error that allows Lucani to get a goal back. Lucani’s first cross is dealt with, but as the majority of the Feniks defence move out, Burgess switches off and when the lofted ball comes back into the area, he plays the Lucani striker onside giving him the simplest of headers. 2-1 FENIKS WITH JUST SHY OF 30 MINUTES TO PLAY!! The goals perks Lucani up, and another cross into the box sees Jovanovic go to grounds and the ref, after consulting VAR, GIVES THE PENALTY!!!! Cumic sets the ball on the spot and goes to take the kick right footed……..BUT GLINTIC SAVES IT LOW TO HIS RIGHT!!!! Lucani do have the ball in the net with just under twenty minutes to play, but Cumic is adjudged to be offside. Teodorovic has the chance to complete his hat-trick with ten to play, but although he connects to another fantastic Burgess cross, the shot fizzes wide of the far post!! IT MAKES LITTLE DIFFERENCE THOUGH, FENIKS HOLD ON AND CLAIM ANOTHER MASSIVE VICTORY!!! FINAL SCORE 2-1 FENIKS!!! It’s a game that, predictably, we played as the underdog. But we earned our chances and held on doggedly for the win!! Maidanos again is worrying with his performance. A match rating of 6.2 is just not good enough. He’ll be getting a warning about his poor performances and probably dropped as well. The win lifts us ever closer to the magical top half. We’re now just the TWO POINTS from being out of the relegation zone.

    We’re up against another top 6 side next. We travel to Napredak Krusevac, but do so in high spirits. We’re on a FIVE MATCH unbeaten run in all competitions, and three games unbeaten in the SuperLiga!

    We hit quite a big stumbling block on the build up to the Krusevac match. Timotic, who has been excellent in the middle of the three midfielders, breaks his toe in training and is out for TWO MONTHS!!

    The injury means that Levicanin has to move to the central role, and Tesic drops over to play as a mezzala. The rest of the week passes with no drama. The registration window closes, and we have the dubious honour of being the SuperLiga team that has signed the MOST players!! 13 in total coming in. In my defence though, we were a squad VERY THIN on quality.

    MATCH DAY!!!! The central midfield changes aside, there’s just the one more change to the side that beat Lucani. Jovanovic comes in at left back to replace the badly performing Maidanos. As expected, we start the match on the back foot. Krusevac create chance after chance in the opening 20 minutes, but they can’t get the all important opening goal. We start to play ourselves into the match on the half hour, first Teodorovic and then Vjestica have chances that fly over the bar. That’s a close as the chances get in the first half. Krusevac have had the more chances and most of the ball, but we’re still in the game, and have consistently performed better in the second halves.

    SECOND HALF Krusevac restart the game as they finished the first half, on top and dominating. They hit the post, blaze over when well placed and even miss an open goal before they finally have the ball in the back of the net with as little under ten minutes to play. Tesic makes a panicky clearance that falls at the feet of a Krusevac player on the left. He moves forward and swings in a cross to the far post. Vukic peels off his man and sends his header back across goal…1-0 KRUSEVAC!! It’s a goal that in all honesty has been coming, and is totally deserved. The final few minutes fizzle out and the Feniks unbeaten run comes to an end!! FINAL SCORE 1-0 TO NAPREDAK KRUSEVAC!!

    Once again though, it’s a shocking performance from the left back. Jovanovic this time with the match rating of 6.3 means he was the worse player on the pitch, but he’s closely followed by Vojinovic and Tesic, both of whom can only muster a 6.5

    Radnicki Nis are our next opponents. They’re sitting in 8th place so it’s a game that we can, if we perform as I know we can, get a result. We’ll do it with the THIRD DIFFERENT LEFT BACK IN AS MANY GAMES, Jovanovic is ineligible to play against his parent club, so Lazic comes in. There’s only four days between games so very little time for any kind of off field drama. Radnicki come a calling and the only change is the one involving Lazic.

    MATCH DAY!!!! We come out the gates HOT! Radmilovic swings over an early free kick that the keeper claims, but his long clearance is brought down by Burgess on the halfway line. BURGESS LOOKS UP AND PLAYS THE BALL FORWARD TO TEODOROVIC. HE PLAYS A QUICK ONE-TWO WITH PAUNOVIC THAT SPLITS THE DEFENCE. TEODOROVIC BURSTS INTO THE AREA AND SLAMS HIS SHOT PAST THE KEEPER AND IN OFF THE FAR POST!!! 1-0 FENIKS AFTER JUST 3 MINUTES!!! Radnicki clam themselves down and stifle out attacks. Just before the twenty minute mark, they get their reward. A near post corner routine pays off as the cross is met by Babic and the ball nestles in the far corner with Glintic stranded. 1-1 BUT PLENTY OF TIME LEFT TO PLAY. Radnicki really start to grow into the match and dominate the rest of the half. Our only shot on target is the one we scored from, and although we’ve had more of the ball we’ve not been able to break them down.

    SECOND HALF The team is told, in no uncertain terms, that I’m not happy with the lack of shots we’ve had. Edin Kesic, so often our goal scoring talisman, is singled out and told to buck his ideas up. We head back out and weather the opening storm from Radnicki, a spanner is well and truly thrown in the works five minutes after the restart though. Teodorovic, who has been in fine form since he’s come into the team, breaks down with an injury and is having to be replaced by Miletic. the change in personnel makes little difference to the way the game plays, UNTIL THE 70TH MINUTE THAT IS!!! VJESTICA BRINGS THE BALL INTO THE RADNICKI HALF BEFORE PASSING BACK TO VOJINOVIC, HE PLAYS A FIRST TIME PASS OVER THE TOP OF THE DEFENCE AND SUBSTITUTE MILETIC BRINGS IT DOWN AND FIRES IT, LEFT FOOTED, PAST THE KEEPER!!! 2-1 TO FENIKS WITH TWENTY MINUTES TO PLAY!!! We employ ALL the dark arts, and despite an UNBELIEVABLE SIX MINUTES OF TIME ADDED ON, we see out the match. Holding on to claim ANOTHER massive win!!! FINAL SCORE 2-1 FENIKS!! There’s no other way to describe it, other than daylight robbery! We had just FIVE chances all game, THREE of them on target and scored from TWO of them!!! Radnicki had far more chances, but the Feniks defensive line was superb all game and held firm to give us the win!!!

    The win has lifted us within 2 points of Radnicki and I’m starting to get the smallest of glimpses of hope that we’ll be fine come the end of the season!!

    The bad news coming out of the game is that Teodorovic is out for THREE WEEKS with pulled ankle ligaments. We have a more than able deputy on the bench with Miletic. After playing three teams above us in the league and winning two of them, we now travel to 15th place Javor Ivanjica and a chance to put yet more points on the board!!

    There’s only three days between the matches so whilst there’s not much time for training ground injuries, there’s also not much time for the starting XI to rest and recuperate. We do manage to get through the gap with no extra injuries, and the only change is the enforced one with Miletic replacing the injured Teodorovic. After the great performance of the back four in the Radnicki game, I’d be foolish to change anything there, so Lazic keeps his spot and available again Jovanovic has to make do with a place on the bench.

    MATCH DAY!!!! It’s a very even start to the game, Vjestica and Kesic force saves from the Javor keeper, whilst at the other end Tanko slams a header against the crossbar with Glintic well and truly beaten. The Feniks defence goes walkabout on the half hour, the ball comes in from the left hand side and a runner from the Javor midfield strolls unmarked and all alone into our area. He takes a touch to steady himself and fires past Glintic. 1-0 JAVOR!!! Five minutes later and we’re split apart again. It’s another long ball, but Glintic is more than a match for Tanko’s shot. We’ve not been at the races in the first half. Twice we’ve switched off at the back, but luckily we’re just the single goal behind. THAT ALL CHANGES FIVE MINUTES BEFORE HALF TIME! KESIC WINS A FREE KICK TO THE RIGHT OF THE JAVOR AREA. RADMILOVIC STANDS OVER IT……AND SLAMS IN HIS FIRST LEAGUE GOAL FOR THE CLUB!!!! 1-1 AND GAME ON!!! The ref blows for half time and, beside the two errors in defence, we’ve performed ok. They had more of the ball, but the chances are around equal. More of the same and we should be fine.

    SECOND HALF Javor restart the match on the front foot and catch us on the counter attack early on. Kesic loses the ball on the edge of the Javor area and in the blink of an eye Tanko smashes the ball past Glintic!! 1-2 JAVOR but I’ve no idea how!!! Time starts to run out for us and caution is thrown to the wind. Everything is pushed to attacking, AND WE GET OUR REWARD WITH 83 MINUTES ON THE CLOCK. MILETIC TURNING PROVIDER AND BELIC FIRING ONE IN FROM THE EDGE OF THE AREA!!! BUT WAIT……THE JAVOR DEFENCE ARE APPEALING FOR OFFSIDE IN THE BUILD UP……VAR TAKES A LOOK……BUT THE GOAL IS AWARDED!!!! 2-2 WITH TIME RUNNING OUT!!! The regulation 90 minutes is played and the fourth official indicates SIX ADDED MINUTES!!! With no injuries or time wasting it’s hard to figure out where the minutes have come from AND THE ADDED TIME IS OUR UNDOING!! Once again we’re hit on the counter trying for the win. Burgess is caught upfield and with the defence stretched, it’s a numbers game that sees Javor strike what must surely be a winning blow in the 94th minute!!! 3-2 JAVOR!! There’s not enough time left to muster any kind of comeback and the ref eventually blows for full time!! FINAL SCORE 3-2 JAVOR IVANJICA! We just about got what we deserved. They had more of the ball and more chances. All three of their goals though, came from issues with the defence.

    The loss hasn’t done too much to our league position, we’re still in touching distance of the top half, and we still have two thirds of the season to go. The next match is one that I’m writing off already. Jojvodina are sitting third in the league and are still unbeaten!!

    On the whole, September has been kind to us. We’ve managed to muster a couple more wins, and are still kicking about in the Serbian Cup.

    October on the other hand, has the potential to be……difficult.

    Of the four leagues games scheduled, three of them are against current top four teams!!! There is some light relief with the first round proper of the Serbian Cup, but my talent for morale boosting might be tested to the extreme in the coming weeks!!! At least the current league position is one to be happy about.

    We’re as close to the top half as we are to the bottom three, and if you’d have offered me THAT at the start of the season I would have snapped your hand off!!

    Thanks for reading folks. Any comments, likes, follows etc are ALWAYS appreciated. You can find me on my other social media sites


    TWITCH –

  • The European Journeyman Ep32

    We are a third of the way though the clubs FIRST EVER season in the SuperLiga. FK Feniks was only established in 2019, and their rise through the Serbian leagues has been rapid. It’s almost TOO RAPID though, I had to bring in a massive THIRTEEN PLAYERS in the first transfer window to bring the quality of the playing squad up to anything CLOSE to SuperLiga standard.

    We’ve not done too bad really though. We’re 11 games in and have gathered 11 points. October is looking like a tough old month though. We’re playing the current 2nd, 3rd AND 4th place teams. If we can come away with ANYTHING then I’ll be happy. Vojvodina are up first. They’re on a current 11 MATCH UNBEATEN STREAK and only the two Belgrade teams are keeping them from the top spot. The draw for the Serbian Cup first round proper takes place, and despite the fact that there’s LOADS of lower league teams in the hat……

    We pull out PARTIZAN BELGRADE AWAY!!!! Seriously now, how could we be so unlucky!!

    There’s just a couple of changes on the cards. Radmilovic is ineligible, so Belic will come in, and Vojinovic is tired so he’s given the week off and Subotic comes in.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Vojvodina make the trip to the Feniks Arena looking to keep their unbeaten season on track. It doesn’t take long. There’s just the 8 minutes on the clock when they take the lead. The Feniks defence is pulled out of shape by the movement of the Vojvodina front line, leaving Ilic free to stroll into the area and stroke the ball past Glintic! 1-0 VOJVODINA!! The pressure continues to mount but just before the half hour FENICKS HAVE THE BALL IN THE NET!!! IT’S AN INCREDIBLE TWENTY PASS MOVE THAT CULMINATES WITH MILETIC FLICKING A LOOPING HEADER IN AT THE NEAR POST…….THE ASSISTANT’S FLAG IS UP THOUGH…..VAR ARE LOOKING AT IT!!! DISALLOWED!!! MILETIC MOVED TOO SOON!!! We go close again just two minutes later. Miletic standing over a free kick on the edge of the Vojvodina area. He hit a peach of an effort, but puts a touch too much spin on it and the ball whips just wide, Half-time arrives and despite Vojvodina’s dominance, we’re only a goal behind and still in the match.

    SECOND HALF We seem to have stemmed the tide of the Vojvodina attacks and on the hour we have the best chance of the game. It’s another brilliant passing move that sees Edin Kesic put clean through. He takes a touch and fires across the keeper BUT IT SMACKS THE FOOT OF THE POST AND BOUNCES CLEAR TO SAFETY!! That effort seems to wake Vojvodina up and they step up the pressure. It looked like they had put the game to bed with five minutes to play, but Ilic is judged to be offside and the goal is ruled out! We just can’t seem to click up front and despite having the more chances, just the SINGLE SHOT on target tells the story of why we fail to get anything out of the game. FINAL SCORE 1-0 TO FK VOJVODINA!

    It was a scrappy affair, we conceded from 50% of the chances on target and although we might well have got the result we deserved, I can’t help but think that a bit more of a cutting edge up front might have seen a different scoreline.

    There’s a two week gap between matches and a chance for the team to get a complete rest and recharge the batteries. Halfway through the international break, our thin options up top take another hit. Kilibarda, almost the definition of a bench warmer, twists his ankle in training and is out for SIX WEEKS!! The bad news is balanced by Teodorovic returning to training. He’ll be back and ready in time for the next match, but will most likely have to make do with a place on the bench. Things go from bad to worse, Tesic AND Radmilovic both injure themselves despite there not being a game. Tesic is out for just 9 days but Radmilovic pulls his ankle ligaments and is out for THREE WEEKS!!

    MATCH DAY!!!! It’s a patchwork midfield that take the field for the SuperLiga match against Red Star. Basaric and Belic replace Tesic and Radmilovic, Lazic keeps his place as left back despite Jovanovic breathing down his neck from the bench but Vojinovic returns to the starting line-up at the expense of Subotic. It’s almost a dream start for Feniks, Miletic dinks a deep free kick over the top and Levicanin stretches to reach a volley but it’s palmed wide by the Red Star keeper for a corner. Red Star, woken up by Feniks start, grab the game by the scruff of the neck. Glintic is a busy, busy man, but It’s in the 25th minute that they make the breakthrough. It’s a finish of the highest quality by Srnic, as he turns Baba Rahmann’s cross in on the volley. 1-0 RED STAR!! With five minute till half time, we have our best chance since the opening minute. Paunovic plays a ball that splits the Red Star defensive line and Miletic pounces on it. He settles himself but drags his shot wide of the far post!! The first half comes to an end, and again we’re behind in all the stats but only the single goal from parity.

    SECOND HALF There’s a serious case of deja vu as the match restarts. Miletic, Kesic and Belic all combine to set Levicanin away on goal. Once again though, the Red Star keeper pushes the effort away. The deja vu continues as Red Star grow into the half and on the hour mark get the all important second goal. Former Chelsea player Baba Rahmann gets to the by-line and fizzes a low cross that’s turned in by Zukic! 2-0 RED STAR!! It’s a quick fire double for that seals the game for Red Star. They win the ball back straight from kick off, Kike finds himself one-on-one with Glintic and makes no mistake. 3-0 RED STAR!! There’s another goal within five minutes of the third Red Star. SUBSTITUTE TEODOROVIC SLAMS HOME WHAT MUST SURELY BE NOTHING MORE THAN A CONSOLATION WITH 25 MINUTES TO GO AFTER GREAT WORK BY BASARIC!!! 3-1 TO RED STAR BUT AT LEAST WE’RE MAKING A GAME OF IT!!! Miletic has a chance to really put the cat amongst the pigeons but blazes over from about 10 yards out!! The game is well and truly put to bed in the 85th minute as Red Star create an overload at the far post from a free kick on the by-line and Mituljikic has a simple header to make it 4-1 RED STAR!! There’s just the standard amount of time added on, but still there’s time for another goal. PAUNOVIC WINS THE BALL DEEP IN THE RED STAR HALF AND PLAYS A SIMPLE PASS TO TEODOROVIC. PAUNOVIC CONTINUES HIS RUN AND THE BALLS DROP TO HIM IN THE RED STAR AREA. QUICK AS A FLASH HE RELEASES HIS SHOT AND JUST LIKE THAT IT’S 4-2!!! It’s the final action of the match and give the scoreline a little bit of credibility for Feniks. We’ve held our own against the most famous club in Serbia, and although we’ve lost, it’s not the mauling that I was expecting, and I can’t be too hard on the players.

    We knew this month was going to be tough. We knew that our season is not going to hang on the results against teams sitting in the top four like Red Star are. When the Preliminary Stage is over, as long as we’re not in the bottom two then we have a chance. Up next in the month of DOOM is the Serbian Cup First Round match against Partizan. This, I think, is where our cup run comes to an end. We’ve reached the boards minimum expectation, and it’s going to take a herculean effort to get past this team.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Aside from Tesic, Radmilovic, Kilibarda AND Timotic all injured, we’re also missing Miletic, who is ineligible to play against his parent club. Teodorovic is back fit again, so he’ll take the spot up front. It does leave us without a first team striker on the bench, so Aleksander Ninkovic steps up from the Under 19 squad. The match starts as you’d expect. Partizan have ALL the early chances, but the Feniks defence hold firm and their shots are all from distance. When they do manage to get in behind us, they find Glintic at his resolute best. Eventually, INEVITABLY, Partizan get the breakthrough. It’s a cross from the left, heading over to the far post that is misjudged by Lazic. It drops to Terzic, and his powerful finish is too much for Glintic to keep out!! 1-0 PARTIZAN! Terzic has another chance on the stroke of halftime after Vjestica makes a hash of trying to play his out of trouble, but his snatched shot flies inches wide of the far post!!

    SECOND HALF I can’t be too harsh on the players at halftime. They’re only a single goal down and have had chances to score themselves. I try to gee them up a little and send them out. The restart changes little in the flow of the game. Partizan are in control of the ball for long passages of play, but again, their chances are mostly from distance. With half an hour to play, and with nothing to lose, I hope that the fearlessness of youth can be our saviour and send on SIXTEEN YEAR OLD Ninkovic!! It makes little difference, and with five minutes left to play, Vlahovic bursts through the Feniks defence and calmly places his shot wide of Glintic. 2-0 PARTIZAN AND GAME OVER!! The ref puts us out of our misery, and it’s an as expected defeat FINAL SCORE 2-0 PARTIZAN!

    We didn’t play well, but then again, Partizan didn’t allow us to play well. It was all we could do to try and keep them at arms reach, and just didn’t have it in us to push them back at all.

    Our midfield crisis gets even worse coming out of the match. Melvin Osmic is out for 9 days with a groin strain, and the walking yellow card that is Belic is suspended for the next game!! Tesic relieves a little bit of the pressure on the midfield by returning to training, and he’ll head straight into the starting line-up for the next match.

    The month so far has gone completely as expected. I have gone on record saying that I’d be happy with a single point from October, and the next game against Vozdovac is our best chance for that!! With just the three days between matches, the starting XI are rested as much as possible and it’s with fingers crossed that make it to match day without any further injuries!!

    MATCH DAY!!!! The game starts very even, but it’s a corner in the 15th minute that leads to the opening goal. The first ball is dealt with well by Vjestica, but the second cross comes in quickly and before Vjestica can readjust himself, the ball is sailing over his head and gifts a free header at the back post!! 1 – 0 VOZDOVAC!! With ten minutes to play before half time, our old enemy, the long ball, is our undoing again. It’s just a simple punt upfield by the Vozdovac keeper but BOTH Vjestica and Vojinovic are caught underneath it and allow Pantovic to race unattended into the area and fire past Glintic!! 2-0 VOZDOVAC!! We finally wake up and a quick passing movement frees Kesic to fire at goal, but the Vozdovac keeper is more than equal to it. We continue to come more into the game, but just as we want more time the whistle goes to bring an end to the first half.

    SECOND HALF After what seems like an eternity, I’m back to thrashing my arms in the dressing room. We’re not playing anywhere near as well as we can, and I make sure the players know this. The ranting and raving sends the players back out motivated. Vozdovac start the second half as they started the first. Glintic forced into a great diving save just SECONDS after the restart!! We finally get a hold of the ball and five minutes after dressing the players down WE FIND A WAY BACK INTO THE MATCH!! EDIN KESIC GETS ONTO THE END OF A BALL OVER THE TOP FROM BURGESS, HE TAKES IT TO THE BY-LINE AND WITH NO SUPPORT IN SIGHT, FIRES IT HOPEFULLY AT GOAL FROM THE NARROWEST OF ANGLES!!! THE SHOT MUST TAKE THE VOZDOVAC KEEPER BY SURPRISE AS IT SQUEEZES IN AT THE NEAR POST!!!! 2-1 AND GAME ON!!! We keep on the front foot and substitute Miletic, on for the tiring Teodorovic, has a quick fire couple of chances and then WITH FIVE MINUTES LEFT TO PLAY HE GETS HIS REWARD!! KESIC GETS ON THE END OF ANOTHER BURGESS THROUGH BALL AND SQUARES IT ACROSS THE SIX YARD BOX. MILETIC IS LURKING AND HAS THE SIMPLEST OF FINISHES TO LEVEL THE SCORES!!! 2-2 WITH TIME RUNNING OUT!! There’s still time for Vozdovac to attempt to nick the win but Glintic pulls out a last ditch save and the ref brings a breathless second half to an end. FINAL SCORE 2-2!!

    The draw was a fair result AND gives us the point I was targeting at the start of the month. Edin Kesic had played for a LONG TIME without scoring, over eight hours of game time, and the freakish nature of the finish doesn’t matter one iota!! Fourth placed Cukaricki are up next to close out the month, it’s another fixture that I’m pretty much writing off and I’ve got the morale boosting team meeting already lined up for after the game!!

    Once again, the squad numbers are thinned by a training ground injury. This time it’s Subotic who pulls a thigh muscle and is out for FOUR WEEKS!! Belic is back, temporarily at least, from suspension and Osmic returns from injury to boost the numbers. Burgess, although he’s been involved in a lot of our goals, is dropped to the bench with Markovic taking his place.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Cukaricki come out the blocks fast but it’s not until the 20th minute that they fashion their first serious effort. We’re not completely overawed and, just past the half hour, Vjestica clips the crossbar when he connects with a Levicanin free kick. Glintic, CELEBRATING EQUALLING THE CLUBS APPEARANCE RECORD, comes to the rescue ONCE AGAIN as he palms a shot wide when one-on-one just before half time.

    SECOND HALF I really can’t criticise anything from the opening period. We’ve had chances and held Cukaricki to just the one good chance. We start the second half well, but a poor clearance from Glintic lands at the feet of the Cukaricki striker Milovanovic. He takes two strides forward and unleashes an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. 1-0 CUKARICKI! Any hope of a comeback is dashed in the blink of an eye. First Belic who, not at all surprisingly, goes through the back of a player and is shown his second yellow. THEN PAUNOVIC, FOLLOWING IN THE SHOCKING FOOTSTEPS OF BELIC DIVES INTO A TACKLE AND GETS HIS SECOND YELLOW!!! IN THE SPACE TWO MINUTES WE’RE DOWN TO NINE MEN!!! It’s no surprise at all when Cukaricki score the games second goal. They don’t even have to TRY and create an overload, but it happens anyway down the left and, with Feniks TWO MEN DOWN, also in the middle!! It’s a simple tap in to finish the move, and in time added on it’s 2-0 CUKARICKI. They’re STILL not finished punishing us though. It’s down the left again that they come. Another cross is sent over and Milovanovic completes a perfect hat-trick with a simple header. FINAL SCORE 3-0 CUKARICKI!!

    I’m glad to see the end of this month. Although I expected it to be tough, and all I realistically expected was the single point we managed to win, it’s been hard to keep a positive frame of mind.

    The run of defeats has seen us drop down the league and we’re nestled in 15th place in a 16 team league. We’re halfway through the season and if we don’t improve then we’re heading straight back down.

    I’m at the end of my tether with Belic. He’s one of the senior players in the squad, but spends just as much time suspended as available. This red card is the straw that has broken the camels back and he’s found himself transfer-listed.

    November and December sees, on paper at least, an easier run of games. It’s only the penultimate game before the winter break that has us playing a “BIG” team. Everyone else is in and around where we are. We’ve a chance to get more points on the board.

    Thanks for reading folks. Any comments, likes, follows etc are ALWAYS appreciated. You can find me on my other social media sites


    TWITCH –

  • The European Journeyman Ep30

    We’ve started our life as a SuperLiga club. After a decent preseason, we’ve had a kind of rude awakening in our opening two league games. A heavy loss to TSC followed by a close defeat to Kolubara sees us enter August still searching for our first SuperLiga win.

    We’ve 5 league games coming up this month, as well as the Serbian Cup 1st Qualifying Round. Up first is Novi Pazar, who have managed just the solitary point from their opening 2 games.

    The build up to the game starts off positively, with Paunovic returning to full fitness. The full week between games allows the squad to regain a bit of fitness. The squad’s senior players come to me in midweek wanting me to reassure a new signing that another signing in the same position, ISN’T going to impact his playing time. I’m happy to go along with them, purely because I’ve already moved him into a starting position!!!

    MATCH DAY!!!! The only changes from the better performance we put in against Kolubara is Joshua Burgess getting his debut at the expense of Markovic, and Lazic coming in for poorly performing Jovanovic. It’s a bright start for Feniks, and after only 8 minutes of the match WE TAKE THE LEAD!!! A LONG PUNT FROM THE NOVI PAZAR KEEPER IS GATHERED BY VJESTICA. HE PLAYS THE BALL UP TO TIMOTIC WHO MOVES IT ON TO KUZMANOVIC. KUZMANOVIC STRIDES INTO THE NOVI PAZAR HALF BEFORE SENDING A THROUGH BALL INTO THE PATH OF KESIC. HE GETS THERE AHEAD OF THE KEEPER AND, ALTHOUGH HE’S PUSHED WIDE OF THE GOAL, SLIDES IN A COOL FINISH FROM THE TIGHTEST OF ANGLES!!! 1-0 FENICKS!! VAR takes a quick look at the run of Kesic, but the goal stands!!! Novi Pazar grow into the game, and eventually they get their reward. Our defensive line and midfield press manages to repel the first couple of attacks, but the third, starting on the right, is a quick passing move and the final ball plays in Igor Maksimovic who sweeps to home. 1-1 JUST BEFORE HALF TIME!!

    SECOND HALF Despite conceding, it’s a positive team talk for the players. We’re not losing and have given as much the Novi Pazar have. It’s ANOTHER quick out the gates start from Feniks after the restart. Novi Pazar have a chance first, but their header flies over when it’d be easier to score. FROM THE RESULTING GOALKICK, BURGESS FEEDS KUZMANOVIC. KUZMANOVIC, NOW PLAYING AS A MEZALLA, MOVES THE BALL ON TO EDIN KESIC WITH HIS BACK TO GOAL. KESIC PLAYS A ONE-TWO WITH KUZMANOVIC AND MAKES NO MISTAKE WHEN CLEAN THROUGH!!!! 2-1 FENIKS!! Again though, Novi Pazar come back into the game. Glintic is the hero at first, pushing a Maksimovic shot wide, the resulting corner though undoes the hard work. Maric unmarked at the near post and slamming his header in to level the scores!! The game opens up. Maric has a second set piece chance before both Kesic, and then Kuzmanovic have golden chances to win the game. Both efforts are on target but the Novi Pazar keeper was determined not to be on the losing side. FINAL SCORE 1-1 AND WE’VE POINTS ON THE BOARD!!!

    Next up is Spartak Subotica. We’ve struggled to get a decent performance out of EITHER of our left backs so far, so I’m dipping back into the transfer market and raiding Aigaleo for Maidanos. He comes in on loan and will head straight into the starting line-up. Subotica, last season, finished 2nd. They’ve struggled this time around, possibly due to the added European competition. I’d like to add to their woes, and we’re slowly getting closer to that mythical win!!

    MATCH DAY!!!! The opening 20 minutes are incredibly tight. Just the one chance from either team. That stretches past the hour, Subotica DO have the ball in the net, but the assistant on the far side has his flag up……IT GOES TO VAR…..AND THEY OVERTURN THE ON FIELD DECISION!!! 1-0 SUBOTICA!! Five minutes before halftime and a corner to Feniks is cleared away. Subotic race up field and the ball breaks to Sreckovic. He bends a beaut of a ball in off the far post!! 2-0 SUBOTICA AND WERE PRAYING FOR HALFTIME.

    SECOND HALF Despite moving to a more attacking mentality, we struggle to break down the stubborn Subotica defence. Substitute Kilibarda has a gilt edged chance with ten minutes to play, but blazes wide when well placed. That’s as close as EITHER TEAM gets to scoring in the second period. It’s another disappointing result, and I think the change of mentality to a touch more defensive has contributed to the results.

    We’ve nothing to lose, to back to the positive mentality and higher tempo. The central midfield three and going back to the mezzala roles for two out the three.

    It’s a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire though, next up is FK PARTIZAN!! The midfield is strengthened by the addition, on loan, of Radmilovic from Karadorde. That ends the transfer business until the winter break, we’re still within our wage budget, but the transfer fund is empty. These are MY players now, most of them are ones I’ve brought in. I’m going to stand or fall by their performances now.

    Subotic is in line for a reunion with his mates at FK Partizan. He’s come in from them after not getting his contract renewed. Nikola Miletic, however, is having to take a seat. He’s still under contract with Partizan, so Teodorovic steps up from the bench.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Kuzmanovic has been sacrificed for Radmilovic in the only other change from the last match. Predictably, Partizan have the most of the start but it’s not until the 20th minute that they take the lead. We repel three attacks, but are hit on the counter after trying our own. Petkovic rounding Glintic and hammering home the opening goal. 1-0 PARTIZAN!! Partizan continue to dominate the game and rack up an impressive 12 chances in the first half. None of them really test us though and we go in at half time just the one goal behind.

    SECOND HALF We fare a little better after the restart. It’s a lot more play in the middle third, but the inevitable second goal comes just before the hour mark. The Partizan right back, Jovic, marauding forward and firing across the keeper to make it two! Changes to mentality and personnel means nothing as the game fizzles out. It’s yet ANOTHER defeat for Feniks, but this is possibly the most deserved loss we’ve suffered under my charge.

    We’re five games in and still looking for our first win. We’re NOT bottom though. We’ve a point, and that’s enough to have us above Sloga……WHO WE ARE PLAYING NEXT!!!!

    Teodorovic is keeping his spot in the team, purely on the basis of Miletic hasn’t exactly set the world alight so why not……. Radmilovic and Maidanos also keep their places, but Subotic drops out for Vojinovic. We can’t do any worse at the back, so again…..why not!!


    SECOND HALF We go into halftime in a comfortable lead. We’ve been here before against Sloga though, and have thrown away a THREE GOAL LEAD before!! It’s a shout of focus and out they go for the second period. Levicanin has another TWO glorious chances to double his tally, but one header crashes against the bar and the second chance is cleared off the line. A couple of TOWERING defensive headers from Vjestica leads to Timotic sending Edin Kesic scampering after a long ball over the top. HE GATHERS THE BALL ON THE BYLINE AND IS CLATTERED INTO……THE REF BLOWS HIS WHISTLE BUT HAS TO CHECK IF IT’S IN THE AREA OR NOT……..VAR CONFIRMS IT WAS IN THE AREA AND THE PENALTY IS AWARDED!!! TIMOTIC STEPS TO THE MARK……RUNS UP RIGHT FOOTED AND…….SLAMS IT IN TO THE KEEPERS RIGHT!!!! 3-0 FENIKS WITH JUST FIVE MINUTES TO PLAY!! Sloga have well and truly lost their heads. THEY SIMPLY PUNT THE BALL LONG FROM THE RESTART AND BURGESS PLAYS THE BALL UP TO TIMOTIC. HE TAKES A TOUCH, AND PLAYS THE BALL ONTO KESIC. HE RACES CLEAR AND SLOTS THE BALL HOME……BUT WAIT……THE FLAGS UP………THE GOAL IS RULED OUT FOR OFFSIDE!!!! We head into the four minutes of time added on AND KESIC IS NOT TO BE DENIED!!! IT’S A SIMPLE LONG BALL FROM BURGESS AND KESIC BRINGS IT DOWN OVER HIS SHOULDER. HE ALLOWS IT TO BOUNCE BEFORE FIRING PAST THE KEEPER!! THAT’S 4-0 FENIKS AND THE CLEAN SHEET SEEMS NAILED ON AS WELL. The whistle goes and it’s a FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON!!!! As much as we deserved to lose the Partizan game, we deserved to win this one. We dominated Sloga from first whistle to last.

    The win has lifted us up the table but we’re by no means out of danger. We’re going to be in and around the relegation playoff spots all season, barring a miracle, so it’s games like this that we need to be winning.

    We’ve got a short break from league fixtures next, as the Serbian Cup comes around. It’s the first qualifying round and we are away to Buducnost. They are a team relegated from the SuperLiga last season as we were making our climb. It’s probably the best I could have asked for, and a chance to progress to the next round. There’s no wholesale changes for the cup game. Tesic comes in for the walking yellow card that is Kristijan Belic, but aside from that, it’s the same team that beat Sloga to give us our first win of the season.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Buducnost start the match as bookies favourite, despite being a division lower. We have the ball in the net in the 17th minute!! BURGESS, AGAIN, CREATING THE CHANCE WITH A BRILLIANT CROSS MET BY TEODOROVIC!! BUT ONCE AGAIN, WE ARE UNDONE BY THE ASSISTANTS FLAG. GOAL RULED OUT FOR OFFSIDE!! The game evens out and Glintic is called to action to claim a wicked cross. HE GATHERS IT WELL AND SETS TIMOTIC AWAY ON THE COUNTER. TIMOTIC PLAYS A BALL OUT WIDE AND BURGESS BOUNDS ONTO IT. HE KNOCKS IT PAST HIS MARKER AND WHIPS IN ANOTHER CROSS THAT IS MET AGAIN BY TEODOROVIC. THIS TIME THE RUN IS TIMED TO PERFECTION, AND FROM THE NARROWEST OF ANGLES HE FIRES IN THE OPENING GOAL!!! 1-0 FENIKS!!! We see out the rest of the half and although we behind on chances, we’re ahead on possession. It’s a happy, praising teamtalk and the lads retake the field eager to see out the job.


    We finished behind on the chance creation, but level on shots on target and ahead on possession. All in all it’s a deserved win and we go into the hat for the next round!!

    Fortune smiles on us with the draw for the second qualifying round. We’re at home against second division side Backa Palanka. The board want First Round proper and we’re on track to give them that.

    We are back in SuperLiga action next, with an away match against Radnik Surdulica, another team sitting below us in the league. The bookies have us as SERIOUS underdogs for this one, but the confidence is high in the camp and an unchanged eleven will give their all to get a result.

    Lazic comes knocking on the door, upset at his lack of playing time. I tell him, in no uncertain terms, that he’s free to leave if he wants. He soon backs down and is willing to bide his time. There’s no more drama in the three days that precede the Surdulica game and with matchday squad given an extra days rest, it’s an unchanged side that heads out.

    MATCH DAY!!!! We start well but Surdulica soon grow into the match and get their reward in the 16th minute. The third ball into the box in quick succession finally drops to a Surdulica man, and Petkovic manages to bundle the ball over the line!! 1-0 TO SURDULICA!! They stay on top and manage to shut us out of the match completely UNTIL THE 38TH MINUTE!!! VOJINOVIC WINS THE BALL ON THE HALFWAY LINE AND FEEDS TIMOTIC. TIMOTIC TURNS AND PLAYS TEODOROVIC IN. HE HAS NO TIME TO THINK AS THE SURDULICA KEEPER RUSHES OUT. INSTEAD, TEODOROVIC HITS IT FIRST TIME AND IT PINGS IN OFF THE POST!!!! 1-1 AND WE’VE SCORED FROM OUR FIRST ATTEMPT AT GOAL!!! Halftime comes and we’re behind in EVERY STAT except the scoreline!! The players are told to shoot more. We’re not going to score if we don’t let fly!!

    SECOND HALF We restart and the game carries on as the first half ended. Surdulica are on top, but for now we’re holding them at bay!! Glintic has to come to our rescue just before the hour when Vojinovic is caught dwelling on the ball. He was last man and the Surdulica striker had clear grass between himself and the Feniks goal. Glintic though, was equal to the task, and pushed the shot behind for a corner!! The game opens up as both side search for a winner. Surdulica go close with two effort in quick succession. Both are headers that sail over the bar, THEN, IN TIME ADDED ON, FENIKS ARE AWARDED A DIRECT FREE KICK 25 YARDS FROM GOAL. SUBSTITUTE NIKOLA MILETIC PLACES THE BALL DOWN, AND AFTER SOME PUSHING IN THE WALL, FIRES HIS SHOT ARROW-LIKE AROUND THE WALL AND INTO THE TOP CORNER!!! 2-1 FENIKS WITH A MINUTE LEFT TO PLAY!!! We attempt to close the game out, slow down the tempo, curb the attacking tendencies…..but with SECONDS TO PLAY Surdulica smash in a heartbreaking equaliser!!! Miletic fails to hold onto the ball on the halfway line and the ball is quickly moved down the left. It’s a low whipped cross that is not dealt with, and Duronic pokes it home!! 2-2 IN THE DYING SECONDS!!!!

    It’s a result that, if I’m being honest, flatters us a little. Surdulica bossed the game but couldn’t keep us down. I would have taken the point before the game and can’t be too hard on the players. Once again though, it’s the performances of the full backs that are giving me cause for concern!

    A pair of 6.3’s is NOT good enough. I’m not sure how much longer I can continue with players performing like this!

    August is in the books and after a rocky start, we’re on a THREE MATCH UNBEATEN STREAK!!!

    There’s an eleven day break now before we play our Serbian Cup game against Backa Palanka.

    After that, there’s four SuperLiga games lined up for September, none of them against any other the BIG teams, so there’s a chance of more points on the horizon!!

    We’ve had a tough start to life in the SuperLiga but, hopefully, have started to see a little light at the end of the tunnel. It’s going to be a fight to the end to avoid relegation, but it’s a fight we’re up for!!

    Thanks for reading folks. Any comments, likes, follows etc are ALWAYS appreciated. You can find me on my other social media sites


    TWITCH –

  • The European Journeyman Ep29

    FK Feniks 1995 Stara Pazova were formed in 2019. They’ve no history. Their trophy cabinet is bare. Last season they won promotion to the Serbian 2nd division and hired ME as their manager. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Despite the board wanting, initially, to fight bravely against relegation. We stormed the league and finished the Preliminary Stage just a single point behind the league leaders. The Final Stage beckoned and on the FINAL DAY OF THE SEASON, despite their rivals losing, we missed out the Second Division title by virtue of finishing the Preliminary Stage in 2nd place.

    BUT, promotion was achieved. Against ALL THE ODDS, we’re playing next season in the SuperLiga. Rubbing shoulders, and ruffling feathers, with the likes of Red Star and Partizan.

    FK Feniks have 1st AND 2nd place in the second Division Player Of The Year award. Edin Kesic gets the win, with his regular strike partner Nikola Miletic ending runner up.

    Kesic also picks up the Top Goalscorer award, finishing the season with an impressive 23 goals from 31 league appearances. Admittedly he was level with Zeleznicar’s Dordevic, but Kesic won the award due to him playing less overall minutes.

    The league awards for FK Feniks don’t end there. I pick up my first award as a manager by claiming the Manager of the Year!!

    It’s the start of the pre-season of the biggest season of the club’s short history. It’s our FIRST EVER SuperLiga season. It’s going to be a busy old time on the transfer front. We’ve already offered contracts to three new players and looking at another FOUR!!!

    Some of the loanees from last season have left. With the exception of Jovanovic, Kuzmanovic and Nikola Miletic. Those three had re-upped for another season even before the promotion was confirmed. The transfer window opens up and it’s a MASSIVE SEVEN PLAYERS INCOMING!!!

    With so many players coming in AND out of the club, it’s no surprise that the cohesion has slipped a bit.

    It’s nothing a bit of team bonding and match practice won’t repair, but it IS something I need to keep my eye on.

    The starting line-up is still full of familiar faces. SEVEN of my ideal starting XI are players who helped us get the promotion.

    The two new centre backs at the heart of the defence, Vjestica and Subotic, will need to mesh in a hurry. Let’s face it, our defence is going to be the busiest area of the team!! With that in mind, the overall mentality of our play is being dropped down a notch to balanced, as is the general tempo of our play.

    The preseason friendlies are fast approaching and there’s just time for the two games. First up is our old sparring partners FK Rad. We’ve didn’t manage to beat them in the three times we played them last season. Hopefully, our reinforcements will do the trick.

    Despite us slowing the tempo and lowering the mentality. We still manage an impressive 27 chances in the game. Admittedly, that’s offset by only having the SEVEN on target efforts. We do perform well though, and finally break the FK Rad hoodoo with a HIGH SCORING 5-3 WIN!!!

    A couple more outgoing transfers happen out of nowhere. First off, we get an offer for Tutnjevic. He was a bit part player LAST SEASON, and wasn’t going to be any more than that this. Added to the fact that he was on the decline, is Trayal offering us nearly is maximum asking price. He went with my blessing and thanks. Another midfielder following him out the door in Marjanovic. We replaced Marjanovic during the winter break last season and he spent the latter half of that in the reserves. I’d probably have accepted a free transfer offer and the £3k offered by Panachaiki just sweetened the deal. The last of THIS BATCH of sales is a biggie. Aleksander Miletic was outstanding last season, but when an offer come in for him that was rejected out of hand, he kicked off and a compromise price of £18.5k was agreed. Almost before I’d closed the door on THAT meeting, a fresh bid from OFK Beograd for the agreed price was in, and just like that Miletic was out the door.

    The last pre-season friendly saw us pay a visit to semi-pro side Brodarac, and while it wasn’t the same scoreline domination as the FK Rad game, it was even more comprehensive. We enjoyed a 60+% possession, a 50/50 shot on target ratio AND A COMPLETE SHUTOUT of the opposition.

    Petar Vojinovic makes a welcome return on loan to Feniks. He was one of the main reasons behind our successful campaign last season, and whilst he went on a permanent deal elsewhere, he’s available on loan again. We’re now overloaded a bit in central defence, with Vjestica, Subotic, Milovanovic, Sredojevic, Maksimovic, Todorovic AND the incoming Vojinovic. As a result we see Maksimovic and Todorovic receive bids. Ergotelis put the cat amongst the pigeons with a £14.5k bid for Todorovic, blowing four other suitors out the water. It’s a similar story with Maksimovic, Buducnost drop a £13.5k bid, leaving another four bidders in their wake.

    The start of the SuperLiga Preliminary Stage is soon upon us. I THINK we’re ready. The match tactic has been adjusted to cater for the more defensively minded we’re going to have to be. The playing staff have been improved where needed, and squad depth increased in nearly all positions. There’s still a couple more transfers to be made, but the irons are already in the fire.

    MATCH DAY!!!! FK Feniks first ever match in the SuperLiga is away from home. We’re up against TSC, who finished 8th last season. There’s no nasty surprises in the build-up, and it’s as strong a team as I can put out that takes the field.

    It an even start to the game. TSC, predictably, are in control. But our defence holds firm at manages to keep them at arms length. Until, that is, just before the half hour. Stojkovic stands over a direct free kick on the edge of the Feniks area. With everyone expecting a shot, he plays a square ball to the onrushing Krsmanovic. His shot is a thunderbolt that is almost past Glintic before he sees it!! 0-1 TSC!! We make a rare incursion into the TSC half after kick off and are immediately punished for our impudence!! Kesic is robbed of the ball just inside the centre circle. From there it’s a quick wide ball all over the top for the marauding TSC left back to run onto. His first time cross is met by Zlicic and just like that it’s 0-2 TO TSC!! We finally wake up and have a flurry of chances. Kesic and Tesic both test the TSC keeper from distance, but the games third goal, when it arrives on the stroke of half time, is a masterclass in counter-attacking from TSC. Once again it comes from a rare Feniks attack. We’re probing the edge of the TSC area before we show a little too much of the ball to the defence. As quick as a flash they are up the other end, and a simple lateral pass across the six yard box allows Vukanovic an easy tap in to make it 0-3 AND GAME OVER!!

    SECOND HALF A verbal tongue-lashing in the changing room sparks a little fight in the Feniks players, and they start the second period on the front foot. THEIR ENDEAVOURS ARE REWARDED JUST AFTER THE HOUR. MILETIC FINISHING AN IMPRESSIVE PASSING MOVE AND REGISTERING BOTH HIS, AND THE CLUB’S FIRST EVER SUPERLIGA GOAL!!! 1-3 NOW BUT AT LEAST THERE’S A POSITIVE!! With ten minutes to play, a free kick to Feniks on the TSC by-line sent sent over by Timotic. Subotic attempts to rise and nod it back across goal, BUT IS DRAGGED BACK BY AZIZOV!! VAR TAKES A LOOK AT IT, BUT THE PENALTY IS CONFIRMED!!! NEW FIRST CHOICE PENALTY TAKER TIMOTIC STEPS UP TO THE MARK…..IT’S A SHORT RUN UP ONTO HIS RIGHT FOOT…….AND HE PLANTS IT TO THE KEEPERS RIGHT!!! FENIKS HAVE DRAGGED IT BACK TO 2-3, IS THERE TIME FOR MORE DRAMA? The Feniks players, fired up by the goals, swarm around the TSC players straight from kick off. Jovanovic makes a great sliding tackle, but the ball breaks to Azizov in the middle of the park. He strides forward with no defender around him and makes amends for giving away the spot kick!!! 2-4 TO TSC AND SURELY THE FINAL NAIL IN THIS MATCH’S COFFIN!!! the Feniks players are stunned, and TSC take full advantage. Winning the ball deep in our half, it’s that man Azizov who slots the ball under Glintic and makes it 2-5!! There’s been little in the way of quality defending on show that game, and the frailties from BOTH TEAMS are on show again. Straight from Feniks kick off, they go in search of a little dignity. SUBSTITUTE KILIBARDA FINDS IT IN THE SHAPE OF A SUPERB REVERSE PASS INTO THE PATH OF EDIN KESIC. KESIC RECEIVES THE BALL IN THE TSC AREA AND LIFTS IT OVER THE TSC KEEPER!!! 3-5 AND NEITHER DEFENCE AND COVERED THEMSELVES IN GLORY!!! Finally, we manage to have a restart that doesn’t immediately lead to a goal, and the final five minutes play out.

    With two goals a piece in the last ten minutes of the second half, it kind of skews the scoreline to the dramatic. Conceding five goals is never good, but our survival is not going to come down to the matches against the teams that finished in the top 8 last season. Whether we stay up or not is going to come down to how we play against the teams fighting alongside us. Being able to fashion SIXTEEN CHANCES against a decent team such as TSC bears well for the future!!!

    We don’t get a lot of time to mope around feeling sorry for ourselves. Our next match, our first HOME GAME, is just around the corner. We survived the season opener without injuries or suspensions. FK Kolubara won their opening game at home to FK Vozdovac, but only managed a 14th placed finish last season.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Kuzmanovic is available again after being ineligible to play against his parent club. He comes back into the starting line-up at the expense of Tesic. It’s a slow and steady, evenly matched start to the game. Edin Kesic has the games first real chance. Played in by a great Kuzmanovic pass, his shot is always rising and helped on it’s way over by the keeper. From the resulting corner, Miletic gets his head to a near post routine but it skims the woodwork on it’s way over! Kolubara have the ball in the back of the net with ten minutes to play of the first half, but Kocovic’s starting position from the free kick a a touch too advanced and the goal is ruled offside!

    That’s as close as the first half gets to goalmouth action. The two midfields are cancelling themselves out. To be honest, I think I’d take a point right now. Get something on the board and move on?

    SECOND HALF The restart brings much of the same stalemate as the first half, but we DO begin to make in-roads in the Kolubara half. With twenty minutes remaining Kuzmanovic has the games best chance from open play. He and Kesic playing a smart one-two on the edge of the area before forcing the keeper into a reaction dive at his near post!! It proves to nothing more than a false dawn though. Kolubara go straight up the other end, win and corner and put the ball right on Kovacevic’s head. 1-0 KOLUBARA WITH IME RUNNING OUT!!! We begin to throw caution to the wind. Kolubara nearly catch us on the counter but we are once again saved by the assistant’s flag. With a little over 5 minutes to go WE FINALLY GET A BREAK!! BELIC PICKS THE BALL UP DEEP, HE TURNS AND FEEDS THE BALL TO TEODOROVIC. KESIC’S REPLACEMENT LOOK SUP AND PLAY A BALL INTO THE PATH OF MILETIC. IT’S A SIMPLE FINISH UNDER THE ONCOMING KEEPER THAT LEVELS THE SCORES!!! 1-1 AND GAME ON!!! Just as we think we’ve done enough to salvage a point, Kolubara keep knocking on the door. Finally, in time added on, they break the hearts of the Feniks faithful. They create an overload on the Feniks left and it’s their RIGHT BACK that takes the shot from the angled edge of the area!! It’s flies straight and true into the top corner!! 2-1 KOLUBARA AND SURELY THAT’S ALL SHE WROTE!! There’s still time for more drama. We throw all caution to the wind and win ourselves a free kick deep in Kolubara territory. KUZMANOVIC SENDS OVER A DEEP CROSS AND VJESTICA GETS ABOVE HIS MARKER TO POWER A HEADER HOME!!! BUT….THE ASSISTANTS FLAG IS UP…..VAR CONFIRMS IT….DISALLOWED FOR OFFSIDE!!!

    That’s the last action of the game as the ref blows for full time. It’s a harsh lesson in not taking our chances but again, we created plenty of chances and we NOT outclassed!!

    We’re not bottom, there ARE teams out there worse than us. We just need to hope that, come the end of the season, there are at least three or four more!!!

    Thanks for reading folks. Any comments, likes, follows etc are ALWAYS appreciated. You can find me on my other social media sites


    TWITCH –

  • The European Journeyman Ep28

    The Preliminary Stage of our first season in Serbia is done and dusted. To say we’ve exceeded our boards WILDEST ambitions would be an understatement!! They started out with expectations of “ATTEMPT TO AVOID RELEGATION“. Come the winter break, that changed to “AVOID RELEGATION”. We’ve smashed that one as well. We’ve finished SECOND!!! It was only a three goal collapse, against the league leaders, that stopped us finishing top of the pile.

    We’ve got seven games left to play, and go into them with a TEN POINT LEAD over third placed Radnicki. The final stage starts with a blockbuster of a match against Sloga!!

    The week starts with some good news. Nikola Jovanovic agrees to extend his loan until the end of NEXT season.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Just the one change for the crunch clash at the top of the table. Jovanovic, fresh from the news of him extending his stay, steps aside for Lazic. The game starts relatively even and the first good chance falls to Fenicks. Miguel Pires unleashing an effort from a LONG way out. It’s heading for the top corner until the keeper gets a desperate hand to it and palms it around the post. Pires is at the heart of the next chance, a free kick wide of the Sloga area is sent over by him to the far post. Vojinovic sends the header back at goal, but the keeper is equal to the task again. Just before the half hour mark, Sloga remind us that they’re in the match with a couple of free kicks. The first is met by a towering unmarked back post header, that luckily flies over, and the second is a direct effort that clips the cross bar on it’s way past. The half ends with Sloga catching us high up field and an lobbed effort is cleared of the line to safety by a diving Miletic.

    SECOND HALF I can’t be too hard on the players during the interval. We’ve had the better of the game so far, and more of the same in the second half SHOULD stand us in good stead. The restart brings yet more stalemate. The midfields, cancelling each other out. Sloga’s only efforts are coming from set pieces BUT IT’S ONE OF THEM THAT LEADS TO THE BREAKTHROUGH!!! It’s another direct free kick on the edge of the Fenicks area, and this one is hit with bend and dip. Glintic makes a despairing dive, but can’t get close!!! 0-1 TO SLOGA!! Ten minutes to play and substitute Teodorovic smashes a volley against the upright with the keeper beaten! With just five minutes left to play FENICKS ARE GIVEN A LIFELINE!!! TEODOROVIC, WHO HAS BEEN A THORN IN THE SIDE OF SLOGA SINCE COMING ON, IS BUNDLED OVER IN THE AREA. THE REF POINTS STRAIGHT TO THE SPOT, BUT WITH USUAL PENALTY TAKERS KESIC AND MILETIC BOTH OFF THE FIELD IT’S BELIC WHO STEPS UP TO TAKE IT…..RIGHT FOOTED…..AND IN OFF THE POST!!!! 1-1 WITH LEFT THAN FIVE MINUTES LEFT!!! The last five minutes sees Fenicks encamped in the Sloga half of the pitch, but despite cross after cross, and ball after ball, the Slogan defence holds firm and we have to settle for an honourable draw. The point sees us solidify our 2nd place after Zeleznicar beat Radnicki with a 91st minute goal!!

    The gap is now ELEVEN POINTS with six games remaining!! Every game in this final stage is going to be a massive game, but the next is truly huge. We welcome 3rd placed Radnicki to the Stara Pazova fortress!! We’ll have to face them without penalty hero Belic though. He’s picked up enough bookings this season to sell out a cruise ship, and will have to sit out the next match.

    It’s all square in league this season between ourselves and Radnicki, with one win a piece. They play a 4-2-3-1 and most of their assists have come from through-balls. I might have to drop the defensive line a touch to try and counter that. The Player Of The Year shortlist has been released. Half of the list are Fenicks players with Kesic, Aleksander Miletic, Nikola Miletic, Pires and Timotic ALL nominated.

    The semi-finals of the Serbian Cup are played, and the team the knocked us out, Cukaricki Stankom make it to the final by beating Red Star 1-0!!!

    Elsewhere this week we’ve got 5th placed Zeleznicar up against Sloga. Once again it’s a case of, if we do the business then, whatever the result of the other game goes our way. We either stretch our lead over 3rd to 14 points, or overtake Sloga and go top. AS LONG AS WE DO THE BUSINESS AGAINST RADNICKI!!!!

    MATCH DAY!!!! Tesic replaces the suspended Belic, but that is the only change to the eleven that salvaged a draw against Sloga. It’s Fenicks that have the first chance. Kuzmanovic breaking from deep and stinging the palms of the Radnicki keeper. We keep the pressure on, and a swift counter attack sees Kesic tackled as he attempts to burst through………BUT THE BALL BREAKS TO MILETIC. HE STRIDES INTO THE BOX AND IS HACKED DOWN!! THE REF TAKES A MINUTE….. AND POINTS TO THE SPOT!!! REGULAR TAKER EDIN KESIC STEPS UP RIGHT FOOTED…….AND HAMMERS IT INTO THE ROOF OF THE NET!!! 1-0 FENICKS AFTER TEN MINUTES!! Ten minutes later and it’s Radnicki’s turn for a spot kick!! Edin Kesic attempts to defend a throw in, but bundles over Stanimirovic instead!! Stanimirovic is the player that hacked Miletic down, and there’s some questions as to whether he should still be on the park. Petrov steps up, sends Glintic the wrong way, and strokes the ball into the net. 1-1 WITH JUST OVER 20 MINUTES GONE!! It’s a goal against the run of play and a penalty won by a player that shouldn’t have been on the pitch. Both seems to fire the Fenicks players up. STRAIGHT FROM KICK OFF, KUZMANOVIC PLAYS THE BALL TO TIMOTIC. HE TAKES IT ON, DRIVING AT THE RADNICKI AREA. THE DEFENDERS COME OUT TO CLOSE HIM DOWN AND IT’S A SIMPLE PASS TO EDIN KESIC THAT HAS HIM ONE ON ONE WITH THE KEEPER. KESIC STEADIES HIMSELF AND FIRES HIS SHOT ACROSS THE KEEPER AND IN!!!! 2-1 FENICKS AND A BRACE FOR KESIC!!! Things take a slight downward turn on the half hour. Lazic goes down with a foot injury, and with no left back on the bench it’s right back Mirkailo replacing him. Radnicki start to hold onto the ball a little better as the half draws to a close. But all the play is in the middle third, and we’re not threatened.

    SECOND HALF It’s a team talk of praise, and with news of Sloga losing to Zeleznicar 2-0 at half time, the players are motivated and inspired as they retake the field. The lack of a left back comes back to haunt us ten minutes after the restart. A Radnicki corner is overhit and Mirkailo scampers after it. As he attempts to get the ball onto his right foot, he’s closed down and the ball is crossed over for a simple tap in finish. 2-2 AND PLENTY OF TIME REMAINING!! The goal AGAIN motivates the Fenicks players. Timotic, plays the ball to Pires who moves it on to Kuzmanovic. Kuzmanovic passes back to Pires AND HIS PASS REACHES KESIC…….HE’S THROUGH ON GOAL AND FIRES PAST THE KEEPER!!!!! BUT WAIT….THE FLAG’S UP…..KESIC IS RULED OFFSIDE!! NO GOAL!!

    The attempt stiffens the resolve of Radnicki and they march upfield, Mirkailo is easily beaten by his man again, and the cross is tucked away by Rajkovic!!! THEY’VE TURNED IT AROUND!!! 3-2 RADNICKI WITH 30 MINUTES STILL TO PLAY!!! We go chasing after the equalising goal. Substitute Teodorovic skims the crossbar with an effort. We go three up top and start playing more direct. It all means nothing as we fail to break the Radnicki back line down again. FINAL SCORE 3-2 TO RADNICKI!! The only bonus is that Sloga lost as well. Our gap between 2nd and 3rd has been cut the just the eight points, and it’s still just the single point between ourselves and Sloga!!

    Lazic’s season is over. It’s a twisted ankle for him and a two month spell on the sidelines. Zeleznicar are next up, they’re sitting in 4th and we really can’t afford to lose again. A very minor bit of good news comes in as my Continental C licence course is completed.

    and the B Licence is immediately started!!

    The good news ends there though. Mirkailo pulls his thigh in a training session and is ruled out for two weeks. He was on the bench anyway, but with Lazic out injured as well, the amount of FIT full backs we have is down to just the starting two!!

    MATCH DAY!!!! Sloga are playing Radnicki, and once again we’re in a no-lose situation…..AS LONG AS WE PERFORM!!!! If Sloga and ourselves win, then we’ll be within a point of promotion!! The injured Lazic is replaced by Jovanovic, and Mirkailo’s spot on the bench is taken by fit again Todorovic. Belic is available again after suspension and he goes straight back into the starting line up at the expense of Tesic. An early goal in the Sloga game, sees the league leaders take the lead against Radnicki. Fenicks try to match it, but Miletic’s shot clears the bar by some distance. Just two minutes later and Fenicks, once again, HAVE A CHANCE FROM THE SPOT TO TAKE THE LEAD!! KESIC HOLDS THE BALL UP IN THE AREA AND IS CHARGED INTO FROM BEHIND. IT WAS A NEEDLESS CHALLENGE, BUT I’M NOT COMPLAINING!!! KESIC STEPS UP…… AND FROM 12 YARDS OUT……. SLAMS IT HOME!!!! 1-0 FENICKS!! We almost double our lead five minutes later. Kesic is again at the heart of the action as he brings down Jovanovic’s cross but the keeper is alert at his near post and the ball is scrambled away. After Kuzmanovic and Miletic both have decent chances to extend our lead, it’s Zeleznicar, WITH THEIR FIRST SHOT ON TARGET, that score!! It’s a simple near post corner routine that is our undoing, and despite dominating the opening 35 minutes, the score are level!! 1-1 WITH TEN MINUTES OF THE HALF REMAINING!! Glintic comes to the rescue not long after, pushing away a snap shot from distance.

    SECOND HALF We’ve been the better team. Bossed possession, chances and chances on target. The team are praised, told to carry on as they have been, and kicked back out before they can think too much about it!! Dordevic has the ball in the net for Zeleznicar just two minutes after the restart, BUT HE’S RULED OFFSIDE!! Ten minutes later and FENICKS REGAIN THE LEAD!!! PIRES, KUZMANOVIC AND TIMOTIC ALL COMBINE BEFORE THE BALL IS PLAYED TO MILETIC. HE MAKES NO MISTAKE THIS TIME AND FIRES IN TO MAKE IT 2-1!!! The lead though, lasts LESS THAN A MINUTE, as Zeleznicar restart the game and in four touches of the ball have it in the back of the Fenicks goal!!! 2-2 AND I’M TEARING MY HAIR OUT!!! The scoreline reversal is complete two minutes later. DORDEVIC MAKES UP FOR STRAYING OFFSIDE EARLIER, BREAKING THROUGH AND FIRING ACROSS THE KEEPER!! THEY’VE TURNED THE GAME ON IT’S HEAD AND ONCE AGAIN WE’VE THROWN A LEAD AWAY!! The game, and potentially automatic promotion, is slipping away from us. the players get an ABSOLUTE VERBAL KICKING FROM ME and it makes an almost immediate impact. KESIC IS SENT OFF DOWN THE LEFT AFTER A LONG BALL, HE PLAYS IT INSIDE TO TIMOTIC AND HE PASSES FIRST TIME INTO MILETIC’S FEET. FROM THERE IT’S ONE TOUCH AND BANG!!! ALL SQUARE AND WE’RE BACK IN IT!!! It’s another message to the players, this time it’s one FIRING THEM UP!!!! They respond in style, Timotic smacks the crossbar, Kuzmanovic forces a great save from the keeper, BUT IT’S THAT MAN EDIN KESIC, AGAIN, THAT COMES TO THE RESCUE AND FIRES IN WHAT IS SURELY THE WINNER!!! KUZMANOVIC PLAYS A ONE-TWO WITH MILETIC ON THE HALFWAY LINE BEFORE HE PLAYS A LOW, BENDING THROUGHBALL TO KESIC. HE TAKES IT INTO THE AREA AND HAMMERS IT PAST THE HELPLESS KEEPER!!! 4-3 FENICKS!!! We finally decide that we CAN defend, the final twenty minutes fizzles out and we walk away with automatic promotion TANTALISINGLY WITHIN REACH!!! Sloga grind out a 2-1 win over Radnicki and are a single point away from automatic promotion. Our battling win has us needing just a point from the next match to guarantee it for ourselves. We’re back to ELEVEN points clear from third and with just the four games, and a possible TWELVE points, left it’s in our hands!!!

    Up next is Loznica. Of all the games in the Final Stage, THIS is, on paper, the easiest one we have.

    The race for the title is likely to go down to the wire. We’ve both played the other teams in the top four, and have the same teams left to play in the final four games.

    A spanner is thrown in the works of our preparations. Timotic twists his knee in the build up and is out for 9 days. His spot will be taken by Tutnjevic, he’s waited patiently on the sidelines. Never complaining about not being in the starting lineup and performing admirably when called upon.

    MATCH DAY!!!! There’s no more problems, and no further changes, to the starting eleven. We make a very slow start to the game. Nerves possibly taking hold of a bunch of players assembled to avoid relegation. They’re one more win away from securing AUTOMATIC PROMOTION!! It takes a slight tactical switch on the half hour, moving Pires further forward as an advanced playmaker, to make the breakthrough. EDIN KESIC WINS AN AERIAL DUEL AND THE BALL DROPS TO KUZMANOVIC. HE LOOKS UP AND RETURNS THE BALL TO KESIC. HIS RUN HAD TAKEN HIM INTO HE AREA. HE ROUNDS THE KEEPER AND SLIDES TO BALL INTO THE EMPTY NET!!!! 1-0 FENICKS AND PROMOTION IS ALMOST IN TOUCHING DISTANCE!!!! It took us a while to overcome the nerves, but we grew into he first half and finished the first 45 minutes with a firm grasp on proceedings. News filters down that Sloga finished the first half of their match 3-1 down to FK Radnicki. THAT PERKS THE PLAYERS UP AND ON THE TURN OF THE HOUR, KESIC SETS MILETIC ON THE RUN AND HE DOUBLES THE LEAD!!! IT WAS A SIMPLE WALL PASS FROM MILETIC TO KESIC AND AS HE ROUNDS THE KEEPER THE TRAVELLING FENICKS FANS, ALL SIX OF THEM, ARE BOUNCING!!! The rest of the match plays out like a defence versus attack training session. Fenicks are camped in the Loznica half but just can’t find their way through again. The match finishes 2-0, BUT TEN MAN FK RADNICKI HAVE HELD ON AND BEATEN SLOGA!!! WE’RE TOP WITH THREE GAMES LEFT!!!

    I think it’s fair to say that the board are quite pleased to see to club promoted to the Super Liga!!

    Timotic is racing to try and get fit, but to be honest, with promotion already in the bag, if he does return to training he’ll be making the bench at best. Belic has been at his belligerent best, and picked up ANOTHER YELLOW CARD SUSPENSION!!! That’s a massive FOURTEEN yellow cards in 25 league appearances!! Tesic, once again, is his understudy and with Vojinovic having to miss out due to FK Radnicki being his parent club, Todorovic steps up from the bench.

    MATCH DAY!!!! It’s a carnival atmosphere in the ground as we attempt to take a firmer grip on the title. We see a lot of the ball in the opening twenty minutes, and create more than a few chances, BUT IT’S FK RADNICKI THAT OPEN THE SCORING!!! GLINTIC MAKES A GREAT DOUBLE SAVE, BUT THE THIRD REBOUND FALLS TO A RADNICKI PLAYER AND IT’S BUNDLED OVER THE LINE!!! 1-0 FK RADNICKI! We’re behind for just the five minutes. MILETIC AND KESIC COMBINE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARK BEFORE KESIC SPLITS THE DEFENCE AND MILETIC IS ALLOWED TO WALTZ INTO THE AREA AND STROKE THE BALL PAST THE KEEPER!! 1-1 WITH JUST OVER THIRTY MINUTES PLAYED! Once again though, our defensive frailties are exposed by a simple ball played over the top. Maksimovic gets caught underneath it, and from there it’s a one on one chance that’s safely put away to restore Radnicki’s lead!! 2-1 FK RADNICKI ON THE STROKE OF HALF TIME!!

    SECOND HALF We had the better of the first half, despite what the scoreline suggests. FK Radnicki have had just the two shots on target and scored from them both!! Maksimovic, who was at fault for the second, is replaced by Sredojevic and they team heads back out the a rollocking still ringing in their ears!! The match continues is the same vein as the first half. We’re in control but it’s not until the hour that we get rewarded! PIRES TAKES A FREE KICK FROM A WIDE POSITION AND AIMS IT TOWARDS THE BACK POST. THE FK RADNICKI DEFENDERS GET IN EACH OTHERS WAY AND TODOROVIC HAS A FREE HEADER TO MAKE IT 2-2!!! Five minutes later and the comeback is complete! MILETIC GETS TO THE BYLINE AND CUTS IT BACK TO KUZMANOVIC, HIS SHOT IS GATHERED BY THE RADNICKI KEEPER WHO PUNTS IT LONG HOPING TO CATCH US OUT AGAIN. THE HIGH BALL IS WON INSTEAD BY SREDOJEVIC, WHO CUSHIONS HIS HEADER TO SUSTITUTE PAUNOVIC. PAUNOVIC LOOKS UP AND THREADS A THROUGHBALL INTO THE PATH OF MILETIC. HE RACES INTO THE AREA, AND WITH THE KEEPER COMING OUT TO MEET HIM, LOBS HIM TO PERFECTION TO MAKE IT 3-2 FENICKS!!!! The final twenty minutes are DOMINATED by Fenicks. Miletic has two golden chances to complete his hat-trick, with other gilt edged efforts for Kesic, and Kuzmanovic. The score though, stays at 3-2 and it’s ANOTHER come-from-behind win for Fenicks!!

    We did what we needed to do. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty. BUT IT WAS A WIN!! With Sloga beating FK Rad, our victory maintains the two point advantage we have at the top.

    We are on the verge of a famous title win, and the players are starting to believe!!

    Proleter Novi Sad are the next club in our way. Sloga are playing 8th place Loznica. There’s little chance of them slipping up there, so no margin for error for us. Vojinovic returns to the heart of the defence after being ineligible for the last game. Belic returns from suspension, for now, and goes straight back into the start up.

    MATCH DAY!!!! There’s no sign of nerves as we set up camp on the edge of the Proleter box. Miletic, Kuzmanovic and Tutnjevic all test the keeper in the opening 15 minutes. THE BREAKTHROUGH COMES IN THE 20TH MINUTE!!! TUTNJEVIC LAYS THE BALL OFF THE MIGUEL PIRES ON THE EDGE OF THE AREA. ONE QUICK DRAG BACK LEAVES THE DEFENDER ON THE FLOOR AND FROM THERE HE’S FREE TO BEND HIS SHOT BEYOND THE DIVING KEEPER!! 1-0 FENICKS! Five minutes before half time we are the authors of our own misfortune. TWICE we are caught in possession in our own half, and twice we get away with it. The THIRD TIME though, Vojinovic attempts to play the ball out of defence and instead passes it straight to Mladinovic. Two passes later and Ninkovic is slotting the ball past Glintic and the scores are level!! 1-1 JUST BEFORE HALFTIME! We’ve controlled the game. We’ve camped in their half for more than half and hour, but one error, easily avoided, has cost us.

    SECOND HALF Proleter come out after the restart in a much more positive mood. They start to dominate possession and it’s only a matter of time before they score again. The goal comes with a little under 15 minutes left. Two crosses in quick succession pull our defence apart and a simple header from 6 yards out put Proleter into the lead!! 2-1 PROLETER!! Finally, we wake up in the second half!! A GREAT BALL OUT WIDE BY TUTNJEVIC IS COLLECTED BY ALEKSANDER MILETIC. HE DRIVES INTO THE PROLETER BOX AND AS HE’S CLOSED DOWN, DINKS A CROSS TO HIS NAMESAKE!! NIKOLA MILETIC HAS THE SIMPLE TASK OF JUST GETTING A BODY PART ON THE BALL AND JUST LIKE THAT WE’RE LEVEL WITH 8 MINUTES REMAINING!!! 2-2!! Ninkovic attempts to break my heart in time added on, BUT HIS EFFORT IS RULED OFFSIDE!! The ref blows for full time and it feels as if we’ve stolen a point. Despite bossing the opening third of the game, Proleter grew into the game and dominated the middle third.

    With Sloga coming from behind to win against Loznica, we drop down to 2nd but are level on points. It’s a shootout for the title on the last day of the season!!

    We’ve got a FAR superior goal difference to Sloga, but the league position sorting rules are a little different.

    I’m kinda presuming that because Sloga were ahead going INTO the final stage, that’s the reason they’ve got the top spot at the moment. There’s no injuries or suspensions for the last game of the season. It’s an unchanged starting eleven that takes the field. Sloga are at home to Proleter and our only chance of winning the title comes from THEM repeating their performance from against us!!

    MATCH DAY!!!! We’ve got some genuinely tired players, but it’s a case of “Once more into the breach, dear friends. Once more!” FK Rad have been a bit of a bogey team for us this season, and it’s them AGAIN that open the scoring. A long ball over the top of Miletic on the right, leads to a low fizzed cross that is met by Rajkovic!! 0-1 TO FK RAD!! News filters through that Proleter have taken the lead against Sloga, BUT IT ALL MEANS NOTHING IS WE LOSE HERE!!! We up our game a bit, but FK Rad hold firm for the rest of the first half. Proleter have increased their lead against Sloga but we need something more in the second half to get the all important goal.

    SECOND HALF FK Rad continue to disrupt the game after the restart. Lots of niggly fouls rob us of the ability to build momentum. The best we can muster in a scrappy second half is a couple of free kick efforts. Miletic forcing a great one-handed save and Pires hitting one against the upright. Nothing works after that, we go all guns blazing. Three up top, and direct balls. The ref blows and despite Sloga losing, we can’t capitalise and the title goes to them!

    The board calls me in for my END OF SEASON REVIEW, and start with my transfer business. Overall they’re happy with the incoming players, bizarrely though, they have an issue with Miguel Pires. Despite him averaging 7.27 and contributing 12 assists, they rate his transfer as a F!!!

    Overall though, they’re delighted with my stewardship of the club.

    The Best Eleven shows just how good a season we’ve had. Ten of them have a rating over seven. The one exception is Jovanovic who weighed in with 6.97

    The player awards are dominated by Edin Kesic.

    Fans player of the season, top goalscorer, most player of the match awards AND highest average rating!!! Miguel Pires, despite his F rating from the board, gets the most assists award.

    The early expectations are in, and it’s an easily achieved one. We just need to stay up!!

    We can do that. Can’t we?

    Thanks for reading folks. Any comments, likes, follows etc are ALWAYS appreciated. You can find me on my other social media sites


    TWITCH –

  • The European Journeyman Ep27

    The Preliminary Stage of the Serbian 2nd Division is almost done and dusted. We’ve five games left, and with the board wanting us to “AVOID RELEGATION“, we’re sitting SECOND!!! A point behind league leaders Sloga, and 6 points ahead of 3rd placed Zeleznicar. The Final Stage is the top eight teams taking their league record into a new mini-league where they play each other and the top two get automatic promotion.

    To makes maters even more interesting, we’ve still got to play Zeleznicar AND Sloga. We’re guaranteed to be making the Final Stage, but I’d like a bigger buffer between us and third place.

    Our next match is away to Backa Palanka. Last time out was an incredibly disappointing loss to FK Rad, and I want us to get back in form quickly. Our hopes of that are boosted by making a week without injuries to any first teamers. It’ll be an unchanged squad that takes the field against Palanka. My hope is that they’ll be motivated by the loss.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Telling the players I want to see a marked improvement from last game has them, in the dressing room at least, motivated. We have the better of the first half, but it does seem that both teams are cancelling each other out. Half time approaches and only one of the keepers has been tested. It’s Palanka’s keeper, but it’s just the twice from seven attempts. We’ve had the best of the possession but it’s all just a little bit…..SAFE.

    SECOND HALF Palanka’s cause takes a massive knock in the FIRST MINUTE of the restart. Baric goes through Jovanovic from behind and picks up a yellow card…..PROBLEM IS IT’S HIS SECOND!!! As he heads off for an early bath, we kick it up a gear and go more attacking. We take full advantage of the numerical advantage AND SCORE FROM THE RESULTING FREE KICK!!!!VOJINOVIC SENDS AN ANGLED BALL DEEP TO THE FAR POST. KESIC NODS IT DOWN AND MILETIC FIRES IN A VOLLEY THAT SCREAMS PAST THE KEEPER LEAVING HIM ROOTED TO THE SPOT!! 1-0 FENICKS! Once again though, it’s a long ball that’s our undoing!! A simple ball over the top isn’t dealt with and a simple pass later sees Mitrovic finishing past Glintic!! THE TEN MEN LEVEL THE SCORES!!! We’ve half an hour left to play. Palanka drop deeper and deeper, we move our lines higher and higher. But in the end, the closest we come to getting a DESERVED winner is a Miletic freekick that sails over the bar. FINAL SCORE 1-1!!

    It’s, once again, the lack of a ruthlessness in front of goal that has cost us. Despite the poor result, other games have gone in our favour. Sloga have been held by lowly Timok, and Zeleznicar have been BEATEN by Mladost!!

    We’re still a point from top spot but our gap below is now seven points. Some big games coming up. Mladost are next then ZELEZNICAR!!

    We’ve a MASSIVE chance to regain top spot and/or extend the gap even further between us and 3rd place.

    With 1st playing 3rd, a win against Mladost will see us in a far better position one way or another. It’s probably the WRONG point of the season to do this, but we’ve struggled recently to break teams down. As a result, the central three midfielder roles are changing. Instead of the mezzala, central midfielder attack, mezzala.

    I’m going to go with CM attack, DLP support, CM attack. With the hope of getting more bodies in and around the box. With holding midfielder staying as a ball winning midfielder to give a screen in front of the back line.

    MATCH DAY!!!! It’s time to see if I’ve dropped the ball with the change in roles, or whether the increased attacking intent will create the greater goal threat I want. The answer it seems IS A RESOUNDING NO!!! The first 30 minutes pass with just the ONE SHOT ON TARGET FROM EITHER SIDE!! The opening 40 minutes see a total of SIX chances created, BUT THAT ALL CHANGES IN THE 43RD MINUTE!!! TIMOTIC PICKS THE BALL UP AND SPRAYS IT OUT TO KESIC. HE GHOSTS PAST HIS MARKER AND SENDS IN A WHIPPED CROSS THAT IS BUNDLED IN BY MILETIC!!! The change in roles looks like it may have had an effect there. Apart from Miletic, there were THREE other Fenicks players attacking the cross. Halftime comes and it’s a blessing really. We’ve has less of the ball, fewer chances and our passes are just not connecting.

    SECOND HALF The team talk DEMANDS a better use of the ball, and it’s a quick passing move that sees Kesic force a save from the Mladost keeper five minutes after the restart. The extra men getting into the box PAYS DIVIDENDS AGAIN ON THE HOUR MARK. MIRKAILO PLAYS A BALL DOWN THE LINE FOR KESIC TO SCAMPER AFTER. HE PLAYS A SIMPLE BALL INSIDE TO TIMOTIC, AND WITH THE DEFENDERS WORRIED ABOUT THE EXTRA RUNNERS, HE FINDS MILETIC IN SPACE SIX YARDS OUT!! A SIMPLE FINISH LATER AND IT’S 2-0 FENICKS!!!! Five minutes later and Mladost wake up. A cross from the left is flicked on a the near post and Markovic jumps highest at the far post to nod it in! 2-1 FENICKS AND THE NERVES ARE POPPING NOW!! There’s chances at either end as the game opens up, BUT IT’S FENICKS WHO GET THE ALL IMPORTANT NEXT GOAL!!! ONCE AGAIN IT’S AN OVERLOAD IN THE BOX AS KESIC WRIGGLES FREE AND FINDS KUZMANOVIC WHO PLANTS HIS HEADER AT THE FAR POST!! 3-1 FENICKS IN TIME ADDED ON!!! It’s Kuzmanovic’s first goal for the club and the change in tactic is directly responsible for his positioning there!!! The last couple of minutes play out and it’s ANOTHER great second half performance from Fenicks. We managed to drag the possession AND the chance count closer to even. FINAL SCORE 3-1 FENICKS!

    Sloga won 2-0 against Zeleznicar, keeping the gap between us just the single point BUT the gap between us and THIRD is now NINE POINTS!!

    The next set of fixtures has thrown up some INTERESTING match ups!! It’s another 1st vs 3rd as Sloga now have to take on Radnicki, whilst we take on Zeleznicar and it’s 5th place FK Rad hosting 6th placed Loznica!!

    Mirkailo picked up a knock during the Mladost victory, so he’ll be replaced by Aleksander Miletic. The only other change is Belic replacing the out of sorts Tesic as the holding midfielder. Whilst we were outplayed in the first half against Mladost, the second half performance has given me enough confidence to KEEP the changed roles.

    MATCH DAY!!!! The early running is all made by Zeleznicar, BUT THE FIRST STRIKE GOES TO FENICKS!! KUZMANOVIC PICKS THE BALL UP ON THE HALFWAY LINE AND DRIVES TOWARDS GOAL. THE ZELEZNICAR DEFENCE IS CAUGHT BETWEEN CLOSING HIM DOWN OR STAYING WITH THE RUNNERS, AND IN THE END THEY GET DO NEITHER AND KUZMANOVIC HAS PLENTY OF TIME TO PLAY EDIN KESIC IN AND HIS STRIKE BEATS THE KEEPER!!! 1-0 FENICKS AFTER 15 MINUTES! Ten minutes later and Aleksander Miletic is caught under a long, high, clearance and the ball is fed into the danger zone. Fortunately the shot is blocked by Maksimovic and the chance passes Zeleznicar by. We break quickly and the ball is moved up to Kesic, he’s brought down on the edge of the area for a free kick. Nikola Miletic stands over the ball HIS EFFORT BEATS THE KEEPER BUT COMES BACK INTO PLAY OFF THE WOODWORK AND FALLS AT THE FEET OF PIRES!! WITH THE KEEPER STILL ON THE FLOOR AFTER DIVING FOR THE FREE KICK, IT’S THE SIMPLEST OF TAP-INS FOR PIRES!!! 2-0 FENICKS!! The whistle comes for half time, and for the first time in a few weeks it’s NOT a welcome sound!! After starting on the back foot, we grew into the game and deserve our lead despite being behind stat-wise.

    SECOND HALF There’s little change to the flow of the game after the restart. This time it’s Zeleznicar growing back into the match, but Kesic has a gilt edged chance to put the game to bed in the 71st minute, he can only blaze him shot high and wide when well placed. The game opens right up as time draws to a close, AND IT’S FENICKS WHO FINALLY PUTS THE GAMES TO BED IN THE 90TH MINUTE!! NIKOLA MILETIC HAMMERING A SHOT IN AT THE NEAR POST AFTER BEING PUT THROUGH BY KESIC!! That’s all she wrote as the third goal takes the wind out of Zeleznicar’s sails. It’s a win for Fenicks, and with Sloga beating Radnicki the gap between 2nd and 3rd is now a huge ELEVEN POINTS!!

    After the disappointing loss the FK Rad, we’ve managed to gather ourselves and go unbeaten in the last three. Next up is THE BIG ONE. It’s Sloga away. Last time out it was a deserved 0-1 loss. The motivation for the players is clear, beat them and we not only leapfrog them and go top, but also gain a measure of revenge. A spanner is thrown in the works during the build up to the match, as first Todorovic and then Teodorovic, are ruled out. Todorovic has suffered a hernia and will sit out for 5 weeks, whilst Teodorovic suffers from a tight hamstring in training to rule him out of just the next match.

    MATCH DAY!!!! It’s an unchanged starting line-up that takes the field against league leaders Sloga and it’s a cry of REVENGE that echoes in the ears of the players. It’s an even start to the game with most of the play in the middle of the park, until the 35th minute. THE BALL IS PLAYED INTO KESIC IN THE AREA AND SRBJANAC DRAGS HIM DOWN!! THE REF CHECKS WITH VAR AND CONFIRMS THE PENALTY!!! KESIC PICKS HIMSELF UP TO TAKE THE KICK HIMSELF…… RIGHT FOOTED…… AND FIRES IT LOW TO THE KEEPERS RIGHT!!! 1-0 FENICKS!! Five minutes later and THE TRAVELLING FENICKS FANS ARE IN CLOUD WONDERLAND!! A QUICK PASSING MOVE, DEEP IN THE SLOGA HALF, SEES THE BALL DROP TO BELIC ON THE EDGE OF THE AREA….WITH THE CROWD URGING HIM TO SHOOT HE UNLEASHES A RIGHT FOOTED THUNDERBOLT AND FLIES STRAIGHT INTO THE TOP CORNER!!! 2-0 FENICKS AS HALF TIME ARRIVES! It’s not just on the goals that we’re ahead on. We’re back in the 60+% possession and ahead on chances in general.

    SECOND HALF The first ten minutes again are very even before the overload from the midfield three pays dividends again! TIMOTIC PLAYING A SMART ONE-TWO WITH ALEKSANDER MILETIC BEFORE SLAMMING HOME!!! 3-0 FENICKS! That goal seems to wake Sloga up and the ball is fed to Lazovic from the right, and he fires in what is surely only going to be a consolation!! 3-1 FENICKS WITH 30 MINUTES STILL TO PLAY!! The goal shakes our confidence, and raises the heads of Sloga, five minutes later and they pull even closer…….Dokovic chasing down and deep free kick and firing in at the far post! 3-2 FENICKS BUT IT’S GETTING NERVY NOW!!! It’s all Sloga now. Dokovic breaks down the left and shoots across Glintic. That shot comes back off the post and his hammered away from goal by Maksimovic. Twenty minutes to play though and the inevitable happens. Dokovic get’s his second of the game, getting in front of Aleksander Miletic and tapping in a low cross from the right wing!! 3-3 AND IT’S ALL SQUARE AFTER FENICKS LEADING 3-0!!! Sloga seem to be content with the point and shut up shop. We toil in vain to break them down and the match ends all square!! FINAL SCORE 3-3!!

    It’s a crazy, crazy game, and although I’d have taken a point before the game, it’s a bitter pill to swallow after being 3-0 in front!!

    It’s a full week till the last match of the Preliminary Stage and we’re at home against FK Indjija. They beat us last time out, in what was a shocking performance from us. It’s ANOTHER unchanged line up and Indjija roll into town.

    MATCH DAY!!!! There’s a party atmosphere in the stadium as we kick off, AND IT’S SOON INCREASED AS TIMOTIC FIRES HOME THE OPENER AFTER 8 MINUTES!! KUZMANOVIC RECIEVES THE BALL FROM PIRES AND MOVES IT ON QUICKLY INTO THE PATH OF TIMOTIC WHO HITS IT FIRST TIME!!! 1-0 FENICKS! Ten minutes later and the lead is doubled. A HOPEFUL CROSS IS SENT OVER BY ALEKSANDER MILETIC. IT’S INTERCEPTED BY THE INDJIJA DEFENCE BUT THE BALL DROPS TO KESIC AND IT’S AN INSTINCTIVE FINISH TO POKE THE BALL HOME!!! 2-0 FENICKS!! Indjija are stunned into action, and find a way back into the match just after the half hour. It’s a simple low cross from the right that bounces around box before being bundled home. 2-1 FENICKS! Half time comes and we’re controlling the game again. Possession, chances and more importantly, goals!!


    the midfield three have gotten used to their new roles now and the possession stats, after being behind for a couple of games, are back in the 50-60% mark. the Preliminary Stage ends with us 2nd. Not bad for a team that was expected to fight against relegation!!! Sloga beat Zarkovo and remain a point clear at the top, but it’s the gap between us and 3rd that’s concerns me more. It sits at TEN POINTS now, and that should really be enough to see us through to automatic promotion!!

    There’s seven games standing between us and an unlikely promotion to the Super League! They start with another trip to Sloga, and ends with a home match against FK Rad.

    Thanks for reading folks. Any comments, likes, follows etc are ALWAYS appreciated. You can find me on my other social media sites


    TWITCH –

  • The European Journeyman Ep26

    I am genuinely enjoying life in Serbia. Since taking over newly promoted FK Fenicks, we’ve lost just the four games and drawn three in the league. The board want us to avoid relegation, and reach the First Round of the Serbian Cup. We’re overperforming in spades on those!!

    We’ve reached the mid-season break and my attention turns to strengthening the squad. Vojinovic, a young centre back, comes in on loan to bolster the numbers there. Marko Simic heads in the opposite direction, leaving on a permanent deal to IMT for £10k. Kuzmanovic, a fantastically talented young central midfielder, agrees to come in on loan as well.

    The next stage of coaching qualifications are in the bag, and it’s straight onto the next one!!

    There’s more movement on the transfer front. Danilo Teodorovic comes in from Red Star for a princely sum of £1,000 and will provide cover/competition for Miletic and Kesic up front. Paunovic also comes in on loan to boost the numbers of central midfielders. Milenkovic has finally courted some attention, Asteras Vlachioti come in with a £36.5k bid and the board step in to accept before I get the chance to myself. His transfer fee will help bolster the dwindling bank balance, and we’ve already got a replacement in.

    The transfer window is finally open, and with it comes new season expectations from the board. It’s a MASSIVE shift from “attempt to avoid relegation” to “avoid relegation” and one that I’m more than happy to go along with. The change offers nothing more in the way of transfer budget, but it DOES offer an increase to the wage budget.

    The squad are back. They’ve had almost 3 months off and it’s a fully fit set of players that return. That is until 4 days before the first friendly. Marko Lazic is sent home with flu and will miss the upcoming game versus Radnicki 1912.

    MATCH DAY!!!! It’s a strong line up for the first mid season friendly. Mirkailo comes in for Aleksander Miletic at right back and new signing Vojinovic replaces Branko Jovanovic. With Nikola Jovanovic replacing the ill Lazic we take the field as huge favourites. I guess someone hadn’t told Radnicki the script though. KOSTIC GETS A YARD OF SPACE ON THE LEFT AND SENDS OVER A CROSS THAT IS MET BY SVELJO’S HEAD. GLINTIC GETS A HAND TO IT BUT CAN’T KEEP IT OUT!! 0-1 RADNICKI!! We start to grow into the game. Pires forces a good save and earns Fenicks a corner. Vojinovic gets up highest from the corner but his header clears the bar. We make the breakthrough in the 20th minute. PIRES TAKES UP THE BALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARK AND PLAYS A BALL BEHIND THE RADNICKI DEFENCE. MILETIC REACTS FIRST AND GUIDES HIS SHOT BEYOND THE ADVANCING KEEPER!!! 1-1 AND GAME ON! Two minutes later and we’re ahead. ANOTHER PIRES CORNER IS CLEARED OUT TO MAKSIMOVIC, HE PLAYS THE BALL BACK TO PIRES AND HIS CROSS IS MET BY MILETIC AT THE BACK POST. MILETIC SLAMS HIS HEADER PAST THE KEEPER BEFORE HE EVEN SEES IT!! 2-1 FENICKS! It’s two goals in two minutes and we’re back in control. Radnicki have mustered just the one chance and since they took the lead the game has been played, almost exclusively, in the Radnicki half.

    SECOND HALF It’s a praise filled team talk at halftime and a host of changes. Sredojevic, Belic, Paunovic, Kuzmanovic and Teodorovic take the field. He’s on the pitch for just ten minutes before Teodorovic makes an impact. Jovanovic crosses from the left and Teodorovic pulls away from his marker but his header is pushed away by the keeper. Miletic keeps the ball in play and switches the play to Mirkailo. MIRKAILO SENDS OVER A FIRST TIME CROSS AND MILITEC, LOITERING AT THE FAR POST, HAS AN EASY HEADER TO COMPLETE HIS HAT-TRICK!! 3-1 FENICKS!! It’s two of the new signings that combine for the fourth goal when it comes. PAUNOVIC PLAYS A NEAT ONE-TWO WITH TEODOROVIC AND GETS HIS SHOT AWAY. THE SHOT IS SAVED BUT CAN ONLY BE PSUHED INTO THE PATH OF THE FOLLOWING UP TEODOROVIC WHO TAPS IN FOR A EASY FINISH! 4-1 FENICKS! With five minutes to play we score probably the best goal of the match. MIRKAILO AGAIN PICKS UP THE BALL ON THE RIGHT, HE BEATS ONE MAN AND SENDS A CROSS OVER TO THE FAR LEFT WING. NIKOLA MILETIC IS ON HIS BIKE AND REACHES THE CROSS ON THE VOLLEY. THE KEEPER CAN ONLY WAVE AT IT AS IT FLIES PAST HIM!!! 5-1 FENICKS! That’s all the action for the match as the ref blows for full time. It’s a great work out and a wonderful morale booster. Nothing new has been learnt but it’s good to see the new recruits settle quickly.

    We play another two friendlies and their results go our way as well. Buducnost are despatched 1-0 and YET ANOTHER Radnicki team are beaten 4-0. The squad start to gear up for the return of the league season and are boosted by the return from flu of Lazic. It’s looking like a fully fit squad to be able to picked from for our trip to Zarkovo.

    MATCH DAY!!!! Zarkovo comes into the match sitting bottom of the league and are firmly rooted there. Two of the new signings make the starting line-up. Vojinovic starts alongside Maksimovic in the centre of the defence and Paunovic joins Timotic and Pires in central midfield. Kuzmanovic and Teodorovic both make the subs bench. We have a decent start. holding on to the ball and working it well. We make the breakthrough in the 25th minute. TIMOTIC, PAUNOVIC AND KESIC COMBINE BEFORE THE BALL MAKES IT’S WAY TO MILETIC. HE MAKES SPACE FOR HIMSELF ON THE EDGE OF THE AREA AND RIFLES IN HIS 8TH LEAGUE GOAL OF THE SEASON!! 1-0 FENICKS! Five minutes later and we almost score an identical goal. Miletic’ shot this time smashing against the crossbar and rebounding to safety!! Zarkovo make it half time just the one goal behind, despite us really controlling the game. Possession stats have us with 67% of the ball!!

    SECOND HALF Zarkovo’s season of woe continues to get worse after the break. IT TAKES JUST TWO MINUTES AFTER THE RESTART FOR FENICKS TO EXTEND THEIR LEAD!! TIMOTIC AND KESIC COMBINING AGAIN BEFORE FEEDING PIRES. HE TAKES A TOUCH AND PLACES HIS SHOT IN OFF THE FAR POST!! 2-0 FENICKS! Zarkovo manage to find a way to shut the game down, and besides Kesic stinging the palms of the keeper the second half fizzles out and with debuts handed out to Kuzmanovic and Teodorovic, we see the game out to make it 7 games undefeated!! Sloga win as well to keep pace with us, and we remain locked on level points at the top of the table!

    Our unbeaten league run has come with 6 wins and a single draw, spanning from early November to early March!! The fixture list has been kind to us as well, with the next two games being 15th placed IMT and 12th placed Trayal.

    March is shaping up to be ANOTHER busy month, with the games coming thick and fast! There’s just the four days between the Zarkovo and the IMT matches. Fortunately, the business done in the winter transfer window means that we’re better placed to rotate the squad now. Maksimovic is rested for the coming game, and his replacement, Sredojevic, is fully fit and raring to go.

    MATCH DAY!!!! There’s no more changes to the XI as we go looking to break the clubs unbeaten record for the second time in the same season!! Confidence is high in the team, and it shows as Kesic fashions two chances for himself in the opening 15 minutes. IMT wake up in the 20th minute though, former Fenicks player Marko Simic narrowly firing over from the edge of the area. TEN MINUTES LATER AND IMT TAKE THE LEAD!! STOJANOVIC SENDING OVER A FREE KICK AND IVKOVIC BEATS EVERYONE TO THE BALL TO POWER HOME HIS HEADER!! 0-1 TO IMT!! We knock on the door time and time again, each time we are wayward with our finishing. the first period comes to a close with IMT having had the same amount of shots on target as us, it’s just that we’ve had THREE TIMES AS MANY off target shots!!

    SECOND HALF Just under ten minutes after the restart and Edin Kesic has a golden chance to draw us level. Timotic, again, is at the heart of the action and it’s his ball that releases Kesic, who can only fire wide when one on one. FENICKS ARE NOT TO BE DENIED THOUGH!! JUST TWO MINUTES AFTER MISSING THE PREVIOUS CHANCE, EDIN KESIC HAS THE BALL IN THE NET!! PIRES’ WHIPPED CROSS FROM THE LEFT IS MET BY A PERFECTLY TIMED RUN!! THE IMT KEEPER HAS NO CHANCE AS HE LEVELS THE SCORES!! 1-1 AND PLENTY OF TIME LEFT!! Ten minutes later and it’s rinse and repeat!! ALL THE ACTION IS AGAIN DOWN THE LEFT. JOVANOVIC LAYS THE BALL OFF TO PIRES, WHO SWINGS IN THE CROSS THAT IS MET, AGAIN, BY THE LEAPING KESIC!!! 2-1 FENICKS AND THE COMEBAKC IS COMPLETE!! IMT have crumbled. All their first half confidence has been blown away AND EDIN KESIC APPLYS THE FINAL NAIL IN THE COFFIN AS HE COMPLETES HIS HAT-TRICK WITH 2 MINUTES LEFT TO PLAY!! PIRES AGAIN INVOLVED, AS HIS PASS FORWARD IS STEPPED OVER BY TEODOROVIC AND KESIC STROLLS UNMARKED INTO THE AREA TO SLOT IT HOME!! 3-1 AND THE UNBEATEN STREAK IS SAFE!! The last few minutes fly by and it’s a remarkable second half performance that turned the game on it’s head. A second half hat-trick from the lethal Edin Kesic seals a new unbeaten record for FK Fenicks!!

    It’s been a while since I’ve had to blunt and forceful with the team at half time, but it’s always nice to see them respond if I have to be!!

    The starting eleven are all rewarded with an extra day’s rest, and the game vs Trayal arrives at a gallop. Maksimovic regains his spot in the defence after being rested for the IMT game. That’s the only change though as we try for TEN UNBEATEN league games in a row. With Sloga playing away at 12th placed Graficar, we need to win to keep the pressure up.

    MATCH DAY!!!! We, once again, start the game on the front foot but our wayward shooting, once again, is our undoing. Edin Kesic the main culprit, as time and again his chances are either dragged wide or lifted over. Just past the half hour mark MIGUEL PIRES SHOWS OUR STRIKEFORCE HOW TO DO IT!!! RECEIVING A LOW CROSS ON THE EDGE OF THE AREA, HE LETS THE BALL ROLL ACROSS HIS BODY AND BENDS IT BEAUTIFULLY IN OFF THE FAR POST WITH THE KEEPER STRANDED!!! 1-0 FENICKS! Ten minutes later and PIRES’ LESSON IS FINALLY LEARNT!! MILETIC RECEIVES THE BALL FROM JOVANOVIC AND THREADS A BALL TO HIS STRIKE PARTNER. KESIC, MERCIFULLY, HAS NO TIME TO THINK AND SWEEPS THE BALL BALL FIRST TIME!!! 2-0 FENICKS FROM OUR ONLY TWO SHOTS ON TARGET!!!! Whilst our shots on target ratio is poor, our goals to shots on target is 100% AND IT REMAINS THAT WAY ON THE STROKE OF HALFTIME!! IT’S A NEAR CARBON COPY OF PIRES’ EFFORT WITH TIMOTIC THIS TIME HAVING THE FINAL SHOT. IT CURLS AROUND THE ADVANCING DEFENDER AND HITS THE MYSTICAL “TOP BINS” AREA OF THE GOAL!! 3-0 AND GAME OVER! The halftime whistle is blown and again we’re in near complete control. Three goals from three on target efforts says more about the quality of the efforts than the level of goalkeeping on display.

    SECOND HALF The teams come back out and Trayal have obviously had a bit of a rocket put up them. They dominate the possession for the first five minutes, patiently probing at the edge of our area. ALL IT TAKES IS ONE MISPLACED PASS THOUGH AND PIRES IS AWAY. HE PLAYS A BALL DOWN THE LINE FOR MILETIC TO SCAMPER AWAY AND COLLECT. HE LOOKS UP AND BENDS A LOVELY LOW CROSS INTO THE PATH OF KESIC AND IT’S A SIMPLE FIRST TIME STRIKE THAT FLASHES PAST THE KEEPER!!! 3-0 FENICKS AND A BRACE FOR KESIC!! VAR takes a quick look at Kesic’ position as the ball comes over but he’s safely a yard onside. Just before the hour Timotic has a chance to double his tally, but after a cracking one touch passing move his effort is parried away by the keeper. With 15 minutes to play, Trayal decide to make a game of it. A quick bout of “you attack, no you attack, NO YOU ATTACK” ends with a low cross being missed by Vojinovic and THE SIMPLEST OF TAP-INS MAKES IT 4-1!! The goal seems to focus the minds of the Fenicks players. FIVE MINUTES AFTER THE TRAYAL TAP IN, OSMIC RESTORES THE FOUR GOAL CUSHION. LEATHERING A SHOT FROM ALL OF 30 YARDS OUT!! IT CATCHES A SLIGHT DEFLECTION ON THE WAY THROUGH THAT DECIEVES THE KEEPER WHO PROBABLY WOULD’VE HAD IT COVERED!! 5-1 FENICKS WITH TEN MINUTES TO PLAY! The day goes from bad to worse for Trayal with 8 minutes to play. Savanovic launches himself into a knee high tackle and is rightly given his marching orders. There’s no more goalmouth action and the game comes to a close. The SINGULAR FENICKS FAN (probably the coach driver) that made their way to the game comes away happy, AND THAT HAPPINESS IS DOUBLED WHEN THE NEWS THAT SLOGA WE HELD 1-1 BY GRAFICAR!! FENICKS GO 2 POINTS CLEAR AT THE TOP!!

    We’re coming into a purple patch of form in just the right time. The Preliminary Stage has just the six games left, but we still have the 2nd, 3rd and 5th placed team to play!!

    In a little bit of preplanning for next season, Nikola Miletic, and his parent club, have agreed to extend his loan to the end of NEXT season. There’s a contract offer as well for Luka Paunovic. Attention turns to the next match and the visit of FK Rad. Belic is suspended so Tesic takes his spot, and Timotic is unable to play against his parent club. Kuzmanovic steps up from the bench to make his first start for the club.

    There’s nothing like building pressure for yourself. Not content with having the unbeaten league record now stretch to TEN games, we’re not closing on the LEAGUE MOST GAMES WON IN A ROW” record.

    MATCH DAY!!!! It’s a slow start to the game. Over ten minutes is played before the first chance. It’s another ten minutes from that before the first goal. A LOOSE BALL BY TESIC IS PICKED OFF BY FK RAD AND THEY BREAK ON US QUICKLY. TWO SIMPLE PASSES AND THE BALL IS SLID PAST GLINTIC!!! 0-1 FK RAD! On the stroke of halftime, Nikola Miletic has Fenicks best chance of the half. A direct freekick on the edge of the area, his effort clears the wall but can only clip the crossbar as it passes over.

    SECOND HALF The restart sees no change to the Fenicks performance. There’s too many sloppy passes and wayward crosses happening. Things go from bad to worse with 20 minutes left. MAKSIMOVIC IS ADJUDGED TO HAVE PUSHED SPASIC IN THE AREA AND THE REF DOESN’T HESITATE TO POINT TO THE SPOT!! SPASIC PICKS HIMSELF UP, DUSTED HIMSELF OFF, AND CALMLY DESPATCHES THE SPOT KICK TO MAKE IT TWO-NIL!! We go all out. Push the defensive lines up in an effort to squeeze the game. None of it makes a difference. POBULIC SENDS OVER A SIMPLE LOFTED PASS AND NONE OF THE FENICKS DEFENCE DEAL WITH, DELJANIN IS UNMARKED AT THE FAR POST, AND WILL NEVER HAVE AN EASIER FINISH IN HIS CAREER!!! 0-3 TO FK RAD AND IT’S ALL COME CRASHING DOWN!!

    It’s not the result that annoys me. There were WAY too many individual poor performances. To cap it all off, Sloga win and regain the top spot with a point gap now.

    We have a six point gap between us and third place, and we’ve still to play the return match versus Sloga. Everything is still very much to play for.

    Thanks for reading folks. Any comments, likes, follows etc are ALWAYS appreciated. You can find me on my other social media sites


    TWITCH –