The European Journeyman | Episode 2: Long Old Slog Of A Season?

December in The Greek Super League 2 South started for AO Aigaleo with the visit of Rodos, which we won last time out.

Just the two other fixtures in December before a 2 week Christmas break.

I need to improve the squad. It’s “at best” bang average. Problem is, I’ve ZERO MONEY TO SPEND and I’m over the wage budget by £1.5k. Players that I’m not picking, and that I have cover for, have been transfer listed.

First out the door is Diaby for £3.4K with Daktylidis following him on a free and then our resident Albanian 21yr old Shehu departs for a MASSIVE (for us) £20k with add-ons. We’re down to -£557 on the wage budget. Soon be able to bring in some fresh blood.

MATCH DAY!! We’re away to Kifisia hoping to carry on our good form. On 18 minutes the first big chance falls to us with Arnarellis flashing a volley wide, only for Kifisia to go straight up the other end and Ricardo Vaz nods in from close range. After a free-kick from Sotirakos we’re down 0-2 at halftime. A misjudged header from Kalyvas 5 minutes after half-time makes it 0-3. This is NOT good.

A good ole “berate the team” seems to sure things up and with 10 to play Krizak pulls one back from a Dimitriadis corner. The final score is 1-3 and we’re back in the bottom four.

Next up is Karaiskakis Artas. Big game this one, and an enforced change sees Kalyvas dropped due to injury with Papanikolas taking his spot.

An engaging end-to-end start to the game leads to Arnarellis being bundled over in the box PENALTY TO AIGALEO! Arnarellis dusts himself down and with regular penalty taker Kalyvas out, he takes it himself AND MISSES! The match ends 0-0 and a huge chance to move up passes us by.

The squad have gone away for the Christmas break (where DO people from a country known as a holiday destination actually go on holiday?). Meanwhile, I’ve gone shopping. It’s only free transfers and loans but still….

A pair of full-backs (one on each side), a centre mid, a winger and a striker all incoming when the window opens in the new year. All for the increase of the wage bill of a WHOPPING £95 a week.

Our first game of 2023 is away to APO Levadeiakos. They’re sitting 5th so this COULD be another beating!!

The new players are going straight into the starting XI and fingers crossed they’ll mesh quite quickly.

10 minutes in and disaster strikes. A simple through ball splits the defence and Linardos puts Levadeiakos 1 up and it’s not until the 27th minute that we can muster our first serious attack. Papanikolas smashing a header onto the crossbar. Five minutes before half time sees us go further behind, Konstantinidis dinking the oncoming keeper to make it 0-2 and then to make matters even worse, on loan debutant left back Maidanos departs injured.

The second half started just as the first one did. Deep free kick lofted into the area and Nili rises unopposed and heads a third in. It’s not until time added on at the end that we have another serious attack. Tsoupanos firing home but it’s chalked off for offside. FT 0-3

Maidanos is out for three weeks with strained ankle ligaments. Guess I better not sell the previous left-back yet then!

Up next is bottom club Zakynthos. Think it’s time to push the lines of engagement up a touch. Maybe being a little TOO stand-off-ish.

From this….
To this…

Not a “massive” change I admit, but still….

The Athletic have got us down as odds-on favourites for this match. I’m not convinced that The Athletic even know we exist as a team.

MATCH DAY! It’s a confident start as Arnarellis narrowly heads over on 6 minutes. We stay on top but halftime arrives with the score at 0-0.

Disaster! 92nd minute and as we push for a way to break the deadlock, Zakynthos break and smash home what must be the winner!!! FT 0-1

This MIGHT be a long old slog of a season.

Kallithea is next. We really REALLY need to start picking up results soon. Kallithea are sitting in 8th. I’m guessing this is NOT going to be the start of an upturn in form!!

The pre-match team talk stresses that “we’ve had enough of this poor run of form. Go out there and do something about it.”

The first half-hour is tight with neither team really standing out. Then Stanovcic takes a throw-in and the ball breaks to Krizak on the edge of the area…. GOAL!!

Suddenly it’s all Aigaleo and Krizak doubles his tally and our lead in time added on at the end of the first half!! We go into half-time 2-0 up!

60 minutes gone and it’s time for full shithousery mode. Short passing, play for set pieces, full time-wasting, narrow defending and defensive mentality. All of that makes ZERO difference to us as on 80 minutes Katharios scores his first goal for the club, sweeping the ball home from 10 yards out!

FULL-TIME: 3-0 AIGALEO!!

Is this a turning point for us or another false dawn???

Thanks for reading folks. Comments, likes and follows are ALWAYS appreciated. You can catch me on my other social media sites

TWITTER – http://www.twitter.com/dave_goodgerfm

TWITCH – https://twitch.tv/davegoodgerfm

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