FM13 at Mladost: Promotion!
Well, it was a close run thing, but we did it.
After the winter break, we began the second half of the season in stonking form, winning our first 3 matches and surging back into the lead of the First League. But after that, old habits soon emerged. Defeat to Radnicki (NP) damaged confidence, and was followed by a frustrating run of 4 draws, which included failures to beat some really poor teams. Cukaricki once again provided the worst moment – a 2-0 lead once again dissipated against the side that would eventually finished bottom. We picked up the odd win but they were false dawns – this was terrible form, and yet somehow everyone else around us was screwing up as well, so we remained in contention.
After defeat to Teleoptik, who couldn’t get promoted but tried their best to spoil our season, we had won 2 of the last 12. We now faced a crucial final 3 games, against the teams that at the time lay in 13th, 5th and 1st. We picked up a rare and “professional” 1-0 win over Metalac and got a draw against Bezanija, to put ourselves 2nd with 1 match to go, though it was still enormously tight – defeat to Borac and we would definitely not get promoted, and even a draw probably wouldn’t be enough.
Thankfully, another grinding 1-0 win was enough. Vozdovac won their match to clinch the title, but 2nd is enough for me after what we went through in the second half of the season. In the end, we proved very difficult to beat (3 defeats in the last 18 is pretty good, in theory), but I’m still not happy with the way we threw so many good results away. This could have been so much easier, but while morale always stayed high, it was as if the players lost confidence and it was impossible to rebuild that.
But we had to get promoted – if we hadn’t, our financial situation was looking bleak. In the event, our bank balance has now been corrected by the prize money for finishing as runners-up and I’ve been offered a big budget for our attempt at the Super League.
However…I’m not confident we can stay up. I’ve applied to a prominent Eastern European club, and they are “flattered” to hear of my interest…