The league table above shows the task at hand, claw back 4pts with 4 games to play, and overturn Norwich and Villa to claim the 6th position and final play-off spot.
Much easier said than done. Another season in the EFL Championship could well see me lose my job at Forest, as the board expect promotion.
That was the picture heading into last nights session, what entailed was a late night 6 game session that may be the most tense, realistic, enjoyable and smile-inducing session I’ve ever played on a football video game.
My run of good results continued with some blisteringly good football, winning 3 matches on the bounce whilst seeing Villa and Norwich both drop points, heading into the final game of the season, I was up against an in-form Bolton side, who had won their last 3 games, Villa and Norwich played each other on the final day, I needed to win to guarantee a play-off spot, lose or draw and either Villa or Norwich win, and it was another season in the Championship for us.
The 3 wins on the bounce included a 4-0 away win at QPR. It was joyous, Loftus Road is replicated beautifully in FIFA 19, the broadcast camera angle is a slightly closer to the pitch view, making it more intimate, but also making space on the pitch more difficult to hunt out and play into.
The atmosphere was electric, the QPR fans loudly singing “Come On You R’s”, closely followed by a din from the away end shouting “Nott’m Forest FC, by far the greatest team, the world has ever seen”.
The QPR fans booed their team off the pitch at full-time as my players celebrated wildly.
The sense of occasion was also added to throughout these run-in games by the intelligent commentary commenting on the situation, and by the live score updates from Alan McInally, which I had chosen the key games involving Villa and Norwich, So I knew what had to be done all the way.
You can see a few of the goals from those 3 matches below:
I was now in that 6th and final play-off spot, Villa and Norwich are 2 points behind me in 7th and 8th respectively, and play each other in the last game.
I needed to win, I didn’t. late on in the game Bolton went 1-0 up, I switched to a very aggressive and attacking style, meanwhile scores from the Norwich vs Villa game filtered through that it was 1-1, more high up the pitch pressing and attacking play saw me get done on the counter attack, twice for a 3-0 defeat. My turn to be booed off by the fans.
I was sweating on seeing that final score from the other match……… 1-1.
I’d secured a play off place by a single point.
My opponents were West Brom, who finished 3rd.
I scraped through the home leg with a 2-1 win, only grabbing the winner late on. The away leg was a more comfortable affair, packing the midfield and stifling West Brom’s play proved effective as they created very little, I managed to capitalise on an error and grab a winner too, 3-1 on aggregate and into the play-off final at Wembley
So from being 17th in January, to playing for a place in the premiership, this season has been a topsy-turvy one, but most enjoyable.
FIFA 19 is standing up as a fantastic game, so rich in presentation, immersion and realism, but with solid, fun and sim-like game play to match.
You can watch the goals from the Play off match vs West From below, Mondays post will be a detailed highlights package from the play-off final vs Derby County.
The Premier League awaits.