Hello, welcome back to this journey around Austria! Previously we reached the halfway point in season 2 at St. Florian. Putting faith in the young players was paying off as we were top of the league, over-performing by all accounts.
October turned out to be a torrid old month for us, it got off to a bright enough start with Mohammad Sadeqi heading home a Daniel Aybar corner to seal the victory over St Martin. After that things took a turn for the worse, a poor performance where we were unable to convert any of our many chances ended in a defeat to SV Bad Schallerbach. It took us until the 89th minute to break the deadlock against SV Gmunden, promising youngster Lukas Favre cutting in from the left and rifling a shot home into the top corner. After this our goal scoring form fell off the proverbial cliff, a three game barren spell began with a 0-0 draw against Union Vöcklamarkt. We followed this up with a loss away to Union Edelweiß and then rounded the month off with a 0-0 draw at home to ASKÖ Donau Linz.
We kicked off November with a 1-1 draw with SPG Wallern thanks to a Benjamin Cuic equaliser in the 72nd minute. We then went on a pleasing run of three back to back victories, Mohammad Sadeqi and Lukas Favre chipping in with the goals against SPG Pregarten. Sadeqi continued his good form by scoring the only goal in a victory over SV Grieskirchen, he was on the scoresheet again along with Maximilian Wolf in an unusually clinical win at home to SV Bad Ischl.
This month also saw the long awaited takeover finally happen, our new owner Franz Peyrl did clear our 100k debt however he stated that there was no intention to provide the club with any additional investment.
Only two games in December, the first being a 1-0 win over USV Dietach thanks to Sandro Burger, the second game of the month, against Union Mondsee ended in another 0-0 draw.
December also saw us receive the youth intake preview and I must say, I was quite surprised! An excellent intake according to our HoYD, hopefully some promising homegrown players will be gracing the first team sooner rather than later!
January Transfer Window:
With our form becoming questionable, I decided to use the January transfer window as an opportunity to bring in some experienced players. First through the door was Dominik Lanius, a 25 year old centre back, at 6’5″ he gives us some much needed height in defence, attributes wise he is a very good addition, arguably our best defender. Versatile midfielder Bernhard Luxbacher also joined us, nothing partially stand out in his attributes but an all round good player for this level. Our final transfer saw winger Olugbemiga Ogunlade come in to offer us some more experience in the attacking third.
I used the winter break once again to play against bigger teams to generate some much needed income. January went quite well but February saw us become incapable of winning. Thankfully only friendlies, I was hopeful the losses wouldn’t be too impactful on morale going into the final three games of the season.
February & March 2023:
We snatched a 1-0 win at home to ASKÖ Oedt thanks to Tyrone McCargo getting his third goal of the campaign. It was only right that the draw specialists closed out the season with two draws, firstly a 0-0 against ASK St. Valentin and a 1-1 draw against SPG Friedburg, new signing Ogunlade opening his account on the final day.
Our inability to turn draws in to wins meant that we slipped from league leaders down to third place. Whilst this is still overachieving based on the board expectations of mid table, I am somewhat disappointed. Our wastefulness in front of goal certainly cost us, this is backed up by the fact that Mohammad Sadeqi was our leading scorer for the season with a meagre seven goals to his name.
Looking at the end of season stats, we are indebted to Dominik Leonhartsburger in goal as he kept a fantastic 17 clean sheets from 30 games. Going forward we topped the Chances Created table and were second in the Shots Per Game table, averaging 15.13 shots per game. Yet when looking at the Conversion Rate, we sit 14th, meaning we only convert 7% of our Shots Per Game. It’s quite clear that our problems are in front of goal, something that needs to be addressed if we are going to challenge for the title.
I’ve created these two graphs to demonstrate just how young our squad is, as you can see the majority of our players are under 24 years old, with a large proportion being 16-21. Overall it’s been a good season for the youngsters, they’ve gained valuable first team experience that will surely be beneficial going into next season.
The youth intake came through and for the most part, the HoYD was right! Looking like an excellent group of players. On initial look Anel Gasal and Lennard Glass are ones to watch but I will update you more on this after the trial period (if I’m still at St. Florian [see below]), once I’ve had time to assess which players we will be signing for definite.
Finally, I decided to have a look at the available jobs, I wasn’t actively looking to leave St. Florian but thought it was worth applying just to see if any clubs would be willing to talk. Out of the four available jobs listed below, St. Pölten is the only one which is a step up, the other three are effectively a side step. Given that this save isn’t about me racing to the top as quickly as possible, I would be more than happy to make a few sideways moves to experience some more of the Austrian lower leagues, I’m really enjoying cutting my teeth at this level.
I’ll wrap this up here, it’s been a good season in Linz, not great as we did bottle the title but our youth policy seems to be paying off. If I’m still manager of St. Florian I will do more of a dive into the analytics and data with a view to finding out what changes we can implement ahead of next season in the next blog. However, if I get offered another job and accept then the next post in the series will likely be a look around the new club. Anyway, as always thanks for reading!