Part 6 – S1 C1 P5 – Pre-Season

Friendly 1 – Sat 7th July 2018 – Kilbirnie Ladeside 0 Civil Service Strollers 1 (Hainey 29) – Att 72

I started our season with the 4141/4123 DM Fluid Counter (I was of the view that as we were only really fast this would be pretty much the only tactic that would work) and we dominated, as we should. Even with a Counter-Attack tactic we had 64% possession, making me think about (our now default) Control tactic, with our 87% pass completion, which at this level is pretty good. With our 10 shots on target how their keeper only got a 6.9 is beyond me – this definitely needs a fix for 2020. Our finisher-supreme James Hainey headed in after 29 minutes after a nice move and turn-and-cross from Andy Mair.

Friendly 2 – Wed 11th July 2018 – Civil Service Strollers 8 (Johnny Devers 5, 13, Alieau Faye 24, 37, Jordan Garden 34, Andrew Mackay 61, David Churchill 77, Kris Benzie 89) Glenrothes 0 – Att 23

I changed to the 4141 Control for this one, and you might say it worked a treat πŸ™‚ 8 Goals from 13 on target, Hit the woodwork twice. All the goal highlights are below, play close attention to the first 2 goals from Johnny Devers.

Another cross from Andy Mair set Devers up for a worldie of a volley in to the top left hand corner, followed up by a 25-yarder from almost the same place, hitting top bins again. Alieau Faye made it 3 with a nice header from a Murray McCulloch free kick, with Jordan Garden (Trialist no longer with us) headed in from 4 yards from an Mair corner, whose left foot looks like a bit of a wand for a 7 Passing rating. 5-0 was another worldie – a deep cross from Mair (again) and Alieau Faye volleyed in off the bottom of the crossbar and the back of the Keepers leg. Andrew Mackay made it 6 after a slightly overhit cross from Kris Benzie (Another triallist no longer with the club) was cheekily backheeled into his path by David Churchill, Mackay finishing with a nicely hit shot from 10 yards. Churchill made it 7 with a max-whippage free kick, and Kris Benzie made it 8 with a nice sidefoot finish after a pinpoint cross from Wing Back Craig Newell. And Relax πŸ™‚

Friendly 3 – Sat 14th July 2018 – Cumnock 0 Civil Service Strollers 4 (Jack Downie 15, Daniel Watt 25, Alieau Faye 46, Kris Benzie 63) – Att 54.

Another good outing away at Cumnock, 4-0 but only 7 on target out of 23 shots and a lower pass completion than the first 2 games. Out of the 4 scorers only 2 are at the club currently, with 1 (Jack Downie) in the Ressies. We stayed with the 4141 Control here.

Jack Downie (24, M(C), 2* Current 2.5* Potential) finished well from 15 yards after a cross from Newell was nodded into his path by the opposition defender following pressure from Daniel Watt (Triallist). Watt made it 2 after a hopeful ball forward by McCulloch was headed straight into him by the oppo defender, and he ran on and beat the on-rushing keeper to his left from 20 yards. Alieau Faye celebrated Bastille Day with an amazing retrograde right-footed volley from 25 yards after a unconvential cross back to him from the triallist Garden and Kris Benzie made it 4 after a cross-field ball by Faye; he took a couple of touches and fired it into the bottom right corner of the goal.

Friendly 4 – Wed 18th July 2018 – Civil Service Strollers 3 (Joe Boyle 14, James Hainey pen 27, 31) Bathgate Thistle 2 (Lee Shields 24, Mike Stewart 78)- Att 24.

With the arrival of Neil McVitie I moved the BWM DM up to BWM (Defend) in Centre Midfield for a 433 Wide Control – This seemed to disrupt the defensive structure of the team in this game, though only 1 of the goals should have been stopped. We dominated again, 63% possession, 8 shots on target to 2 (They scored both). We were back up at 87% pass completion though so that’s good.

Joe Boyle (20, M(RL), 2* Current, 4* Potential, currently retraining as an AML) opened the scoring, nodding home after a lovely cross from Loanee right Wing-Back Tom Kelly. Bathgate made it 1-1 10 minutes later after a long-ball over the top found Lee Shields between Kev Waugh & Chris Milligan (Club Captain, 27, D(C), 2* Current, 2.5* Potential) for an easy finish. James Hainey slotted home a penalty low to the keepers right to make it 2-1 and a lovely low cross from Andy Mair found Hainey for his second ( a side-footed volley) made it 3-1. 12 Minutes from time Mike Stewart slammed in a 25 yarder to the top left corner to make it 3-2 and that’s how it finished. 4 wins from 4, a great start to my time at the Strollers

Friendly 5 – Sat 21st July 2018 – Civil Service Strollers 1 (Alieau Faye 20) Peterhead 1 (Jason Brown 52)- Att 52.

Our first game against higher-league opponents (League 2), we went with the 4141 Fluid Counter and to all intents-and-purposes dominated – 64% possession, 9 shots on target to 3, hit the woodwork twice, 85% passing v 67%, so very strong. Note Peterhead had already played 2 Betfred cup games by this point as well so they had started their competitive season, though that cup is treated as pre-season by a lot of teams.

Alieau Faye hit a beautiful 25 yard curling left foot (Considered Weak by the game, 5 Long Shots) after 20 minutes for 1-0, but Jason Brown finished off a free kick definitely a touch of offside (Interference) to make it 1-1 early in the second half. Definitely bodes well for the season if we can dominate league 2 teams.

Friendly 6 – Wed 25th July 2018 – Civil Service Strollers 3 (Conor Newton og 18, James Hainey 67, 75) Hartlepool 2 (Ryan Donaldson 5, Ismael Fahad 89) – Att 390.

A superb result against a team from the Vanarama National at Tier 5 of English Football (The Lowland League reputation is slightly below the English Tier 8…). We stayed with the Fluid Counter and bossed possession (61%) though chance creation was very similar. James Hainey’s finishing was the difference in the end, with Clappers and Johnny Devers having fine games.

Hartlepool took the lead early doors through Donaldson – a cross found him unmarked at the far post allowing him to sidefoot volley in from 8 yards. It was soon 1-1 all. A corner routine where Mair passed to a lurking Clappers, who then passed to David Churchill, who was initially standing with Mair, crossed the ball deep to Kev Waugh, whose side-foot square ball back into the 6-yard box was deflected home past a despairing keeper. 1-1 at the Half. Then in 8 second half minutes it became 3-1 to Civil Service – The James Hainey show had arrived. In the 67th minute some nice interplay between Devers and Clappers let to a nice ball over for Hainey, bisecting the Hartlepool back 2 with Hainey slotting the ball under the keeper from 15 yards. Then in the 75th Devers cushioned a lovely ball to Hainey’s right, before he turned and shot in one motion powerfully from just inside the box to the Keeper’s right. Hartlepool’s consolation in the 89th minute was from a corner – Fahad arriving unmarked to header into the top right of the Strollers net. A very nice 3-2 victory against what-should-have-been substantially stronger opponents.

Friendly 7 – Mon 30th July 2018 – Civil Service Strollers 0 East Fife 1 (Scott Linton pen 45+1) – Att 97.

A very-rotated team (First league game in 6 days) lost 1-0 to League 2 East Fife. We used the Control possession (Wanted to see how that looked against a ‘stronger’ team) and again we had more possession and better passing, but just couldn’t put the ball away. A penalty was the difference, so all in all it has been a very positive pre-season.

Standouts have been James Hainey, Johnny Devers & Alieau Faye, and we go into our first league game with Gretna(2008) quietly confident about the season to come. I will be doing a post on Dynamics and Training a bit later on, later in the in-game August 2018, plus I’ll be doing a post regarding the Data Aspect I mentioned in the first blog post, maybe around September 1st in game time.

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