We play hosts to East Kilbride ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Kilbride_F.C. ) who IRL won the Lowland League in the 2018-19 season but lost in the promotion playoff to Cove Rangers of the Highland League.
In the week leading up to this our reserves lost 2-1 to Oakley Utd Reserves – Ross Guthrie giving us the lead just before half time before unfortunately conceding twice in 12 minutes half way through the 2nd half. It was a bit of an FM-ing – 64% possession and 13 shots to Oakley’s 3, with 84% pass completion but Oakley, playing a narrow shape very similar to Kelty in the last post put their 2 shots on target away.
Back to the game in hand East Kilbride have had a very good start to the season, 2 wins from 2 in the league and a good Away Irn Bru Cup win v Clyde of Division 2. Looking at their schedule they’ve played a 4-2-3-1 Wide to this point, except for a 4-4-2 in their last game, countering a 4-5-1 Park the Bus. Their only game against our formation was a loss to Rochdale in their first friendly, but you can’t drawn any conclusions from that. Our only loss has been versus a 4-4-2 (East Fife).
It’s a balmy 19C with Sunny Spells in Edinburgh – lets get to it.
4-1-4-1/4-1-2-3 DM Wide Control Balanced (Moved it from Positive after the screenshot), our formation of choice so far, and a slight dial-back on the mentality. East Kilbride have a strong squad (7 players ranked 4* current or more by our scouts v 2 in ours) but I don’t think they are strong enough to warrant us going Counter-Attack – maybe that will be for the Away game. The key will be the first 20 minutes – we’ve started strongly recently so hopefully can make inroads.
Our only personnel change is Kieran Balfour for Johnny Devers – It will be a season of rotation for these two unless one (Or David Churchill as well) stakes a strong claim. And on to the First Half.
HT – Strollers 1 (Chris Barras 40) East Kilbride 0
The half started with a lively looking East Kilbride, but similar to the last few games there was no real malice, and from 20 minutes the Strollers started to take control (TM) of the game, seemingly camped in the East Kilbride half. The goal when it game was an identikit of the goal against Kelty – A lovely back-post ball by Mair after a buildup starting with McConnell near our own right corner flag was met by an unmarked Chris Barras who had half a goal to hit, and slotted home in an efficient manner. 84% pass completion v 67%, 62% possession, 68% headers won v 46% – all looking positive so far. Hopefully it continues in the 2nd half.
FT – Strollers 1 (Chris Barras 40) East Kilbride 0 – Att 69 (28 Away, 41 Home)
The second half was a continuation of the first – Strollers well on top – and apart from a blip for a few minutes after Murray McCulloch’s self-inflicted bruised ankle (Out for a couple of days) East Kilbride looked relatively toothless.
Almost identical percentages to what we had had half time – up to 66% possession though which is lovely (64% across the 3 league games, best in the league, 7% more than Dalbeattie in 2nd) – When looking at this interestingly I saw East Kilbride are top of the salary spending charts – £105k/annum. We are 5th with just under £57k!!!!!
It would be nice to see a little bit more return for the possession (Hainey as Poacher is a work in progress but did hit the woodwork in the 2nd half), but the last 2 games have been against strong opponents so to come out of that with 6 points is brilliant.
The next league game isn’t for a couple of weeks again (v Gala Fairydean at home so a current 3rd v 2nd, an early season 6 pointer) so the next couple of posts will be looking at Training/Hierarchy, our friendly next Saturday v Kirkcaldy YMCA, and getting some data out for a bit of crunching (I get data out on the 1st of every month, this is the first month with game data so it will be interesting to look at the minutiae). The data posts will be quite involved, giving a relatively detailed how-to so you could do some data-mining in the same way.
Lastly I almost totally forgot – on the 20th August (Monday before this game) we announced our new affiliate link with Ross County ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_County_F.C. ), getting us a friendly and just over £10k/year which will help us financially plus hopefully get us a few quality loanees. The choice was Ross County, Inverness Caley Thistle or Morton, and I chose Ross County based on their potential to move up to the Premiership soonish, and all that entails. Civil Service Strollers and our 40-ish fans are on the up and up!!