Before we make the hour’s journey to the K-Park Training Academy in Calderglen Park, Torrance, just South-East of East Kilbride, which itself is just South-East of Glasgow our Reserves won 3-0 away at Deveronvale Res; the scorers were Hopkinson & Garden with 2.
East Kilbride are our main challengers for the title, only losing to us and BSC Glasgow in the league so far this season, so this is a real six-pointer. Their ground has the smallest capacity by far and is little more than an artificial pitch with a small stand but they have the strongest squad by far, finished 2nd to Spartans in 2017/18, were favourites for the title before the start of the season (Kelty 2nd, BSC Glasgow 3rd, us 4th) and have not lost in the league since mid-September so if we can come away with a point I’ll be more than happy here.
Its also a drizzly 8C here today which may play a part (would be interesting to get a big enough dataset to see if weather affects things like injuries or mistakes).
We have gone back to Cautious for today, lots of Support duties so we are weighing risk v reward versus a strong opponent. We are trying Balfour as the DLP (he has stronger passing than McCulloch, good decisions and vision, McVitie up in Centre Mid as a BWM so I can play Clappers in the DM role. Faye has not been playing well for the last couple of games so Barras goes in as the IF, Mair moves up to AML from wing back and Newall is back in after his goal-scoring antics against Kelty. Hainey has good Off-The-Ball up front so I’ve giving him both the Move into Channels and Roam from Position instructions so he can pull the defence around a bit, hopefully making space for others as well as himself.
East Kilbride line up with a 4-2-3-1 (2DM) so look compact at the back. Their captain Malcolm looks to be the danger man, with a 7.36 average he’s top of the charts in the Lowland League, and has also scored 12 goals, though today he seems to be lining up in central midfield as opposed to upfront.
Right, fingers crossed, lets get to it.
HT East Kilbride 0 Civil Service 0
A good start from the Strollers, East Kilbride didn’t have a shot until the 30th minute. Lots of possession, good pass completion, all the normal. Might go to Balanced in the 2nd half just to apply a bit more pressure – a win here could make us huge favourites for the league with 12 games to go.
FT East Kilbride 1 (Malcolm pen 52) Civil Service 0 Att 209 (2 Away)
East Kilbride were quick out of the blocks and in the 52nd Minute McConnell was adjusted to have pushed Brady, conceding a penalty, which Malcolm dispatched. 1-0 to East Kilbride and the first time Donaldson had conceded in 761 minutes. Straight onto positive, Wingers and Wing Backs onto attack. Barras hit the crossbar from range in the 68th minute as we pressed, Hainey had a goal disallowed for offside in the 73rd, but it was just one of those days. A 1-0 loss, not quite an FM-ing but we definitely deserved a draw.
Back to a 4 point gap. BSC Glasgow can come within 5 points if they win their game in hand. The BSC-East Kilbride game on 6th January will be a big one, a draw would be lovely, and we play BSC in mid March. I hope to strengthen in January – I feel we need another really good midfielder and a star right winger.