Today we make the under-2-mile journey across NW Edinburgh to play very-local rivals The Spartans.
We’ve been trying to get rid of the dead wood in the team but are hamstrung by nobody wanting them currently – About £300 pw is being taken up by them, and it may be we can’t get anybody else in as we are above our wage limit. I always find this – the 1st season with a team is the hardest as you’ve got loads of players you don’t want or need in most cases.
The Spartans have had a funny old season – thestarted early as they were in the Betfred cup and didn’t get a competitive win until mid September. They then won 4 on the bounce, lost 3, won another 3 and have been very inconsistent ever since, including a 6-0 loss against Gala Fairydean and a 3-2 win v Cumbernauld Colts so its difficult to know which Spartans side we will face.
We also have something to prove, firstly in that they inflicted our first league loss, secondly because our form over the last 6 weeks has been pretty pants.
We go with the Gegenpress with Hainey up top (I’ve not seen anything from Garden to say he warrants any game time), Cairney (hopefully) pulling the strings as our Number 10 just in the hole, Barras and Faye as Wingers, McVitie as the Box-to-Box and Clappers as the BWM. I’m preferring Newall to Mair as WB at the moment as his form has been pretty good even as we’ve stumbled. The Spartans line up with a 3-2-2-2-1 Wide formation with Wingbacks so this could be quite a clash of styles. Also its a baltic 0C!! Lets do this.
HT Spartans 1 (Smith 37) Civil Service 2 (Barras 13, Balfour 40)
A very bright start on a square pitch; Hainey could have put us 1 up in the first minute after a fine ball from Cairney but for a great save by the Spartans Keeper, and in the 13th minute a lovely bit of work from Faye on the right led to a cross to Barras. He headed down for McVitie, who passed it back and Barras fired a thunderbolt home. Spartans came back strongly and was only denied by a brilliant Donaldson save. On the 37th minute a long clearance by Costello in the Spartans goal was taken down by Smith, who fended off McConnell (???????????) and finished past Donaldson. 1-1. This was short lived though as Balfour (Who the game has brought on for McVitie – I don’t know what the f**k is going on with this as it keeps happening without any input from me – I’m going to have to do the ignore all on those pop-up messages from the AM I think) headed speculatively back into the area and it somehow dribbled past the keeper into the bottom left hand corner to make it 2-1. And that’s how the half finished. Pretty close on possession but we had more creative input.
I will go back to Control 4-1-4-1 so I can put Clappers in as DM as I saw a lot of times in the first half where that gap between Midfield and Defence was just too big. Cairney operates well as the DLP in Centre Mid and Balfour likes being a Mezzala. If things go sour we can switch back to Gegenpress with the same personnel easily. I also switched Big Kev to be the Spartans striker Smith’s shadow for the rest of the game.
FT Spartans 1 (Smith 37) Civil Service 4 (Barras 13,82 Balfour 40, Hainey 47) Att 139 (56 Away)
An amazing start to the half, Waugh, Balfour, Clappers & Hainey combining through precise passing, Hainey with his back to goal peeled off from a defender and fired home to make it 3-1. Mair came on for Newall who wasn’t having a great game. Balfour slammed the ball against the cross bar in the 58th minute. Devers came on for Cairney. The Strollers made it 4 in the 82nd minute, a surging run from Faye led to a cross to Barras, who finished his second bite of the cherry after an amazing initial save. 4-1 it finished, what a way to get some form back! Moving between Gegenpress and Control during a match may be the way to go in future….
Still a 4 point lead over East Kilbride, who picked up a 1-0 win. BSC Glasgow are 2 games back (They groundshare with Alloa so tend to play their home games on Sunday if there is a clash). We play Edinburgh Uni at home in the next game, 1st v 14th, who haven’t won since November…………FM, don’t even think about it……….
Stop Press – BSC Glasgow lost 1-0 to Cumbernauld Colts – They are 8 points back with a game in hand in 3rd. Our Reserves also beat Lochmaben Reserves 3-0 – Paul Cairney with a hat-trick, though I don’t remember making him available for this – have I got an AM gone rogue????