Part 44 – S1 C1 P43 Match Day 23 – Edusport (H) 16th February 2019 15:00 – January Stats, End of Transfer Window, Friendlies

Andy Mair, signed for Civil Service from Spartans in 2017; our 4th ranked owned player and key down the left

Today we look at Andy Mair, at home anywhere down the left, 22yo and 6ft 1in he has been a very important cog in the Strollers machine this season. With 1 goal and 6 assists in competitive matches he’s currently on 7.16 with 3 MotM performances in 21 games. His mentals are improving well and I’m hoping the game time he is getting is helping this.

So we have a load of time between now (As I write this 27th Jan in-game) and the Edusport league game. There will be reserve games, a couple of home friendlies (Clydebank and Bo’ness Utd), a change of month (So stats) and I’m sure a few other things will come up, so this may become a bit of a ramble.

Firstly on Sunday 27th Jan our Reserves beat Heston Rovers Res 2-0, Garden and Churchill with the goals. Now to 1st February and some stats.

Only 11 changes across our 23 players this month – Difficult training with poor facilities when its low-single-digit degrees C πŸ™‚ Our young stars Chris Barras, James Hainey & Tom Kelly all have 2 changes – Tom Kelly has 2 increases (Positioning & Bravery), Chris Barras 1 up (Pace) and 1 down (Jumping Reach) and James Hainey 2 decreases, taking him back to where he was previously for First Touch & Stamina. Murray McCulloch has show the first -2 (Agility) which is to be expected for a man of his advanced years. Apart from Chris Barras’s pace they are all pretty low attribute scores. so not vastly important.

With regards to stats for January 2019 new playmaker Paul Cairney shows very well – top of pass completion & % completion, top cross completion/90 mins & %, 3rd in dribbling with 5 attempts – really adding to our bow from an attacking standpoint. Big Kev & Mark McConnell score very well on headers and interceptions – 4.5 key headers and 8.5 completed interceptions per game, with only 1 conceded goal in 4 games in January.

I thought I’d also gather the Home attendance figures to see how they are progressing.

Looking at league games only we have progressed from the low 40’s to the mid 60’s, so a 50%-or-so increase. Also weather doesn’t seem to make much difference – The top Home attendance of 66 was set in a Sleety 2C – the game was against Cumbernauld Colts at home so was a relatively big game.

Interestingly we take 50/60 away fans if the game is in Edinburgh (so Lothian Thistle, Edinburgh Uni, Leith Athletic, Spartans) but anything further afield and the usual Stroller supporter number is around 2 – There are 2 hardcore Stroller Ultras out there πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

The 56 was versus Spartans who are almost round the corner – Not a bad away turnout in 0C, but our fans got a 4-1 win so they went away happy, if cold πŸ™‚

From a dynamics standpoint Cohesion is still poor apparently – I don’t remember this being an issue in other saves but it isn’t causing issues at the moment. Both the dressing room atmosphere and managerial support are very good. Paul Cairney has come in as an influential player and Clappers has become one now so both are in the mentoring groups.

We have 8 players concerned about playing time – all of them will be off in the summer, I just don’t want the morale affected by them which may be tough.

Financially we are Β£30k in the hole, with the projection to be Β£53k by the end of the season. I hope the chairman has some deep pockets πŸ™‚ To be fair there’s about Β£400/week on the wage budget at the moment for players I don’t need or want so I’m hoping this can be moderated. However if we get promoted that could be a game changer. And a good cup run next year wouldn’t go amiss either.

Saturday 2nd February – Friendly – Clydebank (H)

We go with the Tiki-Taka to start – I want to give this game time for these 2 friendlies.

Friendly Goals v Clydebank

FT Civil Service 2 (Garden 32, McCulloch 90+1) Clydebank 0 Att 20 (10 Away)

A comprehensive win as expected against a Clydebank side ( ) who play Junior level football in the SJFA West Premiership. There was a previous Clydebank in the Scottish Football league but they became Airdrie United in 2002, merging with Airdrieonians.

Junior Level football in Scotland isn’t in the Scottish pyramid. In the East of Scotland though many former junior clubs south of the River Tay are now in the Pyramid since the foundation of the Lowland League itself in 2013. Junior level teams can play in the Scottish Cup – Auchinleck Talbot beat Ayr of the Scottish Championship 1-0 in the 4th round of the 2018/19 edition.

The League progressed as normal without us – here were the results:

Both BSC & East Kilbride won, though East Kilbride got very lucky, needing 2 own goals from Kelty in the last 3 minutes of normal time to get them the win after being 3-1 down with 16 minutes left. Our game with BSC looks set to be the game of the season, and they are looking very dangerous, on a 3-game winning streak and scoring plenty of goals. So we are still 1 point up with a game in hand.

Saturday 9th February – Friendly – Bo’ness Utd (H)

We go with the Tiki Taka again, on Balanced. Bo’ness play a 4-4-2, lets see how these styles mesh.

Goals from the Bo’ness friendly

FT Civil Service 3 (Hainey 29, Mackay 39, Barras 54) Bo’ness Utd 1 (Pawlett 49) Att 31 (15 Away)

Another comprehensive victory, a shame to let the goal in but it was a header from the aftermath of a set piece and not from open play, and was on Milligan’s watch as I’d taken McConnell off at HT.

Our Ressies also beat St Cuthbert Res 1-0, the goal from non-player Ben McGregor.

Now to the Edusport league game. They find themselves in 12th with 24 points, 9 points clear of East Stirlingshire in bottom spot. Our scouts again show their squad to be relatively weak compared to us, similar to Dalbeattie Star so I’m going with the Gegenpress for the 1st half, and I’ll most probably revert to Tiki Taka in the 2nd again seeing it was so impressive in that 5-0 second half. Lets see if that was just a flash-in-the-pan. They are playing a 4-4-2 as opposed to a 4-5-1 though so we need to be a bit wary of the lack of the DM, so the control tactic may come into use as well if the game is tight.

Chris Barras is suspended following his 6th Yellow card in the league versus Dalbeattie Star, so Mackay starts on the left. Andy Mair is much more effective as a wingback (6 performances over 7 out of 10 starts) than as a winger (nothing higher than a 6.9 out of 6 starts) so starts there in place of Newall. Everything else is very similar. Its a balmy 8C here in Edinburgh today, lets get to it.

First Half Comprehensive Highlights

HT Civil Service 1 (Hainey 8) Edusport 2 (Sinclair 18, Hutchinson 42)

A really positive start, we took the lead in the 8th minute – a poor clearance from Edusport ricocheted off of Faye to Balfour, who slipped the ball to Hainey. he turned and slammed the ball in the bottom right of the goal from the edge of the area. However Edusport were looking really dangerous and could have had a couple of goals before 15 minutes were up. So I changed to Control. However this didn’t matter as Sinclair finished from 25 yards to make it 1-1. Soon after McVitie hit the outside of the post and we kept pressing. A big change in the 37th Minute as Krissian was sent off for a straight red – a lunge against Hainey – but just 5 minutes later Edusport took the lead through Hutchinson, heading in from a deep free kick. It feels like one of those games with quite a few sitters (IMO – The game shows just 2 half chances to us) missed. I’m going to the Tiki Taka for the 2nd half with the 1 man advantage but again a really quite poor first half.

Second Half Comprehensive Highlights

FT Civil Service 1 (Hainey 8) Edusport 2 (Sinclair 18, Hutchinson 42) Att 79 (18 Away)

We spent the second half pretty much encamped in the Edusport half, but their keeper and the woodwork were having a blinder. I went Gegenpress Attacking for the last 15 with Devers coming on for Cairney but it was not pre-destined to be – a 2-1 loss and a massive dent to our promotion hopes. Absolutely fuming. The keeper got a 7.4 and we hit the woodwork 3 times…….Thinking I should have just stayed on Gegenpress in the first half and tried to outscore them. Also we really missed Chris Barras, who has been scoring and training like a demon recently.

We still lead by 1 point from East Kilbride, and surprisingly 2 from BSC Glasgow who drew 0-0 with Edinburgh University, so its still in our hands, but our wandering form is a massive concern. However I’ve got to take a step back – This is a Journeyman and our progress this year will stand me in good stead for the next step up. That might not be next season but it should speed job offers up a little bit.

We now don’t have a game for 2 weeks, until 3rd March (Stirling Uni Away) so Double Intensity training all round, lots of sick buckets on the sidelines πŸ™‚

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