Part 50 – S1 C1 P49 Match Day 27 – Vale of Leithen (H) 13th April 2019 15:00

Mark McConnell, almost ever-present this system joined Civil Service in Jul 2018 after leaving Bonnyrigg Rose. With Big Kev Waugh makes the most impressive centre-back partnership I’ve ever managed on FM

Before our squeaky-bum-possible-title-winning-if-results-go-our-way match with Vale Of Leithen we are looking at Mark McConnell. Definitely one of those star-ratings-don’t-matter players. A 7.22 average this season across 33 games with 2 goals, an assist, and 3 MotM; he’s had 7.0 or greater in the last 4 competitive games and has the best defensive relationship (With Kev Waugh) that I’ve seen playing FM. At 6″1′ he is dominant in the air even though he’s only got 6 heading. Hopefully we can get him some silverware this season to cap off a wonderful year for him.

Vale of Leithen are currently 10th, and by-luck also played on Wednesday, losing to Gala Fairydean in the South Challenge Cup. Their best player (if you trust our scouts) is injured on 70% condition & they’ve lost their last 2 games after two 1-0 wins. We are 5 games unbeaten in all competitions and have only let 1 goal in in 2 months. Its also our last Home league game of the season, lets give our 60-ish home fans something to cheer about!

Only Kev Waugh is (just) under 90% condition, back from the rotation is Andy Mair, Cairney, Balfour, McVitie & Kelly. We go slightly narrower on attack, crossing intent on personalised instructions to the centre for Hainey, who is on shoot more often. VofL go with a 4-4-2 and have 4 players with 90% or lower condition. Definite butterflies for this game, lets get to it.

First Half Comprehensive Highlights

HT Civil Service 2 (Balfour 28, Cairney 38) Vale of Leithen 0

The sun is shining in early-spring Edinburgh, and the early minutes were a sustained Stroller barrage, with Balfour hitting the post in the 7th minute. Work the Ball into the Box was removed as VofL were getting so many people behind the ball it was making it really difficult congested and in the 28th minute Kieran Balfour hit a 22 yard screamer in the top left hand corner. 1-0. Then in the 38th Paul Cairney scored direct from a free kick for his first goal for Civil Service, top right hand corner to make it 2-0. VofL started coming back into the game at the end of the half, but our outstanding defensive unit stood strong. 2-0 at the half.

I’ll go back to Work Ball into the Box and go Wingers on Attack, Wing Backs on Support for the 2nd Half, try to control possession with a slightly deeper back line. I’ve also changed to Whipped Crosses as Hainey is good on the volley. BSC Glasgow are not playing today so we wont know if today’s game will win us the title or not, but we can put ourselves in a very strong position by closing this out.

Second Half Comprehensive Highlights

FT Civil Service 2 (Balfour 28, Cairney 38) Vale of Leithen 1 (Docherty 82) Att 52 (1 Away)

An interesting half. Civil Service looked very comfortable but VofL got a goal back in the 82nd minute, a long ball over the top had Docherty evade our tiring defenders to make it 2-1. Before the goal Boyle had come on for Newall, Mair moving back to Wing Back and Churchill had come on for MotM Balfour, and we’d moved back to Balanced and put time-wasting on just to see it out. And see it out we did, after a few scary moments. 2-1, 5 points clear of BSC Glasgow & East Kilbride with BSC playing their game in hand tomorrow.

I don’t understand attendances though – why would we only get 51 for a make-or-break last league game at home when we’ve been averaging 65 home fans – that logic needs fixing.

BSC need a 4 goal swing over their last 2 games and to win both games. If we win against Cumbernauld in a couple of weeks we are champions regardless. And we will see if BSC will make us go to the final game still in pursuit of the league title next time. See you then!!

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