Part 52 – S1 C1 P51 Promotion Playoff 1st Leg – Buckie Thistle (A) 4th May 2019 15:00

Victoria Park, Buckie, Home to Buckie Thistle

Today we make the long journey north to the Moray Firth to play Highland League champions Buckie Thistle ( ) in the first leg of the promotion playoff.

Before then we’ve had a month end (so Stats) and a Reserve game.

A few sets of attributes on an upward trajectory, Andrew Mackay & Kieran Balfour standing out.

More drops through injury (Barras) and Age (McCulloch & Cairney) and Chris Milligan suffering from lack of first team football (I’m not breaking up the McConnell & Waugh show for anything).

19 y.o Kieran Balfour is also up a kilo to 75kg, corresponding with his strength attribute increase.

Chris Barras has seen his injury susceptibility go up to Above Average – Kieran Balfour had this for 2 months earlier in the season before it dropped back to Below Average.

From a stats for April standpoint (Everyone over 90 minutes game time) Murray McCulloch topped the passing (He tends to make between 10 & 15 more passes a game than Paul Cairney does as a DLP, very slightly less completion %). Waugh & McConnell made 53 headers between them, Mark with 7 key headers (2.33/90 mins). Murray McCulloch completed 2 of 4 crosses with Tom Kelly (Took the Cross Less Often setting off) 3 out of 10 and Paul Cairney 4 out of 17.

Kev Waugh attempted the most dribbles (!!) with 5 – he’s developing into a Ball Playing defender. Neil McVitis and Mark McConnell were the tackle kings, 6 from 7 and 5 from 6 respectively. No goal mistakes this month, with Tom Kelly & Paul Cairney top with only 4 each. Big Kev & Mark made 29 interceptions between thm – 9.67/90 mins, and we were only caught offside 6 times, though Alieau Faye had 4 of them…..

James Hainey scored 2 goals, there were 3 assists (McCulloch, McVitie, Cairney) and 4 chances created, Hainey with 2.

In a very good result Civil Service Res beat Falkirk Res 1-0, Hopkinson with the goal, but Johnny Devers was injured – Twisted Ankle a la Chris Barras, out for 6-7 weeks. He’s one I’ll be looking to loan out next season to help with his development.

Contract negotiations have also been ongoing – I’ve not offered many as I really need to get the wage bill down, and I will report back as to who has signed as they do so.

So to Buckie Thistle Away – a decent journey for the lads, but not as far as when we went to Wick Academy in the Scottish Cup.

Best part of 3 and a half hours non-stop, 182 miles via Perth, Dundee and the outskirts of Aberdeen. Maybe a stop near Aberdeen Dyce airport for a brunch.

Buckie look to be playing a narrow 4-3-3. My natural counter to that is to play around the formation, concentrate on the wings and play extremely wide whilst defending narrow, but I continue with my 4-1-4-1 DM Wide Control-with-tweaks approach.

Barras is back in as the IF(A) on the right, very much tried and tested elsewhere. Lets go and get a result we can take back to the Christie Gillies fortress.

Lies and slander – Checked the Buckie team selection and they’ve gone 4-5-1……..Obviously happy to sit deep and soak up pressure but they tried this and lost their last game 1-0. I think we will go back to a more standard width and see what happens.

And back again – clicked the OK on the team selection and they are going 433 – back to (extremely) wide play.

First Half Comprehensive Highlights – Civil Service in change strip

HT Buckie Thistle 1 (Ross 25) Civil Service 0

A nervy start, with Donaldson saving onto the bar from a free kick in the first minute. There is space though, Mair getting an unmarked header in the x minute which he should have put away. Buckie do look a class above what we’ve played against this season in the league. And they went 1-0 up, a long ball over the top finding Mbanje who squared to Ross, who finished well. The half finished that way – we’ve been outplayed for the first time this season. They are pressing really hard and harrying out normal considered approach – I think Gegenpress for the 2nd half might have to be the option. Fight fire with fire. 4-2-3-1, Clappers on for Balfour, Cairney up as the Number 10 AP on Attack. Lets not die wondering.

Second Half Comprehensive Highlights

FT Buckie Thistle 1 (Ross 25) Civil Service 0 Att 649 (44 Away)

A good start to the half, looking much brighter against a Buckie who have gone back to a 4-5-1. And we huffed and we puffed, and could have had a goal or two, but it finished 1-0 – Not a bad result considering how the game started and something we can have a go at at home next week. Nice to see we took a coach-full of fans up as well.

So – No away goals (I think) so a 1-goal-win means Extra Time & Pens next time. That’s something I can live with.

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