Part 62 – S2 C1 P8 Match Day 4 – Vale of Leithen (H) 7th Sep 2019 15:00

Lewis Hunter signing for East Fife IRL in April 2019 following his graduation from Stirling Uni

We brought in Lewis Hunter from Stirling Uni in game over the summer and he is ranked as our best/equal best defender. Good Marking and tackling, good decisions and Position and quick, at 22 he should peak in the next few seasons, and I hope him and Niang can really start to gel over the coming weeks.

So I’ve been messing about with some tactics. Our Ressies uses a 4-1-1-4-0 Strikerless against Camelon Juniors Res and lost 1-0 so I consigned that one to the scrapheap.

Going on the fact that we don’t seem to be able to head the ball in the goal I’ve developed a 4-1-2-2-1 Narrow Vertical Tiki Taka formation that I’m trying in our friendly v Glenrothes, playing on our off-the-ball strength; IMO movement is the key to a good Tiki-Taka. However this does mean Mark Burbidge, arguably our best player, doesn’t get in the team so this will need to work in conjunction with possibly the control formation (4-1-4-1 Wide), maybe though playing the wingers as IF’s so they are more of an attacking threat on the far corners of the area as opposed to being wide and crossing – I’d like my Wingbacks to do the crossing, and then not very often.

Its a bit of a Christmas-Tree with diamonds base-to-base, using Carilleros to shuttle to-and from. From what I’ve seen in FM19 without having the DM you have gaps between the lines, without AM’s you have gaps between the lines and going tiki-taka will hopefully play into all of the lines being filled. If I had 2 inverted wingers I’d most probably use them over Carilleros to give a tiny bit more width, but in LLM good ones are as rare as hens teeth.

Goals v Glenrothes

FT Civil Service 4 (Murdoch 59,80 Cairney pen 73, Lumsden 82) Glenrothes 1 (Martin 35) Att 25 (3 Away)

The first half was very sketchy, going in 1-0 down so I went back to the control 4-1-4-1 as described and we looked a lot better, though our first 3 goals all came from set pieces. Putting Lumsden as a target man might be a way forward, as could be going asymmetric with 2 up top, winger on one side, the other side Wingback pushing up a bit to cover, though this might just be when we are pushing for a goal. The Christmas Tree really didn’t work, it was all too compact, so i’ll need to think on another variant of the Control tactic as that seems to suit the team best of all.

Our Ressies also played on the 31st, drawing 0-0 with Tweedmouth Res.

The 1st of September has passed by, here are the attribute changes:

A few good turnouts (Regan Lumsden & Scott Mackay) but a fair few drops this month, Paul Cairney (32 on 29th August) being the main issue. He has asked for a new contract – I’ve given it to him so he’s now on £75/wk until May 2021, so I hope he doesn’t deteriorate as rapidly as August to September 2019 has shown.

It was a difficult month from a stats perspective – our style of play (Gegenpress) led to very low passing ratings – A top completion of only just under 49 passes/game by Scott Clapperton (DM), where last season the top passer was usually twice that. Positives are Regan Lumsden’s heading (Hence the change to Target Man) and the crossing completion by Mark Burbidge & Jamie Glasgow (Showing me to be talking rubbish re. crossing & heading).

Outside of the top 3’s Mouhamed Niang completed 7 key passes from DM/CB, Bernard Coll 7 from WB. I’ve only looked at players having played > 90 minutes here, and we had 4 games.

And so to our league game v Vale of Leithen, who after 3 games are 2nd with 7 points in what has been a pretty topsy turvy few games (We are in 5th, BSC Glasgow in 8th and East Kilbride in 12th with 1 point)

We go 4-1-4-1 DM Control with Lumsden up to as the TM, Glasgow as the IF on support, with Mair behind him as the WB on Attack. Burbidge stays in his preferred Winger role. Balfour (Now ranked as our best player by star rating) starts as a CM, Cairney as the DLP and Clappers as the DM. Murdoch is in for Hunter, Kinnear gets another game in goal with Niang and Gibb completing the line up. I’m looking for whippage of cross and nice tight control play, which did so well for us last year. VofL go with their 4-4-2 with Civil Service old-boy Jordan Hopkinson (Who never really got a run last year) starting up top. Lets go.

First Half Comprehensive Highlights

HT Civil Service 0 Vale of Leithen 0

A pretty even start at Christie Gillies Park, Glasgow nearly scoring in the 5th minute after a great tackle and 60 yard run. Like all teams at this level Vale block like demons, and somehow its 0-0 at half-time, with us hitting the woodwork twice and having a clear-cut chance. I’ll change to our asymmetric formation at the start of the half to see if we can confuse the opposition into giving up a goal.

Second Half Comprehensive Highlights

FT Civil Service 1 (Burbidge 52) Vale of Leithen 1 (Sharpe 49) Att 91 (1 Away)

Bugger – A defensive error from Niang let Sharpe through who scored well to make it 1-0 to Vale in the 49th minute. But in the 52nd Mark Burbidge scored direct from a Free Kick. 1-1. Back to 4-1-4-1, Glasgow off, Burbidge over as IF, Scott Mackay on the right. Churchill on for Balfour. Hainey on for Lumsden in the 75th. Vale went down to 10 men with 3 minutes of normal time left after a lunge by Norman but we couldn’t break through. 1-1 it finished. Disappointed as the stats (apart from Possession) were so on our side. We just need to start scoring.

Quite the game in Galashiels!! We face BSC Glagsow next in a big early-season match-up – really hope we can settle quickly into this Control tactic again as it looks dangerous. See you then.

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