Part 87 – OS2 C2 S1 P4 Match Day 3 (SMD 22) Albion Rovers (A) 18th Jan 2020 15:00

Cliftonhill, Home of Albion Rovers

Before we make the 95 mile journey to Coatbridge, just East of Glasgow for our League game with 2nd placed Albion Rovers we have a few bits to go through.

Our Keeper Allison, CB McNiff and Right Winger-for-25-minutes McLaughlin all named in the League 2 team of the week 🙂

I’ve also been securing the services of our best guys for next year.

NEW CONTRACT – Martin McNiff – 28 – £80/wk until 31/5/2021 – Was on £80/wk, estimated change £0 (He’s not going to be a unused sub TBH, that went from £3 to £5) – really good business, 3.5* Current Ability, he’s in his prime as a CB.

NEW CONTRACT – Tom Sutherland – 18 – £95/wk until 31/5/2021 – Was on £70/wk, estimated change £26/wk (small increase in Goal Bonus to £15, not a prolific scorer). Our best player by current ability (4*), joins Lewis Barr as top-payed player at the club. Very happy to secure his services for next season.

NEW CONTRACT – Archie Gardiner – 19 – £65/wk until 31/5/2021 – Was on £45/wk, estimated change £25/wk (Appearence Fee up £7, Unused Substitute Fee up £3) – One of 7 players with 4* current ability currently (Sutherland, Barr, McLaughlin, McIlduff, Meechan & Nantelamio the others) with 5* potential. Looking forward to seeing him progress.

NEW CONTRACT – Ross Meechan – 25 – £85/wk up from £80/wk – Estimated change £11/wk (Appearence Fee up £5, Clean Sheet Bonus up £5) – 4* Current, coming to his peak as a fullback/wingback – looking to him to kick on now.

We also have a few potential signings, but not until after today’s game.

Albion Rovers ( ) were relegated to League 2 for the 2018/19 season, and in-game finished 7th (IRL 9th) so are doing very well this season. Our scouts only rate a couple of their players better than our best (Hernando & Glover) but Berwick have lost 3 times to them this season – 2-0 at Home in the Betfred group in July, 4-1 Away in August and 2-0 again at Home in November (Note you play each other 4 times, 36 game season) so we are up against it to turn the tide. As I said before, a point would be gold dust here.

We are going 4-4-1-1 because I want our best players all playing (Sutherland, Barr & Gardiner) – I do feel this should be 4-4-2 but playing Sutherland with the Attack duty will hopefully help. Both centre mids plays a CM’s, McLaughlin back in as he’s now fit. Albion Rovers go 4-5-1, so not far off of our formation. Interestingly they’ve lost their last 2 games in the league, 1-5 on aggregate…..Lets go.

First Half Comprehensive Highlights (Berwick in change strip)

HT Albion Rovers 0 Berwick 1 (Gardiner 43)

Berwick are in their fetching light blue shirts/navy shorts away strip v the yellow and red of Albion Rovers. Albion were out of the gate strongly, looking dangerous in attack but Berwick should have taken the lead in the 8th minute – a thunderbolt by x hitting the bar, the rebound from McLaughlin magnificently saved. A pretty close half, but in the 43rd minute a beautiful break by Berwick (Barr & Healy) left Gardiner in acres of space, and he finished majestically to make it 1-0 Berwick – We had moved Sutherland back in centre-mid as an AP just before then, so I obviously take all the credit 🙂 And that’s how the half finished. All to play for. A slight tweak with McLaughlin & McIlduff going to Support, the lines pulled back a jot also.

Second Half Comprehensive Highlights

FT Albion Rovers 1 (Glover 59) Berwick 1 (Gardiner 43) Att 538 (63 Away)

I feel a bit sorry for Healy, all alone up top – We need to find him a little mate 🙂 A solid start, but again, another bloody corner – finally finished by Glover made it 1-1 in the 59th minute. Faulds on for McIlduff at leftback, Dawson on for Sutherland, we go 4-4-2. A slight re-jig, asymettric 4-3-3 as Orru was having a poor game. Nantelamio to DM, McLaughlin pushed up, Reid on in defence. And we hung on – 1-1 away at 2nd place, a massive point! TBH we were poor in the 2nd half but we hung on, that’s all that matters!

7 points clear of the relegation place at the moment with 14 games left – you’d expect East Fife to pick up another 12 points or so if they continue at the same cadence so it might be another 2 wins will be enough to stay up. Looking at this team though, and the potential signings coming in I think we have more than enough to give all teams in this division a good game. Next up is Annan at home next in-game Saturday – 8th v 6th, Annan on a good run having won the last 2 plus beating top-of-the-table Buckie Thistle. These are the crunch games, when we play 6th-10th, and we need to be picking points up from them. See you then.

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