Before our trip today (making use of the leap-day to its fullest) to North-East Aberdeenshire to play the in-form Peterhead (229 miles) we have a few little bits to go through.
Our U18 beat Coldstream Res 2-0 (18 yo’s CM Ben Sedgwick & Poacher Ross Gilmour) and our Reserves beat Dumfries Res 3-0 (Cameron Dawson with 2, Ryan Scullion)
2 Players in the Team of the Week for League 2 – McNiff (5th time this season) & Nantelamio (2nd time this season)
Haven’t looked at the Dynamics for a while – its going well.
We have a team leader! Keeper Kyle Allison keeps bouncing between that and Highly Influential. Hoping I gain the support of the players over the rest of the season.
A quick look at the Finances – we aren’t in too bad shape (Extracted these using the Ctrl+P trick to Webpage, copy and manipulate in Excel). Current balance is £13k in the black. I expect to be c. £50k in the black at the start of next season with prize money and Senior Affiliate (Dundee) fees to come in. Our wage bill should be 20% lower than last season, and I will tighten this a bit more over the summer by getting rid of c. £250/week in player wages plus replacing my AM (£220/wk) and Chief Scout (£75/wk) with better and cheaper staff.
So to Peterhead. They’ve got a really decent squad and a wage bill over twice ours, and top of League 2 (£200k v Berwick on £82.5k, only Albion Rovers has a lower bill).
Healy and Watt back in for Adamson & Orru. Campbell keeps his place at left back over McIlduff. Peterhead also going 4-5-1 (Same as East Fife last week) so we will attempt to get early balls in the box and keep the ball out of the middle of the park if at all possible.
HT Peterhead 1 (Cameron 35) Berwick 1 (Healy 20)
Rain, rain go away…. Peterhead started well, with a decent early headed chance saved well by Allison. They also hit the post in the 14th minute – its an absolutely filthy day! But a breakthrough, beautiful play all round, a floated pass from Sutherland found Watt, who crossed to Healy at the far post, heading in off the upright. 1-0 Berwick in the 20th minute. It could have been 2 in the 31st minute, a surging run by Healy and shot saved well by Fleming. Unfortunately it was 1-1 in the 35th minute, a corner pinballing around and finding Cameron, who headed home. We came back strongly, but the half finished 1-1. Fair by the looks of the stats. Tough one this, think i’ll keep playing as is, but Peterhead look more dangerous coming forward than most teams we’ve faced since I took over. Allan coming off up top, Gardiner on, Sutherland up to No. 10, AP on Attack. Healy MotM, Watt also had his first superb game for us since signing.
FT Peterhead 1 (Cameron 35) Berwick 2 (Healy 20, 90+1) Att 688 (71 Away)
A good start, but a couple of lost balls put us under pressure unnecessarily. Peterhead were looking dangerous on the counter. Lyon on for McLaughlin just after 60, wingers back to support. McIlduff on for Campbell on 77. It feels like all Peterhead now, trying not to fall too deep, Allison with a good few saves. And then a massive moment for our season, Watt collecting the ball, sliding a pass through to Healy who finished beautifully – 91 minutes on the clock. It feels like a mugging (looking at the stats not so much). They had goal rightly disallowed for offside with seconds left, and we only bloody hung on!! 2-1, superb results from the lads. Thinking 4-4-1-1 is a go-er with Gardiner one of our strongest players. Buzzing!!
We’re now 5th, so our mid-table aim is there, and only 4 points outside the play-offs!!! Buckie Thistle & Albion Rovers both winning see them pull 8 points clear of Elgin in 3rd. 8 games left boys and girls, the play-offs are now the aim, though I definitely wont be disappointed with 5th or 6th.
Next up is Stenhousemuir – 5th v 6th – at Ochilview Park next Saturday in a game that could give us a bit of space in 5th. We will have the turn-of-month stats to discuss after what has been a superb month (W3 D2) and a look at Civil Service’s progress in February. See you soon.