Match Day 36, our last game of the season v East Fife. Before we entertain the Fifers we have a good few bits to go through.
Conor McLaughlin makes the team of the week (3rd appearance of the year).
Ben Sedgwick (CM, 18, 5ft 11, 1* CA, 3 * PA) has signed on the same weekly wage for another year. I’ve kept him on as he has 6 MotM, 9 Goals and 13 Assists out of 34 matches this season in the U18 – he’s got something about him that stands above the start level.
1st May 2020 has come around – Stat-time
Hardly any changes in April, only 1 drop (And he’s being released anyway).
A pretty poor month results-wise, but the stats aren’t bad. The midfield 3 all passing around or above the 80% completion mark, Barr with 8 Key Passes, our wingers with > 30% cross completion, our traget man with almost 7-% header completion is really strong, we’re just not scoring enough and have become a bit porous at the back. Good interceptions from the back 2 though, just a lack of tackling.
So I’m thinking I need a really good pacey finisher to go up top with Allan, a DM to allow a 4-1-2-3, a covering midfielder, a D(R) to challenge and overtake Meechan and a very good D(C) to take over from McNiff who has peaked. The Judicious use of the loan market may go a long way towards this whilst keeping wages down.
Back to the 4-4-2 Wing play, we play Campbell & Archibald in the last games on loan, Healy & Allan up top, Watt & McLaughlin on the wings. East Fife go 4-5-1. Each place in the table is worth £3k, lets go out with a win.
HT Berwick 0 East Fife 1 (Dowds 26)
An OK start, East Fife settled deep, which for a team needing a win is a bit strange. We are getting in really good positions, its just the last pass going astray, which is really annoying. And in the 26th minute the inevitable, a long ball by East Fife finds Dowds, who takes a touch and scores. 1-0. I’ll be looking to hoover him up if East Fife go down. A few tweaks (Overlap off on the right, McLaughlin was too narrow) and Counter Pressing.
Going 4-1-2-3 Gegenpress for the 2nd half – McNiff on for Watt as Nanitelamio moves to DM.
FT Berwick 2 (McLaughlin 67, Campbell 89) East Fife 1 (Dowds 26,81) Att 509 (97 Away)
Last 45 of the season, I just want to see some endeavour. East Fife seem very happy to sit on the lead. Really nothing much happening though, until BOOM, a lovely McLaughlin mazey run led to a 20 yard finish – 1-1, thank god! Adamson on for Allan. And yet again, out of nowhere Dowds scores, a direct free kick this time. Shithousery. 2-1 East Fife, 80 minutes gone. But we got back in it – Campbell finding himself in the box, scoring well. 2-2, 89th minute. Some harum-scarum stuff near the end but it finished 2-2. Rebuilding starts now.
So 6th it is (£52k), Stenhousemuir also drawing with Annan meaning they beat us by 3 goals with an identical record. Albion Rovers win the league after both they and Buckie Thistle win, East Fife would have gone into the relegation playoff regardless with Stirling picking up a point. The board are pleased with the mid-table finish. Job done (But it could have been so much more if it wasn’t for the last 6 games).
We will be facing Brechin, who were well adrift of the rest, and Stranraer are in the relegation/promotion pot with Buckie Thistle, Cowdenbeath & Elgin City,
It’s Lossiemouth v Queen’s Park in the promotion playoff after they won their respective leagues, Lossiemouth by +11 goal difference from Forres Mechanics in the Highland League, Queen’s Park by +6 goal difference from BSC Glasgow in the Lowland League. Civil Service ended up finishing 9th(!) – P10 W2 D2 L6 after I left at the turn of 2020, where they were in with a shout of the title again. Queen’s Park won the first leg 2-0 v Lossiemouth, I’ll let you know how the playoffs pan out in the next post. See you then.