Today we start out run of 4 away games in a row v Stranraer at Stair Park – a 172 mile, almost 4 hour journey one way across the borders (Kelso, Jedburgh, Hawick) towards Gretna before picking up the A75 through Dumfries & Galloway. As usual we have a few bits to go through
Our U18 beat Edinburgh Uni Res 5-0, Dunsmore, Healy, 16 yo CM Gerry Thompson, Balde & Orru with the goals.
Johnny Conway (19, Right Back) has gone on loan to Turriff United (9th in the Highland League) for the rest of the season.
Our Ressies beat Hillfield Swifts Res 6-3(!) – Kieran McGrath with 4, Marky Munro & McNiff the scorers.
So to Stranraer ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stranraer_F.C. ) – IRL they’re in League 1, currently propping up the table, after finishing 8th in 18/19 and 5th in 17/18. In Game they were relegated in the play-off v Buckie Thistle at the end of the 19/20 season (Which may play out in real life less the Buckie Thistle bit). Currently they are 2nd favourites (We are now 3rd after an influx of loans in August), just behind Peterhead, but after 7 games they are 9th (Peterhead are rock bottom).
They have a decent squad compared to most, but a lot of unhappy players who want to leave (Most probably due to their relegation last season)
So Wingplay – I’ve tried to get our best players on the pitch all at once, but there is the possibility of playing this as a 4-4-2 if Slaven isn’t sufficient up top. Meechan & Faulds get games at the deeper wingback position, Meechan because he’s having a whinge over game time (I’ll try and get him gone in January), Faulds because he looks set to be our best left back relatively soon. Playing this really wide and I’ve set Balde’s instructions to stay wider as well, I’ve taken overlaps off as somethimes I think it overeggs the pudding a bit. Stranrear are seriously defensive – 5-1-2-2 DM Wingbacks – 2 Newgens on their own up top. Should be interesting.
HT Stranraer 0 Berwick 1 (Balde 18)
An interesting start, should have been 1-0 Berwick in the 7th minute but McLaughlin’s header and subsequent shot were both parried. Stranraer look dangerous going forward, and Allison pulled a couple of good saves off to keep it level. But the deadlock was broken in the 18th minute – Balde scoring with a half volley at the far post after a pinpoint cross from Meechan. We were looking capable of scoring with every attack. The half finished 1-0, I feel we will at least need a 2nd.
FT Stranraer 1 (Cummins 49) Berwick 2 (Balde 18, Dunsmore 67) Att 293 (47 Away)
A few tweaks before the second half began, but Stranraer drew level in the 49th minute, again from a set piece, the header from Cummins. A change – Dunsmore on for McLaughlin, moved back a bit, Allan on for Sutherland, 2 up top, asymettric wingers. And the change worked – 67th minute, a Balde cross finds Dunsmore at the far post, who walked the ball in – his first goal for the club. 2-1 Berwick. We now looked very dangerous. Faulds off for McIlduff to a standing ovation. Stranraer really started pushing on near the end, but it finished 2-1, a really good win away from home, and some things to think about with regards to the formation.
An interesting weekend, Cowdenbeath & Brechin both winning; Cowdenbeath getting a great result away to Stenny, our first game with them at the end of the month will be very interesting indeed.
Next up is bottom-of-the-table Peterhead in another dauntingly long away journey – again by the scout report they have a decent squad, so no doubt it will be a tight game once again. See you then.