Today we have a lovely Sunday drive; a 98 mile journey to the Northernmost big conurbation in the Central Belt of Scotland to play Stirling Albion, who are struggling in 9th after a mass release of players in the summer. This is the 3rd game for them where they play top 3 opposition, losing 3-1 to Cowdenbeath last time out after getting a creditable draw v Stenny (1-1).
First up the usual.
Our U18 tonked East Stirlingshire U18 5-0 – 16 yo STC Alex Gourlay with a pen, 18 yo STC Duncan Johnson with a brace and MotM 16 yo STC James Doolan with the other 2 goals. Unfortunately 17 yo rightback Gregor Malcolm dislocated his shoulder in the match and will be out for a couple of months.
Our Ressies also won, 3-1 v Queens Park Res, Turner, Hussain & Slaven with the goals. Another injury in this one, Liam Watt with a twistd knee – only expected out for a few days though.
Just the 4 players in the team of the week – Big Rod, Aaron Dunsmore, who has started life as a Borderer very nicely indeed averaging 7.18 in the league, John Balde & Lewis Barr.
Our U18’s managed to sneak in another game before our trip to Stirling – a 3-0 win v Leith Res, Cameron McGinn, Hussain & Morrison with the goals.
So to the Forthbank. We are the only league game of the day so can go back to the top of the table with a win.
A similar set-up to last time – starting both CM’s as Mezzalas on Support and McGrath up top as a Poacher – McLaughlin on the right might be changed to an IF if he looks ineffectual as the winger. Stirling go 4-4-2.
HT Stirling 0 Berwick 1 (Barr 24)
A interesting start, good play from Berwick, nice interplay but a few mistakes creeping in (maybe the higher tempo?) but it should have been 1-0 in the 5th minute if it wasn’t for a superb save from a near-in Barr shot. Barr did make it 1-0 though, 24th minute, Faulds to Balde, a pass round the corner to Barr who had an easy tap in. Stirling had a good opportunity in the break not long after – Cornelius changed to a CM (Auto) after that, and Balde could have made it 2 if it wasn’t for another super-save from the Stirling keeper. 1-0 at half time to Berwick, relatively easy, but we will need to stay sharp. McLaughlin to IF(S), McGrath to AF, lines drawn back to higher.
FT Stirling 0 Berwick 3 (Barr 24, Balde 48, Sutherland 61) Att 507 (60 Away)
Stirling came out of the block really well, almost having us in trouble in the first minute of the half with Allison saving well, but it was 2-0 in the 48th – lovely play resulting in a Dunsmore back-post low cross, tapped in by John Balde. Stirling were still looking dangerous on the break, but again a Berwick goal put pay to their advances – Tom Sutherland with a low strike from 25 yards-or-thereabouts. 61 gone. Healy on for McLaughlin. Slaven on for McGrath. Gardiner on for Cornelius and a few tweaks in midfield re. roles. It finished 3-0, a very nice performance indeed! I think this also shows the worth of a superb keeper – Allison with a 7.4 with 8 saves.
So there we are, 11 games done, top by a point from, 5 points above 3rd and our form restored.
Next up in 6-in-game days we have the Scottish Cup 2nd round match away at our old friends from Civil Service-times Gretna 2008. They are currently 4th in the Lowland League after 8 games – Civil Service are bottom 🙁 – and the beat Fraserburgh of the Highland League to get to this round. These matches against lower-league oppos are always a bit dodgy, so i wont be resting on my laurels. See you then.