Today we have a big game at home v bottom team Peterhead. We’ll also look at last months stats, and potential new tactics.
A lot more falls than rises, though 2 players who will be released soonish (Liam Watt & Martin McNiff) make up the majority of the falls. Some good increases from the young ‘uns, with Lewis Faulds going from strength to strength.
A mixed month stat-wise
- Passing & Crossing – Nice pass completion & cross completion rates, but nobody over 1.5 key passes a game is a bit of a worry.
- Heading – Harry Nicolson completing 25 out of 26 shows what a beast he is in the air. Big Rod is a worry though with only 72% completion.
- Shooting, Assists, Chances, Dribbles – John Balde & Lewis Barr score highly with the shots on target, with Lewis scoring well. Everything else is much of a muchness.
- Tackling & Interceptions – A quiet month, nobody over 3 interceptions a game, though the 2 3-0 wins were very one-sided so that is maybe a reason.
- Fouls, Mistakes, Offsides – Hamish Morrison (Another one who will go in January) makes too many mistakes at 3 a game, Kieran McGrath again is offside a bit too often, but that may have been down to being a bit exposed on his own up top.
Tactically since the last update things have slipped, so I’ve had a look at a couple of possibilities.
Go narrow with the new Vertical Tiki-Taka (From now VTT), trying to pass our way through, whilst Cameron McGinn is a natural Pressing Forward so he can get in amongst the opposition, freeing McGrath up to score.
Asymmetric Wingenpress, almost looking to McGinn to act as an Inside forward by drifting wide on defend, helping Dunsmore out a bit.
Both systems have issues – VTT means no place for Balde, Asymmetric means no place for Tom Sutherland, neither allow for Conor McLaughlin. I will need to see if I can involve all of them somehow as I always like to have my best players on the pitch playing in a natural position, you can’t always do that unfortunately and I don’t want to affect morale too much by leaving some really good players out.
On the 1st our U18 had a great 5-0 friendly win v Hawick Royal Albert Res, Cameron McGinn with a HT, Archie Gardiner & Liam Watt with the other goals.
On the 2nd our Reserves beat Falkirk Res 2-0 – Martin McNiff & Daryl Healy with the goals. That puts us 5th in the SPFL Reserve league 2 after 10 games of a 19 game season. Good signs of strength in depth.
4 of the 7 averaging over 7, with all but youngster Andy Doig (Pollok aren’t in the league) having a grand old time at the step below League 2.
Both centre backs get in the team of the week for League 2 – Nicolson & Big Rod – suggesting the 1-1 wasn’t a bad result.
Also just had one of those lovely ‘Remarkable Improvements’ Development emails
Kieran McGrath coming on nicely. Worried about his recent form though.
Peterhead arrive as a bottom of the table side with 7 points from 12 games, so obviously this will be a tough one. They do have the join second top scorer and one of the most expensive players at this level (£575/wk) Rory McAllister who scored twice against us at theirs in mid September. They seem set with a 4-5-1 like East Fife, so it could be a difficult one to break down.
The 4-4-2 Narrow Diamond VTT gets another game with a few tweaks. Gardiner starts as the more natural Mezzala between him & Cornelius. Peterhead do what they do with their 4-5-1, putting Nicolson down to man-to-man mark McAllister.
HT Berwick 0 Peterhead 1 (Leitch 41)
A rainy day again in the Borders, but very mild for November (16C), and a quick start from Berwick, with a good couple of chances early doors – 1-on-1’s aren’t brilliant in FM19 either! And out of nowhere Peterhead go 1-0 up – a 20 yarder from Leitch. Off course its their only shot on target… 1-0 at half time. Going to the asymmetric press for the 2nd half. Slaven on for McGrath, who can’t finish for toffee at the moment.
FT Berwick 1 (Slaven 85) Peterhead 2 (Leitch 41, McGowan 63) Att 529 (72 Away)
A decent enough start to the half and then wham! a 25-yard Direct Free Kick straight in for Peterhead – McGowan making it 2-0 – 2nd shot on target. Fuck this game. McLaughlin on for Sutherland, Cornelius for Gardiner. And to add insult to injury their keeper is making worldies from all angles. Slaven got a goal back in the 85th, a nice ball over the top had him run in and score. We were all over Peterhead at this point having gone attacking. But it finished 2-1, I don’t know at this point what’s best, 3 at the back maybe? 4 clear-cut chances FFS. 14 Key passes v 1…..
So we’re still top! Cowdenbeath snatching a very late draw v East Fife, Stenny drawing 0-0 with Brechin. We really need to sort it out, or the game has to stop FM-ing us. VTT might be dead after 2 games, I’ll need to have a think about it, may be too complicated for this level of player.
Next up is a crucial trip to Brechin (5th) – we need to start winning again – OP Press its got to be I think. See you then.