Time to start getting under feet under this Championship table this month as we have 6 games, 5 League, 1 in the IRN-BRU Cup.
So 2 really tough league games, a cup game we really should win, 2 more-winnable league games and a tough last to finish the month. Five points would be a good return, anything more a bonus. Less and I would be a bit worried for the rest of the season.
Mark Davidson moves to Ross County for £32.5k, with a 40% sell-on fee. Very mixed about this – he’s a great player, but if he develops well in the Premiership and gets picked up for money then its a decent pay-day for Berwick as a club. Will now need to go out and get a marquee signing to placate the players. Gala Fairydean will get £3,200 from the sale.
A few of the lads wanted a word about squad depth, in that there isn’t enough. The team meeting went fine – I’m on the lookout for some quality players (Meaning some of the above wont be getting game time….)
Our Ressies beat Alloa Res 4-0, goals from Thomas Dempsie, Archie Gardiner & a brace from James Christie.
Just the 8 players in the first Ladbrokes Championship Team of the Week this season 🙂
2nd August 2022 – Dunfermline (A) – Ladbrokes Championship
We make the 84 mile journey just over the Queensferry bridge to play a Dunfermline side that have been in the Championship since 2016, finishing 8th last season. They were last in the Premiership in 11/12, and had a 3 years in League 1 (13/14, 14/15 and 15/16) in the middle of the ‘teens. The Season Preview has them 5th (8/1) – Falkirk are 6th at 9’s. Apparently Berwick have played Dunfermline twice in this save – 2-0 to Dunfermline. Both IRN-BRU Cup games, both before I joined Berwick.
Palmer back in to midfield as the attacking option, everybody else as is currently. Same again as last time please! Dunfermline do with the opposite tactic, 4-2-3-1, and have Chris Barras on the right wing – Berwick old boy and with me for a season at Civil Service!!
FT Dunfermline 0 Berwick 2 (Palmer 6, Slaven 8) Att 5,418 (213 Away)
The battle of the black stripes this evening as Dunfermline kick off. Another great start, Berwick go 1-0 up in the 6th minute! A throw-in on the right finds MacIver, who cross is over and behind Palmer. Palmer gets it though, slips it to Mackie, who slips it back to him, he advances on goal and scores beautifully on his right foot (A bit Giggs-like for a lefty) down to the Keeper’s left from the edge of the area. And then the most amazing highlight. Firstly it was to us, then MacIver gave the ball away, ball goes back up the other end, run most of the way by Brown (18 Acc 16 Pac!!!), before getting cleared for another Berwick break, again MacIver squanders it, again Brown moves forward, before a final clearance hoof by MacPherson takes defender Devine out of the game, Slaven running on and scoring with the 2nd bite of the cherry after initially hitting it straight at the Keeper. 2-0 Berwick, 8 minutes gone!!! Dunfermline look dangerous going forward though. Dropped the line back one, going Cautious. But we still look the better team, every time we go forward there’s potential. We are getting a decent amount of time on the ball as well, which makes us more dangerous. The clock ticks down to Half Time, and we are very much on top. 2-0 at the break.
Darame on for MacIver at half time on the right wing – he’s a fair bit quicker than MacIver. Over 5,000 here today, just over 200 travelling from Berwick – that’s where you make your money! It will be good to start getting over 1,000 into Shielfield Park for league games. Just coming up to 60 minutes and we nearly get undone by the long ball, Sinclair making a fantastic stop. Dunfermline really pushing now. McManus for Turner. A few tired lads – Going 4-2-1-3 2DM for the last 20, McManus as the DLP(D), MacPherson as a BWM(D). Last 10, Marku on for MacPherson, Palmer to BWM(D) in centre mid, Marku as AP(A), McManus as DM(D). Time ticking down. And there we are! 2-0 win, another clean sheet – beautifully done lads!!!
Just us and Dundee with maximum points. An amazing start, but still I see this as 6 points towards safety in 8th.
- 21yo CM
- 6ft 4in
- Joins from Kilmarnock on loan after starting his career at Celtic.
- IRL he at celtic after spending 19/20 at BSC Glasgow in the Lowland League
David McKay comes in on a season-long loan from Killie. A direct replacement for Mark Davidson, McKay is 6ft 4!! and costs only £50/wk. Current he’s rated as the 3rd best player in the squad by CA. Welcome David.
Hamilton showing their credentials versus an Ayr side that is one of the favourites for the drop.
- 26yo DL
- 5ft 8in
- Comes in from Queen’s Park (Amateur Contract) after time at multiple clubs after starting his career at Celtic
- IRL he’s owned by Kilmarnock, and has had loan spells at Sligo Rovers (Irish Premier Division) and St. Mirren (Premiership)
Calum Waters comes in as a rotational left back (with Sean Mackie) from Queens Park. When you look at the comparison with Sean Mackie a story is told quite well:
Mackie is by far the better technical player (apart from technique itself funnily enough) but Wates is better mentally and Physically – I expect both to play important rolls going forward. £190/wk is a bargain as well for a 3.5* CA player in his prime.
6th August 2022 – Partick Thistle (H) – Ladbrokes Championship
We welcome a Partick side that has the highest wage bill in the Championship (£1.22M/yr v £234k for us) but was in League 1 as recently as the 2019/20 season. A Premiership side from 2012/13 to 2017/18 they were demoted back-to-back, but they seem to be back on the way up, finishing 3rd last season behind Ross County & Falkirk(!).
So I’ve had an epiphany with Thomas Dempsie. Lots of people want him (Dunfermline one of them) so I’m thinking there must be something to him. He can play as an AMR, so that’s where he’s training, and I’m going to give him game time to see how he goes. From the first couple of games I think Ross MacIver is a bit out of his depth, and doesn’t have the pace to be a threat. Causso darame does have pace, but was only ever going to be a backup winger anyway. New boys McKay & Waters are on the bench. Partick start with a 4-2-3-1 – Man for man again. If you look at wages and stars we should get battered today…
FT Berwick 2 (Mackie 17, Slaven 20) Partick Thistle 0 Att 1,835 (737 Away)
It’s a beautiful early-August afternoon here in Northumberland – make the most of it because it will be raining soon! Their main man, Bannigan in Centre Mid is already below 80% condition. A decent close start with little happening, and then the deadlock is broken. A free kick inside the ‘D’, Mackie strikes it against the wall. The ball comes out to Dow on the edge, who taps it back to Mackie, who fires it top left bins from just outside the area!! 1-0 Berwick, 17 minutes gone. And a few minutes later one of the most outrageous goals you will see in this save. A bit of pin-ball in midfield ends with MacPherson firing the ball out to Dow on the left touchline. He doesn’t take a touch – he volleys it left-footed, with the ball coming over his right shoulder right into the mixer, and Slaven is there to head home beautifully, hardly having to move such was the accuracy of the Dow pass! Madness, 2-0 here at Shielfield Park. Lets not get too carried away though, it’s still early, 70 minutes to play. We are cutting through them, Mackie running 50 yards unimpeded – slips Dow through who runs on goal, his shot well saved. Berwick very much on top at the moment. A superb half of football again, 2-0 Berwick at the break.
Interesting team analysis on the Partick side – Louis Souchaud is their Keeper 🙂 🙂 🙂
Over 1,000 Berwick fans in Shielfield Park again today!! I suppose matches against these bigger teams are bit more of a draw. We are still pushing and getting the lion’s share of highlights and chances early on. Just coming up to 60, McKay coming on for his debut for Palmer (Who’s on a booking). Quite quiet this half. 70 gone, Darame on for Dempsie – 6.6 but he’s not done anything wrong. Coming up to the last 10 – Mackie has had a superb game but is a bit shattered – 2nd new boy Waters on for his debut (Interestingly mackie literally got booked after I subbed him off – the time between the change and it being able to happen in the game). We’ve absolutely bossed this today – last minute of normal time, McKay inches away from opening his account, cracking the crossbar with a header from a Dow corner. And it’s all over! 2-0, another clean sheet and another game where we killed the game off early. This Championship Malarkey is easy, isn’t it!!
We seem to have a special little team together here at Berwick. Dundee maintain their perfect record as well at home to Dunfermline. Falkirk definitely looking like the whipping boys – a team that finished 2nd last season and played-off versus St. Mirren for a place in the Premiership (They lost 9-0 on aggregate though). £27k gate as well from that last match!!
Our U18’s beat Bonnyrigg Rose Res 2-0, a brace from Bobby Lowe.
Our Ressies beat Falkirk Res 3-1, goals from James Christie & a brace from Archie Gardiner.
Ross & Sean Mackie make the Championship Team of the Week.
OK – I thought we’d be playing the winners of Gretna and Whitehill Welfare on Wednesday 10th – but their playing their Extra-Preliminary Round then so I imagine I’ll get a rearrangement notification soon…
- 23yo DR
- Comes in from Cove Rangers (Highland League in game) after starting his career at Celtic
- Scouts had him as a 91….
- IRL he’s at St Johnstone
Wallace arrives as a backup for Aaron Dunsmore for the rest of the season. A bit of a punt as the scouts had him at a 91 (And 3* CA) but he comes in at 2*, plus is a defensive fullback rather than a wingback. As I said, a bit of a punt who won’t cost too much
PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)
Andrew goes to Turriff United (Highland League, 8th last season) until the new year.
And we will be playing Gretna this Saturday (So our next game) in the IRN-BRU 1st round as they beat Whitehill Welfare 2-0. And as we have Clyde in the league on the Tuesday expect a completely rotated side. I Know winning leads to winning, but I’m really on the fence about the IRN-BRU Cup.
And if we can beat Gretna we will face…
The New Saints of the Welsh Premier League 🙂 They are the biggest team in Wales by far, winning the league 10 times out of the last 11. They have a wage bill of £612k/annum so are a decent outfit. They are also involved in Europa League Qualifiers at the moment so have a lot going on.
PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)
Ryan Scullion goes on loan to Huntly in the Highland League (2nd last season) until the new year.
13th August 2022 – Gretna 2008 (H) – IRN-BRU Cup 1st Round
We welcome a Gretna 2008 side who finished 3rd last year in the Lowland League to a Shielfield Park that is on a high after a perfect start to the League season. We have Clyde in the league in 3 days, so it’s an almost totally rotated team today. Interestingly Gretna knocked us out of the Scottish Cup back in the 20/21 season so we know they have it in them, but we are 2 leagues higher now.
An almost total swap-around, with just Ross keeping his place in goal. New boys McKay & Waters hopefully will get 90 minutes, the rest are a big mix-and-match. Gretna go with the identical formation – 4-1-2-3 DM Wide.
FT Berwick 3 (McKay 18, 65, Sutherland 49) Gretna 2008 0 Att 999 (41 Away)
Exactly what i said at the start of the last game – enjoy the weather, because today its a drizzly 21C. Plenty of Berwick chances early on. Otherwise quite quiet until we went 1-0 up in the 18th minute. A Berwick corner is cleared out to Maguire, who taps the ball out to corner-taker McManus. He plays the ball back to centre-back Maguire, whose cross picks out McKay. His initial header is intercepted by Gretna player Bell, but the rebound came straight back to him, and he scored well from 10 yards. His first goal for the club. Lots of Berwick chances but we go in just 1-0 to the good.
Really good to see 950 Berwick fans in here for a vaguely important cup game today. And in the 49th minute it’s 2-0, an absolute scorcher from 30 yards by Tom Sutherland! Some really nice play from what is pretty-much a scratch line-up. 3-0 in the 65th, and it’s a lovely team goal. Waters at left-back plays the ball inside towards Sutherland. he picks out TM(A) Carrick, who turns and slips a lovely ball inside to the overlapping McKay, who scores easily from 12 yards for his 2nd of the game. Palmer on for Leitch (Who was on a booking) after the goal, MacIver for Dempsie. Last 15, Christie on up top for Carrick. Time ticks down and its a comprehensive 3-0 win. Another clean sheet!!! TNS in the next round at the start of September.
3 Days to a trip to Cumbernauld to play 8th-placed Clyde FC. Clyde have also played today, losing 3-0 to St. Mirren in the Betfred 2nd round. One of their bigger players, centre-midfielder Charlie Telfer was sent off, so should miss the match. they have lost their last 4 competitive matches…
16th August 2022 – Clyde (A) – Ladbrokes Championship
We make the 100-mile journey west to Cumbernauld to play a Clyde side who aren’t in the best of form. 1 point from the first 3 games sees them 8th. As a manager I’ve been to this stadium a few times with Civil Service to play Cumbernauld Colts, and we (Berwick) beat Clyde in the Betfred last season. They have done amazingly well to get back to the Championship, where they were a mainstay throughout the Noughties, before a back-to-back relegation to League 2 across 2008/9/10. Indeed they finished last in League 2 in 10/11 but there was no relegation at that point. They remained in League 2 until getting promoted in-game in 18/19, then promoted to the Championship the next season. They finished 6th in the Championship last season. IRL they are in League 1, after, like in-game, being promoted in 18/19.
Back to the 11 that have done so well to this point. I’m needing MacIver to show me why he should be in the team though. Clyde go with a 4-5-1.
FT Clyde 0 Berwick 1 (Slaven 45) Att 798 (113 Away)
We’ve beaten the 2 teams we maybe shouldn’t have been able to in the first 2 League games this month – now to play 2 we should have a good shout of beating. Because we all know how FM works I’m expecting a torrid time this evening. I’m naturally an optimist, and I’m only really pessimistic when playing FM 🙂 And it’s raining 🙂 Very quiet for the first 10. Clyde with the better of the highlights coming up to 20 minutes, though the condition of a lot of their players is pretty low already. Can we just grind them down? And when things go against you, they really do. MacKay in the Clyde net takes a goal kick, Bow gets to the header, Binks in central defence takes a really heavy touch and Slaven pounces, running on and scoring past an out-rushing keeper from just outside the box. 1-0 Berwick. Just before half time! And just before the whistle their other centre-back Leddie gets injured. 1-0 Berwick at the break.
A very quiet start to the half again. 60 gone, Dempsie on for MacIver, McKay on for MacPherson, Palmer to BWM(D). Clyde are a bit knackered. Last 10, moving Mackie up to AM(L), Waters on, Dow off. Time running out, lats minute of injury time, Clyde with a corner… Buts its all over. Another win, another clean sheet!!! 12 from 12
12 points towards safety – 42 points would have gotten 8th last season so 30 points left in 32 games, though 33 points is the lowest that would have gotten 8th (18/19 season). At the moment though you’ve got to be thinking play-offs at least, don’t you? 🙂 🙂 🙂 Nice seeing Hamilton dropping points as well – Both they and Livingston have got to be in with a shout. Falkirk, Dunfermline & Clyde look like the teams in danger early on.
We face Queen of the South next up – Season preview of 7th, 9th in wage budget (£478k to our £239k).
- 24yo D/WB(L)
- 5ft 11in
- Signs on a free after leaving Partick Thistle – he started his career at Motherwell
- IRL he’s still with Motherwell, having played at East Fife, Morton & Clyde on loan for the last 3 seasons.
London buses… Adam Livingstone offered to come on trial without me knowing anything about him, and here he is! He joins as our 2nd best player by CA, and this affects Sean Mackie – I think he should be playing further up the pitch so have started training him as an AM(L). We now have 3 good D(L)’s.
Looks like a good game – Dundee maintaining their 100% start as well. We play them at theirs in our last game of the month.
20th August 2022 – Queen of the South (H) – Ladbrokes Championship
1st plays 3rd today as we welcome Queen of the South. Based in Dumfries, QotS are an almost-perennial Championship team, with just 2012/13 in recent history where they won League 1 after relegation in 11/12. They’ve been a consistently good Championship team as well this save, finishing 5th, 3rd and 5th in the last 3 seasons. They have beaten 3 teams we have beaten, Falkirk, Clyde & Dunfermline in their last 3 games with very similar scorelines, so I expect a tough one this afternoon.
Livingstone starts at left-back, with our trainee wingers Mackie & Dempsie learning on the job. McKay starts for Palmer, who is more than capable at BWM or CM. Maguire starts for Bow in central defence – I want partnerships to build between Nicolson and both Bow & Maguire. Slaven is 4 from 4 in the League, long may it continue. QotS go with a 4-4-2 – a tough formation to play against this season.
FT Berwick 0 Queen of the South 2 (Jack 66, 86) Att 1,329 (223 Away)
In the last game versus Clyde it felt like we were running out of steam a bit, so I would just like a good performance here today. Again, quiet early doors. And then 20 minutes into his debut Livingstone gets sent off for a two-footed challenge… Fuck. Mackie back to left-back, Dempsie to centre mid as an CM(A). It’s going to be a long 70 minutes… Obviously QotS with the highlights now, but we go into the break at 0-0.
Cammy Palmer on for Dempsie at Half Time as we go 4-2-2-1 2DM. We are setting up Narrow, trying for compactness and just trying to be bloody difficult to break down. And we got to the 66th minute before conceding, and it was an error as well. Dunsmore should have cleared it but the ball trickled back into the middle, Jack scoring from 6 yards. 77th minute, McManus for McKay. And it’s a 2nd error that gives QotS a 2-0 lead, Sinclair flapping, Jack getting the rebound. It finished 2-0 – what a way to mark a debut, fucking idiot! That’s a week’s wages gone in fines.
Dundee maintain their 100% start with a demolition of Clyde. Hamilton sneak a win in the 94th minute versus Dunfermline.
Dundee next up at theirs in 7 days.
Right-back Martin McStay off to Cove Rangers for the season on loan.
Our U18’s beat Threave Rovers Res 2-1, goals from James Christie & Tom Sutherland.
Our Reserves beat Livingston Res 2-0, 2 goals from Cammy Dow (Who can’t play against Dundee as he’s owned by them)
27th August 2022 – Dundee (A) – Ladbrokes Championship
We make the 127 mile journey up past Edinburgh and across the Tay to play a Dundee side in perfect form currently. A Championship side after relegation from the Premiership in 2004/5 they regained Premiership status for 12/13, popped straight back down then back up again for 14/15 until 19/20 (In Game) they came back down to the Championship, and have finished 2nd, and then 4th last season. IRL they were also relegated in the 19/20 season, and finished 3rd in the truncated season. Not expecting much from this one TBH.
Trying Mackie on the left wing again after only getting 20 minutes versus Queen of the South in that position.MacPherson on the bench, Palmer playing as the BWM, McKay the CM(A). Bow back with Nicolson in central defence. MacIver starts on the right wing. Dundee go with a 4-2-3-1 Wide – so man-for-man.
FT Dundee 1 (Forrest Pen 48) Berwick 2 (Mackie 41, Sutherland 87) Att 7,029 (172 Away)
All White versus All Black here today in Dundee. A quiet first half until the 41st minute – Slaven & MacIver with the ball, Slaven pings a cross over from deep, and Sean Mackie is on hand to cushion-header the ball in the bottom right of the goal. 1-0 Berwick!! Mackie got in a really good position for that goal. Actually when you look at the animation of the header it looks like its just hit him in the face and trickled in 🙂 🙂 :). And that’s how we go into the break, 1-0 to the good.
It’s pouring with rain now on Tayside as we kick off the 2nd half. And just 3 minutes in Dundee get a penalty for pushing – Waters on Forrest at the back post. Forrest himself takes the penalty, and scores straight down the middle. 1-1. We get to 60 though with no other highlights – McKay off for MacPherson, swapping roles with Palmer. Dundee look the more dangerous coming into the last 20. Turner is shattered and on a booking – McManus on, MacPherson to DM BWM(D), McManus as a DLP(D) in Centre Mid. Sutherland on for Waters, Mackie back to WB(A), Sutherland as the left winger. 5 minutes left, a beautiful Berwick break, but Palmer scuffs the finish. And then absolute scenes! A Mackie free kick is diverted wide, Slaven chases, his cross is blocked straight back to Dunsmore, who’s cross finds Sutherland in acres at the back post – and his 10-yard volley finish nestled in the bottom right of the net. 2-1 Berwick with 3 minutes of normal time left!! Injury time…. And it’s all over, an amazing 2-1 win versus 5-from-5 Dundee. What a performance lads!!
An amazing result – Now effectively joint top with Dundee, 15 points from 18!!! Hamilton dropping points again, this time to Falkirk, Livingston dropping points versus Clyde, its looking pretty peachy!!
We’ve a few days left in the month, lets get through them.
Our Ressies beat St. Johnstone Res 1-0 – Marku with the goal – 4 wins from 4 in SPFL Reserve League 2.
Ross Sinclair & Sean’s Mackie & Slaven in the Ladbrokes Championship Team of the Week.
PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)
Left winger Bobby Lowe off to Keith (Top of the Highland League) until the new year.
Joel Macbeath (In Dark Blue)
- 21yo ST(C)
- 6ft 2in
- Comes in on a free after starting his career at Ross County
- IRL he joined Elgin City in July 2020 after time at Montrose on loan.
Joel came in on trial after leaving Ross County and we may have a little bit of a star. 4* CA, he comes in as our 2nd best player after Harry Nicolson. Decent finishing and heading and fast for 6ft 2in, he also has ability to play as a False 9, which could be very useful. Welcome Joel.
And with that the transfer window ends and we are at the 1st September. And it was a pretty decent August all told!!!
5 wins from 6 games, the only blip being QotS where we played with 10 men for 70 minutes because Livingstone got too excited on his debut.
Only 5 games in September – 4 in the League and the trip to Oswestry on the Welsh border to play TNS in the IRN-BRU – a competition we’ve got to think we have a chance in? Livingston & Hamilton will be the big games, a trip to the Tony Macaroni followed by a big crowd at home (Hopefully) v the Accies.
Last of all here are the Key highlights from the games this month. See you soon.