Management thoughts on the thriller we didn’t want to play.

Posted on Friday, May 18th, 2012

Mike says –

“Of the four teams with a late, changed fixture tonight we stood out as the one who definitely didn’t want to play on a Friday evening without five of our regular starters. As things panned out only ourselves and Whitehill took to the park and for the neutrals who turned up at Rosewell they must have seen one of the most exciting games of the season.

Whitehill were brilliant tonight. Like us they were one or two short but Grant and Kevin had them well fired up in a game that had no real consequence to the home side. All Sam and I can ask for is the same level of commitment from The Vale against Stirling on Monday.

Tonight Whitehill caused us all sorts of problems, played attractive attacking football and scored four really good goals. On our side I don’t like to single players out but I must give a special thanks to two tonight. Murray Jackson in goal came into the lions den on a tight pitch where the ball doesn’t take long to be fired into the box and made save after save. He did himself and his watching grandad Gordon Marshall proud. Dr Seeley hasn’t kicked a ball in two months, sat exams in London this week, took 5 hours travelling up by train today, felt sick before the game and was magnificent from the first minute until the last. Add to them 11 other guys who gave it their all and you have everything Spartans stands for.

Where does that leave us? On the way to my local after the game tonight I received a text from the top (sports) man at Stirling University and my good friend Raleigh Gowrie. It said “Drama @ whitehill! Well done! RG”

As Dougie Hewit was driving my replay said “Ral at 4-2 we didn’t know if we should shut up shop or go for it. We make a change, go for it and nearly lose the game. Unlike us you know exactly what you need to do. It shouldn’t be like that.”

Now maybe Ral deserved a bit better from me but that’s how I felt and feel now. The EOS exec try their best and had the right idea in mind putting the two title deciding games together but as usual they came up short. If you can throw title deciding fixtures on the Friday night of a Bank Holiday at teams with little notice you can call off a second game if the first falls foul of the weather.

We could have started Jordan or Sean tonight but before the game they both knew they would take part. “One of you run yourself into the ground for an hour and the other will give fresh legs for the last 30 minutes.” Jordan got the nod and put in a great shift. Sean came on and got an important goal.

Then we get to the crux. 4-2 up and is it enough when the free scoring Stirling will know what to do on Monday? Chris Anderson had done well, we could have pushed Sean wide left, tucked Beezer in, gone 4 5 1 and settled for what we had. But we also know Chris Millican has energy and can score goals, Gavin also has energy and takes our spot kicks so we swap Chris for Chris.

We then miss three chances (one of them to Chris Millican in the inside right channel) before Whitehill go up the park and score two of the best distance chips your ever likely to see.

It’s all my fault or is it? I’ve made a lot of decisions in 20 years of management and over the piece I’d like to think I’ve got more right than wrong. Chris Millican was brought down for the penalty which decided the game and Gavin scored the winner from the spot, eventually.

What are my final thoughts? I could have tried to shut up shop at 4-2 but more imortantly I’m very sorry that those very, very important players to this club missed the most important game of the season.”


Next Fixture

Date: 23/07/24
Opponent: Forfar Athletic
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: Premier Sports Cup
Kick off: 7.45pm

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