Author Archive

What do points make?

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Tonight we travel to Raydale to play Gretna in a league game looking to win all 3 points to increase our chances of winning the ultimate prize…the league title.  Since our earlier meeting this season – when we defeated Gretna 4-0 at home – Gretna have been busy in the transfer market, the result being a stronger side and more strength in depth.

That said, I believe our squad has also changed for the better.  Our squad has now been together for 8 months…the side which takes the park tonight goes into the game on the back of a large number of wins this season, meaning heightened levels of confidence, belief and understanding around how we want to play, within the group.  In addition, in the New Year we also brought in a couple of new faces to strengthen our own group.

On the player front, both Robbie and Donal are both free from suspension and available for selection tonight, also Andy Martin has recovered from the illness which ruled him out last weekend.  However, on the down-side Mark Whatley is suspended following his sending off on Saturday past.

For one player in particular, tonight’s game has added significance, namely ‘Cloudy’ who will make his 350th appearance for Spartans this evening.  With 241 goals to his name (lots of them vital goals scored in significant matches) to date, Cloudy is setting Club records that in all likelihood will never be broken.

With 14 goals (and 12 assists) this season so far, we are hoping his next significant goal comes this evening and can help to deliver 3 points in our pursuit of the title. Ds

A Winning Weekend

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Saturday was a good day to be a Spartan with all 4 Teams who played at the Academy delivering a postive result.  It’s great to see some of our young sides performing so well, raising the bar, most notably our U17s.  Yesterday our U14s joined our U17s in reaching the last 8 of the Scottish Cup, further great news.

In terms of the Seniors, our performance level on Saturday was very good, in parts of the game excellent…it had to be.  The Strollers did exactly what they have been doing all season….playing good football, working hard for each other and making life difficult for their opponents. In short,  proving to be extremely difficult and tough to beat.

In my programme notes for Saturday past I talked about the importance of doing our job, of looking to apply some pressure on our rivals.  All we can do is win football matches and see where it takes us. Other sides will have the advantage of knowing what they have to do to overtake us…whilst in recent weeks we have experienced a pressure of a different kind, expected to win, but knowing that a slip-up would provide our rivals with a huge lift.

It was pleasing to to take all 3 points against a side who we had dropped points to/against earlier in season.  However, nothing has changed…our collective goal is to set a points total which is competitive, which others will find hard to reach and better.

On the horizon is consecutive cup games, a chance for everyone to enjoy 1-off games and hopefully progress further in 2 cup competitions.  Results from yesterday show that anything can happen in cup football.  The immediate task for us is straight forward, ‘make sure our name is in the hat’ for the next round, that’s our sole focus for the immediate future…trying to secure more league points is on hold for now. Ds

Overcoming a University Challenge

Monday, October 29th, 2012

On Saturday Dorian was able to field his strongest starting 11 of the season, the University got the chance to play without any pressure and these 2 things combined resulted in another tough test for us at home.  It’s a strange thing to say sometimes you can score too early….perhaps Saturday past was one of those days when scoring early resulted in a false sense of security.  However, maybe that’s too simple and unfair on EUAFC who played well on the day, in particular the 1st half when their composure on the ball and ball retention was excellent.

Over the 90 mins I thought we deserved the win, to progress to the next round of the Challenge Cup (the reward being another tough game, this time away at Meadowbank vs. Edinburgh City).  However, our failure to score a 3rd goal when on top midway through the 2nd half, did result in a few scary moments at the death.

Next up, it’s another cup game…our re-scheduled League Cup game vs. Ormiston on Wednesday night (kick off 7.45pm at the Academy).  We go into the game looking to finish top of our qualifying section, also to keep our unbeaten run going.  With each win we strengthen the collective belief and winning mentality within the group.  We will mix things up on Wednesday, as we look to give minutes to some of the players who have not featured as prominately as some others in recent weeks. Sammy

Bremner Double Delight

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Last Saturday was pleasing on several fronts, we progressed to the last 8 of another cup competition, recorded another clean sheet and Willie Bremner got off the mark in the scoring stakes.  For the first time since joining us in the summer Willie is playing without any niggles, aches and pains, it’s great to see all his hard work being rewarded with some excellent performances of late. I’m convinced he will continue to work hard and learn from our senior players.

I enjoyed our performance last Saturday, especially first half when we controlled the game, controlled the ball and dominated throughout.  We knew Kelso would provide us with a tough test, would get men behind the ball and frustrate us, however, the patience in our play and tempo on the ball meant that we were able to create enough goal scoring opportunities to claim the win.

In recent weeks I have started to take in some of our YS matches….it’s been great to see our U19s and U17s up close.  There’s no doubt both squads have players with the potential to become 1st team players.  However, that’s for the future, in the short term, next up for us is Edinburgh University in the South Challenge Cup, another tough test.  It’s a challenge we are really looking forward to, as we look to continue our excellent run of recent form.

A stop, start game

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

As I reflect back on yesterday’s performance, there’s no doubt we faced a fully committed, determined and capable Vale of Leithen side at Innerleithen yesterday.  Sometimes it’s too easy to say that we didn’t play well, however, that would be disrespectful to the side Fraser and Kerr have built.  In short, they didn’t allow us to play, the ‘stop, start’ nature of the game meant it was difficult to find any rythm for a sustained spell.  In patches we did fine, we created chances to win….in fact on ‘chances created’ it’s fair to say 3 points was there for us, however, The Vale more than earned their point with Flocks required to make a good stop on more than one occasion. Was it a point won or 2 lost….that’s for further down the road, a long way down the road.  Next up it’s ‘The Watt’ on Tuesday, a side who will be desperate to bounce back from dropping 3 points at home yesterday.  It will be another tough test  against another side desperate and hungry to beat ‘The Spartans’.  On the player front, more specifically regarding the 4 players missing yesterday – Willie Bremner is now free from suspension, I’m also hopeful that 1 from Cloudy, Ali & Johnny will be available for Tuesday’s game…when as always we’ll be positive and look to take all 3 points. Sammy

Gretna Test

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

This evening we play our 2nd league game in 4 days when we host Gretna 2008 at the Academy.  Along with Stirling University, Gretna 2008 have been a real breath of fresh air for East of Scotland football.  In the space of only a few years they have become one of the top teams in E of S football, a club and side which has earned the respect of everyone.  Like ourselves, this summer was a period of change for Gretna as they too set about re-building the side.  One thing is certain, we will need to be somewhere near our best this evening if we are to win and take all 3 points.

Looking back on last Saturday, losing the late goal was deflating for everyone.  My own view is we had created enough goal scoring opportunities and played well enough over the piece to take all 3 points.

On the upside, it was great to see our talisman Cloudy get off the mark for the season with a hat-trick.  In general, we had more penetration and created more goal scoring opportunities in comparison to the week before, a trend we hope to continue this evening.  To improve as a group on an ongoing basis is the ultimate goal, is what we are trying to achieve.