Well I done my prep work for this one, contacted East Stirling to ask about disabled parking and got a swift reply. Turns out the reply was wrong though and we were parked at the wrong side. Luckily it wasn’t busy and we managed to get parked closer to the open turnstile. I did ask a guy who was shutting a gate where we should go and the turnstile we were waiting at was the one he said, eventually I even went to reception and was told the same. We saw people disappearing down the other end so I went to investigate and found the open turnstile. A bit of signage wouldn’t go amiss. Still we manage to get in and let’s face it, we weren’t going to be short of a place to sit.....
It was myself, my dad and my friend Gordon for this one. Raining and cold we settled down for the game armed with teas and bovril. I have no idea what arrangements East Stirling have with Falkirk regarding ground sharing but you wouldn’t know East Stirling played there, there was nothing that I saw to indicate it from the outside. Inside there was a stand for merchandise though and program sellers, halftime draw tickets etc and more of a feeling that East Stirling were represented.
I was thinking we would get stuffed here and well, we did. 3-1. We gave away a penalty (couldn’t really work out what happened) and we were chasing the game. A cracking Header from Miller saw us go in at halftime 1-1 and some optimism for the second half though. I though we could actually go on and get another goal. What happened in reality is we collapsed. Overplaying passes, good runs forward but with nobody in support was particularly frustrating to see. We had chances but we didn’t take them. We are still scared to shoot. It’s becoming insanely frustrating to watch passes around the edge of the box where we ultimately lose possession. When the 3rd goal went in late one we upped and left. There could only have been a minute to go but my dad said “right, that’s enough” so off we went home in the lashing rain and wind.
We have some reasonable players (Miller surely must have done enough already to win all the end of season awards) but there’s something obviously not right. 13 games played and 12 points. Next up BSC Glasgow at Shielfield and I can’t see us picking up 3 points against them. I would dearly like to though.
A cold and wet Tuesday night and I was in Kelty with my dad. It’s not too far away from us so I had to go but I wasn’t expecting much from the game. We arrived in plenty of time as usual but shunned the disabled parking bays for other ones that were much closer to the entrance. Parking is in the community centre so the bays are really designed for them. The rain was coming down and the temperature dropping. We had a chat with a couple of Kelty fans and bought some programs and halftime draw tickets. A Bovril for my dad and a cup of tea for me and then off to the stand for a seat. A charge of £1 to access the seated stand seems a bit odd, it was the same at Cove Rangers last year. I didn’t know what size of crowd would be there so early arrival is crucial to get a seat for my dad. He doesn’t look as bad as he actually is at walking, he hides a fair bit but he’s 82 and needs a seat.
Well it was a 4-0 loss in the end but it was a funny game. Kelty has us under pressure for most of the game and we did have a few breaks but nothing came of them. Kelty are a good team but they aren’t unbeatable. We needed more composure and we were very lucky not to have a bucketful of cards for the pulling, pushing and poor tackles that we put in. It wasn’t a “bad” match but we looked a little run off our feet and some poor passing saw us lose possession far too easily. The team held their shape much better than the Friday night Spartans game. I didn’t come away disappointed, there was some good work by the team but it now really needs to kick in. It’s been a bit too long now that we have been showing glimpses. We need to turn these glimpses into more.
Miller put in another good performance as did Balde but we came away out of the cup on a cold freezing night with the next game away to East Stirling looking like it will be pointless given their form.
A good striker who holds their position would make a massive difference (on everybody’s wish list I would imagine), a couple of wingers wouldn’t go amiss either. We are still afraid to take a shot and would rather put the ball wide for a high cross into the box. It’s not as if we are specialists in the crossing/heading a goal area so a shot would be just as effective and there’s a greater chance of a deflection, handball, keeper spilling it etc. I’m not suggesting that’s all we do but it’s frustrating when we have a player in a position to shoot and the ball goes wide nearly every time. We seem to be frustratingly close to pulling off a win but it’s just not happening. Hopefully soon it will though.
An early start for this one. A Supporters Trust meeting at 11am means leaving the house at around 7:30am and collecting my dad just before 8am before heading to Berwick. It would be myself, my dad, my brother and his wife at the game my wife and dog coming to Berwick with us but not attending the match. My brother and his wife having headed down to Berwick on Friday. I had hospitality booked and hoping that the game wouldn’t be off because of the rain. (It wasn’t.....).
Plenty of rain on the way down but the game was still on. Family dropped off in Spittal and off the Shielfield for the Trust meeting. A change of venue from the pilot inn but much easier to get parked. The meeting was a bit longer than expected but there were a few things to discuss. I’m the new membership secretary and still have a few things to sort out but I’m getting there. Bill the previous secretary had a comprehensive set of documents that I need to tweak (update addresses etc) and it looks like the bank have finally granted me access to the account to check payments (the biggest stumbling block).
Trust meeting finished it was off to collect the troops (dog included) and head to the leaping salmon for lunch. Cheap and cheerful but with the usual mixup (chicken sub ordered, chicken club arrives but obviously we say nothing because it’s not worth the hassle). Lunch finished and it’s off the Shielfield.
We arrive, usual stuff can of coke and watch the first half of the Scotland game on the tv, buy half time draw tickets etc. Then outside to watch the game.
I actually won the £200 Black and Gold bond prize at half time (money will be going to Berwick cancer cars).
Well it was a 4-0 victory to Berwick at the end of the game. The first half however was dreadful. Miller scored a penalty late in the first half to east the pressure but it was a pretty poor performance. The second half however saw a different team emerge scoring early in the half with a great cross into the box that Osei nodded in at the back post. Chalmers scored the third from close range, poking in the ball. Late on in the second half Miller scored the second penalty of the game (couldn’t tell why we got the penalty though). A crucial 3 points that we desperately need to build on. An interruption in the league next as it’s away to Kelty Hearts in the football nations cup on Tuesday night. (Kelty won 7-1 today).
Well I headed to the Spartans game in the end. It turned into a bit of an Epic journey. Heavy traffic on the Edinburgh bypass saw me arriving at Dunbar at 5:20. I had arranged to get a lift from Dunbar but my plan was to get to Berwick and drop off Ruth and Pippa then head back to Dunbar. That never happened so I stopped at Dunbar and Ruth drove to Berwick and back to Dunbar later to collect me. There was an nasty accident on the A1 Northbound (we saw lots of flashing blue lights going past) that delayed several Berwick fans and officials. Even the return journey saw us thwarted by roadworks in Edinburgh that sprung up while we were at the game. I had had a very long day of it and was looking forward to getting a result at Spartans. Hopeful as always......
This is going to be short again, the game was pretty poor. It was blooming cold and we were pretty lacking as a team. The first half was a turgid affair, we were on top for perhaps 15 minutes (on top for Berwick anyway) but again a complete lack of shots on goal. Pass, pass, pass lose possession. There’s also the constant crossing, pass from the edge of the box to the corner to put a cross in to be cleared. It’s not working just take a ruddy shot! Now I’m writing this on Saturday evening and I’ll post it when I get home on Sunday but right now I can’t remember if Spartans scored one the first half or the second! I can’t be bothered looking it up I was so disappointed in the result and the performance. We never really looked threatening. Aaron Murrell the ex Berwick player from a couple of seasons ago netted for Spartans after a defensive error that saw Spartans take all 3 points.
We do have a few decent players but it’s not enough and I fear they will soon start letting their game slip when others either can’t or won’t raise theirs. We are desperate for points, it’s getting a little embarrassing now. I appreciate it’s a young squad but something needs to happen. We are up against BSC Glasgow on Tuesday night (I won’t be at that one) and Vale of Leithen on Saturday at home (I’ll be at that one) followed by league leaders Kelty Hearts on the following Tuesday (I’ll be there too). We must take points from these league games, Kelty will be difficult but it’s a cup game but the other two games surely?
It's a visit to Caledonian Braves in Strathclyde Country Park that's next for me and my dad (writing this on the Friday) I'm fully expecting a win here. We have no chance of winning the league but we need to put points on the board. It's a young squad that we have and they are playing reasonably well together but we are just that little bit short. There's only so many games we can narrowly miss out on. We need to take charge and gather points.
We have another few midweek games coming up too that break the flow somewhat but with some empty Saturdays in the calendar (I'm not quite sure how the fixtures are arranged). I miss the regular Saturday games, I can't get to midweek games easily but I will be able to make the Kelty Hearts cup game on the 19th of November, I'll take my dad to that and probably my friend Gordon too.
As per usual we arrived in plenty of time and today’s lunch provided by Big Al’s diner. The burger an in the car park. The food was alright and the guy serving asked me to keep an eye on the place and make sure nothing burns as he had to nip to the toilet....
We sat in the car eating lunch and watched an episode of still game on the screen in the car. Then into the “stadium” for the game. It’s a soulless stadium with the constant noise of the motorway behind the stand(s). It felt like the sort of place you turn up to for a kids football birthday party. I counted around 60 fans and around 40 of them were Berwick fans. There were a few others in the ground, cameraman etc. It was quiet and a quite a dull place to visit in the middle of nowhere. The two small stands were decent though. It’s a difficult task to establish yourself as a football team in that area and attract fans. There’s a lot of competition with Motherwell and and Hamilton close by and the attraction of the Glasgow teams. There’s also a number of Junior teams in towns like Bellshill that you have to compete with. A tough thing to do but best wishes to them. Let’s hope they can build a better fan experience as they grow.
This section is getting harder to write as the weeks go on. I really should leave it to later in the week but it may never get done then.
The performance in the first half from both teams saw them trot off to the dressing room 0-0. There was a delay to kick off of about 5mins but I have no idea why. Neither team looked like they were at their best and I though it would be one of those games that 1 goal would win it.
The second half saw us score a cracking free kick. Straight to the top right hand corner. Braves equalised with a good goal from the edge of the box, we gave the player too much room though. We went up 2-1 after their defender nodded a pass back over the top of the keeper who was coming out to gather it. It looked like it was going in but Lewis Barr was there to guide it home. There was also a shout for a penalty for Berwick in the second half but it wasn’t given.
The heavens opened and the rain poured down. The floodlights casting shadows and making it difficult to see, they went the best but the rain didn’t help matters. We were stuck in our own half for the last 5 minutes plus what seemed like and awful lot of extra time (even a minute seems like 10 when you are pushed back defending). This is when Braves scored. We took our eye off the ball and concentration dropped. It was pretty much the last kick of the ball that the Braves put home to end the game 2-2.
We did score a cracking free kick but we were gifted the second and again unable to hold on to the end to secure 3 points. Next up away to Spartans on Friday night. It’s looking unlikely I’ll be at that one.