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    Manager previews Stenhousemuir game 

    Saturday, November 14, 2009 3:47:30 AM

    I’d like to offer a warm welcome to John Coughlin, Matt Kerr, the players, directors and supporters of Stenhousemuir FC who have made the short journey across the Kincardine Bridge for today’s match.
    In our previous two fixtures with Stenhousemuir this season (one Stirlingshire Cup Tie) we have failed to score and have been second best, particularly in the league match when we were fortunate not to lose by more than a single goal. That game was the start of our really poor run of results and injuries with Iain Russell and Kevin Welsh both suffering injuries that have left them unavailable since that game. The most disappointing aspect of that game was that we had a good travelling support with us and we didn’t give them a performance worthy of their backing and I believe it’s more difficult to get the support to travel again when they feel let down. Last week’s game at Stirling was the exact opposite in terms of the effort, the performance and of course the result – we started the game competitively in the middle of the park, as it should be in a derby, and Stuart Noble, Brian Carrigan and Andy Scott gave us a real threat up front. We played well in the first half and had chances through John Grant, Andy Scott, Mark McCafferty and Stuart Noble and in my opinion thoroughly deserved our one nil lead at half time thanks to Andy’s excellent penalty. Stirling’s change of formation coupled with Brown Ferguson’s injury gave us a decision to make and I chose to tighten things up in the midfield to make us harder to beat which I’m pleased to say worked on the day. Thereafter we conceded a lot of possession to Stirling without them troubling Davie too much, while we had the best chances through Brown Ferguson and Mark Brown. Our overall display was excellent with every player playing well and the value of having some experience in the defence was clear for all to see with Scott Walker marshalling the back four and making sure our concentration levels remain high throughout. Our return to form has coincided with the return of David McClune after injury and his effect on the team and the defence in particular cannot be overstated. After a great pre season and five games Davie injured his knee in the cup tie against Dundee United and we feared the worst but Jim Law’s excellent work and a little patience have seen him recover well – I have to say in all my time in football he has been the most depressing injured player I’ve ever had and Jim Law must be relieved to have him back on the park rather than in his treatment room.
    After Stenhousemuir’s victory at Arbroath two weeks ago I’m sure that John Coughlin will have been mystified with last weeks 3 – 0 defeat at home against Dumbarton, especially when his team played so well in the first half. The league is so tight that two or three victories in a row will lift a side straight up the league and with so many good attacking options at their disposal I’m sure that John and Matt will have their team back up the table very soon. Scott Dalziel, Iain Diack, Craig O’Reilly, Robert Love and Kevin Bradley are all very capable of causing problems to defenders in our league (as we found to our cost) and Kevin Motion and Pat Scullion are two players that can give them the service that strikers thrive on. Pat and Kevin controlled much of our last encounter in which Kevin scored a great goal to win the match and we will need to match them if we hope to succeed today. I have been hugely impressed by Chris McCuskey in the games I’ve seen him and believe that his performances played a big part in Stenhousemuir’s early season success.

    After today we have three away matches at Arbroath, Cowdenbeath (in the Scottish Cup) and East Fife and I believe that this group of games will help to determine how our season is to progress. We require all our players to perform well over the next four weeks if we are to achieve the results needed and more importantly to help us meet the targets we set ourselves. I understand that away games are a massive drain on finances for supporters but your backing will be vital this season and I ask that you continue to give the team your vocal support which is greatly appreciated.

    I hope you all enjoy today’s game.

    Allan Maitland

    Managers Corner