An update from our Manager

With Saturday’s match against Kirkcaldy & Dysart FC not beating the freeze, this means we are just short of 50% of the season being complete. This also means we will remain top of the East of Scotland First Division at the turn of the year regardless of the results during the round of new year fixtures.

We will prepare properly for our upcoming game against Preston Athletic despite the time of the year. We will be training right up to and including Christmas Eve, then it’s back to training a few days after Christmas. The players’ attitudes and application has been superb so far this season. 

Just like my last update I have left it a while so I have a few matches to cover in this update. I should probably take a leaf from our under 20’s manager’s book Stuart Allan and do a video update as he’s shown me up a bit here. 

The first two matches were cup ties away to Gartcairn and Gretna. I felt the Gartcairn match was fair even though we suffered a 2-1 loss on the day. We were on top in the early part of the match and we lost control a bit when Gartcairn changed shape and denied us space in areas of the pitch that we had been getting joy in. On reflection of the game I should have made a tactical change to try to get a hold of the game again,  but at the time I felt what we were doing in the game was the right thing, and we had to stick to the plan. 

Gretna away was a performance I was really proud of. We were dominant in the first half and so far on top it was great to watch. James Redpath scored a special free kick that day which kind of summed up our performance. We had to do more defending in the second half but in my opinion we were the best team and put in a special performance. 

The next two matches to be covered in this update are league matches against Newtongrange Star away from home and a return to NCP against Leith Athletic.

I felt Newtongrange started the match strongly which we expected. They have shown in other matches that they come out the blocks flying and take early leads. We weathered the storm for the first 15 minutes which had we lost a goal in that period would probably have been fair. We have put together a more resilient defensive unit and I felt Thommo and Sean Brennan were particularly important during this spell in the match. 

For the 70 mins that followed I thought there was only going to be one winner. Big Cammy Dawson led the line superbly that day along with Ben Bathgate and Darren Handling causing Nitten’s backline endless problems with their forward runs which I felt we fully deserved the points. 

Lastly Leith Athletic at home, In reality the game was done at half time. Again it was another great first half performance. The second half was more even but the job was done. We still had opportunities to increase our lead further. 

In a quick summary of our last 3 league matches against tough opponents. Kinoull, Nitten and Leith.. 12 goals for, 2 against (a penalty and an OG) is taking us into the new year on form. We have to be able to deal with the pressure of having a target on our back and everyone in the league is aiming at us. Without stating the obvious that every team in this division would want to be in our position right now. 

We have had some more contract extensions agreed over the last few weeks which we have recently announced, and we will hopefully have more before Christmas. 

On behalf of the other coaches, players and myself I want to wish everyone connected to the club a very Merry Christmas and I look forward to seeing everyone on Friday 30th December at New Countess Park for our end of year East Lothian Derby fixture against Preston Athletic.

All the best 

Kevin Haynes