Shire coach John Sludden says he will continue trying to make improvements to the team’s performances after they twice failed to hold on to a lead to draw 2-2 at Ochilview with Civil Service Strollers on Sunday in the club’s latest Lowland League outing.
The coach and players were left frustrated not only by the 85th minute goal which allowed the visitors to leave with a point but also by the refusal of referee Gary Doherty to award a penalty in injury-time after Paul Sludden went down inside the box.
Despite that, the coach was perhaps even more disappointed with the inability to hold on to an advantage – Shire took a ninth minute lead through Andy Rodgers and Paul Sludden gave them a 2-1 advantage just seconds after Strollers scored a 71st minute equaliser.
“Going by the reactions of everyone it’s a penalty kick to us,” he said of the game’s last meangingful moment. “It’s a sore one to take. But at the moment we can’t seem to see out games when we are in the lead.
“We needed to be aggressive on the ball for their two goals and we didn’t do that which is disappointing,” he said.”We spoke about how they were an enthusiastic team and how we would have to match their aggression.
“There was some good link up play and we created some chances but it was just in spells. We need to keep that up for 90 minutes and not just play every now and again and there were tims when we allowed them into the game.”
Shire got off to the best possible start with a goal from Andy Rodgers after just nine minutes. But the team’s failure to build on such a positive opening led to their undoing in the second period.
The visitors came much more into things after the break and created a number of dangerous openings before substitute David Chruchill fired them level.
“We said at half-time that if we keep a clean sheet then we win the game,” said the coach. “You will get games where you create chances and won’t take them. But if you do the other part of the game correctly then you go on and take three points.”
That said, Shire didn’t let the first equaliser set them back. Straight from the re-start Paul Sludden headed them back in front and the coach was hoping that would point the team in the right direction.
“We scored two good goals,” said John. “You can’t really fault the strikers. We will just need to go again on Tuesday and Thursday night because there is no way forward other than through hard work and we will look forward to going again on Saturday.”
Paul Sludden was just as disappointed that his 72nd minute goal which put Shire 2-1 up hadn’t ended up winning them the game. He had hoped the team had done enough but Shire were to find out that wasn’t the case when Andrew Main popped up at the back post to level the scores with five minutes left.
“We see the demand on us to win every game,” said Paul. “Teams aren’t going to lie down so we need to work harder to make sure we put games to bed.
“I’ve played in this league for a few years now and I’ve learned if you give teams something to hang on to they will try their hardest to get back in the game or hold on to a lead. Maybe we need to be more clinical in front of goal that will help us going forward.”
You can listen to coach John Sludden’s post-game thoughts in full by clicking on the link below .
Striker Paul Sludden also spoke at length about Sunday’s draw and some of the wider issues the result has thrown up. You can listen to his comments by clicking on the link below.
Shire are now next back in action this coming Saturday when the team travels south to Innerleithen’s Victoria Park to face Vale of Leithen.