Month: November 2016

We’ve Learned From Last Time – Mooney

Given a choice Martin Mooney would probably do anything to avoid a repeat of the feeling he had after Shire’s 7-4 defeat at Selkirk in September.

Ahead of this weekend’s return meeting, as Shire prepare to welcome Selkirk to Ochilview for their latest Lowland League match, the club’s assistant coach described the first meeting of the clubs at Yarrow Park as, “one of the worst days I have had in football.”

Shire had gone to the Borders in good spirits and were favourites to beat the side at the bottom of the league. But it all went wrong straight from kick-off with the visitors 3-0 down after barely 15 minutes.

And although Shire recovered and drew the scores level at 4-4 midway through the second half there was a sting in the tail as Selkirk, rather than folding, found new life to win the match.

Despite the disappointment he felt at the result, the coach says the events at Yarrow Park may have been a positive in the long run for a Shire team who have won seven of their subsequent ten games and who have scored 17 goals in their last three games.

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“I think we turned a corner after the last time we played them,” said Martin. “It was a shock result for us and in all my time in football I’ve never been stunned as much.

“But we didn’t turn up. We went down there with the wrong mentality and players went there thinking it would be an easy three points. We have said all along that if they don’t prepare properly in this league then that sort of thing can happen.

“Hopefully this Saturday that will prove the motivation enough to go on and get the three points.”

The transformation since that day in Shire’s performances is no better illustrated than by the team’s defensive record. After conceding seven goals in 90 minutes at Selkirk Shire have let in the same number of goals in their next ten games, and two of those seven have come from the penalty spot.

Martin says the team which will take the field this weekend should be confident, especially after their last three matches which have all ended in wins.

“Anyone coming to watch us will see we are exciting to watch, we are always playing on the front foot and there are goals there. From the coaches’ point of view we are not conceding many either.”

But there will still be a warning to the players prior to kick-off this weekend that they must keep striving to maintain and even better their recent performances and results.

“Complacency can still count against us,” said Martin. “We will prepare properly for the game and the players are now buying in to what we want to do. ”

The match is one that is being keenly-anticipated by the coaches and the players. They are hoping as many Shire fans as possible will come along to cheer them on. If you can then please make the effort to be at Ochilvierw this Saturday for another important Lowland League encounter.

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Academy Players Learn New Tricks

Forth Valley Football Academy has become the first professional Academy in Scotland to integrate multi-sport delivery within the curriculum.

In July 2016 the UK’s first regional football academy launched a twice weekly, unique and innovative individual and team sport programme for all Academy players within the Under 11 to Under 14 age groups. The multi-sport initiative adds another dimension to the comprehensive sports science and mobility programme already in place which once again achieved the highest possible rating in the recent Scottish FA monitoring visit.

Significant research in the area of early specialisation versus early diversification has shown that multi-sport athletes benefit from increased speed, agility, flexibility and are less likely to suffer from burn out and psychological issues later in their development.

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The research has also shown that students who specialise in one-sport year-round develop an increase in injuries due to overuse of the same joints and tissues for an extended time. Forth Valley FA is therefore using the research available to shape a new approach to elite player development which combines a challenging and dynamic football training and games programme with technical coaching and game play in sports such as gymnastics, karate, boxing and basketball.

The introduction of the new sports has afforded the Forth Valley FA the opportunity to work with and support local grassroots clubs such as Stirling Karate Club and Alloa Boxing Club, providing the players with a high level of coaching expertise thus enhancing the level of individual support players receive.

Education and Welfare Officer, Colin Burke who is also Principal Teacher of Physical Education at Wallace High School in Stirling has delivered in-service training to the Children’s and Intermediate Academy coaches for the team sports element.

Throughout the journey from Under 11s to Under 15s the players will receive in excess of 300 multi-sports sessions totaling 60+ hours annually, demonstrating the level of importance the Forth Valley FA is placing on this programme.

The key element, however, is that the player’s football education is not affected in anyway with no reduction to the time spent on the pitch. The multi-sports inserts are completely additional with the Academy taking the lead in Scotland with the implementation of the programme.

Feedback from the first 4 months of the programme suggests it will become an integral part of the journey for every child. The players are enjoying every minute of the sessions which they approach with the same contagious enthusiasm they apply to the training and games.

The coaches’ incredible dedication and open minded nature has allowed the programme to flourish and without them it would not be possible. The Academy parents have embraced the changes and continue to provide a fantastic level of support for what is an ever increasing commitment.

Without the on-going support of our partners and sponsors and the contributions of everyone connected with the Academy towards the fundraising plan the introduction of such an immensely beneficial programme would not be possible, the Academy staff would therefore like to thank everyone for their support.

Saturday’s Opponents – Selkirk FC

This weekend Shire will welcome Selkirk to Ochilview for the first return match of our Lowland League season so far.

And Shire must beware as the Yarrow Park club, although second from last of the league table, are one of only three teams to have recorded a league victory over Shire this season.

That incredible 7-4 defeat has left its mark. For Shire it was a turning point – in the ten matches since the team has won seven, drawn once and tasted defeat just twice, on both occasions to the last kick of the ball.

Selkirk, though, have not managed to build on that. After defeating Shire, Garry O’Connor’s team beat BSC Glasgow 4-0 in their very next match but they have not picked up a point in their subsequent five Lowland League games.

They have been unlucky and have lost four of those five games by the odd goal and they have continued to find the back of the net, scoring at least once in every game.

The Scottish Cup didn’t offer any joy as Selkirk went down 3-0 at home to Linlithgow Rose.

One thing Shire will have to be aware of is the difference in personnel at Saturday’s visitors since our September meeting. Both ex-Shire men, Ricky Miller and Jay Doyle, are still playing along with main goal getters Phil Addison and Gary McCormack. Former Gretna man McCormack hasn’t featured lately because of injury but he is on his way back.

But there have been several changes in the squad since that day with a number of new players introduced.

They have gone to the SPFL to take young players on loan and have highly-regarded Hearts kid Dale Baxter now as a regular along with former youth international Jordan Neil. Even last week, in their 2-1 defeat against Gretna 2008, O’Connor had a couple of trialists out.

One of them, 23 year-old Unpha Koroma, was with Stoke City as a kid and has plenty of experience at non-league level in England with teams just below the Conference and he was also attracting the attention of Arbroath not so long ago.

Selkirk were hoping to warm-up for the weekend game with a Football Nation Qualifying Cup clash against Lothian Thistle-Hutchison Vale in midweek but that fell victim to the frosty weather.

They may be second bottom of the table but Selkirk are by no means isolated from the rest of the league with O’Connor only this week insisting that his team is better than their league position indicates.

Shire can already vouch for that this season. We look forward to welcoming Selkirk to Ochilview and we woould like as many Shire fans as possible to come along and get right behind the team in what will be a very important match.

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Sponsor The Shire

The club would like to thank AJS & RJ Consulting Ltd. who will be the match sponsors for this weekend’s Lowland League match against Selkirk at Ochilview. AiiB Consulting Ltd. will be our match ball sponsors.

We are very grateful to both for their valued support of the club. It is worth pointing out that both match sponsorship and match ball sponsorship are available for some of our remaining games at Ochilview this season.

They are a surprisingly cost-effective way for businesses to support the club and have a great day out watching The Shire.

We have also received some great feedback recently from those who have come along to sample our corporate hospitality packages. These are also a great value-for-money way of coming to watch Shire games.

For just £65.00 per person you will receive a three course lunch with complementary bar, half-time teas and coffees and a full-time buffet with a complementary bar as well as prime seats to watch the action and also an opportunity to meet players and coaches.

If you would like to take up any of these offers at any of our remaining home Lowland League games this season contact us by dropping an e-mail to esfccommercial@gmail.com.

Quiz Night Reminder

We would like to remind everyone that the Shire Supporters Club is holding a fundraising Quiz Night this coming Friday (25th November).

It goes ahead in the Ochilview Bar (the pub next to the stadium) with a 7:30pm kick-off. Teams of four, five or six members are welcome to enter and everyone, Shire supporter or not, is invited along to take part.

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The entry free is £5.00 per team member. If you want to book you place or enter a team then give Supporters Club chairman Sandy Nimmo a call on 07803 708119.

The cash raised will be used to help fund Supporters Club activities throughout the season. It has done a brilliant job this season in organising buses to every away match so far and will continue to lay on transport throughout the remainder of the season.

New members are always welcome and full details can be obtained from the committee members.

Another Ochilview Shireday

Shire’s run of five consecutive home Saturday matches comes to an end this weekend (26th November) when Selkirk are the visitors in our latest Lowland League encounter.

It is the first reverse fixture of the league season and gives Shire the opportunity to try to extend a winning run to four matches. It is also a chance to make up for the first encounter between the teams at Yarrow Park in September, an extraordinary match which Shire lost 7-4 after going 3-0 down in the opening 15 minutes then pulling back to 4-4 midway through the second half.

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Since that day Shire have won five of the six Lowland League games they have played. The team has also played a total of ten league and cup games since last meeting Selkirk and has conceded the same number of goals in those ten games as they did in 90 minutes at Yarrow Park.

This will be Shire’s fifth straight home game – they have won three and lost one of the first four matches, scoring 18 times and conceding five.

The coaches and players are keen to get as big a support along to this important game as possible. The team has been playing well and scoring freely recently and we are appealing to everyone with the club at heart, no matter if you’ve been to every match this season or if you’ve not been at all, to come along and cheer on the team.

From The Record Books

Saturday’s 6-2 Lowland League win against Preston Athletic has once again had the club’s resident Mr. Stats, Drummond Calder, delving into the record books looking little gems to entertain you and, as is nearly always the case, he doesn’t disappoint.

The weekend win was the first game Shire have won 6-2 since a League Cup-tie against East Fife at Firs Park on 4th September 1965 and is only our fifth 6-2 win in the post-World War Two era.

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The win now means Shire have scored fifteen times in consecutive matches. That’s the highest tally of goals for registered in back-to-back matches since September 1946 when the team scored 17 in two games and prior to that it hadn’t happened since 1895.

It does fall some way short of the record, though. On 25th August 1888 Shire beat Laurieston 11-0 and seven days later, on 1st September, in their very next game recorded a 10-1 victory over Stenhousemuir, making 21 goals in successive games.

At least it gives Granty, Andy, PJ and Jamie something to aim for.

 

Good To End Goal Drought – Grant

David Grant admits he took a bit of gentle dressing room stick for failing to hit the target in last week’s win over Newton Stewart.

It’s maybe not surprising to be the butt of the jokes when the club’s top scorer doesn’t find the back of the net on a day when the team scores nine.

But his four goals in Saturday’s 6-2 win over Preston Athletic means the banter in the week ahead will more likely to at someone else’s expense. The strikes also will come as a relief to a player who hadn’t scored since the trip to Mid Annandale in the middle of October.

East Stirlings Andy Rodgers in second half action..East Stirling v Cumbernauld Colts, Lowland League, September 10th 2016. (c) Paul Cram | Johnstone Press
Photo : Paul Cram, Falkirk Herald

“The boys were slagging me after winning 9-0 and not being able to get one. It’s been a couple of weeks so it was good to score but as long as we get the win I’m happy although it’s always good to get a few goals.”

The double at Lockerbie took David’s season tally to 15 and it remained resolutely stuck there over the next four games although he was creating plenty of strikes for other players. He says it was starting to prey a bit on his mind, although David says he received plenty of support encouraging him to believe things would turn again.

“They boys have been saying different things, don’t snatch at chances, that sort of stuff which was really good,” he said. “I’m really glad just to get back into it again.”

David has always been one to put team targets before personal ones and says the current form can only benefit the club as a whole.

“We just need to keep going and trying to pick up three points and grinding out results,” he said. “We just need to try and win every single game. The coach has driven that into us and we just need to keep winning to try and put the pressure on the others.”

But knowing that the team cannot afford any more slip ups if it is to maintain a chance of a title challenge does not come easy. That’s something David is willing to accept but he says it doesn’t mean the team should give up.

“It is difficult to win every game,” he said. “But we have laid down a marker. We know how good we can be so we just have to keep winning.”

To listen to David’s full post-game comments after Saturday’s win over Preston Athletic click on the link below.

Another Confidence Boost -Sludden

Coach John Sludden has described Saturday’s 6-2 Lowland League victory over Preston Athletic as another much-needed boost to confidence.

David Grant ended a four game run without a goal by scoring four and there were counters too from Liam Allison and Andy Rodgers as Shire raced to their seventh consecutive home league victory.

The coach says the team can only derive fresh self-belief after another comprehensive victory which came just seven days after they scored nine against Newton Stewart.

East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; Shire manager John Sludden Pic by Alan Murray Contact - mob 07511 123 919 home 01877 331266 www.alanmurrayphotography.co.uk East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; Pic by Alan Murray Contact - mob 07511 123 919 home 01877 331266 www.alanmurrayphotography.co.uk East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; Pic by Alan Murray Contact - mob 07511 123 919 home 01877 331266 www.alanmurrayphotography.co.uk East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; Pic by Alan Murray Contact - mob 07511 123 919 home 01877 331266 www.alanmurrayphotography.co.uk East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; Pic by Alan Murray Contact - mob 07511 123 919 home 01877 331266 www.alanmurrayphotography.co.uk East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; Pic by Alan Murray Contact - mob 07511 123 919 home 01877 331266 www.alanmurrayphotography.co.uk
Photo : Alan Murray, Falkirk Herald

“It’s all about building up confidence, keeping the run going and trying to score as many goals as we can,” he said. “No disrespect to the opposition but the way we play, creating changes with our movement and link-up play we are always going to score.

“We felt that we didn’t need to take so many touches and we needed to keep the ball moving and if we did that we would create chances, and that’s what happened.

“We missed some chances but the good thing is that we are creating them. If it was a case where you weren’t creating chances then that would be something to look at.”

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Something John’s not looking at right now is the league table. The coach remains too focused on trying to build a head of steam to let his mind wander on different permutations of what might take Shire to the top of the league table.

He says there’s a good reason for that and it’s because the only thing that will help is winning football matches.

“All we can do is look after ourselves,” he said. “We need to keep on doing the right things, keep winning games and see where it takes us.

“We scored nine last week and six this week and that’s great for the confidence of the team.”

David Grant’s four goals will also do his own personal confidence the world of good. Shire’s leading scorer hadn’t scored in four games prior to Saturday and the coach says it great that all his strikers are now starting to find the net regularly.

“His goals today will really help him,” said the coach. “We’re getting goals now from the front three with Andy and Paul last week and Granty this week and now we want Jamie (Glasgow) to get some too.

“It was good for Liam to get one and it shows we now carry a danger at set plays as well,” he said.

To listen to John’s full post-match interview click on the link below.

Preston Athletic Preview

Shire return to Lowland League action this week when Preston Athletic are the visitors to Ochilview.

It will be Shire’s first league match for a fortnight and will only be their second Lowland League encounter since October 8th. The team will go in search of their seventh straight home league victory against the table’s wooden spoonists – Preston Athletic have won only once on their travels in the Lowland League this season and that was on the opening day of the season at Selkirk.

A lack of league encounters over the past few weeks has seen Shire slip from second to fourth as other clubs have won while Shire have been playing cup-ties. This game represents a chance to climb the table but will not be an easy afternoon against opponents who are sure to be determined to claim the points.

Shire will wear their traditional black and white hoops and the match referee is Andy Taylor. The match ball sponsors are John and Peter and we are grateful to them for their support. Admission is £8.00 adults and £4.00 concessions and kick-off is 3:00pm

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MATCH : Shire will be hindered by the absence of skipper Derek Ure who is serving the first of a two game suspension after being sent-off in last week’s 9-0 SFA South Region Challenge Cup victory over Newton Stewart.

On the plus side, Graeme MacGregor, who has been on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury, has returned to training this week and may be considered for selection by coach John Sludden.

Graeme hasn’t played since the disappointing Scottish Cup replay defeat against Annan Athletic on 29th October but is keen to get back into action.

Shire have been preoccupied by cup games over the last month. This weekend’s game against Preston Athletic is just the team’s second league match in six weeks and their first since the last-gasp 2-1 win over Dalbeattie Star a fortnight ago.

Confidence is high after last week’s eye-catching cup victory over the South of Scotland League side but no-one is taking anything for granted – the last time Shire played the team at the bottom of the Lowland League was away at Selkirk and they lost a crazy game 7-4.

Neither players or coaches have forgotten that point which has been drummed home at training this week.

Preston Athletic have been on a poor run of results but, as Shire people know, that doesn’t always mean the team’s performances have been poor. They led 1-0 at half-time away to Spartans on Tuesday night in Edinburgh in their last league outing before losing two second half goals.

PAST : Shire and Preston Athletic have met in competitive action only once previously, in the first round of the 2008/09 Scottish Cup at Ochilview.

The then-East of Scotland League team gave promotion-chasing Shire a fright by taking an early lead only for Andy Rodgers to level things from the penalty spot.

A penalty of their own put the visitors back in front early in the second half and it wasn’t until the introduction of Brian Graham from the substitutes bench that the game swung Shire’s way. Graham himself levelled the scored and further strikes from Colin Cramb and Sean Anderson took Shire through 4-2.

VIEWPOINT : Coach John Sludden accepts the absence through suspension of club captain Derek Ure is far from ideal but says it presents the chance for one player to break into the starting eleven and make a claim for a regular slot.

John  is also hoping last weekend’s 9-0 victory will breed the kind of confidence he is looking for from his players in what is an important match and will be a test of the players.

Listen to John’s pre-game comments in full by clicking on the link below :

Shire midfielder Kris Faulds started the goal feast against Newton Stewart last Saturday and ended the 9-0 SFA South Region Challenge Cup win with a personal tally of two.

He says that they cannot afford to take anything for granted against Preston Athletic and they won’t because he recalls only too well what happened at Selkirk earlier in the season.

However, Kris says they have to approach the match with some confidence.

To listen to the full pre-game interview click on the link below :