Month: December 2016

BSC Glasgow Preview

Shire return to Lowland League action on Hogmanay for the final game of 2016 when the team visits BSC Glasgow at their temporary home of Alloa’s Recreation Park.

It will be the team’s first competitive outing in a fortnight, a result of the league’s policy of not scheduling any fixtures in Christmas week, and coach John Sludden and his players will be hoping to extend an unbeaten run of league matches which currently stands at eight.

In that time Shire have recorded seven wins and a draw, with the only dropped points being in the 3-3 draw against Civil Service Strollers on 10th December. Shire last lost a Lowland League game on 24th September when Spartans scored with the last kick of the game to win 1-0 at Ainslie Park and since then in the 12 league and cup matches played Shire have lost only once in a Scottish Cup replay against Annan Athletic, who also scored their winner with the last kick of the game.

Shire will wear their traditional black and white hoops for this game and the match referee is Ryan Hardie. Kick-off at The Recs is 3pm and the coaches and players would love to see as many fans as possible there to cheer on the team. It’s one of the closest away games of the entire season, so why not come along to support the Shire ?

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Despite the holidays, and the blank Saturday last weekend, the players have been hard at work on the training pitch in the weeks surrounding the festive period. Coach Sludden organised a closed-door match against Stirling Albion which Shire won 4-0, but more importantly it gave players coming back from injury, especially Adam Murray, the chance to get some important game time.

Shire have not seen league action since 17th December when the team travelled to Innerleithen to face Vale of Leithen, they came back with a 4-2 victory.

It was Shire’s second successive win on the road and they will go to The Recs this weekend hoping to make it three after a spell of three successive away defeats came to an end with the 10-1 victory at Gala Fairydean Rovers at the beginning of December.

But BSC Glasgow are sure to be confident with some great results of their own in recent weeks. Their last outing was a narrow 2-1 defeat away at Spartans but they have been in good form in their home matches lately and have lost just four of their 12 competitive games at The Recs this season and recently defeated Preston Athletic 8-3 there.

The game this weekend will only be the second-ever meeting of the clubs. The first was back in October at Ochilview, and although Shire won that game 3-0 the visitors were always in the hunt for the points until late on.

The Shire coach has again impressed on his players the need to be on the top of their form if they are to stand the best possible chance of extending the unbeaten league run to nine matches.

He was dealt a blow this week with the recall of on-loan Clyde defender Michael Oliver, who had been playing well, but John now has a full squad to select from after some injuries cleared up and will re-shuffle the pack to take account of Oliver’s departure.

 

Michael Returns To Clyde

Defender Michael Oliver is to return to Clyde with immediate effect after his temporary transfer was cancelled early following a request from Bully Wee manager, Barry Ferguson.

He was scheduled to stay at Shire until 28th January but Ferguson has been so impressed with his displays in a Shire jersey that he has opted to include Michael in Clyde’s squad for their game on Saturday.

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Everyone at Shire would like to wish Michael all the best for the future.

“He had become a big part of the dressing room,” said head coach John Sludden. “We are disappointed but he did really well for us and we’re sure he’ll do well for Clyde when he goes back there.

“We have to thank Barry and Clyde for letting Michael come in the first place. It’s one of the things you have to accept when you bring players in on loan – if they do well then clubs will want them back,” said John.

Last Orders For 2016

Shire return from a Christmas break this week with the final match of 2016 and a visit to The Recs in Alloa to take on BSC Glasgow on Saturday.

The team will be defending an unbeaten eight game run in the Lowland League stretching back to September.

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It will be the team’s first outing since a 4-2 victory away at Vale of Leithen on 17th December, Shire’s seventh victory in the last eight league matches.

Shire recorded a 3-0 home win over this weekend’s opponents at Ochilview at the beginning of October, but Saturday’s hosts have been in good form at their temporary home recently and not long ago scored an 8-3 win over Preston Athletic there.

It’s only a short trip over the River Forth so we would love to see as many Shire fans as possible to cheer on the team as they aim to see out the old year with another win.

 

Skipper to Add 12th Season

Shire skipper Derek Ure will get the chance to add to his impressive appearance statistics for the club after agreeing to sign a contract extension for 2017/18 season, which will be his 12th with the team.

Derek, who passed the 300 league game landmark for the club earlier this season, made his debut for Shire back in 2001 and stayed for ten unbroken years until the end of the 2010/11 campaign.

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After a five year break at Camelon Juniors he returned to lead the club’s Lowland League debut as he was, not surprisingly, made club captain by new head coach John Sludden. Derek has been a virtual ever-present this term, barring a couple of injury and suspension absences, and was delighted to accept the opportunity to extend his stay at the club further.

Equally, everyone associated with the club is looking forward to having the skipper lead the Shire for another season.

The board, having extended the contracts of the coaching staff, has given John and his fellow coaches the backing to build for the future and Derek’s return will be a very big part of this.

With the release of the details of his contract extension there is now a nucleus of players who have committed themselves to Shire for next season along with the coaches, and more will be added in time as we aim to plan for a brighter future.

Now Andy And Kris Are Staying

The club has today (Thursday) announced that two more players, Andy Grant and Kris Faulds, have agreed contract extensions.

It means both players have committed themselves to Shire not only for the remainder of this season, but for the whole of the 2017/18 campaign as well.

Andy joined from Camelon Juniors in the summer and made club  history by scoring Shire’s first-ever Lowland League goal, in a 2-2 draw against Vale of Leithen in August.

He has proven a reliable partner  for Connor Greene at the centre of defence although since the arrival of on-loan Michael Oliver, Andy has slotted in at right-back over the past few games.

Kris is one of the few players left at the club who stayed on at the club after defeat in pyramid play-off against Edinburgh City in May and made 35 appearances for Shire in 2015/16.

The midfielder has now settled into being a regular in coach John Sludden’s starting eleven after having to fight hard for his place in the team at the start of the current season.

Both are popular players with the fans and the club is delighted both Andy and Kris have agreed terms.

It takes to six the number of current squad members who have been offered, and accepted, new deals for next season. Striking trio Andy Rodgers, David Grant and Paul Sludden have all singed terms as has defender Connor Greene.

 

Connor Adds Another Season

Connor Greene will be staying at the club for a fourth successive season after becoming the latest Shire player to agree a contract extension until the end of the 2017/18 season.

The central defender, who turns 21 next month, signed for the club in the summer of 2014 after being released by Falkirk and since then has been an almost permanent fixture in the team at either full-back, or more regularly, centre-half and he is now the longest continuously-serving player at the Shire.

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Connor has made himself one of the most popular players at the club and, despite a disappointing season last term, still ended it by picking up an end of season award.

His displays this season at centre-half, in partnership first with Andy Grant and now with Michael Oliver, have won high praise from the coaching staff and have been one of the main reasons why the team has conceded so few goals over the past couple of months.

Connor has also chipped in with some goals this season, including a 92nd minute game winner in the 2-1 home Lowland League victory over Dalbeattie Star in November.

Everyone at the club is delighted Connor has agreed to stay for another year. He joins strikers Andy Rodgers, David Grant and Paul Sludden who have also accepted terms for next season.

 

Closed Door Run Out

Coach John Sludden gave some of the squad some welcome game time on Tuesday evening against a young Stirling Albion team at Forthbank.

Shire won the match 4-0 with doubles from David Grant and Paul Sludden, but of greater importance was getting some of the players who have not been starting recently the opportunity to play a full 90 minutes.

Adam Murray made his comeback from injury in Tuesday's closed-door game.
Adam Murray made his comeback from injury in Tuesday’s closed-door game.

It also allowed Adam Murray to make his comeback from a troubling hip injury and Steven Brisbane also made his first Shire apperance after signing last week and being an unused substitute against Vale of Leithen on Saturday.

“It was a good exercise,” said the coach. “It was also important to get 90 minutes for Adam and also Simon White and Lewis Peddie and some of the other guys who have found themselves on the bench over the last few weeks.

“Drew Ramsay got another 80 minutes after starting for the first time in a while in Saturday’s league game and that won’t do him any harm either,” said the coach.

John is keen to try and fix up more Tuesday night friendlies to make sure those players who are not in a Saturday starting eleven are getting match fitness and has been working hard to set up a series of these games in the new year.

PJ Says Yes To Another Year

November’s Player of the Month, Paul Sludden, has agreed terms to extend his stay at the club for another year.

The striker has joined fellow front men Andy Rodgers and David Grant in committing himself to the Shire cause in 2017/18 season and it means the club’s three top goalscorers will all be back again after the summer break.

Paul has been in good scoring form over the past few weeks, grabbing a hat-trick in the recent 5-0 Lowland League victory over Selkirk.

Head coach John Sludden welcomed the news and has praised the board of directors for giving the green light to a plan to get players signed up early for next season.

“It shows how ambitious they are,” he said. “It also gives us a nucleus that we know are going to be back next season and that can only help us.”

Contract negotiations with other members of the squad are continuing with a view to getting more to commit for next season. Details will appear on the website once agreements with individual players are concluded.

Granty Stays On

Shire’s top scorer this season, David Grant, has accepted the offer of a one year contract extension.

It means the former Cambusbarron Rovers striker will stay with the club until the end of the 2017/18 season.

Photo : Paul Cram, Falkirk Herald.
Photo : Paul Cram, Falkirk Herald.

He has helped himself to 22 Lowland League goals already this season in just 17 games and created quite a few more for his teammates and has been one of the top performers in the side this season.

David’s decision to stay on at the club for another year follows on from that of fellow striker Andy Rodgers to commit for the 2017/18 season as well.

Head coach John Sludden and his backroom staff were the first to agree to stay for next season and have started early in getting two of their most important players to follow suit.

The club is determined to follow a course of consolidation for the future and part of that is a degree of advance planning with coaches and players given the opportunity for continuity.

The club is delighted David has accepted the offer to stay and we look forward to him scoring many more goals for the club over the next 18 months.

 

Give Some Christmas Cheer

Christmas is all about giving – so why not give the gift of sponsorship to our players and staff this festive season ?

Goalie Jamie Barclay and midfielder Steven Brisbane are still looking for player sponsors. You can sponsor Jamie’s away kit and both Steven’s home and away kits are available.

The cost is just £120.00 (inc.VAT) and you get a signed replica jersey from the player you sponsor as well as the chance to meet them in person. You also get a mention in each match programme and on the player’s website profile.

Our goalie coach, Norrie Bemner and first team coach Robert Philliben can also be sponsored.

Our player and coach sponsorship scheme this season has been another great success, helping raise much-needed funds to help the club achieve its goals.

Many Shire fans have already signed up.

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You could be part of our player sponsorship scheme too. Just drop us an e-mail at esfccommercial@gmail.com.