Caledonian Braves took on Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in their third fixture of pre-season. A game of two halves saw Braves fortunate to run in a goal to the good at the interval, before building a commanding lead in the second half to seal a 4-0 victory.
The visitors will be competing in the Premier Divison (Tier 6) of the West of Scotland Football League this season, following their move from the West Region Juniors. The tie represented another tier of the football pyramid, having faced Tier 7 Gartcairn and Tier 4 Albion Rovers so far.
Braves went into the match in good form, having held Albion Rovers in the previous match. Rob Roy’s only previous friendly was actually against Rovers’ Under 21 side, which resulted in a convincing victory for the Kirkintilloch side.
The opening stages were a cagey affair with both sides settling their way into the game. However, it was the visitors who were first to threaten. Alexander Cassells saw his shot crash off the woodwork, whereas Robbie Leighton saw his close-range header well held by Alex Marshall.
It was arguably against the run of play when Braves took the lead in the 33rd minute. David Sinclair’s pass from midfield was cleverly dummied by Lachlan, which left a clear route to goal for the alert Jack Smith. The in-form striker made no mistake, slotting the ball home.
With half-time approaching, Ross McNeil went agonisingly close to finding his first goal of the campaign. However, his header flashed wide of the right-hand post.
The second half kicked off and within a couple of minutes there was a case of déjà vu. For the second match in a row Jack McDowall headed home in the 47th minute. Once again it came from a Sinclair delivery, this time round an inviting free-kick from the right hand side.
That goal really settled the nerves and the home side enjoyed much more of the possession and chances as the half wore on. It wasn’t long before goal number three. John Guthrie showed good vision to pick out the run of McNeil. His shot was saved by Matthew Kerr but Smith was on hand to tap in his second of the match.
Substitute David Winters nearly added to his pre-season tally, only to see his close range volley blocked by Scott Walker. However, the four goal did arrive in the closing minutes. Winters, Ben Daily and Neil McLaughlin linked up to set ‘Trialist’ through on goal. He jinked inside before placing the ball past the goalkeeper to round off the scoring.
Another good display by Braves although perhaps a scoreline which was harsh on the opposition. Next up it is a home match against Shotts Bon-Accord on Tuesday night, as the fixtures come thick and fast ahead of the league opener on October 13th.