In our final home league fixture of the season, Braves claimed all three points with a 1-0 victory over the University of Stirling, in a low-key affair at Alliance Park.
In our penultimate Lowland League game of the season, Ricky Waddell’s hand was once again forced, after left-back Jamie Walker dropped out of the squad from Tuesday night’s cup tie. The energetic Enzo Wright replaced him for the first league start of his fledgling career, seeing Greig Stewart move from midfield and into the back three, alongside the returning Scott Forrester who came in for Jack Duncan in the heart of defence.
Following on from a fantastic performance in our midweek loss at home to the Spartans in the cup, Ricky Waddell was disappointed with the quality of the affair, despite his side claiming all three points. “It wasn’t a good game of football. I was frustrated at the end, you win the game but it was so scrappy.”
The game began with the feeling of an end of season fixture, with chances being few and far between at a blustery Alliance Park. “The formations matched up with each other”, added Ricky, “so there wasn’t much space and it all contributed to a pretty average game of football and sometimes it goes like that.”
Our opposition’s best opportunity of the game came after just five minutes, when Abel Manomey fired a strike just wide after some good play down the wing. Chris Geddes’ side failed to create much more from then on, with Bernie White comfortably deploying his fundamentals en-route to a clean sheet in the Braves goal.
As the half pressed on, the hosts upped the pace and were rewarded with the opener after 32 minutes. Following on from some impressive work by the industrious Enzo Wright, the ball was lifted over the University defence and brought down by Ross McNeil, who escaped the offside trap. Our number nine looked up, decided against squaring the ball and finished with a characteristically cool strike, which took a flick off ‘keeper Ben Fry before hitting the back of the net for the Braves’ first of the day and his 23rd of the season.
The hosts continued to apply the pressure, however failed to add a second despite a flurry of late set-pieces prior to the half-time whistle.
Having taken the lead in the first-half, the second played out without much drama for the Braves, who held onto the three points in professional fashion, during a rather dull forty-five minutes of action. Ultimately, the game had the feel of an end of season affair and despite our visitors throwing bodies forward in the final twenty minutes, the Braves defence stood strong to earn a deserved clean sheet, and three points in their final home game of the season.
When evaluating his team’s performance, a discontent Ricky Waddell added, “If you’re taking positives: three points, a clean sheet, Enzo Wright at 17-years-old, comes in, does well, works hard, is energetic and created the goal… So those are the three positives for me and now we move on”.
The Braves will return to action on to Tuesday evening, to round-off their Lowland League campaign, in a re-arranged game away to Rangers B. We’ll be at the Dumbarton Stadium to provide updates, so make sure you tune into our app and social media platforms on Tuesday evening as we look to end our league season in style!
Thank you for continued support at Alliance Park throughout the season and we hope to see you back for the 2023/24 campaign later in the year!