Braves fall to a 3-1 defeat away to Civil Service
It was a miserable evening for Ricky Waddell’s men as they missed out on the chance to extend their unbeaten league run to six games. Despite a dominating performance throughout, Caledonian Braves left with nothing to show for their efforts after a 3-1 defeat away to Civil Service.
This was the pick of the midweek action in the Lowland League as both teams were aiming to continue their successful start to the season. Civil were sitting in 4th and were looking to get back to winning ways after their loss to Bo’ness United at the weekend. Braves were unbeaten in their previous five league games, winning four and drawing once.
Braves made one change from their victory over Cumbernauld Colts, Scott Forrester coming in at right back for Jack Brown. With Braves main striker Cole Starrs out for a lengthy period, Marc Kelly again started in the false nine position for the away side.
If fans were in any doubt that the winter weather was well on its way then Tuesday night certainly put that to bed, the temperature dropped rapidly as we approached the 7.45pm kick off.
The game started off with a frantic pace and Braves should have been ahead only six minutes in through Cameron Breadner. A fantastic through ball seen the winger go through one on one, but he somehow dragged his shot narrowly wide of the post.
Only four minutes later and on the ten-minute mark Braves had another chance. This time from a corner, the ball fell to Scott Forrester at the back post who tried to fire the ball back across goal, but it rolled past the post.
You need to be clinical in these big games and it certainly proved to be the case on Tuesday night. Civil won a free kick just inside the Braves half, floated it into the box and rising highest was their player to head the ball beyond Chris Henry as he came to collect it. 1-0.
Almost immediately Braves were level, a mistake from the Civil keeper led to Zac Butterworth picking up the ball out wide. In hindsight the winger could have possibly tried a long-range effort as the Civil goalie rushed back into his box and onto his line. Instead, he drove down the line and fired a fizzing low cross into the box, the ball fell to Lewis McLear who’s shot was saved well and the chance was gone.
After gathering the ball, the Civil keeper launched their counter-attack. They broke at pace down the right-hand side and floated a ball to the back post, left unmarked the Civil attacker volleyed home first time to send them 2-0 ahead.
The weather was certainly cold but, on the pitch, it was hotting up. 90 seconds after going 2-0 down Braves pulled a goal back through an amazing Rhys Armstrong run. The young midfielder picked the ball up and drove at the left side of the Civil defence, eventually dancing his way to the by-line and firing a ball across that ricocheted off the defender and went in. 2-1.
The worst time to concede in football is right on the stroke of half time and that’s exactly what happened to Braves in the 46th minute. Civil worked the ball well to the edge of the box, their midfielder got the ball out of his feet and fantastically curled one into the top corner making it 3-1.
With no changes for either team at the break, the game was setup for Braves to go after Civil who were looking to hold onto their lead.
Six minutes into the first half Braves had another decent chance, the ball fell kindly to Luke Main at the edge of the box who ran onto it but blazed it over the bar. Having scored a fair few from distance the midfielder will be disappointed with his effort.
The biggest point in the game came just after the hour. Braves worked the ball well and Marc Kelly was played through on goal, just as he was about to get his shot away, the last man in Civils’ defence hauled him to the ground at the edge of the box. This sparked major protests from the coaching and playing staff for the referee to produce a red card as he was denied a goalscoring opportunity. Amazingly the referee only produced a yellow and Braves were awarded a free-kick. If anyone was capable of putting one into the top corner from the edge of the box it was Lewis McLear, sadly he blazed his shot way over the bar and it remained 3-1.
The last half hour consisted of Braves working the ball side to side, trying to find an opening to salvage something from the game. However, Civil defended the box resolutely and managed the game well to see it finish 3-1 to the home side.
Overall, it will be a very tough result to take for Ricky Waddell and his players as they more than deserved at least a point from the game. However, if you don’t take your chances, especially against the better teams in this league, then you won’t get anything from these matches. Civil defended well throughout the match and done what they had to, to ensure they picked up another victory which sees them back to winning ways.
Despite the result, this performance showed how much progress Caledonian Braves have made this season. Coming to a tough away fixture and controlling the game means they can take heart from their efforts throughout. The return match is set for November 9th and is one I would mark in your calendars, if its anything like this one was then you are in for a treat.
1. Chris Henry
2. Scott Forrester
3. Jamie Walker
4. Jack McDowall
5. Jack Duncan
6. Rhys Armstrong
7. Zac Butterworth
8. Luke Main
9. Marc Kelly
10. Lewis McLear
11. Cameron Breadner