For the second time this season these two teams battled It out under the lights at Alliance Park in a midweek head-to-head. Having produced an entertaining and feisty game last time out, in which Civil won 3-1, this match was always going to be similar in nature. Unfortunately for Caledonian Braves, Civil did what they do best and held on against a spirited Braves performance to win 2-1.
Heading into the game fresh off a 4-1 victory against Cumbernauld Colts, Caledonian Braves were keen to avenge the 3-1 defeat that they suffered earlier in the season against Civil Service Strollers. Civil came into the game 4th in the league and looking to push toward a top 3 place with a win over Braves.
Caledonian Braves named an unchanged side from the Cumbernauld victory, with Lowland League player of the week Jack Duncan, looking to continue his impressive form at centre half. The only change for Braves was Cameron Breadner coming back into the squad and taking a place on the bench. Still unavailable for selection was captain Ross Lindsay, Cole Starrs, Jamie Watson, John Guthrie and Jack McDowall
The action began frantically with both teams pressing well and struggling to keep a hold of any real passages of play. Braves eventually settled into the game and started to probe at the Civil defence. The first period of the game was Braves moving the ball left to right and trying to work an opening, with Civil sitting tight and happy to let Braves try and break them down.
There wasn’t many real chances to note in the first half for either side, with Civil looking for to utilise their long throw in routine to good effect, but the Braves defence stood strong and thwarted any efforts.
The match was feisty and there were a few occasions it nearly spilled over into dangerous territory. Civils number 10 went flying in very late on Braves left back Jamie Walker, who done well to keep his cool and not react to the incident. The referee brandished a yellow card but reminded the civil player he was only still on the park as it was slightly lower to the ground, any higher and he would have been off.
From here the game quickened and both teams had some half chances. Zac Butterworth was an ever present threat from driving down the right, aided by flying full back Jack Brown throughout, both trying to cross at any opportunity.
However, with football if you don’t make sustained pressure count you will be punished. Civil took the lead after a fantastic, left footed free kick from the edge of the box cannoned back off the post and into the path of their number 9. A sore one to take as it wasn’t from open play and had a huge slice of luck involved.
No changes at the break for either side as they both emerged ready to lock horns once again.
Braves carried the way they played from the first half into the second, trying to keep a hold of the ball and hitting the channels whenever they spotted a forward run. However, Civil stood strong and managed the game well. The referee had to remind their captain to quicken the pace from throw ins and goal kicks as they tried to take any Braves momentum out of the game.
Civil’s main threat are their front three and they utilise them well, sitting in and using the pace and flair on the counter is a dangerous option to have. Just before the hour mark it paid off. Some great work down the left saw the Civil full back bomb on and whip a wicked cross with his left foot across goal. Scott Forrester tried to clear it, but unfortunately for the Braves centre half it ended up in the back of his own net. When your luck is in its in and when it’s not, it’s not and that seemed to be the case for Caledonian Braves.
Changes were called for and Ricky Waddell threw on Cameron Breadner and Matthew Henderson to change the game. Taking off holding midfielder Gavin Lachlan and striker Lewis McLear.
The game certainly opened up from here with Braves chasing the game and Civil switching to a five-man defence. Civil managed to catch Braves on the break at times but Chris Henry was in inspired form to tip not one, but two great saves over the bar on separate occasions. Much to the dismay of the Civil attackers.
Braves threw everything at them and eventually won a free kick on the edge of the box. Resident deadball specialist Jack Brown stepped over it and whipped a vicious effort over the wall and off the underside of the bar, the rebound was headed home by Marc Kelly who pulled one back for Braves.
The closing stages saw Braves go route one, hoping for a knock down or a second ball to run onto. Young striker Lee Dempsey was sent on to try and make his mark and nearly found the equaliser with the last effort of the game from a floated free kick. However, his header was sent narrowly past the post and Civil held on for a 2-1 victory.
Caledonian Braves will be extremely frustrated to have lost six points against Civil this season considering how they played in both matches. But Civil showed what they do best and were extremely difficult to break down and always a threat on the counter.
Next up for Braves is an away trip down to Gretna this Saturday, 3pm kick off with a full live stream and commentary available on our app.
1. Chris Henry
2. Jack Brown
3. Jamie Walker
4. Jack Duncan
5. Scott Forrester
6. Gavin Lachlan
7. Zac Butterworth
8. Rhys Armstrong
9. Lewis McLear
10. Luke Main
11. Marc Kelly
75. Lewis Duffy
12. Amaury Testa
14. Cameron Breadner
15. Matthew Henderson
16. Yacine Boualem
17. Callum Guthrie
18. Lee Dempsey