The Caley Braves got back to winning ways in dominating fashion on Tuesday night, when we recorded a 4-0 victory, over Gretna 2008. It could’ve been more for the Braves on the night, who opened the scoring in the first half, through Jack McDowall. Efforts from Jamie Watson, Ross McNeil and Cammy Breadner sealed the deal for the Braves in the second half, who picked up their first three points since the opening day of the season in style!
“I thought the performance was good, it was a sticky game there for a few moments”, stated Ricky Waddell post-match. “The main pleasing part is the amount of chances we created, we’ve got goals in us and we just need to move the ball a bit quicker, a bit sharper and tonight gave us an opportunity to do that”.
Our starting XI saw three changes from our recent draw with East Stirlingshire, with Kristian Gkegkas returning to midfield after injury, Louis Thompson coming back onto the wing and Ross McNeil coming in upfront, as the Braves began with a front two.
The Braves got to the stronger start in the game, moving the ball sharply and dictating territory, without breaking the deadlock in the opening ten minutes, with Jamie Watson and Louis Thompson coming close.
However, the opening goal was soon to follow, after a neat set-piece routine in the 13th minute. Matty Collins sent a ball to the back-post, which was kept alive by Ross McNeil. Daniel Martins subsequently nodded the ball towards Jack McDowall, who placed his header into the back of the net. Two goals in three for the centre-back!
The Braves continued to push for a second, but were unable to find the back of the net in the remainder of the second half, with Ross McNeil being thwarted by the keeper. With the scoreline at one, Gretna were always in the game and provided a few bright moments during the opening 45 minutes.
However, it didn’t take long for that crucial second goal to arrive.
With 55 minutes on the clock, the Braves linked up with some neat play down the right wing and John Guthrie cut the ball back to Jamie Watson, who held the ball, before getting off a left footed effort which bundled in from close range. Not his most glamourous goal in a Braves shirt, but some superb number nine play from Jamie, for his fifth goal of the season!
This goal was crucial to the result of the game, with Gretna attempting to push higher in their search for a hand in the game. This opened up more space for the Braves to play and this ultimately led to us finding our third goal, in the 75th minute.
For the second straight game, Josh Gemmell was making nuisance of himself in the opposition box, winning a penalty for his side after being tripped over. Once again, Ross McNeil stood up to take the spot kick, and smashed his effort low and hard, to make it three for the Braves.
There was time for one more goal however, with our fourth coming on the 85th minute. Daniel Martins created the move, with a superb long ball from back to front, to find substitute Cammy Breadner in space. Cammy cut in from the right wing onto his stronger left foot, to cooly bury the ball, for his first goal of the season.
That would ultimately be the last of the goals, with the Braves scoring four and keeping a well-earned clean sheet.
"I thought we looked pretty solid at the back”, added Ricky post-match. “I’ve been desperate for five players (at the back) to grab that jersey and say I'm going to take this jersey and not give it away”.
“Tonight, we had to earn it and I think we did earn that right, to go score and to go win, with our work ethic and ability to go create chances”.
A great result for the lads, which was due after performances in recent weeks. These three points put us onto eight for the season, lifting us to 15th in the table, after an undefeated run of three in the league!
We’ll be back on Saturday afternoon to face Bo’ness United at Alliance Park!