First Team

Report: McNeil the man again as Braves triumph in the capital

27th February 2023

Ross McNeil was the hero once more as Braves ran out 1-0 winners over a spirited Edinburgh Uni side.


On a clear Saturday afternoon, Caledonian Braves headed to East Peffermill Stadium, looking to back-up a comprehensive midweek cup victory over Mid Annandale. Ricky Waddell reverted to a more familiar line-up, with Ross Lindsay and Cameron Breadner returning, in comparison to last weekend's XI away to Cowdenbeath.


“Firstly we asked for the win and that's what we got”, stated Ricky after the 0-1 victory, “however that comes about, it’s important to recognise that we won the game and kept a clean sheet”.


Our opposition came into the game second last in the Lowland League, having conceded 108 goals whilst scoring just 18 during their troubles this campaign. The form book looked to read true in the early exchanges, as the Braves dominated territory, with Cammy Breadner coming the closest on a number of occasions in the opening 20 minutes.


Luke Main almost opened the scoring in the 27th minute, after superbly stooping low to meet a John Guthrie cross with his head, which left the crossbar reverberating before bouncing clear.


With the half-time whistle looming, the dangerous Guthrie – starting at right-back - delivered another pinpoint ball into the box, which was met by Ross McNeil who needed no second invitation to open the scoring. Our number nine followed up on Wednesday’s five-goal performance, by meeting the cross with an acrobatic, aerial strike which bounced off the surface, leaving Cameron Quate with no chance in the University goal, for his 20th of the season.


As the second half pressed on, the visitors would’ve been keen to double their lead, however failed to find a second goal to settle the match. Ricky added “I think the game became too end-to-end in the second half and once that starts, you’re susceptible to conceding, albeit you can still go and score…. but I felt individually, they all performed well.”


Top-scorer Marc Kelly came close on a couple of occasions and was extremely unlucky to strike the near-post with a powerful driving effort in the 80th minute, which proved to be the last clear-cut opportunity of the affair.


“I was a bit disappointed with certain aspects, I think there was a physical element and some of the boys looked a bit leggy”, added the gaffer post-game. “We had to deal with the situation where they’ve still got that momentum and belief, so we had to be up for that and defend in the moments that we did, and we did just that which was pleasing.”


Despite the best efforts of our valiant hosts, the goal of Chris Henry was hardly threatened, with the defensive line of the Braves standing strong to claim the clean sheet. The gaffer also praised our opposition by stating, “credit to Edinburgh University, they came out and got in-and-amongst us and were busier. It maybe showed a poorer physicality on the day - in the second half certainly – but I’m always happy with the three points!”


The Braves will return to action next weekend when they travel to face Threave Rovers in the South Challenge Cup. Looking ahead to the game, Ricky stated, “we’re going to need to dig in and do things that we could’ve done better than we did today. If we do that, we have the players and the quality to win that game”. We’ll make the trip to Meadow Park on Saturday the 4th, with kick-off at 2pm.

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