Caledonian Braves visit Rangers B on Thursday evening in a reverse of our previous meeting, which finished 3-3 in what was an exhilarating second half performance from Ricky Waddell’s side.
Braves enter Thursday’s match in solid form having won four games on the trot in all competitions. Last weekend, we secured a deserved 3-2 victory over Berwick Rangers to move up to 8th in the Lowland League, in the process narrowing the gap to 7th place East Kilbride who now sit just three points ahead.
Ricky Waddell and his side will also take significant confidence from the fact they are unbeaten against Colt teams so far this term, scoring 15 goals in these four games. This included thrilling draws with Celtic and Rangers and two excellent victories over Hearts.
With just five games remaining in the Lowland League, points are becoming increasingly precious and tomorrow nights’ game takes on greater importance as we look to finish as high up the table as possible.
Rangers B head into Thursday’s match in mixed form, having won three of their last five games. The Gers have been up around the top of the table all season long, however a 3-0 loss away to Berwick Rangers and 2-2 draw against Cumbernauld Colts coupled with Spartans’ excellent form means they have slipped to second in the Lowland League table.
In their most recent outing David McCallum’s side triumphed 3-0 at Peffermill as they swept lowly Edinburgh Uni aside. An Aaron Lyall brace and Zak Lovelace’s strike secured a comfortable victory, as competition towards the top of the Lowland League table remained fierce.
A player the Braves backline will need to keep a close eye on is Zak Lovelace. The 17-year-old striker, who signed from Championship side Millwall last year, has been terrorising defenses in the Lowland League all season netting 15 goals so far this campaign. The English attacker’s pace and power in addition to his obvious goalscoring prowess will provide a tough evening’s work for our defenders.
Zak Lovelace will of course be a goal threat as mentioned but goals have been in plentiful supply from a number of different avenues for Rangers this season. Lowry, Lyall and Ure all join Lovelace on double figures in the goal charts. The Wee Gers are also the league’s top scorers, averaging 2.78 goals per league game. This stat coupled with our own goalscoring activity this season all points to an entertaining goal-filled encounter in Dumbarton on Thursday night.
In our three past encounters with Rangers B, the points have been shared twice with a solitary win for the Glasgow side. The most recent edition of this fixture was undoubtedly a game of the season contender. A classic game of two halves was played out as Braves roared back from a 3-0 half time deficit to take a deserved share of the spoils.
Rangers showed their class in that first half on a scorching day in August with Alex Lowry firing them in front from the spot. Robbie Fraser and Robbie Ure added further strikes before the break giving David McCallum’s men what seemed like an unassailable three-goal advantage at the halfway mark.
Braves had other ideas as Ricky Waddell rung the changes at half time. Jamie Watson kick-started the comeback as he slid the ball past Budinauckas, Marc Kelly smashed in from close range soon after before Scott Cusick completed our comeback with a superb solo strike to spark jubilant scenes at Alliance Park and left the team feeling as though we should have won.
Analysis- Key Battle in Midfield
August’s game showed the stark contrast in Rangers’ performance when they are put under disciplined pressure high up the pitch. In the first half of that game, Rangers had complete control of the midfield. They dominated possession and played through the thirds comfortably as Braves sat a little too deep. The Gers have an abundance of quality in their midfield with the likes of McCann and Lowry, showing they are more than capable of picking teams off if given enough time on the ball.
The second period saw an instant shift in intensity from Braves as we pressed in packs high up in the park and won the ball back frequently in the attacking third. Rangers looked panicky as a result and often resorted to missing out the midfield in order to relieve the pressure. Winning that midfield battle and ensuring Rangers are not allowed to settle into their usual passing rhythm may be key to the result on Thursday night.
Match Details & Coverage
Kick off is 7:45pm at the MoreRoom.com Stadium in Dumbarton. Tickets are priced at £7 for adults and £3 for concessions/kids.
If you can’t make it down to support the boys, we will have live text coverage on Twitter and our app. You can also listen in to live commentary of the match on the Twitter Spaces platform from 7:35pm.