Caledonian Braves manager Ricky Waddell said that the goals his side lost today came at the worst possible times, as opponents Jeanfield Swifts ran out 3-1 winners.
Swifts, of the East of Scotland Football League, took a surprise lead after only 30 seconds as Waddell's Alliance Park outfit were dealt a rude awakening in Perthshire. The Alliance Park side never fully recovered, 2-0 down thanks to Chris Dodds' double at the interval before Connor McLaren rolled the ball under Yohann Chardon midway through the second period. Ross McNeil's late penalty was futile consolation as the Braves crashed out of the SoccershopDirect Challenge Cup at the first hurdle.
Speaking pitchside at the Riverside Stadium, Waddell said:
“It’s an old saying isn’t it: goals change games. The times they scored their goals was a real hammer blow to us but I’ve got to say the guys reacted really well at half time and they kept plugging away but I think with the position we’re in at the moment it was the worst possible thing to happen at the time that at did so from that point of view it’s disappointing.
“We spoke about it before the game that we felt that we’re in a good place, and I still believe that. A defeat doesn’t change that, obviously you have to pick yourself up from that but there were many good things that I saw in the game.
“It was a Junior-type of team we were playing against today in a Junior-type of game, that traditional type. I’m disappointed with the goals we lost but I’m pleased with certain aspects of the game and I’ll need to watch it back again. I think in the second half once it went 3-0 it became kind of open and they could’ve countered us and probably could’ve scored again but equally I felt we done enough to go and score."
The manager was pleased to see a return to action for McNeil, last season's top scorer who was subbed on at half time.
Waddell said: “Obviously between Ross and Neil they were our main goal threats last year so it was good to get the squad back to a place where everybody is fighting for positions again. There are one or two injuries in there from today and we’ll need to see where they’re at.
“But for Ross that was the performance I expected from him in the second half; he’s hungry, he’s energetic and he showed that when he went on the park.”