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Francesc Fabregas

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Francesc Fabregas last won the day on October 1 2021

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    Stenhousemuir

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  1. You're going to have to presume not. It's hard enough to justify having three goalkeepers at this level, never mind four, and bringing in someone new was always likely to be wishful thinking, no matter how much supporters clamoured for it. With Robert Thomson back from injury (and, by the sounds of things, available to appear on Saturday), I'd be surprised if we signed anyone else after reading the weekly newsletter.
  2. Someone in the Stenhousemuir FC thread suggested the club were keen on bringing in Mark Lamont. It's probably just tittle-tattle but nevertheless: who is Mark Lamont and will be make the team better?
  3. After two weeks off, Stenhousemuir return to action with an important match against Elgin City on Saturday. The Warriors come into this game in spotty form, having embarrassed themselves against Cowdenbeath last time out, while City will no doubt be buoyed by their excellent victory over Kelty Hearts last night. Chuck into the mix Stenny's rubbish home form (two league wins at Ochilview so far this season) and the fact they've only taken a point from their previous two encounters with Elgin, and this encounter suddenly becomes a concern. My expectations are fairly low. I'm not sure what to expect from Stenhousemuir here. I can't imagine we'll continue with the hopeless three-at-the-back system, and I don't think we'll forget to write our best player's name on the team sheet this time out, but other than that? It's hard to say. Stephen Swift, once again, threatened to change things about after the Cowden loss but what that looks like is anyone's guess. If we return to a back four, Jordan Tapping will probably be the man to miss out (something I don't think anyone will really mind) but, and I've said this many times, I'd drop Sean Crighton, move Adam Corbett into the middle alongside Nicky Jamieson and restore Mikey Miller to full-back. Maybe stick this Spencer Moreland character into midfield alongside big Nat Wedderburn while we're at it, see what he's all about. Further forward, I imagine we'll have Tam Orr leading the line with Euan O'Reilly, Ross Forbes and Darren Christie in behind him. We're all still hopeful we'll have two or three new faces in in time for this match but, for time being, we're working with what's already there. I'm hoping we've put the break to good use and the players and the management come back refreshed, motivated and ready to make a go for the top four. I do worry what a negative result will mean.
  4. I don't know much about him, but I see he was on loan at Broomhill FC earlier in the season, thereby fulfilling Stephen Swift's main criteria for signing players.
  5. I was thinking the same thing, but I read on another thread that more than half the sides in League 1 haven't signed any players in the window. Perhaps most, if not all, of the teams in the third and fourth tier are in the same market for players and we won't really see any movement until later on in the week. It can be frustrating, especially when you see teams around doing business, but I'm positive we'll have a couple of imports with us by Thursday. A new goalkeeper and a forward, please!
  6. I've seen Cammy Binnie in the flesh twice this season and he's been responsible for the concession of three goals. He's capable to making good saves and commanding his area but he's been a shambles against Stenhousemuir this year!
  7. First of all: you have to give credit to Cowdenbeath for their victory. They were the better team over the course of the match - the first half was probably even, with Cowden maybe having the better of the chances, but the second saw them take their opportunities, then shut up shop and leave a very limited opponent to play in front of them. Did Cammy Gill have a save of note to make? I don't think he did, and a lot of that comes down to how Cowden marshalled their hosts. Maybe Mo Ross was right and Cowdenbeath will be okay come the end of the season. One thing's for sure - they're unlikely to come up against as dire a side as Stenhousemuir again. Good luck to them for the remainder of the campaign, I hope they can pull away from bother and remain in League 2. I've just watched Stephen Swift's post-match interview and he's admitted he got his tactics and his team wrong for today's game. He's absolutely correct - the decision making before and during this fixture was abysmal. First of all, Euan O'Reilly, one of our best players and a key attacking threat, was somehow not registered for today's game. There was, apparently, an oversight with the paperwork prior to the match, and his name was not listed on the team sheet. It was an astonishing turn of events that robbed us of a genuine game changer and someone who could provide us with width, pace and trickery, three elements that were sorely absent from our performance. Even before a ball was kicked, this was genuine amateur-hour stuff from our managerial team. The three-at-the-back formation did us absolutely no favours either. I mentioned in my opening post that I didn't feel it would suit us going forward and, unfortunately, this was the case today. The system left us light in the forward areas and gave us virtually no width (the decision to field Adam Brown as a left wing-back was bizarre) and with almost all of our play going through Sean Crighton, for some reason, we looked so limited and lacked any creativity. The system worked against Albion Rovers last week on a garbage pitch but it did not suit us here at all and Cowdenbeath in a 4-3-3 formation were able to get the better of us in the middle of the park and cause our back three problems. It reminded me of earlier in the season when we fielded a daft back four against Stranraer, with Adam Corbett at right-back, because it briefly worked against Annan Athletic the previous week. It might have been appropriate for the circumstances at Galabank but it didn't work at all at Stair Park and we were humiliated. The same thing happened here. The biggest mistake, however, was the failure to change the system at the interval. It was obvious after watching 45 minutes of toil that it wasn't working and, with Nicky Jamieson injured after keeling over towards the end of the half, it gave us the chance to change things up by bringing on Bernard Coll and going to a back four. Instead, we conceded a terrible goal from another set-piece three minutes after the restart and then decided to make the change. We conceded another crap goal shortly afterwards, with Bobby Barr firing it right through Ryan Marshall from about 12 yards. Could the goalkeeper have done better? Probably, yeah. From that point on, Cowden seemed content to drop off, sit a little deeper, play for time and look to exploit us on the counter. And it worked perfectly, because we simply had no answer. No-one was getting wide, no-one was looking to try something different in the final third and no-one looked remotely close to scoring. It was an embarrassing showing against the worst side in the country. And therein lies the problem - going into this match, I was not confident at all and felt that, for some intangible reason, Cowden would go on and win this encounter. Stenny do not react well when they're the overwhelming favourites going into a match. It just feels like one step forward, one step back under Stephen Swift. Before the match, a couple of people mentioned that beating Albion Rovers last weekend counts for nothing unless you can win against Cowden. And we didn't so we're back to square one - a manager, apparently out of his depth, with crap goalkeepers letting him down, second guessing himself and his tactics, and leaving his side floundering. It's not good enough, frankly.
  8. According to Inside Ochilview, Jon Craig has left the club and returned to Kilmarnock. I think it's fair to say his signing has been thoroughly underwhelming. One appearance in the Challenge Cup against Dundee United's children's side, and that's it! I wonder if we'll bring in someone else in his place?
  9. Are there any highlights of the weekend's match between Cowdenbeath and Annan Athletic? On the Cowden YouTube channel, there are interviews with Mo Ross and Bobby Barr but nothing from the game itself!
  10. I was thinking that myself! I'm not sure if Heart of Midlothian would want to loan him out to League 2 after he's spent six months in the Championship but he's worth inquiring about all the same.
  11. This is probably why it's my preference to go with the back four and get Euan O'Reilly back into the starting XI. It's important to show Cowdenbeath respect (and Christ knows, we've lost so many of these kind of encounters in the past) but I think it's far too cautious to go with the back three again, especially against such a limited side and especially when none of them can carry the ball into the midfield. I think we'd lose something by doing the same thing here as we did at the weekend.
  12. On Saturday 15 January, Stenhousemuir will welcome Cowndenbeath to Ochilview Park for some red-hot League 2 action. It's a huge game for two sides with differing ambitions - the Warriors are looking to maintain their place in the top four and chip away at the sides above them, while Cowdenbeath are desperately looking to claw back some of the deficit between themselves and the rest of the division. I, for one, can't wait. Stenhousemuir were good against Albion Rovers at the weekend but I'm not sure if it's because of their own guile, craft and effort, or because the Rovers were just shit and brought nothing to the table. Nevertheless, it felt as though a corner has been turned in terms of the side's game management and their ability to hold onto leads and see off the division's lesser sides; I certainly hope this is the case because it's cost us a lot of points this season. The big question going into this match is whether or not to keep the three-at-the-back system that worked well in Coatbridge or deploy a more orthodox back four. Judging by his post-match interview, Stephen Swift only went with the 3-4-2-1 formation to suit the miserable conditions and give us the bodies to deal with the Rovers supposed strengths. It didn't seem like a long-term solution but then again, he's done this in the past (ie, when we went used Adam Corbett at right-back against Stranraer back in August after it had worked to some extent late on at Annan Athletic). The pitch won't be anywhere near as appalling as it was on Saturday so my preference would be to go with a back four and bring Euan O'Reilly back into the starting XI: - Tam Orr - - Euan O'Reilly - Darren Christie - Ross Forbes - - Nat Wedderburn - Mikey Miller - - Ross Lyon - Nicky Jamieson - Sean Crighton - Adam Corbett - - Ryan Marshall - It's probably not the starting XI I'd go for either (as I've said before, I'd prefer to see Corbett and Jamieson partnered at centre-back with Crighton dropping out entirely) but this should do this trick. I do not rate Cowdenbeath at all, especially without the suspended Craig Barr, and I would be very disappointed if we don't take three points from this match. We need to start showing some consistency and putting together a positive series of results so let's keep it going!
  13. I'll admit that I went into this game with low expectations. Our recent form had been rotten and our inability to see out matches had cost us dearly in recent weeks; we were up against Albion Rovers, a side I fear more than any other; the Cliftonhill pitch had just about passed a pitch inspection earlier in the day, leaving the surface sodden, pockmarked and uneven; the weather was rotten; and our starting XI saw an error-prone goalkeeper restored to the team and the outfield players configured into unfamiliar formation. It turns out I shouldn't have bothered worrying because that was one of our most measured and dominant performances of the season. The 2-1 scoreline flattered the Rovers and it probably should have been about four or five. I was surprised and yet not surprised to see Ryan Marshall brought back into the team. His last appearance, the 4-1 defeat at home to Kelty Hearts in late August, was truly one of the worst goalkeeping displays I'd ever seen and it was in everyone's best interests he was removed for the time being. David Wilson, his understudy, did well to begin with but his own performances began to decline to the point where he too needed to be dropped. I was apprehensive about Marshall's inclusion today; I think everyone was. The formation, a 3-4-2-1, also left me a little confused. We started with back three made up of the meatiest of meat-and-potatoes defenders, with the underwhelming Sean Crighton on the right, while Adam Corbett started at right wing-back for probably the very first time in his career. I know we were short on numbers but this seemed like an attempt to get as many big boys onto the pitch as possible (and, as someone cynically pointed out, to make sure Crighton kept his place) to help us deal with set-pieces. Our defending at corners and free-kicks has been dreadful in recent weeks and by ostensibly having four centre-backs on the pitch, plus a big unit like Nat Wedderburn, we should, in theory, be less susceptible to conceding goals. But this wasn't the case! A combination of bad goalkeeping and bad defending saw the Rovers take the lead after 13 minutes. A free-kick was swung into the area and the ball was allowed to pinball around the area before Max Wright and his greasy hair stabbed it over the line from close range. No-one in maroon looked particularly clever here and at this point, I feared the worst. It was, then, good to see us equalise five minutes later - a tremendous piece of play saw Ross Forbes slip in Corbett down the right wing, who drilled a low cross for Tam Orr to divert it into the net. A very well-worked goal. From that point on, the 20-minute mark, the game was played out almost exclusively on our terms. Corbett found space down the right again and thumped in another cross which was not converted, and Crighton might have had a penalty when he went down under a challenge as he blustered into the box (I thought he made the most of it myself). Ross Lyon showed some nice touches on the left-hand side of the pitch and Wedderburn and Mikey Miller put themselves about to good effect in midfield. The second half was one-way traffic. Orr got the winning goal about 10 minutes after the restart when Cammy Binnie inexplicably mishandled Darren Christie's low centre and allowed him to poke it over the goal-line (I know Binnie is a well thought of at Cliftonhill and Forthbank but dearie me, he's had a nightmare against Stenhousemuir this season!) It should have been more - Christie fired a shot over the bar when put through on goal, Orr could have had a hat-trick when he forced Binnie into a diving save (he should have squared for Adam Brown instead of going alone), Lyon hit the top of the crossbar with a dipping effort from 20 yards and Wedderburn provoked the goalie into a double block when he ambled into the penalty box late on. I was worried that these misses would come back to haunt us and we would capitulate as we've done so many times over the past few weeks but we were able to see it out and hold on for the win. I'm not sure who the man of the match was. Was it Nicky Jamieson, who won everything that came his way? Was it Adam Corbett, who impressed in an unfamiliar role and set up the equaliser? What about Wedderburn in the middle of the park, who dominated the match with his big arse and his left peg? Or Tam Orr, whose recent performances have been largely excellent and capped with two well-taken goals today? We're somehow in fourth place and I'd like to think that, with a couple of additions here and there, we can stay there until the end of the season and fight for promotion. I'm not sure the 3-4-2-1 formation will work in the long term and I'm not sure I'd like to see it reprised for next week's game against Cowdenbeath but it worked well today. It must be said that as good as Stenhousemuir were, Albion Rovers were very, very limited in their play and didn't threaten once after scoring. They didn't put us under pressure, didn't test Marshall in goal (I think the number of touches he had in the second half was a single-digit figure), and didn't approach the game with the kind of fight I had expected. Good luck to them going forward.
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