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Stenhousemuir -vs- Albion Rovers (Saturday 30 July 2022)


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Here we go! It's the first game of the 2022/23 campaign and I cannot wait. I've been looking forward to this match for weeks and for some inexplicable, intangible reason, I've got a good feeling about it. For Stenhousemuir, this is perhaps the most opportune fixture to start the league season with - a home tie against a side we did well against last term, and the side most people have pegged to finished bottom of the division this time around. Albion Rovers cannot be underestimated, of course, and they did make one of the best signings of the summer in Ayrton Sonkur from Stranraer, but I'd be very disappointed if the Warriors don't collect the three points here.

Stenhousemuir have shown up well in the Premier Sports Cup and look like a decent side who can defend well, move the ball around the park with pace, and have an array of options in attack. I think the biggest issue at this stage is that we don't quite know what our best XI is and how it fits into Stephen Swift's lopsided 4-4-2 but, judging by yesterday's game against Kilmarnock, I think we'll go with:

- Tam Orr - Matty Yates -

- Euan O'Reiily - Nat Wedderburn - Craig Bryson - Mikey Miller -

- Callum Yeats - Nicky Jamieson - Sean Crighton - Adam Corbett -

- Conor Brennan -

We have options from the bench in Will Sewell and Mikey Anderson to change things about and/or shore things up in need be. I would have liked us to bring in a right-sided winger to give us something different but that looks unlikely.

I'm going for a home win here. I hope to see you all at Ochilview next weekend!

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Buzzing for it. We have a right team this year & I hope we start as we mean to go on.

AR have had a competitive League cup campaign so maybe not the mugs some, me included have them as but if we want to be serious, these games even though very early can be telling.

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What happened to Darren Christie? I thought he impressed last year against Rovers. A really positive player.

Brian Reid has probably signed the best he could with the budget he has, we’re short of 2-3 players for a full squad though. I’m assuming some loan deals in the offing.

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8 minutes ago, Vodka Vic said:

What happened to Darren Christie? I thought he impressed last year against Rovers. A really positive player.

Brian Reid has probably signed the best he could with the budget he has, we’re short of 2-3 players for a full squad though. I’m assuming some loan deals in the offing.

Darren Christie always seemed to save his best performances for Albion Rovers. He was a useful player to bring off the bench but always underwhelmed when he started, I felt. We offered him terms for the season ahead but he rejected a new deal and re-joined Pollok.

No great loss but a handy option to have in reserve.

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On 24/07/2022 at 12:04, Francesc Fabregas said:

Here we go! It's the first game of the 2022/23 campaign and I cannot wait. I've been looking forward to this match for weeks and for some inexplicable, intangible reason, I've got a good feeling about it. For Stenhousemuir, this is perhaps the most opportune fixture to start the league season with - a home tie against a side we did well against last term, and the side most people have pegged to finished bottom of the division this time around. Albion Rovers cannot be underestimated, of course, and they did make one of the best signings of the summer in Ayrton Sonkur from Stranraer, but I'd be very disappointed if the Warriors don't collect the three points here.

Stenhousemuir have shown up well in the Premier Sports Cup and look like a decent side who can defend well, move the ball around the park with pace, and have an array of options in attack. I think the biggest issue at this stage is that we don't quite know what our best XI is and how it fits into Stephen Swift's lopsided 4-4-2 but, judging by yesterday's game against Kilmarnock, I think we'll go with:

- Tam Orr - Matty Yates -

- Euan O'Reiily - Nat Wedderburn - Craig Bryson - Mikey Miller -

- Callum Yeats - Nicky Jamieson - Sean Crighton - Adam Corbett -

- Conor Brennan -

We have options from the bench in Will Sewell and Mikey Anderson to change things about and/or shore things up in need be. I would have liked us to bring in a right-sided winger to give us something different but that looks unlikely.

I'm going for a home win here. I hope to see you all at Ochilview next weekend!

I think that may well be the team we go with but I think Sewell might get the nod ahead of Orr. It also leaves Mikey Anderson out which seems incredibly harsh as he's been by far our best player pre-season but maybe in a home game where you expect to dominate the ball it's one he can sit out. 

Albion Rovers will certainly be no pushovers going by their league cup campaign but you have to think if our attacking players like O'Reilly and Yates come to the party we should have too much for them. With two very hard away games to follow it's imperative we start with three points on Saturday to get us settled into the season after last year's early season debacle.

I will go 3-1 Wawaz. O'Reilly, Sewell and a brace from Matty Yates.

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Sewell apparently on a 1 game suspension from his time at Largs. 

Looking forward to this and we should know better where we stand after the match tomorrow as Rovers have had quite a good pre season.

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Posted (edited)

My goodness, we made hard work of that today. We were the better team in the first half and took the lead through Tam Orr's well-worked goal, but it was a sterile pumping in the second and Albion Rovers might feel unlucky not to have taken something from the match. If Charlie Reilly had his shooting boots on, it could have been a very different story.

We'll start with the positives first. Matty Yates was excellent and looks like a superstar in the making. He was a perpetual pain in the arse for the Rovers defence through his running and his willingness to pull people out of position, and he worked well for the team, especially with his wonderful assist for Orr's goal. I've been hugely impressed by what I've seen him from him so far and I'm looking forward to him developing over the course of the campaign. Sean Crighton turned in a real captain's performance when we needed him to and he dealt with everything that was thrown in his direction, and big Nat Wedderburn lolled around the midfield, bulldozing through anything that came into his path; I don't think Jamie Leslie got near him all afternoon. 

There were a couple of areas for concern. I admire our willingness to build play from the back but we'll need to be a lot sharper and more accurate with our distribution going forward because better teams will punish us. It was slackness that allowed Reilly clean through on goal in the opening exchanges (and I can't believe he blasted his shot so high and wide of the target). We didn't learn from this and continued to make mistakes through sloppiness. In the second half, we could barely get a grip of the ball and it felt as though the Rovers were all over us, with the backline forced into a number of last-ditch blocks and desperate clearances. Conor Brennan didn't have much to do this afternoon, other than push away a low strike towards the end, but, again, a better team would have taken a good few off us. There were a number of times we looked exposed too, especially in transition.

Elsewhere, Euan O'Reilly was subdued and didn't really get into the game, Mikey Anderson turned in a below-average performance, and I'm worried about Adam Corbett's fitness - he was substituted again and he appears to have been struggling for a while now. All in all, today was a qualified success and more of a relief to get the win than anything else.

A lot of credit has to go to Albion Rovers. They're certainly a better team that a lot of people will give them expect them to  be and if they can play with the same attitude and application over the course of the season, they should be fine. The showed spirit and enthusiasm in abundance, particularly their willingness to press Stenhousemuir and keep them pegged in their own half after the interval. Jack Leighfield made a world-class save at the death to block Orr's low header; that would have killed off the game once and for all.

Edited by Francesc Fabregas
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We held on after a poor 2nd half & good Vers half. Aw that matters. We lost a similar game last year v Stirling Albion on opening day.

You can see we have quality, if it clicks we won't be far away.

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A draw would have been a fair result.

we were on top 1st half, played some ok stuff, scored a really good goal and had their defenders skirting with red cards on more than one occasion. Bizarrely the one I think should have been red the defender wasn’t even yellow carded. Meanwhile we skirted with danger of our own doing a couple of times. Nicky Jamieson is not comfortable playing it out from the back.

Second half. What happened and why? Albion became dominant and nobody could have argued if they had managed to find an equaliser. (Although you do have to at least hit the target to have any chance of scoring).

Wedderburn and Crichton my top performers yesterday.

A winning start but room for improvement.

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That was a steal yesterday for sure. Albion Rovers can think themselves very unlucky not to at least get a point, I thought they were excellent in the second half. We can list our deficiencies second half but let's give credit to Albion they played with a high tempo and peppered us for long periods.

All that matters is that three points though. Stranraer beating Annan and our game yesterday should be a massive wake up call that there is nothing between the teams in this league. One league favourite holding on at home and the other dispatched away from home. 

Some really good performances from us though and another excellent team goal, that's becoming a decent habit. 

Wedderburn oozed class as usual. Matty Yates was different class if he keeps performing like this we won't have him long. Technically brilliant but his work rate is unbelievable.

Man of the match for me though was Sean Crighton. That was backs to the wall for the most part second half but he stood up to everything, organised the box and put his head on everything. A real captain's performance.

Roll on Annan. 

 

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Very fair comments above. We should have got a draw, but as pointed out, you need to hit the target to score and we didn't. Young Charlie will be kicking himself this morning, but he played well, and hopefully if he gets similar chances next weekend, he won't go for power.

Regardless, we played well against what is an excellent Stenny squad and one that will click within a couple of weeks, so probably best to get them out the road. We have the usual squad size worries, having once again saved on numbers to pay some players a wee bit more, so here's hoping injuries are kind to us. 

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Opening league games are often quite nervy. We got the win which counts but there are issues to address.  Too often we were getting caught trying to play it out from the back.  Once teams start to press us high up we will have issues if we continue to play that way.

Thought Sean Crichton had one of his best games for us. Yates is a find and Orr took his goal well. Wedderburn put in another great shift, who can take the ball from him as he is so physically strong.

We had a very good first half but the second half was a nightmare and we were lucky to get out with the win.  O'Reilly was not really on fire and I think Corbett needs a few weeks rest to get his niggly injuries sorted out.

All in all we started with a win which is what counts, the next game will be interesting  and it looks like it could be a very competitive league this year.

Edited by Crazy Days
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