Civil Draw With Shire
Tuesday night saw the return of football after the Christmas break. We were delighted to welcome Connor from The Scottish Football Adventure to the ground who has written his views on the game, the stadium and what to expect when visiting The Strollers.
His full report can be read following the link below but we have given you a snippet of the game on Connor’s behalf.
Read the full match report: https://thescottishfootballadventure.com/2021/12/29/keeping-it-civil-civil-service-strollers-28-12-2021/
To begin this bumper midweek encounter, Strollers placed their front foot forward and had the first real chance of the game within five minutes. A decent cross from the right-hand side was controlled in the box by forward Robbie Cole who laid the ball to midfielder Scott Clapperton. Just as the ball had been skied high, so too was Civil’s momentum. Two minutes later, prolific striker Alieau Faye was sent through on goal. The big man may be one of the top scorers in the Lowland League, but this strike was fired straight at Shire ‘keeper Ross Connelly to keep the score level for now.
East Stirling fired back. After a stramash in the Civil box, the ball found its way out to the left. After a low cross in, the ball was somehow poked wide by David Churchill. The offside flag had been raised though to save the Shire midfielder his blushes. From one end to the other, Civil could and should have been ahead once again. After a superb corner delivery by Jayden Fairley, it looked routine for the ball to nestle in the back of the net. Instead, the header was put wide and East Stirling were riding their luck. That was until Strollers stepped it up once again. After a lovely Pepe Reina-esque kick from Civil ‘keeper Craig Murdoch, the ball was controlled expertly on the chest by lively forward Joao Balde. After a jinking run through a few Shire defenders, the ball was sent across the box and bundled into the net. Civil’s social media granted the goal to Faye, but I was sure it was an own goal. Either way, they all count, and the Strollers were a deserved goal up.
From the restart, the Shire awoke and attacked with free-flowing impetus. After a few wayward shots on goal, they should have been level. From an in-swinging free-kick, a close-range header was very well saved by Murdoch in the home goal. The pressure continued, and Murdoch produced another close range save, this time with his feet. The away side pumped balls into the box like artillery but to no avail. Their pressure told for little and ended the half a goal behind.
Half time: Civil Service Strollers 1-0 East Stirlingshire
Stirling immediately picked up where they left off. The feet of Murdoch once again denied David Churchill before the Strollers keeper produced an acrobatic if not awkward save to deny a flying strike from eighteen yards. The Shire pressure continued through a high pressing midfield and denied the Strollers any chance of springing anything meaningful. A further strike by captain Kieran Gibbons flew just wide of Murdoch’s post and from my angle could be described as a bawhair away from levelling the scores.
Strollers did manage to find themselves up the park and began playing the football we all knew they could. Some good interchanging play from the midfield brought playmakers Balde and Cole up the pitch and into attacking areas. However, a few strikes comfortably wide of Connelly’s goal was all the home team could muster. Then, like a light switch, the game’s energy flipped into an end-to-end basketball tie. Attacks on both sides lacked the final pass and, on another day, could have made the score an eye-opening one. Finally, momentum on Shire’s end prevailed. A defence splitting pass sent Kevin Turner through on goal. The veteran striker finished expertly and granted the away fans an almighty roar and a deserved equaliser.
The entertainment did not stop there. As both teams began to tire on the heavy surface, gaps in both defences began to open. On every occasion though, the final pass lacked and resulted in frustrated groan from both sets of supporters. One last opportunity for excitement arrived two minutes before the final whistle. Kieran Offord spearheaded an energetic counterattack down the left and swept the ball towards substitute Jamie Hamilton. The midfielder appeared to have the feet of a well drilled performer as he danced his way past three or four Strollers players. In a cruel turn of events, the final strike was blasted over much to provide the home support a much-needed sigh of relief.
Full time: Civil Service Strollers 1-1 East Stirlingshire
Football is a funny game. Throughout the course of the first-half, Strollers could have been three goals up without anyone batting an eyelid. The skill and pace of Joao Balde brought his teammates forward and created numerous openings. Although, like much of the home side’s attack, the ball was held onto for too long and prevented any opportunities growing arms and legs. On loan Hibernian midfielder Jayden Fairley also impressed for me. His set pieces were consistently whipped in with accuracy and pace and on another day, the young man could have had a couple assists to his name.
On the other hand, the Shire will feel disappointed to have only left CGP with a point after a constant barrage of pressure for most of the game. Captain Kieran Gibbons impressed after a commanding midfield performance. He led his team well and kickstarted several attacks in the second half with Murdoch in the Civil goal keeping the home side ahead. Shire can take confidence from this display though. They showed more than enough defensive competency and attacking prowess to take the game to any team in this division.
Article & Picture written and provided by Connor @THESCOTTISHFOOTBALLADVENTURE