Carnegie Colts v Falkirk 4th XI
After the previous weeks 10-0 rout of Grange 8’s, the Colts faced a strong Falkirk 4th XI who according to the league tables, were sitting 2 points ahead of the Colts and had beaten our 4th XI 6-0 the previous week.
Only two players were missing from the squad for this tie. Geraint Jones stepped in for Paul Ralph in the midfield and Brian Docherty for Stuart Miller between the posts.
The team talk was brief, we knew the Falkirk side were physical and we knew they would try and attack us through the middle of the pitch. In order to counter this, we were going to zone mark the middle of the pitch and press them high and hard leaving them the only out balls to the side-lines for Lewis Cameron and Stevie Fyfe to deal with.
This high press caused the Falkirk defence lots of problems getting the ball out from their 16’s and it was on one of these presses that allowed Alan Jones to intercept a panic cross field ball and draw the first penalty corner of the game. A pinpoint push out to the top of the ‘D’ allowed Finlay Conroy just enough time to release an unstoppable drag flick to the top left corner past the finger tips of the Falkirk keeper! 1-0 Colts.
For the remainder of the first half the Colts maintained the high press on the Falkirk defence and caused lots of trouble for the defence. The second goal for the Colts came from a free hit just outside the ‘D’. Alan Jones quickly took the self-pass taking the Falkirk defence by surprise, arced around the outside of the ‘D’ and from the baseline, drew the goalkeeper and provided an excellent pass across the ‘D’ to Sean Byron who was loitering on the penalty spot for a first time slap into an open goal 2 minutes before the half time whistle. 2-0 Colts.
The second half did not go quite as well as the first. Two things happened that changed the dynamic of the game. Falkirk finally realised that playing through the middle of the pitch from the back was not getting them anywhere and changed their formation to allow a high press of their own and started to use hard diagonal balls through the midfield to their forwards sitting behind our defence. The other thing that happened was we ran out of legs, failed to press the ball carrier quick enough which allowed them to take the upper hand. Ten minutes into the second half, a slightly miss timed tackle just inside the 25 yard line was deemed bad enough to warrant Falkirk’s 5th penalty corner of the game. The Colts defence had dealt with the four previous corners with ease, but a break of the line before the ball was injected saw the defensive runners reduced to three. Falkirk capitalised on this reduction in manpower with a switch to the right past the onrushing number one runner and a diagonal shot across Brian Docherty into the bottom right corner. 1-2 Falkirk.
Falkirk buoyed by this, increased their pressure on the Colts and took control of the game for the next 15 minutes. It took some heroic defending by Ross Ingles and Mark Sutterby to keep the score line at 2-1. The pressure was relieved with 10 minutes to go as the Colts defence broke down yet another high pressure attack and a quick clearance found Alan Jones on the half way line with just two defenders and the goalkeeper to beat. Alan’s first touch took him past the first stricken defender and as the play neared the Falkirk circle, the final defender was drawn towards him leaving a square pass to Ewan Forster who was supporting on the right. Ewan collected the pass, entered the ‘D’, drew the keeper and passed the ball back to a rather surprised Alan Jones who after a quick adjustment, calmly slotted the ball home past the diving keeper. 3-1 Colts.
This goal against the run of play deflated the home team and allowed the Colts to regain some control of the midfield for the last 10 minutes of the game.
This was the Colts first taste of sustained pressure this season and overall, they coped quite well. Next week sees the Colts host Inverleith Development at Woodmill.
Final score – Carnegie Colts 3, Falkirk 4th XI 1