Shireday moves to Friday this week when Shire make the short trip to face Cumbernauld Colts at Broadwood Stadium in the latest Lowland League match of the season.
The switch to a Friday evening is necessary to allow Clyde to host their SPFL Ladbrokes League 2 match against Forfar Athletic at the same venue on Saturday.
Friday’s match has a 7:45pm kick-off. The Supporters Club is running a bus to the game and it’s likely to be a popular trip, so book your seat on the fan transport now by contacting Sandy Nimmo on 07803 708119.
It’s the second time Shire will have played on a Friday night this season. We faced Stirling University at the Falkirk Stadium on Friday 13th January, winning 2-0 with both goals coming in the first half from David Grant.
The Shire players will gather for the first time since Saturday’s 3-0 win over Gala Fairydean Rovers when they are put through their paces by the coaching staff at training at Little Kerse on Tuesday evening.
The squad will be boosted by the return of Paul Sludden. He will be available for the Cumbernauld Colts game after serving a three match suspension following a red card in the recent match against Spartans at Ochilview.
Sjhire 100 Club member Arthur Mitchell is £150.00 better off following the latest monthly cash prize draw which took place during the half-time interval of Saturday’s 3-0 Lowland League win over Gala Fairydean Rovers at Ochilview.
Shire striker Paul Sludden made the draw assisted by Nick Sievewright and Alan Dennison.
Well done Arthur. It shows again the benefits of becoming a member of the Shire 100 Club, which is a great way to show your support for the club while standing the chance of winning cash and other prizes.
A week earlier Peter Faulds won two tickets for boardroom hospitality for a future Shire match at Ochilview when his numbered ball was drawn out of the black back by Connor Greene and Andy Rodgers.
The Shire 100 Club is always on the lookout for new members. An investment in the future of the Shire can be as little as £5.00 per month. Everyone who contributes is making a valuable addition to the continued well-being of the club while, at the same time, increasing the chance of winning some cash or some Shire goodies.
Full details of what the Shire 100 Club is and how to join can be found here .
Shire’s one outstanding postponed Lowland League game this season now has a new date.
The trip to face bottom side Preston Athletic at Pennypit Park has been re-arranged for Saturday 1st April with a 3:00pm kick-off.
The match was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday 4th February, but heavy overnight rain made the pitch unplayable and an early morning pitch inspection confirmed the game’s postponement.
The new date has been issued by Lowland League officials alongside a whole raft of alternative fixture dates and times for the matches postponed by the weather, and other circumstances, throughout the season so far.
Shire, with only one outstanding game to be re-arranged, as among the least-affected teams.
Andy Rodgers hit Shire’s 100th competitive goal of the season to open the scoring in the 3-0 Lowland League victory against Gala Fairydean Rovers, and after reaching the milestone reflected on what has been an incredible few months.
His two goals in the match took his personal tally to 29 and he was full of praise too for strike partner David Grant who scored the middle of the three goals. It means that the two players have now scored 59 of Shire’s 102 goals this season so far between them.
For Andy, a player who had never even scored 20 in any season previously, it has been one to remember.
But he was quick to praise his strike partner, whose 30 goals makes him the first Shire player to reach the landmark since Jackie Cockburn in 1962/63 season.
“He’s brilliant,” said Andy of David Grant. “He does a lot of good work holding the ball up for us and bringing others into play. But he doesn’t miss very many chances, either, that’s for sure.”
Of his own goalscoring exploits this season Andy says there hasn’t quite been anything like it in a career that has taken him through most of the divisions in senior football.
He beat his own previous personal best some time ago but has enjoyed going on from there and now has the 30 goal target in sight himself, something he would clearly relish.
“It’s been a great season goals-wise,” he said. “Granty and I are on the score sheet most weeks and it’s a credit to the whole team. The amount of chances we create is incredible. Even today their goalie made five or six saves. It’s great and I’ve enjoyed it and hopefully that’ll continue.”
But in a goalless first half against Rovers there were some concerns that Shire might continue to struggle to break down a team who had been dogged in defence and who had also not been afraid to try and test Shire at the back.
“We made our emphasis to get Jamie (Glasgow) and Fauldsy (Kris Faulds) a bit wider,” he said of the tactical switches designed to break Gala down. “We felt in the first half everything was tight and compressed. It started to open up a bit and once we got on the front foot we were hard to stop.”
It only took two minutes of the second half for Andy to swing his boot at a Steven Brisbane knock down following a corner kick and the first half stalemate was broken with the club’s 100th goal of the season so far.
“Big Brizzy managed to get the knock down and I was lucky enough to catch it on they volley,” he said. “And once we got one we were confident we could go on and put the game to bed.”
It had taken 47 minutes to get in front and even after going 2-0 up Shire still had to face a determined fightback from Gala. Andy never for a minute imagined that the team Shire had beaten 10-1 in December were ever going to lie down a second time. He says the team went into Saturday’s re-match under no illusions.
“They are a good side and they caused us a few problems but we managed to see it out,” he said. “They certainly were never going to accept what happened to them down there. Their results over the past few weeks have not been the worst and the big striker has played at a good level.”
Andy is now certainly hoping the team can go on scoring goals and he would no doubt want to be among them. But with three wins on the bounce now and not a goal conceded in any of them the target is simply to extend that sequence of results.
“All we can do is try to win every game between now and the end of the season, he said. “That’s what we want to do and we just need to see where that takes us.”
It was a struggle to achieve but Shire’s 3-0 Lowland League victory over Gala Fairydean Rovers at Ochilview proved a point to coach John Sludden.
The point it proved was just how exceptional his team’s performance had been in beating the same opponents 10-1 at Netherdale in December. He never bought the line that Shire’s biggest victory since 1950 had been achieved against poor opponents but was, instead, a tribute to how well his team had played that day.
Now, after having played Gala Fairydean Rovers for a second time, the Shire head coach says it was there for everyone to see as the visitors from Galashiels this time gave his team an uncomfortable afternoon.
“They showed they were a good football team and they tried to play the game the right way,” he said of Shire’s opponents after the re-match. “It proves just how well we played that day down there to take ten off them.
“They demonstrated today they are a good team and for us to be able to do to them what we did down there is credit to us, and how good our performance was.”
John knew it was too much to ask for anything like a repeat. And he knew as well that the memory of that defeat would only inspire Gala Fairydean Rovers to try to make a much more positive impression this time round. He says he had discussed it with his team prior to the Ochilview encounter in case any of them thought they could take it easy.
“We spoke about it at training on Tuesday and Thursday and we knew they would be compact and make things difficult for us. It was a tough game for us but we showed our qualities in the end.”
The first half was a bit of an Ochilview rarity this season in that it ended goalless. Both sides had chances to score and Gala certainly made things uncomfortable for Shire although visiting keeper Kieran Wright was busy as well.
“We had some chances to score and their keeper made some good saves in the first half,” said John. But as the teams trooped off at half-time without Shire having found the sought-after breakthrough he also claims there was no sense of panic or desperation in their attitude.
“That’s something we have learned to deal with since the Edinburgh University game when we got a bit frustrated and tried to play too many ‘World Cup’ passes,” said the coach. “We just said to them to be patient, to keep passing the ball, to keep going from side-to-side, and just keep hoping that they switched off and that’s what happened.”
After making some tactical adjustments Shire began the second half at a lick and, within two minutes, took the lead which was doubled just after the hour mark. Although the visitors did come back strongly, and might have mounted a grandstand finish had a ‘goal’ near the end not been disallowed for offside, a penalty in the final minute brought Shire a comforting 3-0 victory.
“We switched it because we felt we weren’t getting the width we needed,” said John. “And that worked for us at the second goal with good movement from Drew (Ramsay) and Jamie (Glasgow)’s cross which was finished well. And at the first goal as well which although from a corner was a top-drawer finish from Andy (Rodgers).”
Nevertheless there was a sense of relief that the visitor’s strong comeback at 2-0 passed without much in the way of incident, apart from the disallowed goal.
“We maybe got a bit of luck there,” said John. “But it all came about from us being a bit sloppy.”
At full-time, the coach was less concerned about the negative aspects of the encounter and simply happy to have scored some good goals and wrapped up a third successive league win without having conceded one.
“I think even the supporters realise that teams are coming to be compact and we just have to be patient. We have the ability to create chances and with the ability we have going forward we believe those chances will be taken.”
If you’re coming to today’s Lowland League match against Gala Fairydean Rovers you need to know that there’s been a bit of flooding in the vicinity of the stadium.
Essentially, it means that there will be NO CAR PARKING either inside the stadium or the immediate environment. If you’re bringing your car then please leave it in the surrounding side streets or use the car park at Stenhousemuir Primary School.
We’re also asking everyone to take a bit of extra care when walking up to the turnstiles as there is some surface water on Gladstone Road.
We’re sorry for the inconvenience but the weather’s something we don’t have any control over.
Gala Fairydean Rovers will be Shire’s penultimate Lowland League visitors at Ochilview this season when the teams clash on Saturday.
It will be the new club’s first-ever away game against Shire, although predecessor club Gala Fairydean did play a Scottish Cup-tie at Firs Park in 1988/89 season, losing 1-0.
Memories of the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign at Netherdale in December will dominate the pre-match build-up for obvious seasons – Shire’s 10-1 win was the biggest in the league this term and the biggest ever away win in the short history of the Lowland League
Shire coach John Sludden says the memory of that game will be more important to Saturday’s visitors, who will want to put matters right at the second time of asking and who will be keen to put in a much better display.
“It was a great day for us but it’s gone now,” said John. “But there’s no doubt they will still be hurting from it and they will want to set the record straight. We can’t ignore that and we will not take them, or the game, lightly.”
The coach has spent part of the week trying to banish any thoughts from his players’ minds that the outcome of the Netherdale game will mean they can disregard their opponents’, and he’s asking fans to be mindful that winning 10-1 three months ago against this weekend’s opponents guarantees nothing when they meet again at Ochilview.
“We got off to a good start down there and that helped us and we will look to get on the front foot early at home,” said John. “If we can do that then I’m confident that we can collect the three points.”
Shire had a morale-boosting 3-0 victory over Whitehill Welfare in last Saturday’s Lowland League outing at Ochilview, their first home win of 2017 which brought to an end a run of three Ochilview games without a win.
The coach was delighted not only with the result but also the performance of the team, despite being unable to call on the services of three of his most consistent players who were all suspended.
Paul Sludden remains banned for the Gala match but Connor Greene and Andy Rodgers will once again be available for selection. The coach will decide late on his team for the game as one or two players are nursing knocks, but he admits he will not hesitate to change last Saturday’s winning formation if he thinks it will provide a better chance to win the Gala match.
“The players understand that,” he said. “And the good thing is there are no petted lips in the dressing room. There’s a great team spirit and they all help each other and that has served us well so far.”
It will be Rovers’ second trip to Falkirk in just seven days. Last Saturday they faced Stirling University at the Falkirk Stadium but went home disappointed at losing the encounter to the only goal of the game which was scored by the students deep into injury-time at the end of the match.
That defeat aside, Rovers have been in good form since the turn of the year and have recorded victories over Vale of Leithen and Preston Athletic.
They also picked up a point in a 1-1 draw against Selkirk, who had beaten the Netherdale men 7-1 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, which again should underline the Shire coach’s comments about the first meeting bearing little influence on the outcome this weekend.
The match referee is David Munro and Shire will don their usual black and white hoops. Everyone at the club would love to see a big home support turn out to get right behind the Shire team. If you can, please make the effort to come along and cheer on the players.
Shire will host Gala Fairydean Rovers at Ochilview on Saturday in the first meeting of the teams since the 10-1 away win at Netherdale in December – and Shire coach John Sludden expect the memory of that encounter will be the main motivation for the visitors rather than his own team.
He expects Steven Noble’s team will be hungry to prove a point this week after suffering their biggest defeat of the season at Shire’s hands three weeks before Christmas.
The result was the first time Shire had scored ten or more goals in a match since 1950 and was the biggest-ever away win in the short history of the Lowland League.
And John fully expects Rovers to be fired up by the memory of it as they aim to set the record straight.
“They’ll be hurting from the last game and they will want to do a lot better this time round,” said the Shire coach. “But we know we will just have to apply ourselves the way we did down there.
“We are at home and we will try to take the game to them and get ourselves another three points.”
John certainly won’t allow anyone to believe that just because Shire won the last encounter so convincingly they can take Rovers lightly. They have been in good form of late and it took an injury-time goal for Stirling University to beat them at the Falkirk Stadium last weekend.
The fact that they ran Shelly Kerr’s team, who had lost just one of nine going into the clash, so close proves the point that Gala will be better this time round. And he will leave the players in no doubt that a combination of recent good results and performances, and an element of revenge, means it will be a really tough encounter.
“The players will understand that,” he said. “They will know how Gala must be feeling. Gala may also change their system from the way they played down there so in the early part of the game we may need to adapt to that.
“But we are at home and it would be great if we could get off to a good early start. It will be a difficult game and it doesn’t matter who you play against you must have the same mindset for every single game. There’s no way we will take any team lightly.”
And although John expects Gala to use the memory of the defeat to motivate themselves for Saturday’s encounter, he says the reverse should be true for his team. He says it would be wrong to draw any conclusions of how this weekend’s match turns out based on the last time the teams met.
“That game is gone now,” he said. “It was a great day and a great journey back up the road but it’s gone and we need to apply ourselves to get another three points.”
The coach will be able to welcome back Connor Greene and Andy Rodgers to his squad. Both players missed last Saturday’s 3-0 home victory over Whitehill Welfare due to suspension, but both one game bans are now over and both will be considered for the Gala visit.
However, Paul Sludden will still be absent as he serves the final match of a three game suspension following his recent red card in the game against Spartans.
John and the players would love to see as many fans as possible at Saturday’s Ochilview encounter. The support this season has made a real difference to the players so, if you can, then please make an effort to come along and get behind the team.
The first of the two monthly Shire 100 Club draws, which was for the boardroom hospitality tickets, was made during the half-time interval at Saturday’s home game against Whitehill Welfare.
Connor Greene and Andy Rodgers were on hand to pull one numbered ball from the bag and the winner is Peter Faulds.
He will have the opportunity of coming to a future Ochilview match to sample some boardroom hospitality along with a guest.
There will be one more draw which will be for the £150.00 monthly cash prize. Full details of that will be posted on the club website soon.
The Shire 100 Club is a great way to stand a chance of winning a monthly cash sum as well as some other Shire goodies in the knowledge that you are contributing to the general well-being of the football club.
An investment in Shire’s future via the 100 Club starts at as little as £5.00 per month. Full details of what the Shire 100 Club is and how to join can be found here .
Shire are back in action at Ochilview this coming Saturday (25th February) when Gala Fairydean Rovers will be the visitors in the latest Lowland League match of the season.
The Netherdale side will clearly be out to make amends after the last meeting of the sides on a foggy day in the Borders when Shire hit the goal trail to win 10-1 and record double figures in a match for the first time since 1950.
Despite the lack of visibility Shire were 5-0 up after just 24 minutes and the team stuck to their task after the half-time break. Dylan McGuigan registered the tenth goal with still 15 minutes left to play.
Thankfully for the home team the scoring stopped there. A quick glance at their record this season shows that day was totally out of character for Rovers and Shire will face a side with a point to prove on Saturday.
In fact, in their very next match, Rovers showed a different side to their game with a 1-0 away win at Edinburgh University, and although they lost their next game at Whitehill Welfare, Stuart Noble’s team then won three and drew one of their next four.
However, they have lost their last two, with a 1-0 defeat at Stirling University on Saturday being their last outing.
Shire players and fans know this weekend’s game will be a very tough tie indeed. The players and coaches would very much appreciate it if you can make it along to help them out with the aim of making it three wins on the bounce. If you can be there then please make the effort, it really is appreciated.