Preston Athletic are the only Lowland League side without a point at this early stage of the season, two back-to-back home defeats against Dalbeattie Star and University of Stirling consigning the East Lothian side to the foot of the table.
A narrow 4-3 defeat by Dalbeattie last weekend was followed by a 3-1 reversal at the hands of the students from Stirling on Tuesday night – both results proving hugely frustrating for manager David Bingham who admits the manner in which his side are conceding goals is a concern.
The former Livingston favourite said: “It’s individual errors that are costing us goals. We’ve had seven pre-season games so I cannot put it down to the boys not bonding. I don’t think there was much in the game against Dalbeattie and it was the same against Stirling, but you can’t afford the opposition cheap goals and that is what we have done so far.
“But aside from that, for large spells of both games we were a match for them. We’ve got to learn though and learn quickly because against the better sides, if you don’t do your job properly, then it’s more likely you’ll be punished – it’s a harsh lesson but a lesson in itself.”
What Bingham can draw comfort from is his players do not appear to be shot-shy when it comes to applying their own pressure in the final third. Having scored four goals in their previous two encounters, finding the net on a regular basis may be beneficial to the team in the long-run. However, finding ways to stop the rot and erasing the defensive lapses in concentration, can also produce a change in fortunes.
Bingham said: “The fact that we have scored four goals in our two games at home and still have zero points shows us where the problems lie. I don’t think there is a great deal between a lot of the teams and we are more than capable of taking points off any of them in this league if – and that’s a big if – everybody plays for 90 minutes.
“I’ll set my team out to get the three points tomorrow and hopefully the results will turn. There’s a long way to go and a lot of points still to be won so I expect my guys to be competing every game. It is disappointing we haven’t got any points so far but it isn’t the end of the world.”
Preston welcome Fraser Ogilvie’s Vale of Leithen to the Pennypitt tomorrow in what will be the club’s third home game in the space of just seven days, and Bingham is predicting yet another stern test.
He added: “You learn a lot more about your players after a defeat. They’re all disappointed but hopefully they’re all champing at the bit to get back out onto the park. We’ve picked up one or two injuries but the players that come in will have their chance. Vale are good side and are playing with some confidence but if we match them then we can score goals.”
Edinburgh City, meanwhile, will have taken some encouragement from their battling 3-3 draw with Gala Fairydean Rovers at Netherdale on Tuesday night, as they revisit the Borders tomorrow for their clash with Gretna 2008.
However, the Raydale Park side pose a formidable challenge for City after whitewashing Selkirk 5-0 in midweek.
At Ainslie Park, Spartans host the University of Stirling in what is an eagerly anticipated clash between two sides both harbouring league title credentials. The visitors are the only side to have tasted victory in their opening two fixtures and Eddie May’s players are sure to be confident of preserving their 100 per cent record when they visit the Capital.
Whitehill Welfare will be looking to get back on track when they travel to Meadow Park to tackle Threave Rovers. The Midlothian outfit put in a disappointing shift against East Kilbride on Tuesday, losing 1-0 in a match they failed to get to grips with.