Civil Service Strollers rue missed chances but team is improving

Civil Service Strollers manager Alex Cunningham. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Civil Service Strollers manager Alex Cunningham. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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Civil Service Strollers manager Alex Cunningham was disappointed his players failed to capitalise on their superiority after being held to a 1-1 home draw by Cumbernauld Colts.

The hosts dominated for long spells but were unable to secure the three points their play warranted.

Jamie Broadfoot’s fine strike put the visitors ahead eight minutes into the second half but Jack Downie’s shot from the edge of the area 20 minutes from time salvaged a point for the Capital side.

Ian Ballantyne’s curling drive in the closing stages smacked off the post as Strollers piled on the pressure.

“I really felt we were worthy of the three points,” Cunningham said. “But in saying that I think that’s a game we would have lost six weeks ago and I’ve said that to the players. But they’ve got a good spirit about them so we’ve just got to keep it going. I thought we were very unlucky to be behind to be honest as their goal came totally out of the blue. It was a good strike but I didn’t think they offered a lot up top all game. When we played them earlier in the season I thought they were a right good side but it looks as if they’ve lost a few players since then.

“We did well to get back into it and I thought our shot that hit the post was going in as nine times out of ten they do.

“The Preston game on the 31st now becomes really big. Earlier on in the season I admit I was finding it pretty tough having come into a new league with a new team but we’ve definitely turned the corner. The boys are all fighting for each other and the club is a good place to be at the moment.”

Despite a strong start from the home side, Cumbernauld’s Richard Kirwin had the first shot on target after eight minutes although his effort lacked sufficient power to trouble Stuart Burnside in the Strollers goal.

Cunningham’s men began to carve out chances in the opposition’s box and from a Downie corner, David Churchill should have done better but blazed over from ten yards. Thirty seconds later striker Steven Froude passed up his chance when bearing down on Cumbernauld No.1 Chris Fahey as his drive flew over the crossbar.

However, Burnside had to look lively at the other end to stop Craig Murray’s snapshot following Andy Hunter’s smart layoff.

Churchill should have done better from six yards following a bustling run from Matthew Cunningham, who was outstanding all afternoon for Strollers, before Jordan Boyle hit the side netting after a fine move had opened up the visitors’ defence.

However, the deadlock was broken eight minutes after the interval as Broadfoot’s sweet strike from 20 yards flew past Burnside into the bottom corner.

Cunningham was inches away from levelling with a towering header before Downie’s pinpoint strike drew the hosts level after Froude’s powerful run down the right.

Both Froude and Churchill went agonisingly close for the home side as Strollers sought a winner but it was Ballantyne’s shot two minutes from time that really left the hosts with their heads in their hands as his effort cracked off the inside of the post and out to safety.

Civil Service Strollers: Burnside, Milligan, Brown, Newall, Turnbull, Cunningham, Boyle (Campbell 75), Downie, Froude, Ballantyne (Stewart 85), Churchill. Subs: Clapperton, Milven, Laird, Kidd, Watson.

Cumbernauld Colts: Fahey, Kirwin, Fergus, MacFarlane, Ward, Lachlan, Batchelor, Murray (Barclay 73), Hunter (Ronald 77), Black (Sheridan 90), Broadfoot. Subs: George, Milne, Foggin, MacKenzie.