Conrad Balatoni trying to focus on positives with Edinburgh City despite defeats

Edinburgh City defender Conrad Balatoni was able to draw on one of the few positives following the club’s 2-1 defeat to Clyde last weekend.

Friday, 19th April 2019, 7:30 am
Conrad Balatoni and City have lost ground on leaders Peterhead. Pic: TSPL

Despite assuming the lead through top goalscorer Blair Henderson just a minute into the second half, City contrived to lose the match with the Bully Wee netting twice in the final ten minutes to bag all three points.

And although that win saw Clyde leapfrog the Citizens into second in the table – three points better off – Balatoni was keen to stress it’s the first time City have lost back-to-back matches this season.

While James McDoanugh’s men have stuttered these past few weeks, former Hearts and Partick Thistle centre back Balatoni says the fact they have gone until the ninth month of the season before succumbing to consecutive defeats underlines just how well the club has fared this season.

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The 28-year-old acknowledges that with just three games remaining, Ladbrokes League Two leaders Peterhead’s seven-point lead should be enough to see the Balmoor outfit promoted as champions. And, with the play-offs just around the corner, Balatoni knows how important it is the Capital side don’t extend their losing streak to three at struggling Albion Rovers tomorrow.

“You can look at last week’s defeat two ways,” Balatoni explained. “Of course it’s disappointing to lose two games in a row but then it’s a really good stat to have that we’ve gone until April for that to happen. We didn’t play well and that’s probably happened two or three times now against Clyde. It hurts. We’ve looked at the video and there were a lot of things we could have done better.

“If we finish third then we’ve had a great season no matter what. It’s an experience that a lot of the players will be able to take into next season if we don’t go up through the play-offs.

“There is a feeling of disappointment around and a case of ‘what if’. But we have to get over that. We have had opportunities to close the gap and we’ve failed to take advantage so we’ve only got ourselves to blame.”

Balatoni confirmed McDonaugh made his feelings known in the aftermath of Saturday’s loss. “The manager was disappointed but he was justified in the points he was putting across,” he said. “What he said will stay in the dressing room but we all know we are a lot better than what we showed. Clyde have maybe done their homework and stopped us playing to our strengths and we’ve fallen into that trap. But If we come up against them in the play-offs then we’ve got to find a way to get past them. We’re still confident we can go and beat anybody on their day as we’ve beaten every team in the league this season already.

“We also expected Peterhead to beat Albion Rovers last week and that’s not being disrespectful. What that result did show was that we’re in for a right tough game tomorrow. I personally think Peterhead will now go on and win the league but that’s not to say a miracle won’t happen where they allow ourselves or Clyde back into it, but you have to be realistic.”

If the league was to end today then City would host Danny Lennon’s side at Ainslie Park in a play-off first leg before the return clash at Broadwood a couple of days later.

“Personally I like playing away from home. I always have and I probably always will so being at home first doesn’t bother me,” Balatoni said. “I like going to other teams’ grounds and upsetting them. It doesn’t matter if we play at home first, that’s fine by me. It might affect others but you just have to deal with it.

“We want to build some momentum for the play-offs. The manager may decide to start resting players so we’ll wait and see. But we’ll definitely be aiming to finish off the campaign with three wins. I certainly want to play in all the remaining matches.”