Lowland League: Whitehill boss hails his ‘best week at club’

Whitehill Welfare manager Gary Small
Whitehill Welfare manager Gary Small
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Whitehill Welfare boss Gary Small hailed his team’s magnificent performance as they swept aside Cumbernauld Colts 4-0 at Ferguson Park.

The Roswell club are up to eighth in the Lowland League table, five points adrift off their opponents in sixth, after a dominant display in difficult conditions.

Goals from Jack Wright and Gary Nicholson had put the hosts in the driving seat at the break and Josh Morris, who recently joined from SPFL League 2 side Cowdenbeath, along with substitute Robbie Carter, wrapped up Whitehill’s sixth win in their past seven league outings.

“It’s the best week we’ve had since I came to the club,” said Small, who took over from David Bingham in June. “The training has been fantastic; the desire, tempo, everything has been there so I’m really proud of the guys. To see them getting the plaudits from supporters when they were coming off was really pleasing because they deserve it.

“We played some really good football on a difficult surface which I don’t think Cumbernauld really adapted to very well. It’s a good statement for us to send out beating the sixth-placed team in the league 4-0. It’s always good to score a few goals and come away with a clean sheet.

“I always said when I accepted the job that we should be judged on the second half of the season because it was a brand new team we had to assemble in very little time. We’ve got some tough fixtures coming up and we’re away from home in our next three games against Gretna, East Kilbride and Dalbeattie Star but we can go to these places with some confidence given our recent form.”

Small was also thrilled to see frontman Morris net his first goal for the club since joining from the Blue Brazil, the 26-year-old’s return of 34 goals for Hawick Royal Albert last season earning him a move to Central Park last summer.

“Josh is a really clever player. His movement is tremendous, dragging the centre-backs out of position and I’m delighted he got his goal because he had a couple of chances before he scored,” Small said. “He’s a real goalscorer but an all-round top player and I think the other guys in the team have been given a real lift having a player of his quality.”

Morris carved out the home side’s first opportunity when his pass across goal was somehow missed by the lurking Nicholson who failed to connect from just a couple of yards out.

However, the energetic Wright found space around the penalty box and his neat one-two with Robbie Dowie saw the former toe-poke his side into the lead after 14 minutes.

Nicholson atoned for his earlier miss three three minutes later by angling a shot beyond the reach of visiting goalkeeper Harry Purves and into the bottom corner. Wright turned provider four minutes after the restart as Morris got on the end of his cross to turn the ball in from just a couple of yards.

Colts’ misery was compounded in the final minute when captain Greg Pascazio was dispossessed by substitute Carter and he showed great composure to slot past Purves.

Whitehill Welfare: Easton, Reid, R McKenzie, Lucas, Wright, McPartlin, Morris (McCraw 79), Nicholson (Carter 73), McGregor, Neto (Mitchell 76), Dowie. Subs: Murray, C McKenzie, Weldon, Jardine.

Cumbernauld Colts: Purves, Kirwin, Wilson, Kerr (Eadie 56), Pascazio, Marshall, O’Neill (Holmes 30), Lachlan, Brown, Murray, Wallace. Subs: Sheridan, Pirrie, Fergus, McKenzie, Hunter.

Elsewhere, an Andy Mair strike five minutes into the second half gave Civil Service Strollers victory over Gretna 2008 at Christie Gillies Park. The Capital outfit jump above Gala Fairydean Rovers and Edinburgh University into 11th spot.