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Despite playing for Scotland U-20 in Colombia less than a day previously, Andrew Cleary was our best player.

Despite playing for Scotland U-20 in Colombia less than a day previously, Andrew Cleary was our best player.

Even by Brook Street’s very low opening day standards, today’s 6-1 defeat at Vodikavkaz ranks as one of their worst, and does nothing to instil confidence that last season’s woeful away form will improve this term.

Even an attempt to limit the damage proved fruitless, and questions were clearly being asked of the coach’s ability at full-time by a large section of the fans. Marcus Lövman has a thick skin however, and is well used to taunts from this particular group, so was characteristically unruffled by them at the post-match press conference.

“What could go wrong today, did”, he said. “The fans pay their money, so are entitled to their point of view, but whether that view is factually correct is another matter”.

“Yes, we looked as if we hadn’t clapped eyes on each other before, but we were up against, in my opinion, one of the title challengers and they showed just how good they are”.

He continued, “We’re rebuilding the side at the moment so there’se no way we can compete with the likes of Vodikavkaz, Sparta or Vines and there’s no point in trying to convince ourselves otherwise. That’s what the supporters that are criticising us are failing to realise”.

“Sure, I’d love to have the luxury of being able to rebuild and challenge for the title at the same time, but that’s simple not going to happen. ‘Steady as she goes’ has always been the unofficial motto of this club, and I know that this is the correct route. We’re an established League 3 side now which would have been unthinkable not so long ago, and when we are ready to move up to League 2, we will. Until the, we’ll build for that day”.

Elsewhere in League III.9 there were opening day victories for Sparta Bragg who spoilt the flag unfurling at Vines Cross by winning 2-1, and EK Tuggers who saw off Kessler’s Eleven 3-1, while it was honours even as the new boys FC Auld Reekie and Sejers Sons fought out a 2-2 draw in Edinburgh.

The pick of the bunch... Phil Mullally volleys home our eighth goal.

The pick of the bunch… Phil Mullally volleys home our eighth goal.

Ten-man Brook Street eased into the Hattrick Scottish Cup Second Round and a tie in the south-west against Flying Dutchman with an emphatic 10-0 demolition of The Polish Eagles in Glasgow this morning.

Indeed, given that the New Home Park side had to play the whole second half short-handed after Jake MacConnechy’s ordering off, that they managed to score half their goals after the break shows just how dominant they were.

That however didn’t lessen Marcus Lövman’s ire towards the errant veteran. “Jake should know better than to put in two tackles like that, and against a better side we would have been up against it. He knows that, and I’ve made a point of making him know my views”.

“He’s now suspended for the league opener which is what I was trying to avoid. We need everyone to play their part and not be sitting in the stand because of two stupid tackles”.

Muhammad Noorani will join MacConnechy in the stand on Saturday after the teenager was injured following a nasty collision.

“It was a really bad one, and he’s definitely out for the weekend; possibly the next two games after that as well”, admitted Marcus.

Turning back to the game itself, Marcus said, “We were ‘ok’, nothing more. We weren’t pushed hard, and we got a few breaks. We’ll certainly have to be much better on Saturday because if we play like that, Vodikavkaz will give us a hiding”.

A full report of this morning’s match is available here

Leandro di Gaudio weaves his way through the Farolillo defence before netting our fourth goal.

Leandro di Gaudio weaves his way through the Farolillo defence before netting our fourth goal.

Ahead of their Hattrick Scottish Cup First Round tie away to The Polish Eagles on Wednesday, Brook Street had a morale-boosting 6-0 win in our friendly match against Farolillo Bajan at New Home Park this afternoon.

Brook Street were 2-0 up at half-time through goals by Emanuel Bohucký and Phil Mullally, but the game was put to bed early in the second half with three goals in as many minutes from Andrew Cleary, Leandro di Gaudio and Abel Soffia.

Leandro hit the sixth midway through the half, by which time the match was all but over.

“The three quick goals at the start of the second half killed the game off”, admitted Marcus Lövman afterwards. “We played some cracking football against a good side, so we’ve a lot of positives to take into our Cup match on Wednesday”.

In connection to the midweek match in Glasgow he added, “We’re only grateful that we got through today’s game unscathed. We don’t want to be going into the league opener with players carrying knocks, so it’s likely we’ll rotate some of the players for the Cup game”.

Oleg Zhigalov looks on as his sixty-third minute strike heads into the net to give us the lead.

Oleg Zhigalov watches on as the ball hits the net to record one of his 63 goals for the club.

Brook Street parted company with long-serving midfielder Oleg Zhigalov yesterday when he signed for Austrian Liga V side SC Celtic Vienna in a deal worth just under £290,000 to the New Home Park side.

In his thirteen seasons at the club following his transfer from English side Aldhous Athletic, he made a total of 204 appearances for the club, netting on 63 occasions. In competitive games only, he made 121 appearances and found the net 20 times.

Paying tribute to him, as both coach and former team-mate, Marcus Lövman said, “I’m sure Oleg will do a tremendous job for his new side. He’s been a great servant to Brook Street Athletic and his presence in both the dressing room and out on the pitch will no doubt be missed”.

He continued, “He gave the impression that he was quiet, but in reality he was anything but. He was the practical joker in the side and we’ve all fallen for his wind-ups at some point. However, the time was right for him to move on though, and he leaves with all of our very best wishes”.

Sam Ferretto hit a brace in our friendly tonight, but it wasn’t enough to prevent home side Águias da Caneira running out 3-2 winners in Luanda.

“We didn’t play too badly, although they put us under a lot of pressure, so there were a lot of positives to come out of this match”, said Marcus afterwards.

He continued, “Sam took his goals very well, and I think we’ve uncovered another gem. We won’t rush him though, but it looks like our front line may well comprise home-grown players in the years to come, which is fantastic for the club”.

987650Meanwhile, back at New Home Park it was announced this evening that Barbados Second Division side Farolillo Bajan will visit NHP on Saturday for the final friendly of the season. Kick-off is at 16:40 GMT.

“We’re thrilled to get this game fixed up”, said Kyle Fair, “and special thanks go to their manager LA-elfarolillo for agreeing to the match.

Having completed a very successful season of ‘flaghunting’, next season will see the completion of both the home and away sets with home games against Iranian and Ukrainian opposition, and a trip to Vietnam.

“We’ve left ourselves with a straightforward task for next season, which we should manage to complete with the minimum of problems”, claimed Kyle.

Andrew Cleary fires in the second of his three goals against Armageddon999 this afternoon.

Andrew Cleary fires in the second of his three goals against Armageddon999 this afternoon.

In what could be their final home game of the season, Brook Street swept Armageddon999 aside with a devastating display of attacking to win 10-0 this afternoon.

Andrew Cleary hit a hat-trick and there were braces for Leoš Loos, Nemanja Janković and Eyüphan Toga. Germán Olmos Ribas scored our other goal with a real collectors item – a header.

Speaking afterwards, Marcus Lövman admitted, “With the pressure off, the lads really went for it today”. He continued, “It’s been a difficult season, so it was good to see them play with such flair. It’s just a shame there weren’t too many people here to see it”.

The side will fly out to Angola tomorrow, but it is still unclear whether they will be travelling on to Vietnam for the final friendly of the close season next weekend.

“It would certainly make sense to travel directly there rather than come home again, but we won’t know until Monday at the earliest if we’re playing away or at home”, the coach said.

He concluded, “It doesn’t really matter too much to us where we play, but at least now we’ve a pretty good idea what all of the options are”.

Sam Ferretto breaks clear during the match with Melmac Rangers in Cuba.

Sam Ferretto breaks clear during the match with Melmac Rangers in Cuba.

An extra-time Sam Ferretto goal saw the reserves run out 3-2 winners against Melmac Rangers in Cuba last night. Emanuel Bohucký had opened the scoring in the eighteenth minute but just a quarter of an hour later the game had turned on it’s head as first Jhonathan Noriega then Rubén Izaguirre netted to send the home side into the break 2-1 in front.

Rangers tried to press home their advantage, but Jim Barnstaple in the Brook Street goal refused to yield and pulled off a string of outstanding saves to keep them in the game.

As is so often the case however, failure to convert their chances came back to haunt Rangers and in the seventy-third minute Muhammad Noorani cracked home a fantastic cross-field pass to tie the game.

With no further scoring in regulation time, the match entered extra-time and it was then that Brook Street assumed complete control.

Phil Mullally had done all the hard stuff in the ninety-fourth minute, but managed to scuff his shot past the post with the goal at his mercy, much to his disgust.

But with just eight minutes to go, Sam Ferretto managed to get away from his marker and slammed Brad Flint’s cross from the left into the net to put Brook Street decisively back in front.

Indeed, the visitors could have had another goal a minute later from the penalty spot after a defender was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box. However, the normally calm Emanuel Bohucký blasted the ball well wide.

“It was a really entertaining game for the neutrals that raced from end to end”, said Marcus at full-time. “We’re pleased with the result naturally, but I think we need to practice our shooting a bit more!” he added.

The coach singled out keeper Jim Barnstaple for praise saying, “Jim was outstanding there tonight. He refused to be beaten at a time that could have been decisive for Rangers had they scored”.

He also commented on Brad Flint’s crossing saying, “He set up two goals tonight with two outstanding crosses. It’s easy to forget he’s only seventeen”.

While the side were heading for home, next week’s midweek friendly opponents were announced this morning, and it will see Brook Street make their penultimate road trip to a new country, this time to Luanda, Angola to face Segundona side Águias da Caneira.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have fixed up both our weekend fixture here against Armageddon999 and next week’s trip to Angola so easily”, admitted Kyle Fair at the morning press briefing.

“We’ll only have a trip to Vietnam left to do, but we’re not certain that we’ll complete it this close season, especially if we can entice a Bajan side to come here”. He continued, “It’s a very nice predicament to be in”.

Brook Street are delighted to announce that our friends Armageddon999 have accepted our invitation and will visit New Home Park for a ‘return’ friendly match this Saturday.

The first match in Bangladesh saw the reserves face each other, but this match is likely to feature both first teams. Kick off is at 16:30 as usual and it is hoped we have a good turnout for the match.

A 0-0 draw against EK Tuggers at New Home Park this afternoon was enough to secure a fourth place finish and bring the curtain down on what has been a disappointing season.

The match itself was a fitting climax, being a dour midfield slog during which only one solitary half-chance was created.

“It was a shockingly poor game”, admitted Marcus Lövman afterwards. “It was typical end of season fare with neither side having much to play for”.

He conceded, “Ok, Tuggers will have a play-off, but there’s no way they’ll lose that, regardless of who they face”.

“Now we’ll start to build for next season”, he added, “and it’s likely some players will move on”.

Elsewhere it was a day of high drama as the championship race twisted and turned before Vines Cross, with a 4-1 win at already relegated Airth Castle emerged as the surprise Champions.

Morning leaders and favourites for the title, Sparta Bragg were held to a 1-1 draw by Kessler’s Eleven and Vodikavkaz finished in third wrapping up the season with a 3-0 home win over Arenelle SC.

So congratulations go to our friends Vines Cross on their title win, and they will now face dowie’s XI in next weekend’s League 2 play-off.

At the other end of the division, we bid farewell to Airth Castle and Arenelle SC who will play in League 4 next season, while EK Tuggers and Kessler’s Eleven will play Spirit of Catalonia and GerrysGnashers F.C. respectively in the play-offs next Saturday. We wish everyone the best of luck in their play-off matches.

As the reserves head home from Bangladesh, the club are delighted to announce this evening that next week will see them on the road again, this time to Cuba to face Melmac Rangers.

“We’re thrilled to have finally managed to arrange a match in Cuba”, said Kyle Fair this evening. “We’ve tried for a long time, and we were beginning to think we were going to struggle as time went on”.

The match will leave the side with trips to Angola and Vietnam to complete the full set of 128 away ‘flags’ in the Hattrick world, a task that Kyle is hopeful of completing this season.

“If we can avoid the play-offs, we’ve got four friendlies left, so we could in theory finish off the away flags and polish off two of our remaining four ones, so it’s win/win for us at the moment”.

The match in Cuba takes place next Wednesday, kicking off at 17:15 local time (22:15 GMT) at the 60,000 Melmac Rangers Arena on Isla de la Juventud.

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