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Andrew Cleary fires home his third goal of the afternoon.

Andrew Cleary fires home his third goal of the afternoon.

Andrew Cleary hit a hat-trick as Brook Street ran out 4-1 winners in this afternoon’s league opener against Marcascotties at New Home Park. Krsto Grubic fired in our other goal, but not before the visitors had taken a shock fifth minute lead.

In his pre-match press conference, Leoš had highlighted the visitors’ Italian winger Angelo Renna as being a particular threat, and this proved to be prophetic in the fifth minute when he rose high nod the ball into the Brook Street net.

This silenced the vast majority of the 40,000 New Home Park crowd, but they were back on their feet less than a minute later when the onrushing Andrew Cleary met Muhammad Noorani’s cross square on the forehead to power the header home.

Brook Street have looked good from set pieces in recent seasons, and this seems to be continuing as an indirect free-kick in the seventeenth minute caused havoc in the visiting defence allowing defender Krsto Grubic, who was making his league debut, acres of space to pick his spot and fire home.

The home side were now turning the screw and Andrew Cleary in particular was tormenting the visiting defenders. It was only a matter of time before the scoreline was added to, and that goal came eight minutes before the break when Andrew evaded tackle after tackle before firing home a magnificent solo effort.

Brook Street were content to sit in more in the second half, but Andrew Cleary certainly wasn’t content to, and it was he who latched onto a defence-splitting pass to blast home his hat-trick goal with sixty-seven minutes on the clock. This wrapped up the win and ensured there would be no halloween horror show from Brook Street.

Speaking afterwards Leoš was clearly delighted with the win, and he paid credit to his strike partners.

“Andrew put in a display today that we all know he is capable of”. He added, “This will do his confidence no harm at all and bodes well for the season ahead”.

He also singled out Muhammad Noorani for praise who he said, “does a lot of the grafting that generally goes un-noticed”. He continued, “His cross for our first goal for example was sublime; he was already looking for Andrew before the ball even reached him, and his first-time cross took two or three defenders out of the play straight away”.

“It was a huge team effort altogether, so everyone deserves credit”, he added. “We’re notorious for our slow starts, so it bodes well for the rest of the season.

After eleven seasons in Division III, Brook Street find themselves in unfamiliar territory tomorrow as they kick off the new season in Division IV with a home tie against Marcascotties at New Home Park.

They go into the match with renewed hope following last season’s disasterous campaign, as coach Leoš Loos highlighted at this afternoon’s pre-match press conference.

“To say last season was challenging would be a gross understatement”, he admitted. “We were absolutely gutted to be relegated after we had taken it to the final game, when earlier in the season we looked as if we’d be down with games to spare. However we’ve picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves down, and are ready to go again this season.

“We’re looking to return to Division III as fast as possible, but we’re tempering this with the fact we’re rebuilding at the moment, so we want to be as strong as possible for when we take the step back up. Players may come in and others leave, but we’ve got to ensure we’re ready for Division III while at the same time we perform at our best in this division. It is imperative that we focus on this season and we will be instilling that in the players”.

Last season’s runners-up are our visitors in the league opener so they’ll be no pushovers.

“We really don’t know much about them as a team”, said Leoš. “but, they’ve certainly got some good individual players; the lad Renna on the wing looks particularly dangerous. However, it’s up to us to deal with those threats and put their defence under pressure”.

Brook Street go into the match with defender Attila Gyöngyösi sidelined, but other than that the club have no other injury doubts.

Brook Street cruised into the Second Round of the Hattrick Scottish Cup this morning with a convincing 9-0 thumping of Lightsabers. Matt Cocker grabbed a hat-trick with Fraser Carragher, Alex Clapperton, Andy Harte, Krsto Grubić, Nemanja Janković and Sam Ferretto also finding the net.

“It was a real morale-booster of a result”, claimed Leoš Loos afterwards. “After our relegation, there was an air of despondency in the dressing room, and a win today was the only way to lift it”.

He added, “It was a real shot in the arm for the club as a whole and helped focus us again ahead of Saturday’s league opener.

Brook Street’s reward for the win is a Second Round tie away to The Gravy Spoons over the river in Fife.

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