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Emanuel Bohucký fires low to open the scoring against Stirling Bridge this afternoon.

Emanuel Bohucký fires low to open the scoring against Stirling Bridge this afternoon.

Brook Street survived a late resurgence by Stirling Bridge at New Home Park this afternoon to maintain their 100% start to the season. Having raced to a 4-0 lead, it looked as if the visitors would be swept away before two late goals of their own ensured that there would be a nail-biting finish to the match.

Kicking off in heavy rain, it took Athletic a quarter of an hour to get into their stride, but with their first clear chance they found the net; Emanuel Bohucký shrugging off the attentions of his marker to fire home.

And it was the Slovak who made it 2-0 seventeen minutes later, this time from a superb trademark free-kick.

Brook Street had their tails up and it was 3-0 within three minutes as Abel Soffia rose high to power a header home.

Stirling however were determined not to be there to make up the numbers and came out for the second half with renewed determination. Steve McManaman passed up two glorious opportunities to reduce the deficit, and these were to prove crucial as Attila Gyöngyösi headed Brook Street into a 4-0 lead with sixty-five minutes played.

Stirling’s Ferenc Puska reduced the lead with fifteen minutes to go and when Marco van Basten added another a minute later it looked as if Brook Street were wobbling,

Between the two goals Muhammad Noorani had come off the bench to make an unexpected return from injury and it was to him that the last chance of the game fell. Breaking through on the left he pulled his shot and could only find the side netting, much to his own disgust.

While happy with the three points Leoš Loos was less happy with his side’s defending. “We were very sloppy and were punished for it”, he said. We can’t afford to be so lax at the back and it’s a point I’ve been impressing upon the players. We switched off thinking the game was won. We must never switch off”.

On Muhammad Noorani’s surprise appearance he said, “He was 60/40 this morning, so we decided to give him the last fifteen minutes. He’s come through unscathed so we’ll get him back to full training next week.

However, Emanuel Bohucký will be assessed in the morning after taking a bad knock. “It’s one of those ones that could see him out for a week or back on Monday. We’ll just have to wait and see”, said the coach.

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FTThe reserves have run out comfortable winners in Italy this evening, defeating Fulgentio Football Factory 4-0 in front of just under 3,200 spectators.

Brook Street wasted no time in putting their opponents under pressure, and were 1-0 up after only four minutes after Zsolt Baboss went on a mazy run through the home defence and slotted the ball home.

Baboss was instrumental in Brook Street’s second, firing a corner in the twenty-first minute that the home keeper spilled in front of Krsto Grubic. The Bosnian needed no invitation and calmly knocked the ball into the net for our second.

Brook Street kept attacking in waves and this eventually paid dividends four minutes before the break when Fraser Carragher attacked down the right and crossed for Phil Mullally to drive the ball home.

Carragher got onto the scoresheet himself just before the hour mark to wrap up the scoring with a tremendous trademark low drive from about twenty yards that gave the home keeper absolutely no chance.

“That was a good workout for the players”, said Leoš Loos afterwards. “We controlled the game and passed the ball around well, we were incisive in our attacks and we’ve scored really good goals”.

He added, “It’s also good that we’ve score goals from defence, midfield and the wing. When we’re doing that, it takes pressure off the strikers which is no bad thing”. With a wry smile he jokingly adding, “Especially when Sam [Ferretto] has such an off day. Still, when you’ve scored four at the weekend, you’re allowed a bit of a rest!”

“Seriously though, it was also important that we went home with no injuries and that is exactly what we’ve got. Now we can plan for Saturday with almost a full squad at our disposal”.

Sam Ferretto fires home his fouth goal in a memorable first league start.

Sam Ferretto fires home his fouth goal in a memorable first league start.

If anyone had never heard the name Samuele Ferretto before Brook Street’s match this afternoon against Dumfries and Galloway Athletic, they will most certainly know it now. Previously restricted to Cup appearances and from the bench in the league, Sam Ferretto bagged four goals in Brook Street’s 9-0 demolition of the home team; his first league start for the club.

“I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like that before”, admitted Leoš Loos afterwards. “Ok, it wasn’t the toughest game we’ll face this season, but Sam showed us all exactly what he is capable of”.

“I knew he would do well, but I had no idea it would be just as good as this”, he added. “There were some raised eyebrows amongst the press when I announced that he would be leading the line, but I knew he was good enough to do it, and he’s certainly proved it”.

When asked about his performance, Sam said, “The gaffer just said, ‘Go out and play your usual game and enjoy yourself’, so that’s exactly what I did. To be honest, it was probably the best possible game for me to come into, as there was no pressure on us at all. I was really happy to get the chance to play today, but I also know just how much Muhammad [Noorani] was hurting for missing out through injury. He’s my mate, and this one is for him”.

Andrew Cleary got the ball rolling when he fired home only three minutes into the game then three goals in as many minutes after a quarter of an hour from Sam Ferretto, Leoš Loos, and Abel Soffia killed the game stone dead.

Sam bagged his second and third goals of the game in the fifty-third and fifty-sixth minutes respectively before, Leoš Loos got his second of the game just after the hour mark.

With the game already won, the pace dropped off considerably after this, but it picked up again in the last four minutes as both Andrew Cleary with his second goal, and Sam Ferretto with his fourth, added to the goals tally.

The last word goes to Leoš who wrapped up his post-match press conference by throwing down the gauntlet to the other sides in the league, saying, “We’ve had a couple of easy games over the past two weeks, but we know there’s a lot of work to be done, and a lot of tough games to be played, between now and the end of the season. We’re out in front at the moment and we’re determined to stay there”.

Sam Ferretto in action against The Big Bad Wolf today. Could Muhammad Noorani's injury give hime his big break.

Sam Ferretto in action against The Big Bad Wolf today. Could Muhammad Noorani’s injury give him his big break?

Brook Street’s participation in this season’s Saltire Cup came to an abrupt halt this afternoon as Dean Ingham’s third minute penalty was enough to separate the sides and take The Big Bad Wolf into the next round.

Of greater concern to Leoš Loos however is the injury sustained by Muhammad Noorani that could see the striker out for an extended period.

“It’s not looking good and he could be out for a while”, admitted the coach. He continued, “It’s a real blow to us as Muhammad has been an integral member of the team and his contribution has been significant in our unbeaten start to the league season”.

“He continued, “Muhammad is obviously out for this weekend, and we’ll just have to wait and see how much longer he’ll be sidelined for. However, this gives Sam Ferretto a huge opportunity to stake his claim for a starting place, and it’s up to him to take it”.

“Sam’s performances for the reserves have been outstanding this term and he’s unlucky that the first team have been playing well otherwise he would probably have merited a starting place. He’s had to be content with a place on the bench, but now this is his chance to shine. He’s a level-headed lad and I have no doubt in his ability to do a good job for us”

Zsolt Baboss chips the ball home to open the scoring this afternoon.

Zsolt Baboss chips the ball home to open the scoring this afternoon.

An equaliser by Sparta Macmerry’s Willie Taylor nine minutes from time in their match against Maxum was enough to see Brook Street take pole position in Division IV.7 this afternoon.

In their game, the New Home Park side had seen off Rebels London by six goals to nil although Brook Street boss Leoš Loos wasn’t too impressed by the performance.

“You know, to be honest we’ve played better and lost. We were decidedly off form today, and although it was probably a blip, it serves to show we can’t be complacent”.

He continued, “Perhaps I’m being too hard on the team, but it certainly wasn’t a vintage Brook Street performance. We’re top of the league now so I should be happy with that, but too many of our players were off form today, and against a better team that would have cost us”.

Brook Street certainly laboured in the early stages and it took a sublime Zsolt Baboss chip over the keeper to open the scoring with seventeen minutes gone. The prolific Andrew Cleary added a second with thirty-five minutes on the clock, but it wasn’t until Nemanja Janković netted five minutes into the second half that the victory was effectively clinched.

The game descended into a dour slog in midfield, bar flashes of individual brilliance such as Emanuel Bohucký’s marvellous free-kick just after the hour mark that tore into the Rebels’ rigging to make it 4-0.

Brook Street were attacking at will now and within the following twelve minutes, they added a further two goals that would round off the scoring; first Zsolt Bqaboss fired in his second of the game with sixty-seven minutes played, then Jake MacConnechy wrapped up the scoring in the seventy-fifth minute.

Brook Street may indeed have had an ‘off day’, but the fact that even so they were far too strong for Rebels could, in time, prove telling.

Muhammad Noorani fires us into the lead midway through the second half of extra-time.

Muhammad Noorani fires us into the lead midway through the second half of extra-time.

Brook Street bowed out of this season’s Scottish Cup, losing 1-0 on penalties after their Third Round match against Division III side Furious Focus had finished 5-5 after extra time.

While clearly disappointed to have been knocked out, Brook Street gaffer Leoš Loos was full of praise for his players.

“With a couple of easier league games coming up, there was always the temptation to field the first team today, but there was absolutely no way I was going to do this. It’s important for Brook Street to have a squad that is as strong as possible, and we’re not going to achieve that if the reserves are sitting out games like this”.

He continued, “We don’t have the largest of squads, so it’s important for the reserves to get match time which in turn keeps the first team on their toes. The reserves have performed admirably in this albeit brief Cup run showing real grit and determination along with a never say die attitude. I am very proud of them… although I think we need to practice penalties”, he added as an afterthought.

So it’s Saltire Cup action next week for the reserves, but they can console themselves in the fact that although they have bowed out, they have taken part in probably the most entertaining Cup run in the Club’s history which averaged more than ten goals per game.

The game started off badly for Brook Street as the visitors raced to a 2-0 lead before half an hour was played to go in up at the break. Muhammad Noorani pulled a goal back seven minutes after the break, and within a minute Brook Street were level after Phil Mullally weaved through the home defence to slot the ball home.

Fraser Carragher blasted the ball home with sixty-six minutes gone to put us in front for the first time, but the lead lasted only a minute before Nathaniel Heath levelled. John Ravenscroft fired Furious back in front midway through the half, but back came Brook Street and Matt Cocker fired in the equaliser with seven minutes to go.

Play raged from end to end, but neither side could make the breakthrough, and so the game went into extra time.
Muhammad Noorani looked to have given Brook Street the edge when he fired home midway through the second half of extra-time, but back came Furious and Alex McClean tied the game with five minutes to go to take it to penalties.
With both sets of players almost ‘out on their feet’ penalties can become a real lottery. However, it is unlikely that anyone expected that thanks to some outstanding goalkeeping and poor striking there to be only one of the ten penalties converted. Unfortunately for Brook Street, it was Furious’s winger Bernard Littlejohn who netted it to send the Division III side into the Fourth Round.

Leoš Loos flicks home Abel Soffia's cross to restore our advantage.

Leoš Loos flicks home Abel Soffia’s cross to restore our advantage.

For the second time in a week Brook Street ran out 4-1 winners this afternoon to maintain our unbeaten start to the season. Andrew Cleary opened the scoring at the rainswept Arena of Szczurek with just over twenty minutes played.

However the lead lasted just ten minutes before Jesús Segovia fired home the equaliser for FC Poland. With the match becoming bogged down in midfield, that marked the last goal attempt before half-time.

Brook Street continued to concentrate on attacking down the wings, and it was from one such move that they re-took the lead in the sixty-fourth minute. Abel Soffia was revelling in the conditions, and was giving his marker a torrid time. Having left him for dead he fired in a low cross that player-coach Leoš Loos met at the near post and deftly flicked it past the keeper.

A one goal lead is always precarious, so it came as some relief when Andrew Cleary hit his second of the game with eight minutes remaining. This forced FC Poland to chase the game which in turn left more gaps at the back, one of which was exploited by Nemanja Janković who put the game beyond doubt with Brook Street’s fourth goal four minutes from time.

Afterwards, Leoš said, “That could have been a bit of a bit of a banana-skin for us, but we played very well and got the win our play merited.

Then, speaking of Andrew Cleary’s brace he said, “Andrew has hit the ground running this season and already has five league goals to his name. He’s on fire at the moment, and long may that continue”.

He concluded by saying, “If we continue as we have started, we’ll be there or thereabouts at the end of the season”.

The players mob Sam Ferretto after his winning goal late in extra-time

The players mob Sam Ferretto after his winning goal late in extra-time

The word ‘sensational’ is often overused in a footballing context, but in the case of Brook Street’s fight-back and eventual victory in this morning’s Scottish Cup Second Round tie, no other superlative comes close to describing the performance in a real rollercoaster of a game.

Up against what was effectively The Gravy Spoons’ first team, Brook Street’s reserves showed real grit and determination to fight their way back into the match when all looked lost, forcing the game into extra-time and ultimately winning through.

“The lads were absolutely outstanding”, beamed a delighted Leoš Loos at the final whistle. “Even I thought that this wasn’t going to be our day when we went 4-1 down at the start of the second half, but the boys proved me and everyone else wrong by digging deep and keeping going. They’ve got their reward and I’m delighted for every one of them. They were all heroes today”.

Young Alex Clapperton had given Brook Street a surprise lead in the second minute, and that lasted until just before the half-hour mark when John Coatsworth levelled for Spoons’ with a powerful header.

Five minutes later, Brook Street were behind as Alfie McFadden fired home and three minutes later Connor Collins struck to put the home side three-up at the break.

Brook Street’s chances of progressing into the Third Round looked bleak when four minutes into the second half Ben Young netted Spoons’ fourth, but Brook Street kept playing to their gameplan and Matt Cocker gave them a glimmer of hope in the sixty-seventh minute when he perfectly anticipated a through ball to roll in our second goal.

That hope looked to have been extinguished with ten minutes to go, but then came probably the most dramatic last few minutes in Brook Street’s recent history.

With the clock showing eighty-six minutes played, the ball was swung in from the right and was met on the half-volley at the edge of the box by Phil Mullally. The shot gave the keeper no chance, and while it was a terrific move, it looked at that time to be nothing more than a consolation goal.

Brook Street continued to press, and earned themselves a corner kick two minutes later. Fraser Carragher swung the ball over and was met by the Sam Ferretto who’s glancing header left the home keeper rooted to the spot.

There was real belief about the Brook Street players now, but with time running out, could they achieve the impossible and take the match into extra-time? The answer to that came less than a minute later when Alex Clapperton maintained composure that belied his age to calmly roll the equaliser home.

And so the match entered extra-time with everyone wondering if Spoons’ could pick themselves up from the late hammer blow when they had looked home and dry earlier in the match.

They got the perfect answer midway through the first period of extra-time when John Coatsworth unleashed a shot that gave Jim Barnstaple absolutely no chance and put Spoons’ back in the driving seat.

Garabed Palasyan almost levelled for Brook Street when he picked Fergus Trophy’s pocket four minutes into the second period but the ball went wide. However Brook Street’s equaliser came just four minutes later as some superb play on the right wing freed Sam Ferretto who made no mistake from about twelve yards.

Some desperate defending was called for by Brook Street with six minutes to go, but the defence held firm and managed to scramble the ball clear from the free-kick, and that was to prove invaluable four minutes later when Sam Ferretto thundered in his third goal of the game to put Brook Street 7-6 in front.

There was to be no comeback from The Gravy Spoons though as the tank was empty, and after such a fabulous match it was a shame that someone had to loose. However, it’s Brook Street who advance to the Third Round and a tie at home to Division III side Furious Focus F.C. next Wednesday.