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13 Oct: In what was probably their best performance of the season, Brook Street edged out Eliminators Kushevo by two goals to one at L & J Stadium this afternoon.

Sam Ferretto opened for Brook Street with almost twenty minutes on the clock but the home team had to bring on 19 year-old reserve keeper Owen Maurice for his league debut when Zeke Alexandrino hurt his back with half an hour played.

The youngster performed exceptionally well given the circumstances, but it was another teenager who stole the headlines when, a minute after coming on as a substitute for goalscorer Sam Ferretto, 18 year-old Pat Kirkwood won the ball and proceeded to round the visitors’ keeper and fire home his first league goal for the senior side with nine minutes to go.

‘You’re always at your most vulnerable right after you’ve scored’, goes the old maxim, and so it proved this afternoon as Kushevo pulled a goal back right away.

The visitors surged forward in the last few minutes, and despite some close shaves, Brook Street held on to secure an invaluable win.

“The lads were outstanding”, beamed a delighted Eike Alanne at the post-match press conference. “We kept our focus, and but for a little wobble near the end, we stuck to our task well”.

While the coach said it was a great team performance, he singled out the younger members of the side for extra praise saying, “Owen [Maurice] and Pat [Kirkwood] were cool and calm, and their performances belied their years”.

He continued, “They’ve both progressed from the Academy and we’ve been limiting their appearances for the first team. I know I can depend on them, and you’ll be seeing a lot more of them”.

Elsewhere, baldydons’ heavy defeat at Clyde saw Brook Street leapfrog them and move into the play-off positions while Lion OD remain four pounts adrift at the foot of the table.

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Alistair Bernard volleys home our winning goal against Lion OD at NHP this afternoon

Goals from Vassilis Taxiarchou and Alistair Bernard saw Brook Street edge out Lion OD by 2-1 in a keenly contested encounter at New Home Park this afternoon.

Both sides rattled the woodwork as the game stormed from end to end, but sheer determination and two stunning strikes saw Brook Street over the line to record their first three points of the season.

Brook Street opened well and had chances from Zak Ailstock and Alistair Bernard, before some superb build-up play from Conor Meldrum and Sam Ferretto sliced through the visitors’ defence, allowing the cut-back to Vassilis Taxiarchou who thundered the ball high into the rigging around seven minutes before half-time.

Jordan Murray levelled the scoring six minutes after the break, pouncing on a rebound from the Brook Street crossbar to give Zeke Alexandrino absolutely no chance.

Brook Street kept ramping up the pressure, and almost took the lead when Nick Stanmore fired goalwards, but Lion keeper Zygfryd Zdziebko was alert to the danger and blocked well.

The keeper had no chance with what proved to be the winning goal ten minutes from time however when Alex Clapperton’s teasing cross was met full on the volley by Alistair Bernard and the ball tore into the net to give Brook Street the points.

“The lads were fantastic this afternoon, and I feel probably merited the three points over the piece”, said an extremely happy Eike Alanne at the post-match press briefing.

“We’ve not had the rub of the green in recent seasons, so I think it was about time we picked up full points instead of one in a game as close as this”, he added.

“Alistair’s goal was worthy of winning any game, and I’m delighted for him; he puts in a hell of a lot of work that goes uncommented upon, so it’s only right that he is put centre stage tonight”.

Of his winning strike, Alistair said, “Clappers [Alex Clapperton] swung in a real peach of a cross and I’ve just let rip. As soon as it lef my boot, I knew there was no way their keeper was getting near it”.

He added, “It was a real solid performance all round, and I think I wouldn’t be wrong in saying we just about edged it”.

The win takes Brook Street onto three points, the same as Eliminators Kushevo who Brook Street visit next week.

Andrew Cleary fires home the only goal of the game in this afternoon's match.

Andrew Cleary fires home the only goal of the game in this afternoon’s match.

An Andrew Cleary strike eleven minutes from time was all that separated the sides, but it proved to be enough to give Brook Street their first three points of the season. The visitors had the bulk of possession, but they found it difficult to break down a stuffy home side playing 4-5-1 and hitting on the break.

Indeed, it was to the home side that the two best chances fell; Imran Ammad’s twenty-third minute shot glanced off the top of the bar, and Ezequiel Alexandrino pulled off a superb stop to deny Ally Brown in the second half with the scores still tied.

However, it wasn’t all good news for Brook Street as Alex Clapperton picked up a foot injury which will see him out of action for around a week.

Eike Alanne was understandably delighted at the result, but admitted to being a little concerned as the clock ticked down.

“It’s a great way to bounce back after Wednesday’s disappointment. We were struggling to create any clear-cut chances and they were very fast to counter-attack when a move broke down. There was no question of changing our game plan though as we couldn’t go all-out attack. That would have left us open at the back, and although it looked like we were going to drop two points at the time, that would be better than all three. We persevered, and got our reward when Andrew created the chance out of nothing. He doesn’t miss those!”

Asked what the extent of Alex Clapperton’s injury is he replied, “Yes, he’s taken a knock to his right foot and it’s badly swollen. Nothing is broken as far as we can tell and we’ve got ice packs on it, so we’ll reassess it tomorrow once the swelling has gone down a bit. It’s safe to say he won’t be pulling his boots on this week”.

The coach was then asked how he rated Conor Meldrum’s performance to which he replied, “Conor did very well coming on. He’d played all of Wednesday’s Cup game, so he was understandably a bit fatigued towards the end. He put in a very good shift though when he wasn’t expecting to come on”.

He concluded by saying, “It was a great team performance though, and we’re off the mark. Now we can start building our points total”.

Keeper Jim Barnstaple makes a scoring outfield debut in this morning's friendly match.

Keeper Jim Barnstaple makes a scoring outfield debut in this morning’s friendly match.

A short-handed Brook Street side, with a number of players playing out of position, this morning defeated Italian Serie V side MARECHIARHO 3-2 at New Home Park in the final warm-up before the new season starts.

Brook Street kicked-off with only ten players on the field and with Fraser Carragher in midfield, Alex Clapperton partnering Andrew Cleary up front, plus Matt Cocker and keeper Jim Barnstaple on the wings. And it was Jim Barnstaple who grabbed the headlines by opening the scoring.

“The look on Jim’s face when the ball hit the net will live with me until the day I die”, laughed Eike afterwards. “I think he was as gob-smacked as everyone else in the stadium when the ball hit the net! I don’t know if he wanted to apologise to the MARECHIARHO keeper or what!”

Phil Mullally doubled the lead in the twenty-second minute and with that, Brook Street seemed content to knock the ball about. This almost proved to be costly in the last few minutes of the half when Ezequiel Alexandrino had to make a fantastic fingertip save and a block in quick succession in order to preserve Brook Street’s two-goal advantage.

The visitors pressed in the second half looking to capitalise on any enforced errors as they looked to get back into the game, and their efforts paid dividends in the sixty-ninth minute when Salvatore Facheris pounced to make the score 2-1.

However, any hope of pushing for an equaliser were quickly dashed as Andrew Cleary restored Brook Street’s two-goal advantage straight from the re-start.

Back came the visitors, and only a breathtaking stop from Ezequiel Alexandrino prevented them from reducing the lead again with seventy-three minutes gone. But he was powerless to prevent Ettore Nasuti scoring the Italian side’s second goal with ten minutes to go.

Brook Street had their backs to the wall for those final ten minutes, however they held firm to record the win and completed their pre-season build up unbeaten.

“I was pleased with the workout my players received today. They had to scrap for everything”, said Eike when he spoke afterwards.

“We did manage to score three good goals, but we were slack with our defending and paid the price for that twice”, he continued. “If we do that in a competitive match we’ll be punished, so we’ve got to work on that to eliminate the silly mistakes”.

“That said”, he added, “we’ve had three good wins in our close-season programme, so I think we’re probably in good enough shape for the forthcoming league campaign”.

However, he concluded by saying, “We’re not aiming to win the league this season. That is not part of the plan, as I think we need at least two or three seasons, maybe even four, to get everything in place”.

“I’m not saying it will necessarily take that long, but everyone is going to have to be patient”.

Matt Cocker slams the ball into the net to open the scoring in this morning's friendly at NHP.

Matt Cocker slams the ball into the net to open the scoring in this morning’s friendly at NHP.

Two goals in each half saw Brook Street ease to a comfortable 4-1 win over German Liga VII side Sportfreunde Veischedetal at New Home Park as preparations for the new season step up a gear.

Matt Cocker fired Brook Street into the lead in the fourth minute, and Phil Mullally doubled the lead nine minutes later.

Eike rang the changes at half-time and took himself, Matt Cocker and Zeke Alexandrino off to be replaced by Nicky Breaden, Lachlan MacKinnon and Jim Barnstaple respectively.

The substitutions didn’t seem to affect the fluidity of the game however, and within four minutes of the restart, Andrew Cleary slotted home number three.

Were it not for Jim Barnstaple being in outstanding form, Brook street could have been punished for taking their foot off the gas. With sixty-five minutes played he somehow got a fingertip to Shunta Furukawa’s netbound shot to turn it over, before denying Jérémy Sainte-Luce moments later.

Phil Mullally put the result beyond doubt in the seventy-fourth minute, but Carlo Maria Tiso fired in a consolation goal for the visitors seven minutes from time to wrap up the scoring.

While Eike was pleased with the result, he accepted that perhaps his team had been a little ‘lucky’.

“I think we owe Jim [Barnstaple] a huge vote of thanks for this win as without his two top-class saves, the result could have been very different. That said, I will be very happy if this is a lucky team”.

Asked if the starting line-up was his preferred one, he candidly said, “I don’t honestly think I’ve thought about my preferred starting line-up yet. Everyone has to, and will, get their chance to impress. Whoever starts will be in the side on merit”.

Emanuel Bohucký in action

Emanuel Bohucký in action.

Meanwhile, Emanuel Bohucký who sat out the game on the bench, has bid farewell to the club after a stay of some fifteen seasons to fly home to complete his signing for Slovakian V Liga side Futbalový klub Mladosť Petrovec.

“I would have liked to keep Manny here”, admitted Eike, “but I couldn’t guarantee him first team football, and at 34 he knows he’s perhaps only got a few seasons left. It would have been unfair to keep him here and not play him, and he would’ve been a very expensive luxury to be warming the bench. So there was really only one likely outcome, and I’m glad he’s found a club back home”.

“He hit seventy goals in a hundred and seventy-nine competitive appearances from midfield which is a fantastic strike rate and he will be undoubtedly be missed. He is more than capable of being a big player at a good level until he retires, and I wish him the very best of luck”, he added.

Jake MacConnechy unleashes a thunderbolt to double our lead.

Jake MacConnechy unleashes a thunderbolt to double our lead.

Brook Street’s league campaign fired into life this afternoon with a 2-0 win over Sparta Bragg at New Home Park. Following last weekend’s disappointing defeat to EK Tuggers it was important to take something from the game against the side that played in League II last season.

Before the match, even the most optimistic of the side’s followers would have thought that it was a ‘big ask’, but in true Brook Street Athletic style, Marcus Lövman’s side conjured up a performance which produced the goods.

Marcus had changed the formation with Germán Olmos Ribas coming in to play a sitting midfielder role, and Andy Harte dropping to the bench.

Brook Street got off to a flying start, and in what proved to be the only highlight of a dour first half, Leandro Di Gaudio fired home his first competitive goal for the club with only four minutes played.

Fortunately, the match improved in the second half, and Sparta keeper Yılmaz Ergenç had to look lively to tip Attila Gyöngyösi’s curling shot round the post with sixty-four minutes on the clock.

He was however powerless to stop Jake MacConnechy’s thunderbolt of a shot from all of thirty-five yards crashing into the net four minutes later to double Brook Street’s lead.

Sparta were dangerous on the break, and it took two attempts for Ezequiel Alexandrino to gather Dorian Bezhani’s shot following a mazy run by the Italian. However, this was to prove the visitors’ only chance of the half, and Brook Street held on to record their first points of the season.

“We shook things up a bit and it seemed to work well”, said Marcus afterwards. “Our best form of defence was attack, and we tried to flood the midfield at every opportunity”.

He added, “Up until now, a lot of our results owed more to good luck, but today’s was down to sheer endeavour. The lads put in an excellent shift, and we’ve got the result our play deserved”.

Continuing, he said, “Now we’ve got to keep this momentum going. Every game in this division is a ‘big’ game, and we’ve got Kessler’s visiting next weekend”.

Asked whether 2-5-3 would become his preferred formation Marcus said, “No, not necessarily. We set up the team to play each opponent individually, and I think today was the first time we’d played 2-5-3 in a league match”.

“Yes it worked, and we got a tremendous win, but on another day we could have been on the wrong end of a hiding”, he admitted.

“Tactics certainly have their part to play, and some matches are almost as tactical as a game of chess. It comes down to who gets their tactics right on the day. We got ours right today”.

Eyüphan Toga fires the ball home to open the scoring and send us on the road to our third victory in a row.

Eyüphan Toga fires the ball home to open the scoring and send us on the road to our third victory in a row.

After a goal-less first half, the match on Saturday exploded into life in the second and saw Eyüphan Toga net a hat-trick as Brook Street ran out 4-2 winners over Vines Cross.

Ironically, the visitors could have taken the lead in the forty-second minute, but for a fabulous save by Ezequiel Alexandrinho from a Román Álvarez free kick. Brook Street had the bulk of the first half possession, but had had difficulty in probing a way through Vines stubborn defence.

The second half started in the same manner as the first until just before the hour mark when Attila Gyöngyösi threaded an early pass all the way through to the onrushing Eyüphan Toga, who duly hit it first time high into the rigging.

Vines were hitting on the break, and it was from one of those counter-attacks that they ultimately levelled the scores. Andy Harte had been adjudged to have fouled Kevin Heintze, and up stepped that man Román Álvarez to curl an unstoppable shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar.

With the home fans roaring their favourites on, Brook Street came surging forward looking to restore their lead, and they got their reward when six minutes later. Eyüphan outsmarted his marker and met a through ball on the right before curling it in at the far post.

Brook Street were finding ways through the Vines defence on the flanks, and it was from a pass inside from Abel Soffia that Eyüphan completed his hat-trick, sliding the ball under the advancing Tomas Thörnström and into the net.

Vines weren’t out of it yet, and a minute later another Román Álvarez free kick caused havoc in the home defence, allowing Malky MacGlasson prod the ball home and set up a grandstand finish with six minutes remaining.

However, Brook Street weren’t going to let the lead slip now, and just two minutes later secured the points when Leoš Loos cut in from the left and fired the ball home to secure the win.

“We were fantastic today and I think we merited our win”, said a breathless Marcus Lövman at full time. “We showed real character today and scored some great goals”.

He continued, “It was important that we were alert to the threat caused by their counter-attacks, and I think we coped well with them. We perhaps didn’t defend their free kicks as well as we should have, but that is perhaps being a bit harsh”, he added. “Ok, the first one was absolutely unstoppable, but the second should have been booted clear”.

He added, “The fans were great today and really lifted the players. They really got behind the team after the equaliser and it showed. All of us really appreciated it”.

Elsewhere it was home wins all round as Carbrain continued marching on with a 4-2 win over Real Forfar; Airth Castle had a narrow 2-1 win against EK Tuggers; and Kessler’s Eleven romped to a 4-0 victory over -*FC BARCELONA*-.
So Carbrain remain out in front with 15 points, and Brook Street’s third win on the trot sees them move up into third place on 9 points behind Kessler’s Eleven on goal difference.

The Kessler's keeper is left grasping thin air as Leoš Loos fires in the only goal of the game.

The Kessler’s keeper is left grasping thin air as Leoš Loos fires in the only goal of the game.

Brook Street finally kick-started their season into life with a solid if unspectacular 1-0 victory over Kessler’s Eleven at New Home Park this afternoon. Leoš Loos hit the all important goal after thirty six-minutes, and but for the intervention of the crossbar, the winning margin could have been greater.

Twice the frame of the Kessler’s goal was rattled, first by Jake MacConnechy after only four minutes, then by Leoš midway through the second half as we searched for a second goal. However, the match could have taken a completely different path had Ezequiel Alexandrino failed to stop Corrado Merciadri’s effort from point-blank range with the scores tied at 0-0.

“Ezequiel’s save was outstanding, and we definitely gained confidence from it”, admitted Brook Street coach Marcus Lövman at the post-match press conference.

“We took control of the midfield after that, and dominated possession from there”, he continued. “Leoš hit a great goal to secure the points, but I personally think we were unlucky not to get a couple of goals”.

“We secured the three points which was the most important thing, and to be honest, I’d have been happy with a scrappy win”, he added. “We did it though playing some good football, so I’m even happier with that”.

Elsewhere, the top of the table clash between Carbrain FC and EK Tuggers turned out to be an eight-goal thriller, with the champions running out 5-3 winners. Real Forfar picked up their first point of the season with a 1-1 draw at home to -*FC BARCELONA*-, while Vines Cross ran out comfortable 4-1 winners away to Airth Castle Rovers.

As a result, Brook Street remain in seventh place two points ahead of Real Forfar, but are now on the same points tally as Kessler’s and Airth Castle.

The reserves comfortably saw off their Yemeni visitors in this morning’s friendly match, defeating Lonely girls 6-1 at New Home Park.

Garabed Palasyan opened the scoring in the eighteenth minute and further goals from Phil Mullally and Matt Cocker had us 3-0 up at the break.

Kenny Corney fired in our fourth goal eleven minutes into the second half, and although the visitors struck back immediately through Aymeric Vachet, late goals from Matt Cocker and Lloyd Stephen made the scoreline a more accurate reflection of the game.

“We played well enough”, said Marcus, “but we were far too quick to pull back assuming that the job was done. I would have liked us to press for longer, but that’s a minor detail”.

Both Jim Barnstaple and Fabrizio Sonnemoser got a half each as the coach admitted that he didn’t want to have one of his keepers missing out on training.

“While Zee is our first choice keeper at the moment, he’s carrying a knock which could flare up at any time. Fabrizio was brought in as a direct replacement while he was sidelined recently and he performed well. Jim was promoted from the Academy and is more of a long-term prospect”.

He admitted, “Now that Zee is back, everyone’s been pushed down the pecking order which in the past could have seen Fabrizio getting the training and Jim offloaded. I don’t want to do that, and if I can keep both then I will”.

Adding, “Giving both part of the training is preferable in my mind, and should one eventually move on, then we will get more of a return. It seems the logical thing to do”.

Turning back to the game, Marcus said, “It was good to see Matt Cocker get a couple of goals today. He’s been filling in out on the wing, and he’s really not suited to playing there. He certainly benefitted from playing back in the middle of the park”.

Another player on the crest of a wave is of course Lloyd Stephen who yet again powered another header home as his rich vein of form continues.

“I might throw him on against sooside in a couple of weeks and see what happens”, admitted Marcus. “He’s banging in goals for fun with the reserves, and while he’s not ready to play against some of the sides in the league, he might just wreak havoc in the sooside defence. We’ll wait and see how things pan out over the next few weeks though”, said the coach.

On Saturday evening, Brook Street moved swiftly to put in place cover for injured Ezequiel Alexandrino by signing 18-year-old Swiss keeper Fabrizio Sonnemoser from Turkish side _GALATASARAY S.K_ in a deal worth around £500,000.

“Aurel confirmed to me that he wanted to move on”, admitted Marcus on Sunday morning, “so we had to move to put in place cover while Zee is out injured”.

He continued, “Fabrizio was available and it made sense to get him in place as soon as possible. Fabrizio will be first-choice keeper in Zee’s absence, as I do not feel it would be beneficial to either the club or the player, to throw Jim [Barnstaple] straight into the first team”.

Fabrizio will go straight into the squad for next Saturday’s match against Airth Castle Rovers.

NEXT MATCH

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