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Muhammad Noorani heads home his seventh league goal of the season to make it 2-0.

Muhammad Noorani heads home his seventh league goal of the season to make it 2-0.

Brook Street safely negotiated the potential banana-skin fixture against Sparta Macmerry this afternoon, winning 5-0, but it came at a cost. Garabed Palasyan picked up an injury which will potentially rule him out of next weekend’s crucial fixture away to Crass, while yellow cards for Leoš Loos and Abel Soffia take both over the suspension threshold.

While the player/coach’s suspension is easily covered, having Garabed and Abel missing, Alex Clapperton is left as the only winger on the club’s books which poses a considerable problem for the coaching staff, as Leoš pointed out in the post-match press conference.

“With only one recognised winger available for next weekend’s vital match at Crass we face the choice of altering our formation or entering the transfer market to see if we can pick up someone on a short-term deal as cover”.

“I’ve not yet decided on which course of action to take, but time is not on our side”.

Of Garabed’s injury along with his own and Abel’s suspensions he said, “Garabed took some tought treatment from their full-backs and it’s looking doubtful for him making next weekend’s fixture. As for our suspensions, mine was just stupid on my part, and Abel’s was down to a mistimed tackle”.

He continued, “We’ve both been walking the tightrope for a few weeks so if there is anything positive to take from them it that, at least, it’s not the final game of the season we’ll miss”.

“We’re down to the bare bones now. Hopefully Zsolt will come through Wednesday’s friendly ok and we will at least have options in defence. It’s the wings that are troubling me though”.

On the win itself he said, “It could have had the potential for us to slip up, but fortunately scoring so early, along with hitting four goals before half-time killed off any chance of an upset. In fact, they never had a single strike on goal which probably indicates just how much on top we were”.

“If we continue that form into next week’s match, we have the chance to set up a title-decider at New Home Park on the final day of the season. The stakes couldn’t be higher”.

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Andrew Cleary fires in the second of his three goals against Sparta from close range.

Andrew Cleary fires in the second of his three goals against Sparta from close range.

Brook Street stormed to the top of the league with a thumping 8-1 demolition of Sparta Macmerry this afternoon. An Andrew Cleary hat-trick along with goals from Attila Gyöngyösi and Garabed Palasyan had the New Home Park side out of site before half-time, and those were added to by strikes from Sam Ferretto, Zsolt Baboss and Lope Cabrio after the break.

Igor Nagalo fired in Sparta’s consolation in seventy-seven minutes, but by this time there were precious few home fans left in the ground to see it.

“We were fantastic today”, enthused Leoš Loos after the final whistle. We were first to every ball and I’d go as far as saying that was our best performance for a number of seasons”.

He continued, “We had them on the back foot straight from the kick-off, and once the goals started going in, there was only ever going to be one winner. We’re the only side in the division with a 100% record, and we’ve got to keep pressure on the other sides in the league by continuing to win”.

“We’ve had an excellent start to the season and having played three of the sides I saw as potential title rivals. We’ve taken maximum points from them despite only one of the matches being at home, so we’ve given ourselves a fantastic foundation to build on”.

“We are not being complacent though”, he added. “One slip-up in this league can prove to be very costly, as we know only too well”.

Andrew Cleary opens the scoring with a terrific strike.

Andrew Cleary opens the scoring with a terrific strike.

Going into this afternoon’s match, Brook Street knew that they had to win and hope that Stirling Bridge would slip up in their final game away to Sparta Macmerry. However, it was not to be but both sides served up an entertaining season’s finale in the Highlands this afternoon in front of a capacity 16,100 crowd

Only an outstanding save by Marcascotties keeper Vanhanen prevented Zsolt Baboss opening the scoring early on, but he was powerless to prevent Andrew Cleary opening the scoring after twelve minutes. Leoš Loos then increased the visitors’ lead thundering a volley home before Andrew Cleary chipped in number three with twenty minutes on the clock.

Brook Street were in complete control at this point and added a fourth through Eike Alanne thirteen minutes before the break.

Marcascotties finally managed to make the breakthrough after seventy-nine minutes, Angelo Renna rifling the ball low into the corner of the net, but within two minutes, the visitors had restored their four goal advantage after Leoš Loos capitalised on a defensive blunder.

The home side weren’t finished yet though, and Larry Aldstone made it 5-2 with four minutes left. However, despite their efforts, Marcascotties couldn’t find another goal and the match ended 5-2 to the visitors.

“It’s been a hugely frustrating and disappointing season for the club”, admitted a clearly disappointed Leoš Loos afterwards. “It’s really a case of ‘what could have been’ as far as I’m concerned. But at the end of the day we simply weren’t good enough and even if we’d achieved the improbable today, I doubt if we would have won the Qualifier. We won well today but it counted for nothing, that’s the bottom line”.

“However”, he continued, “we have the foundations in place for a concerted effort to win promotion next season, and we also saw the benefits of some of those moves towards the end of this season. We have a very good squad which is improving all the time. Our aim has to be to cut out all the mistakes and win the title next season. Nothing less will do”.

“Finally, we would all like to wish Stirling Bridge the best of luck in the play-off next weekend”.

Eike Alanne nets his first goal for the club to open the scoring this afternoon.

Eike Alanne nets his first goal for the club to open the scoring this afternoon.

As the championship race goes down to the wire, just how many more twists and turns will the last day of the season produce? With one match to play it couldn’t be tighter, with only two points separating first and third. Stirling Bridge go into the final point ahead of Brook Street, who in turn are a point ahead of Basel-Celtic who dropped two points at home to Marcascotties this afternoon.

Stirling Bridge comfortably saw off already relegated FC Poland while Brook Street were disposing of Sparta Macmerry at New Home Park, but it was Basel-Celtic’s turn to slip up today.

“The margins for error are negligible”, admitted Leoš Loos adding, “One moment’s lapse in concentration can have devastating consequences. While they’re hardly out of the race, those two dropped points for Basel-Celtic this afternoon could prove costly”.

Turning to his own side’s performance this afternoon, he said, “We played very well and pressed home our advantage at every opportunity”. He continued, “We controlled the game from start to finish, so we were able to dictate play for long periods”.

However, the home team rode their luck at times as the coach acknowledged.

“The penalty miss at 1-0 was a decisive moment in the game, and we made it 2-0 right afterwards which was a real hammer-blow for them. That really dented their confidence, and we continued to press home our advantage at every opportunity. That’s why we went into the break 4-0 up and stretched our lead in the second half”.

“We know that, as long as we win our own game, if Stirling Bridge slip up against Sparta we’ll win the league. It’s outwith our control, so we’ve just got to ensure we win our game and hope for a favourable result elsewhere”.

Andrew Cleary blasts home the third of his goals to put us 4-0 up before half-time.

Andrew Cleary blasts home the third of his goals to put us 4-0 up before half-time.

Free-scoring Brook Street stormed to the top of the league for the first time this season this afternoon with a comprehensive 6-0 demolition of Maxum at Bothwell Castle.

Playing at a high tempo, the New Home Park side had the game sewn up by half-time. By then, Andrew Cleary had netted a hat-trick and Sam Ferretto, deputising for the suspended Muhammad Noorani, had fired in his first league goal of the season.

There was to be no let-up for the home side after the break as Brook Street continued to dominate, and goals from Attila Gyöngyösi and Zsolt Baboss wrapped up the points.

“We dominated the game from start to finish and could well have won by a bigger margin”, claimed Brook Street coach Leoš Loos afterwards. “We’re now top of the league, so we’re up there to be shot at by the other sides”.

He continued, “The league seems to be developing into a four-horse race even at this early stage, and we’ve got to the top thanks to our magnificent scoring rate. We’re also now eight games unbeaten in all competitions, so that shows just how well the whole squad are playing. However, he cautioned, “We’ve got to ensure that excellent form continues as Sparta, Stirling and even Basel-Celtic are waiting for any slip-up”.

Ending the press conference, Leoš assessed the forthcoming fixtures saying, “The next two weekends will have a significant bearing on the campaign as we face Stirling Bridge in back-to-back fixtures while Sparta meet Basel. It’s conceivable that the title race could be down to between two teams by then. We’ve got to ensure that we are one of those teams”.

“In the meantime however, the reserves have got their Tartan Cup Fifth Round tie on Wednesday. It would be an amazing achievement if we were to progress any further, but we’ll go into the match filled with confidence, and anything can happen in a one-off Cup tie”.

Brook Street's top scorer last season gets off the mark with a low drive against Sparta Macmerry this afternoon.

Brook Street’s top scorer last season gets off the mark with a low drive against Sparta Macmerry this afternoon.

Brook Street crashed to a 5-3 defeat away to Sparta Macmerry this afternoon, and as far as the coach was concerned, were architects of their own downfall.

“We simply can’t defend like that and expect to take anything from games”. He continued, “Stupid defeats cost us dearly last season, and we clearly haven’t learnt the lessons from that. Sparta were hungry for goals, and our defending made it easy for them”.

He added, “Fair play to Sparta, they performed very well and probably edged it over the ninety minutes, but unless we sharpen up, we’re going to be stuck in this league for a long time”.

“Perhaps we’ve been too cavalier away from home up until now and that’s something we might have to look at”, he concluded.

Willie Taylor had opened the scoring for the home side before Andrew Cleary levelled on the half-hour mark. Sparta edged back in front in the thirty-ninth minute thanks to an Igor Nagalo goal, and Antek Wilczkowski extended it further seven minutes after the break.

Abel Soffia reduced the lead in the sixty-ninth minute but two goals in the space of a minute secured the match for Sparta with seven minutes remaining. Igor Nagalo hit his second of the game with eight minutes to go, before Vincent Joguet effectively made the points safe a minute later.

Emanuel Bohucký pulled a goal back with eight minutes to go, but there was to be no grandstand finish as Brook Street crashed to their second defeat in four days.

Andrew Cleary fires home to complete his hat trick.

Andrew Cleary fires home to complete his hat trick.

An Andrew Cleary hat trick ensured that there would be an abundance of festive cheer around New Home Park this Christmas by helping Brook Street record their second successive 5-2 victory over Sparta Macmerry in the space of seven days. The win keeps them five points clear at the top of the division and now makes them red-hot favourites to win the title and with it make an early return to Division III.

Yet it was the home side who made the early running and opened the scoring with seventeen minutes played through Igor Nagalo. That lead however only lasted for three minutes before Nemanja Janković blasted home from close range.

With thirty-three minutes showing on the clock, the game was turned on its head as Andrew Cleary hit the first of his three goals to put Brook Street 2-1 up, and just five minutes later Leoš Loos scored to tighten the Monifieth side’s grip on the game.

Andrew Cleary extended the lead further ten minutes after the break and completed his hat trick eight minutes later. Although William Lembeli pulled a goal back for the home side, it was nothing more than a consolation as Brook Street saw out the game.

“We were thoroughly professional and got the win our play merited”, said Leoš Loos at the post-match press conference. He continued, “We played with control and composure, and controlled the game for long periods. Even after losing the early goal, we stuck to our task and there was never any doubt in my mind that we would see the game through”.

On hat-trick hero Andrew Cleary he said, “Andrew is having a phenomenal season and is almost certain to top the scoring charts. He’s hit fourteen goals already and is only three short of having scored fifty goals for the club”.

He continued, “He took his goals very well today and showed just how lethal a predator he is in front of goal. We’re very lucky to have such a talent at this club”.

Finally, all it remains is to wish all our readers a peaceful and very Merry Christmas!

Player/Coach Leoš Loos fires in the opening goal against Sparta Macmerry this afternoon.

Player/Coach Leoš Loos fires in the opening goal against Sparta Macmerry this afternoon.

Brook Street will go into the second half of the season with an unblemished 100% record and a five-point lead at the top of the Division following this afternoon’s 5-2 victory over Sparta Macmerry at New Home Park.

Whilst it was far from a vintage performance by the Monifieth side, it was more important to secure another three points as coach Leoš Loos admitted afterwards.

“We weren’t firing on all cylinders today, and I think we laboured for long spells. That said, we knew Sparta would try to flood midfield and try to stifle the game in the middle of the park, so that was probably a contributory factor. However, we still managed to hit the net five times, so our gameplan worked to a certain extent”.

Voicing disappointment at the overall performance and warning against complacency, Leoš said, “There is always the danger that we take our eye off the ball, but we must ensure that we see the job through to the very end. There is no room for error”.

He continued, “Yes we have a five-point lead, but that lead has been won through hard work and diligence. We’ve not played particularly well in the last two or three games, and we cannot afford to slip up at this stage”.

Concluding, he said, “I cannot fault the players’ commitment to the cause, but we cannot become complacent. That would be fatal”.

After a fairly low-key first half in which Leoš Loos’ opener on the half hour mark was cancelled out by Sparta’s René Eisenmenger six minutes later, the game exploded into life in the second forty-five.

Andrew Cleary fired Brook Street back into the lead four minutes into the second half, and Emanuel Bohucký extended that lead shortly after.

Andrew fired in his second goal of the game with seventy-three minutes gone and although Muralidharan Dwarampudi pulled a goal back for the visitors with thirteen minutes remaining, any thoughts of a fightback were extinguished a minute later when Sam Ferretto crashed in our fifth goal straight from the restart.

Next weekend’s return fixture promises to be a very interesting affair.

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