We go in tomorrow's replay with Deveronvale knowing what challenge awaits the winners. A home draw to Dalbeattie Star will hopefully be a big enough incentive for our players, although we would like to think that just being in the Scottish Cup should be enough to spur on the players.
Last week at Banff was a performance that we come to expect from our players. In the first half we managed to cope with the threat of a good Deveronvale team.
A few squad changes were made that were outwith our control. This was another new experience for us as recently appointed managers. I am sure as players we would have been concerned going into a game minus our first choice goalkeeper, centre half and right back; however we seen it as an opportunity for other players to come in and take their chance.
Andy Reid indicated he would be struggling on the Friday night, however we had an able replacement in Marc Coull who turned the clock back with an assured performance. The good news for us all is big Reidy played in the U21s on Monday and trained on Wedensday so we look forward to him being in his recognised position this weekend.
Roddy Mess picked up an injury during the warm up and looks like he could be out for a couple of weeks. Thankfully the injury does not look as bad as first feared. Jamie McKinnon took his chance well and coped well with the task in hand.
To the game; with wind behind them we expected to be put under intense pressure. Our game plan worked in the first half and we managed to keep their chances to a minimum. We looked very solid in defence and our midfield was under control with Gauldie playing as a lone striker, causing them some issues with his pace and determination.
This set us up with a great opportunity in the second half to take advantage of the conditions but it never materialised and neither team seemed to take that chance or push that little bit extra for the goal that I am sure would have won the tie.
This takes us to the replay this weekend, which looks set for another interesting encounter. We feel that we have a squad that we can be flexible with and ensure we put Vale to the test from the start. We have to ensure that we start the game properly and ensure we do not give them any chance to take control. Along with the excellent support from the Harlaw faithful we have to be going into this game with confidence.
All the guys have trained well this week in poor weather conditions. As a manager you know when the guys are working hard when you do not hear any complaining. The minute we came in the management door at Harlaw the guys have responded well to our training methods and we hope we can take their efforts from the training pitch on to Harlaw this Saturday.
Finally, I am sure you agree that it is great to see our groundsman Arthur Robertson back in the fold again after his recent health scare. We all wish him the best and are glad to see him back doing a great job in keeping the surface at Harlaw in tip top condition.
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday and keep up the great support
Couller and Buch