Good game management last Saturday helped propel a spirited Selkirk FC to a very important win against one of the Lowland League’s most useful sides, Cumbernauld Colts.
The Souters survived the sending off of two of their players in the second half, and a stoppage-time goal by the Broadwood side, to improve their odds of staying in the league. Selkirk manager Ian Fergus praised his team for following their game plan, despite numerous changes in formation and being two men light when they finished.
First-half goals from Ricky Miller and Phil Addison were enough to earn the Borders side their fifth win this season, despite playing most of the second period with 10 men after Unpha Koroma saw red.
Scott Davidson’s late strike gave Colts some hope before Addison was also dismissed in injury time, but it was too little too late for Colts, who were unable to salvage anything from a disappointing afternoon.
The visitors edged in front in 16 minutes when Kirwan pulled on the shirt of Gary Nicholson inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Selkirk skipper Miller drilled the ball low into the net.
Colts fell further behind in 27 minutes after some sloppy defending from a series of Souters’ corners.
After Selkirk’s third corner in a row, George failed to punch clear and the ball broke to Miller at the back post. He returned the ball across the face of goal, where Addison was able to blast a low shot home.
Selkirk were reduced to 10 men in 52 minutes when Koroma was sent off for a second booking. The home side did pull a goal back in injury time through Davidson but then, in a strange set of circumstances, Addison was shown red after a second booking for dissent.
But Colts did not capitalise and Selkirk held out strongly to secure all three points.
Boss Fergus said afterwards: “It was good to get the win, and make no bones about it – they are a decent team. I had to change my formation – I think I changed it four times in the first half.
“It’s a big park and they know how to use the ball on that park. They are very good at moving it around.”
Selkirk, however, had a game plan, said Fergus, and the players followed it.
“I think in this league, you can win games through game management and they are getting really smart at that, my lot,” he said.
Fergus felt Selkirk deserved this win, being without Jordan Hopkinson and Kerr Scott, undergoing various formation changes, and playing most of the second half without the red-carded Unpha Koroma.
“We were under a bit of pressure but we weathered it well,” he added.
Selkirk played most of the four-minute stoppage time spell with a “4-4 formation”, after Phil Addison had also been sent off, while they had two 18-year-olds and a 17-year-old in the side, plus others in their very early 20s.
“They have a real work ethic now,” said Fergus – although he knew tomorrow (Saturday) at super-fit Edinburgh University would be a big challenge.
The students lost 2-0 at East Kilbride last Saturday but Fergus said they were still a “decent outfit” and Selkirk will be without two of their most influential and attack-minded players, the suspended Addison and Koroma.
However, key players were also missing at Cumbernauld, so Fergus would absorb the losses and aim to cope.
“Edinburgh Uni don’t concede a lot of goals – it’s not going to be easy with two offensive-minded players out. But we will go with the same type of game plan and approach, and we will hopefully do well,” he said.
Selkirk were picking up points and had only lost one game in seven since Fergus arrived, with no away defeats. With “six massive games” remaining, he said: “I want a performance and a real ethic – and to make a team have to beat us by working really hard.”