It's the end of British Summertime on Saturday and to mark the end of Summer football and the start of what could be a long hard Winter we play host to Dalbeattie Star on Saturday in the Lowland League for the first ever meeting of the two teams.
Star currently sit in 11th place in the table with 10 point from 11 games. Two places and five points above us, although we have the ever present proviso of three games in hand which we start eating into next month. November is shaping up to be a crucial month for us with the next six games potentially shaping the rest of the season. This match and the home game to Vale seem the real must win games in the midst of tricky away fixtures to Brave and Shire and a mid-week home game against BSC.
Although originally formed in 1905, Star folded in 1948 and it wasn't until 1976 that they reformed and played in the South of Scotland League. They then transferred to the East of Scotland in 2001 before returning to the South in 2009 before joining the Lowland for its first season in 2013/14 having won the South League the previous two seasons. They finished third in that first season and fourth the following and in the last two years have ended in 14th place. They are currently managed by ex-player Ritchie Maxwell following the departure of Darren Kerr at the end of last season.
Coming from a town where the population is only just over 4,000 Dalbeattie do remarkably well to support a team especially with Dumfries and Queen of the South just fifteen miles up the road.
It has been a season of two halves so far for Star. They had a nightmare start losing their first games, scoring no goals and conceding 19. An outsider looking in would think was a crisis and whilst by no means healthy it was worth noting that those five games included BFKH, Rose, East Kilbride and BSC. Since then the results have veered from the sublime to the ridiculous - losing at home to Vale but bouncing back for a five all draw at Braves (although they led by three with 15 minutes to go) followed by a resounding three nil win at the University of Stirling. Prior to the Vale game they had also won at Gretna, scoring four goals in another game where they threw way a lead initially - this time they were pegged back to two all from being two up before grabbing another two goals.
If nothing else, it's hard to see Saturday's game being goalless, so far there have been 47 goals in Star's 11 games. They've also scored 12 goals in their last three away games which should serve as a warning to the Berwick defence who haven't always been as robust as we might have liked. Consequently whilst this is a game we were all identifying a few weeks ago as a good opportunity to get another win on the board there has to be a degree of apprehension around it now. Star will see it as an opportunity to bit of breathing space between them and the bottom four while we need to see it as our chance to start to bridge the gap and to keep Star in the dogfight at the bottom. With Gretna and Vale meeting on Saturday a defeat could see us slip further down the table.
Having been away for the Kelty match I can't comment on the performance but there were certainly some positive vibes coming out of it despite the defeat, I have seen so little about the Elgin game I'm beginning to wonder if it actually took place but the local Elgin paper suggests we were dangerous.
We may have a change in goalkeeper again as Brennan had to come on for an injured Walters at Elgin. Hopefully Healy will be back and if he was on holiday hopefully he will be suitably refreshed though not by the Buckfast he professed a taste for in a recent programme.