Albion Rovers must be more ruthless, says boss after narrow friendly win over Cumbernauld United

-Credit: (Image: Phil Dawson)
-Credit: (Image: Phil Dawson)

Albion Rovers boss Sandy Clark wants to see his side become more ruthless after a narrow friendly win over West of Scotland League First Division side Cumbernauld United.

The Lowland League outfit took 67 minutes to break the deadlock through Adam Fernie's header before a trialist doubled their advantage 12 minutes later at Cliftonhill.

Paul Brennan netted a consolation for United in the final minute, but it was a game where Rovers could - and perhaps should - have netted more goals, but for some heroic defending and fine goalkeeping from United No.1 Scott Law.

New signing Kai Kirkpatrick was denied a debut goal when he had a close-range volley cleared off the line, while Josh Tran struck the post with a powerful free-kick and Fernie had a point-blank diving header batted away by Law, to name just a few of Rovers' chances on the day.

And Clark - who fielded all four of his summer signings from the start - said: "Today was fine, but we probably need to be a bit more ruthless in front of goal.

"We did make a lot of chances and could have converted some more, but some of the chances we didn't take were just unlucky. Cumbernauld worked really hard and they were well organised.

"It was a good pitch to play on today as well. We should have got a couple of more goals and we lost one at the end when we had changed the whole 11 by that point, so that is totally understandable. I would have liked two or three more goals, if I am being honest, but that is just being a bit greedy.

"Last week, we aimed for 45 minutes from most players and I was happy with that. This week, we went to 60-65 minutes with a lot of the guys, so we are trying to get the legs up to 90 minutes and we've got a couple of weeks to do that so we are on track.

Cumbernauld on the attack in the first half -Credit:Paul Thomson
Cumbernauld on the attack in the first half -Credit:Paul Thomson

"Kai Kirkpatrick, Marcus Lavery, Paul Kennedy and Callum Home are four players who have good experience and have proved themselves at this level. I'm delighted to get them in and I'm sure they will improve us as a team."

United defended resolutely for much of the match and gaffer Jamie Nesbitt says he can take plenty of encouragement from the display, and also praised the performance of his goalkeeper, who has previously played with Rutherglen Glencairn and Petershill.

Nesbitt said: "We had a few players missing with injuries and holidays, but I am really pleased with the boys that were out there and the shift they put in for us. Scott has got brilliant experience. He has been at the top level here for a while now and sometimes you will be called upon a lot and he did that today. Football isn't pretty all the time and sometimes you need your goalie to save you when he's asked. He did his job.

Jamie Nesbitt (centre) and assistant Chris Dolan (right) have been appointed at Cumbernauld, and will be joined by coach John Sneddon
Cumbernauld United boss Jamie Nesbitt (centre) and assistant Chris Dolan (right), along with coach John Sneddon -Credit:Cumbernauld United FC

"I think Rovers are a right decent side. They are young, very snappy, always in the right areas, so it was a good test for us going into a league above after our promotion last season. It was a good test for us."

Cumbernauld are preparing for a return to the WOSFL First Division after winning promotion last term and Nesbitt said on his hopes for the season ahead: "I think we need to go in there and consolidate. We've had back-to-back relegations and now we've won promotion, so I want to see us go in there and compete this season. I think we have signed well enough that we will do that. That will be the first aim for us and then we'll see where that takes us."

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