After three heart-breaking defeats against the Pars, going to Dunfermline and getting a point, as well as keeping a clean sheet, was as good as a win for most of the Stenny faithful and new manager Scott Booth felt the same way.
“It was very positive,” he said. “It was always going to be difficult, given we have played them three times and lost quite a lot of goals against them and we have been punished late on in the games, so to go there and keep a clean sheet was good."
Booth was also happy with the way his team played and the fact they stuck to their plan, saying: “To play in a disciplined manner and to try, when we regained possession, to be as dangerous as we possibly could, that was the game plan and I think the boys did that well."
Of course there is room for improvement but this was the Warriors first game under Booth and there were plenty of positives for the manager to build on. “I still think we could have done a little bit better when we regained possession,” he added. “We could have kept the ball a bit better but, I think given the game plan and the work rate they put in, to get a point out of that game was very good. I think they did really well and was happy with the it.”
One of the pluses for Stenny was the strength of their finish, especially against a full time team. “The subs that came on did well, they added a little bit of aggression and fresh legs,” said Booth. “But in general the amount of work they all put in to be eventually able to get forward towards the end and have a little chance of sneaking a win was great.”
There was a nervy first 15 minutes for Stenny when they were under the cosh and needed the help, yet again, of Chris Smith in goal but, apart from that, the Warriors stuck to their task and denied the Pars scoring chances. The frustration of the home side showing with a few long shots that were either well high or wide.
However, it was the discipline of Stenhousemuir which impressed Booth, he commented: “I think when you play that way, which is a very disciplined, solid, compact shape you are looking to frustrate the opposition and negate their ability to get behind you and stretch you and I thought the lads did that really well. They were able to keep that compact shape and, maybe, if we had been able to keep possession a bit better when we had regained the ball and won it back I think that would have allowed us to open up a bit more and, maybe, not play quite as deep as we did in the first 15 minutes.”
The main thing, though, was that the Warriors did their job and Booth understood it was not going to be easy for them. “There were a few nerves out there and a little bit of new manager involved,” he said. “In the first 15 minutes I could see there was a bit of nervousness but we started to bed in after that and we finished quite strongly too.”
Certainly the Warriors were stronger at the end and, despite working hard throughout, looked much better in the second half. “There were certainly chances for both teams in the second half and I was very happy the way we opened up and we matched them,” said Booth “We changed our shape about 10 minutes into the second half and went more sort of man for man and I think we did really well in that shape too.”
Being able to change shape and game plan is something Booth regards as vital, especially in a small league where the teams soon get to know each other. “I think it is important to change your shape, I think it is important that you have a few tricks up your sleeve in a league like this,” he said. The fans can also expect him to continue to try to find the best shape and plan for whoever the Warriors play, he concluded: “We have already played in two shapes in the first game I have been involved in and it will be different again when we play against Brechin.”