Shire coach John Coughlin was left with more problems than simply picking up the spirits of his deflated players a 5-1 defeat against league leaders Alloa Athletic.
The afternoon came with the added cost of injuries to Alex Lurinsky and Lewis Horner with both players in need of urgent treatment to get them fit to play in next Saturday’s home encounter with Elgin City at Ochilview.
Goalscorer Lurinsky was unable to continue after half-time because of a groin problem while Horner’s thigh injury forced his early withdrawal from the match with a quarter of the game still to be played.
“It looks like next week will be a busy one for the physio,” said John. “Alex has been troubled for a while now by this groin problem but he has been able to play through it. However, at half-time he was feeling it badly and there was no way he was going to be able to continue.
“Lewis started the game brightly but he faded and again the reason was down to a player who was not quite 100% fit. He is an influential part of our team and we do miss him when he is not there,” said the Shire coach.
The injury situation at The Recs again only served to illustrate the gulf in resources between the two clubs. While Alloa were able to bring on three substitutes who contributed two goals and an assist, Shire were left with the only fit players available to the coaching staff as replacements.
“We really only had 16 players available to us today and we were losing our most experienced and better performers and having to replace them with youngsters who, although they show plenty of promise and potential, are completely untried at this level,” said the Shire coach.
“Alloa, by contrast, had quality performers like Kevin Cawley and Craig Campbell to come on and it is that kind of thing that tells the story when people look at the final score,” he said.
Although very disappointed by the result, John felt the team’s performance, especially in the firsrt half, had some good points. Lurinsky’s goal after 12 seconds, surely one of the fastest in the club’s long history, was a sign of early promise which went unfulfilled.
However, the coach praised their efforts and claimed they were unlucky not to have made their early pressure tell further.
“I thought we were playing well and the instructions to get the ball down and pass it were being translated into some decent play,” he said. “We got off to the perfect start and that obviously gave the boys some confidence.
“But we missed a couple of great chances at 1-0 and when you are playing a team like Alloa you cannot afford to do that. Our inexperience in defence was our undoing in the end and it was mistakes that allowed them to take advantage.”
The coach also believed the absence of the suspended Scott Maxwell may have made a difference to the game. The midfielder was sitting in the stand serving a one match ban after his sending-off against Peterhead seven days earlier.
“Scott has been one of our better performers in our recent good run of form and we certainly missed him,” said John. “I have said before that part of the reason for our performances of late has been consistency in team selection and when we are unable to field our strongest possible team it has affected us.
“That is why it is so important that we get treatment for Lurinsky and Horner so they are nbot left sitting on the sidelines next week for what will be a very important match against Elgin City at Ochilview,” said John.