Sunday 13th November - Alexander MacGregor Memorial Shield
v Coasters at Holyrood Sports Centre
Willie Fernie, Ally McNaught, Allan MacKenzie, Jack Waugh, Stuart Waugh, Adam Walker (Ryan McCue) Arthur McCue (Gav McDonald), Alan Galindo (Eileen Myles), Paul Joyce (c), David Blair (Andy Dick) and Sean Connolly (Danny McFarlane)
It had been six long years since our friends from Oban had come down to Glasgow to play for the Alexander MacGregor Memorial Shield.
The last game had been a 1-0 victory which proved to be our Fergal’s last appearance as he got injured and forced the game to finish early (see “We Win The Shield But Lose A Legend”).
Being our 25th season Coasters agreed to visit Glasgow and brought with them an older team with quite a few familiar faces.
Veteran Manager John “Jay Ess” Scott navigated the troops to Fortress Holyrood and looked in fine form, along with his sidekick Gavin Hill, and both seemed to have started the team’s packed lunch early.
Along with John and Gav the Coasters squad included Nice Guy Nicky, Steven “Maccy” McIntyre (always remembered for his winning goal at the Ian Younger Sixes in 2001), Mugsi McGregor, Dochy, Woogie, Donald, Malcolm, Skinny and PJ.
For our part we were still reeling from the heavy defeat against the multi-talented Spicy Peppers FC and we’d lost the services of Safehands, Ally D, Foxy, Craig and Crossers in the squad.
Such is our strength in depth though that we drafted in another eight players in Fernie, Adam, Gav, Gee, LHD, P.Danny, Sean and, yet another first for us, Eileen who became the first female in the squad for an elevens game (Helen “Stormy” Stormonth did don the Hoops at a Chaos Cup many Tam Moon’s ago but that was a sixes competition).
Confidence wasn’t high but Mister C assured everybody that Coasters would allow us to play and we would get plenty of time on the ball so we could hoof it up the park in route one fashion.
The usual 4-4-2 formation was selected with Fernie in goals; Ally and Wee Al at full back with the Waugh Twins in the centre; Adam, Sean, Arthur and Gee took the midfield berths; Paul and LHD were in attack.
Our record against Coasters in Glasgow is pretty good and we needed to start well to keep that going, and we did.
Only four minutes were on the clock when Adam and LHD put together a good passing move and the ball broke to Goal A Game Galindo and he fired a shot, with a slight deflection, into the net for the opener.
The Coasters team must have all had a wee shot at their packed lunches as we dominated the early stages and Paul volleyed a shot against the bar before even Jack tried his luck but the ball ended up over the fence and out the park. Luckily Crossers was on hand to act as ball boy having decided that two games in three days would be too much for his old legs (never stopped Jack).
To show how far ahead we were Arthur decided that he would try his luck from forty yards but his “effort” only gave Coasters a throw in.
Seeing Arthur in attack was the final straw for our visitors and Fernie was called into action for the first time when he made a great save from close range shot.
The wee ken keeper was in action again when he saved a high looping header (“are you watching Safehands ?”) before Coasters missed a sitter from ten yards after a through ball had beaten our attempt at offside.
Sometimes things work in our favour and this was one of the occasions because we went two ahead on the half hour mark.
The ball broke to LHD on the edge of the box and he fired in a shot that was well saved by the Coasters keeper but Sean was on hand to knock in the rebound.
It was going too well though as five minutes later Coasters got a goal back. A run down the left wing saw a cross deflect off Arthur and Gavin had an easy tap in from inside the six yard box (just his range).
The screw had been turned and there was almighty stramash in our area as Fernie made a triple save and received a knock in the process but it was nothing serious.
Just before half time Gee made a fantastic goal saving tackle on the edge of the box as a Coasters player was through one on one with Fernie.
Half time and we were pleased to have competed so well but there was still a lot of hard work to do so on came Gav and P.Danny with Arthur and Sean taking a rest.
We’re notoriously bad at restarting a game but amazingly we were 3-1 up within a couple of minutes of the second half. Gee, who had already had a header saved from a corner, hit a cracking shot from just inside the area when the ball broke to him as we put some pressure on the visitors.
Coasters had two subs with them and had to use one, the ever mobile Mugsi, when Nice Guy Nicky pulled up lame with what looked like a hamstring injury. Luckily he’s a multi-millionaire property tycoon so he can afford the best of treatment.
Amazingly we nearly made it four, and even more amazingly it was P.Danny who nearly scored but he headed wide from an LHD cross.
We had the ascendency now and LHD shot wide from 20 yards before Gee also just missed the target from a scooped shot.
Gee was causing all sorts of problems and he volleyed a Wee Al free kick straight at the keeper as we continued to put the pressure on.
That man P.Danny, buoyed by his Spicy Peppers FC performance and watched by his real manager Mister Andy Boy, was playing well and some brilliant skill earned us a corner but it came to nothing.
LHD had another long range effort saved by the keeper before Andy D replaced him then Ryan came on for Adam on the right wing.
Coasters seemed out of things and Jay Ess took himself off so he could collapse on the touchline. But, the change worked as Fernie had to twice be alert as he saved a one on one effort then a dipping shot from outside the box.
Time was ticking away and it looked like we’d done enough but Fernie was again into the action saving well two long range efforts.
Ten minutes to go and Gee had seized up so Eileen came on and went to right back with Ally pushing forward. Luckily Eileen’s direct opponent was Mugsi so she would have an easy time of things, if she could ignore his awful patter.
We were all waiting for the final whistle when Coasters shocked everybody by getting a second goal, an excellent shot from Donald from the edge of the box.
Thankfully there wasn’t long enough left for us to panic and the end of the game came with us victorious.
A superb all round performance, particularly after our last game although, as was pointed out, we are much better on Sundays than midweek.
Back to the Viccy Bar for hospitality and Scotty made the presentation of the Shield to Arthur as Paul was unable to make it.
A few drinks then Coasters headed up the road on a pub crawl home, obviously taking in The Park Bar first.
An excellent day out and we look forward to our return match later in the year in Oban.