16/05/13 v Southside All Stars at Stepford Football Pitches
Martin Kelly; Gary Duncan, Ally McNaught, Allan Lennox, Alan Galindo; Sean Connolly, Andy Dick (c), Ross Dunbar, Stephen Mosley (Kieran Friel); Adam Walker, Scott Macrae
A rare Thursday night game against first time opponents, the mighty Southside All Stars, at a venue we’ve only played at once before, Stepford Park near Easterhouse on grass.
The previous game there had been an inauspicious 8-2 defeat to 10m Rangers ten years ago when such notable players as Logan Taylor, Davie Nisbet, Arthur, Crossers and Mister C (explains the eight goals lost) battled hard against a much better team.
On this occasion we were the favourites on paper as our opponents hadn’t played an elevens game together before, but as we have found to our cost many times in the past, on paper means hee haw.
Despite the early kick off, and out of the way venue, we managed to get a squad of thirteen together with Andy Boss going on the bench in case of emergencies.
Joining him in the technical area were CC and LHD who are both out for the season, CC with a hamstring injury and Dave with torn ligaments which happened whilst playing sevens the weekend before. The Great Marzinho was also on the sidelines but I don’t remember anybody asking him if he had his boots with him.
Unfortunately David called off a couple of days before the game so we were forced to play Safehands in goals; Gary and Ally were at full back with Gee and Lenny in central defence; Sean, Stephen (first time starting), Andy D and Ross were in midfield; Sebo and Adam were in attack.
On the bench with the Boss was our new signing Kieran Friel who is only seventeen but a QP supporter and (spoiler alert) a good player as well despite his size.
It was a windy evening and the grass pitch wasn’t as big as some we play on but in pretty good condition despite the recent weather.
The start was very scrappy from both teams and we struggled to get a passing game going with the wind probably in our favour.
The All Stars looked pretty ropey at the back but they managed to string a few passes together going forward which showed we were in for a hard game. They came close when they hit the bar with a deflected shot whilst we huffed and puffed and created little.
We won a succession of corners but our delivery wasn’t very good and the closest we came was when Ross headed wide.
Just before the break the All Stars took the lead with a well worked goal and it was probably deserved on the balance of play.
Kieran came on for his debut at half time for Stephen and went to the right of midfield with Sean moving to the left.
The second half started well for us when Sebo made a break and rounded the keeper but he got hacked down. Referee Jim booked the keeper but it was a cynical foul that was out of place with the rest of the game.
That disappointment was followed by a second goal for the All Stars when we failed to clear a cross and the ball went into the net after a stramash in the area.
Finally it was fingers out time and we started to put some pressure on the All Stars defence.
The impressive Young Kieran, putting himself about to good effect, shot wide and we started getting shots at goal although when they went wide the keeper was taking an age to get the game restarted.
With about fifteen minutes to go we got back in the game when Sebo ran onto a long ball from Ross, rounded the keeper and this time he wasn’t fouled as he shot left footed into the net.
A couple of minutes later we should have been level when a great cross found our Top Scorer but he shot over from close range.
Time was running out but we were creating chances and got an equaliser with about ten minutes to go when Andy D finished off an attack with a shot into the corner from outside the box.
The All Stars keeper then limped off to be replaced by their six foot odd centre forward, with glasses, as we continued to press.
A free kick on the halfway line was taken short to Andy D and he made a jinking run past three or four defenders before his shot got blocked on the edge of the box. The ball broke to Lenny and he fired into the corner of the net to set off wild scenes of celebration.
Adam and Ally combined to nearly make it four before we conceded a free kick on the edge of the box but thankfully the ball went high wide and not very handsome.
One last chance came the All Stars way though as a long range effort was hit towards goal but, as everybody held their breath, Safehands held the ball above his head and we had won a famous victory with a superb comeback.
A not so good first half was followed by an excellent second and we dug in and deservedly won the game.
Some of the squad went back to The Langside for a celebratory drink and the Boss treated us to a beautiful version of “Gold” on the karaoke, although his interpretation of the verses needs a bit of work.