Sunday 20th September 2015 - IFA Challenge Cup 1st Round
v Rochdale at Toryglen Football Centre
David Stewart; Adam Walker, Ally McNaught, Alan Galindo, Allan Mackenzie; Ross Dunbar (c), Raymond Ford; Darren Dunsmore, Derek Muir, Neale Waugh; Scott Macrae. Subs (all used) David Blair, Andy Dick, Robert Shimmons
Our second game of the weekend was the big one, a British Cup tie against Rochdale at Toryglen.
There had been excitement in the air ever since the draw was made (although disappointment that we didn’t get an away tie down south) and we pre-booked Toryglen so that we definitely had a pitch for Dale travelling up.
There was a bigger crowd than usual for this game and it included our former goalkeeper Dougie Lyden. Dougie, who used to coach Spanish net minder Raymondo Martinez before he hung up his gloves, on the bottom peg, was looking well and his usual bronzed self.
Also looking good were our squad as we were kitted out in the current QP away red strip. A big thanks to Keith McAllister for arranging this and making sure the team looked their best.
Rochdale had travelled up to Glasgow late on Saturday night and had headed straight to the Garage which is apparently a night club in the city centre.
Luckily it was a 1pm kick off so the visitors had plenty of time to recover from their night time activities and everybody was all set to go with even Jim the Ref being on time, for a change.
Seven of our starting eleven were playing their second game in two days and the team was; David in goals; Adam and Ally at full back with Gee and Al in the middle of defence; Ross and Ray were the first line of midfield; Darren, Del and Neale were ahead of them; and Sebo was up front. On the bench were Andy D, LHD and Boab. Oh, and CC who get all dressed up in anticipation of a comeback from injury but not for a few weeks.
Rochdale were runners up at WorldNet, the IFA’s end of season tournament, so it was certainly going to be a hard game and the start of the game showed this as Dale looked a strong organised side.
The early part of the game was bogged down in midfield with little or no chances to either side and a few free kicks coming to nothing.
We’ve certainly played better but hoped to get in at half time level so the Boss could work his magic.
However, Rochdale took the lead in the 42nd minute when a quick passing move saw a forward through one on one with David and he finished to score the opener.
Worse was to follow on the stroke of half time as one of the Dale guys made a run from midfield and fired a shot at goal. David saved the effort but couldn’t stop the rebound and we were 2-0 down at the interval.
With the Boss’s encouragement ringing in their ears we came out better in the second half but still couldn’t create any decent chances.
It was the Lancashire side who were still looking more likely and, a couple of minutes after a free kick was turned onto the post by David, the visitors made it 3-0.
Another free kick was given away and this time it was taken quickly and a forward ran on to score Rochdale’s third goal.
There didn’t appear anything we could do to get back into the game and we nearly lost a fourth when a shot from distance was tipped over by David. From the corner David again did well, tipping a shot onto the underside of the bar and away to safety.
We were pushing forward with more purpose but creating little and it took until ten minutes from time for us to come close to scoring. Ross fired a shot from outside the area which was saved onto the underside of the bar and cleared and that was as close as we came to scoring.
A disappointing result and performance against a very good Rochdale side who put their hangovers to one side and fully deserved their victory.
Both teams retired to the JB Pavilion for food and drink and we had a raffle with Craig Flynn winning the main prize, a bottle of vodka, and Mags winning a bottle of wine kindly donated by Marie from behind the bar.
The Rochdale guys stayed for a couple of hours before heading home and they were a pleasure to host and hopefully we’ll get a chance to do it again or visit them in the future.