|Scottish Amateur Cup Round 2|
|7 October 2006|
|Team: Lunny, McInally, Z.Dougall, A.Dougall (Carmichael), McCann (Tierney), Baird (Docherty), Neeson, McKenna, Thornton, McCabe, McCaig|
Windlaw arrived in Bearsden with the daunting task of facing Central Scotland AFL side Stedfast’s first team in their fourth excursion in The Scottish Cup. History was against Windlaw as in three previous attempts, the club had fell at the first hurdle albeit to formidable opposition in Muirkirk, Cambusbarron Rovers and last season’s eventual semi-finalists Eddlewood. For the fourth consecutive season, the club again had an away draw to very tough opposition and having already watched Stedfast lose very narrowly to Drumchapel Utd the week before, injured Windlaw Player/Manager Benny Carey set out a stifling 4-5-1 formation to nullify the home side’s attacking options. Eck McCaig operated as the sole striker in the absence of injured top goalscorer Davie McGinley.
Windlaw began fairly well in the game without creating any clear-cut chances. The midfield were working hard to deny Stedfast time to spring attacks and the back four were busy trying to come to terms with the home side’s three man attack force who constantly interchanged. The home side took the lead on 23 minutes with a magnificent strike after cutting Windlaw open for the first time. A long ball that was allowed to travel down Windlaw’s left hand side was not cleared by a dithering defence and the right winger was in behind John McCabe. He travelled in and cut a ball across the 18 yard box to the onrushing midfielder who neatly skipped past McInally’s desperate slide. He bore in on goal and 15 yards out he crashed an unstoppable shot high past the helpless John Lunny from a fairly tight angle. The clinical manner of the move was stunning and left the hitherto confident visitors looking shell-shocked. Ten minutes later the home side produced a quick-fire double strike to completely take the game out of Windlaw’s reach. On both occasions, it was Stedfast’s brilliant movement off the ball that caused Windlaw’s downfall . 3-0 down after 35 minutes and a beleaguered looking Windlaw side were now staring down the barrel of what looked like an extremely long afternoon ahead. They did however manage to make it to half-time without any further damage and the general feeling was that athough Windlaw had only given Stedfast sporadic opportunities, they had been severely punished each time Stedfast had penetrated their defence. This indeed is the mark of a really good side and was an excellent lesson in taking chances when they arise.
The pattern of the second half very much followed that of the first and Windlaw again competed well for long spells. On 55 minutes, Stedfast got a fourth goal when another superb finish landed inches inside John Lunny’s right hand post from 12 yards out. The game plodded on without major incident until the 76th minute when the hard working Eck McCaig got some reward for his tireless shift upfront by grabbing a consolation for Windlaw. An inswinging corner from Windlaw’s left hand side was misjudged by the Stedfast defence and McCaig touched it past the stranded goalkeeper from 2 yards out. This provided the spark for some Windlaw pressure but despite a late flurry, no further goals could be added to exert any real pressure on the home defence who seen their side home to victory.
Full-Time: Stedfast AFC 4 Windlaw 1
Verdict: A flattering scoreline for the home side but no doubting it was a victory they deserved. Windlaw worked really hard in the game and tried to bridge the gap between the standard in leagues. It was however, ultimately futile, as the home side’s three goals in 12 first half minutes had killed the tie by half-time. Windlaw’s workrate and effort were a plus point and any test against a side of this standard can only be good for the development of this team. We wish Stedfast well for the remainder of the tournament and given favourable draws, this is a tournament they may progress to the latter stages in, similar to our conquerors of last season, Eddlewood. Windlaw will be hoping for some kind of respite from such quality opposition in the early rounds next season and maybe even a home draw at some stage!
Website Man Of The Match: Eck McCaig-just shaded the ever influential Shug Neeson to the award. Not quite back yet to his brilliant best of last season, but the diminutive striker showed a superb attitude and held the ball up well on his own upfront and did a superb job for the team.