|Strathclyde Saturday Morning League:Division 1|
|9 December 2006
Barlia Sports Complex
|Baird, McGinlay, Carey|
With a staggering 10 players unavailable through a combination of illness, work commitments, Christmas festivities, suspension and injury, Windlaw approached this game with some trepidation. Even Assistant Manager Martin Kerr was unavailable meaning a return to the dug-out for Gary Wilson who generously agreed to help out Player/Manager Benny Carey at short notice. Allan Dougall, Wullie Wilson and Wullie Thornton were replaced from last week’s starting line-up by Kevin McCann and Eck McCaig with Zanda Dougall bravely agreeing to play despite not being fit. He moved into central defence beside Chris Kerr with Paul McInally moving to an unfamiliar right-back role. The bench comprised only of Steph McCann and former Windlaw man Brendan Bonnar who had also agreed to help out as a trialist such was the player shortage.
Windlaw were playing against a reasonably strong wind to begin with and the initial exchanges were pretty even with Windlaw not passing the ball too well and Greenbank always looking threatening in attack. It was some 27 minutes before Windlaw finally breached a resolute Greenbank defence who were operating a tight offside trap and it was the breaching of this trap that provided the opening goal. Shug Neeson got possession in midfield and faced an onrushing Greenbank defence who were trying to play offside. However Ian Baird made an intelligent run from inside his own half and Neeson’s chip found him running into the space beyond the Greenbank defence. Baird gathered the ball well and held off a defender’s despairing challenge before drawing Greenbank keeper McCondichie from his goal and toe-poking past him for a fine opportunistic strike. McCabe almost doubled the lead with an amazing 45 yard run that seen Greenbank’s defence part like the Red Sea. However McCondichie saved his effort with his legs when he had only the keeper to beat. Greenbank continued to threaten though and on 37 minutes, a Roy Dale free-kick from 20 yards thumped John Lunny’s crossbar and bounced over to safety. Windlaw looked relieved to get to half-time with a narrow advantage.
Half-Time: Windlaw 1 Greenbank Utd 0
Within minutes of the restart Windlaw went two up. A nice through ball found Benny Carey in acres of space down the right wing and his cross into the penalty box was controlled well by Davie McGinley who smashed high past McCondichie from 8 yards for his 12th goal of the season. On 55 minutes Carey made it three when his looping header from a cross plopped into the Greenbank net. Davie McGinley was then replaced by Steph McCann and Brendan Bonnar replaced Eck McCaig who had a strange off-day. We’ll say no more on his condition! Steph McCann almost netted his first of the season but McCondichie saved well at his feet as he tried to round him then Carey’s lob over the stranded keeper fell just the wrong side of the post. Greenbank continued attacking though and Lunny made a few smart saves himself. With 5 minutes remaining Zanda Dougall limped off and Windlaw finished the game with 10 men. In the final seconds, Greenbank were awarded a penalty when Neeson was adjudged to have handled a shot in his own box by referee Bilsland. Veteran Greenbank striker Alan Stewart converted from the spot to prove that the game is never over until the fat striker scores!
Full-Time: Dunbreac 1 Windlaw 7
Verdict: Windlaw deserved the victory and the important thing from this fixture was the three points. The margin of victory could possibly have been bigger but given the situation, the team deserve credit for getting the job done and at times they knocked about the ball quite stylishly. Greenbank could certainly have scored a few goals and they did create a few chances but found John Lunny in good form. Their insistence on trying to play football on the deck may yet steer them clear of the drop.
Website Man Of The Match: John McCabe - For the second week running John McCabe just sneaked the award ahead of a host of players including John Lunny, Zanda Dougall, Chris Kerr, Kevin McCann and Ian Baird. McCabe’s strong running from midfield was again a prominent feature of Windlaw’s attacking play and on this sort of form, he’ll take a bit of shifting from the side.