Inter club matches are often the hardest hitting of the season with lads wanting to get one over on their clubmates. This affair was somewhat different though, due to the addition of a new side (Seconds, formerly St Lukes) and also a gaggle of new players for the thirds.
The primary concern for Si was the team selection, or more specifically the selection of a back four.
With 12 lads available, plus Si, the squad was all asked on their preferred position, eliciting the following response:
Kev - in goal
Rob Phil - full back
Darren - centre mid
Sean - centre mid
Martin E - centre mid
Jack R - centre mid
Peter - left mid
Andy P - right mid
Mick T - wide midfield
Chris P - in the hole or centre mid
Josh - up front
Degsi - up front
Si - on the bench
So as you can see, a make shift back four was required. Degsi volunteered to play centre half and was paired with Rob Phil. Mick Taylor was asked to play right back and Peter play left back. Jack Riley and Martin were selected in their preferred centre mid positions as was Andy who was posted wide right. Chris filled in at left mid and then Sean was asked to play alongside Josh up top. Darren was the unlucky one to miss out, though he was told he would be entering the fray after half an hour, taking advantage of the rolling subs.
The first half started with the seconds having more of the possession and settling down into a decent pattern of play, certainly demonstrating that they had played together as a team for a few seasons. Despite the seconds carving out a few chances and having more of the play, Kev was largely untroubled in the goal for the thirds.
The thirds suffered a couple of early injury setbacks as both Mick and Josh were injured in challenges. Darren was introduced up front, with Sean moving to right back in place of Mick, before Si was added to the fray in place of Josh. Phil Steele remarked on Si stalling before coming on, but the truth was, as he was about to enter it was pointed out that he didnt have shinnies on. He wasn't expecting to be introduced in he first half, then when he went to get the shinnies from the bag, only over the ankle ones remained as Peter had borrowed the slip in ones. Therefore a lengthy process ensued before he took his place up top.
Despite the introduction of Toshack and Keegan up front, the score remained goaless at half time.
The second half saw the thirds come out far more positively with a far better fluency in their play. Two early opportunities fell the way of Si, the first just too far in front of him to control it properly and then the second which saw him cut back onto his left-footed wand, before he fired a howitzer beyond the helpless Blance in goal, only for it to beat the crossbar as well. Minutes later, Furlong nodded a flighted ball into the path of the Darren, who took it well and was about to shoot as the recovering Chuk blocked the ball with a last ditch tackle. A great recovery, but it owed largely to a sneaky piece of ball control with his hand, that the ref missed.
At this point the thirds looked the most likely to score and so it proved to be. Josh had returned to the game after shaking off the effects of a hearty tackle from Chuk. He was fed in well from the right, and duly tucked the ball home past the advancing keeper.
Within minutes the seconds were level as a ball into the ball fell into the path of Ste Meadows, who hooked the ball over his head and into the net for the equaliser. The thirds again reposnded well with Josh causing problems for the centre half pairing of Chuk and Chris. Two more efforts from him almost restored the lead but Tom made decent saves on both occasions.
A goal looking like coming, but when it did, it was from the boot of Phil Steele. A long ball down the left saw Phil scamper after it. Kev came out and clipped him, but Phil stayed on his feet and retrieved the ball. He floated it into the box where Kev felt he was impeded by Rob Sinclair, and the ball drifted directly into the net to give the seconds the lead.
The game was reasonably open at this point with both sides looking for the next goal. When it arrived it was from a piece of brilliance from the often frustrating talent of Mick Taylor. Mick received the ball on the left edge of the box, with Jay McParland in close attendance. Mick span him one way then the other before firing a delightful shot into the top corner of the net.
The game looked set for an exciting conclusion, and within minutes of the restart 'Berger' had wrapped up the victory for the seconds. He got the ball in the middle of the park, danced passed 4 lads before toey-ing* it pass Kev in goal (*shot description ©Kev Taylor). Poor defending in all honesty but a brilliant goal nonetheless.
A decent match with both sides playing some lovely passing football at times. Still a few weeks till the start of the season, but there are positive signs to work on in both camps
Full Time 2 - 3
For the second team's view on the matchclick here