The 4?s went into their Saturday encounter hoping to continue this seasons unbeaten run, the best start the 4XI have had in the last few seasons. An under strength 4XI drove to Millerston to face the league new boys, Strathclyde University 2s. With some big name players missing due to illness/injury and the captain otherwise engaged, the 4s were unsure as to how they would cope against a potentially dangerous Strathclyde team.
The game started at a high tempo with both sides scrapping it out in midfield for control of the game. Surprisingly, it was Strathy who began to put the greater amounts of pressure on Kelburne, fortunately they were unable to deliver the killer ball in the final third. As the Kelburne team began to adjust to the flow of the game, the game began to open up and Kelburne began to look like they might be able to create a goal. It was then that experienced striker Alan Gillies stepped up to remind the league newcomers who was in charge. A superb reverse stick effort from the top of the ?D? beat the goal keeper to give the ?burne a one goal advantage. Rather than settling the game however, the goal only seemed to infuriate the boys from Strathy, who began to look like they?d played in this league before. With a quick counter attack leaving the Kelburne backline exposed, there was nothing the usually solid Kelburne defence could do to prevent Strathclyde scoring a well earned equaliser.
As the first half continued, it seemed that both teams were only going to batter each other into a stalemate until they could reorganise at halftime. Prolific striker ?Jonno" seemed to have other ideas though. A short corner led to a straight strike from the top of the ?D? but a Strathy stick managed to get a deflection on the ball and kill the ferocity out of the shot. As it bounced towards the baseline, apparently going just wide, ?Jonno" stepped in to score with a cheeky reverse stick flick that confused the keeper and went in. Just what Kelburne needed as the halftime whistle was blown.
Some strong words at half time were what Kelburne needed to focus them on the game, as it was clear that they weren?t playing their usual continental style of slick passing and quick movement. The second half started with Kelburne again struggling to make any obvious headway into the Strathy defence. The Kelburne midfield seemed overrun at times by Strathclyde piling everyman forward in search of a goal. It was here that Kelburne relied on their vast experience as a team to string together some decent attacking moves going forward. As the half progressed it seemed like both teams could score, but both failed to make that final penetrative ball into the ?D?. It was here once again that Kelburne seemed to get the lucky break. A fantastic ball into the ?D? from Aly James led to a brilliant deflected shot that unluckily hit the crossbar. As it fell, ?burne striker ?Jonno" seemed to be the only one in a position to strike the ball. As the keeper stepped out, he stood no chance as the ball was half volleyed into the goal. 3-1 to the 4s.
The game progressed much as it had done but it seemed that luck was beginning to favour the students. A few half chances were created but Strathy were unable to capitalise. Kelburne began to slow the pace of the game down with the odd swift attacking move. It seemed as if the game was over but Strathclyde managed to snatch a goal in the last minute, final score 3-2 to Kelburne.
A scrappy affair but no
doubt that Kelburne are happy to continue their unbeaten run. Special
credit should go to Johnny Barlow in goals, a fantastic stand in
goalkeeper for the departed Alan Malcomson. The 4s will be hoping they
can continue their current winning streak with success in the cup,
which commences next week.