Saturday 19th February
Kelburne 3's 6
Monklands 1's 4
The 3's welcomed the league leaders to the belladome looking to stop their 100% league record and make amends for the first meeting earlier in the season. Some last minute changes were made to the squad due to call offs, injuries and player changes within other squads which meant captain McNulty (a.k.a the master of disaster)called upon youngsters Andrew Duff and Jack McKenzie from the 5?s. Craig Walker was fit again following his recent operation which meant his services could be used for this important game, this gave the team the boost they required before the push back as it meant they had the right mix of experience and youth to break down Monklands.
Kelburne stuck to their attacking formation of 4-3-3 and started the game with conviction, moving the ball around well and causing Monklands all sorts of problems in every area of the pitch. This pressure resulted in an earlier short corner following a great move involving Edgar on the right picking out a great pass into the D which Monklands couldn?t deal with and then hot a defenders foot. The keeper saved Musky?s drag flick attempt but when McNulty?s fiercely hit follow up was blatantly stopped on the line by the defenders foot, the only result was a penalty flick. Up stepped Musky who used all his experience to send the keeper the wrong way and despatch the ball into the bottom right hand corner. 1-0.
The 3?s kept up the pressure and every player was making a good impact on the game by working the ball well around the pitch to create the spaces for the forwards to lead into. Anderson and Tervit were making their presence known upfront but the latter tried too hard to pounce on a great pass by attempting to hit a first time shot that went well wide of the goal, instead of taking a touch to get a shot on goal. Despite this, another short corner was won on the next move and this time the rebound off the keeper found Bremmy who made sure the only place it was going to end up was in the goal. 2-0.
Kelburne thoroughly deserved their lead and Monklands at that point in the game did not know what had hit them. They started to resort to hitting long balls from defence and when McNulty decided to leave one of these and his player, Monklands had the break they had been looking for as Brodie was left exposed with a 2 on 1 following McNulty?s error. The quick breakaway found it?s way into the D and found a player free at the back post for an easy tap in. 2-1.
The gave Monklands a boost and Kelburne started to try and play their game and following a string a forced passes, the ball was turned over and Monklands made another quick break and scored through Barlow?s legs to make it 2-2. The game really came to light at this point and Kelburne struggled to regain their initial dominance but a good move down the right resulted in another Kelburne corner. Unusually, Anderson?s push out was off target so Ralph collected the ball on his front stick and used his experience to pick out a great pass to Anderson and the front post who put the ball into the goal from a tight angle. 3-2.
A few more lapses in concentration by Kelburne caught players out of position which then allowed Monklands to capitalise on the quick break and score 2 soft goals to make the score 3-4. Some changes were made which saw the introduction of youngsters Duff and McKenzie. Both players were visibly up for this game and made their presence felt by controlling the ball well and picking up the right passes to their teammates. A good move down the right involving McKenzie resulted in another corner. Musky?s drag flick attempt was again saved by the keeper and this time Ralph was on hand to pick the ball up and put a shot on goal. Again the defender used his foot to stop the shot by McKenzie?s determination paid off and he quickly picked the ball up and put it in the back of the net. 4-4 and half time whistle then went.
The second half started with the 3?s finding their form again. With Bremmy and Ralph holding the middle of defence well this ensured that any semi chances created by Monklands were quickly dealt with. This left Musky and the ever improving McKay to pick their passes which they did in style, coupled with Walker pulling the strings in the middle of the park resulted in Monklands running out of any ideas. Mark Connor was putting in a good shift up front and linking together well with Duff, Anderson and Tervit. Kelburne?s dominance resulted in another short corner and when the keeper?s save found it?s way back to Mushy he took the ball onto his left side and fired a fierce reverse stick shot towards the goal, it hit the defender on the hip and stopped another goal bound shot so the outcome was another Kelburne penalty. Up stepped Musky again who made the keeper commit with his trademark dance floor moves and then proceeded to flick the ball high into the middle of the goal. 5-4.
Kelburne pushed on again determined to not let Monklands back into this game whilst youngsters Duff and McKenzie continued to shine in this big game by showing off their great stick skills, a promising sign for the club?s future! Kelburne?s determination paid off and they were awarded another corner following a good move down the right again involving Musky, Edgar and McKenzie. The Monkland?s keeper managed to find Walker from his initial save which Walker then finished in style by unleashing a great 1st time shot, from a tight angle, high into the net to kill off any come back from the visitors. 6-4.
Kelburne continued to keep possession well and dealt with any last minute attempts by Monklands to get another goal back. The game finished 6-4 and the 3's demonstarted that they have got the potential to challenge for the league but they need to put in performances like this every week during the run in to be in with a fighting chance. Roll on next week against Glasgow Accies.