Western 2s: 1
The Men's second team approached this game against perennial rivals Western knowing that the outcome would effectively decide the league title's destination. Only 2 points separated the sides and, with only two games to follow, Kelburne's superior goal-difference would be irrelevant if they lost. It had appeared that the title was sewn up weeks ago following a 0-2 away win over Western but a perfect league record was blotted and the title race re-opened with the first ever defeat at Bellahouston two weeks previously. Michael Nicol was sadly unavailable for the biggest match of the season so a re-shuffle was required and veteran Menzies took his place in the centre of defence and forward Jimmy McRae filled in at right-back.
The match started well for Kelburne, creating several chances which were well dealt with by the Western keeper. However, the match soon settled into a very evenly balanced affair with Western's superior strength, fitness and cohesion balancing out Kelburne's youth, skill and variable levels of fitness. Western had created a fair amount of pressure without having too many clear-cut chances but took the lead from a set-piece midway through the half. A drag-flick from the angle was dispatched high into the net and the Glasgow side knew that if the score stayed that way they were almost certain league-winners.
After a rousing half-time talk from coach Menzies Kelburne came out feeling that they could find a way back into the game. Gradually the tempo of the game increased and it seemed someone had to score. Suffocating pressure from Ewan Carmichael in the centre of midfield won the ball which then fell to Bryce who eluded the last defender who then cynically fouled him. Penalty! With nerves of steel, Menzies calmly put the keeper the wrong way to even the scores and put the title back within the Paisley side's reach. The match was getting very gritty now with the central defensive partnership of Menzies and Scott together with central midfielder Craig Morton (left) mopping up everything Western could throw at them.
Some of the more experienced Kelburne players were heard to get upset about some of the opposition 'tactics' that were going unpunished but these appear to be part of the game at this level. This made it all the sweeter when the 'Burne sensationally made the break-through. Veteran Menzies bulleted a 40-yard pass onto the swerving base-line run of Carmichael who sweetly squared the ball first-time across goal for 15-year-old prospect Ed Greaves to stretch at full-length to sweep the ball reverse-stick into the top corner of the goal. The Bellahouston crowd erupted as Greaves was swamped by team-mates and crowd alike. Kelburne then used all their remaining energy to grind out the last minutes of the game and collect a vital three points which leaves them needing 1 point from their last two games to claim an incredible ninth consecutive league title.
Captain Fraser Scott commented: "I was delighted with the spirit shown by the team today - to have beaten the next best side in the league 4-1 on aggregate over the two games is a big achievement and Ed's winner was great to see but we have make sure we finish the job in the next two games as we've not won anything yet."
The next game is against Grange on the 10th of April at Bellahouston.