Thomsons Cycles Kelburne 2nd XI began their league title defence with an away fixture to newly promoted Uddingston 2nd XI at Holycross High in Hamilton. A quintuplet of absences, along with the presence of former players Jason and Josh Cairns ensured that this game would not be as straightforward as it first appeared.
Kelburne started the game slowly, and Uddingston were able to create a couple of half chances. midway through the half it looked that momentum had turned as Kelburne were able to push the host into their half and created one very good chance. Great pressure from Andrew Duff allowed Craig Walker to steal the ball and play Steven" SAM" McKinnon through on goal, unfortunately the forward was caught in two minds and deflected just wide of goal. From another attack Kelburne conceded possession cheaply and the long arial ball out of defence allowed former player Cairns to run unmarked into the circle, where he had time and space to shoot past the helpless Fergus Barrows in goals. Uddingston 1 - 0 Thomsons Cycles Kelburne.
Having taken the surprise lead Uddingston were content to sit back and try to use the long arial ball from defence to hit on the break, and invite Kelburne forward. Kelburne were able to force a number of half chances and short corners, from one of these set pieces new team member Adam McKinnes drag flick was only half stopped, and Ewan Carmichael was able to force home the rebound. 1 - 1. The final five minutes of the half was spent with Uddingston deep in their own half defending resolutely.
At this point Kelburne were happy to soak up pressure and hit on the counterattack. Any Uddy breaks were easily dealt with by centre backs Scott and Fraser Hutchison. One set piece attempt from Udddingston was superbly saved by Barrows diving to his left. SAM did have a half chance when his quick turn and snapshot went narrowly past the post.
Overall it was a good fighting performance, from the defending champions, with areas of improvement identified and will be worked on in training before the next game.
Thomsons Cycles Kelburne next game is against Rottenrow at Glasgow Green on Saturday 20th September with a 13.30 push back.