Season 07/08

 

Season 2007-08

Milanda win the Vince McGlinchey trophy in style with Martin Johnstone scoring a hat trick in a 4-1 win..

Highest ever league position Division A (5th) after being promoted in 06/07 season.

Match reports under stats.

 

(Milanda's score always comes first)

Date

Opponent

Comp

Home\Away

Score

Scorers

Aug 8th

Kerrydale Celtic

Friendly

A

4 - 4

Johnstone, Evans (2) Coyle (pen)

Aug 11th

Scotsman

Friendly

A

4 - 1

Coyle

Aug 18th

Red Star Ballieston

Friendly

A

5 - 9

 

Aug 25th

Deanpark

William Drummond

H

9 - 4

Early (2) Fawns, Johnstone (2) M Walker (3) Coyle

Aug 27th

DS Street League

William Drummond

A

7 - 3

Johnstone (4) Reid (2), Early

Sept 1st

Glenavon Thistle

William Drummond

H

2 - 5

Williamson, Evans

Sept 8th

AFC Columba

League

H

1 - 1

Evans

Sept 15th

Argyll

League

A

8 - 2

Early (3) M Johnstone (2) Evans, Coyle, Duncan

Oct 6th

Bellahouston

League

A

6 - 3

Evans(2), Early(2), Wilson, Coyle

Oct 13th

Ferguslie

League

H

2 - 3

Own goal, Evans

Oct 20th

Garnethill Rovers

League

A

1 - 1

Wilson

Oct 27th

Ballieston Thistle

League

A

1 - 3

Evans

Nov 3rd

Glasgow Athletic

League

H

1 - 1

Reid

Nov 10th

Glasgow Islay

League

A

3 - 3

Johnstone, Crawford, Wilson (Pen)

Nov 17th

Hillhead

League

H

2 - 1

Johnstone (2)

Dec 10th

Kilpatrick Thistle

GDSML Cup

A

2 - 3

Reid, Preston

Dec 15th

Invac

League

H

5 - 3

Preston, Evans, Coyle (3)

Feb 9th

Renfrew

League

H

2 - 1

Evans, Coyle

Feb 16th

Ferguslie

Vince McGlinchey

A

5 - 1

Crawford (2), Coyle, Johnstone, Murray

Mar 1st

AFC Columba

League

A

0 - 3

-

Mar 15th

Bellahouston

Vince McGlinchey Semi Final

H

6 - 1

Wilson (2), Early (2), Crawford, Johnstone

Mar 22nd

Kilpatrick Thistle

League

H

3 - 3

Early (2), Preston

Mar 29th

Bellahouston

League

H

5 - 3

Coyle (2), Early (2), Johnstone

Apr 2nd

Kilpatrick Thistle

League

A

1 - 7

Griffin

Apr 19th

Red Star Ballieston

League

H

0 - 3

-

Apr 22nd

Ballieston Thistle

League

A

2 - 5

Preston, Coyle

Apr 26th

Renfrew Town

League

A

4 - 1

Preston, Reid, McGowan (2)

Apr 29th

Garnethill

League

H

4 - 2

Evans, Johnstone, Coyle, McGowan

May 3rd

Invac

Vince McGlinchey Final

N

4 - 1

Johnstone (3), Coyle

May 6th

Glasgow Athletic

League

A

2 - 2

McGowan, Coyle

May 10th

Glasgow Islay

League

H

4 - 0

Coyle, Williamson, Murray (2)

May 13th

Red Star

League

A

3 - 4

Evans, McGowan, Coyle

May 17th

Invac

League

A

2 - 2

Evans, Murray

May 20th

Ferguslie

League

H

5 - 5

Williamson (2), McGowan, Binnie, Johnstone

Appearances

 

League

William Drummond

GDSML Cup

Vince McGlinchey

Total

M. Coyle

21 (2)

3

1

3

30

G. Evans

22 (1)

3

-

3

29

M. Johnstone

17 (2)

3

-

3

25

T. Addison

13 (6)

3

1

(1)

24

M. Reid

15 (2)

1 (1)

1

2

22

R. Early

17

2

-

3

22

J. Wilkie

14 (4)

-

1

2 (1)

22

C. Fawns

15

3

1

3

22

S. Preston

15 (2)

-

(1)

2

20

A. Wilson

16 (1)

-

-

1 (1)

19

D. Crawford

12

2

-

2

16

D. O'Neill

11 (1)

-

-

3

15

J McGowan

12 (1)

-

-

1 (1)

15

S. Grant

4 (6)

3

1

(1)

15

J. Binnie

12 (2)

-

1

-

15

A. Scott

5 (4)

1 (1)

1

1 (1)

14

K. Williamson

4 (5)

1

-

(2)

12

P. Murray

7 (1)

2

-

1

11

M. Walker

3 (4)

2

-

-

9

J. Griffin

8

-

-

-

8

M. Russell

6

-

1

(1)

8

M. McColgan

4 (2)

-

-

1

7

C. Preston

6

-

-

-

6

P. Duncan

1 (2)

(2)

-

-

5

S. Walker

2

3

-

-

5

H. Dullaghan

1 (3)

-

1

-

5

A. Duncan

1

-

-

-

1S.

S. Flynn

1

-

-

-

1

 

Goals

 

League

William Drummond

GDSML Cup

Vince McGlinchey

Total

Johnstone

8

6

-

5

19

Coyle

13

1

-

2

16

Early

9

3

-

2

14

Evans

11

1

-

-

12

Wilson

3

-

-

2

5

Reid

2

2

1

-

5

McGowan

5

-

-

-

5

Preston

4

-

1

-

5

Crawford

1

-

-

3

4

Williamson

3

1

-

-

4

Murray

3

-

-

1

4

Walker

-

3

-

-

3

Binnie

2

-

-

-

2

Fawns

-

1

-

-

1

Griffin

1

-

-

-

1

Duncan

1

-

-

-

1

Own goal

1

-

-

-

1

Match Reports

William Drummond - Netherpollok

 

AC Milanda 9 Deanpark 4 (HT (4-1)

 

Scorers -Early 2, Fawns, Johnstone 2, M Walker 3, Coyle

 

Team S Walker; Grant (Duncan), Crawford, Addison; M Walker, Fawns, Early, Coyle, Murray; Evans, M Johnstone. Sub not used: Scott

 

Milanda kicked off the competitive action for the season with an emphatic victory over Deanpark at Netherpollok. The game was switched to one of Milanda's regular haunts because Deanpark couldn't get a pitch in the Paisley area and it soon became clear they had also struggled to find players as they could only muster a squad of 10. Milanda, too, had personnel problems, especially at the back with so many defenders crocked, but never looked in any danger of taking anything less than three points in this William Drummond Trophy sectional tie.

 

Wearing the new change kit of Barcelona colours, they took just 14 minutes to get ahead when Ross Early burst through from midfield to shoot past the Deanpark keeper. The second goal came in the 25th minute. A throw by Mark Walker was laid back by Early to Craig Fawns and he blasted an excellent shot into the net. A cool finish by Martin Johnstone made it 3-0 after 33 minutes but nine minutes later Deanpark reduced the deficit with an own goal by Thomas Addison, the ball breaking off his leg after Stephen Walker had done well to parry a shot However, Adda made up for that with a long searching ball that found midfielder Walker and he calmly lobbed it first time over the keeper for goal No.4.

 

The goals were coming thick and fast and three minutes into the second period Martin Coyle ran on to an Early pass and slammed the ball low into the net to make it 5-1. As has happened before, everyone was pushing forward trying to get goals and that allowed Deanpark to threaten on the break. A good break down their left four minutes later saw the ball crossed into the box where one of Deanpark's strikers had a simple tap-in. But Early set up Johnstone to head Milanda into a 6-2 lead shortly after that with a pinpoint cross. Milanda didn't have long to wait for their seventh.

 

A corner by sunstitute Paul Duncan found the head of Coyle and although his effort didn't find the net Early was on hand to nod home the loose ball. Coyle put a penalty kick wide after Paul Murray had been brought down in the box and then Walker had a goal disallowed when the referee mistakenly thought his shot had gone into the side netting rather than the goal. Walker was not to be denied, though, and a first-time shot made it 8-2 to Milanda. Deanpark pulled another one back but Walker made it 9-3 from a Johnstone cutback. The Paisley team finished off the scoring from the penalty spot after hat-trick hero Walker had bundled over one of their forwards.

 

So, a 9-4 win that could have been 11-4 if the penalty had gone in and Walker had been given the other goal he scored. Not a bad day's work. The only mystery – how come the scourge of Deanpark last season, Gerry Evans, didn't get on the scoresheet? He must have been feeling sorry for them.

 

MOM: Ross Early just pips Mark Walker but both showed excellent energy and contributed with goals and assists.

 

----------

William Drummond - Glasgow Green

 

DS Street League 3 AC Milanda 7 (HT (2-2)

 

Scorers - Martin Johnstone 4, Mark Reid 2, Ross Early

 

Team S Walker; Grant, Crawford, Addison (Scott); M Walker (Reid), Early, Coyle, Fawns, Murray; M Johnstone, Evans (Duncan)

 

MILANDA made it six points out of six but victory was more difficult to achieve than the scoreline suggests. A much-improved DS Street League were 2-0 ahead inside the first half and were threatening to run riot with their pace and movement. However, the more experienced Milanda men dug in and mounted a comeback that ultimately left their opponents dispirited.

 

Milanda struggled to cope in the early stages as the DS No.9 in particular led the back three a merry dance. They scored two good goals and would have had more but for poor finishing. Finishing is Martin Johnstone’s speciality, however, and a double from him restored parity by half-time.

 

Gerry Evans was the supplier for the first and Paul Murray set up the second, although Milanda’s top scorer of last season still had work to do on both occasions before slotting the ball home.

 

At that point most of the Milanda squad and certainly the manager would probably have settled for a point but in a reversal of fortunes in the second half the DS lads seemed to run out of steam and had to take a back seat as their net bulged five times.

 

Substitute Mark Reid, who had gone on for his season’s debut in the first half after the unfortunate Mark Walker broke a bone in his foot, made it 3-2 just after the break. Ross Early put him through the middle with a perfect pass and as the keeper ran out the merest of touches took the ball past him and into the goal. Johnstone made it 4-2 after a Reid corner had been headed on by Martin Coyle, Early made it 5-2 and then Reid fired in the sixth following a Craig Fawns throw

 

No.7 was a gift from the DS defenders who were caught out by a high ball through the middle, allowing Johnstone to run through and shoot home. DS pulled one back near the end after a sloppy passback by Fawns but the game was pretty much over by this stage.

So, a good night’s work in the end but DS must take some of the credit for contributing to an entertaining game and they should have a good season if they can pace themselves better and perhaps add a couple of more experienced players.

Milanda again looked sharp from middle to front and might have scored more.

One miss by Davie “Underpants” Crawford from right on the goal line was particularly memorable, although the sun/floodlights may have got in his eyes. The defence did well also after a shaky start.

 

MOM: Martin Johnstone. Another master class in goalscoring.

 

----------

William Drummond - Blairdardie

 

Milanda 2 Glenavon Thistle 5 (HT (1-3)

 

Scorers - Williamson, Evans

 

Team S Walker; Grant, Addison, Fawns, Scott, Reid, Coyle, Williamson , Murray, M Johnstone, Evans

 

It was a patched up and depleted Milanda squad that completed it's final game in the group stages. At least 4 of the team wouldn't have played any other Saturday but such was the injury situation that if you could walk you played. Given the circumstances Milanda put in a great shift against all the odds.

 

Unfortunately this game was just about over before it started. With most of Milanda's backline struggling for fitness it was no surprise when Glenavon took advantage and stormed into a 3 goal lead in the first 15 mins. Milanda could have been forgiven for downing tools and deciding this wasn't going to be their day but instead took control of the game and played some great football and were far and away the better team in the reaminder of the 1st half.

 

The damage had been done though. The first came from slack marking in the box that allowed the Glenavon forward to turn and find room to get a shot away that Walker had no chance with. The 2nd was unfortunate for Walker when he shouted on his defence to leave a hopeful shot/pass but misjudged the flight and it found its way into the net. The 3rd followed soon after when a break pulled the Milanda defence out of position and the Glenavon winger found space on the right and placed the ball into the left hand corner of the net.

 

Pretty much game set and match at that point as Milanda had only threatened on odd occasions but they rolled the sleeves up and got stuck in and pinned Glenavon back for what was left of the half. Murray could have thrown Milanda a lifeline when through on the keeper but the keeper just got a hand to the ball as Murray tried to go round him. Then Johnstone got a foot a low cross and saw it come of the bar and Williamson watched the keeper make another save as he fired in the rebound.

 

Milanda just couldn't take advantage of some great corners by both Reid and Murray as they looked for a way back into the game. With a few mins left of the half Milanda did finally get some reward for their effort. A free kick just inside the Glenavon half was taken by Fawns and his delivery found the head of Williamson 12 yards out and his glancing header found the net off the post. It was no more than Milanda deserved. The Glenavon keeper still had time to pull off another couple of saves before half time as Milanda looked for more goals.

 

The second half was only a few mins old when Milanda were right back in the game. Scott advanced down the left and his pass inside found Evans in the clear. The keeper came out and bloked his first shot but Evans was first to the rebound and poked the ball home from 4 yards.

 

Milanda's hopes of a great comeback were shortlived though. A shy on the edge of the box caught Milanda failing to mark tightly enough and a toe poke from the Glenavon captain was enough to give them a 4-2 lead. This took the wind out of Milanda's sails and it was no surprise when a break through the middle saw goal number 5 and it was game over.

 

Worse was to come for Milanda when Williamson when down injured and had to go off with knee ligament damage and Milanda had to finish the game with 10 men. Glenavon seemed to sense their job was done and despite a few flurries and near misses didn't add to their lead.

 

The final whistle signaled the end of an entertaining game with Glenavon winning the group and Milanda filling up the runner up spot.

 

MOM - Considering how many players were playing with injuries a lot of effort went into the game. Reid and Murray provided some dangerous crosses at corners, Coyle did his best in the middle to cover for the ageing Williamson and Fawns had a solid game but this week's MOTM is Andy Scott just so he can tell his kids etc and doesn't have to wait until the last game of the season.

 

----------

 

League

 

AC Milanda 1 AFC Columba 1 (HT (1-0)

 

Scorers - Evans

 

Team Fawns; Wilkie, Flynn (Grant), S Preston, Binnie; P Duncan, Addison, Early, Murray; Evans, Coyle (A Duncan)> Sub not used: Scott.

 

A Milanda squad featuring two trialists in the starting line-up and another on the bench began life back in Division A with a home draw against Columba. Milanda were not at their strongest due to injuries and work commitments but the same could be said of the opposition and in the end a draw was probably about right. Although Milanda had at least their fair share of the play over 90 minutes, Columba probably made more clear-cut chances and might have taken all three points if their forwards had been sharper. The disappointing aspect from Milanda's viewpoint is that, having taken the lead, they then gifted Columba their equaliser.

 

With former Patrick Thistle player John Wilkie and young Stephen Flynn playing as trialists in the back four, it would have been understandable had Milanda taken time to settle. In fact, they were at their best in the first half-hour of the game and it was no real surprise when they went ahead after 23 minutes.

 

Paul Murray was the creator with a good run on the left and his cutback was foced home from close range by Gerry Evans. The Columba keeper then produced a good save to deny Evans a second before Ross Early headed a Paul Duncan corner over the bar. Martin Coyle wasted another opportunity when he tried to set up Murray but succeeded only in passing the ball behind his team-mate who had made a lung-bursting run to get into position.

 

With Columba having missed two or three good openings of their own, Milanda reached the break with their lead intact.

 

The visitors had their own player by the name of Martin Coyle, a flying machine who caused problems every time he ran at the Milanda defence, and he was the one who levelled the match. A kicked clearance by the Columba keeper caught the Milanda defence sleeping and when Craig Fawns came off his line Coyle was too quick for him. The No.12 reached the ball first and fired in a well-taken goal.There were chances at both ends before full-time but the finishing didn't match some of the build-up play. Alan Duncan, Paul's brother, replaced Coyle and worked hard but the best of the opportunities fell to Scott Preston who just failed to connect when he dived to try to head home at the back post.

 

Not one of Milanda's best performances but considering the fact that key men were missing and one or two of those on the field were carrying knocks, a draw was acceptable

 

MOM: John Wilkie was impressive at right-back on his debut and Murray was back to something like his true form, especially in the first half. Fawns also did well in goal and it was unfortunate that his only mistake led to their goal. However, Gerry Evans takes the man of the match accolade for his hard work and the fact that he notched the point-winning goal.

 

----------

League - Netherpollok

 

Argyll 2 AC Milanda 8 (HT (1-1)

 

Scorers - Early 3, M Johnstone 2, Evans, Coyle, Duncan

 

Team Fawns; Wilkie, Crawford (Addison), McGowan (Grant); Reid, Early, Russell, Coyle, Wilson; M Johnstone, Evans (Duncan).

 

Milanda took three points from their first away game in Division A thanks to a blistering finish. Despite having dominated against Argyll, the score stood at 2-2 after 50 minutes and it was only in the latter stages that Milanda turned their superiority into goals.

 

Yet again it was a much-changed team that took the field. John Wilkie had been registered after his impressive showing against AFC Columba and Milanda old boy Andy Wilson had been re-signed to solve the problem on the left-hand side of the field caused by injuries to Peter Johnstone, Andy Scott and Paul Murray. In addition, Milanda brought in two trialists, teenage defender Jim McGowan and midfielder Mark Russell, to bolster a squad decimated by the worst injury crisis in the club's history.

 

The new-look side gelled almost immediately and what is traditionally a tricky fixture quickly began to look winnable. However, a tendency to try to walk the ball into the net combined with some good saves by the Argyll keeper meant Milanda only netted once in the first half. Ross Early was the scorer with a cool finish after good build-up play had released him into the box. But Argyll had a couple of good counter-attacks and equalised from one of them just before the interval.

 

With new boy Russell buzzing all over the midfield and Wilson getting forward regularly from the left-wing back slot, Milanda continued to hold the upper hand and Early made it 2-1 after 48 minutes from a clever Gerry Evans pass but Argyll came back again immediately and capitalised on sloppy defending to make it 2-2.

 

After 53 minutes, Martin Johnstone made it 3-2 to Milanda from a Mark Reid cross and Evans added a fourth from crossfield pass by Wilson, referee Forbes Robertson playing a good advantage by ignoring the fact that Reid had been taken out of the playing during the lead-up.

 

Even at 4-2 there was a feeling the game might not yet be over but Milanda were clearly superior in an attacking sense and Johnstone hit the bar before Martin Coyle was denied by a brilliant save. However, the fifth goal after 73 minutes eased any concerns on the sidelines, Early completing his hat-trick with a glancing header from Wilson's corner.

Coyle shot No.6 after Johnstone had seen a shot blocked and Early had struck the ball against the keeper's right-hand post.

Johnstone himself scored No.7 and substitute Paul Duncan calmly fired the eighth goal into the corner of the net from a Reid pass.

 

MOM: All the new players contributed, with Russell and Wilson heavily involved in what was pretty much a day of all-out attack. Reid and Evans also ran all day for the team but the MOM award goes to Early who showed a great appetite for work and took his hat-trick in style.

 

----------

League - Netherpollok

 

Bellahouston 3 AC Milanda 6 (HT (2-2)

 

Scorers - Evans(2), Early(2), Wilson, Coyle

 

Team S Walker; Wilkie (Binnie), Crawford, McGowan; Reid, Russell, Coyle, Early (S Preston), Wilson; Evans (M Walker), M Johnstone. Subs not used: Addison, Murray

 

Another goal feast, another win and another game that was not as comfortable as the scoreline suggests. Like the Argyll game, this one wasn't secured until late on because of Milanda's habit of leaking goals. In fact, Bellahouston were never more than one behind until the last 15 minutes, although they did spend most of the match on the back foot. With the injury list starting to shorten, Milanda had more players than they could list for the first time this season. Davie Crawford turned up in the kilt he wore to Munich in an attempt to get noticed and it worked as he was selected in a three-man defence. The boys are wondering if he now has a stripogram job on the side as he stripped off his T-shirt later in the game and then his underpants as well. Paul Murray took them for safe keeping. Obviously.

 

But to the game and Milanda got off to the best possible start with a goal after three minutes. Bellahouston player-coach Danny Borland slipped as he attempted to move the ball out of defence and that allowed Gerry Evans to nick possession and run on to place the ball past the keeper. However, the home side were level four minutes later. Mark Russell was caught in possession and the ball was quickly moved down the left wing where the Bellahouston No.17 hit a fantastic shot into the far top corner of the net.

 

After 15 minutes Milanda were ahead again. Martin Johnstone fed Evans on the left and his cutback was side-footed home by Ross Early. But Bellahouston levelled matters in the 24th minute. Two Milanda defenders went for the same ball and it somehow broke to a Bellahouston player who was able to run on and easily beat Stephen Walker in the Milanda goal. That was the way the score stayed until half-time thanks in part to the Bellahouston keeper who had some excellent saves. Three minutes into the second half, a Mark Reid corner wasn't properly cleared and Early pounced to fire in his second of the day. Again, though, Milanda couldn't hold on to their lead. A free-kick on the left was only palmed out by Walker and that provided an easy-tap in for one of the Bellahouston players to make it 3-3.

 

With 55 minutes on the clock Andy Wilson shot Milanda 4-3 ahead with a free-kick that took a deflection and beat the keeper low to his right. Johnstone hit the post as Milanda tried to increase their advantage and the keeper had a wonderful save to keep out a Crawford header from Reid's corner. But No.5 eventually arrived in the 75th minute and it was Evans who got it when he redirected a Reid shot with his head past the Bellahouston keeper. Reid was again involved in the build-up two minutes later when Martin Coyle powered through to bury a shot into the corner of the net for No.6. An excellent win in the end but Milanda continued the bad habit of making life hard for themselves.

 

MOM: Jim McGowan always appeared calm and assured in defence, while Mark Reid, Gerry Evans and Ross Early looked threatening going forward but Andy Wilson just nicks man of the match for his good supply of passes from the left-wing back role and, of course, his goal … despite the fact a few of those on the sidelines wanted that one to be classified as an OG.

 

----------

League - Mount Vernon

 

AC Milanda 2 Ferguslie 3 (HT (0-2)

 

Scorers - Own goal, Evans

 

Team S. Walker, Wilkie, Preston, Crawford Wilson,Reid, Early, Russell (Dullaghan), Coyle, Evans, M. Johnstone(M . Walker).

 

Milanda's unbeaten start to the league campaign came to an end and they've no one to blame but themselves after gifting 3 goals to Ferguslie. A late Milanda fight back nearly salvaged a draw but it was too little too late.

 

Milanda were slow out the starting blocks ands Walker was called into action in the first minute when making a good save. The pressure continued on the Milanda defence and Crawford made a great last ditch tackle at the expense of a corner and injury which he recovered from to take his place back in defence. Unfortunately Crawford then slipped as the ball was knocked to the back post and this allowed a Ferguslie forward a free header and he easily beat Walker from 6 yards out.

 

Milanda finally put some pressure on Ferguslie and Evans shot over the bar and was quickly followed by Russell doing the same thing. Wilson sent in a dangerous free kick that Coyle was inches away from connecting as Milanda looked for an equaliser. Coyle then has his goal bound shot blocked on the line. At this point milanda had all the pressure but suddenly found them selves 2 goals down.

 

A long ball out of defence looked an easy mop up exercise for Crawford but his pass back to Walker was too short and Walker was left in no man's land as Ferguslie made it 2-0. Milanda were immediately on the offensive again and early had an attempt that sailed over before Evans finally got a Milanda shot on target. A few mins later Milanda had a strong claim for a penalty after a goalmouth stramash but the ref gave the decision the other way after seeing an earlier infringement.

Milanda were fortunate not to go in 3 down after a looping header nearly caught Walker off his line.

 

The first incident was a chance for ferguslie that was sent over the bar before Crawford at the other got on the end of a Reid corner but couldn't keep his header down. Wilkie then decided to try his luck from outside the box and his shot was spilled by the Ferguslie keeper and Early who was following up looked to have an easy tap in but the keeper made up for his error by blocking his shot then Coyle had an effort that was also blocked before Evans had a further attemp before the ball was finally cleared. It looked like it wasn't going to be Milanda's day.

 

Milanda had a let off when Ferguslie found themselves 3 on 2 but couldn't take advantage and another shot sailed over the bar. Milanda were awarded an indirect free kick in the Ferguslie box but it was easily blocked. Dullaghan replaced Russell in the centre of defence and shortly after M. Walker came on for M. Johnstone to try and freshen up Milanda's options. Milanda did almost get back into it when a Ferguslie defender chested the ball onto his own post but the keeper cleared up.

Milanda then made their final substitution when Fawns came in for Coyle. He was only on the park a few seconds when Ferguslie made the game safe and it was another defensive error. Dullaghan and Walker got their wires crossed as Dullaghan tried to chest it back to Walker and the Ferguslie forward was happy to get in between the two of them to score goal number 3.

 

To Milanda's credit they didn't give up and Crawford had a header touched round the post for a corner.

The resultant corner saw Wilson drive the ball into the 6 yard box and an attempted clearance by the Ferguslie defender was sliced into his own net.

90 seconds later and it was 3-2 when a long throw from fawns was knocked on by Crawford and Evans was lurking at the back post to header home.

Suddenly a point was within Milanda's grasp with 3 mins to go but it wasn't to be as the ref appeared to blow a couple of mins early and any chance Milanda had of stealing a point was gone.

 

MOM: One of these days where the team never got going and some rather sluggish performances but Evans up front never gave up and got his reward for his hard work with a goal and gets this week's MOTM award.

 

----------

League - Eaglesham

 

Garnethill Rovers 1 AC Milanda 1(HT (0-1)

 

Scorer - Wilson

 

Team Fawns, Wilkie, Preston, McGowan, Wilson,Walker(M .Johnstone), Russell, Binnie, Murray(Addison), Evans, Reid.

 

One of the more picturesque settings for Milanda with a trip to Eaglesham to play Garnethill Rovers who were one of the teams promoted along with Milanda to Division A. The fixtures last season were always close and there was no reason to suspect this would be any different.

 

A slow start by both teams and the ball spends a lot of time in the air as each team tries to settle down. Milanda make the first real chance when Preston intercepts a ball on the halfway line and breaks forward. He manages to find Reid in space with his pass but before Reid can reach the ball the keeper is out to block and the chance is lost.

 

Nothing else of note happened until Murray thought he'd have a shot with his right foot. Not a pretty site. Milanda then win a corner when a Reid cross finds the head of Evans and the keeper pushes his header over the bar. From the corner the keeper drops the ball but recovers before any Milanda player can take advantage.

 

Garnethill then have a chance to open the scoring when a long clearance catches out the Milanda defence and Fawns is forced into making a great stop when faced with a one on one. Garnethill are straight back at Milanda and a cross to the back post sees an effort hit the post before finally being knocked over the bar.

 

Milanda make the breakthrough after 30mins. A free kick about 25 yards out on the right hand side of the box gives Wilson a chance to go for goal and he doesn't disappoint when he hits a stunning left foot shot into the top left hand corner with the keeper rooted to the spot.

 

It should have been 2 mins later when Reid took advantage of a misjudged clearance and was through on the keeper but he couldn't get enough on the lob and it stayed 1-0. Milanda were nearly made to pay just before half time when the Garnethill No 9 balloons over the bar from 8 yards with no one near him.

 

Milanda started the 2nd half well and Evans takes a great first touch from a Preston clearance that gave him a yard of space and gives him a chance to get into the box but a last ditch tackle means he had to settle for a corner.

 

A few minutes later Reid again has the chance to lob the keep but this time it was just too high. M. Johnstone was brought on for Walker to help Milanda find the killer 2nd goal and Reid again was given a half chance when a Wilson free kick found him in space in the box but he couldn't any direction on his header and it sails past. Milanda are frustrated on the hour mark when Evans is put clear only to called back by the ref for offside. One of the few decisions he got wrong all day. Milanda then make a further change when Addison replaces Murray.

 

Johnstone has two chances in quick succession. The first was after a long clearance from Fawns gave him a chance to lob the keeper but, like Reid earlier, he couldn't keep it down. Then he showed some neat footwork in the box to get some space to get a shot away but the keeper parried and it was cleared.

 

Just when it looked like Milanda were the team to get the next goal Garnethill equalise with 10 mins left. They had created few chances in the 2nd half and the Milanda defence had coped with everything that had been thrown at them until now. The Garnethill number 9 made up for his glaring miss in the first half when he found himself in space on the edge of the box and dispatched a neat left foot shot across Fawns into the right hand corner.

 

This sparked a frantic last 10 mins as both sides looked to get a winner. Milanda had a header from Russell saved, then good work from Evans put Reid clear and his cross found Binnie on the edge of the 6 yard box but he couldn't control it and it was cleared. Reid again was involved in Milanda's final chance when his low cross was just deflected for a corner as Johnstone was ready to turn it in.

 

The pressure then switched to the Milanda end when Garnethill won a corner that seemed to bounce about the goal for an eternity before someone finally got a foot on it and cleared. The match finished in a little argy bargy when a scuffle broke out after a free kick was awarded but the ref soon sorted it out and the final whistle ended a hard fought encounter. A draw probably a fair result over the piece.

 

MOM: Fawns showed a safe pair of hands and made a couple of important stops. Reid up front was always looking for the ball and created a few openings and had a few himself but the defence played well today and we didn't ship the daft goals we did last week. It was a toss up between Preston and McGowan with the latter just sneaking it.

 

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League - Easterhouse

 

Ballieston Thistle 3 AC Milanda 1 (HT (1-1)

 

Scorer - Evans

 

Team Fawns, Crawford, McGowan; Dullaghan (Wilkie), Wilson, Early, Russell (Coyle), Walker(Addison), Reid, Evans, M Johnstone. Subs not used: Grant, Scott

 

Milanda traveled to Easterhouse to meet last years first division champions and to find out how they stood up against one of the league's top teams.

 

It was Milanda who created the first real chance and were denied what looked like a penalty when Johnstone was felled in the box but the ref waved away the claims and Johnstone got up and delivered a cross into the box that Evans tried to bicycle kick into the net but couldn't get his effort on target.

 

Evans was again involved in when his tenacious work at the corner flag saw him break clear and speed into the box but his low cross was knocked away for a corner as Milanda kept the pressure on. The referee again denied Milanda when Evans was judged to be off side midway in the Thistle half after a Johnstone flick, a decision that looked harsh.

 

Ballieston Thistle finally managed to get a foothold in the game and after a foraging run through the middle of the Milanda defence they found themselves 3 on 1 in the Milanda penalty area but the wrong option was chosen with a pass to an offside player and Milanda could breath again.

 

Milanda took advantage of the let off and opened the scoring a few mins alter. A long kick out was knocked into Evans path and he finished off with an assured left foot strike that left the keeper helpless. No more than Milanda deserved as they had more than matched their opponents up to this point.

 

Thistle tried to pull themselves back into the game and had the bulk of possession but found it difficult to get in behind the Milanda defence. A couple of mins from half time they won a free kick 25 yards from goal and a net bound shot was touched round the post by a superb Fawns save. Unfortunately it only delayed the equaliser a few moments. The goal though was a controversial one. The corner that resulted from the free kick was hit into the danger area and reid on the line knocked it onto the post before it was cleared but Thistle claimed it had crossed the line and the referee agreed. Reid and few other milanda players were adamant that it hadn't crossed the line but the ref waved away the protests and the blew for HT a few seconds later.

 

Thistle started much the better in the 2nd half but the first real chance fell to Milanda when Reid's corner caused confusion in he box and another goal line clearance. A few half hearted claims were made it was over the line but this time it was clear it wasn't. Milanda made a couple of changes within a few mins of each other with Wilkie replacing Dullaghan and Coyle on for Russell.

 

Wilkie was involved in the action straightaway when he got a toe to a goal bound shot and send it away for a corner. fawns may have had it covered but he wasn't taking any chances. Thistle were now the dominant team and had a great chance to go ahead but their forward lashed the ball over the bar from a good position.

 

Milanda made a rare foray forward when great work from Coyle put him clear in the box and his cut back found Johnstone who laid it back to reid but the defender got in a good block.

 

At the other end a another let off for Milanda when Wilkie slips at the vital time leaving the Thistle forward clear but he lacks composure and sclaffs the ball wide. Shortly after Milanda make their last substitution when Addison replaces Walker.

 

Milanda then have their best period of the 2nd half and Evans has a couple of half chances in the box and then Johnstone has a go from the edge of the box but the best chance of all comes from a corner that Reid sends to the back post and a free header is sent past the post with the goal gaping. (Think it might have been Crawford). just when Milanda look like they could go on and win the game Thistle score. A free kick out on the touchline is easily cleared but it is sent back in and a Thistle player looks miles offside has an eternity to pick his spot. Although he looked offside it did appear someone was playing him on.

 

It was a body blow to Milanda but they kept pushing and a determined run from Addison was rewarded with a corner and Wilson's flighted ball finds the head of crawford but his header is straight at the keeper. A few mins alter another Wilson corner is glanced agonisingly passed by McGowan. With milanda pushing for an equaliser they are caught at the back but fawns makes another great save when he is left 2 on 1 to keep Milanda's hopes alive. these hopes only last a few mins when Thistle win a penalty after a Crawford challenge. Fawns is sent the wrong way and that turns out to be the final action of the match. 3-1 was a bit hard to take as Milanda matched what is one of the best teams in the league for long spells and it took a dubious goal to let them back in it but they can take heart from a gritty performance.

 

MOM: One of those games where every player pout in a lot of effort but none really stood out. defence again were solid and the midfield and forwards worked their socks off. I think though for his 2 outstanding saves this week Fawns can take this week's honour.

 

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League - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 1 Glasgow Athletic 1 (HT (1-0)

 

Scorers - Reid

 

Team awns, Wilkie, S Preston, McGowan, Reid (Walker), Addison (Dullaghan), Early, Coyle, Wilson (Murray), Evans, M Johnstone. Subs not used: Grant, McColgan.

 

LIFE in the First Division for AC Milanda is starting to resemble the script of Groundhog Day. Like most of the recent games, this one saw Milanda have at least their fair share of possession but fail to kill off the opposition when the opportunity was there to do so.

That said, Glasgow Athletic also had their moments and will probably feel they too could have won the game. In the circumstances, then, you would probably think the draw was fair but the Milanda players left the field feeling that even though they had been playing one of the better sides in the division one point could have been three.

 

Milanda certainly edged the first half. They had the ball in the net early on when Mark Reid’s cross was headed home by Jim McGowan but referee George Dunbar ruled that the ball had gone out of play before the ball was delivered.

 

However, the home side did get the ball in the net legitimately after 18 minutes. Defensive hesitation on the part of Athletic let in Martin Coyle and Reid. Coyle wisely left the ball to Reid and he struck a fierce shot across the keeper and into the far corner of the net.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between throughout the match but in the run-up to half-time Andy Wilson was unlucky with a well-struck free-kick that the keeper did well to touch on to the bar and over.

 

Milanda might have been 2-0 ahead at the start of the second half. The initial chance fell to Gerry Evans but the ball wouldn’t quite roll for him to get a shot away so he laid it back for strike partner Martin Johnstone who slashed his effort wide.

 

Athletic came more into the match after that and with their pace up front were always dangerous. However, their equaliser came from a ball to the back post that was poorly defended and one of their strikers pounced to bury a shot into the corner of the net.

The best of any late chances fell to Milanda. Substitute Hugh Dullaghan headed over from close range and then Evans got on the end of a perfect cross from another substitute, Mark Walker, but went for a spectacular finish and missed the target when he had time to control the ball and pick his spot.

 

MOM: Craig Fawns again looked secure in goal and had a couple of decent saves. John Wilkie, Jim McGowan and Scott Preston also coped pretty well at the back. Martin Johnstone was again out of luck in front of goal but worked tremendously hard all over the pitch. However, the man of the match award goes to Thomas Addison for his performance as a defensive midfielder. Some of his decision making can still be suspect but he provided drive and energy in a vital area.

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League - KGV

 

Glasgow Islay 3 AC Milanda 3 (HT (3-1)

 

Scorers - Johnstone, Crawford, Wilson (Pen)

 

Team Fawns, Grant, S Preston (Binnie), Crawford, Wilson, Walker (Evans)Addison McColgan, Coyle, Murray, M Johnstone.

 

After a disasterous first 20 mins Milanda fought back to gain a deserved draw and might feel a little unlucky they never took all 3 points.

 

Islay strike the first blow on 5 mins after a throw in for Milanda was cleared upfield out of the Islay box. The islay number 9 took a look up and the ball bounced perfectly for him to attempt to lob Fanws who had stepped a couple of yards off his line. With the wind at his back the ball hung in the air just a bit longer than expected and all fawns could do was help the ball into the net.

 

Milanda replied with a McColgan effort from the edge of the box afer some goo work by Johnstone and Addison. milanda enjoyed a good spell of pressure and Johnston's turn gave him a chance to hit the byeline but there was no one in the box to recieve his cut back.

 

Just as Milanda were getting on top they found themselves 2 down. Poor marking at a corner and a near post header gave fawns no chance. A few mins later and it was lucky it wasn't 3 when the Islay number 9 found himself all alone in the Milanda box but failed to hit the target. It only delayed the third though as break through the middle of the park saw the Milanda defence part and a calm finsh looked to have put islay in easy street.

 

At tis stage Milanda were all over the place and 2nd to every ball and it looked like damage limitation might be in order but on the half hour mark Milanda got back into the game. Murray plays an inch perfect pass into Johnstone and he shoots across the keeper into the far corner to end his recent goal drought. Milanda finish the half the stronger side with a great deep cross from Wilson going begging and Johnstone hits the top of the bar.

 

The first 20 mins of the 2nd half were notable for nothing happenning. A couple of corners were all that was worth mentioning. Milanda boss McMillan decided to change things and put on Evans for Walker and he was only on a few mins when Milanda were right back in it. A corner from the right found Crawford in space and he powered home a header to make it 3-2. Five mins later and Milanda were level. A throw in to the edge of the box bounced up sharply and hit the Islay player on the hand. The referee pointed to the spot. A little harsh on the Islay player as he was unsighted when the ball was delivered but Wilson stepped up and planted the kick into the bottom right hand corner and it was all square.

 

At this point only one team were going to win and Milanda pressed Islay for a the winner but an Evans shot was blocked on the 6 yard line and Coyle headed over from the resultant corner. Then the bizarre moment of the game. A ball was cleared out of the Milanda defence and Murray dispossessed the Islay full back to leave him one on one with the keeper. Meanwhile at the other end a bit of afters was taking place and the ref blew his whislte as Murray was about to score the winner and hauled the play back and gave a free kick to Milanda. Complete bafflement on the Milanda bench and players.

 

Despite having much more of the ball in the latter stages Milanda couldn't find a winner after this strange moment and what seemed at one stage unlikley a hard fought draw was the result of Milanda's efforts.

 

MOTM - Took a while to recover from a dreadful first 20 mins but one player never stopped working and was given a hard shift up front on his own. Johnstone's goal got Milanda back into the game and was good to see him back on the scoresheet.

 

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League - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 2 Hillhead 1 (HT (1-1)

 

Scorers - M.Johnstone (2)

 

Team Fawns, Wilkie, Early, Addison, Reid, Coyle (Scott), Russell, Binnie (Dullaghan), Wilson, Evans (Walker), M Johnstone. Subs not used: Grant, Murray.

 

MARTIN JOHNSTONE scored both goals as Milanda took full points from a hard-fought match. Last season’s top scorer had the home side ahead but Hillhead fought back to level and it looked as if another draw was going to be the outcome until Johnstone struck again with just a couple of minutes left.

 

Milanda enjoyed the bulk of the play but a mixture of good goalkeeping and missed chances meant that the three points weren’t in the bag until referee James Carberry blew the final whistle.

 

The Hillhead keeper had a couple of excellent saves, notably a tip-over from a fierce Mark Reid drive, before Milanda went ahead from a set-piece after 25 minutes. Andy Wilson sent over an excellent corner from the right and Johnstone got in front of his marker to head powerfully home at the near post.

 

But the lead lasted a mere 13 minutes. Milanda were actually looking threatening inside the visitors’ when a back-heel by Martin Coyle found no team-mate, allowing Hillhead to show their ability to counter-attack at pace. The ball was quickly played down the right and then into the Milanda box where keeper Craig Fawns managed to stick out a foot to save the first shot before being beaten by the second

 

A minute later Milanda could have scored again. Gerry Evans, who suffered from a couple of incorrect offside decisions, burst through the middle but saw his shot saved by the keeper who had raced out to narrow the angle.

 

The second half was much the same story as the first with Milanda making more chances but failing to capitalise Coyle came close twice with headers from another Wilson corner and a Johnstone cross and, sandwiched between those efforts, Evans missed a glorious opportunity from close range after being set up by Johnstone.

 

But Milanda kept plugging away and got their reward in the 88th minute when Mark Russell played Johnstone through a square Hillhead defence and he calmly shot past the keeper.

All in all a good team performance, especially with so many recognised central defenders out through injury or other commitments.

 

MOM: No failures in any department but fit-again Mark Russell and Jim Binnie got through a lot of hard graft in midfield and Andy Wilson again produced some fantastic passes and crosses. But on the grounds that you don’t win games unless you stick the ball in the net, the MOM award goes to Martin Johnstone.

 

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GDSML Cup - Firhill

 

Kilpatrick Thislte 3 AC Milanda 2 (HT (2-1)

 

Scorers - Reid, Preston

 

Team Fawns, Grant (Preston), Dullaghan, Crawford, Scott, Wilkie Addison, Russell, Binnie, Coyle, Reid. Subs not used: Early, O’Neill

 

MILANDA got their cup-tie played on Astroturf at the third time of asking and gave the form team of the First Division a run for their money before bowing out of the GDSML Cup.

Despite being 2-0 down early on and 3-1 behind in the second half, a team minus at least four regular starters fought right to the end and might have forced penalty kicks with a little more luck.

 

A slick-moving Kilpatrick deserved to win because they created more chances over the piece but their players came off at the end knowing they had been in a game and that is all anyone can ask. It looked as if Kilpatrick were going to have the kind of runaway win they have enjoyed against a number of league sides when they raced into a 2-0 lead after just 12 minutes.

Their first goal came after Milanda gave away possession in midfield. The ball was moved quickly down the left and their No.9 scored with an excellent shot that went across keeper Craig Fawns and nestled in the corner of the net.

 

Their second came from a counter-attack following a Milanda corner and once again the sheer pace of the move and quality of finish was to be admired. To their credit, Milanda didn’t throw in the towel and got back in the game in the 25th minute. A poor kick-out by the Kilpatrick keeper saw Martin Coyle head the ball forward and Mark Reid pounced to lob the ball expertly over the advancing No.1.

 

Milanda kept pushing forward in the second half in search of an equaliser and Reid was out of luck when his shot was parried by the keeper and there was no team-mate to take advantage of the loose ball.

 

But Kilpatrick were still a threat and went further ahead when a good ball behind the Milanda defence saw their No.11 shoot past Fawns from close range.

Again Milanda responded and immediately pulled a goal back. This time Reid was the provider with an accurate corner that substitute Scott Preston headed powerfully into the net.

 

From then until full-time the bulk of the play was in and around the Kilpatrick goal. As frustration affected both sets of players – Kilpatrick because they hadn’t killed the game, Milanda because they couldn’t get back on terms – there were one or two niggly incidents but referee Dan Boyle sorted them out without having to produce any cards. Milanda came close on a couple of occasions to getting the goal that would forced a shoot-out but, sadly, not close enough.

 

Still, it was an excellent team effort and the players can be proud of their performance against a very good Kilpatrick side.

 

MOM: After a sluggish start, every Milanda player came on to a game. Shug Dullaghan caught the eye with some timely interventions at the back and looked more like his old self rather than Rino Gattuso on acid. Craig Fawns looked solid at the back and produced an excellent same early on when Kilpatrick were threatening to run riot. Andy Scott, too, did well in his first full game in a while following injury problems. Coyle and Reid up front probably worked as hard as anyone and Reid just edges the man of the match award for his goal and an assist.

 

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League - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 5 Invac 3 (HT (1-2)

 

Scorers - Preston, Evans, Coyle (3)

 

Team Fawns, Wilkie, Preston, Crawford, Evans,Addison, McColgan (Grant), Coyle, Murray(Scott) , M Johnstone, Reid

 

A tough encounter that a Coyle hat-trick finally turned the game in Milanda's favour against the 10 men of Invac.

 

Invac have always been a dificult team for Milanda to beat and despite only being able to field 10, players made Milanda fight all the way to the final whislte for their three points and deserve a lot of credit for the way they played.

 

Milanda were first to threaten when Reid and Johnstone combined down the left and MJ's cross was just picked out by the Invac keeper as McColgan challenged. The keeper wasn't happy at the attention he got from McColgan but the ball was there to be won.

 

The play swept up the other end and Fawns made an an excellent stop and was grateful to see Wilkie block the rebound. A few mins later Johnstone fired over from 12 yards after good work from Evans and Coyle let Evans get in a cross from the right. It was then Coyle's turn to have a shot on goal when he neatly slipped by his man and midfield and he watched his shot sail just over the bar from 25 yards.

 

Invac meanwhile were conserving energy and not committing too many men forward in case they were caught out by the extra man. Johnstone again was set up by Evans but couldn't keep his volley down. The tables were turned when it was johnstone who sent over a deep cross that Evans controlled on his chest before seeing his shot smothered by the keeper. Despite the pressure Invac had made a few forays up the park and it was from one of these that they took the lead. A long ball caught Preston in two minds and his indecision was punished when the Invac forward made himself an angle in the box and found the net via the inside of the post.

 

Milanda responded and a quick interplay of passes between Reid and Johnstone on the edge of the box presented Reid with a chance to shoot but he was leaning back too far and his shot doesn't trouble the keeper.

 

With a couple of mins of the half left Invac double their lead. A ball on the left is sent into the box and after a neat turn the forward sends a right foot shot across Fawns into the net. Things weren't going according to plan for Milanda. Milanda's response is immediate and Preston curls home a right foot shot after the ball breaks loose after a corner.

 

Milanda have a great chance to equalise in the first min of the 2nd half when Reid pressures the centre half into a mistake and leaves Johnstone with a chance but he pulss his shot wide of the left hand post.

 

10 mins into the half though and Milanda do equalise. A Murray corner seems an easy catch for the Invac keeper but he drops the ball on the goaline and Coyle uses his knee to force the ball over the line. Being on level terms didn't last long though. In one of Invac's rare attacks they break down the right and the resultant cross is diverted into the net by the in rushing players chest.

 

Back to the drawing board for Milanda and Evans smacks one off the bar and as it looks to be going out for a bye kick McColgan acrobatically keeps it in play for Murray to cross but the invac defence manange to clear it. A min later Coyle breaks into the box but has his shot well blocked by the keeper as Milanda turn up the heat. The pressure finally tells and Evans is set up in the box by Coyle and his left foot shot catches the keeper wrong footed and it's all sqaure again.

 

This time Milanda don't let the game slip and take the lead for the first time in the match with the goal of the game. Coyle slips his man on the left hand edge of the box and unleashes an unstoppable shot the flies into the net leaving the keeper no chance.

 

Invac should be down and out at this point but waste a great chance to level the scores when a fortunate first touch wrong foots the entire Milanda defence but they get back in time to defelect the shot for a corner.

 

Reid then has a chance to seal the points but can't keep his shot down. Then a Coyle pass into Johnstone gives him a chance to shoot but he watches as the ball comes back off the post. Addison decides to get in on the act and makes a great run down the left leaving Invac palyers trailing in his wake but he runs out of steam as the keeper closes him down.

 

As the clock ticks down Mialnda look to have the 3 points and in the 90th min they do finall seal it when Johnstone roles the ball into Coylkes path and he steers the ball into an empty net to seal his hat-trick.

 

There was still time for the miss of the season though when Coyle is clear in on goal in injury time. he rounds the keeper and has the goal at his mercy but decides to hit it off the post. Much hilarity on the touchline.

 

That is the final action of the game and the points are finally safe after a spirited performance from 10 man Invac.

 

MOTM - No contest this week. Coyle had a great game and was superb in the 2nd half and bagged a well deserved hat-trick. Should have been four but that miss was worth it for the comedy value. Special mention to Scott Preston who played well in the first half and made a few important interceptions.

 

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League - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 2 Renfrew 1 (HT (2-1)

 

Scorers - Evans, Coyle

 

Team Fawns, Wilkie, Preston(Williamson), O'Neill, Reid, Addison, McColgan (Scott), Coyle, Binnie, M Johnstone (Grant),Evans

 

Been a long time coming but Milanda finally got to kick a ball in anger in 2008. All things considered the Stepford pitch was in almost perfect condition for the league encounter.

 

Renfrew town have managed to play one game already this year and that possibly gave them the early edge as Milanda struggled to shake off the cobwebs. Renfrew put Milanda under pressure but the defence held firm and when it was breached Fawns showed a safe pair of hands. Milanda looked to have weathered the early pressure and were beginning to show signs of life when they fell behind to freak goal. A shot from the edge of the box spun off O'Neill and gave Fawns no chance as everyone stood watching as it curled its way into the back of the net.

 

It did finally kick start Milanda out of their slumber and they were level soon after when a Coyle run down the right took him to the byeline and his cutback reached Evans on the edge of the box and he finished off the move with a great strike into the top corner from 18 yards.

 

The game then hit a dull spot where both teams cancelled each other out and created very little in the way of real chances until Johnstone found himself one on one with the keeper as he tracked in from the left after a neat slip by Evans put him in. With the keeper closing down his angle he could have looked for a player inside but decided to go on his own and the keeper saved and it was cleared to safety.

 

Looked as if it was going to be all square at half time until Coyle intervened. A free kick was launched into the box and was knocked out to the edge of the box where Coyle hit a perfecyly controlled volley into the top right hand corner. Another peach to go along with Evans earlier effort and it saw Milanda lead at half time.

 

The 2nd half was a fairly evenly contested affair with little end product. Milanda forced a few corners that didn't come to anything and Evans saw a header hit the top of the bar. At the other end Renfrew made strong claims for a penalty when their winger went down under a challenge in the box but the ref waved it away. Milanda made a number of substituitions with Williamson making his first appearance since being injured in September replacing Preston, Scott coming on for McColgan and Grant getting a run out for Johnstone.

 

Given the length of time since the team has played and with Renfrew always giving us a hard game Milanda can be pleased with a result. that keeps them in the top 4.

 

MOTM - Good performances all over the pitch. Evans up front scored a great goal and was tireless in his running, Addison got stuck in in the middle of the park before getting stuck in at centre half, Fawns again showed a safe pair of hands when required but after making one and scoring one i suppose we better give it to Coyle. Started where he finished off last year and hopefully he can keep his form over the coming months. I also don't think he moaned at anyone.

 

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Vince McGlinchey - Moredun

 

Ferguslie 1 AC Milanda 5 (HT (1-1)

 

Scorers - Crawford (2), Coyle, Johnstone, Murray

 

Team Fawns, Wilkie, Crawford, O'Neill(McGowan), Reid(Russell), Early, McColgan, Coyle, Murray(Wilson), M Johnstone ,Evans: Unused Subs Williamson, Addison

 

Milanda eased themselves into the Vince McGlinchey Trophy Semi finals with a hard fought victory over a determined Ferguslie. The 5-1 scoreline may imply it was an easy victory but it was anything but.

 

Milanda started the brightest without really testing the Ferguslie keeper. Crawford had a dipping volley from 25 yardsthat just didn't come down in time. Johnstone had time and space on the edge of the box benefiting from a defender's indecision but could only pull his shot wide.

 

Like last week though Milanda fell behind and it was poor defending to blame. A poorly defended corner was flicked on at the front post and then headed back across goal leaving an easy header from 6 yards to give Ferguslie the lead.

 

Milanda pressed for an equaliser and Murray' had a free kick well saved before a succession of throw ins provided Coyle with a great chance to equalise but he somehow managed to head over from 6 yards.

 

O'Neill (playing his 2nd game since May) then looked to have scored the equaliser when his header looked to have hit the net but was cleared off the line and the ref waved play on. Milanda claimed a goal but it wasn't to be. It only delayed the goal by a few seconds as the resultant corner saw Crawford head home Murray's cross to give Milanda a deserved equaliser.

 

Milanda still had time to reach the interval in front but first Coyle was denied by the keeper and Evans follow up was blocked by a defender. So Milanda finished the half level.

 

Milanda started the 2nd the way they finished the first and kept the pressure on Ferguslie. Evans had a header saved on the line before a quick passing move between him and Coyle left Early in space on the angle of the box but his shot failed to make the keeper work too hard. The breakthrough finally did arrive after a long throw from murray was headed against the bar by Crawford but it fell perfectly for Coyle to volley home is 5th goal in 3 games. Thought I'd add that in as it might be one of the quiz questions next week.

 

Then disaster struck for Ferguslie. A good run by Evans lets Johnstone in but his shot is saved. The keeper then decides to throw the ball out but the defender is quickly closed down by Coyle and the defender knocks it back to his already under pressure keeper and he makes a mess of his kick leaving Johnstone with the easiest goal he'll ever score.

 

It was game over at this point and Milanda began to turn on the style with a move between Evans and Early leaving Murray with a chance to score with his right foot which he duly did

 

The scoring wasn't over and with 3 mins left Crawford got his 2nd volleying home from close range with his knee and then proceeded to do a lap of honour.

 

Final score was a bit harsh on Fergiuslie who competed well up until the 3rd goal. Milanda again a little slow into their stride but more than made up for it with an excellent 2nd half display

 

MOTM - Like last week a number of strong contenders for this week's MOTM. Wilkie had a solid game, Coyle again was dangerous and Early was his usual solid self and Evans upfront again worked tirelessly but this week's award goes to two goal hero Crawford who since deciding not to wear any underwear has been a different player.

 

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League - Coatbridge

 

AFC Columba 3 AC Milanda 0 (HT (3-0)

 

Team Fawns, Wilkie, O'Neill (Grant), McGowan, Reid, Coyle, Early, Addison, Wilson (Scott), Evans, Johnstone

 

MILANDA produced their poorest performance of the season and paid the price with a heavy defeat.

This has never been a particularly happy hunting ground for the team but they should have been glad to be playing at all after another week of horrendous weather.

The pitch was in better than expected condition but the troublesome wind made life difficult for both sets of players.

 

Columba adapted much better and had the points wrapped up by half-time thanks to some good play on their part allied to abysmal defending by Milanda.

Their first goal saw John Wilkie and Jim McGowan leave a simple clearance to each other, allowing ex-Milanda player Mark Walker to nip and shoot past Craig Fawns.

Columba's second came from a long ball down the left and a cross into the middle that was converted far too easily by one of the home forwards.

 

A mistake by McGowan then forced him to bring down a Columba attacker for the penalty that produced their third goal. The young defender reacted badly to the award and gave his opponent some verbals. Fortunately for him, experienced referee Mike Caldwell took his frustration into account and showed just a yellow card.

 

Milanda had only two real chances in the first half, one from a poor passback and the other after the Columba keeper had pushed out an Andy Wilson free-kick, but both times Martin Johnstone failed to hit the target.

 

Milanda had more of the play in the second half thanks to the wind at their backs but Columba were still a threat on the break and could easily have added to their lead.

McGowan was thrown forward to make a front three in the hope that his height might trouble the Coatbridge side but their defence and keeper stood firm and never really looked like losing a goal.

 

Substitute Andy Scott fired a shot not too far off target and Johnstone missed with a header at the back post and that was about it in terms of attempts on goal.

 

It was the first time this season Milanda had failed to score and everyone, not just the attacking players, must share the blame. The attitude was wrong, the passing was worse and the team basically got what it deserved.

MOM: There wasn't one.

 

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Vince McGlinchey - Nethercraigs

 

AC Milanda 6 Bellahouston 1 (HT (1-1)

 

Scorers - Wilson (2), Early (2), Crawford, Johnstone

 

Team Fawns, Wilkie, Crawford, O'Neill, Scott, Coyle (Addison), Early, Preston (Grant), Evans (Williamson), M Johnstone.

 

Milanda once again find themselves in a final. A welcome habit that has developed over the last 5 years or so. This time it's the Vince McGlinchey shield Milanda will play for either against Glasgow Islay or Invac. Milanda were deserved winners of the semi final in a game they almost dominated from start to finish.

 

Milanda were straight on the attack from the first whistle and a cross along the edge of the box found Coyle in some space but his first time effort sailed over the bar but it set the tone for the first 45. A few mins later Milanda were unlucky not to take the lead when a corner on the left by Wilson was headed goalward by O'Neill, the Bellahouston keeper was beaten but was grateful to see a man on the post who headed clear.

 

It was then Ross Early's turn to try and make the breakthrough but his header was saved on the line. Milanda were dominating the game but couldn't find the all important breakthrough. Evans found himself clear but knocked the ball to far in front and the keeper cleared up. Milanda then had a flurry of corners with the closest they came to scoring was a near post header from Johnstone that just went the wrong side of the near post.

 

Disaster then struck for Milanda when Bellahouston took an unlikely lead and in bizarre circumstances. A long ball through looked easy enough for the Milanda defence to clear up but Crawford was a little short with his pass back to Fawns and his kick out cannoned off the in rushing attacker and rocketed into the net.

 

Milanda didn't let this knock them out of their stride though and were level 2 mins later. Johnstone managed to emerge with the ball after a couple of tough challenges and his cutback found Wilson 12 yards out and his curling left foot shot found the net via the post.

 

Milanda were in control from this point on and Evans got the break of the ball and homed in on goal but his chip was just too high and sailed over the bar. Then a great save from the Bellahouston denied Milanda the half time lead. A long throw from preston was knocked on by Coyle and Crawford looked certain to score from 5 yards but the Bellahouston keeper somehow blocked the effort and it was cleared. Some might say bad miss but it looked a fantastic save from the Bellahouston keeper.

 

So Milanda somehow found themselves still level at Ht despite dominating the first half.

 

The second half was only a minute old when Milanda did finally get their noses in front. Another Preston throw, another knock on from Coyle and another brilliant save from the keeper this time from an Early header but this time the ball went straight back to Early and with the keeper grounded he had an easy task to head the ball into the net at the 2nd attempt. This seemed to deflate Bellahouston and Milanda were in total control and number three wasn't long in arriving. Coyle was fouled as he burst through midfield and as the Bellahouston defence tried to organise themselves Wilson hit a the free kick round the wall from 25 yards and caught the keeper who was still organising his wall could only watch as it nestled in the bottom corner. It was game over at that point and it was a case of how many as Milanda swarmed over Bellahouston. Johnstone watched his shot from the edge of the box hit the bar before Early claimed his 2nd when scoring from close range to make it 4 -1.

 

Milanda made a number of substitutions but this didn't stop the procession towards Bellahouston's goal. Crawford made up for his earlier error when he headed home a Wilson corner and Johnstone completed the scoring when Milanda broke away after a Bellahouston corner was cleared and Johnstone ran from his own half unimpeded until he rounded the goalie and knocked the ball into an empty net.

 

With the game over as a contest Milanda started to ease up and Bellahouston, to their credit, kept going and were unlucky to see a shot come back off the bar with Fawns beaten but their fate had been sealed long before then and they were happy to hear the final whistle.

 

A much improved performance from Milanda in a game they never really looked like losing despite going behind. The visit of league leaders Kilpatrick Thistle will be a much tougher proposition but it's always good to have a Cup Final to look forward to.

 

MOTM: A number of contenders this week. The Milanda defence was rarely tested but were up to the task when called upon. Up front the forwards put in their usual hard shift but it was in the middle Milanda excelled with Coyle having another solid game beside Preston and Early who looked back to his old self with two goals but it is the other two goal midfielder who takes this week's prize. Andy Wilson not only scored two excellent goals but delivered a number of dangerous free kicks and corners and takes this week award.

 

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League - West of Scotland Science Park

 

AC Milanda 3 Kilpatrick Thistle 3 (game abandoned after 70 mins) (HT 1-1)

 

Scorers - Early(2), Preston

 

Team Fawns, Addison, S Preston, O'Neill, Scott, Coyle, Binnie, Early, Wilson, Johnstone, Evans. Subs not used: Crawford, Grant, Reid, Murray

 

MILANDA gave a good account of themselves against the league leaders but the game was cut short when referee George Dunbar walked off in protest against alleged abuse he was taking from the sidelines. The match official told Milanda manager Alan McMillan the Kilkpatrick camp had claimed he was handling the game in a dishonest way, so he was going home. McMillan suggested he should carry on with the game and report the guilty party or parties but he was adamant he had had enough. It was a disappointing way to end what had been an entertaining match. What happens now is up to the GDSML but they could order a replay or let the result stand. A lot depends on what the referee puts in his report.

 

For the record, Milanda had the wind at their backs and dominated the first half but found themselves 1-0 down when the dangerous Derek Forbes used his pace to get behind the defence and score on the break.

 

Milanda hit the bar three times in the first half but did eventually get back on terms before the interval. Andy Wilson's corner was knocked on by Martin Johnstone and Ross Early headed home from close range.

 

It was 2-1 to Milanda after 51 minutes. A Wilson free-kick reached the back post where Martin Coiyle smashed the ball low across goal and Scott Preston applied the finishing touch.

 

Kilpatrick were playing much better by now and equalised with a cross-cum-shot from the left wing that swirled past Craig Fawns and into the far corner of the net.

 

Back came Milanda again and good lead-up play by Johnstone and Coyle in the 65th minute helped Gerry Evans reach the byeline and provide the perfect cutback for Early to smash the ball home.

 

But Kilpatrick made it 3-3 almost immediately. The Milanda defence was all over the place as a cross came in from the left, allowing one of their attackers a free header from six yards.

 

It's anyone's guess how this one would have finished but it might easily have been 6-6.

 

MOM: Although the defending was a bit iffy at times, Milanda were up against a very good attacking unit and so it would be wrong to be over critical. Middle to front, the play was excellent and Ross Early edged the man of the match award for his two goals and overall work rate.

 

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League - Nethercraigs

 

AC Milanda 5 Bellahouston 3 (HT 3-1)

 

Scorers -Coyle (2), Early (2), Johnstone

 

Team Fawns, Binnie, Preston, Grant, Wilson, Coyle, Addison (Wilkie), Early, Griffin, Williamson (Johnstone), Reid. Subs not used; Evans, O'Neill, Scott.

 

MILANDA picked up another three league points with a victory that was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests. Three goals ahead inside the first half-hour, the players took their collectrive foot off the gas and allowed the opposition to see a glimmer of hope at 3-2.

However, there never looked any real danger of Bellahouston taking anything from the game.

 

Having won 6-1 against the same team in the Vince McGlinchey Trophy semi-final, Milanda went looking for goals from the word go. The first arrived after 17 minutes when a long throw by John Griffin was headed against the bar by Scott Preston and Martin Coyle reacted quickest to knock in the loose ball. Four minutes later it was 2-0. A quick throw in by Coyle was laid back to him by Williamson as Coyle made for the byeline. His low cross was partially deflected but landed perfectly for Early knock home. Goal; No.3 arrived in the 29th minute. A Griffin throw was knocked on by Preston and when Mark Reid's shot came back off the bar Early pounced to knock in the rebound.

 

So far so good but six minutes from the break Milanda became sloppy and a ball into the box that should have been dealt with by the back four or keeper was headed home, giving Bellahouston a lift for the second half.

 

They got another after 52 minutes when a simple ball through the middle found the central defenders posted missing and Preston had to pull back the Bellahouston striker. Milanda tried to argue the offence was outside the box, although that situation was complicated because the pitch had double markings at that end. However, referee George Dunbar was adamant it was a spot-kick and Fawns was beaten for a second time.

 

Thankfully, this setback awakened Milanda from their slumber and they were soon back buzzing around the Bellahouston goal. Coyle hit the post with a thumping shot after good build-up play involving Reid and substitute Martin Johnstone. But in 69 minutes Milanda scored the goal that gave them a little more breathing space. A Griffin throw was well won in the air by Johnstone and his knock-down was hammered into the net on the volley by Coyle.

 

Johnstone managed to keep up Milanda's assault on the woodwork by hitting the bar while on the ground, Early hit a post from a cross by Preston and then the keeper did brilliantly to keep out a Reid header from Johnstone's delivery. Milanda made it 5-2 when the Bellahouston defence failed to deal with a free-kick from keeper Fawns and Johnstone fired in the loose ball. Bellahouston pulled another goal back near the end to complete the scoring in an entertaining match.

 

MOTM: Early and Coyle impressed with two goals apiece, Griffin was involved in a lot of the supply work and Reid worked hard up front but the award this week goes to Scott Grant who should have been ring rusty but didn't look it as he strolled through the match in defence.

 

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League -West of Scotland Science Park

 

Kilpatrick Thistle 7 AC Milanda 1 (HT 5-1)

 

Scorers - Griffin

 

Team Fawns, Wilkie(Addison), O'Neill, Crawford, Scott(Reid), Coyle, Binnie(Williamson), Early, Griffin, Johnstone, Evans. Subs not used: Grant, Duncan

 

A game to forget about. 3 down after 14 mins. Didn't get much better after that. A Griffin corner that ended in the back of the net was Milanda's only bright spot.

 

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League - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 0 Red Star Ballieston 3 (HT 0-1)

 

Team C.Preston, Binnie(Wilkie), O'Neill, S.Preston,Wilson, Reid, Evans, Early, Griffin Coyle(Williamson), Johnstone.

 

A strong wind meant there was little football played and the ball spent a lot of time in the air or out of the park. The team that adapted best was going to be the winner and unfortunately for Milanda it wasn't them. Milanda did have an early chance when Reid has some space on the edge of the box but his first time shot was well over the bar.

 

Chris Preston, making his first appearance in goals for over two years, had to be sharp to push a lob over the bar as the wind threatened to take it over his head. Preston could do nothing about the opening goal on 11 mins. A simple break down the right caught Milanda exposed and a cross into the box was easily dispatched into the net.

 

Milanda did try to respond and Coyle was put through by Griffin but his first touch let him down and the keeper had time to push the ball away. A few mins later Jim Binnie had to off injured and was replced by John Wilkie. The rest of the first half was mostly played out in the air and midfield as neither side could really get to grips with the wind. Preston did have time to pull off an outstanding point blank save though to keep Milanda in touch

 

Milanda had the wind behind them in the 2nd half but found themselves 2 goals down after only 2 minutes of the restart when a quick break was finsished off from the left hadn edge of the box. Milanda followed this with a double chance of their own when Reid had a chance on the edge of the box but the keeper blocked well and did the same to Early's follow up attempt. Johnstone then had a shot kicked off the line as Milanda's luck deserted them.

 

Red Star delivered the killer third goal when Preston failed to hold a shot and despite it being cleared to the edge of the box the resultant shot managed to find a pathway to the net. Milanda's last effort on goal was a long ball into the box that Evens just failed to get a toe to.

 

Milanda can have few complaints. They didn't take the few chances they were given while Red star did.

 

MOTM: Much huffing and puffing in difficult conditions and no real stand outs. Evans worked his socks off and was unlucky not to core and gets this week's award.

 

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League - Lochend School

 

AC Milanda 2 Ballieston Thistle 5 (HT 1-1)

 

Scorers - Preston, Coyle

 

TeamC Preston, Wilkie (McGowan), Crawford, O'Neill, Scott (Addison), Coyle (Reid), Early, Preston, Griffin, Johnstone, Evans.

 

MILANDA suffered their third league defeat on the trot but the final scoreline is a bit hard on players who gave the title favourites a difficult 90 minutes.

 

Ahead twice in the match, Milanda shot themselves in the foot to let Baillieston equalise both times and they went on to dominate the last 15 minutes and take full points.

But the reaction of their players at the final whistle suggested they knew they had been in a game.

 

Individual mistakes are costing Milanda goals and points at the moment and it's something that must be rectified or all our good work in the early part of the season will have been for nothing. Both sides squandered chances in the opening stages but Milanda got their noses in front after 20 minutes when a long throw by John Griffin was headed home almost on the goal line by midfielder Scott Preston.

 

Bailieston equalised before the break when a wayward back-header by John Wilkie was pounced on by an alert forward and steered into the net. Keeper Chris Preston was grateful to see a Baillieston shot hit a post and bounce into his arms early in the second period.

 

It was a let-off and Milanda made the most of it by going 2-1 up after 57 minutes. Another superb throw by Griffin was knocked on by Scott Preston and Martin Coyle stuck out a leg to divert the ball past the keeper from close range. Midfielder Preston had another header cleared off the line as Milanda continued to pose a huge threat at set-pieces but this time it was Baillieston who took advantage of their good fortune.

 

The ball was cleared out of their box to Dave O'Neill, It should have been a straightforward matter to deliver it back into the danger area but he got himself in a terrible tangle, allowing Baillieston to break upfield and make it 2-2.

 

Milanda went looking for a third goal in an entertaining match but never looked like getting it and Baillieston took advantage to bang in three more of their own.

A disappointing result but the performance by the midfield and front players was excellent and they did not deserve to be on the losing side.

 

MOTM: The work rate of the middle four and front two was tremendous. Andy Scott also deserves a special mention for putting in a good shift for almost the entire 90 minutes despite being knackered and in pain from a couple of knocks. But the award for this game must go to Scott Preston who did all that was asked of him in midfield and was also a threat in the opposition's penalty box.

 

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League - KGV

 

Renfrew Town 1 AC Milanda 4 (HT 0-2)

 

Scorers - Preston, Reid, McGowan (2)

 

Team Fawns, Wilkie, Grant (Williamson), McGowan, Scott, Reid, Preston (O'Neill), Early(Addison), Griffin, Evans, Coyle,

 

Not usually an easy place to come to get a victory for Milanda but this was as comfortable a victory as they've ever had here. Apart from a shakey 5 mins or so when Renfrew pulled a goal back Milanda were in complete control of this game.

 

Milanda were in front as early as the 2nd minute and a cracking goal it was too. A free kick a few yards inside the Renfrew half on the right hand touchline was knocked towards the edge of the penalty box where Early sent a header into the box. Evans could only knock his header out to McGowan on the left. he looked up and saw Preston arriving in the box and his cross was met with a perfectly controlled cusion volley from Preston into the top corner.

 

This settled Milanda down and they played some great attacking football and Renfrew were unable to get into the game and they found themselves two down from another superb goal. A long throw from Griffin was cleared to the edge of the Renfrew box but a sweet Reid volley returned it with interest and the keeper was helpless once again.

 

On 30 mins it should have been 3. An identical build up to the first goal but both Evans and Coyle went for McGowan's cross and the ball came back off the post. Just before Ht Coyle is set free but the keeper is out quickly to deflect his effort for a corner. Then Evans has the final chance of the half when a cross by Griffin picks him out in the box but his first touch puts the ball the wrong side of the post.

 

The second half is 2 mins old when a quick Griffin throw sends Evans away on a mazy run and he avoids a couple of despairing tackles before cutting back to Coyle on the 6 yard line but he doesn't fully connect and his effort rolls wide.

 

This miss seemed to spur Renfrew on and for the first time in the match they put Milanda under real pressure and are rewarded with an easy goal after poor defending sees a huge gap open through the centre of the Milanda defence. The goal rattles Milanda for 5 mins but they settle again and restore their 2 goal advantage when a corner from Griffin is headed home by McGowan. Ten mins later and it's all over. Another corner from Griffin causes confusion in the Renfrew 6 yard box and a few boots try to push the ball home but the final touch is McGowans who gets his 2nd of the match. All that is left is for Fawns to pull off the save of the day when turning a net bound shot away for a corner.

 

An excellent result in what is always a hard fixture for Milanda and good preparation for the upcoming cup final.

 

MOTM: A good team performance but only one man in the frame this week. After 2 goals, one assist and a confident performance at the heart of the Milanda defence this week's MOTM goes to Jim McGowan.

 

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League - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 4 Garnethill Rovers 2 (HT 2-2)

 

Scorers - Evans, Johnstone, Coyle, McGowan

 

Team Fawns, Addison, (Coyle), Crawford, McGowan, Scott(Wilson), Reid, Williamson(McColgan), O'Neill, Griffin, Evans, Johnstone, Sub not used Binnie

 

A depleted Milanda side overcame a spirited performance from the youngsters of Garnethill. Milanda quickly found themselves 2 up. the first coming from the boot of Evans who recived a pass from O'Neill and took it round the defender. He looked as if the ball was slipping away from him but he managed to get a toe to it and the keeper could only watch as it nestled into the net.

 

No 2. was fair;y straightforward. A free kick from reid on the left was delivered into the 6 yard box and Johnstone's was unchallenged as his glancing header made it two.

 

Milanda then decided that they would take the foot off the gas and allowed Garnethill into the game. A break from a Milanda corner ended with an easy finish at the back post then just before HT the game was level when a deflected shot from the edge of the box wrong footed Fawns.

 

The 2nd half was a more even affair with chances at both ends but the deadlock was finally broken by the back of Coyle when, with his back to goal, mamanges to deflect a cross into the net. Goal scorer extrordinaire McGowan got his 3rd in 2 games with a close range header to seal the points and finally kill off Garnethill's challenge.

 

Another good 3 points on the board for Milanda with an under strength team.

 

MOTM: For having had to carry his midfield partner for most of the match before moving back into defence and generally having a solid performance then it has to be Dave O'Neill.

 

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Vince McGlinchey Shield Final

 

McKenna Park

 

AC Milanda 4 Invac 1 (HT (2-1)

 

Scorers - Johnstone (3), Coyle

 

Team Fawns, O'Neill (Wilkie), Preston, McGowan, Wilson(Scott), Reid, Evans, Early, Murray Coyle (Williamson), Johnstone. Unused subs - Grant, Addison. Unavailable for selection, Binnie, Crawford, McColgan, Duncan, Griffin

 

A much easier morning than Milanda would have anticipated pre-match as they won the Vince McGlinchey Trophy in style. The pitch at McKenna Park was in perfect condition as Milanda welcomed back Preston and Early who missed the midweek game though injury.

 

It's always important to start a Cup final well and Milanda made their intentions clear as early as the first minute. A cross from the left saw Johnstone take a fresh air swing before it fell to Reid who saw the keeper force his effort out for a corner. Exactly the positive start Milanda were looking for and it set the tone for the first half. Invac made their first foray up the park on 3 mins when a half chance presented itself in the box but the effort was blazed over. This was to be one of the few chances Invac would create in the whole 90 mins.

 

In 7mins Reid had a similar chance to his first minute effort but the ball wouldn't come down quickly enough and the keeper once again saves his shot. Ross Early is then unlucky when he takes advantage of a mix up in the Invac box but his lob is just too high and hits the wrong side of the bar. Milanda are taking the game to Invac and the pressure finally pays off. A run by Martin Johnstone ends with a cutback to Murray but a defender gets in to clear before it reaches its intended target and goes for a corner. Murray whips in the resultant corner and Johnstone meets the ball to head home at the near post. No more than Milanda deserved for their excellent start.

 

Invac try to get themselves into the game but find the Milanda defence a tough one to crack. A corner to the Milanda back post causes some concern but McGowan gets in a great block to clear. A few moments later Johnstone goes down injured after colliding with team mate McGowan but after treatment he is able to continue. Milanda then go on another sustained bout of pressure on the Invac goal with 4 consecutive corners before a McGowan volley is picked up by the Invac keeper to relieve the pressure.

McGowan takes out an Invac forward and Scott Preston (brave man)

 

Milanda are soon attacking though and superb tackle from Evans breaks up an Invac counter attack and he sets up Johnstone but the linesman puts up his flag for offside. Johnstone then has a chance from a long clearance by Fawns but he's unable to get full contact on it and the ball rolls past. It's then Evans turn to go down after taking a sore one in the face but he also continues after treatment.

 

The traffic is still one way and a free kick from Reid finds Early on the edge of the box but he can't get any real power behind his header and the keeper gathers. The second goal is not long in arriving though. A clearance from Reid is completely missed by an Invac defender and Johnstone anticipates the mistake and picks up the ball on the edge of the box. He still has a lot of work to do but he twists and turns and then places a left foot shot into the corner of the net and Milanda are 2 up.

Johnstone on his way to goal number 2

 

A few mins later a late challenge by Reid sees the first yellow card of what has been a sporting contest. As half time approaches Milanda look for the killer 3rd goal and Johnstone is given a chance to complete a first half hat trick when the keeper drops a corner but his overhead shot is just too high as the Invac keeper looks on helpless.

 

Another long clearance gives Coyle a chance to pressure the Invac defence and the defender has no option but to put the ball out for a corner but the keeper easily picks out the cross.

 

As half time approaches Milanda lose concentration for a split second and it's enough to let Invac back into the game. The defence for the first time fail to clear a ball on the edge of the box and a few ricochets give the Invac forward a chance. A last ditch tackle looks to have saved the day but the ref judges it to be a foul and points to the spot. It seems a harsh decision but the referee has no doubt and Fawns has no chance as Invac get an unlikely lifeline.

 

There is one further chance for Johnstone at the other end when the ball falls kindly for him at the apex of the box but his first time shot is always rising and that's the final action of the first half. A half that should really have seen Milanda out of sight.

 

Half time AC Milanda 2 Invac 1

 

Invac take heart from their goal and start the 2nd half much the better side and put Milanda under pressure or the first time in the match but the Milanda defence cope with what is thrown at them and reduce Invac to long range efforts that do little to trouble Fawns in the Milanda goal.

 

Milanda finally get themselves back into the game when Johnstone lays the ball back into Early's path but he can't keep his shot down. Good work by Coyle gives Evans a chance but although he keeps his shot down it doesn't trouble the keeper.

Coyle prays for another Milanda goal but Evans doesn't answer his prayers

 

Evans does have a more positive influence a few mins later when Milanda restore their two goal lead. A corner from Murray is cleared out but only as far as Evans who returns the ball into the box and a touch from Early lands kindly for Coyle who calmly chests down and chips the advancing keeper. You can almost see the fight disappear from the Invac team as they see the cup slipping away.

 

Thanks to Scott Preston's father in law who took the following shots of Coyle's goal. Needed a wide angled lense to get all of Coyle in. These are done in real time.

Wilson tries a speculative effort from 30 yards that the keeper gets across to hold. Johnstone then goes down with cramp but is able to carry on. Milanda are happy to contain Invac and let them do all the running at this stage of the game feeling the game is over as a real contest. Milanda do force a few corners that come to nothing. Invac make substitutions but they make little difference to the game and it heads to its inevitable conclusion.

 

With 10 mins left Invac are finally put out of their misery. Coyle picks up a loose ball in the Invac half and heads towards the box where Johnstone picks it up and he cooly slots the ball under the Invac keeper for his hat trick and to seal the cup victory for Milanda.

 

McMillan the Milanda boss makes 2 changes with Williamson and Scott coming on for Coyle and Wilson. Invac make a spirited attempt to get on the score sheet but Milanda hold firm with Wilkie replacing O'Neill in the dying moments.

 

The final whistle sees sporting handshakes all round and Coyle presented with his first trophy as Milanda captain.

MOTM: No failures on the park today and as good a team performance as we've had all season but scoring a hat trick in a cup final is special and the award has to go to Martin Johnstone for three well taken goals.

Player ratings

 

Craig Fawns - Had a much quieter morning than I'm sure he expected. A safe pair of hands when needed and had no chance with the penalty. Hope he doesn't drop the rings next week 7/10

 

Dave O'Neill - Formed the right hand side of Milanda's solid rearguard. Had one fresh air moment in the 2nd half but other than that was tenacious in the tackle and let little past him 7/10

 

Scott Preston - With his partner McGowan formed a wall that Invac couldn't penetrate. Was unlucky to give the penalty away but solid in the air and on the ground 8/10

 

Jim McGowan - Didn't get on the scoresheet this week and always seemed to appear at the right time to break up any Invac threat. One great block in first half and an overall solid display from the Shadow 8/10

 

Andy Wilson - Despite not having got over the midweek result he once again used his cultured left foot to initiate many Milanda attacks. Didn't get forward as much as he likes but had one shot that was well held and free kick that just went the wrong side of the post. 7/10

 

Mark Reid - Found himself a bit isolated and didn't see enough of the ball but when he did get it he was dangerous. Had a couple of early chances that didn't quite fall for him. Carried out his defensive duties well his clearance led to Johnstone's 2nd. 7/10

 

Gerry Evans - Outstanding first half and some great tackles and tracking back. Would have been the man of the match if not for Johnstone's hat trick. Second half was a little quieter but superb work rate 9/10

 

Ross Early - Not 100% fit after an ankle injury sustained last week but still won his fair share of midfield battles but wasn't as dangerous in the final 3rd as we've come to expect. 7/10

 

Paul Murray - Quietly effective on the left. Sent in pinpoint corner for opening goal. Long throw was somewhat tamed with the size of the pitch but was always a danger breaking on the left and at corners. Linked up well with the forwards. 7/10

 

Martin Coyle - Had a frustrating first half with a lot of nearly moments. Enjoyed the 2nd half much more and was calmness personified when taking his goal. A major part in the final goal as well and can be pleased with his captain's contribution. Hopefully the first of many trophies he'll collect for Milanda. 7/10

 

Martin Johnstone - What can you say when your centre forward scores 3 goals in a cup final. Tireless running, always available for a pass, ran himself into the ground and then some. 9/10

 

Subs

 

Andy Scott, John Wilkie, Kevin Williamson - Game was all but over when the subs came on but they did their bit for the short time they were on.

 

Alan McMillan - The boss is now making a nice habit of getting Milanda to cup finals and also winning the majority of them. Got his team and tactics spot on and he's got another trophy for the cabinet. Didn't invoke the Donnachie ruling on Coyle and Johnstone which is just as well.

 

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League - Glasgow Green

 

Glasgow Athletic 2 AC Milanda 2 (HT 0-0)

 

Scorers - McGowan, Coyle

 

Team C.Preston, O'Neill, Crawford, McGowan, Wilson, Binnie(Williamson), McColgan, Evans, Griffin(S. Preston), Coyle, Reid, Subs not used Addison, Grant, S.Preston, Duncan

 

First real chance falls for McColgan but the keeper saves his shot. Then Coyle breaks clear down the left and his low cross looks to be landing perfectly for reid but a defender gets the faintest of touches and knocks it away from the boot of Reid.

 

GA make their first real effort on the Milanda goal and a dangerous ball into the six yard box is calmly turned away for a corner by Wilson. A minute later and the best chance of the first half so far falls to Athletic when Preston turns a shot onto the post before it is cleared. Athletic continue to press and Preston makes a good save form a free kick conceded on the edge of the box by Wilson. It remained scoreless at HT.

 

The deadlock was broken soon after half time when a short throw by Griffin was crossed into the box by Wilson and McGowan stuck a leg out to re-direct the ball into the net.

 

GA pressed for an equaliser and found a gap through the middle of the Milanda defence to get back on level terms. Both teams now looked for a winner and it was Milanda who looked to have secured it when a long throw by Griffin was headed on by sub Scott Preston, fellow sub Williamson was unable to get any direction on the ball but headed it straight back across goal where Preston had a 2nd attempt which he aimed towards goal. This time the bar got in the way but it bounced down kindly for Coyle who forced the ball home from 2 yards.

 

Milanda looked to be hanging on to the three points until the final moments when a disputed free kick was given on the edge of the Milanda box. Although the free kick may have been suspect there was no doubting the quality of the finish when a screamer into the top corner left Preston with no chance.

 

A draw a fair result on the night but once again Milanda unable to see the game out to collect 3 points.

 

MOTM: Now so long ago I can't remember so i'm abstaining from this one.

 

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League - Netherpollok

 

AC Milanda 4 Glasgow Islay 0 (HT 3-0)

 

Scorers - Coyle, Williamson, Murray (2)

 

Team C. Preston, S Preston, Crawford, McGowan, Wilkie, Addison, Early, Coyle (Grant), Murray (Wilson), Evans, Williamson (Duncan). Subs not used:Binnie, O’Neill

 

Milanda recorded their biggest ever win over opponents who normally prove tough to beat. An early goal put the home team in the driving seat and they never looked like relinquishing control of the game.

 

Islay, who appear to have lost some of their better players of late, were behind after just six minutes. Gerry Evans broke on the right and sent over a low cross that Martin Coyle was able to control and fire past the keeper. Thomas Addison hit the keeper’s right-hand post with a shot and the Islay No.1 made a brave block at the feet of Evans as Milanda continued to look the more threatening team.

 

Goal No.2 arrived after 31 minutes. A Paul Murray corner was won in the air by Ross Early and his knock-on was stabbed home at the back post by the alert Kevin Williamson.

Williamson had a header from a Murray free-kick touched on to the woodwork by the busy keeper before Milanda increased their lead from the penalty spot. Referee Jim Breckenridge spotted an offence, possibly hand ball, that no one else did and Paul Murray fired home the spot-kick.

 

Five minutes into the second half, the result was put beyond all doubt by another Murray penalty after the keeper had needlessly bundled down Williamson in the box.

A good day’s work by Milanda who always looked comfortable.

 

MOTM: Some excellent performances right through the team. The defence was tight, the midfield worked hard, particularly Addison, and up front Evans grafted as he always does and Williamson showed glimpses of the old magic.

But for two goals and an assist man of the match goes to Murray.

 

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League - Glasgow Green

 

Red Star Ballieston 4 AC Milanda 3 (HT 2-2)

 

Scorers - Evans, Binnie, Coyle

 

Team C. Preston, O'Neill, Crawford, McGowan, Wilson, Binnie, Addison, S.Preston, Griffin, Coyle, Evans,. Subs not used:Williamson, Grant

 

A game Milanda should at the very least got a point from and probably should ahve won. Again a late goal undoes a lot of the prvious good work.

 

Milanda were slow to start and Preston had to save with his feet in the first minute. Then a Coyle knock on from a Griffin throw was just headed past by Binnie. A griifin throw had more success 5 mins later whn this time Scott Prestomn got a touch and Evans was there to knock it home from inside the 6 yard box. Miulanda pressed looking for a 2nd and Griffin saw a shot fly over the bar before a crawford header comes back off the bar.

 

The 2nd goal doesn't arrive with the pressure and Milanda are hit on the counter when a knock on looks suspiciously offside but the ref waves play on and the resultant goal stands. Milanda only take a minute to get back in front as a Preston touch lands perfectly for Binnie to volley home.

 

Red Star press for another equaliser and Wilson has to be sharp to clear off the line and Preston is forced to push away a net bound shot. Pressure is relieved for a short while when Addison tries a lob from 30 yards but it was never worrying the keeper. Red Star pile on the pressure again and this time get their reward with goal number 2.

 

Coyle has a chance to put Milanda infront just before the break but the keeper mananges to claw his effort away and a defender clears it for a corner.

 

Milanda are the better team in the early part of the second half. The TRed star keeper has to be smart to push away a Wilson free kick and then from the corner there is an incredible sequence of headers in and around the Red Star 6 yard box that eventually see the ball coming back off the bar before it is finally cleared. Red Star think they have survived the worst of it but a few mins later Milanda take the lead for the 3rd time. A Griffin free kick is headed onto the bar by Crawford but it falls perfectly for the loitering Coyle who has a simple task of scoring from 4 yards.

 

The question was could Milanda hold ont ot this lead. We had the answer 3 mins later when a complete lack of challenges all over the park allowed a cross to be swung into the box and a free header masde the game all square at 3-3. Milanda boss McMillan not happy about this one.

 

Both teams try to get the winner with Red Star forcing Preston into a number of saves. While at the other end Coyle sees a header cleared off the line. Coyle then squanders the best chance of the 2nd half. After some great work by Evans on the right he breaks clear and cuts it back to Coyle on the edge of the box but Coyle is unable to keep the shot down and it flies over the bar.

 

Milanda were made to pay for this 3 mins from the end when another unchallnged run through the middle allowed a shot on goal and it curled away from preston and into the net. A bit harsh on Milanda but they were punished for not closing down quickly enough.

 

MOTM: He limped, he hobbled but when called into action Chris Preston made some notable saves and takes the MOTM honours.

 

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League - Savings Bank

 

Invac 2 AC Milanda 2 (HT 1-2)

 

Scorers - Evans, Murra

 

Team C.Preston, O'Neill (Wilkie), S Preston, McGowan, Wilson, Binnie, Early, Evans, Murray, Coyle, Johnstone. Sub not used: Grant.

 

In times past a draw against Invac on their huge Cowglen pitch would have been regarded as a good result but on this occasion Milanda should have had all three points. Although the home side took an early lead from the penalty spot, they did more defending than attacking over the 90 minutes and even played out the late part of the match with 10 men following the sending-off of one of their players for a second bookable offence.

 

For all their pressure, though, Milanda lacked a spark to their play. Too many passes went astray, too many chances were lost because the final pass was poor or the wrong decision was made and even an opportunity from the penalty spot was squandered.

Some of the players are beginning to look tired after a testing programme of midweek games but injuries and work commitments have made it difficult to chop and change to any great extent.

 

Milanda certainly made a sluggish start and Invac cashed in by going ahead from the spot in the fifth minute after Jim McGowan had fouled one of their strikers in the penalty box.

But that was cancelled out after 18 minutes when Gerry Evans burst forward from his midfield slot, played a 1-2 with Ross Early and scored from 25 yards with a tremendous low shot that left the keeper helpless.

 

Martin Coyle shot wide, McGowan had an effort off target and Martin Johnstone, back in the team following a virus, saw an overhead kick saved following a long throw by Paul Murray as Milanda kept pressing. Seven minutes before the break, Milanda went 2-1 ahead. A Murray throw was punched out by the keeper but the ball came straight back to the left-sided midfielder and he immediately lashed it into the net. A superb strike and probably his best ever in the red and black.

 

When Coyle was brought down in the box by the big Invac centre-back early in the second half it seemed the ideal opportunity to gain a cushion. Murray, who had scored two penalties the previous Saturday, stepped up again but this time to the keeper dived to his left to save the shot.

 

Milanda continued to waste opporunities and you could almost have scripted an equaliser for Invac. They got it with 15 minutes left from a free-kick that was expertly chipped over the wall and into the top right-hand corner of Chris Preston's net.

 

There was still time to net a winner but the finishing didn't improve. The closest Milanda came was when Evans just failed to get on the end of a cross into the box by Scott Preston and then Murray had a right-foot shot saved when he might have played in Evans or Johnstone.

 

MOTM: Johnstone did a lot of good work around the Invac box despite nbot feeling 100 per cent but the award goes to Evans for another busy shift in the engine room and a super strike for the first goal.

 

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League - Netherpollok

 

AC Milanda 5 Ferguslie 5 (HT 4-3)

 

Scorers - Williamson (2), McGowan, Binnie, Johnstone

 

Team Grant, Addison, O’Neill, McGowan, Binnie (McColgan), Early, Coyle Evans, Murray, Williamson, Johnstone.

 

WITHOUT either of their regular keepers, Milanda struggled and in the end had to be content with a point from this goal feast. Scott Grant volunteered to go between the sticks for the team’s last league game and did well at times despite being given little cover by his defenders.

 

Milanda took too long to realise they would be vulnerable to set-pieces and found themselves 3-1 down at one stage. The performance was not one of the better ones but no one can criticise the battling qualities of the team and, with so many regulars missing, it might be argued a draw wasn’t a bad way to end what has been a much better than expected season.

 

Milanda lost a goal to a header after two minutes but showed their own ability from set-pieces four minutes later when Ferguslie failed to defend a long throw from Paul Murray and skipper for the night Kevin Williamson fired in the loose ball.

 

Another two free headers had Ferguslie 3-1 up before 15 minutes had been played but |Milanda got one back quickly when Martin Coyle knocked on a Murray throw with his head and Jim McGowan appeared like a shadow at the back post to nod home.

 

Martin Johnstone passed up a good chance when his touch failed him at the vital moment, Murray had a shot saved and Ross Early knocked a superb chance wide as Milanda fought hard to get back on terms. Eventually parity was restored on the half-hour when another Murray throw saw Williamson knock the ball in with his head.

 

Two minutes before the break, Milanda were ahead in the match for the first time when a Murray throw was cleared only as far as Binnie who headed powerfully past the keeper.

Milanda had the upper hand for most of the second half but failed to make the most of their possession and paid for that when Ferguslie equalised from a free-kick with 10 minutes left.

 

Back came Milanda again and an accurate free-kick from Thomas Addison found Johnstone in the box and he stabbed the ball into the corner of the net.

Surely Milanda would hold on to their lead for the last few minutes. In fact, they should have increased it when Coyle broke on the left and surged into the box before somehow shooting wide from close range.

 

It was a costly miss because Ferguslie struck again when the defence parted to allow one of their subs to go through and knock the ball past Grant.

 

There was still time for McGowan to have a shot saved and for Williamson to knock a chance for his hat-trick over after good build-up play by Johnstone and Early but there was to be no more scoring.

 

MOTM: Williamson, who is considering whether or not to hang up his boots, showed he can still contribute with two goals, Murray was again an excellent provider of chances with his throws and dead ball deliveries and McGowan was the pick of the defenders. However, once again Milanda relied heavily on the work rate and back-tracking of Gerry Evans in midfield and he wins the man of the match award.