Season 09/10

 

Season 2009-10

 

A disasterous start to the league campaign with 6 defeats but relegation avoided with victory in final game.

Scott 'Scalffer' Grant retires.

New blood arrives in the shape of Colion 'Codger' Kelly, John Clifford and Paul Ross.

Paul also voted Player of the Year

 

Match Reports after stats

 

(Milanda's score always comes first)

Date

Opponent

Comp

Home\Away

Score

Scorers

Aug 22nd

Pursuers

League

H

0 - 1

-

Aug 25th

Invac

William Drummond

A

2 - 0

Evans, Gibson

Aug 29th

Columba

League

A

0 - 4

 

Sept 1st

Hamilton Wanderers

William Drummond

H

2 - 4

Gibson, Johnstone

Sept 5th

Vale Utd

League

H

2 - 3

Coyle, Johnstone

Sept 10th

North Kelvin Utd

William Drummond

A

4 - 0

OG, Coyle (2), Grehan

Sept 12th

Glasgow Islay

League

A

1 - 4

Fawns

Sept 19th

Andrew Watt

League

H

4 - 5

Gibson, Johnstone (2), Traynor

Oct 3rd

Kilpatrick Thistle

League

A

1 - 3

Evans

Oct 10th

Garnethill

League

H

5 - 2

Johnstone (4), Coyle

Oct 17th

Ballieston Thistle

League

A

0 - 2

-

Oct 24th

Columba

GDSML Cup

H

1 - 1

Johnstone - Milanda win 3-1 on pens

Nov 21st

Glasgow Athletic

League

H

1 - 4

Johnstone

Dec 5th

Invac

League

H

0 - 2

-

Dec 12th

Pursuers

League

A

2 - 3

Johnstone, Coyle

Jan 23rd

Caledonian Uni

GDSML Cup

A

3 - 1

Johnstone, Scott, Colvin

Feb 6th

Bellahouston

GDSML Cup 1/4

H

0 - 1

-

Feb 13th

Islay

WM Drummond 1/4

A

1 - 3

Johnstone

Mar 13th

Renfrew Town

League

H

1 - 3

Colvin

Mar 20th

Bishopton

League

A

3 - 1

Johnstone (2), Kelly

Mar 27th

Glasgow Athletic

League

H

1 - 2

Grehan

Apr 3rd

Allander

League

A

5 - 1

Own goal, Johnstone, Kelly (2), Colvin

Apr 10th

Invac

League

A

2 - 3

Murray, Coyle

Apr 17th

Bishopton

League

H

6 - 1

Murray, Coyle (2), Watton, Ross, Johnstone

Apr 24th

Renfrew Town

League

A

1 - 1

Colvin

May 1st

Columba

League

H

1 - 5

Fawns (pen)

May 5th

Islay

League

H

0 - 4

-

May 8th

Vale Utd

League

A

1 - 5

Coyle

May 13th

Ballieston Thistle

League

A

2 - 4

Kelly, Coyle

May 18th

Andrew Watt

League

A

1 - 1

Johnstone

May 22nd

Kilpatrick thistle

League

H

4 - 1

Coyle (2), Ross, OG

May 25th

Allander

League

H

3 - 2

Ross (2), Coyle

May 29th

Garnethill Rovers

League

A

5 - 1

Coyle pen, Kelly 2, Trialist, Russell

Appearances

 

League

William Drummond

GDSML Cup

Total

G. Evans

22 (3)

3 (1)

3

32

M. Coyle

23

3

3

29

C. Fawns

21 (1)

3 (1)

3

25

K. Grehan

20 (1)

4

2 (1)

28

P. Ross

21

3

3

27

M. Johnstone

19

3

3

25

L. Colvin

18 (1)

2

3

24

P. Malone

6 (12)

2 (1)

3

24

S. Preston

13 (3)

4

2

22

C. Preston

15

3

-

18

M. McColgan

10 (4)

1 (1)

1 (1)

18

B. Traynor

9

4

2 (1)

16

J. Clifford

15

-

-

15

M. Russell

12 (1)

1

1

15

A. Scott

8 (4)

-

3

15

S. Grant

3 (6)

2 (2)

(2)

15

T. Addison

6 (4)

2

(1)

13

J. Gibson

4 (3)

2

(2)

11

J. Binnie

5 (1)

1 (2)

1

10

N. Watton

8 (1)

-

-

9

C. Kelly

8

-

-

8

P. Murray

7

-

-

7

D. O'Neill

6

-

-

6

R. McDonald

5

-

-

5

P. Moray

2

-

-

2

J. Wilkie

(1)

-

-

1

M. Walker

1

-

-

1

L. Rotchford

1

-

-

1

D. McGinty

1

-

-

1

S. Neilson

1

-

-

1

P. Newman

1

-

-

1

Trialaist

3

-

-

3

 

Goals

 

League

William Drummond

GDSML Cup

Total

Johnstone

14

2

2

18

Coyle

14

-

-

14

Kelly

6

-

-

6

Colvin

3

-

1

4

Ross

4

-

-

4

Grehan

2

-

-

2

Murray

2

-

-

2

Gibson

-

2

-

2

Fawns

2

-

-

2

Evans

1

1

-

2

Scott

-

-

1

1

Watton

1

-

-

1

Russell

1

-

-

1

Own goal

2

1

-

3

Match Reports

 

League - Netherpollok

 

AC Milanda 0 Pursuersrs 1 (HT 0-0)

 

Team - C. Preston Walker (Grehan) O'Neill (Gibson) S. Preston Scott Fawns Traynor McColgan (Colvin) Russell Johnstone Coyle Subs not used Grant Wilkie

 

MILANDA got their GDSML campaign off to a disappointing start when they lost to one of the promoted teams from the Second Division.

 

Much of the action took place in and around the Pursuers goalmouth but pressure wasn't converted into goals. Milanda's passing and final ball were poor and rarely looked like being good enough to break down a well-drilled and resolute defence. Little was created in open play and Milanda began to rely too heavily on the long throw from Craig Fawns. It's a good weapon to have in your armoury but shouldn't be the only one.

 

Milanda, with new boys John Gibson and Lee Colvin in the squad, started brightly enough and Brian Traynor put a shot over the bar after good play on the right by Martin Johnstone and Martin Coyle. But Pursuers came closer when a free-kick from the right produced a header that came back off the woodwork. They were unlucky again when a mistake by Fawns let them in down the left and only a super save from Chris Preston prevented Milanda going behind. Coyle let an opportunity slop away with a poor first touch before Mark Russell had a shot saved.

 

Milanda simply weren't working the opposition keeper hard enough and they set about trying to rectify the situation at the start of the second half. Preston had a header saved from close range and there were one or two other near misses but it was Pursuers who scored what was to prove the only goal of the game on the hour mark. A break down the right should have been checked but wasn't and the cross was bundled in from close range at the near post.

 

Milanda had half-an-hour to get back in the match but simply couldn't do it, despite having wave after wave of attacking play, the use of three substitutes and a change of system. The team probably didn't deserve to lose but take nothing away from Pursuers who fought hard all morning and were suitably rewarded.

 

Man of the match: On a day when no player could be 100 per cent happy with his contribution, Mark Russell was the pick of the bunch.

 

----------

WM Drummond - Nethercraigs

 

Invac 0 AC Milanda 2 (HT 0-2)

 

Scorers - Evans, Gibson

 

Team - C. Preston Ross O'Neill (Fawns) Colvin Traynor Evans (McColgan) Grehan (Grant) S. Preston Russell Gibson Coyle Subs not used Addison

 

MILANDA bounced back from their opening league defeat to get the better of Invac in the first of three midweek sectional cup-ties. This was an altogether better performance from the one three days earlier. Milanda used the width of the pitch to get a good passing game going, looked more solid at the back and showed more creativity in the final third.

 

New signings Lee Colvin and John Gibson were given their first starts and another newcomer, Paul Ross, was in the team at right-back. Invac, who had comfortably beaten Milanda in both league games last season, were mssing one or two players but still looked a formidable outfit. However, they were on the back foot for much of the first half as Milanda imposed themselves and built what was to prove an unassailable lead.

 

Martin Coyle shot wide after a powerful surge forward just before the first goal arrived in the 21st minute. Dave O'Neill sent midfielder Scott Preston down the right with an excellent pass and his cross to the near post was knocked in by Gerry Evans at the second attempt, The second goal four minutes after that was created down the left. Kevin Grehan burst into the box to have the first chance and when the Invac keeper blocked him, Gibson pounced to fire in the loose ball.

 

With the back four of Ross, Colvin, O'Neill and Brian Traynor looking solid, Invac struggled to get near to Chris Preston.

Milanda should have scored again just before the break. A long throw by Scott Preston was flicked on by Coyle and Evans, rushing in at the back post, just failed to get his head on the ball.

 

The second half was a low-key affair. Invac had more of the play without threatening too often and Milanda passed up opportunities to add to their lead. Coyle blasted a shot over the bar when he should at least have hit the target and saw a later effort parried by the keeper. In addition, Gibson and Preston went close with headers. Traditionally a 2-0 lead would not be considered comfortable by Milanda but this game bucked the trend.

 

MOTM: A good all-round team performance by the starting X1 and the subs, particularly Scott Grant who went on for the last 20 minutes and helped break up a number of Invac attacks. Gibson led the line well in his first 90 minutes for the team and Kevin Grehan caught the eye in midfield until he had to go off with cramp as a result of his failure to attend any pre-season training sessions. Scott Preston was another man of the match contender with a good shift in midfield and later when moved to defence. Paul Ross also impressed on his debut. However, the award this time goes to Lee Colvin for a commanding display at centre-half and a willingness to get forward to supplement the attack.

 

----------

League - Espieside

 

Columba 4 AC Milanda 0 (HT 1-0)

 

Team - C. Preston Grant Colvin S. Preston Traynor McColgan Grehan Fawns Evans Malone Coyle

 

Milanda have still to see a point or a goal in their league campaign after 2 games. A bright start at Espieside was soon forgotten after going behind against the run of play and never recovering from that blow.

 

It had all started brightly for Milanda as they started much the better side. A Coyle shot from the left hand edge of the box brought out a good save from the keeper after 5 mins. A couple of mins later a Fawns throw in caused problems in the Columba box and they were happy to see the ball scrambled away for a corner. The resultant corner presented Grehan with a good chance but his shot was straight at the keeper. On 12 mins Milanda were denied what looked like a clear penalty. Colvin shrugged off the close attention of his marker to get his head to a Fawns corner. As the ball bounced up a Columba defender looked to play the ball with his arm but the ref decided it wasn't a penalty and waved play on. A real let off for Columba.

 

Grehan was desperately unlucky on 15 mins when he stepped inside two defenders and hit a left foot shot from just outside the box but with the keeper beaten the ball hit the underside of the bar before being cleared.

 

Columba had rarely threatened the Milanda goal but took the lead against the run of play on 25 mins. Preston in the Milanda goal was left exposed when a through ball was played to the edge of the box. As he tried to cut out the pass he was beaten by a fraction of a second to the ball and it left the Columba player with an open goal. He took an age to put the ball in the net and Scott Preston looked as if he might just get a goal saving tackle in but it wasn't to be.

 

The ref really would have been as well stopping the game there and then. The goal took the wind out the Milanda sails and they just couldn't re-produce the good play they had showed in the early part of the game. Fawns did manage to get a free kick on target but it didn't trouble the Columba keeper. The same keeper was fortunate just before half time when he came out to clear a pass from Fawns which was just bit long for Coyle but the keeper hit his clearance off the inrushing Coyle but it spun harmlessly away. Milanda did have a flurry of long throws before the break but it all ended with a McColgan shot that went high and wide.

 

Milanda came out in the 2nd half determined to get themselves back into the game but within 6 mins the game was all but over. On 49 mins Evans tried a back heel on the touchline that gave posession back to Columba on the edge of the Milanda area. A low hard cross was delivered into the box and Scott Preston could only watch helplessly as his attempted clearance ended up behind his brother in goal. 2 mins later and it was 3 -0. Milanda picked up a loose ball after a poor Columba free kick but McColgan's forward pass was equally as poor and the Columba keeper launched a long kick out which Colvin looked to have under control but he completely missed his intended header back to Preston and the Columba forward just needed to pick his spot which he duly did.

 

Milanda rallied slightly and a Grant free kick found Grehan in space at the back post but his ball along the 6 yard box was cleared for a corner before any Milanda player could get a touch and steer it into the net. Columba then should have been 4 in front after Preston loses posession on the edge of the box but instead we were treated to the miss of the season so far when the cut back left an open goal but the Columba forward dragged his attempt wide. Milanda's last real chance to get back into the game awere two attempts from Colvin both from Fawns corners. The first was cleared at the near post and the 2nd went over the bar.

 

The scoring was complete on 71 mins when Columba score direct from a corner.

 

Milanda once again left Espieside empty handed. It could have all been so different if Mlanda had been awarded what looked like a definite penalty but overall there can be little complaint about the result. It could have been many more in the 2nd half as Milanda fell out the game completely. Too many players were sucked into the physical side when we should be experienced enough to know just to laugh and walk away and this affected our game and discipline.

 

MOTM - Not many contenders this week. Kevin Grehan had a solid first 20 mins but like the rest of team never recovered after the goal. Mark McColgan had a very quiet first half but was much more involved in the 2nd half without really looking like getting Milanda back into the game and it is Mark who just gets this week' award but I doubt it's one he'll want to remember.

 

----------

WM Drummond - Netherpollok

 

AC Milanda 2 Hamilton Wanderersrs 4 (HT 0-1)

 

Scorers - Gibson, Johnstone

 

Team - C. Preston Ross Grant (O'Neil) S. Preston Traynor Fawns (Malone) Grehan Evans Addison (Binnie) Gibson Johnstone

 

MILANDA'S poor early-season form continued as they were well beaten by Second Division Wanderers. It wasn't Milanda's strongest team that took the field but there were, on paper, enough good players to win the match. Sadly, Netherpollok hasn't any paper pitches. Milanda were out-thought, out-fought and out-passed by an improved Wanderers side who thoroughly deserved their first every victory over us.

 

Milanda were one behind at half-time, Wanderers having scored with a superb shot into the top corner of the net from the edge of the box after 13 minutes, but it could easily have been four. Chris Preston had one excellent save and two other good chances were squandered. In reply, Milanda created a couple of goalmouth scrambles following set-pieces but only one shot at goal, an effort by Kevin Grehan that the keeper touched round the post.

 

When Milanda equalised early in the second period, it looked as if a corner might have been turned. Grehan's through ball was latched on to by John Gibson through the middle and coolly fired into the corner of the net. However, it was a false dawn. Almost immediately Milanda gave away the kind of goal that would have made the worst schoolboy team in the land feel ashamed.

 

A ludicrous attempt to play offside got what it deserved when one of the Wanderers players was released to waltz through an advancing line of red and black shorts and slot the ball past Preston. Twenty minutes from time, a wonder goal made it 3-1. There seemed no danger outside the box on the right but one of the Wanderers swung his boot at the ball and his hook shot looped over Preston and into the top corner.

 

With 70 mins gone Martin Johnstone knocked in a Brian Traynor free-kick from close range to cut the deficit but there was never any chance of salvaging a draw and that was confirmed when seven minutes from the end Wanderers scored their fourth. Scott Preston got his head to a corner but his attempted clearance travelled across goal to the back post where one of the visiting players was waiting unmarked to slam the ball into the net.

 

Milanda will probably have to win their final match, away to North Kelvin United on Tuesday September 8, to have any chance of progressing and on this form that's a big ask.

 

MOTM: Paul Ross did well again at right-back and battled hard to the end despite picking up a knock after all three substitutes had been used.

 

Invac won their game against North Kelvin United 2-1 so all the teams now sit on 3 pts after 2 games.

 

----------

League - Crownpoint

 

AC Milanda 2 Vale Utd 3 (HT 1-2)

 

Scorers - Coyle, Johnstone

 

Team - C. Preston Ross O'Neil (McColgan) S. Preston Colvin Binnie (Malone) Grehan Traynor Coyle Gibson (Evans) Johnstone Subs not used Addison Fawns

 

MILANDA produced their best performance to date in the league and can count themselves unfortunate to have ended up with no points. After opening with two defeats and no goals, it looked as if the team's luck was about to change as they led 1-0 and then came back from 2-1 down to level matters. However, a late goal had Vale United back in the driving seat and they managed to cling on for victory.

 

Just as in the defeat at Columba, Milanda were the better team in the opening stages and were unlucky not to go ahead with shots by Martin Coyle and Martin Johnstone that went narrowly wide and hit a post. John Gibson also fired off target following a run on the right by Paul Ross before Milanda finally found the net in the 18th minute. Brian Traynor was the provider following a good surge from midfield. He slipped the ball wide on the left to Coyle and he cut inside before hammering a wonderful right-foot shot past the helpless keeper.

 

Milanda suffered a blow when Gibson had to be replaced by Gerry Evans after taking en albow in the face that left the youngster with a black eye and blood streaming from his nose. Vale equalised in the 25th minute with a header from a corner and showed their aerial prowess again 12 minutes later in taking a 2-1 lead with another header from a left-wing cross. Just before the break Johnstone created an excellent opportunity with a run on the left but neither Evans nor Coyle could force the ball home.

 

Chris Preston made a good save early in the second period to prevent Vale adding to their advantage but after that scare Milanda had another spell of domination. Evans had a header blocked at the far post from a Johnstone cross and Johnstone was again the supplier for a shot by Coyle that went wide. Scott Preston was also out of luck with a header from Traynor's corner before Milanda cashed in on a mistake by the Vale keeper to square the match in the 67th minute.

Coyle's cross looked an easy catch for the No.1 but he dropped the ball and Johnstone stooped to head home from close range.

 

Milanda were unlucky not to go ahead when Ross had a shot blocked and Traynor miskicked in his attempt to fire in the loose ball. Vale were always a threat on the break and proved it seven minutes from time with a counter-attack down the right. Preston could only palm out the cross and one of the Vale forwards slammed the loose ball into the roof of the net from 12 yards.

 

Jim Binnie had to go off after a bad challenge and Dave O'Neill also made way as Milanda threw on Marc McColgan and Paul Malone in an attempt to salvage something from the match. With a four-man forward line at this stage, the hope was something might fall for the team in the box but sadly it didn’t happen.

 

MOTM: Kevin Grehan and Brian Taylor never stopped working for the team in midfield and the same can be said of Martin Coyle and Martin Johnstone up front. Any of those four would be a worthy winner of the Man of the Match accolade but Coyle just nicks it for a goal and an assist.

 

----------

WM Drummond - Milton Campus

 

North kelvin Utd 0 AC Milanda 4 (HT 0-2)

 

Scorers - Own goal, coyle (2), Grehan

 

Team - Fawns Ross Addison S. Preston (Grant) Traynor McColgan Grehan Evans Malone (Binnie) Johnstone Coyle

 

THIS was a game Milanda had to win to finish in the top two and qualify from their section into the quarter-finals of either the William Drummond Trophy or the consolation tournament, the Vince McGlinchey Trophy. It was a case of job done fairly comfortably in the end, although Second Division North Kelvin United played better than the scoreline suggests on the astro-turf at Milton Campus. They were the more dangerous side early on and could have been a couple of goals ahead before Milanda scored.

 

A re-jigged defence took time to adjust and only excellent goalkeeping by Craig Fawns kept the home side out. A 16th-minute breakthorugh settled Milanda's nerves, although there was a huge slice of luck attached to the opening goal. Paul Malone played in Gerry Evans on the right with the perfect weight of pass but his cross didn't appear to be heading for any team-mate when one of the North Kelvin defenders seemed to panic and knocked it past his own keeper. Seven minutes later, it was 2-0. Martin Johnstone fed Martin Coyle and he drilled a powerful strike into the corner of the net.

 

Kevin Grehan was unlucky not to make it 3-0 with a long-range shot that the keeper touched on to the bar. But still North Kelvin caused problems and it took another fine stop by Fawns to keep Milanda's lead intact until the break.

 

Fawns turned a free-kick round the post early in the second half and that served notice the game wasn't finished as a contest. Milanda had spoken at half-time about the important of getting a third goal and Evans might have notched it from a Coyle cross but headed well over the bar.

 

However, No.3 duly arrived in the 62nd minute. It all started with good play on the right by Coyle and then Johnstone toook it on, skipping past a couple of challenges before slipping in Grehan whose low shot found the corner of the net.

Milanda could relax after that and with 10 minutes to go completed the scoring. Coyle chased a long clearance and got there just before the onrushing keeper to divert the ball towards the unguarded goal. One of the defenders might have cleared on the line but only succeeded in helping the ball into the net. Technically it might have been an own goal but a meeting of the Dubious Goals Committe later awarded it to Coyle. Well, it was that or have to sit through the usual dressing-room tantrums. An objection by Martin Johnstone was duly noted.

 

MOTM: No failures on the night. Scott Preston, Brian Traynor and Thomas Addison gelled well in central defence after a shaky start and Paul Ross and Marc McColgan provided good support. Kevin Grehan and Gerry Evans got through a power of work in midfield while the trio up top, Martin Johnstone, Paul Malone and Martin Coyle never gave NK a minute's peace. Jim Binnie and Scott Grant also played their parts as substitutes. One man stood out, however, and that was Craig Fawns, back between the sticks after starting the season as an outfield player. It's rare for the keeper to win man of the match in a 4-0 win but vital stops at vital times were the foundation for Milanda's success.

 

----------

League KGV

 

Glasgow Islay 4 AC Milanda 1 (HT 2-1)

 

Scorer - Fawns

 

Team - C. Preston Ross Fawns S. Preston Colvin McColgan (Scott) Grehan (Evans) Traynor Malone Johnstone (Grant) Coyle

 

JADED Milanda made it four straight league defeats on the trot to continue one of their worst ever starts to a season. The team played reasonably well in the first half-hour and were actually a goal up. But then the exertions of the William Drummond Trophy match against North Kelvin United less than 48 hours earlier seemed to catch up with the players and what followed can only be described as a collapse.

 

Two games in such a short space of time would tax any team and if you were to choose opponents for the follow-up match it would certainly not be the strong-running Glasgow islay on the massive show park at Renfrew. Still, we can't complain. Islay were the better team and deserved the points.

 

Losing playmaker Kevin Grehan with a hamstring injury before Islay were back on level terms did not help and there was another blow right at the end when skipper Martin Coyle suffered a bad ankle injury after a heavy challenge. Not one of our better days.

 

There was no sign of the traumas to come when Milanda took a 12th-minute lead. Paul Malone was brought down just outside the box and dead-ball specialist Craig Fawns hammered the free-kick low into the corner of the net. Islay had a player booked for diving in the box – not a common sight in the GDSML – before they equalised in 38 minutes with a curling shot from the edge of the area.

 

The covering wasn't too clever at that point and it got worse as Islay carved Milanda open again to score a far too simple second just before the break. Coyle had a shot saved at the start of the second period but it was clear Milanda were toiling and it was no real shock that Islay stuck two more goals away.

 

MOTM: Not a day when anyone stood out.

 

----------

League - Crownpoint

 

AC Milanda 4 Andrew Watt 5 (HT 3-2)

 

Scorers - Gibson, Johnstone (2), Traynor

 

Team - Fawns Binnie O'Neil S. Preston (Wilkie) Colvin McColgan Evans Traynor Coyle Gibson (Grant) Johnstone Subs not used Addison Preston Scott

 

It's just not happening for Milanda at the moment. A lot of effort but ultimately no reward as Milanda couldn't stem the Andrew Watt pressure in the 2nd half.

 

It had all started brightly for Milanda. Coyle created and early chance for Gibson when he cut the ball back to the edge of the box and Gibson should probably have done better than blazing it over the bar. Johnstone then pounced on a short pass back and took possession s the keeper rushed out his goal. His cross to Gibson was a touch too hard and the chance was lost although the keeper followed through on his challenge on Johnstone and the ref could easily have awarded a penalty.

 

Andrew Watt finally got some action in the milanda box when O'Neill was caught out by a bouncing ball allowing the AW player to get a strike on goal but it was far too hurried and Fawns was happy to see it hit the side netting. On the half hour mark milanda went in front in slightly controversial circumstances.

 

Johnstone chased a lost cause and kept the ball in on the halfway line. it was a very close thing but the ref waved play on as AW stopped expecting a throw. O'Neill took the chance to play a ball into Gibson while AW stood about with their hands in the air expecting him to be offside but the ref played on and Gibson slid the ball under the keeper to give milanda the lead. A prime example of play to the whistle. If there was any doubt about the first goal there was none about the second only mins later. A Gibson pass put Johnstone clear on the left and his stunning left foot shot found the top corner with the keeper left helpless. Three minutes later Johnstone should have had his 2nd as Milanda threatened to run riot. A long fawns kick out was knocked on By Coyle and Johnstone was though on the keeper but he was too high with his chip and it was a missed opportunity Milanda were to live to regret.

 

Slack defending and hesitation on the edge of the Milanda box allowed AW to reduce the deficit with low shot into the right hand corner of the Milanda net. Worse was to follow as all Milanda's good work was undone when a wayward shot from the edge of the box looked to be going wide but an AW player had drifted in behind the Milanda defence and re-directed it past Fawns. Possibly an element of off side but the goal stood.

 

Despite the double setback Milanda managed to go in at half time in the lead. A Coyle back heel gave Johnstone a chance to hit the byeline and his cross was volleyed home by Traynor at the back post. It was no more than Milanda deserved after a good first half showing.

 

The early part of the 2nd half didn't produce much goal mouth action. McColgan had a shot from the edge of the box saved, Gibson was sent clear by binnie but the defender got back to avert the danger then a McColgan shot went a bit wayward but landed at Traynor's feet but his effort lacked power and was easily saved by the keeper.

 

Wilkie replaced Preston on 64 mins after he injured a contact lense.

 

With 15 mins to go AW got their equaliser after Milanda lost possession in midfield allowing a break down the right and the cross found its way to the backpost and despite a last ditch McColgan tackle it was 3-3. 5 mins later and AW had the lead for the first time. another breakdown the right saw a low cross stepped over by the first player allowing the 2nd AW player to pick his spot. Milanda players could be forgiven for letting the heads go down at this point but all credit to them they got an equaliser. Coyle looked to be going nowhere on the byeline within the AW box but he somehow got a cross into the near post that caught everyone out except Johnstone who directed his header behind the keeper and that looked as if Milanda would finally get a point on the board. It wasn't to be.

 

Wilkie saved Milanda with a header off the line after an AW corner then Fawns had to be alert to push a header over the bar but it was a rather tame shot from the edge of the box that seemed to catch Fawns wrong footed that gave AW the lead with 2 mins to go. It was very hard on Milanda who had looked to be heading for a deserved point.

 

MOTM: Plenty of effort on show. Traynor did well in the middle of the park and Colvin and Preston were strong at the heart of the defence. Up front Johnstone got two and was a constant menace. Coyle supported from just behind the strikers and looked comfortable in the role. Not much to choose between them but Johnstone just gets the award this week for his two goals although he'll be disappointed it wasn't 3.

 

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League - Glasgow Green

 

Kilpatrick Thistle 3 AC Milanda 1 (HT 1-0)

 

Scorer - Evans

 

Team - Fawns Ross Colvin S. Preston Scott (McColgan) Russell Evans Traynor Grehan Coyle Johnstone Subs not used Addison Grant O'Neill Malone

 

THE dreaded vote of confidence must be on the cards for Alan McMillan after Milanda suffered their sixth straight league defeat. Fortunately for the manager, the club has no chairman to back him publicly after the worst set of results in Milanda's history.

 

It is often said that teams struggling at the foot of a table never get a break but in reality teams make their own luck and no one wants to read another sob story. Milanda have struggled against Kilpatrick even in good times so no eyebrows will be raised at the scoreline. In fact, Milanda have played much worse against them in the past and suffered heavier defeats but the end result is still no points on the board and that can't go on much longer or relegation will become inevitable.

This wasn't Milanda's worst performance of the season by any means. The team gave Kilpatrick a good game and the third goal late on provided a scoreline that could be described as a little harsh.

 

However, the passing must improve. If the ball is given away cheaply, teams will hurt you, especially the younger ones whose passing and movement is always a problem for, shall we say, the more mature Milanda. Decision making is also a big part of football and too often we take the wrong option, shooting when a pass is on or, worse, passing the buck when there is an opportunity to hurt the opposition by getting into their box. That's where penalties are won by the bold and where most of Milanda's goals are scored given that long-ranging shooting is rarely attempted.

 

The first goal was a self-inflicted blow. A sloppy pass by Paul Ross gifted possession to Kilpatrick and they mounted an attack that produced a shot off the bar and a good finish from the rebound. That came after 18 minutes at a time when Milanda were marginally the better side. Mark Russell had seen a shot saved after being played in by a precision Kevin Grehan pass, Martin Coyle had fired wide from a Brian Traynor cross and Coyle had also fired a free-kick against the defensive wall. But putting the ball in the net is what matters. They did it, we didn't.

 

Kilpatrick took a lift from the goal and only a fantstic double save by Craig Fawns stopped them doubling their advantage before the break.

 

Milanda could not be faulted for effort, though, and their start to the second half was good. The equaliser came in the 52nd minute when good play by Grehan saw him fire the ball across from the byeline for Gerry Evans to knock the ball home from point-blank range.

 

Further promising attacks came to nothing and Kilpatrick made it 2-1 in the 65th minute when a clearance by Ross hit team-mate Scott Preston and sat up nicly for the home player to score with an excellent strike into the top corner. Five minutes from time they hit a tiring Milanda team on the counter-attack with another good goal. Coyle almost netted a consolation with a powerful low shot but the keeper tipped it on to the post and behind for a fruitless corner.

 

A late sending-off saw Kilpatrick finish with 10 men but there was not enough time for Milanda to try to take advantage.

 

MOTM: Despite the result, there were some good individual performances, the pick of them by Mark Russell. Just back after an injury lay-off, he gave the team better balance on the left.

 

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League - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 5 Garnethill Rovers 2 (HT 1-0)

 

Scorers - Johnstone (4), Coyle

 

Team - Fawns McColgan Ross S. Preston Binnie Malone (Gibson) Evans Grehan Scott Coyle (Grant) Johnstone Sub not used Preston

 

 

And they said it wouldn’t happen. Milanda proved they could still win league games with a superb performance against Garnethill. After a run of six straight defeats in the GDSML, the return to Stepford brought a change of fortune – despite the fact Milanda had only 12 available outfield players due to call-offs. Team selection options were limited and a couple of players found themselves playing out of position but everyone worked hard, everyone played well and the result was fully deserved.

 

Paul Ross, who normally operates at right-back, was pressed into service in central defence and formed a good double act with Scott Preston. With Marc McColgan and Jim Binnie – despite Garnethill’s jibes about his veteran status - providing brilliant back-up in the full-back slots and Craig Fawns looking solid between the sticks, it was tough for the fast-moving opposition to create clear-cut openings until late in the match when Milanda eased up a little.

 

Paul Malone, Gerry Evans, Kevin Grehan and Andy Scott provided an energetic midfield and the two men up front, Martin Coyle and Martin Johnstone, were just sensational. Coyle scored one goal and helped set up three for Johnstone who provided another master class in the art of finishing. For Christmas we could get Coyle a sweatshirt bearing the logo “Mr Johnstone’s assistant” but he probably wouldn’t wear it.

 

Milanda started the match at a good tempo and created most of the scoring opportunities. Grehan had a header blocked from a McColgan free-kick, Scott came close with a couple of shots and Coyle had an effort touched onto the post and behind by the keeper following good link-up play by Evans and Johnstone.

 

The breakthrough came in the 23rd minute. Garnethill failed to clear a long throw by Preston and Scott had a shot blocked before Johnstone pounced on the loose ball and swivelled to bury it low into the corner of the net. Coyle should have made it 2-0 from a through ball by Malone but the keeper read the attempt to lob him and pulled off a good save.

 

The chat at half-time was about the importance of scoring more goals to provide a cushion against a team that always battles to the final whistle.

 

Five minutes into the second period the players responded with a classic route-one goal. Fawns’ clearance was flicked on by Coyle in the air and Johnstone was on to it in a flash to double his own and the team’s tally. Milanda had an escape when a ball flashed across their six-yard box and there was no Garnethill player to provide the killer touch.Garnethill then contributed to their own downfall with a short passback that was gobbled up by Coyle who slammed the ball well away from the keeper.

 

Three goals up and coasting after an hour but Garnethill were given a lifeline when Ross was judged to have handled in the box. The defender felt he had been pushed into the ball but referee Alex Bickerstaff, who was always well up with play, had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and the kick was duly converted.

 

However, Milanda shrugged off that disappointment with another classic back-to-front goal. Another Fawns clearance, another Coyle flick-on and another cool finish from Johnstone to complete his hat-trick. Four minutes later it was 5-1 and this was the pick of the goals. Coyle looked up from his position on the right and saw Johnstone powering towards the back post. A fantastic diagonal pass found his strike partner and the Garnethill net bulged once more.

 

In the 76th minute Garnethill got it back to 5-2 after over-elaborate play in defence resulted in unnecessary loss of possession. Milanda had taken their foot off the gas and there were a couple of let-offs as their opponents hit a post and Fawns produced a good save.

But there was never any danger of Milanda losing their unbeaten record against Garnethill.

 

MOTM: Martin Johnstone but Martin Coyle wasn’t far behind.

 

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League - Lochend

 

Ballieston Thistle 2 AC Milanda 0 (HT 1-0)

 

Team - Fawns Addison Colvin S. Preston Scott Ross McColgan Evans Russell Malone Johnstone

 

MILANDA'S all-time points tally against Baillieston Thistle remains at zero but this was certainly one of their better performances against the champions. Despite numerous call-offs affecting Milanda's team selection, stand-in skipper Marc McColgan and his team-mates worked tremendously hard and with a bit more luck might just have nicked a point.

 

There was more than a hint of offside about the goal that gave Baillieston their half-time lead and their second just after the interval was down to a combination of quick thinking by Baillieston and one moment of slackness in defence. Milanda made two or three good chances but didn't get the break they needed in front of goal. Added to that, they had what appeared a stonewall penalty claim turned down by referee Martin Keegan. At the end of the day, the outcome was no different to other games against the strongest team in the league but better line-ups – on paper at least – have had heavier beatings so there was no need for the Milanda plyers to feel too down about the performance.

 

Baillieston's opener came after 12 minutes. The scorer seemed to be all on his own in behind the defence but the referee saw nothing amiss and the goal stood. Milanda's frustration over that decision doubled when the official watched Martin Johnstone being brought down in the box as he was about to shoot and did not award a spot-kick. There was more bad luck just before the break when a Paul Ross cross looked set to be headed in at the back post by the unmarked Paul Malone. The ball touched the bar at the last second and wrong-footed Malone who could only knock it wide.

 

Early in the second half, Baillieston made it 2-0 from a quickly-taken free-kick as Milanda were still arranging their defensive wall. It was a hard one to take but Milanda had no one but themselves to blame. Good teams punish any sign of weakness and it's to be hoped nothing like this ever happens again. Despite this second setback, Milanda kept probing for openings. Johnstone went close with a couple of shots as did McColgan with a header and a shot.

 

However, Baillieston were still a threat and Craig Fawns prevented them going three up when he tipped a good shot on to his left-hand post and away to safety.

 

MOTM: With the exception of the events surrounding the second goal, Milanda can feel pleased with this performance. Every player gave 100 per cent but Marc McColgan takes the accolade this week just ahead of Martin Johnstone and Lee Colvin, with special mentions going to Thomas Addison for playing the 90 minutes with rib and knee injuries and Gerry Evans for doing likewise despite having been under the weather earlier in the week.

 

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GDSML Cup - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 1 v 1 Columba (HT 0-1) - Milanda Win 3-1 on Penalties

 

Scorer - Johnstone

 

Team - Fawns Ross Colvin Preston Scott (Grant) Malone (Grehan) Evans McColgan (Traynor) Russell Coyle Johnstone

 

MILANDA had to come out tops in a shootout to progress to the second round of the GDSML Cup. With the teams locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes, they went straight to penalties and Milanda won that battle 3-1 thanks mainly to three superb saves by Craig Fawns. Lee Colvin, Fawns himself and substitute Scott Grant scored Milanda's first three spot-kicks and although fellow sub Kevin Greghan saw his effort saved, Columba then watched as the home No.1 keep out their third kick on the trot and it was all over.

 

Milanda had made a late substitution to ensure that Grant, one of their regular penalty marksmen, was on the field but Columba went one better and switched keepers, sending on veteran defender David Blakely to replace Daniel Kaczmarczyk. Kaczmarczyk was not amused and, bare chested, walked about the pitch for a while protesting to anyone who would listen that he was quite capable of saving penalty kicks before disappearing into the pavilion.

 

There wasn't a lot between the teams over the 90 minutes, although Milanda just had the edge on clear-cut openings and were denied on a couple of occasions by the woodwork. Martin Johnstone had a half-chance early on after the keeper had spilled a Marc McColgan cross but the club's top scorer couldn't gain proper control of the ball to get a shot away.

Gerry Evans came close from an Andy Scott free-kick and then Lee Colvin headed a McColgan corner off target.

 

But it was Columba who got their noses in front when Milanda were caught too square and David McGuire powered through the middle of the defence to steer the ball away from Fawns.

 

Milanda's passing improved in the second period and that provided Martin Coyle with a couple of shooting chances, the first of them being too straight at the keeper and the second finishing narrowly wide. The equaliser duly arrived just after the hour. A free-kick taken by Fawns was head-flicked on by Evans to Johnstone who tucked the ball into the corner of the net past the exposed keeper.

 

That sparked a surge for the winner. Coyle fired powerfully wide from a Johnstone pass and then Grehan hit the keeper's left-hand post with a well-struck free-kick. With time running out, Grehan fired against the post once more and fellow substitute Brian Traynor blasted the loose ball towards the moon. Fortunately, his team-mates – well, most of them – were more accurate from the penalty spot.

 

MOM: Goals win games but saves win shootouts, so the award this week goes to Craig Fawns.

 

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League - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 1 Glasgow Athletic 4 (HT 1-1)

 

Scorer - Johnstone

 

Team - Fawns Binne Ross (O'Neill) Colvin Traynor McColgan (Addison) Evans Grehan Russell (Malone) Coyle Johnstone Subs not used Grant Scott

 

THREE weeks of inactivity did Milanda no favours as they slumped to another league defeat at Stepford. The performance was reasonable for the first half-hour, during which time they were gifted the lead, but Glasgow Athletic began to dominate towards the end of the first half and were far superior for most of the second.

 

The signs were promising early on. Mark Russell volleyed a Gerry Evans cross over early on and Martin Coyle failed to hit the target with two good chances before a mistake in defence allowed Milanda to break the deadlock. One of the Athletic defenders attempted a passback that, to put it kindly, was ambitious and Martin Johnstone pounced to round the stranded keeper and knock the ball home. Johnstone then forced a good save from the keeper following a nice flick by Coyle.

 

But Milanda were making poor use of possession and paid for it in the 32nd minute when Athletic equalised from one of their quick counter-attacks. However, Milanda could still have had their noses in front at the break if Evans had managed to get more power on his header from Johnstone's cross.

 

A double save at the start of the second half denied Milanda the lead. Marc McColgan's free-kick was perfect for Johnstone whose header was parried by the keeper. Evans followed up and looked certain to score but again the Athletic No.1 kept the ball out with a point-blank save.

 

The Athletic No.9 shot their second after 57 minutes when he should have been closed down. If the defending was slack there it was worse eight minutes later. Another counter-attack following a Milanda corner saw Jim Binnie left to cope with Athletic's quickest player and a clumsy challenge resulted in referee George Dunbar producing the inevitable red card for a last-man foul. Athletic went 3-1 up on their 10-man opponents when a header caught out Craig Fawns at his near post.

 

 

The visitors had the game sewn up and could even afford to waste a penalty opportunity following a foul by Lee Colvin. Fawns showed again he has the knack when it comes to spot-kicks by parrying the shot and then watching the rebound being blasted over the bar. It didn't matter, though, because Athletic scored a fourth in the last minute.

A bad day for Milanda who can't afford many more if they want to stay in the division.

 

MOTM: Martin Johnstone worked tirelessly, scored a goal and was head and shoulders above the rest.

 

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League - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 0 Invac 2

 

TEAM: Fawns, Ross, S Preston, Traynor, Scott, Evans (Gibson), Addison, Grehan, McColgan, Johnstone, Coyle. Sub not used: Grant.

 

MILANDA'S miserable run continued with another home defeat.

There was little between the teams for the first hour on a heavy pitch that did not make for silky football.

However, two quick goals were lost from squandered possession midway through the second period and a solid Invac side never looked like letting Milanda back into the game.

In a game of few clear-cut chances, Milanda came close twice in the first half. Scott Preston shot against a post after Thomas Addison had got his head to a Marc McClogan free-kick at the back post, then Brian Traynor saw a free-kick touched round the post by the Invac keeper.

The second half was pretty much a non-event for Milanda in terms of attacking play, with Invac keeping a close check on strikers Martin Coyle and Martin Johnstone and no one from midfield providing much in the way of support.

 

MOM: Defender Scott Preston faced a tough opponent but won his fair share of their battles. Was also unlucky not to score.

 

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League - Stepford

 

Pursuers 3, AC Milanda 2 (Johnstone, Coyle)

 

TEAM: Fawns, S Preston, Grant, Evans, Malone, Ross, Traynor, Scott, Gibson, Johnstone, Coyle. Sub not used: C Preston.

 

A change of formation failed to bring a change in fortune as Milanda lost for the second time this season to Pursuers.

The surroundings were familiar, Greenfield having been Milanda's previous home for a number of years, and so were the problems within the team.

A 3-4-3 formation should have provided opportunities to pressurise the Pursuers back four but passing was poor and movement lacking which meant few clear-cut chances were created.

Admittedly, a few players were missing but none of those who turned out in this one can be faulted for effort. So if we are collectively doing our best and it isn't good enough we have a problem.

Pursuers opened the scoring after 40 minutes but Milanda quickly replied with a route-one goal. Craig Fawns' kick-out was flicked on in the air by Martin Coyle and Martin Johnstone ran on to slam the ball past the keeper.

With Paul Malone working hard in the right-wing back role and Andy Scott doing likewise on the left, Milanda appeared to be holding their own at the start of the second half and there was certainly optimism on the sidelines of a successful conclusion.

Gerry Evans, operating in a new role at sweeper, was providing a bit of security at the back with timely interceptions and promising counter-attacks were being made on the back of some of them.

However, decision making is a big part of the game and too often Milanda went for the wrong option.

A good second-half chance fell to John Gibson when he got behind a square defence but he decided not to go for the one-on-one with the keeper and shot hurriedly off target from 25 yards.

A goal then would have put Milanda 2-1 ahead but instead defensive frailties appeared and Pursuers struck twice to take a 3-1 lead.

Coyle headed home a Brian Traynor corner late on to reduce the deficit but there wasn't enough time to score again.

 

MOM: Gerry Evans adapted well to playing at the back but we could have done with another Gerry Evans further forward.

 

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GDSML Cup - Stepford

 

Caledonian University 1, AC Milanda 3

 

Scorers: Johnstone, Scott, Colvin.

 

TEAM: Fawns, Ross, Colvin, Evans, Traynor, Malone, Grehan, S Preston (Grant), Scott (McColgan), Johnstone, Coyle (Gibson). Subs not used: Addison, C Preston.

 

MILANDA made it through to the quarter-finals of the GDSML Cup with a superb performance against a very good student side.

 

Despite the fact they hadn't played for six weeks, all of the Milanda

players looked in good shape and matched their younger opponents in every department.

 

The loss of a goal inside two minutes might have caused heads to go down after a poor run of results but the opposite was the case. Going 1-0 down seemd to galvanise the team and they fought hard to ensure victory.

 

Second Division Caledonian must have fancied their chances against the team propping up the division above, especially after scoring that early goal.

 

Milanda gave away possession from kick-off, got the ball back and then lost it again, allowing the home team to score from a fairly basic through ball. Craig Fawns stopped the initial shot but the rebound was bundled into the net.

 

Gradually Milanda began to assert some authority and midway through the half they were back on level terms. A long kick-out by Fawns was missed by one of the University centre-backs and Martin Johnstone pounced to run in on goal and knock the ball calmly past the keeper.

 

You often need a lucky break to win a cup-tie and Milanda got it when the Caledonian keeper miskicked a clearance against Andy Scott and the ball bounced into the net. The Milanda midfielder doesn't score too many goals but resisted the temptation to take off his top and run to the fans.

 

A 2-1 scoreline is never comfortable and Milanda spoke at half-time of the importance of getting another goal to provide some breathing space. They didn't have to wait long for it to arrive. Three minutes after the restart, Brain Traynor curled a good corner kick to the back post where Lee Colvin was waiting to power home a header.

 

The students never stopped going forward in an attempt to get back into the game but they were up against a solid rearguard. One shot did get through them after a moment of hesitancy between two defenders but Fawns did brilliantly to dive to his right and touch the ball round the post.

 

Milanda actually made better chances on the counter-attack and Johnstone, skipper Martin Coyle and substitute John Gibson had chances that could have made the tie absolutely safe.

 

Just before the end, Milanda stalwart Scott Grant, recently turned 50,

joined the action and so became only the third player in the club's history to play for the team after surviving five decades on the planet, the others being current manager Alan McMillan and Graeme Hyslop. Congratulations to Scott and everyone else for a job well done.

 

MOM: The award could go to just about any of the 14 who made it on to the pitch because there wasn't a failure. Kevin Grehan was back to something like his best in midfield, as was Paul Ross at right-back, and Martin Johnstone and Martin Coyle kept the students' defence busy throughout but especially impressive was centre-half Lee Colvin who gave nothing away at the back and chipped in with a vital goal so he gets the accolade this week.

 

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GDSML Cup quarter-final - Crownpoint

 

AC Milanda 0, Bellahouston 1.

 

Team - Fawns, Ross, Colvin, Evans, Binnie, Malone (Gibson), Grehan, Traynor, Scott (Addison), Coyle, Johnstone. Sub not used: Grant.

 

MILANDA missed out on an excellent chance to make the last four of theGDSML Cup with a woeful performance.

 

Second Division Bellahouston, a team who had taken four points out of six against Milanda while in the top flight last season, again proved too difficult to overcome. On a heavy pitch that made flowing football difficult, both teams struggled to make any kind of impression.

 

There wasn't a decent chance created at either end in the first half and things improved only marginally after the break.

 

Milanda came close with a couple of headers from Martin Johnstone and Thomas Addison, who had replaced the injured Andy Scott, while Bellahouston hit the underside of the bar from a free-kick and missed another couple of good openings.

 

With extra time looming, Milanda threw on a third striker in the shape of John Gibson to try to grab a goal but Bellahouston were looking stronger and managed to score the winner with a close-range header two minutes from the end.

 

The Milanda defenders had been pretty solid up until that point and outshone the players further forward but in general it was a day to forget for the team.

 

MOM: Jim Binnie. Does exactly what it says on the tin.

 

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William Drummond trophy quarter-final - KGV

 

Glasgow Islay 3, AC Milanda 1

 

Scorer: Johnstone

 

TEAM: C Preston, Grant, Evans, Colvin, Traynor, Fawns, S Preston, Grehan, Malone, Coyle, Johnstone. Sub not used: Scott.

 

MILANDA had the misfortune to create some kind of club record by making it two cup quarter-final exits on the trot. However, the performance in this William Drummond Trophy clash was far superior to the one the previous Saturday when they lost out in the the GDSML Cup against Bellahouston.

 

Milanda gave as good as they got for most of the game and at 1-1 it looked as if the least they would get was a penalty shoot-out. However, a defensive mistake gifted Islay their second goal and they added a third late on when Milanda had the majority of their outfield players up the field trying to equalise for a second time.

 

Despite having just 11 fully fit players, Milanda made a promising start and only a good save from the Islay keeper stopped Martin Johnstone opening the scoring.

 

Johnstone broke clear again and beat the keeper with his next shot but this time the ball bounced back off his right-hand post. Islay created some good openings of their own and Chris Preston showed no signs of rustiness with a couple of excellent saves.

 

However, he was later beaten by a shot from inside the box and Islay held the advantage until half-time.

 

Milanda had an escape early in the second half when a slick move by Islay ended with a shot that beat keeper Preston but was cleared off the line by Lee Colvin.

 

The visitors then got back on level terms in the 55th minute when a long pass from left-back Brian Traynor found Martin Coyle and he showed dogged resistance under pressure from two defenders to lay the ball off for Johnstone who steadied himself before thumping the ball into the net.

 

The turning point came eight minutes later when Scott Grant attempted an over ambitious headed passback and one of the Islay forwards nipped in to nod the ball past the helpless Preston.

 

You could sense the frustration in the Milanda ranks and this was perhaps a factor in Scott Preston being sent off following an altercation with one of the Islay players.

 

With only 10 men it was an uphill battle but Milanda kept battling and Johnstone and Craig Fawns, out of goal and playing in his old midfield role, both came agonisingly close to making it 2-2.

 

But when your luck is out it's really out and Islay made it 3-1 at the death despite the fact the scorer clearly handled the ball before netting.

 

Man of the match: With no subs, the whole team had to work hard for 90 minutes against the always physical Islay. No failures on the day but the front two probably did that little bit more and on this occasion and scorer Martin Johnstone just pips partner Martin Coyle for the award.

 

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League - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 1 (Colvin) Renfrew Town 3

 

TEAM: Fawns, Colvin, Clifford, Evans, Ross, Grehan, Watton, Binnie (Addison), Gibson (McColgan), Johnstone, Coyle. Subs not used: Grant, S Preston, Scott.

 

MILANDA’S woes continued with another home defeat. The men in red and black were the better team for an hour but couldn’t sustain the effort for the final 30 minutes.

 

With the wind at their backs, Milanda forced Renfrew to retreat and took a merited lead after 14 minutes. A Kevin Grehan free-kick was flicked against the keeper’s right-hand post by Martin Johnstone and Lee Colvin was on hand for a tap-in.

 

With two new players in the ranks, John Clifford at the back and Neil Watton in midfield, there was a solid look about the home side and they were unfortunate not to turn around with a bigger advantage.

 

Colvin had a goal disallowed, the referee deciding he had been guilty of pushing as he headed in a Grehan corner at the back post, and Paul Ross suffered the same fate when the match official decided to had kicked the ball out of the keeper’s hands before forcing it into the net.

In addition, Grehan hit a curling corner that struck the keeper’s left-hand post and bounced out to safety.

 

Milanda looked reasonably comfortable at the start of the second period and it took a terrific save by the Renfrew keeper to deny Watton a debut goal with a shot from outside the box.

 

But Renfrew equalised in the 62nd minute from a corner after keeper Craig Fawns had failed to cut out the delivery.

 

Shortly after that, poor marking at a free-kick allowed Renfrew to score again and they added a late third while Milanda were chasing the goal they hoped would secure them a point.

 

So another bad day in terms of the result but there were promising signs for the future if Milanda can cut out the mistakes.

 

MOM: Although the defence conceded three goals, Gerry Evans hardly put a foot wrong

 

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League - Erskine

 

Bishopton Athletic 1 AC Milanda 3 (Johnstone 2, Kelly).

 

TEAM: Fawns, S Preston, Clifford, Evans, Ross, Grehan, Watton, McColgan, Johnstone, Coyle (Malone), Kelly. Subs not used: Grant, C Preston, Scott.

 

Hallelujah! Milanda recorded just their second league win of the season in a hard-fought match at Erskine.

 

It didn't take them off the bottom of the GDSML table but did provide at least a glimmer of hope that there may be better times ahead.

 

New signing Colin Kelly made an instant impact with a goal and an assist and his pace proved particulalry effective in the latter stages of the match when legs on both sides were beginning to tire.

 

The scoreline flatters Milanda a little because there wasn't a great deal between the teams for most of the match but the home team missed a couple of good chances at vital times whereas two-goal Martin Johnstone and Kelly proved clinical in their finishing.

 

The first half was fairly even with Martin Coyle and Johnstone coming close with shots for the visitors and Bishopton wasting a good opening when one of their strikers headed over from close range.

 

After 34 minutes, Milanda went ahead with a goal that had a touch of good fortune about it. The Bishopton keeper managed to hit one of his team-mates with a clearance and that gave possession to Coyle who set up Johnstone for a simple finish.

 

Bishopton had bad luck at the other end before the break when a header from a corner was nodded off the line by Marc McColgan.

 

On the hour mark, Johnstone headed a Neil Watton corner wide as Milanda strived for the second goal that would give them a little morte breathing space.

 

However, the next goal came at the other end when Bishopton levelled matters when a header from a free-kick beat Craig Fawns with the help of a slight deflection.

 

It looked as if that goal might give Bishopton the momentum to go on and win but two goals in the last 10 minutes had Milanda back in command.

 

The first of them came when John Clifford sent Kelly down the left and he skipped past a couple of challenges on his way to the byeline before cutting the ball back for Johnstone to shoot past the keeper from six yards.

 

With the sleep-deprived Coyle tiring, he was replaced by Paul Malone. The substitute made an instant impact, breaking down the right and crossing for Kelly to score with a superb right-foot volley.

 

MOM: Keeper Fawns didn't have one of his busier mornings thanks in the main to his defensive colleagues who looked pretty solid most of the time. The midfielders all worked hard as did the men up front. Johnstone took his two goals well and would have been a strong man-of-the-match contender but for the impact of Kelly who takes the accolade for a sparkling contribution on his debut.

 

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League - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 1 (Grehan) Glasgow Athletic 2

 

TEAM: Fawns, S Preston, Clifford, Evans, Ross, McColgan (Malone), Watton, Grehan, Newman, Johnstone, Kelly. Subs not used: Grant, C Preston, Russell, Scott.

 

 

Another hard luck story as Milanda lost a late goal and the points to stay stuck at the foot of the First Division table.

 

A draw would have been the fairest result but you can't argue with the statistics - Glasgow Athletic took two of their chances and Milanda just one of theirs.

 

There was also a decent penalty claim rejected by referee Gordon Hay but when you have to rely on decisions from match officials you know you're in trouble.

 

The bottom line is Milanda are propping up the division because results haven't been good enough but the effort has been much better in the last three games and continued hard work could yet see the team turn the corner.

 

They certainly started this game well enough. With the wind at their backs, Milanda pushed Glasgow Athletic hard and trialist Paul Newman was just off target with a shot from Kevin Grehan's pass.

 

Grehan then had a drive deflected off target and Martin Johnstone almost scored at the near post from a Newman corner.

 

Colin Kelly's pace was giving the visiting side problems and one good run ended with a shot that the keeper pushed round the post.

 

More enterprising play by Kelly provided an opening for Johnstone whose shot was deflected on to a post.

 

Johnstone could have scored from a Craig Fawns kick-out that had eluded the Athletic defence but, not knowing he had time to turn, rushed his attempt on goal and did not produce the power needed to trouble their keeper.

 

Athletic were dangerous on the break and Fawns produced a terrific save after one of their strikers had somehow popped up behind the defence with time to pick his spot in the net.

 

Milanda took advantage of that escape and went ahead with a long-range shot by Grehan that took a deflection and looped over the helpless keeper.

 

Athletic used the wind advantage to swarm forward after the break and hit the woodwork before equalising with a slick move that cut the Milanda defence open far too easily.

 

Milanda were still getting into the Athletic box regularly without really troubling the keeper.

 

Johnstone screamed for a penalty when he was taken down on the byeline but referee Hay clearly thought he had gone down too easily and waved play on.

 

Milanda seemed to be coping with the Athletic pressure but with three minutes left failed to defend a long throw and one of their forwards fastened on to the loose ball and knocked it past Fawns.

 

Scott Preston headed a long throw from Newman over the bar in the dying seconds and that was as close as Milanda came to taking something from the match.

 

MOM: The whole team worked hard but John Clifford stood out for his cool and assured play at the back.

 

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League - KGV

.

Allander 1, AC Milanda 5 (1 own goal, Johnstone, Kelly 2, Colvin pen)

 

TEAM: C Preston, Clifford, Colvin, Evans, Watton (Malone), McDonald, Grehan (Russell), Kelly (Scott), Murray, Johnstone, Coyle. Subs not used: Addison, Grant.

 

MILANDA produced their best performance of the season to chalk up a deserved win over GDSML Cup finalists Allander on a muddy Bearsden pitch.

 

Referee Alastair Barclay was reluctant to go ahead with the game because of the conditions but was persuaded to at least start proceedings, a decision that paid off for the visitors.

 

Milanda dominated the match apart from a spell at the start of the second period when the score was just 2-1 and Allander looked more than capable of getting back on terms.

 

But the third goal settled Milanda nerves and when Allander later had substitute Lorne Gardner sent off there was no way back for them.

 

Allander were on the back foot almost from the word go and survived a couple of scares before losing a 10th-minute goal. Martin Johnstone sent Colin Kelly down the left and his dangerous cutback from the byeline was knocked into his own net by one of the home defenders.

 

Another 10 minutes and it was 2-0. Paul Murray's corner kick looked wayward but found Martin Coyle at the edge of the box and his volley was nodded over the line by Johnstone.

 

Roddy McDonald and Kevin Grehan came close to adding to the tally before Allander pulled a goal back from a free-kick.

 

Just like Milanda, Allander looked livelier playing up the slope in the opening minutes of the second half but the clearer chances came at the other end keeper Scott Irvine did well to deny Kelly and then beat away a Coyle volley.

 

But the cushion of a third goal arrived after 63 minutes when a perfectly weighted Grehan pass allowed Kelly to power into the box and slip the ball under the Allander No.1.

 

Four minutes later, Kelly tapped in his second after a Johnstone shot had come off the bar.

 

Coyle demanded a penalty when he appeared to have been brought down by the keeper but referee Barclay said no, fuelling another bout of paranoia by the team skipper.

 

But Milanda did win a spot kick when Gardner handled the ball on the line during a goalmouth scramble. As he headed for the pavilion, Lee Colvin stuck away a perfect penalty.

 

That ended the scoring, although Milanda continued to play good football and struck the woodwork again through Johnstone.

 

For the first time in weeks Milanda were comfortable enough to get three sunstitutes on, although Andy Scott almost didn't make it after taking the field without permission, having to go off again and then wait for a break in play before receiving a lecture from the ref. Adda almost choked on his sausage roll (I'm assuming he was eating a sausage roll. I didn't actually see it but he usually has one under that stupid hat).

 

MOM: Plenty of contenders this week, with Gerry Evans, Paul Murray and Martin Johnstone all catching the eye. However, two goals and an assist edged it for Colin Kelly who has brought some much-needed pace and energy to the attack.

 

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League - Stepford

 

Invac 3, AC Milanda 2 (Murray, Coyle)

 

Team: C Preston, Clifford, Grant (Fawns), Evans (Addison), Ross, Watton, Coyle, Russell, Murray, Kelly, Johnstone. Sub not used: Scott.

 

A second-half fightback failed to pay off as Milanda let another three precious survival points slip away.

 

Invac dominated the first half, turning around 2-0 up, and an early goal in the second period had Milanda really up against it.

 

To their credit, the played battled their way into the game and might have snatched a point with a bit of luck.

 

Luck, though, is in short supply when you are in the relegation zone.

As has happened so often this season, Milanda were unable to play the same team two weeks running so there were three changes to the starting line-up that had beaten Allander 5-1.

 

This did the team no favours and a powerful Invac side posed a lot of problems. Their first goal was a basic goalkeeping error by Chris Preston and the second was scored when Milanda were down to 10 men after Gerry Evans had suffered a face knock.

 

Even though Paul Ross had moved back to cover for Evans, a substitution should have been made more quickly and the manager takes responsibility for that.

 

With Thomas Addison on at the back, Milanda made an awful start to the second period by losing another bad goal from a corner.

 

However, it was then that they showed some spirit and reduced the deficit in the 51st minute. Martin Johnstone did the initial spadework and then fed Martin Coyle whose ball into the box was hammered home by Paul Murray.

 

Six minutes later, Johnstone's run produced an opening for Coyle who took on a couple of defenders before lashing a superb shot past the Invac keeper.

With more than half-an-hour left, Milanda could have taken a point but rarely managed to cut Invac open.

 

Johnstone produced a dangerous cutback but there were no takers, then Coyle and Murray hit shots off target.

 

But Invac were still a threat and the Milanda had one or two escapes of their own, notably from a long-range shot that Preston brilliantly tipped over the bar.

 

With games running out, Milanda need points but they will have to start better than they did here and pass the ball better.

 

MOM: Johnstone and Coyle were the top performers, with the skipper just edging the Man of the Match accolade with his wonderful goal.

 

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League - Greenfield.

 

AC Milanda 6 Bishopton Athletic 1

 

Scorers: Murray, Coyle 2, Watton, Ross, Johnstone.

 

TEAM: C Preston, Clifford, Colvin (Malone), Evans, Ross, Watton (Addison), Coyle, Russell (Grant), Murray, Fawns, Johnstone

 

RETURNING to their old Greenfield home brought Milanda good fortune as they chalked up their biggest win of the season.

 

Webmaster Kevin Williamson also turned up to watch with baby son Adam so perhaps the youngster was a lucky mascot.

 

Milanda certainly started much better than they had done in the 3-2 defeat by Invac. A whirlwind opening produced four goals in the first 25 minutes and there was only ever going to be one winner after that.

 

An injury to regular starter Colin Kelly meant the pack had to be shuffled once again and this meant a place up front for Craig Fawns, who has played most of the season in goal.

 

Milanda made a promising beginning with the wind at their backs and came close early on when Martin Johnstone headed a Paul Murray corner wide.

 

The opening goal arrived after five minutes. Fawns' cross from the right was played back across goal by Paul Ross and Murray pounced to fire the ball past a keeper who was clearly dazzled by the midfielder's bright green boots.

 

Ten minutes later it was 2-0. Johnstone beat the Bishopton offside trap and unselfishly squared the ball for Martin Coyle to knock the ball home.

 

The third goal was fortunate but every bit as welcome as the other two, midfielder Neil Watton firing in his first Milanda goal after the Bishopton keeper had made a mess of a kicked clearance.

 

Johnstone missed a good chance when one on one with the keeper before Milanda went four up in the 25th minute. A long throw by fans caused panic in the box and when Johnstone's shot was parried by the keeper, Ross followed up to slam home his first goal for the club.

 

At half-time the talk was of ensuring Bishopton were not allowed a way back into the match and the players took this on board.

Nine minutes into the second period, Milanda strengthened their grip on the match by scoring again. A Murray corner was knocked towards goal by Lee Colvin and Johnstone applied the finishing touch on the line.

 

Milanda took their foot off the gas for a while and Bishopton began to look more of a threat, pulling one back in the 65th minute with a superb shot from just outside the box, hitting the crossbar and forcing Chris Preston into a couple of very good saves.

 

However, Milanda never looked in any real danger and emphasised that by scoring a sixth goal inside the last 15 minutes. Fawns took advantage of some poor defending to play the ball back for Coyle who coolly placed the ball in the roof of the net.

 

MOM: Good all-round team performance from the 14 on duty but Fawns made a big contribution with his clever play up front. Didn't get his name on the scoresheet but helped others with their goals.

 

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League - Mountblow

 

Renfrew Town 1, AC Milanda 1 (Colvin)

 

Team - C Preston, Clifford, Colvin, Evans, Ross, Coyle, Grehan, Addison, Russell (Binnie), Johnstone (Malone), Fawns. Sub not used: Grant.

 

MILANDA picked up a welcome point but the down side was the loss of top scorer Martin Johnstone with a broken nose.

 

The striker is likely to miss the remainder of the season after one of the Renfrew defenders accidentally caught him with his knee in the opening period of the match.

 

As Scott Preston drove the unfortunate Johnstone to hospital, Milanda reshuffled and went on to take the lead when Lee Colvin rose brilliantly to head home a Kevin Grehan corner in the 13th minute.

 

That goal and a superb save from Chris Preston when he tipped a header over the bar were the only real highlights of a dull first half that was watched by former Milanda stalwart Gerry McGinty.

 

Renfrew equalised in the 59th minute with a similar goal to Milanda's, their No.9 powering home a header from a corner.

 

Both teams had a couple of half-chances after this but defences were very much on top and there wasn't much in the way of goalmouth action.

 

MOM: Lee Colvin, John Clifford and Gerry Evans were defensively sound for Milanda and behind them they had a pretty safe pair of hands in Chris Preston who just nicks the man of the match award this week.

 

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League - Greenfield

 

AC Milanda 1 (Fawns pen) AFC Columba 5

 

TEAM: C Preston, Clifford, Ross, Evans, McGinty (Malone), Coyle, Russell, Grehan, Murray, McDonald, Fawns. Subs not used: Binnie, Grant, S Preston, Watton.

 

MILANDA'S battle against relegation doesn't get any easier after the morning from hell at Greenfield.

 

Three goals down after 20 minutes and five behind at half-time, the only positive was a clean sheet in the second half but Columba played two-thirds of that with 10 men following the hand-ball offence that led to Milanda's penalty.

 

Columba were hungrier from the off and overall you have to admit they were far superior throughout the match.

 

Milanda, who fielded trialists Damien McGinty - son of Milanda legend Gerry - and Roddy McDonald had only one effort on target in the first 45 minutes and that was a chip shot from Mark Russell that was cleared off the line.

 

The consolation goal game on the hour. A long throw found its way to substitute Paul Malone and when his header was handled on the line the culprit was sent off and Craig Fawns netted from the spot.

 

Milanda came close on one or two other occasions, notably when Martin Coyle broke clear and smashed a shot against the keeper, but Columba defended well and were never likely to lose their grip on the game.

 

So a disappointing day but as Columba always seem to escape relegation the picture hasn't really changed. It always looked as if Milanda would have two finish above two teams other than the Coatbridge outfit to stay up and that remains the big task.

 

However, that won't be achieved with performances such as this.

 

MOM: There probably shouldn't be such an award after a game as bad as this but Mark Russell deserves recognition for his efforts in midfield.

 

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League - Greenfield

 

AC Milanda 0 Glasgow Islay 4 (HT 0-1)

 

Team - C. Preston Ross (S. Preston) Clifford Evans Colvin Grehan Russell (Scott) Malone (Grant) Rotchford McDonald Coyle

 

Milanda made it nine goals conceded in the space of five days as they suffered their second defeat on the trot at Greenfield. This performance was, if anything, even worse than the one given in the 5-1 defeat by AFC Columba.

 

Trialist Lee Rotchford helped us out up front and looked lively in the first half but was given precious little support.The team is simply not creating enough in the way of chances and so it is almost inevitable that the defence will crack under the strain of trying to hold out for a 0-0 draw, the best result you can hope for if you are not working the opposition keeper.

 

This game turned on the first two goals, one on the stroke of half-time and the other just after the restart. Both could have been avoided but they weren’t and we were fortunate Islay added just two more to their tally.

 

MOTM: Lee Rotchford

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League - Lochend

 

Vale Utd 4 AC Milanda 1 (Coyle)

 

TEAM: C Preston, Clifford, S Preston, Evans (Malone), Watton, Russell (McColgan), Grehan, McDonald, Murray, Coyle, Kelly. Subs not used: Grant, Johnstone, Scott.

 

MILANDA played much better than in their previous two outings but still had nothing to show for their efforts at the final whistle.

 

It was another frustrating 90 minutes for the team propping up the league table. Things turned sour right from the start when a powerful Vale United side scored straight from the kick-off.

 

To their credit, Milanda fought fought back and played some good stuff before losing a second goal.

 

It looked as if the deficit had been halved when the Vale keeper palmed a Paul Murray cross into his net but referee James Carberry ruled it out for what he saw as an unfair challenge on the No.1 by Martin Coyle. It seemed a harsh decision but Milanda couldn’t blame the official when Colin Kelly won a penalty and Neil Watton failed to hit the target with the spot-kick.

 

Vale showed how it should be done when they made it 3-0 from the spot early in the second half after a foul by Scott Preston.

 

Mark Russell came close with a header from a Kevin Grehan cross before Vale added a fourth goal.

 

Milanda’s consolation was an excellent goal. Murray’s cross from the left of the field to the right was fired first time into the box by John Clifford and Coyle volleyed past the helpless keeper.

 

If the disallowed goal had counted and our penalty had gone in, it might have been a closer match but ifs count for nothing at the end of the day.

 

The fact is Vale made fewer mistakes than us and were more clinical in their finishing. That’s why they’ve been title challengers and we’ve been relegation battlers.

 

Still, no one could be faulted for lack of effort and the dressing-room squabbles at the end of the match at least show people still care.

 

MOM: Neil Watton did well at right wing-back and would have been a strong contender for main man but for his penalty miss. So this time the award goes to John Clifford for another assured performance at the back and a willingness to join in the attacking play, culminating in his goal assist.

 

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League - Lochend

 

AC Milanda 2 (Kelly, Coyle), Baillieston Th 4.

 

TEAM: C Preston (Evans), Fawns, Colvin, Clifford, Scott, Ross (Malone), Grehan (Addison), Trialist, Kelly, Coyle, Johnstone. Subs not used: Grant, S Preston.

 

MILANDA gave one of their better performances against the GDSML champions and were unlucky to take nothing from the game.

 

Martin Coyle and his men were twice ahead and missed excellent chances to score more goals but in the end Baillieston showed why they are top of the table by finally powering to victory.

 

For large chunks of the game you would have been hard pushed to pick which team was leading the league and which was propping it up.

 

Milanda reverted to a 4-4-2 formation and looked comfortable from the off. Baillieston had one or two near things around goal but it was Milanda who went ahead after 10 minutes when Colin Kelly used his pace and trickery to get the better of a couple of defenders before firing past the keeper at the second attempt.

 

Ten minutes later the Baillieston keeper prevented his side going further behind when he tipped a Kevin Grehan shot over the bar.

 

Chris Preston did well to keep out a header at the other end before Baillieston pulled level after 34 minutes.

 

But Milanda didn’t let the heads go down and Coyle put them 2-1 ahead with a curling shor from an exquisite through pass by Paul Ross.

 

The Baillieston keeper thwarted Milanda’s trialist midfielder when it seemed certain the score would go to 3-1.

 

Milanda haven’t had much luck this season and disaster befell them again when Baillieston equalised just before the break and keeper Preston had to go off with an injured shoulder. Craig Fawns, who had been playing well at right-back, took the gloves and Gerry Evans went into defence.

 

Two apiece at the break, Milanda could be pleased with their efforts but they failed to take some good chances early in the second period. The closest they came was when Kelly outstripped the defence and lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper only to watch it bounce on top of the bar.

 

Lee Colvin cleared one off the line at the other end before Baillieston took a 3-2 lead in the 70th minute and then added a fourth before the end.

 

MOM: Every player can be pleased with his contribution and it’s not often this season that has been the case. Martin Johnstone, back in the side after injury, worked tremendously hard but was out of luck in front of goal and strike partner Coyle was brighter than of late. The midfield, often outnumbered, also looked solid while the new-look defence, with Andy Scott playing well in his first full game for some weeks, didn’t lose the kind of cheap goals that have blighted this campaign. Tough to choose our best player but once again John Clifford was calm and assured and a great help to those around him so he takes the award.

 

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League - Blantyre

 

Andrew Watt 1, AC Milanda 1 (Johnstone)

 

TEAM: C Preston, Fawns, Clifford, Evans, Murray, Ross, Grehan (Watton), McDonald, Kelly, Johnstone (Malone), Coyle. Subs not used: Addison, Grant, S Preston.

 

MILANDA picked up what would normally be regarded as a useful point against high-flying Andrew Watt but in the middle of a relegation battle it could and should have been three.

 

The team created more chances than they have for weeks but poor finishing restricted them to one goal.

 

Andrew Watt also had other chances and in their case it was the brilliance of Chris Preston in the Milanda goal that kept their tally down.

 

Milanda had one of their best starts to any match this season, with the exception of Bishopton at home, and created at least five good opportunities in the opening 15 minutes. An inability to hit the target with any of them meant the Andrew Watt keeper was never really hassled.

 

The best of them saw Colin Kelly race through and round the keeper but his cutback wasn't buried.

 

Efforts by Martin Coyle, Martin Johnstone and Roddy McDonald failed to work the keeper and as Andrew Watt continued to escape punishment it was almost inevitable they would go up the park and score.

 

Gerry Evans failed to deal with run-of-the-mill clearance after a misunderstanding with fellow defender John Clifford and that allowed one of the home attackers to go forward and blast the ball past Chris Preston.

 

One shot, one goal - if only Milanda could learn how to play this way.

 

Andrew Watt forced Preston into other good stops as the game became more even but Milanda still managed to waste another couple of openings before the break.

 

The second half was more evenly balanced than the first but Milanda's finishing was similar, with Kevin Grehan and McDonald both firing shots over from close range.

 

Milanda equalised on the hour mark when a powerful surge by Paul Ross ended with the ball breaking to Johnstone and, although he looked offside, the referee seemed to think it had come to him off a defender's boot and allowed the striker to shoot home. Andrew Watt were understandably incensed but on the balance of play Milanda deserved to be all square at least.

 

Milanda pushed hard for the winner and Johnstone looked set to provide it when he burst through the middle but a last-ditch tackle stopped him and saw him hobble off with what turned out to be a broken bone in his foot.

 

With Milanda's top scorer on crutches and out of the final three games, things do not look good.

 

MOM: In a strange game that could have been lost or won handsomely, Milanda's best individual performance came from keeper Chris Preston.

 

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League - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 4 (Coyle 2, Ross, og), Kilpatrick Thistle 1

 

TEAM: C Preston, Addison, Clifford, Evans, Murray, Ross, Grehan (Malone), Watton (S Preston), Kelly, Coyle (Scott), Trialist.

 

MILANDA grabbed their first ever win over Kilpatrick Thistle with a hard-working performance at sunny Stepford.

 

It would be true to say the visiting team were not at their strongest and had little to play for but that should not detract from the achievement.

 

Milanda passed the ball well, showed good organisation and, crucially, improved on their finishing. There was also a bit of luck attached to a couple of the goals but it would be fair to say a rub of the green in front of goal was overdue.

 

Milanda made a strong start and the trialist striker had a shot parried by Kilpatrick keeper John Cairney after some good build-up play.

 

Colin Kelly shot wide after a 1-2 with the trialist before Milanda opened the scoring in 22 minutes.

 

Paul Murray was the supplier with a good curling cross from the left that found Martin Coyle and he stabbed the ball home from close range.

 

Milanda tried to add to their lead before the break but the closest they came was when a good ball across the box from Kelly found no takers.

 

With Kevin Grehan and Neil Watton working hard to contain Kilpatrick’s three central midfielders. Milanda continued to enjoy the upper hand and Cairney saved a Gerry Evans shot following a Murray corner.

 

Miland eventually scored the crucial second goal in the 55th minute. Cairney could only punch out a Grehan corner and Murray’s header back towards goal was nodded into the net by Coyle.

 

Four minutes later it was 3-0 when Paul Ross went down the right and scored with an angled shot that might have been meant as a cross - but don’t tell his dad.

 

Milanda’s fourth came when a long throw by Murray was mishandled by the keeper and ended up going through his legs and into the net. That one has to go down as an own goal.

 

Towards the end, Milanda got a little careless and Chris Preston made a couple of good saves but couldn’t prevent Kilpatrick scoring a consolation that might just have been offside.

 

MOM: A good all-round performance by everyone. Thomas Addison slotted in well at right-back and John Clifford and Gerry Evans were powerful and composed at centre-back. Paul Ross worked ever so hard on the right of midfield, Kevin Grehan and Neil Watton likewise in the middle and Paul Murray was outstanding on the left, both defensively and offensively. Martin Coyle had his best game for some weeks up front and took his goals superbly and his trialist partner provided some fantastic touches to keep attacks flowing. Man of the match is a difficult choice but in the final analysis Murray just pips Coyle for the accolade.

 

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League - Greenfield

 

AC Milanda 3 (Ross 2, Coyle pen), Allander 2

 

TEAM: C Preston (Russell), Fawns, Clifford, Evans, Scott, Ross, Grehan, Addison, Moray, Coyle, Neilson. Subs not used: Malone, McColgan, S Preston

 

MILANDA made it two wins out of two against their old bogey team with a nervy performance that had players and supporters alike desperate to hear the final whistle.

 

After fighting back from a goal down to be 3-1 ahead, Milanda conceded again in the final 15 minutes and that made for a tense finale.

 

But they held on and deserve tremendous credit for taking the relegation battle to the last day when they face Garnethill Rovers away.

 

With some key players having to call off due to work commitments, Milanda had to shuffle the pack for the umpteenth time this season and bring in trialist Steve Neilson up front.

 

A bright start was made but then came another setback when Gerry Evans suffered a cut above his eye in an accidental clash with team-mate Thomas Addison. Allander kindly helped get him patched up and he carried on looking like Rab C Nesbitt (and playing like Scott Nisbet, according to Brian Dunn).

 

Then came another blow. Allander took the lead when Chris Preston could only parry a free-kick and one of the visiting forwards pounced to slam in the loose ball.

 

With Preston hobbling around his goal due to a groin injury, it was decided to reshuffle again, putting substitute Mark Russell into midfield, Addison to right-back and Craig Fawns into goal.

 

Milanda weren’t behind for long. A Paul Moray throw wasn’t properly cleared and when the ball broke to Paul Ross with his back to goal he went for the spectacular overhead kick and found the net.

 

It was the same combination when Milanda went ahead in the 37th minute. Again the ball bobbled in the box after a Moray throw and Ross finally smacked it low into the corner.

 

There was a feeling at half-time there would be more goals in the game and so it proved.

 

Milanda took a 3-1 lead after 65 minutes from a Martin Coyle penalty after referee David Ross had spotted Neilson being held back in the box. The skipper made an immaculate job of the kick to give his team some breathing space.

 

A counter-attack by Moray should have led to No.4 but after doing all the hard work he somehow lost possession and the stretched Allander defence escaped.

 

Allander were still very much in the match and Fawns made a couple of good saves before poor marking at a corner in the 75th minute allowed one of the Allander players to cut the deficit with a header.

 

Allander also hit the bar a couple of times and had a penalty claim rejected before the referee’s whistle allowed Milanda to relax.

 

MOM: Not as polished a performance as the one against Kilpatrick Thistle but three welcome points and the man who did most to clinch them, two-goal Paul Ross, was the top man.

 

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League - Giffnock

 

Garnethill Rovers 1, AC Milanda 5 (Coyle pen, Kelly 2, Trialist, Russell)

 

TEAM: Fawns, Evans (Malone), Clifford, Colvin (S Preston), Moray, Ross, Grehan, Russell, Kelly, Trialist, Coyle (Grant). Subs not used: Addison, Scott.

 

MILANDA brought the curtain down on 2009-2010 with their best performance of the season … and then, after an agonising wait, found out it had been enough to keep them in the First Division of the GDSML.

 

With Bishopton Athletic already relegated, it was Milanda or AFC Columba to fill the other relegation spot. The Coatbridge side went into their game with Glasgow Athletic at Ashfield Juniors’ ground a point ahead of Milanda, so the advantage was with them.

 

Basically, Milanda had to better Columba’s result on the day and they did that by continuing their excellent record against Garnethill while their drop-zone rivals were losing 2-1 – after being a goal up on Glasgow Athletic going into the final 15 minutes.

 

Milanda could only win their game and hope for the best and they got off to the perfect start when captain Martin Coyle scored a seventh-minute penalty after a Paul Moray cross had been handled in the box.

 

Garnethill were raging at the award but referee James Carberry had been perfectly positioned to see the incident and would not be swayed.

 

Eleven minutes later, it was 2-0. A free-kick from the left by the trialist striker was held up by Coyle and laid off for Colin Kelly who, with his back to goal, beat the keeper with a fantastic overhead kick.

 

Other good chances were missed, notably by the trialist and Paul Ross, but Milanda had Gerry Evans to thank for holding the two-goal advantage until the break when he made a spectacular clearance on the line to deny Garnethill.

 

Two minutes into the second period, Kevin Grehan sent the trialist through the middle and he left two defenders trailing before rounding the keeper and finishing in style to give Milanda a 3-0 lead.

 

It was a goal very much appreciated by the spectators, who included former Milanda stalwarts Mark Reid and webmaster Kevin Williamson.

 

Grehan was the supplier again as Kelly’s pace took him clear of a now frustrated Garnethill defence to place the ball away from the keeper.

 

On the hour mark, the score became 5-0 when the trialist set up Mark Russell for a close-range finish.

 

It was a case of job done and Milanda took the chance to get three subs on, including veteran Scott Grant who was delighted to mark his final game for the club with a victory.

 

Having switched off a little, Milanda allowed Garnethill to score a consolation goal but all in all it was a highly satisfying morning for Milanda, especially when the Columba result came through.

 

MOM: Some superb performances in all departments, Skipper Martin Coyle worked his socks off and again handled the responsibility of taking a crucial penalty, his trialist partner up front showed pace and power and scored a contender for goal of the season, while attacking midfielder Colin Kelly scored an outstanding double. Keeper Craig Fawns was solid as were the back four, with Paul Moray also contributing greatly in an attacking sense. But it was the engine room of the team that was vital to victory and while Kevin Grehan had a terrific match he was just overshadowed by his central midfield colleague Mark Russell who scored a goal and gave one of his best ever performances in a Milanda jersey to win the man of the match award.