Season 14/15

 

Season 2014-15

 

Martin Johnstone wins Player of the Year for the 3rd time

Colin Kelly is top goalscorer for 2nd time

 

Milanda's score always comes first

 

Date

Opponent

Comp

Home\Away

Score

Scorers

Aug 9th

Ashfield

Friendly

 

3 - 8

Kelly (3)

Aug 16th

Cambuslang Rok

Wm Drummond

H

6 - 0

Macdonald (2), Murray (2), Johnstone, Grehan,

Aug 23rd

Cambusglen

Wm Drummond

H

3 - 1

Macdonald, Kelly (2)

Aug 30th

Glasgow Islay

Wm Drummond

A

5 - 6

Kelly (3), Macdonald, Daly

Sept 6th

Milngavie BC

League

H

7 - 4

Grehan (3), MacDonald (2), Fleming, Kelly

Sept 13th

Kilpatrick Thistle

League

A

0 - 4

-

Sept 20th

Milngavie BC

League

A

3 - 3

Own goal, Murray, Johnstone

Oct 4th

Caledonian Uni

League

H

2 - 3

Kelly, McLaughlin

Oct 11th

Hamilton Wanderers

League

A

7 - 2

Grehan, Kelly (3), Reid, Thomson, Johnstone

Oct 18th

Ashfield

GDSML Cup first round

A

2 - 6 (aet)

Own goal, Kelly

Nov 1st

Blantyre

League

A

3 - 2

Murray, Grehan, Fleming

Nov 8th

Crosslands

League

H

2 - 5

O’Donnell , Reid

Nov 15th

Bishopton

League

H

1 - 1

Kelly

Nov 22nd

Strathclyde Uni

John Rae

A

0 - 4

-

Dec 6th

Crosslands

League

A

1 - 2

O’Donnell

Feb 14th

Bishopton

League

A

2 - 5

Johnstone, Murray

Feb 21st

Hamilton Wanderers

Wm Drummond

H

2 - 4

Kelly, Reid

Feb 28th

Hamilton Wanderers

League

H

3 - 6

Johnstone, Reid, McCarthy

Mar 14th

Kilpatrick Thistle

League

H

3 - 5

Harley, Murray, Johnstone

Mar 21st

Caledonian Uni

League

A

2 - 2

McLaughlin, Own goal

Apr 11th

Finnieston Park

League

A

0 - 4

-

Apr 14th

Braehead

League

H

2 - 0

Johnstone, Kelly

Apr 18th

Blantyre

League

H

4 - 3

Kelly, Collins, Thomson, Johnstone

Apr 25th

Braehead

League

A

0 - 1

Kelly

May 19th

Finnieston Park

League

H

2 - 4

Kelly (2)

 

Appearances

 

League

League Cup

GDSML

John Rae

Total

G. Evans

18

4

1

1

24

P. Murray

17

3

-

1

21

C. Kelly

12 (3)

4

1

-

20

A. Thomson

15 (1)

1

1

1

19

C. McLaughlin

13 (1)

2 (1)

-

1

18

G. Difolco

11 (1)

1 (2)

1

1

17

S. Fleming

12 (5)

-

-

-

17

M. Reid

10 (2)

2 (2)

-

1

17

R. Mitchell

13

1

1

1

16

M. Johnstone

13

2

-

1

16

S. Preston

9 (1)

3

1

(1)

15

K. Grehan

9

3 (1)

1

-

14

R. O'Donnell

6 (2)

3 (1)

1

1

14

C. Fawns

8

4

1

-

13

D. O'Neill

6 (2)

2 (1)

-

(1)

12

G. Harley

6 (1)

3 (1)

-

-

11

A. Daly

2 (4)

1 (2)

-

-

9

R. MacDonald

3

3

-

1

7

B. Black

1 (2)

1

1

1

6

J. Binnie

2

1

(1)

-

4

T. Addison

3 (1)

-

-

-

4

A. Jenkins

1 (1)

-

1

-

3

C. McCarthy

1 (1)

-

-

-

2

P. Francolini

1

-

-

-

1

K. O'Donnell

1

-

-

-

1

B. McKenzie

1

-

-

-

1

R. Addison

1

-

-

-

1

A. Collins

1

-

-

-

1

B. Stenson

1

-

-

-

1

P. Donaghy

1

-

-

-

1

Goals

 

League

League Cup

GDSML Cup

Total

Kelly

11

6

1

18

Johnstone

7

1

-

8

MacDonald

2

4

-

6

Murray

4

2

-

6

Grehan

5

1

-

6

Reid

3

1

-

4

Thomson

2

-

-

2

O’Donnell

2

-

-

2

McLaughlin

2

-

-

2

Fleming

2

-

-

2

Daly

-

1

-

1

McCarthy

1

-

-

1

Harley

1

-

-

1

Collins

1

-

-

1

Own goal

2

 

1

3

Match Reports

 

League Cup - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 6 Cambuslang Rok 0 Scorers - McDonald (2), Murray (2), Johnstone, Grehan

 

Team: Fawns, Binnie (Reid), Evans, Preston, Harley (Di Folco), O’Neill (Grehan), O’Donnell, Murray (McLaughlin), Kelly (Daly), Macdonald, Johnstone.

 

MILANDA made a solid start to their League Cup campaign with a good win over Division Two opposition. Roddy Macdonald and Paul Murray helped themselves to doubles and there were singles from Martin Johnstone and Kevin Grehan.

 

Milanda dominated from start to finish and keeper Craig Fawns, who had pulled off a string of excellent saves in the previous week’s friendly with Ashfield, was virtually a spectator.

Cambuslang held out for just 14 minutes thanks to a miss by Colin Kelly – he’s allowed an off day after his hat-trick against Ashfield – and a good save by their keeper from Macdonald who had been set up by Ryan O’Donnell.

 

But it was Macdonald who provided the breakthrough when he ran on to a Murray pass and planted the ball in the corner of the net. Two minutes later, Murray advanced on the left and fired in a speculative shot that the keeper allowed to slip through his hands. Goal No.3 arrived 10 minutes before the break when a Murray free-kick picked out Johnstone who produced an excellent finish from a tight angle.

Two minutes into the second period, Johnstone hit the woodwork with a shot then had his effort from the rebound saved but Murray popped up to slam the loose ball home from close range. Johnstone hit the woodwork again before substitute Kevin Grehan made it 5-0. Hard work by Johnstone and Macdonald provided the opening and Grehan’s rising shot from outside the box left the keeper clawing at thin air. O’Donnell hit a post after a good burst forward and substitute Gary Di Folco forced the keeper to make a brilliant save before Milanda rounded off the scoring.Keeper Fawns hit a long clearance that was collected by Johnstone and he set up Macdonald to make it 6-0.

 

A good day’s work by Milanda, who used five substitutes in a competitive game for the first time ever. Next up it’s Cambus Glen, who will provide a much sterner test at Stepford on Saturday, before we finish the group away to Glasgow Islay. These two drew 3-3 in their opener.

 

MOTM: Some good performances, notably by all of the goalscorers plus left-back Greig Harley and midfielder Ryan O’Donnell. But man of the match goes to Paul Murray for two goals and two assists.

 

----------

League Cup - Stepford

 

AC Milanda 3 Cambusglen 1 Scorers - McDonald, Kelly (2)

 

Team: Fawns, Reid (Di Folco), Evans, Preston, Harley (O’Donnell), Grehan, Macdonald, Murray (Daly), Kelly, McLaughlin, Johnstone (O’Neill). Sub not used: Thomson

 

Milanda made it two wins out of two in their League Cup section with another success against Division Two opposition.

Roddy Macdonald and Colin Kelly (2) scored the goals and with Glasgow Islay managing only a 2-2 draw against Cambuslang ROK, it means Milanda have topped the section before kicking a ball in their final match.

 

This was an altogether tougher 90 minutes than Cambuslang ROK had provided on match day one but Milanda knew that would be the case and were well prepared.

Cambusglen were a good side, particularly strong in midfield, and it took a fine all-round team performance to send them home pointless. The visitors created decent chances in either half and only their finishing let them down. That and the fact they had no one with the pace or finishing ability of Kelly.

 

In fact, Cambusglen should have been ahead after 32 minutes when their No.10, looking suspiciously offside, was presented with a great chance but ballooned the ball over the bar from close range with only Craig Fawns to beat.They paid for that miss 10 minutes later when Milanda went ahead. Martin Johnstone sent Kelly away on the right and when his final shot was blocked the ball broke for Macdonald to nod home from almost on the goal line.

 

Milanda had to make a switch at the interval, Ryan O’Donnell replacing the injured Greig Harley. O’Donnell slotted into midfield and Colin McLaughlin moved to left-back

Cambusglen started this half well and should have scored after 48 minutes. Fawns made a good blocking save following a corner but the ball fell to one of the visiting forwards who somehow side-footed it wide from four yards.

 

Again Milanda made them pay with a second goal two minutes later. A Paul Murray corner was cleared out to Mark Reid whose delivery back into the box caused hesitation between the keeper and his defenders, allowing Kelly to pounce and head the ball into the net.

 

That gave Milanda some breathing space but not for long. Cambusglen broke upfield and a bouncing ball that should have been claimed by Fawns bounced over his head, setting up a tap-in equaliser.But the heads didn’t go down and Milanda went chasing a third goal.

 

O’Donnell had a strong shot saved, Johnstone was denied by an excellent stop from the keeper, Murray had an effort blocked and Macdonald fired one off target. But another goal duly arrived in the 67th minute. Murray was the provider with a perfect through ball to Kelly who calmly stuck it into the corner of the net.There was still a fair bit of time to go but Milanda looked comfortable again and saw out the match without any real worries.

 

MOM: A terrific all-round performance with everyone playing a part. The back four was solid, with Scott Preston particularly impressive, and the midfielders all grafted to cope with Cambusglen’s threat. Kevin Grehan worked especially hard on the right, as did Roddy Macdonald and Paul Murray in the middle. Martin Johnstone led the line well and was a good link man for Colin Kelly who was easily the star performer. Two goals and one assist in a 3-0 win? It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

----------

League Cup sectional tie

 

GLASGOW ISLAY 6, AC MILANDA 5 Scorers Kelly (3), Macdonald, Daly

 

Fawns, Evans, Preston (Reid), Thomson, Harley, Daly, Grehan, O’Donnell, McLaughlin, Kelly, Macdonald.

 

MILANDA completed their League Cup section in disappointing fashion with a defeat from old rivals Islay. Having already topped the section to qualify for the quarter-finals of the William Drummond Trophy, Milanda simply downed tools. The scoreline gives the impression of an 11-goal thriller but in reality it was a scrappy affair spoiled by the strong wind. Both teams lost some poor goals and there was little in the way of constructive football. Islay had to win to ensure second place in the section and it was clear they were the more motivated team.

 

Milanda fought back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to level the match but later fell two behind again and couldn’t retrieve the situation. Apart from Colin Kelly’s second hat-trick of the season, there wasn’t much to make the 90 minutes memorable. Indifferent defending saw Islay score two goals and hit the bar from a third opening in the first 15 minutes.

 

Kelly cut the deficit when he stooped to head home a Kevin Grehan cross. A perfect through pass by Colin McLaughlin provided Kelly with another great chance but he took a touch when he should have shot first time and the opening was gone. However, he did equalise in the 28th minute when a pass by Grehan saw him beat the offside trap and run on to nutmeg the keeper.

 

Gerry Evans burst forward early in the second half and hit a shot that the keeper turned on to his left-hand post. But then came another two-goal burst, with Islay going 3-2 ahead and Milanda replying quickly through Roddy Macdonald who cashed in on a defensive blunder to shoot home.

Islay added another couple of goals, one of them direct from a corner, to take command.

 

But back came Milanda and Andy Daly scored his first goal for the club when he fired in the loose ball after the Islay keeper had parried a Kelly shot.

Islay cashed in on a Craig Fawns mistake to make it 6-4 and held on for full points, despite Kelly completing his hat-trick with a late fifth goal for Milanda.

One of the Islay players kicked the ball away in disgust at the final whistle, thinking the score was 5-5. The referee gave him the good news.

 

Milanda are joined in the last eight of the competition by Kilpatrick Thistle, Hamilton Wanderers, Crosslands, AFC Columba, Renfrew Town, Finnieston Park and Kings Park Rovers. The draw will be made at a later date and the scheduled quarter-final day is January 24.

 

MOM: Colin Kelly scored another excellent treble and is proving a real handful for opposing defences with his pace and finishing.

 

----------

Stepford. GDSML fixture.

 

AC MILANDA 7 MILNGAVIE BC 4 Scorers Grehan (3), MacDonald (2), Fleming, Kelly

 

A good day for Milanda as they opened their league campaign with a performance that was good enough to put them top of Division One. For the second week running, spectators saw 11 goals and a Milanda hat-trick. This time, though, the football played was of a much higher standard than in the 6-5 League cup defeat at Glasgow Islay. Milngavie Boys Club, a sweet-moving side, certainly contributed to that and were a bit unlucky to be so heavily beaten. Going down to 10 men when 3-1 behind didn’t help.

 

However, Milanda dominated and would have won 7-2 but for some sloppy play near the end when the points were secured. It would be wrong to be too critical, though, because winning by three goals is always acceptable and more so after the opening 15 minutes when Milngavie looked superior.

 

Milanda suffered a setback before a ball was kicked when they had to ask permission to change their team lines due to Jim Binnie suffering an injury in the warm-up. Who knew anyone did a warm-up? The referee and the opposition agreed to the alteration so Andy Thomson took over at left-back.

Milngave started the game impressively, playing fast flowing football, and only a couple of excellent saves by Craig Fawns prevented Milanda from going behind.

 

It was Milanda’s renowned ability from set-pieces that turned the game on its head in a 20-minute spell before the break. In the 20th minute, a long throw from the left by Paul Murray found Kevin Grehan and his header back beat the Milngavie keeper. Sixteen minutes later, the same double act struck again. This time Grehan headed in a Murray corner. Five minutes before the break, skipper Grehan headed in a pinpoint Mark Reid free-kick to make it 3-0.

 

Considering Milngavie had some big lads in their defence, it was surprising they looked so vulnerable as the goals went in but Milanda were just delighted to be able to have a half-time team talk that was all about keeping up the good work. The Milngavie keeper kept out a Roddy Macdonald shot on the turn as the home side did exactly that at the start of the second period.

 

However, the next goal came at the other end when slack play allowed one of the Milngavie forwards a chance to hit a strike that found the corner of the net.

Their joy last just 60 seconds, though, because one of their defenders was sent off for pulling back Macdonald as he powered towards the box. The referee deemed it a last-man challenge, although Milngavie felt one of their other players might have got back in time to stop Milanda’s No.9.

 

There is always a slight concern when a team goes down to 10 men that they will throw caution to the wind and cause problems but Milanda gave themselves a cushion with another three-goal blast in the following 10 minutes or so. Macdonald made it 4-1 when he hit home the loose ball after the keeper had parried a shot by Murray. No.5 also came from Macdonald, the striker volleying the ball into the roof of the net following a long clearance by keeper Fawns. Then substitute Scott Fleming, playing as a trialist, burst through to make it 6-1 with a cool finish.

 

Milngavie got one back after 70 minutes but eight minutes later Colin Kelly lobbed the keeper following another Fawns clearance to make it 7-2.

Milngave scored two more before the end as some of the Milanda players decided to finish work before the hooter had gone.

 

It was still a comfortable win but Milanda saw enough to know Milngavie will be difficult opponents when we go to their place on September 20.

 

MOM: A good, all-round team performance with everyone playing his part but Kevin Grehan takes man of the match for putting Milanda on the road to victory with his amazing hat-trick of headers.

 

AC Milanda – Fawns, Di Folco, Evans, Preston, Thomson, Reid (Daly), Grehan (Fleming), Murray, McLaughlin, Kelly, Macdonald.

 

----------

Netherton. GDSML fixture.

 

KILPATRICK THISTLE 4, AC MILANDA 0

 

A day to forget for Milanda who could field only nine fit players due to a combination of injuries, holidays, work commitments etc. The team actually did well in terms of damage limitation because a good Kilpatrick team could easily have run up a bigger score. The 11 players on duty, including the two who were injured, Jim Binnie and Paul Francolini, worked really hard throughout but it was a thankless task.

 

Kilpatrick scored two goals in each half, while Milanda’s best spell came at the start of the second period when Scott Fleming and Francolini might have converted chances. Paul Murray, skipper for the day, also ended the game limping up front so it was effectively 11 v 8 for a while.

 

Hopefully we will have a stronger squad available for Saturday’s league visit to Milngavie Boys Club.

 

MOM: Ryan O’Donnell caught the eye with some nice touches in midfield.

 

AC Milanda - Fawns, Di Folco, Evans, Preston, Binnie, Daly, Murray, O’Donnell, Thomson, Fleming, Francolini.

 

----------

Bearsden. GDSML

 

MILNGAVIE BOYS CLUB 3, AC MILANDA 3 Scorers Own goal, Murray, Johnstone

 

MILANDA produced a good all-round team performance to make it four points out of six against an impressive Milngavie team.

With Milanda having been 2-0 and 3-1 ahead, this might seem like two points dropped but the young home side were always dangerous and deserved their draw. Milngavie fielded an even stronger team than the one that had lost 7-4 at Stepford two weeks earlier. That day they looked vulnerable at set-pieces and this proved their undoing again when Milanda took the lead after eight minutes.

 

Paul Murray’s long throw had the defence in a panic and one of their defenders headed into his own net under pressure from Kevin Grehan. The Milanda skipper had his hand in the air to try to claim the credit but the dubious goals committee, chaired by Roddy Macdonald, gave him the thumbs down. After 20 minutes, Milanda scored again. Martin Johnstone burst into the box after taking a pass from Murray and a Milngavie defender brought him down. Stonewall penalty and Murray gave the keeper no chance with his spot-kick.

 

Johnstone hit the bar with a cross-cum-shot before Milngavie cut the deficit with a back-post header. They continued to swarm around the Milanda goal in the approach to the half-time break and the back four of new signing Andy Jenkin, Gerry Evans, Andy Thomson and Gary Di Folco had to defend well.

 

Evans and Jenkin both made goal-line clearances and keeper Ross Mitchell pulled of a fantastic save to keep Milanda ahead. Five minutes into the second half, Milngave pulled level. Mitchell saved the first effort but was powerless to keep out the rebound.

 

But with Johnstone and Mark Reid using all their experience to cause Milngavie’s back line problems, Milanda were still making chances on the counter attack. A brilliant one-two between this pair opened Milngavie up in the 52nd minute and Johnstone applied the finishing touch to make it 3-2.

 

Back came Milngavie and Milanda’s midfield of Dave O’Neill, Grehan, Scott Fleming and Murray had to work really hard to give their defence cover.

Inevitably, Milngavie had chances but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping by Mitchell kept them out until the 85th minute when they finally got their third goal.

 

It was a nervy closing spell but Milanda held on for a welcome point.

 

MOM: An excellent team effort with everyone doing a good job so not an easy week to pick a man of the match. However, Martin Johnstone just edges it. He held the ball up brilliantly at times, won a penalty and scored a goal. We always look a better team when he’s available.

 

AC Milanda - Mitchell, Jenkin, Evans, Thomson, Di Folco, O’Neill, Grehan, Fleming, Murray, Reid, Johnstone. Subs not used: Black, Daly, O’Donnell.

 

----------

Stepford. GDSML

 

AC MILANDA 2 CALEDONIAN UNIVERSITY 3 Scorers Kelly, McLaughlin

 

MILANDA fought till the end but finished with nothing to show for their efforts against probably the best team Caley has produced in the Glasgow and District Saturday Morning League.The visitors passed the ball better and looked sharper at times but Milanda never gave up and in the end were unlucky not to nick a point.In addition, Caley’s keeper produced a couple of superb saves, although the same could be said of Ross Mitchell in the Milanda goal.

Caley got off to a flyer with a goal after three minutes. A clearance went only as far as their left-back and he scored with a low, long-range shot that zipped into the corner of the net.

 

However, Milanda hit back almost immediately and Colin Kelly bundled the ball home following a long throw by Paul Murray. There were chances at both ends as the game progressed. The Caley keeper did brilliantly to save from Mark Reid and then Mitchell equalled that by pushing a close-range header over the bar. An injury to Scott Preston meant Milanda had to make a defensive change, so Ben Black went on to make his debut.

 

Gerry Evans should have had Milanda ahead when a loose ball broke to him at the back post following a Murray free-kick but he knocked it over the bar.

Caley got their noses in front again just before the break with a goal from a corner. Midway through the second half, a slick move down the Caley right ended with a cutback and the ball in the Milanda net for 3-1.

 

It was then that Milanda began to show more urgency and they cut the deficit with a goal by Colin McLaughlin after good leading-up work by Kelly and Reid.

Substitute Ryan O’Donnell fired just over after making space for the shot with some nifty footwork on the edge of the box. The same player thumped another chance wide minutes later.

 

Caley began demanding the final whistle as Milanda kept pushing. The keeper came to the visitors’ rescue again when he tipped over Andy Thomson’s close-range header from a Murray corner. The last chance fell to new boy Black who got his head to a Reid corner but couldn’t direct the ball on target.

 

Eventually the referee blew for time and Caley heaved a sigh of relief. For Milanda, it was a case of close but no cigar.

 

MOM: Colin McLaughlin put in a power of work, especially in the second half, and was rewarded with his first goal of the season.

 

AC Milanda - Mitchell, Di Folco, Evans, Preston (Black), Thomson, Grehan, Fleming (O’Donnell), Murray, McLaughlin, Kelly, Reid. Sub not used: Jenkin

 

----------

Meikle Earnock. GDSML fixture

 

HAMILTON WANDERERS 2 AC MILANDA 7 Scorers Grehan, Kelly (3), Reid, Thomson, Johnstone

 

MILANDA produced an impressive all-round performance to record their second league victory of the season. As in the previous win against Milngavie Boys Boys Club, the team put the ball in the net seven times. Colin Kelly was once again a hat-trick hero and there were singles from Kevin Grehan, Mark Reid, Andy Thomson – his first for the club – and Martin Johnstone.

 

Hamilton, who had recorded some impressive results earlier in the season, must be wondering how they came to lose by such a big score. But the answer is quite simple. They gifted Milanda at least two goals by poor defending and at the other end of the pitch they couldn’t match their opponents in terms of clinical finishing.

 

Milanda got off to an impressive start and the home keeper did well to tip a Grehan header over the bar following a Reid free-kick. Kelly should have scored from a magnificent ball into the box by Reid but his control let him down and he failed to get a shot on target. But Milanda did open the scoring after 16 minutes from a trademark move. Paul Murray put in a long throw from the left and a flick of the head by skipper Grehan was enough to send the ball into the net at the near post.

 

However, the lead last just two minutes as Hamilton equalised from a corner. Milanda forced their way back upfield and Murray shot wide from a Kelly pass. It was by no means one-way traffic, though. Hamilton’s passing was crisp and provided shooting opportunities but stand-in keeper Kyle O’Donnell proved a safe pair of hands for Milanda. After 38 minutes, the visitors scored again. Johnston found Kelly on the edge of the box and with the home team appealing, wrongly, for offside, Milanda’s top scorer calmly lifted the ball over the keeper. A quality finish. Just before the break, Kelly scored again after intercepting a suicidal square pass by one of the Hamilton defenders.

 

The 3-1 half-time scoreline slightly flattered Milanda because Hamilton had certainly been competitive. However, two early first-half goals virtually killed the home team off. Murray and Johnstone combined on the left to pressurise the defence and Grehan, despite being flat out on the six-yard line, managed to knocked the ball to Reid who smashed it home from close range. Another slack pass allowed Kelly to complete his hat-trick and take the score to 5-1.

 

Then a penalty awarded against Thomson for a rash tackle allowed Hamilton to reduce the deficit. However, Thomson made up for his error by going upfield to bullet home a header from Reid’s corner to make it 6-2. It was a tremendous leap by the defender and probably one of the best headed goals by a Milanda player for some time. There was still time for Milanda to add a seventh. Ryan O’Donnell fired in a strong shot from the edge of the box and Johnstone got a touch on it as the ball flew past the keeper.

 

All in all, a good day’s work. For the first 40 minutes or so this had all the makings of being a tight match but Milanda romped it in the end.

 

MOM: When a team scores seven goals and one player scores three of them, you might expect an attacker to be man of the match. However, the standout performance was by defender Gerry Evans who mopped up everything at the back and, unusally, got through the 90 minutes without needing treatment.

 

AC Milanda – K O’Donnell, Di Folco (Fleming), Evans, Thomson (Preston), McLaughlin, Reid (O’Neill), Grehan, R O’Donnell, Murray, Kelly, Johnstone.

 

----------

Glasgow Green. GDSML Cup first round

 

ASHFIELD 6 AC MILANDA 2 (AFTER EXTRA TIME) Scorers Own goal, Kelly

 

A cruel scoreline for an under-strength Milanda side who gave as good as they got for 90 minutes but couldn’t cope with the extra half-hour. With just 12 players available – and two of them carrying injuries – Milanda were not in the best of shape to take on a Premier side in the GDSML Cup. However, a sterling effort almost produced a shock result.

 

Ashfield started strongly but a combination of good goalkeeping by Ross Mitchell, poor finishing and good luck kept the scoreline blank until the 12th minute – when Milanda scored against the run of play. A long throw by Craig Fawns, playing up front as an emergency striker, caused havoc and the Ashfield keeper’s attempt to clear saw him push the ball into his own net.

 

The home team responded and Milanda were fortunate when one effort hit a post and Gary Di Folco blocked a shot from the rebound. Then Gerry Evans cleared another attempt off the line. But their pressure finally paid off as they scored two quick goals to turn the tables.

 

However, the long throw worked its magic again for Milanda in the 38th minute when Fawns’s delivery was headed in by Colin Kelly.Kelly, playing with a rib injury, and Fawns worked hard to get Milanda up the park in the second half but clear-cut chances were few and far between in a hard-fought game.

 

Mitchell did brilliantly to touch a screamer of a shot on to the underside of the bar and the ball was cleared to safety. At the other end, another long throw by Fawns was headed over by Scott Preston. With no more scoring in the second 45 minutes, Milanda’s preference was to decide the game by a penalty shootout, especially as Andrew Jenkin had to leave for work, but Ashfield opted to stick with extra time.

 

Milanda, with Jim Binnie taking over from Jenkin despite being in some pain due to a back injury, set off again more in hope than expectation. But towards the end of the first period Ashfield began to look the fitter and stronger side and two quick goals killed the tie. Two more in the second period saw them comfortably through, leaving Milanda to drop into the consolation tournament.

 

MOM: Kevin Grehan worked tremendously hard throughout and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.

 

AC Milanda – Mitchell, Jenkin (Binnie), Evans, Preston, Di Folco, Black, Grehan, O’Donnell, Thomson, Kelly, Fawns.

 

----------

Blantyre. GDSML

 

BLANTYRE 2 AC MILANDA 3 Scorers Murray, Grehan, Fleming

 

Scott Fleming took the role of supersub to grab a late winner for Milanda. There was little between the teams over 90 minutes and, if anything, Blantyre probably looked likelier to snatch their first league victory. However, midfielder Fleming came up with the goods 10 minutes from time to complete another pointless day for the hosts. Milanda rarely seem to fire on all cylinders after a blank weekend and they looked sluggish for much of the match.

 

Add in the fact that top scorer Colin Kelly is still carrying a rib injury and Roddy Macdonald was making his return after weeks out with a stomach problem and the below-par display was perhaps understandable.But right now results are more important than performances as Milanda try to mount a challenge to the clubs at the top and this was an excellent three points.Milanda looked the livelier side in the opening exchanges and Macdonald had a shot saved before Paul Murray saw his effort blocked.

 

A goal was delayed only until the 13th minute. A long throw by Craig Fawns was head-flicked across goal by Kelly, leaving Paul Murray a simple tap-in at the back post.But Blantyre eased their way into the match gradually and turned things around with two goals that, from Milanda’s point of view, could have been avoided.

 

Kelly could have put Milanda on level terms after breaking through down the right but finished his run with a weak effort that the keeper easily saved.

Martin Johnstone then had an opportunity after good work on the left but his effort was blocked. But 10 minutes from the break Milanda did score a second. Kelly tried a shot for goal and skipper Kevin Grehan managed to divert it into the net from close range.

 

Blantyre made a good start to the second period and were unlucky with a shot that beat Ross Mitchell and hit both posts before being cleared. Mitchell then came to the rescue with a brilliant one-handed save to keep Milanda on level terms. The action was end to end without too many clear-cut opportunities at either.

 

But Milanda got their noses in front again in the 80th minute. Murray’s cross from the left was mis-headed away from goal by Grehan but the ball fell to Fleming who fired it home off the far post. Blantyre went up another gear in an effort to equalise and there were one or two scary moments, notably when a shot beat Mitchell and bounced off the frame of the goal, but the away team held out for their third league win of the season.

 

MOM: Kevin Grehan worked hard, scored a goal and had an accidental hand in the winner, so he gets this week’s accolade, just edging out Gerry Evans and Ross Mitchell.

 

AC Milanda – Mitchell, Fawns, Evans, Preston (Thomson), Di Folco, Reid (Fleming), Grehan, Macdonald (McLaughlin), Murray, Kelly, Johnstone. Subs not used: Daly, O’Neill.

 

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Greenfield. GDSML

 

AC MILANDA 2 CROSSLANDS 5 Scorers O’Donnell , Reid

 

LIFE in the First Division is proving tough for Milanda and once again they finished second best. A Crosslands side that will surely be challenging for the title were fitter, stronger and more mobile and fully deserved the three points.

 

Milanda did get back into the match after a poor start and were level by the hour mark thanks to wonderful strikes by Ryan O’Donnell – his first for the club – and Mark Reid but Crosslands powered back to finish what they had started. The standard of play in this division so far has been higher than that of the Premier. That was borne out last month when Crosslands put six without reply past Parklife, the team who were leading the top flight at the time. You really need your strongest squad every week, so it was a blow to have a couple of no-shows on the day following other call-offs.

 

Having said that, Milanda still had a strong line-up and were hoping to do well at their “lucky” Greenfield venue. Unfortunately, the only luck was bad luck as two goals were conceded inside the first 10 minutes before skipper Kevin Grehan was forced off with a head knock.

 

Milanda could have been ahead after three minutes when a clever dummy by Martin Johnstone fooled the Crosslands defence and left Colin Kelly in the clear but his chipped finish over the keeper just cleared the bar. The visitors were stung into the action and scored two goals in the next four minutes from slick moves, the first down the right flank and the second down the left.

 

Injured Grehan was replaced by Dave O’Neill after 15 minutes and he helped Milanda settle into the match, putting himself about to break up play and start counter-attacks. Paul Murray had a shot saved from an O’Neill pass but clear-cut chances were hard to come by against opponents who closed down quickly.

 

Milanda managed to get to half-time without any further loss, although they were fortunate still to have 11 men on the pitch following a bad challenge by Craig Fawns on one of the Crosslands attackers. Referee George Dunbar decided a yellow card was punishment enough. When Gary Di Folco had to go off with a back injury 10 minutes into the second period, it paved the way for substitute O’Donnell to make a spectacular entrance.

 

He had just strolled on to the park when the ball broke to him on the left around 30 yards from goal and he curled a peach of a shot past the Crosslands keeper with his right foot. Reminiscent of his dad, the legendary Paul O’Donnell, at his best and it was nice that the “old man” was there to witness it. This goal gave the home team a spark and five minutes later a promising attack was brought to a halt by a cynical foul on Kelly 20 yards from goal. Reid stepped forward and bent the ball around the defensive wall and past the helpless keeper. Another cracker.

 

The game was only all-square for five minutes, though. A period of pressure saw a fierce shot bravely blocked by Gerry Evans but one of the Crosslands players pounced on the loose ball to shoot home. Milanda were unlucky again when the ball broke to Johnstone following a long throw by Murray and the No.9’s thumping shot from inside the box was blocked.

 

Crosslands gave themselves some breathing space with a fourth goal in the 73rd minute and 10 minutes later they netted a fifth.

 

MOM: A tough morning for Milanda but the players kept at it after a poor start. Keeper Ross Mitchell, Gerry Evans, Mark Reid, Martin Johnstone and Colin Kelly were the pick of the starting X1 but the greatest impact was made by substitutes Dave O’Neill and Ryan O’Donnell when they came into midfield. Ryan’s goal was a bit special so he wins man of the match.

 

AC Milanda – Mitchell, Fawns, Evans, Thomson, Di Folco (O’Donnell), Reid, Grehan (O’Neill), Fleming (Daly), Murray, Kelly, Johnstone.

 

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Stepford. GDSML

 

AC MILANDA 1 BISHOPTON 1 Scorer Kelly

 

MILANDA rode their luck to take a welcome point from a tough encounter at Stepford. They were the better team in the first half and should have had more than a one-goal advantage at the break but Bishopton dominated possession in the second period as injuries and tiredness took their toll on the home side. Milanda still made a couple of decent chances in the second period but they weren’t taken. Bishopton took one of theirs, albeit a scrappy affair, but they were certainly the stronger team in the late stages of the game and the final whistle was a welcome sound for Milanda.

 

Milanda made the perfect start. A kick-out by Ross Mitchell saw Roddy Macdonald challenge the Bishopton centre-half in the air. An attempt to get the ball back to the keeper fell short and Colin Kelly pounced to lob the ball over the advancing No.1 and into the net. A well-taken goal and one that is starting to become his trademark finish.

 

Bishopton’s movement was causing Milanda problems and it took a good save by Mitchell to keep them out. Kelly broke through the visiting defence again in the 12th minute but this time the keeper pushed his low shot for a corner. Bishopton were unlucky with a shot that beat Mitchell and came back off his left-hand post before Milanda broke upfield again. Macdonald got clear of his marker but his finish was wide of the target.

 

Milanda had another escape when a good move by Bishopton saw their forward hit the side netting. At the other end, Bishopton were fortunate when the ball broke to Kelly 10 yards out following a Craig Fawns throw and the striker’s shot was blocked. Bishopton turned up the pace in the second period but although they put plenty of balls into the box, keeper Mitchell and the players in front of him dealt with the threat until the 59th minute when they managed to scramble an equaliser following a cross from the right.

 

Milanda were playing on the break and one move down the right should have had them ahead again. Mark Reid did the running and sent over the perfect low cross for Macdonald whose shot was well blocked by the keeper. Ryan O’Donnell then had a shot saved, although he appeared to be fouled in the build-up and was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty.

 

For all Bishopton had more of the ball, it was still anybody’s game. Kelly gave Milanda hope with a tremendous surging run but his finishing shot went wide. And Bishopton also had one more clear-cut chance but Mitchell pulled of an excellent save.

 

Kelly, stand-in skipper Paul Murray and O’Donnell had all departed due to injuries by the closing stages so, all things considered, Milanda were happy with a point.

 

MOM: Colin Kelly was having a good match until one injury slowed him down and another forced him off. Colin McLaughlin, Gerry Evans and Andy Thomson also impressed in the battle to keep Bishopton out, particularly in the second half. Behind them Ross Mitchell was a safe pair of hands and pulled off a couple of vital saves to help ensure a point was taken, so he wins Man of the Match.

 

AC Milanda – Mitchell, Fawns, Evans, Thomson, McLaughlin, Reid, O’Neill (Jenkin), O’Donnell (Daly), Murray (Fleming), Kelly, Macdonald.

 

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Stepps. John Rae Trophy

 

STRATHCLYDE UNI 4 AC MILANDA 0

 

MILANDA can have no complaints about their exit from another cup competition. The Uni boys had youth and superior fitness on their side and, on their big show pitch, that was a winning combination, especially as Milanda were missing key players such as top scorer Colin Kelly and skipper Kevin Grehan.

A mistake by keeper Ross Mitchell gave the home team an early lead but he made up for that with a superb save minutes later. A low shot looked to be heading for the corner of the net but a fingertip touch took the ball round his left-hand post.

 

His right-hand post prevented the loss of another goal in the 34th minute but just before the break Strathclyde doubled their advantage.Milanda competed much better in the second half and Roddy Macdonald had some half-chances. He hit the side netting with one shot, had another saved by the keeper and sent a header wide from a Mark Reid corner. Stand-in skipper Paul Murray and Ben Black had started to get more possession in central midfield and they were well supported going forward by Colin McLaughlin, Ryan O’Donnell and Mark Reid.

 

The fact they were at last able to cause some problems for Strathclyde took a bit of the heat off the boys at the back, although Gary Di Folco, Gerry Evans and Andy Thomson still had to defend well to stop lightning breakaways. With Milanda pushing more men up to support the good play of Martin Johnstone and Macdonald, there was always the risk of losing further goals.

 

That’s what happened 12 minutes from the end, although Milanda were convinced the Uni’s third strike of the day should have been ruled out for offside.

In the 86th minute, a good shot from outside the box made it 4-0.With Scott Preston and Dave O’Neill having provided fresh legs in midfield, Milanda kept trying for even a consolation goal right to the end but it wasn’t to be.

 

Another loss and another injury – Reid limped off in the second half – so not the best of times for Milanda right now.

 

MOM: Martin Johnstone put in a great shift up front and also found time to drop back and help the midfield, so he takes the gold star this week ahead of Gerry Evans and Paul Murray.

 

AC Milanda – Mitchell, Di Folco (Preston), Evans, Thomson, McLaughlin, Reid (O’Neill), Black, Murray, O’Donnell, Johnstone, Macdonald. Sub not used: Jenkin.

 

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Milton. GDSML

 

CROSSLANDS 2 AC MILANDA 1 Scorer O’Donnell

 

MILANDA were unlucky not to take a point after battling hard against a team that had put five past them at Greenfield. This was a much more even affair and Crosslands were happy to hear the final whistle with their slender lead intact. Call-offs and injuries meant Milanda were not at their strongest and the loss of Ben Black and Gary Di Folco with knee injuries in the first half just made the task that bit more difficult.

 

Crosslands had the better of the first half but good goalkeeping by Ross Mitchell and resolute defending by Di Folco, Scott Preston, Andy Thomson and Colin McLaughlin restricted them to a two-goal lead at the break. And even then one of their goals came from an unfortunate slip by Thomson on the muddy surface.Milanda, who started with regular defender Gerry Evans back in his old striking role alongside Paul Murray, also had chances during the opening 45 minutes.

 

Murray had a couple of shots saved and the keeper also turned an effort by Kevin Grehan round the post after a powerful surge into the box by the Milanda captain.Evans eventually had to move back into a defensive role to cope with injuries but Colin Kelly came on and caused Crosslands problems even though he isn’t 100 per cent fit.

 

The midfield of Andy Daly, Scott Fleming, skipper Grehan and Ryan O’Donnell began to get more of a grip of the game and Crosslands were unable to add to their lead. Ten minutes into the second period, O’Donnell halved the deficit with a low shot after the home defence had failed to deal with a long throw by Murray.

 

In the closing stages, Milanda threw on Mark Reid as an extra attacker in an attempt to salvage a point. It almost worked too. Evans wasn’t far away with a spectacular effort after Murray and Grehan had combined to set him up.Then Kelly had a late chance that he fired off target when it might have been better to go for the cutback to waiting team-mates.

 

Still, a decent effort in the circumstances and no one could be faulted for lack of effort.

 

MOM: Paul Murray worked tirelessly up front.

 

TEAM: Mitchell, Di Folco (Kelly), Preston, Thomson, McLaughlin, Daly (Reid), Black (Fleming), Grehan, O’Donnell, Evans, Murray.

 

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Port Glasgow. GDSML

 

BISHOPTON 5 AC MILANDA 2 Scorers Johnstone, Murray

 

A LATE collapse saw Milanda leave Port Glasgow empty handed.

 

For 80 minutes Kevin Grehan and Co gave as good as they got and pulled the score back to 2-2 but the loss of a third goal changed the match and, in trying to get back on terms again, the visitors left gaps that Bishopton exploited.

 

With the team having been idle since December 6, there was always likely to be an element of rustiness but Bishopton had been inactive for much the same length of time and yet looked fitter and stronger.

 

Their players had clearly used those 10 blank weeks to stay in shape and even improve on their fitness.

 

Some years ago a certain Milanda player’s fitness levels were questioned and he told the manager he was in good shape because he was going swimming two or three times a week.

 

The player was informed that if we ever started a swimming team, he’d be first pick.

 

Swimming practice makes you fit for swimming, playing five-a-sides makes you fit to play fives.

 

To be fit to play 11-a-sides you have to put the work in. Distance running and sprints. Simple as that.

 

There are some crucial games ahead and we have to be at our best to give ourselves a chance of staying in this division so those who are struggling to get through 90 minutes or who can only get through by taking breathers have to get in better shape.

 

If we can compete against a decent Bishopton side for 80 minutes, a bit of extra work would have kept us challenging for the full game.

 

There was certainly nothing wrong with the start the team made on Saturday because they were ahead after just seven minutes. Paul Murray sent a corner from the right to the near post where Martin Johnstone got ahead of his marker to flick a header into the net. A well-worked goal that could have come from the training ground if we had such a thing.

 

It should have been 2-0 when Murray sent Colin Kelly through one on one with the keeper but the Bishopton No.1 pulled off a brilliant save.

 

Milanda’s Ross Mitchell had a few good stops of his own and Bishopton wasted some other openings but did eventually equalise in the 27th minute.

 

A free-kick was conceded out on the left and one of the Bishopton players headed the delivery into the roof of the net.

 

Milanda, a little fortunate to be on level terms at the break, made a good start to the second period and Bishopton’s defenders blocked two strong shots following a Murray long throw.The home side broke upfield and went 2-1 ahead after 64 minutes but eight minutes later Milanda equalised with a Murray penalty after Ryan O’Donnelly had been brought down. Bishopton claimed Donnelly had used a hand to control the ball in the build-up but the referee saw nothing amiss.

 

Milanda thought they’d taken the lead when Grehan’s header from a Murray throw looped towards the line. A Bishopton defender managed to get back and clear but some felt the ball had gone over the line. The referee didn’t, though, and his was the only opinion that mattered.

 

With 10 minutes to go, Bishopton went 3-2 ahead. Milanda responded by switching to a back three and sending on another striker in the shape of trialist Chris McCarthy but it backfired as the home team scored twice more.

 

The final scoreline is a bit rough on Milanda but over the 90 minutes Bishopton definitely had the edge in terms of possession and chances created.

 

MOM: Keeper Ross Mitchell, left-back Colin McLaughlin, midfielder Kevin Grehan and Martin Johnstone stood out, as did Paul Murray who just edges the award this week thanks to a goal and an assist.

 

AC Milanda – Mitchell, Fleming (Black), Preston, Evans, McLaughlin, O’Neill (McCarthy), Grehan, Murray, O’Donnell, Kelly, Johnstone. Subs not used: Fawns, Di Folco, Harley.

 

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Stepford. William Drummond Trophy quarter-final.

 

AC MILANDA 2, HAMILTON WANDERERS 4 Scorers Kelly, Reid

 

Milanda’s last chance of a trophy disappeared as they were overpowered by the Wanderers.

 

Three injuries from the previous games, other absences and the enforced retiral of Roddy Macdonald due to a long-term injury left only 12 players for an important match.

 

This meant fielding a different defence and strike-force from the previous week, although the midfield foursome was intact.

 

On paper, it was still a decent starting line-up but Wanderers were faster in thought and movement and looked hungrier for the victory.

 

And while it would be wrong to blame the referee for contributing to the defeat, he certainly didn’t help. Not least when he forced Gerry Evans to be substituted after taking a head knock because he was “unconscious” and “didn’t know where he was”. He clearly doesn’t know Gerry very well.

 

That meant another defensive reshuffle and although Greig Harley did well when he went on, it was a change we shouldn’t have had to make.

 

In short, it was one of those days when just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong – even down to assistant manager Scott Grant being unable to make his usual quick getaway after the match because his car was stuck in the mud on Stepford car park’s grassy knoll.

 

Wanderers, who looked much improved from our earlier league win against them, got off to a great start with a goal after five minutes. A poor ball out of defence gave them a shooting chance and their player took it, beating Ross Mitchell low at his right-hand post.

 

Milanda were quickly level, though. Gary Di Folco found Mark Reid at the edge of the box and his curling cross fell for Colin Kelly around the penalty spot. Codger controlled the ball well and coolly placed it away from the keeper.

 

Wanderers went 2-1 ahead from a disputed free-kick that Milanda made little attempt to defend. The back four seemed to be posted missing as the ball came in and the Wanderers player had an easy finish.

 

Milanda could have equalised again when a good ball by Craig Fawns sent Kelly down the right but his cutback was just a little behind Reid.

 

The referee then gave a harsh penalty against Evans and Wanderers took full advantage to go 3-1 up.

 

Milanda were still making chances. Kelly had an opening from a Reid free-kick but his header drifted wide.

 

Just before the break came the refereeing decision that saw Harley replace Evans.

 

Fuelled by a sense of injustice, Milanda made a good start to the second period. Reid had a shot blocked then Dave O’Neill headed a long throw from Paul Murray over the top from close range.

 

But the pressure came to nothing and Wanderers scored their fourth on the break. The Wanderers wide man was too quick for Ben Black on the left and his cross found an unmarked colleague who had plenty of time to shoot past Mitchell.

 

Milanda got one back in the 80th minute when Murray played in Reid for a good finish and they had another effort cleared off the line minutes later.

However, there was never really a genuine prospect of taking the tie to extra time and, to add to Milanda’s woes, the referee sent off Fawns for a second bookable offence – kicking the ball away – with five minutes to go.

 

MOM: Ross Mitchell was again a busy man between the sticks and pulled off some fine saves, while Kevin Grehan and Paul Moray put in tremendous shifts in midfield. Mark Reid also worked hard up front and that, allied to the fact he set up the first goal and scored the second, earns him Man of the Match.

 

AC Milanda – Mitchell, Fawns, Evans (Harley), Black, Di Folco, O’Neill, Grehan, Murray, O’Donnell, Kelly, Reid.

 

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Stepford. GDSML

 

AC MILANDA 3, HAMILTON WANDERERS 6 Scorers Johnstone, Reid, McCarthy

 

It was Groundhog Day for Milanda as they were turned over by the Wanderers for the second consecutive weekend.

Having given away poor goals and lost 4-2 to the Lanarkshire side in the William Drummond Trophy quarter-final, Milanda decided to do exactly the same thing in this league fixture. So no one can accuse the team of being inconsistent.

 

In fairness, Milanda competed reasonably well over the 90 minutes and fought back to be just 3-2 and 4-3 behind but poor defending was again their undoing. Hamilton are a much improved team with good pace through the ranks and a couple of quality front players so it’s a hard enough job to play against them without gifting goals. But that’s exactly what Milanda did – and from the first minute.

 

Milanda opted for a more orthodox 4-4-2 formation to see if that would make them more solid but before they had even settled into a pattern of play they were a goal behind.A gaping hole down the left was exploited by Hamilton in a lightning raid and the cutback from the byeline was fired home. There was some suggestion the ball was out of play before it was delivered into the danger area but it was hard to be sure.

 

Things got worse a few minutes later when Mark Reid pushed down one of the Hamilton players as he tried to reach a cross. Referee Dan Boyle gave the penalty and Milanda were 2-0 down.Reid made amends after 15 minutes when his corner to the near post was headed home by Martin Johnstone. But, like the week before, it was always one step forward and two back for Milanda as they lost another goal from their own throw-in on the left.

 

Dave O’Neill volleyed a chance over the top before Milanda got another goal back on the half-hour. Johnstone cleverly invited a challenge just inside the box and the Hamilton defender brought him down for a penalty that Reid expertly tucked into the corner of the net.

 

Milanda made a good start to the second period and looked the better team for 15 minutes without troubling the visiting keeper to any great extent.

But, just as happened in the cup-tie, Milanda lost a goal on the break and were then 4-2 down. However, they kept battling and got it back to 4-3 in the 72nd minute when trialist Chris McCarthy fired home a cracking shot from a Reid free-kick.Reid had a long-range shot saved and McCarthy’s darting runs were troubling the Hamilton defence, so there was genuine hope Milanda could at least salvage a point.

 

However, defensive frailties caught up with the team again as Hamilton grabbed two more goals in the last 10 minutes to put an unfair slant on the scoreline.Milanda were unlucky not to pull another goal back in the dying minutes. Scott Preston powered in a brilliant header from another Reid corner only to see it cleared off the line.

 

It looks now as if Milanda face a real battle to avoid relegation with just seven games to go, three of them against title challengers Kilpatrick Thistle and Finnieston Park.This Saturday we play second-bottom Blantyre at Stepford and it promises to be another tough one.

 

MOM: Mark Reid, Greig Harley, Colin McLaughlin, Chris McCarthy and Martin Johnstone were Milanda’s top performers. Johnstone led the front line well, scored a goal and earned the team a penalty so he is this week’s star performer.

 

AC Milanda – Mitchell, Reid, Evans, Preston, Harley, O’Neill, O’Donnell, McLaughlin, Kelly, Johnstone, McCarthy. Subs not used: Black, Fawns, Fleming, McKenzie, Thomson.

 

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Greenfield. GDSML

 

AC MILANDA 3, KILPATRICK THISTLE 5 Scorers Harley, Murray, Johnstone

 

Milanda gave the league leaders a decent game but ultimately walked off with nothing to show for it. With games running out, the team has to start picking up points soon or risk a second consecutive relegation. With fellow strugglers Blantyre having hammered Milngavie Boys Club at the weekend and the improving Hamilton Wanderers looking likely to move off the bottom of the table sooner rather than later, the future looks uncertain. The latest disappointment wasn’t entirely unexpected. Call-offs and no-shows left Milanda with just 12 players, including trialist left-back Ben McKenzie, for what was always going to be a tough test.

 

It started well with a Milanda goal after three minutes. A Paul Murray throw was flicked back by Kevin Grehan to Martin Johnstone at the far post and he headed the ball across goal for Greig Harley who dived to nod home.Unfortunately, the players seemed still to be celebrating when Kilpatrick broke down their left at speed and equalised.

 

Murray fired a right-foot shot just wide and Craig Fawns made a good blocking save at the back post as an entertaining game flowed from end to end.

But two goals in three minutes put the visitors in the driving seat before Milanda hit back again with a delightful Murray free-kick from 22 yards that gave the flailing Kilpatrick keeper no chance. Kilpatrick scored a fourth in the 39th minute but the ball had clearly gone out of play before it was crossed to the back post. Sadly, the only person who didn’t see that was the referee.

 

Despite being 4-2 down at the break, the players kept their heads up and were actually the better team in a second half that ended 1-1. Early in the second period, Milanda got it back to 4-3 when Scott Preston played in Johnstone and he rounded the keeper to slot the ball home. Just before the hour mark, Kilpatrick restored their two-goal advantage when one of their forwards slammed in the loose ball after Fawns had saved the original effort.

Milanda dominated the last half-hour and were unlucky not to get at least one other goal.

 

The Kilpatrick keeper kept out a Grehan header then denied substitute Colin Kelly after he had wriggled clear of the defence.Kelly had another effort blocked on the line when a goal looked certain and minutes later broke into the box and fired the ball off a post. With time running out, Kelly was needlessly sent off for picking up two bookings, the first for dissent and the second for a rash challenge.

 

Everyone could sympathise with the frustration he clearly felt but it now means him sitting out a key game during the run-in and that is bad news for the team.

 

MOM: Everyone put in a good shift with Colin McLaughlin, Kevin Grehan and Paul Murray working particularly hard and fellow midfielder Scott Fleming always a threat going forward. But this week’s award goes to Martin Johnstone who grafted for 90 minutes, scored a nice goal and had a hand in one of the others.

 

AC Milanda – Fawns, Evans, Preston, Thomson, McKenzie (Kelly), Fleming, Grehan, Murray, McLaughlin, Harley, Johnstone.

 

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Netherpollok. GDSML

 

CALEDONIAN UNIVERSITY 2, AC MILANDA 2 Scorers McLaughlin, Own goal

 

Milanda were grateful to pick up their first league point for some considerable time after a difficult 90 minutes. Caley would probably claim they were robbed of a deserved victory but Milanda fought hard for the draw. The home team certainly weren’t happy with some of the refereeing decisions but these things tend to even themselves out over a season and they enjoyed some good fortune in winning 3-2 at Stepford earlier in the season.

 

Milanda, hit again by call-offs and no-shows, seemed to relish being back at their old stomping ground and made a good start. Martin Johnstone had an early chance from a long kicked clearance by keeper Ross Mitchell but his header was saved. Things were going reasonably well until the 20th minute when a lack of communication at the back saw Scott Fleming’s mistake gift Caley the opener.

 

But Milanda hit back just five minutes later. Gary Di Folco fed a good pass through to Colin McLaughlin and he burst into the box to slot the ball home. A cool finish by the midfielder who had also scored against Caley at Stepford.But the home side got their noses in front again five minutes from half-time following a free-kick. Keeper Mitchell saved the first effort but a lucky break of the ball allowed one of the Caley players to stick it away.

 

Milanda had a chance to equalise before the turnaround when a Paul Murray throw was laid back by Johnstone to Dave O’Neill but he failed to hit the target from close range. Johnstone headed a Mark Reid corner wide as Milanda restarted promisingly but then Caley had a good spell in which they could have had a couple of goals. McLaughlin prevented one of them with a clearance off the line.

 

Top scorer Colin Kelly went on to provide fresh legs up front and had a quick chance to score after bursting into the box. However, he delayed in shooting as the keeper ran out to him and it came to nothing. But in the 76th minute Kelly did contribute to Milanda’s equaliser. He challenged for a long throw by Murray and one of the Caley defenders was pressurised into heading the ball into his own net.

 

Both sides had opportunities before the end and Caley wanted a penalty for a shirt tug by Di Folco that the referee missed but the final whistle went with the match still level.

 

MOM: Colin McLaughlin took his goal well and worked tremendously hard all over the pitch to outshine his team-mates.

 

AC Milanda – Mitchell, Di Folco, Evans, Thomson, Harley, O’Neill, Fleming, Murray, McLaughlin, Reid (Kelly), Johnstone. Subs not used: Fawns, Daly.

 

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GDSML Stepford.

 

Finnieston Park 4 AC Milanda 0

 

Milanda were comprehensively beaten by title challengers Finnieston in a poor game spoiled by the wind.

 

Finnieston, who had beaten Milanda 8-2 in the League Cup the previous season, enjoyed wind advantage in the first half and pretty much dominated what was their home fixture.

 

A short passback by Scott Preston after five minutes let them in to open the scoring and they added two more before the break.

 

Milanda had more of the ball in the second half but didn't do a lot with it. The Finnieston keeper had no serious saves to make, the only half-decent shots at goal being one from substitute Andy Daly that went wide and a Mark Reid free-kick that was too high.

 

Finnieston scored a fourth goal in the 73rd minute but improved defending made sure they got no more, Craig Fawns, Gerry Evans and Andy Thomson keeping things a lot tighter along with Greig Harley and Gary Di Folco who both had spells at left-back.

 

As well as the loss of three points, Milanda will now be without the services of Dave O'Neill for the remaining games after he suffered a shoulder injury after being fouled as he made a promising run towards the Finnieston goal.

 

O'Neill thought he had dislocated his shoulder but the injury turned out to be less serious than that. He also claims he was on his way to scoring which means he probably took a head knock as well.

 

MOM: Martin Johnstone had the thankless task of playing on his own up front but did the job well, allowing hard-pressed colleagues to take a breather.

 

Team – Mitchell, Fawns, Evans, Preston (Harley), Thomson, O'Neill, Fleming (Daly), Murray, Reid (Di Folco), McLaughlin, Johnstone.

 

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GDSML Greenfield.

 

AC Milanda 2 Braehead 0 Scorers Johnstone, Kelly

 

Milanda recorded their first victory since way back on November 1 to take a much needed three points in their relegation fight.

 

It now looks as if opponents Braehead will drop down a division and Milanda will have to work hard to avoid joining them.

 

There is no doubt the better team prevailed on the night but it was a tense affair and the win was only assured when the second goal arrived late on.

 

The performance could have been better but there was plenty of effort and at the end of the 90 minutes the only thing that mattered was the result.

 

Injuries and call-offs meant Milanda needed the help of former cup final hero Thomas Addison and his brother, Richard, to get 13 bodies for the match.

 

Both made excellent contributions as Milanda dominated the first half. The first goal arrived after five minutes. A Paul Murray corner reached Richard Addison at the back post and when his shot came down off the underside of the crossbar, Martin Johnstone reacted quickest to knock the ball over the line.

 

While very little was being created from open play, a series of long throws by Murray and Thomas Addison provided openings that might have provided a second goal.

 

Johnstone wasn't far away with a shot, Kelly forced the keeper into a good save and Thomas Addison fired in a powerful effort that was a little too straight to trouble the Braehead No.1.

 

Braehead came more into the match in the second period and Ross Mitchell made a superb save to keep out a powerful header.

 

But still Milanda looked the stronger team without managing to prove it with more goals.

 

Then, with just seven minutes left, came the moment that provided breathing space. Johnstone did the initial spadework and then substitute Scott Fleming got involved to provide the crucial cutback that Kelly fired into the net for 2-0.

 

Braehead kept battling and Mitchell made another excellent save before the final whistle that signalled a long-awaited success.

 

Hopefully Milanda can beat Blantyre on Saturday and Braehead again the following week to at least give themselves a chance of staying in the division.

 

MOM: Martin Johnstone and Paul Murray were the pick of the attacking players, Colin McLaughlin was everywhere trying to put out fires while Ross Mitchell and his back four all worked hard to secure a rare shutout but the best player award goes to Thomas Addison who put in a tremendous shift at right-back.

 

Team – Mitchell, T Addison, Evans, Thomson, Harley, Di Folco (Fleming), Murray, R Addison, McLaughlin, Kelly, Johnstone. Sub not used: Daly.

 

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Lochend. GDSML

 

AC MILANDA 4 BLANTYRE 3 Scorers Kelly, Collins, Thomson, Johnstone

 

Milanda fought back from 3-0 down to grab three precious points in an incredible match at Lochend.

 

Any bookie would have given long odds on such a turnaround given Milanda have no great history of major comebacks.

 

The team did once recover from being three down to win a cup final but that involved extra time.

 

This result was achieved over 90 minutes. In fact, strike that – it was achieved in 40 minutes because Blantyre scored their third goal five minutes into the second period.

 

The fact that heads did not go down at that point says a lot for the players. They hadn’t played badly in the first half but a lack of concentration allowed Blantyre to stick a couple of chances away.

 

At the other end, Milanda’s best opportunity had fallen to Colin Kelly. A Paul Murray pass put him clear of the defence but his lob over the keeper just missed the target.

 

So Milanda felt they had to start the second half well to try to get back in the match but they quickly found themslves further behind and with a mountain to climb.

 

However, they suddenly started to have more of the ball going forward and Martin Johnstone was unlucky to see a shot cleared off the line.

 

Seconds later, Johnstone was again in the thick of it, crossing low for Kelly to tap home at the back post.

 

Johnstone came close with a header, Gerry Evans nodded an Andy Collins corner wide and then Kelly was brought down by the keeper but referee Alex Miller said no penalty.

 

It seemed a strange decision, especially as the match official didn’t produce a yellow card for a dive either.

 

But Milanda shrugged off that disappointment and kept hammering away at the Blantyre goal.

 

One attack seemed to have petered out when the ball came back out of the box towards trialist Collins and he fired a first-time screamer past the helpless keeper from fully 30 yards.

 

It was a superb strike and seemed to galvanise Milanda’s comeback effort with 25 minutes still to play.

 

Blantyre were rattled and even more so in the 77th minute when defender Andy Thomson came up from the back to head home a Murray corner. Another cracking goal.

 

Still the chances kept coming and Scott Fleming let one slip away when he hurried his shot in the box, allowing the keeper a straightforward save.

 

Then in 83 minutes came the clincher. Blantyre failed to deal with a long throw by Murray and as the ball bobbled around in the box Johnstone fired it into the roof of the net.

 

There were one or two nervy moments in the Milanda box as the clock ticked down but the players held on to record their second consecutive win and one that offers some hope that they might yet stay up.

 

MOM: A magnificent effort from everyone but especially the midfielders and attackers who took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second period. Colin Kelly was back to something like his best and formed a formidable partnership with the evergreen Martin Johnstone up front, while Scott Fleming, Paul Murray and Colin McLaughlin put in terrific shifts to get them a plentiful supply of the ball. Fellow midfielder Andy Collins did likewise and scored a peach of a goal so he just nicks the man of the match award.

 

AC Milanda – Fawns, T Addison, Evans, Thomson, Harley, Fleming, Collins, Murray, McLaughlin, Kelly, Johnstone. Subs not used: Di Folco, Daly.

 

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Renfrew. GDSML

 

BRAEHEAD 0, AC MILANDA 1 Scorer Kelly

 

Milanda had to battle hard to make it three wins on the trot and keep alive their hopes of beating the drop. Opponents Braehead made a real scrap of it in the second half and missed one sitter that would have put them back on level terms but without a doubt Milanda were the better side overall. Braehead are now all but relegated and it only remains to be seen who goes down with them. Milanda have certainly improved their chances of staying up in the last couple of weeks but a lot will depend on what Blantyre, Caledonian University and bottom club Hamilton Wanderers do with their games in hand. While Milanda were doing the business at KGV in Renfrew, 10-man Wanderers were coming back from 5-1 down away to Milngavie Wanderers to draw 5-5 so they certainly won’t be found wanting when it comes to fight.

 

Saturday threatened to be a bad day for Milanda when they had only nine players in the dressing room 15 minutes before-kick-off.Stand-in skipper Paul Murray was last to arrive and as his name had been included in the starting line-up handed to the referee, there were only 10 men on the field at kick-off and two substitutes standing by.

 

Amazingly, Milanda got off to the best possible with a goal after just two minutes. Martin Johnstone dropped into midfield with Colin Kelly up front on his own – and he was the one who opened the scoring after just two minutes.Braehead managed to clear a powerful long throw by trialist Brandon Stenson out of the box but Greig Harley collected the ball and played the perfect weight of pass for Kelly to get through a square defensive line and shoot home.

Stenson had a header hit the bar from a Murray throw and the trialist saw another effort saved from a similar set-piece but Milanda just couldn’t add to their tally.

 

Braehead had the wind at their backs in the second period and saw more of the ball but Milanda continued to make openings. Johnstone had an effort blocked from a Kelly cutback before the home side broke upfield and forced Ross Mitchell into an excellent blocking save. Kelly played in Johnstone again and he shot wide before a nice cutback by Scott Fleming set up Kelly but once more Braehead’s desperate defending managed to deny the striker.

Then came Braehead’s big moment. A powerful shot came back off the bar and the ball fell nicely for one of their strikers but with only Mitchell to beat from close range he blasted it way too high.

 

Stenson should have scored Milanda’s second when substitute Mark Reid placed a corner kick on his head at the near post but somehow he managed to knock the ball wide.Harley also had a chance to double the advantage when he popped up from nowehere to run clear of the home defence. However, he tried an ambitious long-range lob against the wind when it would have been better to head straight for the penalty box.

 

The worry was these misses might prove costly but Milanda managed to hold on.

 

MOM: Keeper Ross Mitchell and his defenders coped well in a tricky second half against the wind, while Colin McLaughlin and Co got through a power of work in midfield. But man of the match goes to scorer Colin Kelly who was a constant threat to Braehead and never stopped trying to create or net that elusive second goal.

 

AC Milanda – Mitchell, Addison (Reid), Evans, Thomson, Harley, Fleming, Stenson, Murray, McLaughlin, Kelly, Johnstone. Sub not used: Daly.

 

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Greenfield. GDSML

 

AC MILANDA 2 FINNIESTON PARK 4 Scorers Kelly (2)

 

Milanda completed the season's fixture list with a defeat but were certainly not disgraced despite the difficulties in putting a team on the pitch. Late call-offs, injuries and no-shows left only 10 players to start a game against the team that finished second in the table and won promotion. That 10 included Jim Binnie who had been out for a large chunk of the season with a back problem but was happy to get the boots back on to help out. Amazingly, Milanda more than held their own and were actually winning 2-0 after half-an-hour.

 

Prior to the opener, Colin Kelly forced the visiting keeper into a good save and Paul Murray did likewise from a free-kick. At the other end, Ross Mitchell made a fantastic stop to keep the scoreline blank. The opener arrived in the 32nd minute. Finnieston were guilty of sloppy defending following a throw by right-back Pip Donaghy and Kelly pounced to fire the ball into the net.

 

A minute later, Kelly struck again. This time it was a brilliant solo effort as he burst through the middle of the Finnieston defence and stroked the ball into the corner. Thomas Addison answered an SOS from manager Alan McMillan to become Milanda's 11th man a minute before the break – just in time to see Finnieston pull a goal back.

 

So, 2-1 up at half-time and things were looking promising now that Milanda had a full team. However, it was inevitable a team of Finnieston's quality would come back strongly.

 

Poor defending got them back on terms five minutes into the second period after Kelly had failed to clear his lines.

Then Gerry Evans cleared a shot off the goalline before Finnieston scored their third goal just after the hour.Martin Johnstone kept worrying the Finnieston defenders and trying to sniff out half-chances and he got one after a mistake by their keeper but his final effort was too high.

 

With 10 minutes left, Finnieston scored their fourth with a shot from way out on the left that hit the inside of keeper Mitchell's left-hand post and bounced in.

 

A disappointing way to end the season but all the players acquitted themselves well. Despite the limited options, this was Milanda's best result in three meetings with Finnieston.

 

MOM: Andy Thomson had another sound game in defence and was well supported by Pip Donaghy, Gerry Evans and Gary Di Folco. Scott Fleming, Paul Murray and Thomas Addison all put in a shift in midfield, as did Jim Binnie, who was booked for persistently fouling the Finnieston right-back (apparently this isn't allowed). Martin Johnstone did a great job on his own up front and held the ball well, while two-goal Colin Kelly was a tremendous support act. So we'll ignore the fact he gave away a goal at the other end and award Codger man of the match.